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Facilities &Destinations U P F R O N T: C O N S T R U C T I O N & R E N O V A T I O N , W H A T ’ S N E W, C V B W A T C H BEDROCK COMMUNICATIONS, INC. 152 Madison Ave., Ste. 802, New York, NY 10016




For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners

2012 Mid-Market Review Value Destinations & the Planners who use them


The Buckeye State Page 56

Planner Tools:

Expanded Sites & Cities Directory Page 41

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market





“What we love about Philadelphia is its accessibility. Its central location makes it easy for attendees to get to the city. And, once they’re in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Convention Center is just steps away from hotels, restaurants and attractions. It truly is The Complete Package.”

that’s MY PhILaDELPhIa stORY — GrETcHEn BLiss, DirEcTor of confErEncEs anD EDucaTionaL acTiviTiEs, EDucausE

@PhiladelphiaCVB facebook.com/PhiladelphiaCVB

With 1 million square feet of usable space, the newly expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center has taken its place as one of the country’s premier meeting facilities. And to complete the package, we’ve put it in the heart of the country’s most dynamic, walkable and historic downtown.

www.MEETPHL.com or 1.855.MEET.PHL

Facilities &Destinations 2012




For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners

Mid-Market Review

Columns Looking Ahead...................................................................................2 Caffin’s Corner....................................................................................4 Food & Beverage...............................................................................6 Planner Perspectives..........................................................................8 Tradeshow Perspectives...................................................................10 Awards of Excellence Ballots.......................................................2, 23


Upfront........................................................................................ 12-17 Convention Center Watch, Shows, Leading Edge Managers, Construction & Renovation, What’s New, CVB Watch Religious Meetings A Milestone at MetLife Stadium......................................................18 State-of-the-Industry Q&A Insurance and Financial Meetings: Incentive Travel Is Back..........20


Hot List Mid-Market Convention Centers....................................................40 State Spotlight Ohio: The Buckeye State.................................................................56

F&D Mid-Market Review

Combining Rich Meetings Infrastructures and Affordability.....24 2012 Mid-Market Gallery Austin..............................................................................................30 Boise...............................................................................................31 Cleveland.......................................................................................32 Hartford..........................................................................................33 Little Rock.......................................................................................34 Pittsburgh.......................................................................................35 Providence.....................................................................................36 Rochester.......................................................................................37 Savannah........................................................................................38



F&D: Sites & Cities Listings A-Z........................................................................................41 Directory ..................................................................................... 42-55 Ad Index............................................................................................63 17


An Early Thanksgiving


t has been a little over a year since I was asked to take the reins of Facilities Media Group, and it has been an exciting year to say the least. When attending tradeshows and conferences during the period, I solicited candid, constructive comments about our publications from an array of industry professionals. Taking their words to heart, we tried to implement some of the suggestions that were offered. As a result, the progress we have made in delivering a better product has been satisfying, and we unceasingly seek out new ways to further improve. While our directories remain a staple of our magazines, we are also returning to our roots and continuing to increase content that adds value to our publications. A few of the enhancements include: regional “Spotlight” sections giving attention to key facilities in specific geographic areas; an increase in the number of columns, covering topics that are of greater relevance to a larger cross-section of our readership; and a “Watch” section that highlights recent events at choice venues. Our online presence is growing as well, with an archive of past issues available on our Web site (www.facilitiesonline.com) and a newsfeed covering breaking developments in the facilities industry around the globe. The global focus will be reflected in our coverage in upcoming issues of venues in Europe and beyond. The future is looking bright for Facilities Media Group. We are “looking ahead,” as this column is entitled, to great times to come. Thanks are in order to our staff, readers and advertisers for making this a year worth remembering and building upon. – David Korn Chief Operating Officer, Facilities Media Group dkorn@facilitiesonline.com

Facilities &Destinations Destinations


For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners


Volume 21 No. 2

Chief Operating Officer David Korn Associate Publisher Michael Caffin Contributing Editor Anthony Bilden Creative Direction & Design Scott-Goodman Associates Circulation Manager Winny Cheung Business Operations Nadia Derelieva © Copyright 2012 by Bedrock Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. Opinions expressed in by-lined articles and advertising copy are not necessarily those of the publisher. Advertisers are responsible for all costs, damages and claims regarding advertising insertions. Facilities & Destinations is published three times a year by Bedrock Communications, Inc., 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016. Telephone: (212) 532-4150. Fax: (212) 213-6382. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Bedrock Communications, Inc., 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016. Printed in U.S.A. Cover ad space is available by contacting a Facilities & Destinations advertising account executive at 212-532-4150 x103.


Facilities& Destinations

Awards of Excellence Bal l ot Please consider the following criteria when voting: Attractiveness & Functionality of Meeting Venue Size & Quality of Meeting Space Technological Capabilities Quality of Staff Food & Beverage Options Lighting, Acoustics, & Internet Access Other Meeting/Event Support Services Amenities Recreational Activities Dining & Entertainment Options Lodging Quality Accessibility to Airport Ease of Travel within Destination

Name of Nominee_____________________ ______________________________________ Check Award You want to nominate the above for: Prime Site

Organization_________________________ Phone________________________________ Email________________________________ Additional Comments__________________ ______________________________________ May We Contact You? Yes___ No___

Fill Out Form & Mail, Email or Fax Your Vote:

Facilities & Destinations

Top Destination

Your Name & Title____________________

ON THE COVER Clockwise from the top left: Little Rock, AR; the I-X Center in Cleveland, OH; Austin, TX; the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center; the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford; Pittsburgh, PA; Boise, ID; the Rochester Riverside Convention Center; and Providence, RI.

152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016 Fax: (212) 213-6382; Email: ballots@facilitiesonline.com


2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Choose a

greener meeting destination.


leveland has recently invested over $2 billion in visitor-related development, including our brand new high-tech Cleveland Convention Center & Medical Mart slated to open in 2013.

LEED-certified, optimized for energy efficiency, and located in a beautiful setting, the new Convention Center is the perfect place for greener meetings and conventions. Plus, attendees can stay green by walking from hotels to meetings and attractions in the city PCMA ranks fourth in the U.S. for walkability. Contact Mike Burns at Positively Cleveland for more information on planning what could be your greenest meeting ever. MBurns@positivelycleveland.com

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market


www.clevelandMeetings.com Twitter: @CleveMtgs


Caffin’s o r n e r


elcome to our third annual Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review, an in-depth W analysis of this important and growing market

thoughts. Help us recognize the business partners that have made your site-selection process and recent events a success. segment. Site selection is the most important part of planning Each of the cities chosen to be examined in our a meeting or tradeshow. This is the premise behind 2012 Mid-Market Review — Austin, Boise, Cleveland, the robust coverage in this and upcoming issues of Hartford, Little Rock, Pittsburgh, Providence, Facilities & Destinations. Look for our 2012-2013 Rochester and Savannah — has gone above and Facilities & Destinations Planner Guide (winter, beyond and has its own unique story to tell. These featuring a special section on European destinations) cities, in the eyes of meeting planners they have worked and 2013 Facilities & Destinations SuperBook (spring, with, have hosted meetings and events in a successful, featuring the Awards of Excellence) issues. enjoyable and profitable way. Facilities & Destinations remains the best place to Along those lines, we ask planners to take note of begin your site-selection process. two award ballots in this issue — our Prime Site Enjoy the issue. (convention centers) and Top Destination (CVBs) Michael Caffin Awards ballot on page 2, and our Meeting Hotel Associate Publisher, Facilities Media Group Prime Site Award ballot on page 23. Please take mcaffin@facilitiesonline.com the time to fill these out and send us your votes and


2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Top 10 Reasons to Meet in Montego Bay

An SMG Managed State-of-the-Art Convention Centre Excellent Airlift to Montego Bay from North America, UK and Europe Tax Deductible Expenses* Luxury Accommodations within 5 minutes of the Convention Centre Duty-free Shopping Centres Access to Local Entertainment & Music Gourmet Restaurants & Bars Beaches, Golf Courses and Recreation Cultural Sites & Packaged Tours Reliable Transportation System



About MONTEGO BAY CONVENTION CENTRE “The new Montego Bay Convention Centre with over 142,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, is the first of its kind in the English speaking Caribbean and boasts an Exhibit space that is divisible into two halls, accommodating up to 6,000 persons theatre style. Located in the resort area of Rose Hall, its close to over 4,000 luxury accommodations, duty free shopping, restaurants, entertainment, award-winning golf courses, beaches, bars and only 15 minutes from the Sangster International Airport, making the facility the ideal place to meet or to host your next event.” - Dittie F. Guise, General Manager 57,525 sq. ft. Exhibit Hall

9,737 sq. ft. of Meeting Space

43,000 sq. ft. Outdoor Courtyard

18,471 sq. ft. Ballroom

and Terrace with Ocean View.

For more information | www.mobaycentre.com Montego Bay Convention Centre | Half Moon P.O. Box #4058, Rose Hall, St. James, JAMAICA | Telephone: +1 876 622 9330

Dittie F. Guise - General Manager

Food & Beverage Food & Beverage Food & Beverage Food & Beverage Food & Beverage Food Food & Beverage

Co mf o r t F oods R e born

W ith t he ri ght c ul i nar y t w is t , t h es e d is h es b e c o me e ngagi ng and ec ono mi c a l o pt io n s fo r g r o u ps


By John LaChance

omfort foods are once again all the rage. It is now chic to dine on macaroni and cheese, a delight that was once found only on the kids’ menu at your favorite family restaurant. Gourmet cheeses can be used to satisfy the adult palate, and toppings such as pulled pork or lobster can provide a unique twist to this American classic. Take beef as another example: It’s now not only acceptable, but very trendy to replace an entrée of filet mignon with something like prosciutto-stuffed Angus meatloaf.

by opening their first Shula Burger concept last fall. According to Scott Nietschmann, Shula Burger president, “Entering the better burger segment, it [Shula Burger] is a unique twist to American comfort foods.” Shula Burger takes the classic American hamburger and adds chef-inspired gourmet toppings to create items like the “Wine Country Burger” and the “French Onion Burger.” The relaxed atmosphere offers guests a comfortable restaurant setting with quality service. A favorite farm-to-table comfort food restaurant in my hometown of Tampa, FL is The Refinery. Proprietor Greg Baker has truly adopted the belief that comfort food should not be expensive. Dinner for two with a bottle of wine costs around $40. He explains that “good food, prepared by professionals who are passionate about their craft, who spend their time learning new techniques, should be made available to everyone.”

Ovations Food Services, the exclusive caterer at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, recently showcased its comfort food concept by hosting an event for local meeting planners called “The Big Bang.” An elegant reception-style setting was created for this event and cuisine such as gourmet flatbread eception-style catering pizza and Black Angus sliders were served. “The focus of this event was featuring comfort food to expose local meeting planners to a Food does not have to be pretentious, and new concept in menu choices as well as provides an alternative to comfort foods can be served at any occasion to demonstrate the bang for the buck they can receive with these menu items the plated banquet, offering with unique twists, creating interest. Receptionstyle catering featuring comfort food provides an paired with a unique service method,” alternative to the plated banquet, offering greater explained Ovations’ regional general greater menu flexibility, menu flexibility, creativity and more substantive manager, Pam Zdazenski. “We also meals. With the current drought certain to creativity and more like to bring the kitchen experience interrupt future food supplies and rising fuel into the event space,” said Ovations’ substantive meals.” prices, caterers must continue to drive fresh Duke Energy Convention Center ideas to overcome soaring prices and tight client executive chef, Purvil Chaney. “People budgets. want to experience the freshness and the aromas typically left behind in the kitchen.” This is John LaChance, senior vice president of operations at Ovations accomplished through the use of induction cooking carts and Food Services, has been an integral part of building Ovations’ brand refrigerated prep tables. The event drove in new business and and implementing the company’s Everything’s Fresh™ concept into was so successful that Ovations took the initiative to expand it many facilities. With this concept, foods are prepared and assembled to other catering venues across the country. fresh, right in front of guests, with ingredients that are locally sourced whenever possible. As a member of the International Association Restaurants that specialize in comfort food are popping up of Venue Managers (IAVM), LaChance continues to create new nationwide. The Shula family, known for operating premium standards for the way Ovations sells and services catering. steak restaurants, responded to this fast-paced market trend



2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review


AND THIS IS YOUR KINGDOM. In the heart of a vibrant downtown in the midst of a renaissance. In the middle of a historic city at the epicenter of the largest population base in the country. There lies a destination purposefully built for meetings and conventions, neatly tucked within a region renowned for its natural beauty, history and charm. It’s not merely a convention center, but a convention kingdom. And you are royalty.


540,000 sq. feet of space 1600 hotel rooms Retail & dining complex 30 acres of riverfront parks 40 – three and four-star restaurants Interactive science center 250 registered historic sites Within a 2-hour drive of 23 million people Beaches, mountains, casinos, museums, theaters, golf courses...

To explore your kingdom, call 860.249.6000 or visit ctconventions.com

Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives PLanner Perspectives PLanner Perspectives Planner Perspecti Planner Perspectives

T he F u t u r e o f C orp o r a te L e arni n g I t ’ s st i l l about fa c e- t o - fa c e meet in g s , and f ac i l i t ies mu s t b e r ea d y


By Tahira Endean, CMP

he key to sustained success in today’s ever-changing and fastpaced business environment is no longer just hiring the best graduates and grooming them within the company. It is now a journey of providing opportunities for continuous, self-directed learning in all its forms — experiential, social/informal, and formal. The most expedient way to do this is by sending employees to conferences, conventions, tradeshows and seminars where participants can combine learning with networking, a process that leads not only to more knowledge, but also to new business opportunities for the company, as participants nurture professional relationships through shared experience.

to offer that not everyone does. Consider setting up a charging station in a central area. Imagine an oversized stand-up bar with a heap of plug-ins and a few permanent cords, located near a place that coffee is available. That’s a facility-client win! As a facility manager, you should believe that the last two paragraphs describe your venue. If you cannot jump out of your chair right now and shout out, “This is my facility!” then sit right down and think about how you can make it your facility. What are the gaps you need to fill, and whom do you need on your team to fill them? Your sales team can sell the space once, but operations and venue features are what bring groups back. From a sales perspective, consider your positioning – is it the most suitable it can be? Are there other group markets that you can tap into by using your peripheral marketing vision?

The emphasis on continuous learning in Corporate ifelong learning isn’t just America translates to an increased demand for a buzzword, it’s a practical conference facilities that reality that you, the facility offer much more than the right combination of “dates, manager, can benefit from.” rates and space,” along with good air and ground access. People still need to meet face to face, even in this Facilities also need to deliver age of virtual communications. And companies need to a comfortable environment for extended learning sessions, continually train and educate their employees by sending and consistent, excellent F&B. Think dishes with fresh, them to offsite meetings. Indeed, lifelong learning isn’t local, seasonal ingredients, the kind that maintain energy just a buzzword, it’s a practical reality that you, the facility levels for busy participants. These facilities are destined to manager, can benefit from. Go for it! get repeat business from groups.


And let’s not forget quality Internet access and the latest technological features. As we move into a world that is consistently more mobile, the requirement for cost-effective, high-bandwidth Internet access is not just nice to have, it is a requirement, along with topnotch AV. If you are a facility that can provide solutions that allow for hybrid and virtual meetings to happen seamlessly, and where mobile phones, tablets and laptops can be used throughout, you have something 8

Tahira Endean, CMP, is director, creative and production with Vancouver-based Cantrav Services, a destination and event management company. Her career has included work on three continents and has evolved from 35mm slides to fully produced hybrid events, from fax machine registration to Webcasts, social media and cutting-edge uses of technology to increase engagement. Tahira shares her passion for memorable, relevant events both when she teaches event planning at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and with her supplier partners. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review








Meetings planners love Little Rock. (And so do the people who attend them.) With hundreds of thousands of square feet of newly-upgraded meeting and exhibit space in a variety of locations throughout the city, Little Rock also offers your groups world-class attractions, the best New South cuisine, and cozy accommodations – along with that famous southern charm.

