Grapevine is a Texas gem. OK, so we spent the majority of the time at Connect Marketplace inside the walls of the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center. But if you ventured out on Friday evening for dinner, you probably discovered some incredible food, shops and wine in its quaint downtown. The hospitable Grapevinians handled 3,200 meeting industry professionals who took over five hotels for three days of face-to-face meetings, networking, education and inspiring keynotes. Here, some of the highlights and lessons we learned:
1. Lights out!
When a car hit a transformer and knocked out the electrical power across Grapevine, we all thought it was part of Karen McCullough’s breakfast keynote about becoming overly attached to our smartphones. As the lights flickered and McCullough mentioned that her “beautiful PowerPoint slides” were gone, we all realized that was not the case. In the end, it was a great lesson for the planners and suppliers in the ballroom on how to keep the conference moving forward and where to fit in missed items later in the day. Look for a deeper dive into the behind-the-scenes process Ahrens and team experienced in the next issue of the magazine, out this December.
2. The Gaylord Texan is the #SnackMaster.
We saw so many posts on social media about you loving the snacks during breaks this year. One attendee told us “the snack breaks are on point!” The cashew butter with cherry preserves and crudites, baba ganoush dip with pita chips, homemade granola bars and caramel apple cake pops were some of our favorites. Three cheers for healthy eats! After all, you needed fuel to power through marathon appointment sessions.