Planning a memorable meeting or conference goes beyond securing a venue—it's about creating experiences that leave a lasting impact on your attendees. Here in the ATL Airport District, we do just that. With our convenient location, versatile event venues and access to many locally owned businesses, the ATL Airport District is well-suited to host a variety of meetings and conferences, both large and small.


Earlier this month, we had the honor of hosting the annual leadership conference for Child Development Schools at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel. The three-day event offered education for company leaders and school directors with the theme of "Mission: Possible". In an effort to curb typical conference swag waste, the planners filled the itinerary with exciting on and off-site experiences to balance the intense training during the main parts of the conference.


This 400-person event proved to be a shining example of how our destination can serve meeting planners looking to incorporate interesting activations and excursions into their itineraries. Below we've outlined some key highlights from the June event.


Day 1: Leadership Dinner

The conference began with the company's 40-person leadership team dining at Restaurant 365, the not-to-miss restaurant inside the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta. The group was revved up to take on the big week by a Tom Cruise impersonator who concluded the fun-filled dinner by surprising one lucky attendee with an exclusive driving experience on the facility's world renowned test track.


Day 2: Warm Welcomes           

The conference continued with most of its attendees arriving via Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which is conveniently connected to the Gateway Center Campus via the quick, 2-minute ATL SkyTrain. Upon their arrival, the conference attendees were greeted by several members of the Child Development Schools team as well as the Tom Cruise impersonator, setting an exciting tone for the upcoming events.


The welcome wagon didn’t stop there. As folks arrived at the registration table, therapy dogs from Caring Paws were waiting with tails wagging. This sweet greeting left a paws-itive impact on the attendees and provided an extra dose of comfort ahead of the big event.


Keeping fun at the forefront, the opening reception took place as a classic “movie night.” The evening began with a gracious welcome from Jenna Snyder, director of destination services for the ATL Airport District, and the CEO of Child Development Schools, Dave Evans, also gave welcome remarks.  Attendees indulged in movie night must-haves, such as burgers, popcorn, candy, and more while they enjoyed the inspiring Oscar award winning short film, The Last Repair Shop. The event wouldn’t have been complete without everyone’s favorite Tom Cruise impersonator to help bring home the “Mission: Possible” theme.


Day 3: Training and Celebrating

After the fun and warm welcomes, attendees were ready to tackle the education portion of the conference. The Child Development Schools team worked diligently to craft a strong training program for all in attendance. Keynote speakers and panelists gave insights and takeaways in the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel ballroom to provide the attendees with the knowledge to better serve their schools and their communities in the years ahead.


While the educational sessions took place, 17 tenured professionals were gifted a pampering experience at the ATL Airport District’s premier day spa, The Wellness Spot. Dana Ramsey, COO of Child Development Schools, met with the attendees to express her thanks and gratitude for their work over the years. Following their spa treatments, they enjoyed an intimate reception at the meeting space located within The Wellness Spot.


An elegant dinner and awards ceremony on-site at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel capped off the conference. As the lights turned down, the music turned up as the DJ brought the dance floor to life with an upbeat playlist of everyone’s favorite hits across the decades. Glow sticks, an open bar and high spirits from the attendees closed out the educational and high-energy conference.


Once the conference was over, the positive feedback started rolling in from attendees. According to the meeting planner, Jenny Cope, "the client was thrilled and we are already confirmed to return to the District for next year's conference in February!" The ATL Airport District CVB team is eager to assist in making the 2025 Child Development Schools Leadership Conference another memorable success.


Ready to start planning your own unforgettable event? Reach out to our stellar CVB team or submit an RFP to take the first step in making your dream meeting a reality.