Discover all of Little Rock’s charms at LittleRock.com or call 1-800-844-4781

Tradeshow Perspectives Tradeshow Perspectives Tradeshow Perspectives Tradeshow Perspectives Trade Tradeshow Perspectives

E xh i b i t o r s : P u t o n Y o u r G am e F a c e

M a x i m i zi ng boot h v i s it a t io n r eq u ir es mo r e t h a n a gr ea t pr o d uct By Nicholas Colas


ast a certain age in a career, you don’t often get to do anything new. That’s not to say that the old day-to-day is necessarily boring. As a veteran in the field of financial services, I have seen capital markets over the last five years mimic the old saying about warfare: “Long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.”

booths had model cars with their logos; these drew attendees like bears to honey-dipped salmon. Next year my team will have model cars – no doubt about it.

Recently, however, I had a change of pace when I found myself manning a booth at one of the country’s largest conferences for registered investment advisors, with something like 1,000 asset managers of all stripes in attendance. In over 20 years on Wall Street I have never actually had to engage in the hand-to-hand combat of the trade show exhibitor. From my time at hile the booth visitor is the conference, I can pass fishing out his or her business along a few tips on how to grab and hold the attention card, you have about 20 seconds of that random potential customer passing by: to explain the merits of your


Force the traffic to your product or service.” table. In my case, that meant creating a bottleneck next to our stand by strategically placing one of those stand-up round tables meant to offer attendees a place for their drinks. Now, I did notice that other exhibitors had alternative answers to this problem. Many of them seemed to employ former models of both genders to encourage the passing trade. The tactic was fair enough, but I saw little difference in their success. The passing trade seemed too jaded to notice. Have compelling giveaways. My team went with penlights – a pen on one side of the device, and a light on the other – emblazoned with our logo. They were a huge hit with the passing trade, I think because most of them wanted to give these novelties to their children. Other 10

Raffle something. People are reluctant to part with their business cards without some chance of winning an unnecessary bauble. And have some way to record their information quickly. I use CardMunch (a business card reading app) on my iPhone to great efficiency and the envy of other exhibitors nearby.

Be aggressive. You essentially need the personality of a Middle Eastern shopkeeper as the tour bus pulls into your town to succeed at the conference booth game. Make eye contact. Point at the fishbowl receptacle for the raffle. Hand them a pen-light. Make your pitch. While the booth visitor is fishing out his or her business card, you have about 20 seconds to explain the merits of your product or service. Make those seconds count. A few visitors will engage you and learn about the product. Become their best friend, for those are the leads that matter most. The upshot of all these points is that customers need a lot of stimulus to be drawn to your booth on a crowded exhibit floor. A great product or service deserves the effort. Nicholas Colas is chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group, a leading technology company providing proprietary software products and technology-enabled services to asset managers and financial intermediaries globally. Before joining ConvergEx, Colas served as director of research at Rochdale Securities, and prior to that as portfolio manager with SAC Capital. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Lots of Choices One Decision From Mozart to Monster Trucks, basketball to business meetings, the Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex has the flexibility to make your next convention or special event one to remember. Our experienced staff will work with you to choose the facilities and services that best fit your objectives. There are lots of options but only one decision – book your next event at the Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex. Photo: Steven Schwartz

Rhode Island Convention Center Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau

401.456.0200 | meetings@GoProvidence.com | GoProvidence.com The Dunk and Convention Center are managed by SMG and The Vets by PFM.


Convention Center Watch

President Barack Obama addresses the National Urban League Conference.

Centerplate, a leading hospitality provider and the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s exclusive food service partner, served dinner to President Barack Obama on July 25 after his address to 6,000 attendees of the National Urban League Conference at the Center. Executive Sous Chef Stephan Blaser prepared the menu selected by the White House with a nod to the healthy, organic food that is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative, Let’s Move. The following menu was selected: Beef Tenderloin Steak, Grilled with Mushroom Glacé; Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes; Steamed Broccoli; Assortment of French Pastries. According to Centerplate, the dinner received an enthusiastic “thumbs up” from the Presidential Food Service coordinator, who oversaw the preparation and delivery of the food to President Obama. 12

This summer, SMG began operating The Oncenter, in Syracuse, NY, following a unanimous decision by the Onondaga County Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee to privatize management of the facility. “We are pleased to partner with SMG,” said Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney in a statement. “The Oncenter provides world-class venues to attract events and SMG is a leader in this industry. This is a partnership that will benefit everyone in our region.” The Oncenter is comprised of the War Memorial Arena, Civic Center Theaters and the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center. It offers 200,000 sq. ft. of meeting, theater, arena and exhibition space, including 2,100-seat and 458-seat theaters. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

UpFront Shows During the 2012 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition in August, more than 6,000 association professionals and industry partners gathered at the Dallas Convention Center, which is the highest attendance since Chicago in 2007. “This illustrates the value of face-toface meetings,” commented ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, CAE, in a statement. “It was a fantastic meeting with the different learning sessions and speakers, and buzz from the meeting was extremely positive.” The attendance number includes 2,780 executives and 1,861 exhibitors who represented a total of 408 companies. The ratio at the expo hall was 60 percent buyers to 40 percent sellers, which is a strong ratio. “I’m very proud of the association community because they not only took part in learning, but they also donated time and money that will

Leading Edge:

make a lasting impact in the Dallas community,” Graham added. ASAE attendees raised $61,442 for the North Texas Food Bank, which was ASAE’s Community Connection this year. The donation provided meals for 12,288 children. In addition, the ASAE Foundation raised more than $330,000 through gifts and different events during the meeting. Attendees chose from more than 120 education sessions. The Opening General Session featured a debate between Democratic Strategist James Carville and Republican Strategist Karl Rove, which was moderated by Michelle Bernard, political analyst for MSNBC. The panel discussed the Republican vice presidential candidate and major issues facing the country. The 2013 Annual Meeting & Exposition will be held in Atlanta, Aug. 3-6. Visit www. asaecenter.org for more information.

Amaury J. Piedra Complex General Manager Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort & Spa and Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel Piedra has held his current position since 2005 and previously served as resort manager for the Westin & Sheraton at Our Lucaya, Grand Bahamas Island. A recipient of Starwood’s Crisis Leadership Award in 2004, Piedra has also held general manager positions at the Sheraton Hotel, New Orleans; Mayfair House Hotel, Miami; and The Pickwick Hotel, San Francisco. Prior to those roles, he served as a director of sales for hotels in San Diego and Virginia Beach. Piedra holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Miami.

Most Exciting Event: We finished the construction of our new Westin conference center in December of 2009 and in mid January of 2010 the NFL moved into the hotel as we were their headquarters for the 2010 Super Bowl. After only having been open for less than eight weeks, our team had to fulfill the needs and expectations of this very high-profile group which contained many VIPs. Our team did a phenomenal job, and this gave us great exposure and really served as a launching point for the new facility. Most recently, we had a large incentive group in house which was a lot of fun. Besides using our Westin, they also used our sister hotel, the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach, for a 500-plus person beach barbeque and concert by country music artist Clint Black right on the beautiful beaches of Fort Lauderdale. What Meeting Planners Want: Planners are looking for value and flexibility. Value doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest rate or lowest food and beverage price. It’s about creating a unique experience for their event at a fair price. They turn to the hotel team to partner with them on creative ideas that will set their meeting or conference apart from others. Ultimately, it’s a partnership between the hotel and the meeting planner; we need to shine and make them look good so they will return and provide us more business in the future. It’s all about creating long-term relationships. Meeting Industry Forecast: I see the demand for meetings increasing. We are seeing a robust pipeline of leads for 2013, which is encouraging. Decisions are still being made more short term than they were several years ago, but I see the industry picking up steam and growing over the next year. I have also seen companies combining two or three smaller meetings into one. For example, they will bring a larger group into one location, hold a general session and then break off into smaller groups with specific agendas. What it’s doing is making it easier for the top executives to address everyone in one location and easier for the meeting planner, as they only have to plan one event. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review



Construction & Renovation

An artist’s rendering of the Albuquerque Convention Center’s soon-to-be-renovated West Complex

Construction is slated to start by mid2013 on the Albuquerque Convention Center’s $20-million renovation, which will give the West Complex a look that better represents the unique architectural elements of the region, according to The Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau. The preliminary designs include a new exterior façade, complete remodeling of the ballroom, a new entertainment deck in the ballroom and windows with panoramic views. The west building lower level atrium will be completely remodeled to include a fireplace and a lower-level food court/ café. The project will be phased to allow for ongoing convention and meeting business, with completion expected by the end of 2014.

Construction of the Anaheim Convention Center’s Grand Plaza is under way, with completion scheduled by the end of the year. The 100,000-sq.-ft. outdoor and special event space will be located outside of the convention center’s front entrance off of Convention Way. The Grand Plaza will create a pedestrian esplanade that will span from the entrance to the Anaheim Convention Center 14

The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) recently completed a major lighting retrofit and controls system upgrade that will reduce energy consumption, as well as operation and maintenance costs, by using more energyefficient lamps and advanced lighting controls. The project replaced 1,288 lighting fixtures in the GWCC’s 12 exhibit halls, totaling 1.4 million sq. ft. The 1,000-watt metal halide lighting fixtures were replaced with 750-watt pulse start metal halide fixtures, each of which can be controlled at the wall or remotely via iPad. In addition, 260 motion sensors were installed in offices, restrooms, storerooms and other back-of-house closets. Over time, the new fixtures will considerably reduce the amount of energy consumed by the 3.9 million-sq.-ft. facility. Additionally, the convention center is in the process of completing an energy audit – ASHRAE Level 1 energy assessment – in its pursuit of LEED certification. and flow between the Hilton Anaheim and the Anaheim Marriott hotels. The Anaheim/ Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau has debuted a new microsite (http:// anaheimoc.org/GrandPlaza/index.html) showcasing the space’s features, which include lush landscaping, expansive walkways, innovative hardscape designs, fountains and a special Transit Plaza for group travel flow. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

San Francisco’s Moscone Center attracts 50 events annually and is a major generator of demand for hotel rooms in San Francisco, where tourism is the largest industry and generates more than $8.4 billion annually. But, according to San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, the Center can do better, and in fact needs to. “The recent renovations at Moscone North and South are exciting, but they don’t address San Francisco’s need for more convention and meeting space to remain competitive with cities around the world,” said Lee in a statement. “Tourism is our city’s No. 1 industry, and bringing Moscone into the 21st century will boost our city’s economy.” With this goal in mind, the mayor has announced the development of a 25-year master plan for the expansion of Moscone Convention Center, with completion of the first phase expected by early 2018. The plan would double the size of the existing facility, which recently received a $56 million renovation. Moscone Center was built in a series of phases beginning with Moscone South in 1981; Moscone North and the Esplanade Ballroom in 1991; and Moscone West in 2003 providing nearly one million sq. ft. of meeting and event space. Its new expansion will be funded by a public-private partnership with the San Francisco Tourism Improvement District (TID) and the City.

Starting in late 2013, San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center (HBGCC) will expand its exhibit space to over 500,000 sq. ft. and add meeting and ballroom space, including a new 50,000+-sq.-ft. ballroom — the largest in the state of Texas. The HBGCC will remain in full operation throughout the duration of the project, which represents an investment of $325 million. The HBGCC currently offers four contiguous exhibit halls totaling over 440,000 sq. ft., 192,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, three ballrooms and the adjacent 2,400-seat Lila Cockrell Theatre. “This expansion will enable us to grow in capacity to host larger and more concurrent conventions while gaining in national prominence as one of the top 10 largest convention centers in the country,” said Michael Sawaya, director of the Convention, Sports, and Entertainment Facilities Department for the City of San Antonio, in a statement. Located in historic downtown San Antonio along the banks of the world famous River Walk, the HBGCC hosts more than 300 events each year. Once the new construction is completed in the middle of 2016, the oldest portion of the convention center located on the west side of the complex will be demolished to pave the way for a new 12-acre transformation of HemisFair Park into a mixed-use central urban park.

The expansion of the San Jose Convention Center is on target for fall 2013 completion with the structural steel arriving at the construction site in early July. The $120-million expansion, planned on the footprint of the old Martin Luther King library, will add 125,000 sq. ft. of flexible ballroom and meeting space. The Convention Center currently offers 425,000 sq. ft. of exhibit, ballroom and meeting space. Since the center’s debut in 1989, San Jose’s hotel and tourism industry has grown to an estimated $123 million hotel revenue industry. “The new Convention Center will increase Team San Jose’s competitive edge in selling San Jose as a destination in the meetings and convention marketplace. We’re thrilled with the progress made to date with the convention center expansion and renovation,” said Bill Sherry, CEO of Team San Jose, in a statement. Team San Jose manages the convention center, four theaters and the CVB. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review



What’s New

The Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center (CMMCC) will open in July 2013, two months ahead of schedule, in order to be able to host the 2013 Summer National Senior Games. Construction began in January 2011 on the $465-million, taxpayer-financed project, which includes a Medical Mart to showcase medical technology, on the northeast corner of St. Clair Avenue and Ontario Street, and the connected convention center. Cuyahoga County officials say the convention center project is not only ahead of schedule, but also coming in under budget, and the early opening could help the venue attract more business from event planners. “They want to know that they can have confidence that this facility will be up and running, so this is a great message to be sending out,” says Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald. The CMMCC will offer approximately 230,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, featuring high ceilings and industry-standard column spacing; approximately 90,000 sq. ft. of high-tech, flexible meeting rooms of varying sizes; and a 30,000-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom offering panoramic views of Lake Erie. The 235,000-sq.-ft. Medical Mart is scheduled open two months after the convention center. The convention center will be mostly underground, with green space and walkways at street level. The walkways are now open to the public, and all the access points to Browns Stadium opened in time for the team’s first home preseason game, on Aug. 24.

president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “The visitor experience in Terminal 3 is unlike any other in the country and delivers on our brand promise. Visitors will immediately have a unique sense of place and receive the type of welcome we want to provide.” Each check-in area is equipped with kiosks that allow passengers on participating air carriers to tag their own checked baggage, and each of T3’s 14 E gates has self check-in equipment to ease the boarding process. T3 also allows McCarran to move some air carriers to relieve peak period congestion at T1. T3 will initially serve 16 international carriers, including Alaska, Frontier, JetBlue, Sun Country and Virgin America.

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s new $50-million ballroom is slated to open in January. The 60,300-sq.-ft., column-free space has been dubbed “The Great Hall” in reference to the Convention Center’s first use as the Great Hall of the 1984 World’s Fair. Bob Johnson, president/general manager of the Center said, “In this incredibly competitive industry, it is imperative that you continue to reinvent yourself. One of New Orleans’ competitive disadvantages was not having a large, column-free ballroom. With this development, we address that dissatisfier.” Design elements of the Great Hall will include: 86,000 sq. ft. of total function space; advanced sound, lighting and technology capabilities; After a $2.4-billion investment, Las Vegas’ McCarran energy-efficient LED lighting system; the ability to transition International Airport has 14 new gates to from an intimate setting to a more open room environment accommodate international and domestic air service with the click of a mouse; divisions that allow for several with the opening of Terminal 3, a technologically concurrent but independent session rooms; a 4,660-sq.-ft. advanced, 1.9 million-sq.-ft. expansion. The first junior ballroom with a rooftop terrace; an open landscaped unit terminal to be constructed in the United States pedestrian plaza; and a multipurpose lounge that can serve in the post-9/11 era, “T3” includes an expansive as a pop-up restaurant, Internet café or art gallery. The ticketing lobby; space for two Transportation Security space will also retain standard features of an exhibit hall Administration checkpoints with up to 31 lanes; an including utility floor boxes, rigging points, easy access eight-story garage with room for nearly 6,000 vehicles; and ample pre-function space. The entryway and ballroom and more than a dozen stores and restaurants. Coupled renovations follow $93 million in improvements made to with the airport’s existing infrastructure, T3 increases the 27-year-old facility over the past five years, including McCarran’s annual capacity to approximately 53 million a complete makeover of the interior lobbies, a repainted passengers. “Las Vegas expects to welcome a record exterior, lobby furniture, digital signage and key card entry 40 million visitors in 2012 and the new terminal will at meeting rooms, and a fully redundant 1-GIG Internet help us achieve that goal,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, backbone. 16

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

UpFront CVB


Pictured at the Bridgeport News Conference in the Webster Bank Arena (l-r): Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism/Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD); Michael Van Parys, president of the new Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB); Robert F. Flynn, chairman of the CTCSB; Jillian Alps, a past president of Connecticut Lodging Association and general manager of the Residence Inn Shelton Fairfield County; Joe Kelly, general manager of the Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa; Wayne Dean, senior associate director of athletics at Yale University in New Haven; Charlie Dowd, vice president of operations for Harbor Yard Sports & Entertainment; and Christopher “Kip” Bergstrom, deputy commissioner of the DECD.

