Where do we go? What do we do? Who do we work with?
Need ideas for your next event?
Need ideas for your next event?
by Samantha Marie
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit uneasy at the thought of flying on a plane to Texas on election day, but I was determined to learn as much as I could throughout the experience.
I was nothing less than impressed by the extensive detail given to ensure the safety and heath of all attendees, while providing an exceptional educational and enjoyable experience. Each morning you were to submit a questionnaire on your health and have your temperature checked prior to entry. In each room where activities were held for education or food & beverage services, there was a max of 4 people to a banquet round, with plenty of spacing between tables. Masks of course were required during the full duration of the event, whether in the conference center or Rendezvous, except when actively eating or drinking and there was full compliance. You really got the sense that all those in attendance – approximately 650 live attendees & 1,100 virtual – were there to support and contribute to the recovery and growth of our industry.
Food stations were a great implementation with items being able to be served separately, or to go bags & boxes for smaller meals throughout the day. There were fun activities such as paintings to be given to adult assistance homes, and painting pottery to also be donated that was supplied by Caesars Entertainment. Professional headshots and 1 on 1 career coaching were also available to all, as has been in previous WECs. Dena Blizzard did another awesome job as MC during keynote sessions and the event app worked great! A minor detail but how often does an event app not stand up to your expectations? At one point there was a false fire alarm that went off, but I made the joke that the event was going too smoothly that something had to happen!
I am so grateful for the chance to experience WEC firsthand to see how a live event can be held safely during the time of COVID19. I was able to obtain ideas on how to hold events as we progress through the pandemic and our industry’s recovery. It left me with inspiration not just for my career and the work that lies ahead of us but strengthened my confidence to be able to navigate such a difficult time on a personal level. I am thankful for MPI not just for this experience, but for giving myself and so many others a community where we can learn and build each other up.
Looking forward to World Education Congress LIVE in Las vegas June 2021!
So much more than a hotel!
We had the pleasure of our first site visit out of quarantine-shelter-in-place to the beautiful [So-Much-More-Than-A]Hotel Mission De Oro in Santa Nella this past week, hidden yet conveniently located off Interstate 5 in Northern California. I would have never guessed all of the hidden treasures on this property if Matthew Kim whom I met at MPINCC's Annual Conference & Expo last year hadn't invited me down to tour it.
To start, a new owner has put up over $25 million so far in the process of renovations and upgrades to this sprawling mini-resort. So far, it boasts 162 spacious guest rooms with private balconies, 10 meeting rooms with an approximate 1,500 capacity, full restaurant (with amazingly delicious food and signature cocktails!), super-cool bar & activity room that reminds me of a cross between a speak-easy & a country sports bar, wine museum (so cool!), pool, jacuzzi, large fitness center, sauna, coi pond, gazebo, and outdoor grounds that are begging to be used for weddings and cocktail receptions of all kinds. They have much more land looking to be developed on with even more outdoor activities planned, and I can't wait to see what it will look like when it's fully completed.
With travel out of the country looking to be a no for most of us in the states for awhile, this is the perfect mini-getaway for anyone in California looking to get out of their city for a day or two, or stop along the way for a mini road trip along the West Coast. For regional meetings or weddings that are looking to plan a date over the next year or so, it's an easy drive whether coming from LA, SF, or Reno. Pretty much everything you'd need to host an event is on-site, so no need to coordinate with a bunch of different vendors - especially with the strenuous process we're all facing coming out of COVID19.
I'm also happy to report the staff was especially friendly and welcomes their guests to feel safe and comfortable no matter what activity they decide to partake in around the hotel. Employees wear masks in the restaurant and bar, hands-free hand sanitizer is stationed around all entrances and other convenient locations, and cleaning is done around the clock. If you're interested about the possibility of having your next event or groups' overnight stay here, please contact Shannon Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org - she is fabulous and I can't wait to work with her again!
During Shelter in Place here in the Bay Area, it gave us lots of time and opportunity to connect with other peers and small businesses in the hospitality industry in our area. Events obviously weren't going to happen for awhile, but what could be do in the meantime? We could reach out and help others.
One of the activities is executing marketing and community outreach for a fabulous local restaurant we had the pleasure of connecting with right before this all happened - Burma 2 downtown Walnut Creek. The owners and managers of this business (also located in Dublin, CA as Burma! Burma!) are exactly the type of kind people you'd want to support and see come out strong after this pandemic is over. They 100% look out for their employees, and all tips given when they were strictly takeout and delivery only were distributed among the employees that were unable to obtain additional assistance. When they were able to open up patio dining on June 10th, they welcomed all employees back to work, with full physical distancing and enhanced above & beyond safety measures in place.
They've catered to several of the hospitals in the area, and catering is available for you too, as well as full buyouts, wedding rehearsal dinners, and any other fun social occasion you'd like to celebrate. Their indoor & outdoor pre-COVID capacity was approximately 120, so call to see what might be available to you. My favorite lunches have been the Burmese Chicken Salad and Mango Chicken, and all of their signature drinks are pretty freakin delicious. Try a Crazy Coconut (fresh whole coconut with Captain Morgan Rum) or a Hibiscus Mojito.