I had the pleasure of escaping the fickle New England weather this past January to help coordinate a conference for a client in sunny Orlando, Florida. This was the first group travel trip I had ever been a part of and I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I knew there’d be a lot of meetings, a lot of questions to be answered, and a lot of just making sure things ran smoothly. What I didn’t expect was a Q&A session with my favorite fitness expert, Jillian Michaels! To help motivate their employees, this client had started a health and weight loss challenge mirroring the hit show, The Biggest Loser. They had enlisted Michaels, the host of the show, to come speak to everyone.
Word of her appearance at the Orlando conference was kept under wraps until the last possible moment. After one of the many meetings, the person on stage started talking about the company’s weight loss initiative and how sitting for hours during this conference wasn’t exactly aiding in their weight loss goals. The speaker told the group to, “Stand up and start stretching,” and so they did. Suddenly, without warning a voice boomed from back stage, “You call THAT stretching?!” The group looked around at each other, wondering who was speaking. Then suddenly Jillian Michaels appeared on stage and the participants went nuts! They were so excited to see her, and so was I. I absolutely love The Biggest Loser, and I had only found out the day before that Michaels herself would be at the conference to give a pep talk, and answer some questions.
It was one of those moments during the conference that really sparked some excitement among the group. Having Jillian come speak was the perfect motivational tool for the company-wide weight loss program. Participants who had really had remarkable weight loss were interviewed on video, and a nice compilation piece was played for everyone. Jillian was impressed. One participant who had been waiting in line to ask her question finally reached Michaels and said, “Can I have a photo with you?! You are my hero!” Of course Jillian obliged, along with offering great fitness and weight loss advice.
This is just one way that a well-organized and thoughtful extra can really take an average meeting and turn it into a memory that stays with the participants for years to come. Event planning and incentive group travel is made all the easier with the help of industry professionals like HMI. We know how to really personalize a meeting, or event, to fit your company’s goals and budget so that every group travel trip feels like a once-in-a-lifetime event.
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