Not long after the last bit of paint dried at the RP Funding Center, the future of the facility was evident.
“After the renovation, landing Primerica was an important milestone,” said Al Snow, Convention, Meeting and Events Representative for Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing. “This group represents the type and size of the market segment that we’re now bringing to the RP Funding, and just a glimpse of what we plan to do in the future.”
Conference Planners Respond with New Bookings
Primerica – an insurance and financial services company – brought more than a 1,000 representatives to the RP Funding Center in January for a multi-day meeting. It was the first of three events the company will bring to Lakeland this year.
“They outgrew Innisbrook,” said Snow. Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor is a 400 room golf resort with convention space. "We’ll have them here three times in 2019 and hope to secure a long-term deal that will bring them to Lakeland four times 2020.”
Selling Polk County for Meetings
Snow, along with RP Funding Center Director of Sales John Oney, have both worked hard on the recruiting circuit, attending convention and meeting planner trade shows around the nation. Both are also active with a number of conference focused associations, such as the Florida Society of Association Executives (FSAE). Last fall Snow and Oney hosted a working luncheon for FSAE meeting planners.
“We had exclusive access to 24 meeting planners,” he said. “We could give them detailed insight on our destination. That’s the perfect environment because it is not just about the pitch, it is educational and really about building relationships.
RP Funding Center
“When it comes to the RP Funding Center, the momentum is changing,” Snow continued. “People have taken notice of the renovations and want to see it in person.”
One such group is Destination Southeast, who will bring a group to tour not only the facility but other meeting venues in the area this fall.
“We have a lot going for us as a destination. We’re between two international airports and we have an ample supply of things to do,” said Snow. “Planners are looking for interesting destinations and real experiences. That’s us.”
One such success story is Streamsong.
“We just hosted two successful events there,” Snow said. “Dow Electronics and Mueller Water Products both had meetings there. These are big dollar, high impact events.”
Additionally, proposals have been presented on four or five events, including a possible return of the SkillsUSA Florida State Leadership Conference to Lakeland. When the event was here previously, it brought in more than 1,300 students from throughout the state for four days.