Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Weekly Spotlight: The Boom of Zoom

During this trying time in the meetings and events industry, we know our partnerships will help us through. In light of this, we plan on doing a weekly spotlight post to recognize the partners we work with that help make our meetings run seamlessly.

In light of current events, face-to-face meetings have been put on pause and the the meetings and events industry is facing a complex shift in the way we do business now, and in the next coming months. As frightening as this may seem, we are taking this as an opportunity to learn and engage with new technology to build our skill-sets and versatility. One of the most helpful tools we use is online video meetings through Zoom. This platform has been the basis of how we stay connected as a company. We have found daily morning video calls with the entire team to be the most effective way to start the workday. This call gives everyone the opportunity to see and interact with each other as we normally would in person. We are also using this platform for some of our upcoming meetings including a couple advisory boards.  Zoom offers many great features that promote a fun and engaging environment for all.

Here are some of the benefits of Zoom we enjoy and encourage you all to use:

  • Virtual Backgrounds: Change your personal background with the use of this feature. For internal meetings this can be sandy beaches in Hawaii or personal photos of your dog and for more formal meetings, we recommend customizing a background with a company logo. You have the option to create your work environment! 
  • Chat: Use the chat box to comment or ask questions to anyone in the meeting during your call.
  • Screen Sharing: Allow others to actively see what you are working on by sharing the visibility of your computer screen.
  • Polling: This is a great way to involve everyone in the call and gain a better understanding of your audience.
  • Reactions: Instantly react to the present conversation with the use of a thumbs-up or clapping hands; this allows others to communicate without disrupting the person who is speaking.  

These are just a few tips and tricks on how to make your video calls more engaging. Zoom offers a variety of different features you can use to host a smooth and effective meeting on a much larger scale. Although a lot has changed in the past few weeks, we are glad we have the resources to stay connected, and we are excited for the future.

Check it out yourself!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Weekly Spotlight: Hyatt Regency Orlando

During this trying time in the meetings and events industry, we know our partnerships will help us through. In light of this, we plan on doing a weekly spotlight post to recognize the partners we work with that help make our meetings run seamlessly.

In our first weekly spotlight, we want to share some of the many reasons we love Hyatt Regency Orlando. We have been working with this property for several years and in the past 4 years have been doing 3-6 programs there each year. It is this property’s excellent staff and meeting space that keeps us coming back year after year. Each member always goes above and beyond to ensure the success of our programs whether from Banquets, Sales, or Convention Services. Over time, they have carefully noted the details of our programs to make sure that each program is better than the last. Not only do we love this property, but our clients and their attendees enjoy visiting the hotel and always have nothing but good things to say.

Voted “#1 Convention Property in Florida and Orlando” (CVENT 2013-2018) and located centrally within Orlando, you will have access to all major theme parks, the best restaurants, fun bars, and so much more when you stay at Hyatt Regency Orlando. With 315,000 square feet of meeting space, the options at this property are endless. The hotel also features beautiful outdoor terraces, private dining rooms, and pillar-free ballrooms that will make your meeting one to remember.

At Meeting Sites Pro, we value our partnership with Hyatt Regency Orlando and always look forward to staying at this hotel. Next time you’re searching for your next meeting location or planning a trip to Orlando, be sure to check out this property:!

From Our CEO - A Message To My Clients and Suppliers.

Dear Friends,

We are experiencing unprecedented times in our lives right now as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve and impact us all. 

At Meeting Sites Pro, Inc., we are adapting and changing in this fluid situation. Many of our meetings for the upcoming months have been postponed or moved to virtual formats and we are experiencing how this affects not only us, but also our clients and suppliers. Following the California lockdown order issued late last week, our team is working from our homes to ensure safety and allow our team to continue to take care of our clients and their attendees. We remain flexible while waiting for direction on an estimate as to when we may begin to get back to some ‘normalcy’. In the meanwhile, we are available by email and cell phones and are happy to discuss meeting solutions with our partners.

During this uncertainty, I have been reflecting on our past and I am hopeful for our future. In 2000, I started Meeting Site Pro from the garage of my condo with a strong passion for serving my clients and their attendees. This passion has grown over the years as we developed so many strong relationships with our loyal clients and dedicated suppliers.

As we move forward, I have asked my team to take some time during this period and really think about those supporters who have made Meeting Sites Pro what it is today. During this challenging time for the meetings/events industry, we want to remember that we are all united and provide some encouragement in this trying time. For this reason, we will be posting a weekly blog spotlighting some of the people, places, companies, or events that have impacted the trajectory of Meeting Sites Pro and extend a warm thank you for your support.

For the past 20 years, we have all gone through our up’s and our down’s. I continue to be amazed by our passion, resilience, and ability to adapt. While these are testing times, we are in this together. Our team is standing by and eager to continue to serve and support you.

Please remember to make time to refresh, laugh, exercise, and have faith that this will end soon. Be well and stay strong.

Warm Regards,
Michelle Harty, CMP-HC, CEO
Meeting Sites Pro, Inc./SM Squared

VIEW OUR FIRST SPOLIGHT: Hyatt Regency Orlando

Friday, February 28, 2020

Green Meetings – Tips from the Georgia World Congress Center and Meeting Sites Pro

The Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta is currently the largest event space to be environmentally certified by the US Green Building Council. For the past 10 years, the center has been investing in sustainability in efforts to improve the carbon footprint caused by the events industry. The center positions itself as a highly efficient and climate-conscious venue in hopes of encouraging other convention centers around the world to prioritize this issue and make the change to become more sustainable.

Here are some tips they shared and how we embody these at Meeting Sites Pro:

Public transportation is a number one priority – At MSP we include instructions and encourage public transportation instructions to all attendees and use airport hotels for shorter meetings.
  • More can be recycled than you think – We recycle everything from name badges and signage to paper in the office. We encourage our hotel partners to use reusable banquets items over plastic and have moved towards paperless onsite management and registration with our Surface Pro’s, We are always thinking of creative ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle!
  • The details are hidden in the design and connected hotels mean greener housing – We always try to keep all sleeping rooms at the same venue and when our meetings are held outside of the hotel, we do our best to place our attendees within walking distance of the meeting venue.
  • The social footprint is just as important – From partnering with socially conscious hotels and clients to sourcing local event staff and giving back to our community whenever possible, Meeting Sites Pro believes in the importance of monitoring your social footprint.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for green meetings?

To learn more about efforts at the Georgia World Congress Center, please see their article below. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Sacramento: More Than Just a Government Town

As the capital of California, Sacramento has always been a city centered around government. However, in recent years, the city has started to attract attention as a growing destination for meetings. While most businesses are drawn to the San Francisco Bay Area that is located only a couple hours away, Sacramento now offers a comparable experience at a lower price point. The city’s conference center is currently undergoing a complete renovation and expansion that will almost double its current size. In addition, multiple hotel renovations are currently underway allowing hotels to expand by a total of over 1,000 rooms.  Finally, Sacramento's Michelin rated restaurants, brand-new sports arena, and food tours offer plenty of activities to keep your attendees entertained.