Turn Your Meeting into a Travel and Leisure Opportunity for Attendees

Learn how to capture attendee wanderlust by transforming your organization’s next event into an opportunity for travel and leisure.

With travel numbers rebounding and a desire to get out and explore increasingly palpable, meeting planners can take advantage of the wanderlust and attract more meeting attendees who are keen to travel. According to a recent Global Business Travel Association poll, 56 percent of all business travelers intend to extend their stay beyond the conference agenda—signaling an opportunity for your association to enhance the attendee experience.

So how can you make sure your meeting will inspire attendees to view your event as an exciting travel opportunity? We turned to the pros in Orlando to learn how to position your meeting as a gateway to travel and adventure.

Market the Destination

“A great place to start is by marketing your event destination along with the program,” says Casandra Matej, president & CEO, Visit Orlando. “Make sure to focus on the available experiences that attendees can enjoy beyond the conference event.”

For instance, in Orlando attendees can find options for entertainment, cultural enrichment and shopping all within distance of conference and meeting venues, making it easy to extend work into fun.

“Tap into your destination’s local Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for their expertise,” Matej added. “They know the market and what appeals to leisure visitors, so utilize their expertise to build excitement that complements the event,” said Matej.

Local CVB’s or DMO’s will often have special deals just for attendees at local entertainment and restaurants. “Orlando features a Show Your Badge and Save Program which unlocks offers—from discounts to complimentary items—for attendees just by presenting their badge at select restaurants and attractions,” added Matej.

Experiences Your Local Attendees Will Appreciate

“Another way to promote your event as a unique travel opportunity for attendees is to focus on site specific experiences they can only find in that city, state or region,” Matej said.

In Orlando, that often means spending time in one of the world’s top theme parks. Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando each offer their own distinct style of thrilling experiences. Other Florida-specific opportunities include exciting airboat rides and visits to the Kennedy Space Center.

“It’s also important to highlight the dining options that attendees may only be able to experience while attending your event,” Matej said.

Just minutes from the convention district in Orlando, Restaurant Row features a vast selection of eateries like Seasons 52, The Whiskey, Dragonfly— Robata Grill & Sushi, and Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar. Planning a meal at a Michelin star winning dining spot, such as Kadence or Soskei—both Michelin star winners—can turn meal time into an event to remember.

Matej says planners should consider attendees who would enjoy chances for more physical activity during their meeting schedule. In Orlando, there are countless options for attendees to hit the links or visit the USTA Tennis Campus for some time on the court. For sports fans, the Amway Arena’ Camping World Stadium, and Exploria Stadium also offer live sports events including experiences like professional basketball, hockey and soccer games.

Also, shopping enthusiasts attending an event in Orlando will enjoy easy access to destinations like Mall of Millenia and The Florida Mall. For outlet shopping Orlando features three distinct options: Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, Orlando International Premium Outlets and Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets with over 100 stores. Unique shopping destinations in Orlando also include Disney Springs and Universal CityWalk.

For attendees interested in experiencing the arts and culture in their meeting’s destination, Orlando offers Broadway, ballet, or cultural exhibits and collections at venues like Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Rollins Museum of Art and The Winter Park Playhouse.

Allowing for Downtime

“While an action packed event can leave great memories for attendees to bring home from your event,” Matej said, “It’s also important to build in time for breaks for wellness and leisure activities.”

Breaks between meetings allow attendees to “reset,” reducing a buildup of stress across meetings. Also, back-to-back meetings have been shown to cause a decrease in attendees’ ability to focus and engage.

Attendees to Orlando can take a wellness break at one of the area’s spas and resorts. For example, innovative group fitness classes are offered on-site at Four Seasons Resort Orlando for attendees including “Aqua Aerobics” fitness sessions at the resort’s 5-acre water park, and outdoor group classes in an open-air spa lawn. The resort’s full-service salon, as well as select relaxation lounges at The Spa, are also available for full buyouts.

Spa services and unique group fitness experiences are also available at Orlando resorts including Rosen Shingle Creek, the Caribe Royale Orlando, the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes and Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.

Want to learn more about meeting in Orlando? Check out for all the latest on Cvent’s No. 1 meeting destination in the country.

(Handout photo)