"Better days, I sure could use a few better days, Floridays," sings Jimmy Buffett in one of his famous songs. This month, a group of 44 planners and 44 representatives from destinations and properties had a few exciting "Floridays" during SMU Florida.
Accommodations were provided by the 998-room Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood, which has a convention center with more than 200,000 square feet of flexible function space. The resort impressed from the opening night reception on. Hermit crabs, a bounty of Florida seafood, and riveting games set the bar high, but the rest of the trip didn't disappoint. The Florida sun shined throughout, and the group sported their new Maui Jim sunglasses after being custom fitted.
The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa rolled out the red carpet for a dinner function which featured a build-your-own mojito station, a mixologist crafting old fashion cocktails made with the resort's exclusive bourbon, and desserts galore.
Another highlight was the "wire guy," courtesy of Visit Florida, who crafted everyone's names into picture holders.
In addition to all the incredible food, there was food for thought as well: "Negotiating a Win Every 15 Minutes," by Rob Fletcher, founder of Quixote Consulting, a team building and professional development company; and "How Hotels Value Your Meeting," by Robyn Mietkiewicz, CMP, CMM, director, global meeting management, Meeting Site Resources.
A Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB-sponsored dinner cruise aboard the Floridian Princess, a luxury charter yacht which can hold 400 guests, capped off a productive few days. Planners raved about the connections made, and suppliers were impressed with the number of RFPs they accumulated during SMU Florida.