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And the Gala Award Goes to...Elevate in Concert at Dr. Phillips Center

Part 3 in our 2024 Gala Award Feature Series

All photos courtesy Hello! Destination Management 


Gala Award Recipient for Best Event Produced for a Corporation or Association: Overall Budget Under $500,000  

What would it look like if an event were to take place during a theater rehearsal? That’s what the team at Hello! Destination Management wanted to know. And that’s exactly what they created. 

For this corporate event, consulting company Maritz welcomed 300 global leaders and top clients into Steinmetz Hall at the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando, FL. For this discerning group of meetings industry insiders, Hello! stripped back the experience and pulled the attendees into a living “rehearsal.”  

When guests arrived, they walked across the same floor where, an hour later, they ended up elevated in elevated seating. Steinmetz Hall features hundreds of seats that rise and flip, and as guests mingled, the hall around them transformed into a theater. Tables guests had just been sitting in turned into a sea of glistening candelabras in an abandoned ballroom. Guests were blown away simply by being afforded the view of a backstage show setup process, even questioning if they were interrupting a rehearsal, wondering if the show was real or made for them and their event. 

The event was a buffet-style setup, so guest eating patterns drove the flow of the evening. Because the aisles were used by servers, guests, and performers, Hello! needed to be flexible in timing the different entertainment components to match up to specific guest milestones. The first section was designed to start right as they entered, but with a flow of 300 from the lobby, they needed it to be longer or shorter based on the speed they entered. By framing it as a rehearsal, the team “gave notes” after each run and ran it several times to capture all guests.  

Musicians performed between sections to fill up time. After most guests had left the food stations, the second entertainment section began, featuring dancing in the aisles, theatrical effects, and automation. As the seats continued to flip, guests finished eating. They were then invited into the audience to watch the finale from the seats they just watched flip.  

Hello! knew it would be difficult to impress meeting planners, the demographic of their client, but they created a unique challenge to keep them on their toes, moving them around the space and layering on production elements all around them. By combining a corporate event with a theater production, immersing the guests in the rehearsal setting, Hello! captivated their guests and even convinced some of them they were witnessing a live rehearsal for an upcoming show at Steinmetz Hall. The result was a crowd of dazzled meeting planners and a successful event-cum-performance rehearsal. 

Congratulations to Hello! Destination Management for taking home the award for Best Event Produced for a Corporation or Association: Overall Budget Under $500,000!    

To submit an entry to this year's Gala awards, please visit our awards portal.       

Important Dates    

  • September 1, 2023-August 31, 2024 | Eligibility Period for Entries   
  • Sunday, September 15, 2024 | Regular submission deadline ($125 fee)   
  • Tuesday, September 30, 2024 | Late Bird submission deadline ($175 fee)   

If you are interested in entering in the ACE awards instead, you can enter the Catersource 2025 ACE awards in the same online portal as the Gala awards. Catersource + The Special Event 2025 will run February 24-27 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Both the ACE and Gala awards will be presented during the conference at a to-be-determined location in Fort Lauderdale. 

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