In late June, The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), in partnership with the Greater Hartford Convention & Visitors Bureau, formed the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB), an entity dedicated to increasing the state’s convention, meeting and sports events business. The CTCSB will intensify outreach and marketing efforts to meeting planners and sports promoters for international, national and regional associations. It will continue to manage convention support and housing services for the Connecticut Convention Center and will head up convention support services, membership staff, the Connecticut Convention Advisory Board and the Sports Convention Advisory Board. “In a small state like Connecticut, it makes great sense to maximize our resources and represent the hotels, meetings and sports venues, attractions and restaurants throughout the region,” said Michael Van Parys, president of the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau, who headed the former Greater Hartford Convention & Visitors Bureau. The CTCSB will seek to “develop qualified leads 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

or serious interest from a variety of group markets.” For more information about the new organization, call (860) 882-1102 or visit www. ctmeetings.org. Available on

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A Mi les t o n e at M e tL i fe Sta di u m

S i y u m H aSha s bri ngs d is t in c t c ha llen g es t o even t o r ga n i ze rs, bu t the res u lt is well wo rth th e effo rt By Anthony Bilden


he first of August was a rainy day in East Rutherford, NJ, site of one of the country’s most technologically advanced arenas, the $1.7-billion MetLife Stadium, which opened just a couple years ago. The rain ceased, however, mere minutes before the largest event yet to be held at the stadium took place. It wasn’t a football game or a rock concert, but rather an event of a very different nature: the Twelfth Siyum HaShas of Daf Yomi. Drawing around 90,000 Orthodox Jews, the Siyum marked the completion of the 12th cycle of Daf Yomi, a page-a-day Talmud-reading program with tens of thousands of participants worldwide. It takes seven and a half years to complete the Talmud at that rate, and the MetLife his is the first time in the gathering celebrated the history of this country that completion of the 12th cycle since the late Rabbi Meir 90,000 visibly and identifiably Shapiro launched Daf Yomi in 1923. Orthodox Jews were coming


Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin, COO of the 12th Siyum HaShas of Daf Yomi, welcomes the almost 90,000 participants to MetLife Stadium. everybody feel like they’re right on top of the action, something that I’ve never seen at a stadium before.” The Siyum was also simulcast to about 60 U.S. cities and more than 20 countries, and the videostreaming went smoothly, he adds. “Also, the commuting was extremely convenient. MetLife is just outside of New York City, near all the New Jersey highways. We had approximately 12,000 people who arrived via New Jersey Transit’s special service going to the stadium, and about 10,000 through the Coach USA bus service at the Port Authority. We also had our own very wide network of bus pickup points at 11 different places in the tristate area, and many groups and synagogues had their own buses. So there were about 500 buses at the stadium.”

MetLife was sold-out, and into one location, and given Congestion problems were more serious than in fact had to provide an normal for an event of this size due to a couple of everything that’s going on in additional 10,000 seats. “Based factors. First, the vast majority arrived just prior on previous attendance figures, to the start time, in contrast to football games and the world today, this was a we were pretty confident” concerts, which are characterized by tailgating and in the turnout, says Rabbi serious concern for us as the a more staggered arrival pattern. Second, every car Shlomo Gertzulin, executive and bus had to go through security inspection. “We vice president for finance and organizing body.” constantly were reminding people to come early, to administration of New York, make this as if they were traveling internationally NY-based Agudath Israel and show up an hour and a half, two hours before,” of America and COO of the Siyum. “The previous event Gertzulin says. “But many did not or could not, and traffic drew about 52,000, but it was dispersed in different locations: started getting backed up. But people appreciated that we took Madison Square Garden, what was then Continental these security measures, and the last thing anybody wants is, Airlines Arena, and the Javits Center for overflow. So the God forbid, something should happen and they start saying, decision was made early on to bring everybody into one venue.” ‘Why didn’t you take those measures?’” That venue attracted Agudath Israel for several reasons. MetLife’s technological features “are incredible,” Gertzulin notes. “The jumbotrons have great image clarity and make 18

Security was indeed the primary challenge for the Siyum’s organizers. “This is the first time in the history of this country 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

RELIGIOUS MEETINGS RELIGIOUS MEETINGS RELIGIOUS MEETINGS RELIGIOUS MEETINGS RELIGIOUS (Right): Gertzulin thanks New Jersey Transit Police Chief Christopher Trucillo on behalf of some 15,000 Siyum participants who commuted via the special “Siyum Express” trains from Penn Station in Manhattan. (Below): State police were briefed on many Jewish Orthodox customs integral to the event, such as celebration and dancing. that 90,000 visibly and identifiably Orthodox Jews were coming into one location, and given everything that’s going on in the world today, this was a serious concern for us as the organizing body, as well as for the security agents that we met with,” Gertzulin stresses. Agudath Israel abstained from promoting the event in the general media, and had dozens of meetings with New Jersey state police. But the security initiative went far beyond that, involving Homeland Security and Border Protection. “Washington gave the event a very high rating in terms of the requirements to secure it, and once that rating came through it kicked in an enormous amount of security resources. I’ve got to give credit to [New Jersey] Governor Chris Christie because when he received word from the Feds about the level of security, he gave the go-ahead to the superintendent to throw in whatever resources needed.” And those resources were considerable. “Normally at a Giants or Jets game they will have 200 state police assigned to the stadium and perimeter. We had over 1,000 New Jersey police assigned to this event, in addition to the FBI. There were a total of 71 different security agencies and 2,200 security officials involved in the operation, including police helicopters, snipers, and plain-clothed and uniformed personnel. We had 90 canine units, almost every unit in the state,” Gertzulin says. But even more impressive than these numbers was the fact that every single state trooper was brought down to the stadium two weeks prior to the event, in groups of 100 every day, for a briefing on this unique gathering. “They were explained exactly what was going to be happening, what type of people were coming, what they could expect from the moment people arrive to the moment they leave,” Gertzulin relates. “And we did the sensitivity training on Orthodox customs, including the separation of men and women, the prayer part, the dancing and celebration. It really paid off because the police were totally familiar with what was happening. It was a beautiful thing. I never expected it, but the state troopers said it would help their officers understand the event.” 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

“We did sensitivity training on (Jewish) Orthodox customs. It really paid off because the police were totally familiar with what was happening. It was a beautiful thing.” Gertzulin also has words of praise for Delaware North Corporation, the exclusive food service provider at MetLife Stadium, who “were extremely cooperative. We recommended kosher caterers to them, and they brought in a whole line of kosher snacks. As far as all the snacks that they normally sell, we showed them which ones were acceptable to us, those that had proper certification.” Special accommodations also had to be made for the relatively high percentage of elderly and/or handicapped attendees. “Because of the nature of this event and its significance to the community, we had probably several hundred people in wheelchairs and many elderly people, including Holocaust survivors. For them this is a great celebration of victory over the Nazis,” Gertzulin explained. “And the stadium’s guest services department was just amazing.” Agudath Israel supplemented the stadium’s guest services staff with the Chevra Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corps., which provided more than 200 volunteers along with wheelchairs, golf carts, and other equipment. As a result of these efforts, after the event “we haven’t heard any significant issues at all with older people not being able to move around,” he adds. Ultimately, Agudath Israel was impressed with all of its partners in staging this milestone for Daf Yomi participants, from state and national security forces to the MetLife Stadium organization, who “really threw their entire team behind this, everyone from top down,” says Gertzulin. Yet the admiration was mutual, as police agencies and MetLife management were equally impressed with the Orthodox community. “They assigned a state trooper to me for the entire day, and at six o’clock, about an hour before the event was to begin, the trooper said, ‘Rabbi, I’ve got to tell you, if this was a football game, by now I would have locked up 10 people already’ due to drunkenness, fighting, etc. They were amazed at the decorum, respect, conduct and thank-you’s they got from attendees as they were leaving,” Gertzulin observes. So while the Siyum was in certain ways not the easiest mega-event to manage, in other ways it was a pleasure and a model of civility. 19

STate of the industry STate of theState industry STateIndustry of the industry STate of the industry STate of the

i n c o n ver s a t i o n wi t h . . . Koleen M. Roach director, meetings and conferences, Securian Financial Group

I ns u r a n ce a n d Fi n a n c i a l M e e t i ngs: Inc ent i ve T r a vel Is B a c k i n th e S p o t l i ght


in this area has been Financial & Insurance Conference Planners (FICP), which offers a network of more than 500 professionals. Roach serves as chair of FICP, and is well positioned for that role given her 14 years at St. Paul, MN-based Securian, where she is responsible for the planning, implementation and marketing of all recognition and incentive programs, as well as business meetings, board meetings, domestic conventions and international conferences. Her background in corporate meeting planning prior to joining Securian includes 13 years as a planner and recognition program specialist with the Department Store Division of Dayton Hudson Corporation.

By Anthony Bilden he bread-and-butter for meeting planners in the insurance and financial fields has always been incentive travel, which is a major motivator for sales agents. And now, well past the height of the recession and the stigma that resulted from the “AIG incident,” companies are reinvesting in those programs. But the focus on motivational value for the money is keener, so planners must really marshal their resources to pinpoint the destinations, resorts and offsite venues that will deliver the best experiences for qualifiers. “Incentive and recognition events have many layers of complexity,” asserts Koleen M. Roach, director, meetings and conferences, with Securian Financial Group. “It’s important that we provide a high-quality experience and look at the types of properties that companies might not consider for business meetings. We look at resorts and our scouting efforts frequently take us overseas. Taking a large group of people to Zambia, for example, requires more attention to detail than you can imagine.”

In the following interview with Facilities Media Group, Roach t’s currently a seller’s discusses the current state of the insurance and financial market and it can be difficult to meetings industry and gives her perspective on the import help management understand of certain popular acronyms in her field. These include that. The rates, spaces and corporate social responsibility short-term bookings we (CSR), measuring return on investment (ROI), and strategic enjoyed during the buyer’s meetings management (SMM), understood as an enterpriseThe site-selection challenge is intensified by market are no longer available.” wide approach to planning. the fact that many senior-level sales reps are She also shares her thoughts well traveled and need to be regularly inspired on FICP’s upcoming annual by different travel rewards. “Providing superior conference, FICP LIVE – Connect. Learn. Evolve., taking experiences every time takes a lot of creativity, ingenuity and place Nov. 11-14 at the JW Marriott Los Angeles. very hard work,” Roach adds.


Since the 1950s, one of the key resources for planners 20

Facilities Media Group: Do you think that insurance and financial companies are back to investing in sales incentive 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

STate of the industry STate of the industry STate of the industry STate of the industry STate

trips at pre-recession levels? Yes, they are reinvesting. Senior management understands that incentives motivate sales personnel as much as compensation and benefits. Although there were many cancellations and reschedules during the 2009-2011 recession, many companies quietly carried on. Several of my peers at insurance and financial companies will tell you they flew under the radar rather than cancel meetings. Companies also took advantage of those few lean years to reevaluate and restructure rather than eliminate programs, and now are better prepared to deal with the public perception of incentives. FMG: Have companies begun to use international destinations more frequently?

“Financial services is a relationship business, and we do not see virtual meetings coming to the fore from an incentive standpoint. Our advisors want to personally interact with their peers and senior management from the home office. A recent survey of FICP planners shows only about five percent use

advisors want to personally interact with their peers and senior management from the home office. A recent survey of FICP planners shows only about five percent use virtual meetings. FMG: Overall, how strong of a priority are sustainable practices at meetings today, compared to a few years ago? As a society we have incorporated green initiatives into our personal and professional lives. Green meetings have moved from initiative to implementation to expectation.

International destinations continue to be the most desirable, and cruises are surging in virtual meetings.” popularity. From private charters to buy-in packages on pre-existing cruises, this industry is creating attractive options that offer a variety of venues for FMG: Do FICP members exemplify what you consider private events. leading-edge CSR programs at their events? FMG: What are some of the international destinations currently popular with well-traveled insurance sales reps? Prague and Lisbon are experiencing a bit of a renaissance in terms of interest and new property offerings. Dubrovnik, Croatia is a popular destination for cruises and land programs, and has strong historic appeal for almost any traveler. South America is an affordable destination and cities like Buenos Aires, Santiago and Cusco are seeing a lot of interest. Cruises of the Greek Isles are also popular choices, though Greece continues to struggle with ground programs. FMG: Based on your experience, is it becoming a seller’s market this year in first-tier U.S. cities, making both finding space and negotiating with hotels more challenging? Yes, it’s currently a seller’s market and it can be difficult to help management understand that. The rates, spaces and short-term bookings we enjoyed during the buyer’s market are no longer available. This is great news for our hospitality partners who’ve struggled during the past four years. It’s also a sign that our economy is finally starting to rebound. FMG: How popular do you see virtual meetings and “hybrid” meetings becoming in the insurance and finance fields? We talk about this frequently at industry meetings, and it is not big on anyone’s radar. Financial services is a relationship business, and we do not see virtual meetings coming to the fore from an incentive standpoint. Our 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

CSR is somewhere between implementation and expectation. Though it must be voluntary for attendees, planners will continue to incorporate CSR into incentive meetings because they enjoy it; it makes them feel better and their attendees appreciate it. Many associations incorporate CSR into their own events. FICP has taken its CSR commitment one level higher and partnered with Junior Achievement both domestically and internationally. JA is the FICP’s charity of choice because of its focus on youth education and achievement. With operations in 50 states and an additional 119 areas outside the U.S., this partnership provides the opportunity for local representatives to participate in FICP activities and maintain the tradition of giving back to the host communities. It’s a great CSR partnership! FMG: Strategic meetings management programs (SMMPs) are prominent at large pharmaceutical companies where compliance is a big issue. Are insurance and financial firms, whose meetings are subject to the guidelines and legal restrictions set by federal regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, centralizing their meetings operations as well? Management expects those of us at the director level and above to manage expenses using high standards for financial management, risk assessment, expense analysis and attendee satisfaction. It’s good business and it’s the right thing to do. 21

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production office; accounting office. Backstage Areas: 2 main artist dressing rooms; 3 locker rooms that also serve as dressing rooms; private catering room; production office; accounting office. TEXAS

See ad on page 66

rooms). STate of the industry STate of the industry STate of the industry STate of the industry STate Reliant Arena (approximately 8,000 NORTH DAKOTA OH ranging from 1’ to 3’. NORTH DAKOTA OHI seats and a 2,000-seat pavilion and ranging from 1’ to 3’. center and 42’ stage right of center. The Reliant arena (approximately 8,000 TEXAS texas IOWa Backstage Areas: 8 locker rooms; 350,000 rooms). sq. ft. of exhibit space). seats and a 2,000-seat pavilion and The key feature of the Reliant Park

