Making Local Entertainment the Star of Your Next Event

Personalizing the entertainment options at your event for the attendees can help ensure a successful meeting experience.

Keeping attendees entertained during the event is a unique proposition for meeting planners.

Planners know that entertainment can set the tone for the entire event and plays a critical role in both attendee satisfaction and attendee retention rates.

What’s Your Group’s Personality?

So how can you make sure your attendees are excited by what your events have to offer? We turned to the pros in Orlando—home to world-class entertainment – to learn how to deliver entertainment your attendees will always remember.

When considering which options will serve as the biggest draw for your potential attendees, consider the demographics of your group and the style of entertainment that would appeal to them, advises Casandra Matej, CEO, Visit Orlando.

Thrill Seekers

To start, Matej says if your group is into sports you can start by looking at what local teams will be on the court or the field when your meeting takes place. Orlando hosts live NBA and MLS games at downtown’s Amway Center and Exploria Stadium, respectively. Teams will often have special experiences available for your group such as going on the court after the game to cut the nets down.

If your attendees would rather play than watch, they’ll enjoy the action at hot spots like Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, adjacent to International Drive and the Orange County Convention Center. The 150,000-square-foot facility features indoor karting, bowling, arcade and prize games, laser tag, virtual-reality racing simulators, a motion theater, and an extreme ropes course with a zipline, as well as a full-service restaurant and bars. Nearby on International Drive the 800,000-square-foot Dezerland Park offers activities including axe throwing, go-karting, pinball and bowling.

Planners can also find unique experiences at area theme parks, like Walt Disney World® Resort, SeaWorld® Orlando or Universal Orlando Resort, or. The parks can tailor events to a groups’ needs, from dining around the world at Epcot to offsite events, experiencing the new Ice Breaker coaster at SeaWorld, or tapping into entertainment of all genres at Universal.

If golf is the activity of choice, opportunities abound to hit the links. In 2021 more than 2.6 million rounds of golf were played in the Orlando area, according to the National Golf Foundation. Also adjacent to the Orange County Convention Center, Topgolf offers a different twist to the game that uses a scoring system similar to bowling or darts, Matej said.

Outdoor Explorers

If attendees would rather experience nature in an up close and personal setting, Orlando’s lakes, natural springs and bike trails present a perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures, Matej said.

Attendees staying at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes or the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes may enjoy guided canoe or kayak tours of Shingle Creek, known as the Headwaters of the Florida Everglades. Several other Orlando-area resorts offer kayaking and other outdoor excursions as well.

For more adventurous outdoor enthusiasts, the area is also known for its airboat adventures Matej said.

She also suggests another popular way to incorporate the outdoors into your event – hosting offsite meetings or networking in an outdoor space such as Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek’s 10,476-square-foot Signature Island, which can host up to 1,102 guests.

Arts Enthusiasts

Hosting an event in a location known for entertainment provides a plethora of options to wow attendees. In fact, hosting an event in a city filled with entertainment venues can open up opportunities for easy to plan off-site experiences, advised Matej.

For instance, The Beacham, housed in a 1920s converted theater, features live music as well as DJs nightly. The heater is ideal for larger groups who want to experience “authentic Orlando,” with accommodations for up to 1,300.

No matter your attendee’s musical style of choice, they’ll be able to find an entertainment option that suits their taste, Matej said. Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts features performances by Orlando Ballet, Opera Orlando and the Orlando Philharmonic.

Other options for offsite venues include Steinmetz Hall, an acoustically remarkable, multifunction space that opened in early 2022 and can achieve an N1 sound rating, which is the lowest level at which humans can detect sound.

Hosting your event in a destination that delivers one-of-a-kind entertainment ensures unforgettable experiences for your attendees. Pairing entertainment with unique off-site venues result in unforgettable settings for group events, Matej said.

As a final tip Matej says if you’re tempted to keep entertainment a surprise you may want to think again. It just might be the thing that draws attendees to the event along with the education being offered.

See how the team at Visit Orlando can help your attendees paint the town red, at

(Handout photo)