Most Innovative Meetings 2018: #11 Social Media on the Sand

Why this hotel brand decided to organize its own influencer conference.

By Michele Laufik January 15, 2019, 4:16 AM EST

During the “Mad Hatter” after-party, guests were able to get psychedelic hand and arm marbling from Black Light Visuals.

Photo: Laura Dee

Plenty of hotel properties hopped on the influencer marketing bandwagon early and continue to ride it, hosting social media stars on a regular basis. Family-friendly Beaches Resorts took it a step further, organizing its own social media conference called Social Media on the Sand.

“Our company has always looked for new and innovative ways to extend our brand experience and make lasting connections with our customers,” explains Maggie Rivera, brand strategist for the Caribbean-based all-inclusive resort company. “Having already enjoyed success with our past influencer visits, we wanted a way to grow that platform and experience…. Our Social Media on the Sand conference was our way to grow the sector and keep content fresh and current. The event serves to supplement our other year-round efforts to reach influencers and provide for deeper-dive storytelling.”

Geared specifically toward mom influencers, this year’s conference, which took place from October 17 to 21 at the resort’s Turks and Caicos property, featured a theme celebrating the vibrancy of the Caribbean with a color palette of tropical hues; each day had its own color and corresponding theme such as shades of the sunset, ocean blues, and sunshine yellow. That design concept set the tone for touchpoints, accents, decor, food and beverage offerings, gifting, and even smells—event spaces were scented with custom fragrances (for example, lemon verbena in the conference room) created by Miami-based Air Esscentials.

New for 2018, Gifts for the Good Life developed pre-arrival mailings, nightly turndowns, and two on-site activations: the Just Chill Lounge at registration and the Swag Bungalow gifting suite, a cabana-style pop-up where attendees “shopped” for gifts from the conference’s sponsors, including DryBar, Hapari, Sesame Street, Lands’ End, and Instax.

Programming for the fourth annual conference included a daylong session with keynote speakers Rebecca Minkoff, DryBar founder Alli Webb, and author and mom-activist Holly Robinson Peete, all of whom shared how they use social media to connect with their target audiences. Plus, attendees and their families visited the Ianthe Pratt school to paint inspirational murals as part of the company’s philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation. Plus, prior to arrival, attendees received backpacks tied to Beaches’ Pack for a Good Cause campaign and were asked to fill them with five pounds of school supplies, which they distributed to the school children.

The five-day event concluded with an over-the-top Floatopia Farewell pool party, which was produced by the Impression Group South. The invite-only event hosted 100 mom influencers and bloggers.

Previous: #10 Hilton Worldwide GMLS
Next: #12 National FFA Convention & Expo

A version of this story appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of BizBash.

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