Reliantsq. Arena 8,000 350,000 ft. of (approximately exhibit space). SMMP relates more to third-party engagement thanfour complex flexibility.pavilion With seats andisaits 2,000-seat and the key feature of the Reliant Park and adaptable venues, the direct buyer engagement. Someunique of the held 350,000 sq.publicly ft. of exhibit space). complex is its flexibility. With four Reliant Park complex has the most versatility insurance and financial companies SMMP, The use key of thebut Reliant Park unique andfeature adaptable Reliant to accommodate anyvenues, varietythe of events complex is its flexibility. Withtofour Park complex has the versatility centralized planning departments with direct buyers have ranging from corporate meetings and unique and adaptable therangaccommodate any varietyvenues, of team buildingin seminars, to events employee strong meetings management programs place. are Reliant complex has Most the ing from Park corporate meetings andversatility team appreciation and holiday parties! RELIANT PARK centralized and if not, they probably are moving that way. to accommodate any variety of events building seminars, to employee appreciaOne Reliant Park areas: 4 meeting roomsand and ranging from corporate meetings tion and holiday parties! Houston, TX 77054 Sourcing through procurement Backstage is not standard for many 20,000 sq. ft backstage space team building seminars,floor to employee (832) 667-1400; Fax: (832) 667-1748 areas: 4 meeting rooms and companies and, though it doesn’t workrooms for everyone, most 2Backstage Locker showers and appreciation andwith holiday parties! RELIANT PARK www.reliantpark.com Reliant PaRk 20,000 sq. floor space 15,000 sq.ftftbackstage of catering/hospitality One Park OneReliant Reliant Park to have learned live in Assistant General Manager: Jeffthat Gainesworld. areas: meetingand rooms and 2Backstage Locker rooms with4 showers

Houston, area. Houston,TX TX77054 77054 20,000sq. sq.ftftofbackstage floor space Snapshot: Reliant the premier 15,000 catering/hospitality area. (832) Fax: (832) 667-1748 (832)667-1400; 667-1400; Fax:Park (832)is 667-1748 Marketing: An email database of 2 Locker rooms with showersbeen and entertainment, sports, convention, www.reliantpark.com www.reliantpark.com FMG: Demonstrating ROI for meetings has always a Marketing: An email database of 170,000 forftpre-sales and special offers. 15,000 sq. of catering/hospitality tradeshow and special event complex Assistant General Manager: JeffGaines Gaines Assistant General Manager: Jeff 170,000 forplanners, pre-sales and especially special offers. major focus for insurance and financial area. located in Houston’s South Main corriParking: 26,000 spaces. Snapshot: Reliant Park the premier Parking: spaces. Reliant Park isisthree thewere premier since meeting budgets cut back. Do26,000 you feel database any offourth dor.Snapshot: The complex features distinct Marketing: An Houston email Demographics: is the of entertainment, sports, convention, entertainment, sports, convention, tradefacilities – Reliant Stadium, Reliant Demographics: Houston isUnited the fourth 170,000 for pre-sales and special offers. FICP’s members use measurement methods that are really most populous city in the States. tradeshow and special event complex showand and Reliant special event complex located Center Arena. Reliant Park mostgreater populous city in the United States. The Houston metropolitan area located in Houston’s South Main corriParking: 26,000 spaces. ahead of the curve? in Houston’ s South Main The encompasses 350 acres has corridor. 26,000 parkTheagreater Houston metropolitan area has population of approximately 4 dor. The complex features three distinct features three distinct facilities Demographics: is the fourth ingcomplex spaces and hosts more 600 events has a population ofHouston approximately million people. The Houston City4 facilities – Reliant Stadium, Reliantand Reliant Stadium, ReliantisCenter most populous cityHouston in the United States. per–year. million people. City Like SMMP, ROI a corporate and third-party buzzword. Statistical AreaThe (CSA) covers 12,476 Center and Reliant Arena. Reliant Park Reliant Arena. Reliant Park encompassThe greater Houston metropolitan area Statistical Area (CSA) covers 12,476 Capacities: Reliant Stadium (71,500 square miles. Houston is also a major encompasses 350 acres has 26,000 parkWeesare nothas judged according tosquare some index moves 350 26,000 parking spaces has a population ofthat approximately 4 miles. Houston also ainmajor seats and acres 125,000 sq. more ft. of spaceevents for media market, rankingis10th size. ingand spaces and hosts 600 more 600 events perOur year. companies millionmarket, people. Theus Houston City expect toincreate up andhosts down a chart. media ranking 10th size. general per year.sessions, catered functions See ad on page 71 Statistical Area (CSA) covers 12,476 Capacities: Reliant Stadium (71,500 and/or exhibits). programs that motivate sales andsquare properly reward our Capacities: Reliantsq.Stadium (71,500 miles. Houston is also a major seats and 125,000 ft. of gross space for Reliant Center (1.4 million advisors for those are expected come seats and sessions, 125,000 sq. ft. sales. of spaceWe for media market,to ranking 10thinin on size.– or general catered functions and/ sq.ft/706,213 sq. ftcatered of single level congeneral sessions, functions under – budget, and our guests are expected See ad on page 71 to leave happy or exhibits). tiguous space divisible into 11 and/or exhibit exhibits). and motivated qualify Reliant Center million gross for the next event. If we do our separate halls also (1.4 hasto 61 meeting Reliant Center (1.4ft million sq.ft/706,213 sq. of things singlegross levelwill happen. jobs right, those sq.ft/706,213 sq. ft of single level contiguous exhibit space divisibleconinto tiguous exhibithalls space into 11 11 separate alsodivisible has 61 meeting separate rooms).halls also has 61 meeting

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the FaCILItIes MeDIa GROuP essential Planning tools 32 22

800-sq.-ft. wardrobe room. 8 dressing Sound System: custom Bose system,and powered by Crown amplification, rooms, 2 star dressing rooms; soloistwireless powered bycorded Crown amplification, and includes microphones, FICP is on fire with initiativesincludes this year ourcassette education room. cordedand microphones, wireless microphones, CD and players, microphones, CDwhy andaLoudspeakers cassette players, program the top priority, which may be it is one Sound: 5 EV XLD281 mixing boards, and variety of other ALERUSisCENTER mixing boards, and Left a variety of other ALERUS 1200 South CENTER 42nd Street in the center cluster; and Right audio-visual equipment. ofGrand the most highly rated in the industry. Our education 1200 South 42nd Street audio-visual Forks, ND 58201 Clusters are (8equipment. eachofside) EVhalide XLC-and Lighting: metal Grand ND offerings are58201 consistent tomix meeting. We (701)Forks, 792-1200; Fax: (701) 746-6511from meeting 127+. Soundcraft MH2 channel Lighting: mix of metala24 halide andproquartz fixtures with Douglas (701) 792-1200; Fax: (701) 746-6511 www.aleruscenter.com console. quartz fixturesnegotiations, with a Douglas prooffer sessions on technology, contracts, risk www.aleruscenter.com grammable controller; full black-out RiveRCenteR & Director of Administration: grammable controller; full black-out Director of Administration: lighting: Balcony/Side House fills capabilities viashowcases, an extensive half-house management, security and safety, speaker Vione Jordheim aDleR theatRe capabilities viasystem. an extensive half-house Vione throughout theatre. In-House curtainingthe 136 Jordheim East Third Street, Davenport, IA 52801 production quality, international meeting planning Snapshot: Managed by VenuWorks, curtaining system. Dimmers are controlled by an (563) 326-8500; Fax: (563) 326-8505 Snapshot: Managed Food & Beverage: 8 fixedETC concession Alerus Center, builtbyinVenuWorks, 2001,skills. is the Member and other important attendance and Emphasis withportable Express 125 Food & Beverage: 8 an fixed concession www.adlertheatre.com Alerus Center, built in 2001, is the stands, 7Server various stands, region’s premier, full service entertain- stands, www.riverctr.com faceplate. 7 various portable stands,liquor sponsorships sell out within minutes. region’s premier, full service entertain20 beer domes and 6 portable ment and event center Executive Director: Rickand Palmer, CFE 20 beer andAdler 6 portable liquor ment and event center and Food &domes Beverage: Theatre has stands; the Alerus Center also provides features both an arena and a convention stands; the on-site Alerus Center also provides “The Center With It All” features both an arenaCenter and a convention 2 permanent concession stands and the exclusive catering service. center. The Alerus Arena was FMG: What are some personal exclusive highlights for youservice. regarding on-site center. The Alerus Arena was RiverCenter has 3catering permanent concesSnapshot: VenuWorks, designed toManaged serveCenter as abymulti-purpose, Parking: 3,388 on-site spaces. the upcoming FICP LIVE? designed to serve as a multi-purpose, sion stands. Parking: 3,388 on-site spaces. the classic, 2,411-seat Adler Theatre is a versatile facility capable of quick Marketing: full in-house marketing versatile facility capable of state-of-the-art quick the historic, art-deco yetmaintaining also conversions while audience amenities: Premiere Club Marketing: full in-house marketing department. conversions while maintaining theexperiPAC originally inexcited 1931 and most integrity of thebuilt “entertainment Seating in loge; Broadway at the Adler department. personally am about the two-day technology Iintegrity ofrenovated the “entertainment experiDemographics: more than seating one million recentlySeating in 2006. The Adler ence”. Capacities: Total – is Theatre Subscribers; Accessible Demographics: more one use million showcase that planners partners may ence”. Capacities: Total 11,029; –and within 2-hourthan driving radius. partSeating of theArena RiverCenter whichhospitality 21,389; Set EndComplex, Stage: onpeople mainwithin floor. people 2-hour driving radius. 21,389; Arena Set End Stage: 11,029; any time they want to learn more about planning, sourcing, features more than 100,000 square feet See ad on page 40 Round: 12, 914; Half-House: 8,245; Marketing: Full service marketing/ See ad on page 40 Round: 12, 914; Half-House: of meeting, exhibit and event 8,245; space. The Standard Theater: 2,619. tracking and registration for meetings events. I also promotionsand coordination available. Standard Theater: 2,619. RiverCenter includes the Great Hall, Staging: The stage right portablesinger/songwriter stage Parking: 750 covered look forward to hearing Jewel speak and featuring a seating capacity of 3,200 for Staging: stage right portable stage allows aThe maximum stage of 64’W x parking spaces availgeneral admissions and 2,500 reserved perform as our closing keynote speaker. As FICP chair I allows of 64’W include x 52’Da xmaximum 4’ to 6’ H.stage Accessories able for Adler Theatre seats and the Mississippi River Hall, 52’D xtell 4’ toyou 6’ H. Accessories include that we are working on many leading-edge can an accessible ramp, stairs, guardrails, patrons. More than which can host 1,400 forguardrails, general admisan and accessible ramp, skirting. Thestairs, standard mix to stageannounce is 2,300 additional initiatives, and we hope them soon. Stay tuned! sion and 1,100 reserved. and skirting. The standard mix stage is a 12’W x 24’D platform with heights spaces nearby. a 12’W x 24’D platform with heights Staging: 40’ deep from the plaster line to See ad on page 35 the back wall, 80’ wide, 38’ stage left of


Ice Arena was added in Nov. 2008 to accomodate almost 7,500.

exhibition Space: 180,000 sq. ft. Exhibition Space: 180,000 sq. ft. Capacities:Space: Arena—concerts Exhibition 180,000 sq.and ft. Capacities: Arena—concerts and other other entertainment: 10,000; Sports Capacities: Arena—concerts andevents other entertainment: 10,000; Sports events seating: 5,700-8,500; halfentertainment: 10,000; Sports eventssetting seating: 5,700-8,500; half-house house setting with seating up to seating: 5,700-8,500; half-house setting with(Arena seating up to 5,700 (Arena 5,700 34,500 sq.feaft.feaof with seating upfeatures to 5,700 (Arena tures 34,500 sq. ft. of uninterrupted uninterrupted space); The Rushmore tures 34,500 sq.Rushmore ft. of uninterrupted space); The Plaza Civic Plaza Civic Center’s Fine Arts space); TheFine Rushmore Plaza Civic Center’s Arts Theatre seats Theatre seats Center’s Fine Arts Theatre seats 1,752. upup to to 1,746. up to 1,752. RUSHMORE RuShMoRe PLAZA Plaza Backstage Areas: Arena 2 star RUSHMORE PLAZA Backstage areas: Arena hashas star CIVIC CiviC CENTER CenteR Backstage Areas: Arena has 22level star dressing rooms 2nd and 5 dressing rooms onon thethe 2nd level and CIVIC CENTER 444 Mt. Rushmore Rd. N. dressing rooms on the 2nd level and 5 locker/dressing rooms rooms on on the the main main 444Rapid Mt. Rushmore Rd. N. 5 locker/dressing City, SD 57701 locker/dressing rooms on the main floor; Fine Arts Theatre has 2 chorus Rapid City, SD 57701 floor; Fine Fine Arts Arts Theatre Theatre has has 22 chorus chorus (605) 394-4115 or (800)-GOTMINE floor; rooms and 4 individual dressing rooms. (605) or (800)-GOTMINE Fax:394-4115 (605) 394-4119 rooms and individual dressing rooms and 44 individual dressing rooms. Fax:www.gotmine.com (605) 394-4119 rooms. Food & Beverage: 9 concession stands, www.gotmine.com Sales andManager: Marketing Manager: General Brian Maliske Food &restaurant, Beverage:and 9 concession stands, club Food Court, multiFoodrestaurant, & Beverage: 9 concession Sales and Marketing Manager: Steve Montgomery club and Food Court, multiple portable stands. The Center of It All Steve Montgomery stands, club restaurant, and Food ple portable stands. The Center of It All Plaza Civic Court, multiple portable Club stands. Audience Amenities: Seating, Snapshot: The Center ofRushmore It All Audience Amenities: Club Seating, Snapshot: Rushmore Plaza Civic Suites, Large Daktronics Video Screens Center is South Dakota’s premier audience amenities: Club Seating, Snapshot: Rushmore Plaza Civic Suites, Large Daktronics Video Center is South Dakota’s exhibition, premier full- Suites, Large Daktronics Video Screens full-service performance, Parking: 4,000 Free Spaces. Center is South Dakota’s premier fullservice performance, conconvention and eventexhibition, complex. Since Parking: 4,000 Free Spaces. Screens. service performance, exhibition,Since conDemographics: 250,000 in ADI. vention event in complex. openingand its doors 1977, entertainDemographics: 250,000 in ADI. vention anditsevent Parking: Free opening doorscomplex. in 1977,Since entertainSee ad 4,000 on page 51 Spaces. ment promoters, professional sports opening its doors in 1977, entertainFacilities & Destinations SuperBook See ad on page 51 ment professional Demographics: 250,000 in ADI. teamspromoters, and business executivessports have ment promoters, professional sports teams and business executives have all all discovered that the Center Facilities &Civic Destinations Review SeeMid-Market ad on Cover 2 teams and business executives have all discovered that needs the Civic can meet their withCenter profes-can discovered that the Civic Center can servFacilities & Destinations Planner Guide meet needs professional sionaltheir service andwith competitive pricing. meet theircompetitive needs with professional ice pricing. TheservTheand Complex features a 10,000-seat Facilities SuperBook • Facilities Booking Guide iceComplex and competitive The Arena, featurespricing. aFine 10,000-seat Arena, 1,746-seat Arts Theatre, Complex features a 10,000-seat Arena, 1,752-seat Arts Theatre, 2Event Facilities & Management and 2 largeFine Convention Halls and with 12 1,752-seat Fine ArtsHalls Theatre, 2various large Convention withand 12from various sized Meeting Rooms Facilitiesonline.com large Convention Rooms Halls with 122,000 various sized 2,000Meeting to 20,000. A newfrom 6,500-seatto 20. www.gotmine.com sized Meeting RoomsIcefrom 2,000 20. A new 6,500-seat Arena wastoadded A new 6,500-seat in Nov. 2008. Ice Arena was added in Nov. 2008. Facilities 2010–2011 Booking Guide

Make Our World Your World! The Facilities Media Group

Page 46

Facilities Directory

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2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review 62 The Midwes 62 The Midwest

Introducing New Prime Site Awards


orporations, state and regional associations and committees, as well as other independent groups, are increasingly holding their meetings and tradeshows in hotels and conference centers that provide quality facilities, professional staff and competitive pricing. Recently, we at Facilities & Destinations (F&D) have seen an uptick in the news we receive about construction, remodeling and upgrades of conference centers, meeting hotels and resorts. With a wider range of site choices, and meeting venues doing their best job of trying to stand out in the pack, planners take notice when the product and services delivered exceeds their expectations. And that’s where we come in. For 19 years, Facilities Media Group (FMG) has been bestowing its annual Awards of Excellence to public assembly facilities and meeting destinations in North America. While a few years back F&D consolidated its Prime Site

Awards for conference centers, meeting hotels and convention centers into one accolade, the rising number of ballots received in each of the sectors has led us to reinstate our Prime Site awards for each of the original categories. Our awards are based on the opinions of professionals involved in site selection and meeting management, namely our readers — association and corporate meeting planners and executives. We at FMG ask you, the planner, to take note of and participate in the other half of our annual Awards of Excellence — the 2012 F&D Conference Center Prime Site Awards and the 2012 F&D Meeting Hotel Prime Site Awards. What are the best conference centers and meeting, university or special event venues your group has used for its meetings in the last three years? Likewise, what are the top hotels and resorts your group has convened in during the last three years?

