Jenny Cope, co-owner of First & Main, a charming wedding and event venue near Raleigh, NC, isn't your typical meeting planner, but she knows how to throw a memorable event. When an associate from the Child Development Schools asked her to assist in planning their 2024 annual leadership conference just four months before the event, Jenny embraced the challenge. Online research of meeting destinations led her to discover the unparalleled connectivity and convenience of the ATL Airport District’s Gateway Center Campus. A referral from the host hotel’s general manager to work with the ATL Airport District CVB enabled her to plan an impactful and memorable conference.


The Search for the Perfect Venue

With approximately 400 attendees expected for the three-day education-focused conference, Jenny needed to find a suitable venue quickly. Value was a significant factor. Comparing flight costs to various airports, Jenny found that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which services more than 150 domestic destinations with direct flights, offered the most affordable options by far, making Atlanta the clear choice.


Jenny then sought a venue that could accommodate the attendees and provide the necessary meeting space under one roof. During a site visit to the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel, one of Marriott’s top-rated hotels for service in the country, she was impressed by the ease of access. A quick and free ATL SkyTrain ride from the airport to the Gateway Center Campus—home to the Georgia International Convention Center, the Gateway Center Arena, and six hotels—offered a level of convenience unmatched elsewhere. “Most attendees are not frequent business travelers, so eliminating the hassle of getting to the venue from the airport is a huge plus,” Jenny explained. “You really cannot put a price tag on the convenience of the SkyTrain.” The hotel’s friendly staff and excellent food and beverage options further solidified the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway as the top contender.


Enhancing the Conference Experience

The national conference, now in its 5th year, is primarily dedicated to educating childcare facility directors, with attendees typically staying at the venue for long days of training. Jenny wanted to add some exciting elements into the itinerary. David Offenhauser, general manager at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel, recommended contacting the ATL Airport District CVB to explore local resources. Jenna Snyder, the CVB’s director of destination services, was instrumental in elevating the conference experience.


“Jenna was so friendly and quick to respond to all my questions. She truly went above and beyond by helping me secure Restaurant 356 at the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta for a VIP dinner to kickstart the conference, even though the facility is usually closed on Mondays,” Jenny shared. For a special outing for a group of tenured Child Development Schools employees, Jenna suggested an afternoon at The Wellness Spot, a luxury spa with an adjoining event space, which turned out to be the perfect venue.



Looking Ahead

Jenna also connected Jenny with the CVB’s marketing team to discuss creating marketing materials for future conferences for the company. To help Jenny achieve this goal, the marketing team sent a videographer and photographer from Grace First Photography and Video to capture the event and will provide a recap video and a library of assets for marketing next year’s conference.

“I’ve been so impressed by the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel and the ATL Airport District CVB that I hope to make this the conference’s home for the foreseeable future,” Jenny said. “The process of planning the conference, even without extensive meeting planning experience, has been extremely smooth thanks to the amazing teams at the hotel and CVB. My goal is to blow everyone away and get them excited to come back next year and beyond, knowing I have the support to plan a great event.” 


A Bright Future for Child Development Schools Conferences

Jenny Cope’s experience planning the Child Development Schools' annual leadership conference with the support of the ATL Airport District CVB and the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel demonstrates the value of collaboration and local expertise. By leveraging the District's exceptional connectivity, top-notch facilities, and dedicated service teams, Jenny has not only planned a successful conference but also set a new standard for future events. The entire ATL Airport District CVB team looks forward to welcoming Jenny and the Child Development Schools group back to the District in 2025!




Ready to plan an impactful meeting with our stellar CVB team? Contact us or submit your RFP to get started.