Nearly 300 attraction industry professionals convened for the Florida Attractions 2022 Annual Conference in West Palm Beach June 12-15 as we Let the Sunshine In! The FAA Family came together on Sunday for an FAA Family Reunion before heading to the Palm Beach County Convention Center for the Conference Launch where 2021-2022 Chair Jennifer Berthiaume was escorted into the room by two bright and shining suns.
While normally awarded during the annual FAA Celebration Breakfast, Jennifer gave out the award for Outstanding Attraction Member for 2022 to Immediate Past Chair Matt Johnson of IMAG History and Science Center – highlighting his dedication to the industry and the Florida Attractions Association.
Attendees enjoyed an evening of networking with a welcome reception in the Networking Center featuring dozens of Florida’s finest vendors who provide goods and services to Florida’s attractions industry before heading to a formal dinner to continue networking before the jam-packed two days of education ahead.
The first General Session of the Conference was dedicated to the workforce challenges facing the industry, and attendees heard presentations from renowned Florida State University economist Dr. Jerry Parrish, human resources and talent acquisition specialist Nicole Anderson and the Director of the Hospitality and Tourism Management program at Florida Atlantic University Dr. Peter Ricci. The second General Session immediately followed as attendees became AttractionPros Matt Heller and Josh Liebman’s special guests on the 250th episode of their AttractionPros LIVE Podcast.
The Florida Attractions Scholarship Foundation recognized the 2022 scholarship recipients during Monday’s Power Lunch with Katarina Blumenstein of Universal Orlando in attendance with her family to receive the Cpt. Rick Soverns Scholarship. The Power Lunch also featured the surprise – and always entertaining – arrival of the FAA gavel that was brought to Jennifer by lions (costumed) to kick off the FAA Annual Meeting. Jennifer Green of Liberty Partners of Tallahassee also discussed the importance of advocacy to keep Florida’s tourism industry top-of-mind with Florida legislators.
Following a round of four breakout sessions covering everything from marketing to revenue, CEO of VISIT FLORIDA Dana Young and Maggie Brandenburg shared the latest data and marketing strategies to keep Florida a top global destination. Monday concluded with a night of networking at several local establishments in The Square at West Palm Beach.
The final day of conference opened with the annual FAA Celebration Breakfast where 2021-2022 Chair Jennifer Berthiaume gave her Annual Report and then installed the new FAA Board of Directors for 2022-2033 while recognizing the service of long-time Board members who have termed out. Jennifer then presented the Outstanding Associate Member Award to a well-deserving Pam Wells of Dippin’ Dots before adjourning for Roundtables.
The Silent Auction Finale was quite the event during Tuesday’s lunch with attendees getting their last-minute bids in for unique vacation experiences and items that can only be found in our industry. Under the leadership of Silent Auction Chair Dan Donovan, the Silent Auction broke a new record with $32,328 raised for scholarships and education opportunities to secure the future of Florida’s hospitality workforce.
The Conference Finale saw 2021-2022 Chair Jennifer Berthiaume joined by her family and her favorite singer Dave Matthews (sort of) as she passed the gavel to the new 2022-2023 Chair John Dent of Walt Disney World. We are so grateful for Jennifer’s leadership over the past year and the work she has done in just a few months as Chair has been remarkable. The conference closed out at her very own attraction, Lion Country Safari, where attendees enjoyed the hospitality of her first-class staff and an evening of networking and tapas, along with a drive-thru Safari.
Thank you to all of our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, General Session speakers, Breakout Session presenters and Roundtable moderators for helping us Let the Sunshine In and make the 2022 Annual Conference one of the best yet!
General Session #1: The Great Resignation: Hospitality's Workforce Problem
General Session #2: We're All Human: The Intersection of Guest and Employee Experience
General Session #3: VISIT FLORIDA Marketing & Research: How Florida dominated the Recovery and Never Looked Back
General Session #4: Personal Leadership: Work Smarter, Execute Faster & Lead by Example
Breakout Sessions - Monday, June 13
Breakout Sessions - Tuesday, June 14