Facilities & Destinations Awards of Excellence VOTE for the top Conference Centers, Small to Mid-Size Meeting, University or Special Event Venues, and/or Hotels and Resorts your group has used for its meetings in the last three years. Please base your vote(s) on the following criteria: • Attractiveness and functionality • Technological capabilities • Quality of staff and conference planner • Team Building • Food & Beverage/Catering • Lighting • Acoustics • Climate control • Proximity to airport and other transportation • On or off-site lodging • Other support services • Front-desk operations • Set-ups and breakdowns • Room décor • Quality/Size of Ballroom • Special Packages • Spa • Nearby Attractions


Name of Nominee____________________________________________________ Name of Nominee____________________________________________________ Name of Nominee____________________________________________________ Check Award You want to nominate the above for: Conf. Center

Meeting Hotel

Your Name & Title____________________________________________________ Organization_________________________________________________________ Phone_______________________________________________________________ Email________________________________________________________________ Additional Comments_________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ May We Contact You? Yes___ No___ Fill Out Form & Mail, Email or Fax Your Vote:

Facilities & Destinations

152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016 Fax: (212) 213-6382 Email: ballots@facilitiesonline.com

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review


Taking the

Combining rich meetings infrastructures and affordability, mid-market cities bring planners peace of mind By Anthony Bilden



everal years after the height of the recession, tight budgets are still rampant in the meetings industry, both on the association and corporate side. While nearly 60 percent of respondents to Meeting Professional International’s latest FutureWatch industry survey (conducted last year) said their number of meetings would increase, over 60 percent indicated meeting budgets would only rise “slightly� or remain the same. continued on Page 26

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

“Because we are located within such a population-dense area of the Northeast, travel to our city is generally convenient and affordable.” –Kristin McGrath, Providence Warwick CVB

Middle Way “What I found when the recession hit is that I was asked to cut budgets about 30 percent across the board. And I am not seeing those budgets increase.” –Peggy Marilley, Precision Meetings & Events, Inc.

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review


“The greatest advantage that a second-tier city provides is their full and complete attention. You’re always the big fish in a smaller pond.” –Jeff Hewitt, Visit Savannah

continued from Page 24

This year, that cost-consciousness has been confirmed by third-party planners such as Peggy Marilley, founder and CEO of Alexandria, VA-based Precision Meetings & Events, Inc. “What I found immediately when the recession hit is that I was asked to cut budgets about 30 percent across the board,” Marilley recalls. “And I am not seeing those budgets increase. I really believe people are still scrutinizing how every dollar is spent. It just means you, as a planner, have to be more creative in order to deliver a quality event.” Indeed, from a planner’s perspective, it’s not about simply


Norfolk combines the perfect blend of business and pleasure, with hotels and meeting venues minutes from the city’s top-notch restaurants, shopping and entertainment. Norfolk is your distinct meeting destination.


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looking for low prices in hotels, transportation, F&B, activities and so on, in order to come in under budget. Rather, it’s about seeking value and a strong return on investment, even if the investment has diminished. That persistent objective explains why mid-market cities, otherwise known as “second tier” destinations, have remained on planners’ radar this year: They generally offer more affordability and rate negotiability, combined with a robust meetings infrastructure, including quality convention centers, hotels, offsite venues and attractions for attendees to enjoy during their free time. Overall, midmarket cities are also freer of traffic congestion and crime than their first-tier counterparts. Of course, there are lodging space constraints given that second-tier cities are smaller; they have a population of between 300,000 and 1 million, according to a criterion given by Meeting Professionals International. Planners won’t find an MGM Grand-like property in Colorado Springs or Nashville. And the airlift will usually be limited compared to a New York, San Francisco or Chicago. But assuming that a second-tier city is logistically viable for a group and in line with meeting objectives, it merits a site inspection. “Meeting planner requests for site visits are trending up in 2012 versus 2011,” observes Kristin McGrath, vice-president of sales and services for the Providence Warwick CVB. And that goes along with more group business in general for this northeastern midmarket city. “Providence meetings business is trending up compared to 2011. We are seeing increased attendance at association meetings and an increasing volume of corporate inquiries. Additionally, we are seeing the booking window lengthen. Although we aren’t quite back to pre-recession levels, we consider key indicators to be trending in a positive direction,” McGrath says. Several other mid-market cities are also experiencing an upswing in group business this year, Akron, OH being one of them. “In 2012, Greater Akron continues to experience incremental and positive growth throughout the meeting sector. This includes countywide business and bookings at the Akron/Summit CVB-managed/marketed John S. Knight Convention Center,” notes Gregg Mervis, CVB president and CEO, and his sales executives. The city has “remained on a path of positive growth” since late 2008/ early 2009, during which it only suffered “a modest negative effect” in meetings business, Mervis adds. Savannah, GA is another example of a thriving mid-market city. “Our Visit Savannah sales team has been doing an outstanding job in what has been a less-than-ideal climate. Last year was a record year for future bookings, and we are currently 14 percent over last year’s booking pace,” says Jeff Hewitt, vice president of business development. “I expect that number to improve a bit between now and year end. We are just now returning to our pre-recession occupancy levels. And while the association side has been much stronger than corporate, we remain optimistic that the corporate sector may improve 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

“Being a secondtier city is a title we proudly wear. As an organization, we have always been realistic about our place within the market.” –Gregg Mervis, Akron/summit CVB

after the elections.” For Hewitt, “second tier” certainly doesn’t imply second rate in terms of group or planner experience. In fact, many second-tier cities are known for delivering highly personalized service due to the smaller number of groups they handle. “Tier really has little to do with guest experience; it’s simply a matter of capacity. It’s about gross square footage and the number of hotel rooms in proximity to the event venue,” Hewitt maintains. “The greatest advantage that a second-tier city provides is their full and complete attention. You’re always the big fish in a smaller pond.” Marilley, who recently staged a corporate meeting in Savannah, confirms that level of attention. “My client fell in love with the city because they worked so hard to earn her business. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, they were always involved and willing to help in any way that they could,” she relates. “They don’t have as many [group business] opportunities as a first-tier city, so when the opportunity comes along they are so excited about it. It shows how much they love their destination and want to welcome the group.” That kind of enthusiasm is magnified in the case of a citywide convention. “The client will be given the VIP treatment as they are ‘the convention’ in town,” notes Tracy Armstrong, director of community convention sales and marketing for VisitRochester. “There are better press opportunities, and the hotels and cultural attractions, restaurants and merchants are eager for the business.” Apart from Savannah, Marilley cites Portland, OR, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh as great second-tier options in her experience, as well as Fort Worth, TX. “I believe if we can get clients there to look at these cities, they would agree the cities are great site choices, and the next step is the marketing,” she says. “For example, clients don’t always think of Fort Worth, even though it’s right in the Dallas metropolitan area and near DFW Airport, but it’s a fabulous city.” Attractions like the Fort Worth Stockyards and Log Cabin Village (a “living history” museum) show that a city like Fort Worth is relatively small in size yet big on culture. And that goes for many mid-market cities, from Austin to Cleveland. Since these 28

towns are less-trodden than New York, Orlando and the like, planners may be giving many of their attendees a new, interesting travel experience – and come in nicely under budget to boot. The CVBs of mid-market cities tend to have a good grasp of the unique experiences they can offer groups and the destination product they bring to the meetings market. For the Akron/Summit CVB, “being a secondtier city is a title we proudly wear,” says Mervis. “As an organization, we have always been realistic about our place within the market. Leveraging our geography, venues, attractions and accommodations is what allows us to carve out a niche in the Midwest region. Meeting planners quickly recognize that our area’s accessibility and affordability are simply the proverbial icing on the cake.” Served by both Akron-Canton Airport and Cleveland-Hopkins International, Akron is an example of a mid-market city that is quite accessible, contra the stereotype. The same goes for Providence, remarks McGrath: “Because we are located within such a population-dense area of the Northeast, travel to our city is generally convenient and affordable.” In Rochester, hotels offer complimentary airport transportation and “daily parking rates do not exceed $8, many are in the $5 range, and in many cases there is no charge for parking at all,” Armstrong notes. To make events even more affordable, VisitRochester “offers many convention services at no charge, for example a staffed information table, convention bags with materials, etc.,” she adds. Since mid-market CVBs regularly deal with clients on strict budgets, they have naturally become very experienced in cost control and maximizing value for groups. “Generally, our clients are cost-conscious, and rightly so in these uncertain (but optimistically improving) times,” Mervis says. “Therefore, it is important that we communicate the value/impact of potential additional expenditures, as they relate to the overall experience the meeting planner is creating for the attendees. Ensuring that expenditures are warranted within the context of the event demonstrates our commitment to the client and their bottom line.” Just like their client meeting groups, many second-tier cities and their hoteliers are making well-warranted investments. This latest installment of our Mid-Market Review covers various venue and infrastructure upgrades in the nine second-tier cities we feature, from two upscale, 1,000-room hotels coming online in Austin, to a ballroom renovation at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock, to a new pedestrian network in Hartford. Of course, the idea behind these projects is not to compete with the likes of a Las Vegas or an Orlando. Rather, second-tier cities are busy honing their own distinct value propositions. They’re sure to make offers many planners can’t refuse. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

From the street…

…to the wide open spaces– the extraordinary is just steps away! Pittsburgh was named by National Geographic Traveler as one of the world’s top 20 great places to visit in 2012. Plan your visit today and bring your colleagues later!

1000 Ft. Duquesne Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (412) 565-6000 www.pittsburghcc.com | www.greenfirst.us

Austin, TX


ith nearly 200 live music venues, there are always new gigs to catch in the W “Live Music Capital of the World.” Meanwhile, the big news in Austin’s meetings scene is the JW Marriott Austin that will be opening on Congress Avenue in early 2015. With an impressive 110,500 sq. ft. of meeting space, the hotel will be just two blocks from the Austin Convention Center (www.austinconventioncenter.com). That same year, the 1,000-room Fairmont Austin will debut east of the ACC with over 70,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. “We are really excited about Austin’s potential for enhanced opportunities with the announcement of several downtown hotel projects expected to come online over the next several years,” said Paul Barnes, assistant director – sales, marketing, event services for the ACC. In keeping with Austin’s progressive character, the ACC is the first convention center in Texas, among two in the United States, to achieve LEED® Gold Certification for Existing Buildings. Its 370,967 sq. ft. of function space includes a 246,097-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, a 43,300-sq.-ft. ballroom and 54 meeting rooms, complemented by a 20,333-seat theater. One of the country’s most technologically advanced convention centers, the ACC offers complimentary wireless Internet access, high-speed Internet2 access, plug-and-play capabilities and an onsite technical staff. Just eight miles from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the ACC is surrounded by 19 hotels with 6,000 rooms in the downtown business district, located between the shores of Lady Bird Lake and the Texas State Capitol. A 296-room Hyatt Place Austin/Downtown will open near 30

the ACC next year. The city’s newest downtown hotel is the 251-room W Austin, with 10,050 sq. ft. of meeting space. During their free time, attendees can enjoy everything from fine dining in four-star restaurants to down-home barbecue and authentic Tex-Mex. Downtown entertainment districts include Sixth Street, Warehouse, Market and Red River; South Austin is also replete with restaurants, concert halls and vintage shops on South Congress and around the University of Texas. Cultural attractions include the State Capitol, the LBJ Presidential Library, the Texas State History Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art. Outdoorsy attendees can visit Lady Bird Lake, bordered by 10 miles of trails enjoyed by runners, walkers and cyclists. Surrounded by three lakes and a network of parks, Austin offers the perfect environment for enjoying the best of nature, not to mention the best in meeting facilities. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Boise, ID


oise is a surprise to most of our clients – a vibrant city with great “B weather. We are small with a big city feel,” says Terry Kopp, director of sales with the Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau. And, as is typical of secondtier cities, Boise’s CVB takes a very hands-on approach in working with meeting groups. “We customize our services to our clients’ needs and offer everything from brochures to bids, site visits, promotions and fam trips,” she adds.

Boise is an up-and-coming destination in the second-tier market, with the long-anticipated JUMP Project in the works. Jack’s Urban Meeting Place will house five working studios, civic event and meeting spaces, antique tractor sculptures, a dynamic urban park and an outdoor amphitheater. Completion of the 65,000-sq.-ft., $70-million facility in downtown Boise is expected for the summer of 2014. In addition, The Riverside Hotel, a 304-room property with 21,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, has been renovated and rebranded from a Doubletree. Boise’s largest hotel sits on 14 acres along the banks of the Boise River and features rose gardens, a large outdoor pool and a magnificent sandstone terrace with fire-pit. It is also in walking distance to the new Boise River Recreation Park. The Riverside Hotel is among Boise’s 800 total downtown hotel rooms and complements Boise Centre, Idaho’s largest convention facility, which hosts an estimated 230 events and conventions annually. Recently, Boise Centre has upgraded its Wi-Fi and bandwidth capabilities, and installed new digital signage and carpeting in public spaces. The facility houses 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibition space, the Summit Room (349 fixed seats; amphitheater-style seating) and the Eyries Room (2,900 in theater-style room set). The facility also offers a full-service in-house Audio Visual Department. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Surrounding the center is the BoDo shopping and restaurant district, just five miles from Boise Airport. Other interesting neighborhoods include Historic North End, Hyde Park and Bown Crossing. Among the local attractions are Basque Museum, Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, Idaho Botanical Garden and the World Center for Birds of Prey. 31

Cleveland, OH

Celebrity Chef Michael Symon gives a talk at the I-X Center.


Cleveland is renowned for major attractions such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, PlayhouseSquare Theater District and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Apart from 4,000 downtown hotel rooms, Cleveland offers three major convention centers: The International Exposition (IX) Center (more than one million sq. ft. of exhibit space), the Kalahari Resort (215,000 sq. ft. of function space) and the new Cleveland Convention Center & Medical Mart, set to debut in July 2013 with 319,099 sq. ft. of meeting space. The new convention center is just a part of Cleveland’s $2 billion tourism-related development project, bringing multiple new hotels and restaurants to the city.

Why Cleveland?

