By Jennifer N. Dienst, Contributing Editor
Find inspiration through creative corporate responsibility
The theme-park capital of the world, the country's most-visited destination, and home to the second-largest convention center in the United States — Orlando knows how to set the bar high. And with affordable airlift and lodging and unrivaled attractions, it's no wonder why planners bring their events back to Orlando time and again. Recently, Orlando has been setting the bar in a new way — redefining how a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program can truly make a difference, not just in the lives of those who benefit, but for the meeting attendees who are giving back.
“Whether it was working with the Orange County Convention Center on donation programs or partnering with Clean the World, the destination took these initiatives seriously and provided a positive experience for all,” said Julie Larson, project manager for meetings and events for McDonald's Corporation.
The talented team at Visit Orlando can design and customize CSR programs to suit meetings of any size. For example, Orlando-based Clean the World, a nonprofit that collects, recycles, and sanitizes hotel soaps to distribute to needy populations, often works with groups. Attendees can participate in a number of ways, like cleaning and packing soap in the organization's recycling plant in downtown Orlando.
“Meeting planners know Orlando for our fun attractions and sunny weather, but our destination has become synonymous with giving back,” said Tammi Runzler, senior vice president of convention sales and services at Visit Orlando. “For us, corporate social responsibility is now just as important a piece of the puzzle as meeting space or any other aspect of a meeting.”
AT A GLANCE
- The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) offers 2.1 million square feet of exhibition space.
- More than 115,000, including 11,000 within walking distance of the OCCC
- More than 100 attractions, including Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and Universal Orlando Resort; 12 shopping malls and outlet centers; 176 golf courses; and 5,000-plus restaurants and ample nightlife in downtown Orlando, the convention district, Pointe Orlando, and along “Restaurant Row”
For more information: Visit Orlando — 800.643.0482; orlandomeeting.com