Taking a Micro Look at Your Destination City

The local neighborhoods that make up your chosen destination can add lots of personality to your next event.

When you’re thinking about where to host your next meeting or event, you’re likely thinking about a couple of cities as contenders. Have you ever stopped to think about the neighborhoods that make up those cities?

A large metro area can have neighborhoods as diverse as a state or region itself and choosing the right area for meetings can help infuse the right kind of personality into your next event.

To get the inside scoop on how to find a neighborhood that will elevate any event we turned to Visit Orlando.

Find Your Vibe

To start, Visit Orlando Chief Sales Officer Mike Waterman says it’s important to ignore your preconceived opinions of a city.

“Often the teams in a city are able to help highlight areas that you wouldn’t be aware of if you’re not a local,” said Waterman. “For example, here in Orlando, if you’ve only experienced our tourism districts, you may be very surprised to see what’s beyond the theme parks.”

Waterman suggests consulting with the local Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) or Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) in your prospective location. They can help steer you to an area your attendees will be excited to experience.

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For instance, Waterman says groups coming to Orlando may have attendees who’d prefer neighborhoods like Winter Garden with its historic downtown lined with restaurants and shops, or Winter Park offering picturesque cobblestone streets and a boat tour of the area’s chain of lakes. Meanwhile, others may be better suited for downtown Orlando where you’ll find the city’s best bars and nightlife.

The choice may even come down to your industry focus. Medical groups may enjoy Lake Nona in southeast Orlando where the 92,000 square-foot GuideWell Innovation Center features a public gallery showcasing rotating exhibits and the latest technology solutions. Groups can hold events in the gallery, while resident scientists provide live demonstrations of the technologies.

“The key is to consider what your attendees are looking to experience, their interests can inform the area where you choose to host your event,” Waterman said.

Don’t Get Stuck

While you may fall in love with the vibe of a certain neighborhood, it’s possible that the entire event may not be able to be hosted there. In that case, you’ve got a great excuse to mix things up by planning an offsite event as part of your meeting or conference.

Specific venues can also hold events of different sizes, giving you even more options to personalize your event for your attendees.

For example, Ace Cafe Orlando is a popular London-based, motor-themed restaurant. The entire space, which features rock ‘n’ roll-inspired artwork, photography and rare motorcycles, accommodates up to 7,000 guests in several flexible venues. These include a main dining room and stage area, an outdoor back porch, an upstairs bar, an exhibition area, and a backyard with table games and a stage for up to 1,000 people.

Waterman says that for large conferences where group size necessitates hosting the main conference and meeting in the convention center area may enjoy transporting a smaller group, like the board of directors, to a more intimate location like the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando’s Audubon Park Garden District near downtown. Meanwhile, a young professionals group might be more at home hosting its meeting at a venue like the Hard Rock Hotel’s Velvet Bar.

Just because these venues aren’t in your chosen neighborhood, Waterman says it’s important to remember you can infuse your meeting with the personalities of other neighborhoods.

Waterman says that CVBs and DMOs can help connect you with options for transportation to make sure getting from point A to point B is a completely seamless experience.

“Here in Orlando our convention and tourism district offers the I-Ride Trolley hop-on, hop-off service and for transportation to points beyond we can help groups get set up with easy busy service.” Waterman said.

Spread the News

When it comes to meeting in a destination that is also popular for its leisure activities, Waterman says it’s also important to make sure you’re communicating the options for local experiences with your prospective attendees.

“Here in Orlando, it’s no secret that we’re known for our world-class theme parks,” Watermansaid. “That means it’s important for groups meeting in Orlando to share the options for many other types of entertainment and experiences, ranging from paddleboarding, airboat tours, golf, tennis, and attractions beyond the parks, when they come to our area.

You may want to dedicate a microsite to all the local attractions in the area where you plan to meet, Waterman added. Or perhaps consider sending an email dedicated to highlighting the city or even providing some direct mail pieces to your members.

Want help planning your next event from professionals who can help you set your next event up for success? Learn more and start planning your next meeting at

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