Linda Fette Associate Executive Director Ohio Optometric Association

The Ohio Optometric Association (OOA) has met annually in Cleveland since 1997, most recently from Oct. 2023, 2011. Providing quality continuing education for optometrists and an exhibit hall for optometric vendors, the EastWest Eye Conference is the premier conference of its kind in the Midwest and last year drew about 2,000 attendees to the Cleveland Marriott Downtown and Crowne Plaza. This year, the OOA will partner with the DoubleTree, Embassy Suites and the Hyatt Regency.

Location. We draw heavily from western Pennsylvania, western New York and Michigan in addition to Ohio – 30+ states total. In addition, Cleveland is a fun, happening city with lots to offer attendees, such as a new casino and aquarium, Little Italy, West Side Market, Playhouse Square and Arts at University Circle. It’s very walkable and culturally diverse. We are also excited about the new Cleveland Medical Mart opening in 2013. CVB Assistance

It’s the friendly, helpful people who work with us that make EastWest great, including the staff at Positively Cleveland. They interfaced with the Public Auditorium so parking was not an issue when vendors had to load and unload. They also help us arrange room blocks with hotels, and provide workers for classroom monitors and the registration desk. We use their parking maps. Offsite Events

We host an exclusive Friday night party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a leadership dinner at Blue Point Grille. Vendors use various sites for activities to entertain clients, including House of Blues or Fat Fish. There is much to choose from. Recommended Local Vendors

Hughie’s for audiovisual, Excel Decorators and Brecksville Transit for bus transportation. 32

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Hartford, CT


The Connecticut Convention Center boasts a 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom (left).

hen planners think of Hartford, the cutting-edge Connecticut Convention Center (CCC) certainly comes W to mind. But it’s not all business for attendees here; acces-

sible sightseeing is a major plus. Downtown Hartford is an unusually compact historic district packed with more than 45 cultural assets and destinations within a 15-minute walk, including museums, performance spaces, historic landmarks, modern architecture and public art. The city’s iQuilt Plan links those assets with a vibrant and innovative pedestrian network. Its centerpiece is GreenWalk, a one-mile chain of parks and plazas connecting the gold-domed Capitol in Bushnell Park to the waterfront of the Connecticut River. (The oldest park in the United States, Bushnell is set to undergo renovations.) And then there’s the 47-acre urban revitalization project known as Adriaen’s Landing, the cornerstone of a five-year, multifaceted state and city economic development plan. The anchor of this rapidly developing area is the 540,000-sq.-ft. CCC, which includes the attached AAA Four Diamond, 409-room Marriott Hartford Downtown, offering an additional 13,500 sq. ft. of meeting space. Attractions in Adriaen’s Landing District include 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

the Connecticut Science Center, which houses a 3-D movie theater. Across from the CCC and the Marriott is the new Front Street District, where the Spotlight Theater opens this fall; the theater will include four auditoriums with about 800 total stadium seats. The facility will also have party rooms and its own 75-seat restaurant. In Hartford, attendees can also visit The Mark Twain House & Museum, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Wadsworth Atheneum and Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, as well as experience Connecticut Whale hockey and UCONN athletics. Downtown Hartford is also home to more than 40 fine restaurants offering all types of cuisine. In the architecturally rich West End, groups can find the official Connecticut Governor’s Residence and Elizabeth Park, the oldest municipally operated rose garden in the nation. Planners have at their disposal 1,600 hotel rooms within Hartford and 6,500 within a 15-mile radius. Major properties include the 393-room Hilton Hartford (over 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) and the 215-room Hartford Plaza Hotel (9,000 sq. ft. of meeting space). The CCC itself has a 140,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, a 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 19 meeting rooms. PSAV provides AV services. ISDN, T-1 and other special data circuits are available, as well as temporary LAN/WAN/VPN networks, Webcasting and cyber-cafes. 33

Little Rock, AR www.littlerock.com


a Petite Roche, French for Little Rock, is the name given the destination on the bank of the Arkansas River by early explorers and riverboat captains. A capital city with a national airport, Little Rock offers more than 9,000 citywide hotel rooms complemented by Southern hospitality and charm, as well as a national airport. The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport is completing Phase I of its 2020 Vision Plan, with $67 million in terminal renovations, next year. Also completing renovations next year ( January) is the 18,362-sq.-ft. Wally Allen Ballroom at the Statehouse Convention Center, which houses 83,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and the 2,609-seat Robinson Center Music Hall and Performance Theater. The SCC has also recently augmented its mobile broadband coverage. The center is complemented by the attached 418-room Peabody Little Rock (40,000 sq. ft. of meeting space), and the nearby 287room Doubletree Hotel (40,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) and 220-room Wyndham Riverfront Hotel (over 14,500 sq. ft. of meeting space). Groups can also look forward to a new 100-room Residence Inn by Marriott being constructed in downtown Little Rock (219 River Market Avenue), as well as improved capacities on highways I-630/I-430 by 2014, for those driving into town. What is more, planners work34

ing with the Little Rock CVB will soon be able to utilize the CVB’s latest customized attendance-building strategies based on Internet and digital technologies. These are among the diverse new developments in Little Rock, a mid-tier city that offers attendees much in the way of free-time activities. The River Market District, adjacent to the SCC, is replete with dining and entertainment options, including the state’s largest outdoor farmers’ market and an indoor market where shopkeepers offer everything from gourmet coffee to fresh sushi. Arkansas’s River Trail, a 15-mile loop connecting Little Rock and North Little Rock via three pedestrian bridges, winds through Riverfront Park, home to the city’s namesake “La Petite Roche” Plaza, the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, Ottenheimer Hall, Bill E. Clark Wetlands and the William J. Clinton Presidential Park & Bridge. Just a short distance from River Market is the area of restored 19th-century homes around MacArthur Park and the governor’s mansion known as the Quapaw Quarter. Attendees in search of trendy eateries and boutiques can visit The Heights. Cultural attractions in the city include Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Audubon Nature Center and MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Pittsburgh, PA


The 1.5 million-sq.-ft., Gold and Platinum LEED-certified David L. Lawrence Convention Center (www. pittsburghcc.com) is the centerpiece of Pittsburgh’s meetings industry. Characterized by a dynamic architectural design with open terraces and panoramic views, the SMG-managed facility features 313,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 37 loading docks, 53 meeting rooms, a 31,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and a 250-seat theater. As the first “green” convention center in the world, the DLCC’s motto remains “Built Green, Working Green, Every Day!” and its various environmentally sound initiatives can be explored at www.greenfirst.us. The facility is connected to the 616-room Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh, which offers 42,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Surrounding the DLCC is Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, home to the performing arts community with theatres and galleries, as well as the Strip District, where attendees can explore open markets, restaurants and shops. Major downtown attractions include Heinz Hall, Benedum Theatre, O’Reilly Theatre, Heinz Field, John Heinz History Center, Andy Warhol Museum, The Carnegie Science Center and Rivers Casino.

Kim Struble, CMP Director, Conferences and Meetings National Association of Counties (NACo)

Support From the City

We received tremendous support from Visit Pittsburgh, and they were extremely good to work with. All of the hotels we partnered with were very good to work with. NACo facilitated joint meetings with all the hotels to educate them on the conference and the purpose of it in advance. The hotel community works very well together. Offsite Events

The NACo 2012 Annual Conference and Exposition brought approximately 2,300 attendees to Pittsburgh from July 13-17. Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) bid on the conference in 2007, and the NACo Board approved the proposal. During the meeting NACo elects its officers, conducts its annual business meeting and confirms legislative platforms. The association used the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for all meeting space and the following hotels for lodging: Westin, Courtyard by Marriott, Doubletree, Marriott City Center, Renaissance, Fairmont and Omni William Penn.

We held a reception at the Heinz History Center. That was a great facility and they were also very pleasant to work with. We used Common Plea catering and they did a fantastic job. Many attendees held offsite dinners at restaurants, etc. They made good use of those venues. Recommended Local Vendors

We used Talent Network for all of our entertainment needs. I would recommend them as they were accommodating and worked to find what I needed. Attendee Feedback

All attendees were very pleasantly surprised with Pittsburgh. Many had not been to Pittsburgh in many years or at all, and were in awe of how far the city has come. It’s a compact destination that is very walkable, friendly and relatively inexpensive. It has a lot of history, from the architecture you see while walking down the street to its history of the steel mills and sports. The Convention Center is outstanding, very open and airy. I would highly recommend Pittsburgh as a destination to anyone considering it for their next meeting. 35 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Providence, RI


Providence is a multifaceted draw for groups with its combination of stellar restaurants, rich history, natural beauty and stunning architecture. It’s also a very accessible city within the densely populated Northeast: about 25 percent of the United States’ population lives within 500 miles of the Providence. T.F. Green Airport in nearby Warwick is 10 miles from the Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC), and rail and highway transportation is robust. The airport now offers the Continued on Page 64

Why Providence? Betty Ford Annual Meeting Planner American Phytopathological Society

The Saint Paul, MN-based American Phytopathological Society met in Providence from Aug. 4-8, drawing approximately 1,600 attendees from 42 countries to share scientific research and findings in the area of plant disease. A variety of scientists, researchers and argricultural professionals gathered at the Rhode Island Convention Center and utilized the Westin Providence, Biltmore Hotel, Marriott Courtyard and Hilton Providence for lodging. 36

Providence is an affordable, historical location in the New England/East Coast area, and has several great advantages, including easy access to Boston. We fit perfectly into the convention center, which has four hotels less than two blocks away. Having the Westin hotel attached to the convention center allowed staff and attendees to flow easily between facilities in a few minutes; the Westin staff was also outstanding to work with before and during the meeting. The two cafes in the convention center allowed for easy access to food throughout each day of our meeting, and excellent dining and shopping options are within walking distance. Transportation

The number of flights offered from various cities was a concern in the original planning, but did not appear to be a problem for our attendees as a greater number than usual could drive or take the train. And Boston was still convenient for airlift if someone had scheduling challenges. For ground transportation we used Academy Express Bus Transportation, which employed some of the nicest bus drivers I have worked with. CVB Assistance

The CVB staff was wonderful, from sales to services; they all went the extra mile to assist in any way they could to make my job easier and ensure a successful meeting. From helping me choose facilities to recommendations for vendors and suppliers to providing an extra hand at the meeting, Convention Services Director Erin Degulis was outstanding. Degulis, my right hand colleague through the meeting, knew that I was short staffed on Sunday afternoon with our Opening Reception for 1,400 people and one of our offsite events for 350 people overlapping with the departure of our buses. Without a blink, Erin offered to arrive at our offsite event mid-afternoon on Sunday and check last-minute logistics and then graciously greet our buses and guests when they arrived at the event. She waited until I arrived to make sure everything went smoothly before she left for home Sunday evening. And I know she was back at work at her desk early Monday morning – now that is service! 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Rochester, NY


Rochester, located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, is not only a major corporate hub – home to the world headquarters of Kodak, Bausch & Lomb and Paychex – but is also the western gateway to the famous Finger Lakes Region, one of top wineproducing areas in the country. Rochester’s prime areas for meeting groups during free time include the East End district, where they can experience the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at Eastman Theatre or the latest in independent cinema at The Little, and St. Paul Quarter, with numerous restaurants and nightclubs. Major cultural attractions include the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film (the National Historic Landmark home of the founder of Kodak), the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, and the Genesee Country Village & Museum. Rochester’s hospitality industry is also strong, with many hotels having completed (or undergoing) major renovations. The 338-room Hyatt Regency Rochester Hotel (20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) has recently completed an overhaul of its main

Exterior and interior of the Rochester Riverside Convention Center

Continued on Page 64

Site Choice Advantages Randy Cross, CMP Director of Event Services and Venues SPIE (Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers)

SPIE Optifab, the largest optical fabrication event in North America, is expected to bring 1,200 industry professionals to Rochester from Oct. 14-17. Held every two years, Optifab last took place at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center in 2011. Lodging is provided by the 338room Hyatt Regency Rochester and the 460-room Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside. Randy Cross, SPIE’s director of event services and venues, cites the city’s prominence in manufacturing, particularly the photonics industry, as a means of drawing members to Rochester. The CVB, VisitRochester, provided SPIE the following compelling data for its marketing materials: “In the latest quarterly analysis of how the nation’s 100 largest metro areas are recovering from the recession, Rochester was again placed in the category of the 20 strongest performers. Rochester’s ‘technologically cutting-edge manufacturing’ is the horse pulling the economic cart.” 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

The meeting is well suited for Rochester and the optical research community that exists there. Certainly the second-tier cost structure facilitated holding the meeting in Rochester. A Good Fit

The convention center is the right size for this event and attendees and exhibitors appreciate the convenience of the fit of the facility to the event. We have used in-house AV at the convention center for several years and they have been very good to work with. They are responsive and flexible. Convenient Hotels

Both the Hyatt and the Radisson are conveniently located to the convention center (moreover, connected), and that allows for convenient access to the meeting at the convention center. It also allows for evening and affiliate functions to be held in proximity to the meeting for quick and easy access. 37

Savannah, GA


Home to the largest Historic Landmark District in the nation, Savannah is known for stylish boutiques, galleries, and restaurants featuring Coastal Cuisine, not to mention moss-draped oak trees. Attendees can partake of trolley and riverboat tours, play golf and visit cultural sites like the Jepson Center for the Arts, The Telfair Museum of Art, Mighty Eight Air Force Museum and more. And Tybee Island, Savannah’s beach, is just 14 miles from the Historic District. Yet Savannah is also serious about hosting association and corporate meetings. The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center (www.savtcc.com) is located on picturesque Savannah Harbor. Groups have at their disposal 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 50,000 sq. ft. of flexible space including 13 meeting rooms, four executive boardrooms, a 25,000-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom and a 367-seat theater. Additional meeting facilities include the Coastal Georgia Center and the Savannah Civic Continued on Page 44 Center. By December, a new 45 ft.-by-30 ft. hangar

Most Recent Event

Peggy Marilley Founder and CEO Precision Meetings & Events, Inc. Alexandria, VA

In February we staged an “update” meeting for a corporate client at the Westin Savannah. Our client requested a city that had a colorful history in a warm climate. Savannah offered both. It’s also friendly, charming and easy to get around, whether via ferry, horse-drawn carriage or on foot. It is large enough to feel like a city but small enough to feel that the city belongs to you.  CVB Assistance

From the initial site visit through the close of the meeting, the CVB treated us like VIPs. We saw the hotel, the city, restaurants, offsite venues, activities and tours.  We needed to utilize the services of local vendors (DMC, transportation, florist, entertainment).  The CVB made certain we had everything and everyone that we needed to promote and deliver our meeting. They were willing to go above and beyond to create the experience for the group.

Hotel Flexibility

Our client had recently announced that they were acquired by another firm. Service and flexibility from the hotel was a top priority. We had 38

a unique situation. We did not know until the last moment what executives were attending from the “parent company.” And we needed the customers to feel confident and comfortable that they would receive the same level of services with the ownership change. We made multiple requests from the Westin staff to take care of everyone (new team and customers). The hotel performed flawlessly, setting up hospitality in the lobby allowing the current executives to greet customers as they arrived. The hotel was also able to accommodate additional suite and amenity requests at the last moment.  Offsite Events

We used Old Fort Jackson for our closing evening. Guests were transported to the Fort by river boat, greeted by soldiers upon arrival and even raised the corporate flag over the Fort just as a cannon shot over the river. They also enjoyed a low country boil catered by the Westin Savannah. The evening concluded with a beautiful fireworks display.  Client Feedback

On the meeting evaluations, we received very high marks from both the client executives and customers. The attendees loved Savannah and many indicated that they would return again on personal travel in order to experience all that Savannah has to offer. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Name: Savannah Age: 279 years old Seeking: Convention attendees of all ages About me: Not to brag, but I’ve been told I’m incredibly beautiful, warm, and have that old Southern charm.

I have access to over 3,000 committable hotel rooms and 100,000 square feet of state-of-the-art exhibit space, but I also know all the best places to eat and have fun! :)

Interested? Let’s meet.



