I love those clients who are open to thinking outside the box and who are excited to collaborate with us in creating a unique event that sometimes takes on a life of its own.
Carmela Lizzo

Carmela Lizzo


Location: Scottsdale and Phoenix, AZ

Camelback Adventures was established in 1984 and offers full destination management services, including transportation, tours, team building, entertainment, d├ęcor, theme parties, and meeting planning services in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area. Our experienced and resourceful staff is on hand to create a unique and customized program for your guests. From initial airport pickup to your closing night awards dinner, our resources and long term vendor relationships guarantee a successful and seamless event.

How long has your company been producing events? What is your main focus?

Camelback Adventures has been producing events for over 35 years. Our main focus is FUN! We love those creative moments, the AHA moment, that wows our guests, and creates wonderful memories for the attendees. Whether it be a fast and furious scavenger hunt through downtown Scottsdale or an upscale Dinner in the Desert, complete with teepees, tequila, and tomahawks (one of our all-time favorite events last season!), our focus is to take the ordinary and turn it into extraordinary!

What do you enjoy most about your role in corporate event planning?

Oh, the people you meet and the places you go! I love those clients who are open to thinking outside the box and who are excited to collaborate with us in creating a unique event that sometimes takes on a life of its own.

In our 35 years’ worth of providing destination management services, we’ve seen and done a lot. What I still enjoy the most is starting the process, building upon it with something new or with a different twist, and having the event culminate in an evening or afternoon that’s wildly successful. We thrive on the end result and the reactions of both attendees and planners in completing a job well done!

What do you see as the corporate event industry’s greatest challenge, currently?

Obviously, COVID-19 is the greatest challenge EVER! The event industry has come to a screeching halt and only the most resourceful and resilient will survive. We’re constantly in touch with clients, many of whom are also great friends, checking in to see how they’re doing, wishing them well, and ultimately letting them know we’ll be here when they’re ready to get back to work.

Rebooking hotel space will be a challenge, social distancing will be necessary to some extent, and budgets could be slashed. Keeping in mind the big picture, seeing the forest for the trees, will help us all get through this current economic and event challenge.

What is your favorite city for events and why?

Scottsdale and Phoenix of course! Both offer a combination of cosmopolitan culture and cutting edge cuisine, along with adventuresome outdoor activities in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. Scottsdale’s Preserve is the jewel of the city and the Old West lives on in the Old Town/5th Ave area, which offers a huge selection of restaurants, bars, and shops, along with an active nightlife. The convention center in the heart of Phoenix is a huge asset to city-wide meetings and the surrounding area offers a wide array of world-class museums, sporting events, and theatres.

Both cities have an active and influential Convention and Visitors Bureau that does a great job of marketing to potential clients looking for a unique and authentic Arizona experience. The Valley of the Sun truly offers something for everyone, whether it be fine dining, golf, shopping or outdoor activities.

How do you measure the success of an event?

Was it fun, did the attendees walk away smiling, was it memorable, was it brought in on budget, would you recommend our services? These are all good signs that the event was successful.

How do you measure that success? It’s that feeling you get when the event concludes and you walk out of that room knowing and feeling that awesome YES!!!! It’s having clients who become good friends who trust you to do the right thing. It’s the guest getting on the bus at midnight, turning and telling your staff, “that was SO fun”. It’s getting on the bus to say goodbye, safe travels, and having everyone applaud. It’s the client sending you an email the next day with a big THANK YOU, couldn’t have done it without you. It’s working with the same group and the same planner for over 25 years. It’s loving what you do and looking forward to doing it again, even though you’ve done thousands of cookouts and eaten a million pounds of BBQ steak and apple pie. It’s what makes it fun, what keeps you coming back, and ultimately what makes you good.

Susan Null
Author: Susan Null

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