Let Your Destination Inspire Your Corporate Meeting’s Design

I recently traveled for the first time to Panama City, Panama and it was an exceptional reminder of how we should weave elements of the unique destination you are visiting into our meetings and events!

We stayed at the Hilton Panama, a beautiful hotel which overlooks Panama Bay and is only 20 minutes from the Tocumen Airport.  It’s centrally located near the Financial District, the Balboa Avenida walkway, the historic district of Casco Viejo and 15 minutes from the Panama Canal!

The Hilton has the relaxing Eforea Spa and a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse right onsite.  Not to mention a gorgeous rooftop pool and a casino as well.   Sleeping rooms are contemporary with natural hues with city or Panama Bay views. Their Star Bay Ballroom can fit up to 600 occupants with ballroom style, making it an easy choice for large conferences interested in making the journey to Panama.


As we arrived, we each got to select a Panama hat which we wore throughout the event!

During the welcome reception, we enjoyed a favored Panamanian street food, Carne en Palito, which are juicy chunks of beef on sticks. The food was scrumptious and the aroma in the room was absolutely divine!

After an opportunity to enjoy the local cuisine, we were treated to a traditional dance. It was such an immersive experience where the dancers even grabbed some of us in the crowd to join making for fantastic photo opportunities and a chance to throw yourself into the vibe of Panama.

Business meetings can sometimes be, let’s say, not too exciting!  But as I walked into the meeting, my eye immediately went to the stage which had vibrant colors drawing from the nearby Gamboa rainforest. Not only did it capture the attention, but it also kept attendees fixed in the Panamanian setting. It would be a shame if meeting-goers went all the way to Panama to feel like they were in a meeting back home.

There are so many incredibly memorable highlights to this destination including the Panama Canal, the tour of Gatun Lake on a boat and seeing three varieties of cute, little monkeys. The ancient Panama Ruins and Casco Viejo were especially exciting for the culture and history buffs amongst us.

Image result for casco viejo panama

There was also a charity element integrated into the meeting featuring a local non-profit organization called Fundación Casita de Mausi. They provide housing for family members who travel into the city for their family member’s cancer treatments, and we presented these donations to the founder.  It brought us all to tears, and it just made you feel good!

On our second day’s session, there were these tables displaying vibrantly colored, intricately weaved, baskets, bowls and wooden carvings which were for purchase. As we were listening to that day’s opening remarks, colorfully dressed native Guna Indians danced a traditional dance for us to kick off our morning and again included attendees which energized the room.

Corporate Meeting Design in Panama CityThe best part was just hearing how far they had traveled to be there so early so they could share with us their traditions and see their simply stunning works of art they had made by hand.  To hear what effort and time go into these works of art was unbelievable.  The dyes they use are all from the earth utilizing different plants and trees, and the methods they use for each color is marvelously complex. I loved seeing the indigenous people from Panama and their precious kids. The artwork I purchased that hangs on my kitchen wall brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

There are so many things to consider when planning a meeting, but if you can take advantage of your destination and add some authentic elements and takeaways to your corporate event design, it can be pure magic for your attendees!

Ah, Panama!  Until we meet again.

For more information on creating unforgettable meetings and events, head over to our Events section.

If you’re interested in Panama for incentive travel, check out Hailey’s Top 3 Reasons for Incentive Travel in Panama.


Holly Swanzy

Author Holly Swanzy

Senior Program Manager | Meeting and incentive travel planning professional for 25 years. Delighted when I can collaborate with my clients to not only relationship-build, but determine their goals and provide them with stellar customer service to ensure we achieve their goals.

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