Aloha From The Smart Meeting Hawaii

The Smart Meeting is creating some serious buzz on the Hawaiian islands, receiving amazing press from publications like Pacific Business News. Smart Meetings is honored to be partnering with the Hawaii VCB, our exclusive destination sponsor for all of our events who helped bring our three-day Smart Meeting to Hawaii on March 18.

Corporate planners flew in from across North America to attend this exclusive three-day networking experience to find properties for future meetings. They arrived at the Honolulu International Airport and were greeted by Roberts Hawaii with a warm “Aloha” and seashell leis. The company then escorted the attendees to the baggage claim area, where they received a traditional Hawaiian lei greeting of Tuberos flowers, before heading off to our host hotel, The Modern Honolulu.

The event started off with a welcome reception sponsored by Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in the hotel’s prefunction space. Former Miss Hawaii 2006 Pilialoha Gaison welcomed the attendees as they noshed on bites of canapés, mac-n-cheese fritters with truffle aioli and Dungeness crab cakes. A duo played acoustic music while Gaison hula danced to get everyone in the Hawaiian spirit. The hotel topped the afternoon off with its signature mint lemonade, which refreshed and re-energized the attendees for a fun night ahead.

Smart Meetings CEO and Founder Marin Bright welcomed and thanked The Modern Honolulu and Hawaii VCB for bringing Smart Meetings to the islands. “This is the first time we’ve taken our Smart Meeting business trade show off-shore, and the response from planners about coming to Hawaii has been outstanding,” said Bright. “We think their experience in the islands will have a very meaningful impact for Hawaii as a meetings destination.”

Mike Murray, CMM, CMP, CASE, vice president, sales and marketing for the corporate meetings & incentives sector of the Hawaii VCB, spoke about how excited the VCB was to have Smart Meetings visiting. “This trade-show concept has worked brilliantly in connecting planners with industry suppliers in major markets around the country, and we are very appreciative to Smart Meetings magazine for bringing it to Hawaii for our meeting professionals.”

Then, keynote speaker Dewitt Jones spoke about his exciting career with National Geographic. Jones lived the vision of “celebrating what’s right with the world” and embraced an attitude that took him to new heights both in business and in life. He found that the creative tools he employed as a photographer had even deeper application when applied directly to his personal and professional growth. Jones’ photographs and stories encouraged the audience to open their minds and take a look at different possibilities and new opportunities to help them grow in a work environment.

After the inspirational opening session given by Jones, The Modern Honolulu “wowed” us with an amazing champagne toast in the Penthouse Suite. The views were spectacular and showed planners a creative meeting space for a private dinner or VIP party. Next up was the networking dinner at the Sunrise Pool, sponsored by Travel Alberta, and decorated with lounge furniture, linens, beautiful floral centerpieces and pillows that matched Smart Meetings’ purple, green and orange logo colors provided by MC&A, Inc., A Global Events Partner. Entertaining the crowd was the Iona Contemporary Dance Troupe and living fountain. The Iona dancers captured eyes of viewers with their slow movements, reminiscent of a floating lotus.

A special private performance by Taimane Gardner was stunning to watch, with her fast fingers playing the ukulele and her graceful dance moves. She had attendees entranced with her music from the moment she started playing. Gardner brought the first day of the Smart Meeting to a close with a captivating audience wanting more. Thank you to all of our sponsors.

—Michelle Potthoff

More daily recaps: Day 2 | Day 3

Photos by Dave Miyamoto Photography.