The industry’s primary incentive association shared a momentous 40th anniversary celebration during the 2013 Site Global Conference December 7-10. The charming Mediterranean-style Loews Portofino Bay Hotel housed 400 delegates, who soaked up la dolce vita in the re-created Italian seaside village setting.
With nine pre-conference tours and two post tours, Site delegates could experience the Sunshine State as incentive-travel participants. On opening night, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter bewitched guests at Universal Orlando Resort with dimly lit winding cobblestone lanes and unlimited access to wild rides and gut-dropping roller coasters, all without queues. During the evening buyout in Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, Harry’s classmates sang and posed for photos with those exploring Hogsmeade or the looming Hogwarts castle.
Salsa infused the following evening at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Convention Center (formerly Peabody) where lights strung overhead in the open-air 15,000-sf Garden Terrace created a festive flair for the Havana Nights reception. The live band ignited Latin dancing while Cuban-accented buffet stations, margarita bars, cigar rolling and trendy firepits flanked by deep couches kept the networking sparking. Recently ranked No. 2 in Cvent’s 2013 Top 100 U.S. Meeting Hotels, this conveniently located 1,641-room venue has a total of 315,000 sf of flexible meeting space; it is connected to the LEED-certified 7 million-sf Orange County Convention Center across the road.
The 1,500-room Rosen Shingle Creek hosted the Site Gala Dinner, beginning with a poolside and Rose Garden reception overlooking some of the resort’s 230 acres. Delegates could network and pause to learn about Organic Blond Ale from the Orlando Brewing Company and hors d’oeuvres like mango shrimp shooters from nearby Cape Canaveral. The evening sky erupted with spectacular fireworks before guests headed indoors, where Harris Rosen welcomed all from the main stage in two sections of the 95,000-sf Gatlin Ballroom. Dueling pianos fired up the crowd from a side stage, between courses and award presentations. Using the adjoining room and only some of the resort’s total 490,000 sf of event space, the after-party kicked up with flashing lights, a live DJ and dessert displays flanking the dance floor.