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Sponsor Spotlight- Jekyll Island Authority

By: Megan Perks, MBA, CMP, CMM | Sep 8, 2020

Season of Challenges, Seeds of Reinvention 

 marriott    jekyll    greatdunes  

Once upon a time, back in 1980, a company called AT&T had a 20-year sales plan. Four years later they were out of business and never even anticipated the Internet. Fast forward to now and we are thinking about a 20-day sales plan. We’re asked to change faster than ever. Pivot, change, and change again is the new normal.


When we look at the meeting landscape now, we’re reminded of something. Kevin Udell, Sr. Sales Manager with Jekyll Island Authority, tells the story of growing up in a town full of apple trees. Each winter, the apple tree experts pruned them back so severely he never thought they would recover and wondered why they were killing the trees. However, those were the trees that bloomed and produced fruit. The trees that were not pruned produced neither flowers nor fruit.   

2020 is our year of being pruned and 2021 will be our fruit season. 

It’s a season we have seen before. Some of you may know the Morgan Center, a former millionaire’s tennis court in the historic district at Jekyll Island, where Kevin used to do site tours that required dodging pigeons. People would proclaim: “How are you going to have meetings here?” What a remarkable renovation from 2010 to 2020. A few months ago, we hosted Governor Kemp at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Executives Meeting (pictured below) in that very space with the latest in pandemic protocols. Jekyll Island is used to hard pruning.

morgan2010    morgan2020 

The Jekyll Island Convention Center has a great reputation, deservedly so; and adjacent to their facility is the amazing Great Dunes Park overlooking the ocean. This space allows planners to hold meals, breakouts, and social events outdoors to enjoy the breezes and the multi-functional, ample spaces. This is part of the new meetings idea. And as an added bonus – this is the only oceanfront convention center in the Southeast. 

Speaking of outdoors, we’re also promoting picnics around the island with tables strategically placed to enjoy the outdoors and views of the Island. So, if you’re visiting,and perhaps now you’re bringing your family along, we have new offerings and a guide to learning experiences the family can enjoy here at the Jekyll School


Hotel Construction: We're looking ahead to the island's latest project, the Oceanfront dual brand Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott. Click here to read about this $50M private investment opening Spring 2021. The new hotel features a combined 209 rooms; plus, the largest pool on Jekyll Island with a splash pad and 2,600 square feet of meeting space. This is all built on what was a vacant lot for 15 years on the footprint of a hotel dating back to the 60s. The property has been reinvented with conservation and stewardship in mind.  

TRIVIA BREAK: What do Airbnb, Square, Groupon, Instagram, Venmo, Pinterest, and Uber all have in common? Yes, millennials love them, but what’s interesting is they were all started in 2008 during the Great Recession. What some would have called the worst possible time to start a company. It’s a time for pruning… A time when those who became successful decided to think like an entrepreneur.  

We know we need to meet because nothing replaces live events. We understand the present challenges, as we have experienced this before. Yet, we look ahead to meetings in 2021 and beyond – to a time when coming together in person will matter more than ever – and to a time when what we do now will ‘bear fruit.’ 

boardwalk    tree  




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Megan Perks, MBA, CMP, CMM

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