Status: Hot Category: Mid-market Convention Centers FYI: Many groups don’t require the mammoth meeting spaces of a McCormick Place. Many don’t mind being in a second-tier city, and indeed economically benefit from that site choice. These meeting groups do well to explore the top-notch, accessible convention centers of the Central States’ mid-market cities. The centers in this sampling are “hot” for different reasons: The Kansas Expocentre, Statehouse Convention Center and Tinley Park Convention Center all have newsworthy improvement projects to their credit. The Minneapolis Convention Center boasts a cutting-edge auditorium, while the St. Charles Convention Center is a relatively new facility in an ideal location.

Hot List

5 3 1

Tinley Park, IL

Topeka, KS

1] Kansas Expocentre

www.ksexpo.com The SMG-managed Kansas Expocentre is located in the capital of Kansas, within a one-day drive of 75 percent of the U.S. population. The Expocentre offers a total of 210,000 sq. ft. of function space, including a 44,500-sq.-ft. exhibit hall and 27,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Landon Arena, which accommodates 10,000, is supplemented by venues such as the 5,750-sq.-ft. Heritage Hall and the 17,800-sq.-ft. Agriculture Hall. On the technological side, the Expocentre offers WiFi, digital video boards and in-house live video production. In addition, a Long Range Strategic Plan to renovate and expand the Landon Arena and exhibit hall is being developed; the project is valued at over $60 million.


Statehouse Convention Center

www.littlerockmeetings.com/conventioncenter The Statehouse Convention Center houses approximately 220,000 sq. ft. of public and function space, including 83,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, the 18,362-sq.-ft. Wally Allen Ballroom and seven meeting rooms. In addition, The Robinson Center Music Hall and Performance Theater features a 2,609seat proscenium hall, approximately 15,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and seven additional meeting rooms. Free WiFi and digital plasma monitors throughout the facility, as well as onsite AV and telecommunications teams. A 650-space parking deck is located one block away. The Statehouse Convention Center Ballroom is slated for renovations at the end of 2012, to be completed by January 2013.


St. Charles, MO


Minneapolis, MN

Park 3] Tinley Convention Center

www.meetchicagosouthland.com Since completing a $22-million expansion last summer, Tinley Park Convention Center houses 58,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibition space, over 30,000 sq. ft. of banquet and meeting space, and 18 breakout rooms ranging from 750 to 2,000 sq. ft. Chicago Southland’s largest meeting venue is easily accessible via six interstates, and offers 1,500 free parking spaces on hotel and convention center grounds. The convention center also features 30-ft.-tall waterfalls in the lobby, a full-service business center and a direct connection to the 202-room Holiday Inn Chicago-Tinley ParkConv Ctr. Nearby attractions include First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, Odyssey Fun World, Riverboat Casinos and Chicagoland Speedway.

4] Minneapolis Convention Center

www.minneapolisconventioncenter.com The Minneapolis Convention Center offers ample meeting facilities in the “City of Lakes,” including 475,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 87 meeting rooms and two ballrooms (55,000 sq. ft. and 28,000 sq. ft., respectively), complemented by the award-winning Kelber Catering. A major highlight at the MCC is its world-class, 3,433-fixed-seat auditorium. The facility allows a general session to break down into four separate sound-proof sections in less than 30 minutes, and features three circular lecture rooms, each seating 428 people. Leading-edge AV equipment


Little Rock, AR

includes front and rear screens, wiring for digitized video, the latest technology for satellite links, fiber-optics, and ISDN and T1 lines.

Charles 5] St. Convention Center

www.stcharlesconventioncenter.com The St. Charles Convention Center opened in 2005 just 10 minutes from Lambert St. Louis International Airport and a few minutes from the Missouri River. This prime Midwest facility houses 66,000 sq. ft. of total exhibit space, including 27,600 sq. ft. of exhibit hall space (expandable to 35,700). Meeting spaces include a 16,200-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom, a 6,025-sq.ft. Junior Ballroom and 19 breakout rooms. Wireless and ethernet cabling is available throughout. The 296-suite Embassy Suites St. Louis-St. Charles/Hotel & Spa is connected to the center and offers 70,000 sq. ft. of function space. Nearby attractions include Frontier Park, Historic Main Street, Ameristar Casino. Downtown St. Louis is only 20 minutes away.

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Listings A-Z Austin Convention Center................... 44

Little Rock CVB................................... 46

Boise CVB............................................. 44

Montego Bay Convention Centre........ 46

Positively Cleveland............................... 44

Visit Norfolk.......................................... 46

Connecticut Convention Center.......... 44

Oklahoma City CVB............................ 46

Cox Convention Center........................ 44

Pennsylvania Convention Center......... 50

David L. Lawrence

Rhode Island Convention Center......... 50

Convention Center................................ 44

Providence Warwick CVB.................... 50

Delta Center.......................................... 46

Rochester Riverside

Fairplex.................................................. 46

Convention Center................................ 50

John S. Knight Center........................... 46

St. Charles Convention Center............ 50

Kansas Expocentre................................ 46

Visit Savannah....................................... 50

Another Way to Frame Exhibit Space

Meet with a New Perspective ... We know you want ample meeting and hotel space, a convenient location, and a compact, walkable downtown. We’ve got all that and something more. In the Creative Capital, exhibit space becomes more than tradeshow screens and potted plants. Let us inspire you to meet with a new perspective ... in Rhode Island. Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau 401-456-0200 Meetings@GoProvidence.com GoProvidence.com

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review




Austin Convention Center 500 E. Cesar Chavez Street, Austin TX 78701 • (512) 404-4200/fax: (512) 404-4220 • www.austinconventioncenter.com


winner of the Prime Site Award every year since 1995, the Austin Convention Center, a LEED® Goldcertified building, has emerged as a leader in the convention and meeting industry. A premier facility located in the heart of the capital city’s downtown business district, the Center spans six city blocks with 370,967 sq. ft. of exhibit and meeting space. The five column-free exhibit halls, totaling 246,097 sq. ft., accommodate 1,289 10’ x 10’ exhibit booths. Seven ballrooms ranging from 3,896 to 43,300 sq. ft. in size and 54 meeting rooms, and show offices totaling over 58,000 sq. ft., complete the four-story convention center. Ample parking is provided in two parking garages with a total capacity of 1,700 spaces.

What’s New

•LEED® Gold Certification demonstrates ultimate green building leadership and signifies a model of sustainability that sets the standard in the industry. The first convention center in Texas, among two in the country, to achieve LEED® Gold certification. •A new overhead open air skyway connects the 3rd and 4th levels, making movement between Levels 3 and 4 significantly easier.


Austin offers more than 30,000 hotel rooms, with 6,000 located downtown, including the 800-room Hilton Austin adjacent to the convention center. Additional nearby hotels include: Four Seasons Hotel Austin; Courtyard by Marriott; Residence Inn by Marriott; Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown; Radisson Hotel & Suites; Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown; Driskill Hotel; Omni Austin Hotel Downtown; Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel; and the new W Austin. Austin by Night

After conventions and meetings wrap-up each night, attendees may choose to enjoy Austin’s entertainment districts — Second Street, the Warehouse District and famous Sixth Street. The Austin Convention Center is just down the street from the city’s vibrant nightlife, where visitors can also enjoy everything from fine dining in four-star restaurants, to down-home barbecue and authentic Tex-Mex. As the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin echoes with the sound of country, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, jazz and Tejano. On any given evening, one can find live music playing in nearly 200 different venues.

Technological Features

Rated one of the most technologically advanced convention centers in the country, this gigabit rated facility moves voice, video, and data at over one billion bits per second. The Center’s high-tech capabilities help create the perfect Technology Partner for the annual SXSW international convention. The facility has a proven track record of handling 7,000 simultaneous connections. It offers a variety of inhouse services including complimentary Wireless Internet access, redundant high-speed Internet II access, plug and play capabilities, and an onsite technical staff to help with networking needs. 42

Austin by Day

During the day, visitors can enjoy the capital city’s many historical attractions, including the State Capitol, the LBJ Presidential Library, the Texas State History Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, and many more museums and art galleries. Or, one can experience the beauty of central Texas, captured by downtown’s Lady Bird Lake, bordered by 10 miles of trails enjoyed by runners, walkers and cyclists. Surrounded by three lakes and a network of parks, Austin offers the perfect environment for enjoying the best of nature.

Fast Facts: Facility •Location: Downtown Austin •Total Area: spans six city blocks •Exhibit Space: 246,097 contiguous sq. ft., column free •Ballrooms: 43,300-sq.-ft. level 4; 23,418-sq.-ft. level 1 •Meeting Space: 54 meeting rooms totaling over 58,000 sq. ft. •Technology: Gigabit rated facility, wireless Internet access, plug and play capabilities Austin •Hotels: 6,000 downtown hotel rooms; adjacent 800-room Hilton Austin •Airport: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, eight miles from facility •Nearby Attractions: State Capitol, Sixth Street Entertainment District, Warehouse Entertainment District, University of Texas, LBJ Presidential Library, more than 20 museums including The Texas State History Museum, dozens of art galleries and historical attractions, Lady Bird Lake Contacts •Mark Tester, Director of Austin Convention Center Department •Paul Barnes, ACCD Assistant Director – Sales, Marketing and Events •Lisa Kidder, Director of Sales

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

When you book your next meeting at the Austin Convention Center, the movers and shakers are already here. With six entertainment districts and a safe and walkable downtown, it’s easy to enjoy our famous live music. And with more than 200 venues, honkytonks and dance halls, everybody leaves with their toes tapping.

246,000 square feet of column-free space ★ Gigabit+ bandwidth, supports up to 7,000 wireless connections ★ Awarded LEED® Gold Certification First convention center in TX

facebook.com/ AustinConventionCenter

(512) 404-4200 www.austinconventioncenter.com



Austin Convention Center

500 E. Cesar Chavez Street, Austin TX 78701 (512) 404-4200; Fax: (512) 404-4220 www.austinconventioncenter.com Director of Sales: Lisa Kidder Live Music Capital of the World A LEED® Gold certified, technologically advanced convention center. Located near downtown’s famous entertainment districts. Multi-level facility spans six city blocks, features 370,967 sq. ft. meeting/exhibit space, including 5 column-free, contiguous exhibit halls (256,097 sq. ft. of total exhibit space), 7 ballrooms (43,300 sq. ft. is largest) and 54 meeting rooms. Complimentary high-speed, high density wireless services throughout; onsite engineers; proven track record of handling 7,000 simultaneous connections. Pre-function spaces offer downtown views. New walkway connects 3rd and 4th levels. Nearby 6,000 downtown hotel rooms. PAGE 43

Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau

1199 West Main Street, Boise, ID 83702 (208) 344-7777, ext. 323 / (800) 635-5240 www.boise.org Director of Sales: Terry Kopp Boise is home to Idaho’s largest convention facility, the Boise Centre, surrounded by the BoDo shopping and dining district, as well as approximately 800 hotel rooms (5,600 citywide). The Centre offers 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and a 25,000-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall. Boise Centre has a full-service, inhouse Audio Visual Department featuring upgraded Wi-Fi and bandwidth capabilities, new digital signage throughout the facility and new carpet installation in public spaces. Major local attractions include the Basque Museum, Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, Idaho Botanical Garden and the World Center for Birds of Prey. The Boise CVB customizes its services to PAGE its clients’ needs and offers everything from brochures to bids, promotions and trips. 4



Positively Cleveland

Connecticut Convention Center

The vibrant lake-side city of Cleveland is filled with world-class arts, choice accommodations, hip eateries, bars, concert clubs, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Museum of Art. $2+ billion tourism-related development is underway – Horseshoe Cleveland Casino, Greater Cleveland Aquarium, new hotels and restaurants. Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center—opens 2013—combines permanent medical showrooms, a Class-A exhibition hall and state-of-the-art conference facilities; $465-million facility, features 270,000 sq. ft. meeting space, 35 meeting rooms, 30,000-sq.-ft.; 88,000-sq.-ft. main PAGE exhibit hall, 3,578-seats theater; 22,000 hotel rooms citywide, 4,000+ downtown.

“The Spotlight’s On The NEW Connecticut Convention Center”

100 Columbus Boulevard Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 249-6000; Fax: (860) 249-6161 www.ctconventions.com Director of Sales & Marketing: Michelle Hughes

334 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44114 (216) 875-6630/(800) 321-1001; Fax: (216) 621-5967 www.clevelandmeetings.com www.positivelycleveland.com V.P. of Sales: Dan Williams

The views are stunning, the space is immense, and the ease of booking an event is superior. 205,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibit space, dramatic riverfront setting, accessible to 23+ million people within a 2-1/2 hour drive; 19 meeting rooms; 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 180,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and a 140,000-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall; 3,200-seat ballroom. Attached to 409room Marriott Hotel; 700 hotel rooms (downtown); 6,500 rooms (within 30 miles). Attractions: The Old State House, Wadsworth Atheneum, Mystic Seaport & Marinelife Aquarium, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mohegan Sun Resort, Essex Valley Railroad. PAGE 7



SavannaH From Page 38: door will allow the convention center’s exhibit hall to accommodate large equipment and aviationoriented trade shows. Nearly 4,500 hotel rooms are available within the Historic District and more than 14,000 total hotel rooms in Savannah and the surrounding counties. Upscale properties include the 403-room Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa (35,000 sq. ft. of function space), 383-room Savannah Marriott Riverfront (36,000 sq. ft. of meeting space), 347-room Hyatt Regency Savannah (33,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) and the 246room Hilton Savannah Desoto (20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space). The Hyatt Regency Savannah refurbished all existing meeting space in the fall of 2010, including its 11,000-sq.-ft. harbor-side ballroom that overlooks the Savannah River. Upcoming hotel enhancements include a total redesign and renovation of its 351 guestrooms, which is planned for next year. 44


Cox Convention Center

One Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 (405) 602-8500; Fax: (405) 602-8505 www.coxconventioncenter.com Director of Sales and Marketing: Tim Linville Spanning more than one million sq. ft. and four city blocks, this complex is located at the heart of downtown Oklahoma City – a city both accommodating and affordable; multi-purpose venue hosts everything from intimate meetings to major conventions, tradeshows, concerts and sporting events. 27 meeting rooms; 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 100,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, 15,000-seat arena. Free Wi-Fi available; Internet access speeds up to one Gb; 1,400 of Oklahoma City’s 15,000+ hotel rooms across street. From arts and adventure to cowboy culture and family fun, Oklahoma City offers an eclectic mix of heritage and hotspots. PAGE C4


David L. Lawrence Convention Center 1000 Ft. Duquesne Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (412) 325-6174; Fax: (412) 565-6104 www.pittsburghcc.com Director of Sales & Marketing: Debbie Smucker Built Green. Working Green. Every Day!

