EMA Insights & Takeaways 5: January 2015 EMA



We started out the day with an early breakfast from 7:30 am to 9:00 am and headed into the morning Education Session: Health is Haute in Meetings lead by speaker Tracy Latkovic. Her topic combines her two great passions: Health and Hospitality. Each planner commented on how important the topic was and Tracy’s grace and accuracy in addressing it.

After the Education Session wrapped up, Planners and Hoteliers entered the ballroom to begin their One-on-One Appointments. The ballroom was as busy as ever! We’ve got 150 attendees at the EMA this year so as you imagine, there is a consistent chatter rumbling about the room.10403022_10155193765990341_6527893177561241562_n

For someone who has never previously attended an EMA, I must admit that the One-one-One appointments look alittle something like business oriented speed dating. It looked like each session ended with both parties excited,engaged in conversation, and leaving their 15 minute appointment with booked business.

We then enjoyed a delicious lunch in the ballroom while listening to our keynote speaker Robyn Benincasa. Robyn’s story and cause was both inspiring and motivating. Everyone was hanging on Robyn’s every word, as she re-counted stories of triumph, struggle and perseverance during her time as a World Champion Adventure Racer. Her courage and strength reminded us that anything is possible if we work hard and have the right mindset. She also spoke about the fact that anything can be achieved if people work together working towards a common goal. Robyn spoke on behalf of Project Athena Foundation. Project Athena Foundation works towards supporting women who have endured life-altering medical setbacks by taking them on an adventure of a lifetime. Whether it’s hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro or finishing an Ironman, this non-profit foundation created by Benincasa reminded us of the power it takes to overcome any setback within our lives and what we can implement in order to achieve our goals.

After lunch we began the next round of One-on-One appointments. There were 15 appointment time slots for the entire day each with 15 minute sessions. Each and every hotelier had their hands full yesterday. I didn’t see a single table without a planner in each time slot. It’s been quite a successful day!

10945693_10155193767625341_7951058663409249002_nAs you can imagine, planners and hoteliers alike were pretty exhausted after a full day of appointments. We had a quick reception in Kelly’s Presidential Suite from 6:00pm to 7:00 pm and we headed straight to the Theme Dinner: Back in the Dayz. The Theme Dinner was a huge success! With a Colonial Jamaica theme set, guests were invited to explore some of the island’s rich heritage and folklore. There were local artisan souvenirs and crafts displayed. I, personally, was a fan of the handmade woven hats and bags that were beautifully crafted. The incredibly talented Live Wire Reggae band featured their lead singer Karen Smith – the Jamaican Songbird who blew us all away with her incredible stage presence. She immersed herself in the crowd and sang her heart out while engaging each and every one of us exhausted attendees in her songs. You could tell she is one of those few people in this world that have the ability to light up a room with their energy and presence – making us all want to be a part of the buzz!

Speaking of Buzz… Did you hear about the after party? After singer Karen Smith – the Jamaican Songbird livened us all up, we joined a conga line and headed straight into the ballroom for the after party. And what an after party it was! We all danced the wobble song – lead by some of this EMA’s best dancers. We also flooded the dance floor with Latin music, salsa dancing, and I might have even seen a little flamenco at one point in time. After the after party, the after – after party began during which attendees participated by sleeping soundly in their beds.

Tomorrow we round up the One-on-One appointments, raffle off the grand prize & head to the CSR Activity!




Deanna Graves

Deanna Graves

Deanna Graves worked at Elite Meetings International as a Senior Marketing Associate. When she’s not writing for Elite, you can find her hiking or snowboarding in the Colorado Rockies, spending time with family, and enjoying a Sunday beach barbecue when visiting her old Santa Barbara stomping grounds.

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