Event Design

Shining a Light on Innovative Event Planners

Hilton's WowMakers Contest — celebrating event professionals who go above and beyond — will reward 10 planners with a trip to an industry event, including 2018 PCMA Convening Leaders in Nashville.

Hilton unveils Museum of Wow in Las Vegas last year to celebrate the launch of WowMakers, an initiative to celebrate meeting, event, and travel professionals. Credit: Denise Truscello /Getty Images for Hilton.

Mindy Halpert, CMP, director of meetings and conferences at Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), transformed a ballroom into an interactive camp — complete with trees, tents, and an indoor campfire built from light-sticks and burlap — for her organization’s annual retreat. Joe Landers, manager of sales promotion at Shelter Insurance Companies, remade a ballroom into an elegant 19th-century Bavarian castle hall for an awards gala, where staff in period costume helped make a ball so authentic that the only thing missing was Cinderella’s slipper. The event earned a 99-percent satisfaction rate among attendees.

What do Halpert and Landers have in common? They are WowMakers, recognized by a Hilton program celebrating event organizers who bring “meaningful experiences to life” for clients and participants. As part of that program, Hilton has launched the brand-new WowMakers Make Amazing Things Happen Contest, in which meeting planners or travel counselors can nominate themselves or others with examples of how they went above and beyond to design memorable event or travel experiences.

“The contest seeks to highlight all the unique ways that meeting planners bring grand ideas to life and create an emotional impact on their clients,” Sheryl Shelton, manager of B2B marketing, regional marketing and e-commerce Americas, at Hilton told Convene. Shelton said they are interested in hearing examples of how meeting planners overcame an impossible obstacle, over-delivered in the way they executed an event, or  designed an event that keeps attendees coming back for more, year after year. “These are the not-so-little things that meeting planners do on a daily basis,” she said, for which they “don’t always receive credit.”

All entries will be judged by a panel of Hilton team members on criteria including an event’s “wow factor” as well as the creative approach used, Shelton said. 

Ten exceptional nominees will win a trip to a 2018 industry event of their choosing — including 2018 PCMA Convening Leaders in Nashville, Jan. 7–10. Once there, the nominee will be recognized at a special event where Hilton leaders will reveal the Grand Prize winner, who will be featured in a Hilton ad. The contest ends Oct. 31. 

Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.