Engagement + Marketing

What Does Popcorn Have to Do With Anesthesiology?

How one meeting professional helps ensure her attendees get a warm welcome from front-desk staff at her annual meeting's host hotels.

Distributing Garrett Popcorn (3)This month, we celebrate the people who work behind the scenes — nominated by meeting professionals — who have helped make their events successful with Convene‘s annual Best in Show awards. In that spirit, here’s how Danielle Urbina, CMP, director of meetings and exhibits for the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), forges an emotional connection with the front-desk staff at properties that will be hosting ASA’s attendees.

For the past 10 years — first while working at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and for the past two years at ASA — UrbinaASA_1G_Skyline_Mock has sent tins of Garrett Popcorn to the front-desk staff at host properties before her Annual Meetings take place in order to help create a positive association in their minds with her nearly 15,000 attendees. “These are the folks who will be greeting them,” Urbina said, and she likes to do all she can to ensure that they give her attendees a warm welcome. “This helps set the tone for their meeting experience,” she said.

Urbina works with the event services manager at each hotel to arrange the popcorn tins’ distribution. The tins are custom-ordered from Garrett Popcorn, and feature ASA’s logo and a wraparound image of the Chicago skyline, where ASA and Garrett are both headquartered.

Although Garrett Popcorn is now available in nine countries, Urbina plays up its strong Chicago brand identity. During ASA’s ANESTHESIOLOGY 2015 Annual Meeting last October, attendees got a taste of the 2016 Annual Meeting destination with samples of Garrett Popcorn in the Choose Chicago booth at the San Diego Convention Center. That little bit of sweet and salty crunch went a long way in helping to “create a buzz,” Urbina said, about the Windy City hosting ANESTHESIOLOGY 2016, Oct. 22–24 at McCormick Place.

Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.