Another HGA Global Forum is in the books, and it was a SUCCESS!
When tasked with planning the HGA Global Forum, one might think – I have to plan something for a room full of top-level planners and DMCs that do this for a living – “no pressure!” But I say that if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you and you won’t appreciate the end results. With a great team in place and hard work you can exceed expectations and deliver H factor moments, because after all, every HGA client and DMC deserves to be treated like a VIP.
This year’s HGA Global Forum was no exception, and in my opinion, was by far HGA’s best Forum to date. The Forum is our HGA community at its finest. It’s where our family of HGA clients and DMCs get to bond and create magical memories together, be it over networking experiences, one on one appointments, tours, educational sessions or just getting lost in the moment. You can feel how truly special the experience is in the air. The magic started a year prior when we selected Boston as the Forum destination, which intertwined us with NXTevent as our Hosting Forum DMC. The excitement and creative juices were overflowing from the start. Pair this with a phenomenal host hotel partner such as the Royal Sonesta Boston and over 20 dedicated sponsors committed to the success of the 2015 HGA Global Forum, and you have a foundation for greatness.
Building on this H Factor level foundation, and being an approved CMP Preferred Provider, HGA added in top notch speakers with various engaging topics from Using Neuroscience to Design Guest Experiences with Confidence, where Greg Bogue of Maritz Travel Company engaged the audience and stated that “Experience is the new status symbol,” to Stevenson University’s Michael Robinson’s presentation on Securing Today’s Events Against Cyber Threats which made the whole audience stop and think about their own events and what they can do to protect them. Las Vegas headliner, Terry Fator even made an appearance to close out the educational sessions of the forum to perform an H factor abbreviated show and do a meet and greet with the attendees. A personal favorite of mine was our speaker at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Dave McGillivray of Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises, who talked about Defining Moments and Leadership. Hearing his personal story and engaging in his belief of never letting anyone tell you what you can or can’t do was just inspiring. Plus, I don’t know anyone else who ran 60 miles for their 60th birthday – that is impressive.
This year, we had the iconic versatile landscape of Boston to bring to our clients, and the attendees had the opportunity to experience some traditional east coast highlights, such as an outdoor clambake complete with lobster dinners, a walk along the Charles River to our opening reception outdoors at the Museum of Science Pavilion (after all H also stand for Health), the opportunity to get your picture taken in actual seating from Fenway Park, and the choice of seven local tours to partake in on Saturday Afternoon. Guests had the choice of choosing between whale watching, schooner sailing, a North End culinary tour, visiting local Boston breweries, Salem, a traditional Boston duck experience, visiting Harvard followed by an architectural river cruise, or the option of exploring Boston on their own. Needless to say, with the help and knowledge of the NXTevent team, everyone got to experience Boston’s own H factor that afternoon.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum was the backdrop to our final evening of the Forum. Guests dressed to impress, enjoyed a presidential motorcade escort from the hotel to the event, and were welcomed by the Lexington Minute Men before they entered the building. After listening to the inspiring Dave McGillivray, guests were witness to the Hosts Honors Awards where HGA DMCs were acknowledged for their outstanding achievements in Branding, Critics Choice Surveys, H Factor Leadership, and the coveted overall DMC of the Year award, which had an unprecedented surprise of being a tie this year! I’d like to personally congratulate Tsar Events DMC & PCO, Eventions of Florida, Ally O’Connor of NXTevent, Maple Ridge Events and Hosts Las Vegas on your achievements this past year – it’s such a pleasure having you as part of our HGA Family. After awards everyone had the chance to explore the exhibits of the museum before entering the exquisite pavilion where wine tastings and unique food stations awaited them.
We couldn’t stop there; guests were transferred back to the Royal Sonesta Boston where the grand ballroom had been transformed to an after party extravaganza including the amazingly talented band, The Sugarbabies. Guests danced into the night to the electrifying pulse of the beat, and the mood in the air was electric, a memory I will not soon forget. We even had a group of individuals that decided to continue the celebration and moved the “after, after party” down to the hotel lobby, where the last standouts conversed over their forum experiences into the morning hours.
These experiences could not have been made possible without an amazing internal team. Hosts Global Alliance CEO, Jennifer Patino, and President, Marty MacKay, paired with a phenomenal rockstar support staff and the hard working DMC hosts this year, NXTevent, where an absolute dream team. I could not be any prouder on how this year’s Forum turned out, and it is truly an honor to be part of the experience and witness the ever-growing success of the HGA Global Forum.
Spoiler alert to those who were not in attendance: HGA announced the location of the 2016 4th annual HGA Global Forum with flair as Latin dancers escorted our hosts onto the HGA stage where Ally O’Connor, CEO & Founder of NXTevent, passed the HGA Global Forum “Torch” over to Cream of the Crop Events partners Lisa Jebb & Deidre Everdij, making the official announcement that next year the HGA Global Forum will be held in Miami. Joining them onstage were Corey Braithwaite of Turnberry Isle Miami, our host hotel, and Christine Roberts of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. We are looking forward to getting plans for next year’s forum underway very soon, so stay tuned as we plan to heat up our H factor in Miami!