We always had our annual sales meeting at our headquarters in Chicago but we thought that doing it offsite would make it more productive. We decided on Florida because the meeting is in January, and we wanted the warm weather. And we ended up at Innisbrook because of a referral from a friend of mine, and because I love Southwest Airlines, which flies into Tampa. The 2½ day event involved two solid days of meetings — and wound up with a half day of golf for some of the attendees. It worked out really well. The meeting room opened onto an outdoor porch, and people could go out and check messages. Also, we liked the fact that it wasn’t a high rise so it didn’t feel like a hotel; salespeople get tired of being in hotels. We could take a nice walk to and from the meeting room.
Mike Garrow, Innisbrook’s director of sales, was very helpful, especially when we were there. One night, he found us a restaurant on the beach, and they sent a Mercedes van to pick us up and take us back. Bottom line: We got much more out of the meeting than we have in the past. Most of the group asked if we could go back there. And if I get approval, we will go back next year.