In downtown Pittsburgh’s cultural district, within steps of theaters, cinemas, galleries, restaurants and 2,500 hotel rooms, just across the bridge from PNC Park & Heinz Field, the environmentally smart, SMG-managed, 1.5 million-sq.-ft. facility features 313,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 37 loading docks, 53 meeting rooms, a 31,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, two 250-seat theaters. The building’s dynamic architectural design offers breath-taking views, open terraces, suspended roof structure. Technology: 1Gb circuit with DS3 backup, fiber optic backbone network, multi-mode fiber, CAT6 (copper) cabling, video conferencing, wireless Internet access. PAGE 29

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review


Connecticut Convention Center 100 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT 06106 • (860) 249-6000; Fax: (860) 249-6161 • www.ctconventions.com


n the heart of a vibrant downtown in the midst of a renaissance. In the middle of a historic city at the epicenter of the largest population base in the country. There lies a destination purposefully built for meetings and conventions, neatly tucked within a region renowned for its natural beauty, history and charm. It’s not merely a convention center, but a convention kingdom! The Connecticut Convention Center is the Northeast’s newest, most ideal location for tradeshows, conventions, business meetings or any occasion that demands a dramatic riverfront setting. The Connecticut Convention Center overlooks the beautiful Connecticut River at Adriaen’s Landing, Hartford’s exciting riverfront district. Adriaen’s Landing is home to many new attractions for the Capital City. The anchor of this rapidly developing area is the beautiful 540,000-sq.-ft. Connecticut Convention Center. With over 140,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, a 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 25,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, the Connecticut Convention Center is the largest convention facility between New York and Boston. The venue also features exceptional demographics and highway access at the crossroads of New England, where Interstates 84 and 91 meet. With a prominent visual presence on Hartford’s historic skyline, the Center’s 110-foot glass atrium dramatically rises 10 stories above a grand public plaza and a treelined riverfront esplanade. The Connecticut Convention Center has been constructed to spare no detail in making every function accommodating. From offering award-winning food and beverage service led by our inhouse executive chef and culinary team, state-of-the-art rigging, wiring and WiFi to flexible spaces, abundant pre-function areas and ample onsite sheltered parking, the facility has taken every facet of hosting an event into consideration. That includes the attached AAA Four Diamond, 409-room, Marriott Hartford Downtown hotel, which offers an additional 13,500 sq. ft. of meeting space.

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

With first-rate accommodations at numerous hotels (up to 1,600 hotel rooms within Hartford and 6,500 rooms within a 15-mile radius) and unparalleled service, Hartford truly is your kingdom! The expanded Bradley International Airport is conveniently located 15 miles away. Located midway between Boston and New York and easily accessible by rail, bus or car — making it simple for travelers coming into the Greater Hartford area. Go green on New England’s first eco-friendly bio-diesel bus, the Star Shuttle, a free, public transportation service for simple access throughout the city. Also offered is the Bradley Flyer, a convenient, economical mode of transportation from the Bradley International Airport to our Capitol City. Other attractions to check out at the Adriaen’s Landing District include a 3-D movie theater or joining in on fun interactive and educational games at the Connecticut Science Center, attached by foot bridge to the Convention Center. The development of the dining and entertainment portion of Adriaen’s Landing is known as Front Street, a nostalgic reference to the bustling riverfront thoroughfare that existed in the late 1800s through the 1950s. With local culture and history around every corner, as well as celebrated attractions for every interest, the Connecticut Convention Center is the ultimate backdrop for mixing business with pleasure. The Mark Twain House & Museum and Harriet Beecher Stowe Center take visitors on a journey back in time. The Hartford Stage and Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts will entertain you, while the Connecticut Whale or UCONN athletics will have you on your feet, cheering. Downtown offers enough shops and boutiques to help you find the perfect souvenir. Afterward, stop by one of the tempting restaurants or cafes that line our city streets. With more than 40 3- and 4-star restaurants offering all types of cuisine, there is definitely a taste to satisfy any appetite! With historic roots, Hartford has a lot of culture and history to offer its visitors … come see all that we have to offer! 45




Delta Center

1101 W. McKinley Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768 (909) 623-3111; Fax: (909) 623-9599 www.fairplex.com Director of Sales: Melissa DeMonaco-Tapia

400 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53203 (414) 908-6001; Fax: (414) 908-6010 www.wcd.org Director of Sales & Marketing: Trace Goudreau tgoudreau@wcd.org

You Can Do Anything Here

Milwaukee – easy-to-get-to, easy-to-navigate, visitor-friendly meetings destinations known for its hospitality and beautiful Lake Michigan location. The Delta Center, home to the $1.4-million Burke Family Collection of integrated and commissioned art, features 32 meeting rooms, a 37,506-sq.-ft. ballroom, 189,695 sq. ft. of total exhibit space; 4,100-seat Milwaukee Theatre and 12,700-seat U.S. Cellular Arena. Ballroom equipped with built-in rigging points and high-amperage power sources, complete Wi-Fi, audio-visual, satellite, video conferencing and remote network capability throughout facility. 1,543 hotel rooms connected by skywalk; 3,359 in downtown area; 15,000+ in immediate metro area. ohio

An entertainment and convention destination; home of the world-renowned L.A. County Fair since 1922 and site of 500 consumer and trade shows annually. 487 beautifully landscaped acres with eight art deco exposition halls, onsite Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center, Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, McKinley’s Grille, Finish Line Sports Grill and Barretts Equine Sales; 25,000 sq. ft. of column-free indoor exhibit space, eight spacious exposition halls (two additional halls expand total exhibit space to 350,000+ sq. ft); 800-seat theater. major horse racing facility with a 10,000-seat grandstand and 5/8-mile race track; 244-room PAGE Sheraton Fairplex Hotel onsite. 49


John S. Knight Center

Kansas Expocentre

The Center of All America® City

The premier entertainment, exhibition and convention facility in northeast Kansas offers a convenient, central location and friendly, Midwestern hospitality; 210,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space – 44,500-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, 27,000 sq. ft. of meeting space – 15 meeting rooms, 11,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; Wi-Fi, digital video boards, in-house live video production, state-of-the-art sound; six loading docks, three drive-in entrances; Capital City of Kansas, variety of entertainment options; historical architecture and museums, spacious parks, lake, gardens, Lake Shawnee gardens/golf/boating/swimming; Great Overland Train Station; 75 percent of U.S. population capable of reaching facility in just a one-day PAGE drive; destination of choice for budget-conscious conventions and tradeshows. C3

77 East Mill Street, Akron, OH 44308 (330) 374-8900 / (800) 245-4254; Fax: (330) 374-8971 www.johnsknightcenter.org VP of Sales: Dirk Breiding

One Expocentre Drive, Topeka, KS 66612-1442 (785) 235-1986; Fax: (785) 235-2967 www.KsExpo.com General Manager: H.R. Cook, HRC@KsExpo.com

Akron – set among the rolling hills of the Old Connecticut Western Reserve and along the shores of the Ohio and Erie Canalway. The John S. Knight Center is downtown Akron’s showcase for great events. State-of-the-art video conferencing and streaming systems, onsite skilled support/service staff, full-service catering; 16 meeting rooms; 12,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 30,000-sq.-ft. exhibition hall (41,000 sq. ft. total exhibit space); 12,000 sq. ft. of banquet space; an additional 12,600 sq. ft. of meeting space; 22,000-sq.-ft. lobby, highlighted by distinctive glass rotunda and spiral staircase; two hotels – 339 rooms – within PAGE 1 1⁄2 blocks; 5,400 county-wide. 27


Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau

426 West Markham, Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 370-3224; Fax: (501) 374-2255 www.littlerock.com VP Marketing and Communications: John Mayner A capital city with a national airport, Little Rock offers non-stop or one-stop service from most of the U.S. and many international cities, as well as more than 9,000 hotel rooms citywide. Its Statehouse Convention Center Ballroom, slated for renovations at the end of this year, offers nearly 83,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and the 18,362-sq.-ft. Wally Allen Ballroom. The downtown River Market entertainment district is adjacent to the Convention Center. What is more, Little Rock CVB’s Convention Services department has recently teamed-up with Marketing and Communications to assist meeting planners with PAGE attendance stimulation through customized, technologically cutting-edge strategies. 9 virginia


232 East Main Street, Norfolk, VA 23510 (757) 664-6620 / (800) 368-3097; Fax: (757) 622-3663 www.visitnorfolktoday.com Vice President of Sales and Marketing: Donna Allen Located in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic, this compact meetings destination features hotels and convention facilities and a sparkling waterfront dotted with trendy restaurants, arts districts, museums, attractions and shopping. Waterside Convention Connection (200+ firstclass rooms/suites, 55 meeting rooms, 121,000 sq. ft. of convention space) includes Norfolk Waterside Marriott, Sheraton Norfolk Waterside, Crowne Plaza Norfolk and the Waterside Festival Marketplace; Norfolk Scope Arena (85,000 sq. ft. of meeting space). Attractions: MacArthur Center Mall, Chrysler Museum of Art, Hermitage Foundation Museum, PAGE Norfolk Tides AAA Baseball, Virginia Zoological Park. 26 46


Montego Bay Convention Centre

Rose Hall, 18 Queens Drive Montego Bay, St. James, Jamaica, West Indies (876) 622-9330; Fax: (876) 622-9360 www.mobaycentre.com Senior Sales and Marketing Manager: Michelle Parkes A World Class Convention Centre in the Heart of Jamaica Beautiful, lively island, and a memorable experience for meeting attendees; excellent hotels, inns and guests houses; good golf, superb music, strong local life and vibrant culture. Ocean front location and breathtaking views, the brand new, state-of-the-art Montego Bay Convention Centre features 132,000 sq. ft. of meeting, exhibition, ballroom, and plenary space, including: 56,788 sq. ft. of dedicated exhibition space; 18,845-sq.-ft. ballroom; 9 meeting rooms, 6,000-seat theatre. superb catering, a large, fullPAGE service kitchen within the facility and 4,000 hotel rooms within close proximity. 5


Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau

123 Park Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 (405) 297-8912 / (800) 225-5652; Fax: (405) 297-8888 www.visitokc.com Director, Convention Sales & Services: Robin O’Connor Welcome to a city that has tales for your ears and treats for your eyes. Where a streamlined airport means you’re in fast. And with the best entertainment just a few minutes’ walk from your hotel, you’re out even faster. Cox Convention Center features 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space; 27,500 sq. ft. of flexible convention and pre-convene space; a 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom (seats 4,000 theater-style); and a 15,000-seat arena (32,000 sq. ft. of floor space). Near revitalized Bricktown — new canal-side restaurants, clubs, music venues and attractions; across the street from three hotels – 1,600 of Oklahoma PAGE City’s 16,000 hotel rooms. 53

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review


DAVID L. LAWRENCE CONVENTION CENTER 1000 Ft. Duquesne Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15222 • (412) 325-6174; Fax: (412) 565-6104 • www.pittsburghcc.com


World-Class Accommodations, Global Consciousness and An awe-inspiring structure along the banks of the Allegheny

n awe-inspiring structure along the banks of the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLCC) has set a new global standard for the convergence of beauty, functionality and sustainability. Opened in 2003, the Convention Center sits on almost eight acres of land at the edge of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, which is a thriving area of shops, restaurants and theaters. With 53 meeting rooms, the Center boasts the largest ballroom in western Pennsylvania and more than 300,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space. From its sweeping stainless steel roof to an onsite water recycling system, the DLCC is a case study in sustainability and was awarded GOLD in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED ®) by the US Green Building Council. Beyond its beauty, the curved roof provides a significant amount of natural light throughout the facility, which dramatically reduces the need for costly and energy-consuming artificial light. A simple ventilation system using the laws of physics draws cool air from over the Allegheny River into the halls, providing fresh, cool air to attendees. Drawing water from the city’s fourth river, an aquifer located 50 feet beneath the building, the DLCC uses this water for the center’s air conditioning system’s cooling towers, reducing demand on the city’s water supply. In addition, the center’s grey water reclamation system filters and purifies its wastewater and recycles the water for use in its restroom commodes. Combined, these two systems enable the DLCC to reduce its municipal water usage by 75%.

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

DLCC Overview Building size: 1,500,000 sq. ft. Exhibit space: 313,400 sq. ft. Meeting room space: 109,562 sq. ft. 40,000 sq. ft. Rooftop terrace: Ballroom space: 31,600 sq. ft. Living roof terrace: 25,590 sq. ft. Indoor parking spaces: 700 Meeting rooms: 53 Loading docks: 37 A leader in sustainable design and function; some of the DLCC g1(greenfirst)® practices include: Recycling: Traditional — plastics, aluminum, glass, cardboard, paper, wood. Non-traditional — batteries, sod, water, light bulbs, food. Reducing: Bulk water use, planning local food menus, monitoring energy efficiencies and purchases renewable energy, growing vegetables and herbs on the rooftop. Reusing: Operates its own water reclamation. Purchases environmentally-friendly office supplies.



Fairplex 1101 W. McKinley Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768; (909) 623-3111 • www.fairplex.com



arlier this year, Fairplex officially opened the doors to its new high-tech Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center. Just as the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause waves around the world, the opening of the new Center is making a global impact by hosting world-class national and international programming elements in one of the most versatile and customer-friendly Southern California event locations. The new Center is also IACC certified and Silver LEED engineered in order to make maximum impact in the community but minimal impact on the environment. Since the Center’s spring debut, several organizations have already experienced its versatile floor plan and amenities. “Our team hosted more than 300 key retail partners at the new Conference Center for a product launch and they were astounded by the ‘high-end’ service and facilities at the new Fairplex Center,” said Mark Di Girolamo, Venue/National Account Management, Anheuser-Busch Inbev. This ambitious project was funded by $28 million raised in conjunction with the Economic Development Administration, Small Business Administration, County of Los Angeles and city of Pomona, and resulted in more than $155.6 million in economic impact during construction. “A conference center of this magnitude is unheard of in this area,” said Rep. Grace F. Napolitano. “This jewel of a Center will attract businesses and educational organizations to meet and empower the entrepreneurs of tomorrow to succeed.” Versatility played an important role in the design of the new 85,000-sq.-ft. Center. This can be seen in the spacious seminar rooms and breakout rooms with interactive digital white boards, videoconferencing and high-speed Wi-Fi, all serviced by an expert team of meeting and event specialists. Adding a delicious dynamic to the Center are the various catering options ranging from fresh farm-totable produce grown at the on-campus FairView Farms, to the decadent ballroom with dining capacity for 1,000. “We applaud Fairplex for its new Conference Center, a worthy and important project, which is certain to help invigorate our local economy with more than 500 new jobs and $58 million in new economic activity,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina. Among the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center’s clients are the Special Equipment Market Association (SEMA), Southern California Edison and Kaiser Permanente.


OUR CAMPUS Large column-free, air-conditioned exhibit halls ranging from 33,600 to 105,500 sq. ft. and meeting space totaling 375,000 sq. ft. Building amenities include touch-free restrooms, pre-wired exhibit halls for high-speed Internet and DSL, portable concession stands and ATMs Outside areas perfect for product demonstrations, automotive, boat and outdoor recreational shows and events Established and popular location for filming and television productions Park-like settings, fountains and beautiful landscaping throughout the grounds Five-eighths mile oval Fairplex Park horse racing track with large, grassy infield ideal for concerts, picnics and festivals and a 10,000-seat grandstand Unique barn and horse arenas for horse shows Historical art gallery and adjoining patio suitable for events and weddings Historical 40,000-seat Auto Club Raceway and 1,000-foot drag strip is an excellent location for auto testing, research, filming and driving courses Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum Onsite Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Fairplex KOA RV Park Onsite McKinley’s Grille restaurant, Finish Line Sports Grill and Avalon restaurant Barretts Equine Ltd., site of four prestigious annual national/international equine auctions Spacious parking for more than 30,000 vehicles PROXIMITY Just nine miles west of LA/Ontario International Airport Easy access to Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties Nearby dining, entertainment, theaters, art and recreational destinations

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

anything YOU CAN DO



A regional expo. A national

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than 300,000 additional square feet on a stunning 487-acre Fairplex campus. Fairplex

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thousand or a dinner for fifty. With breakout

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plan your next event & discover endless possibilites...

p - 909 622 2220 • sheraton.com/fairplex • 601 W. McKinley Ave. Pomona, CA 91768

es Media Group

s Guide Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Pennsylvania Convention Center

Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex

S e r v 1101 i c Arch e sStreet, RPhiladelphia, e s o uPAr19107 ce (215) 418-4700; (800) 428-9000; Fax: (215) 418-4861


One Sabin Street, Providence, RI 02903 Phone: (401) 458-6000; Fax: (401) 458-6500 www.riconvention.com Senior Director of Sales and Marketing: John J. McGinn, CEM


Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Convention Services: Stephanie Boyd


421 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001 (800) 525-5750; Fax: (212) 202-9638 www.urbanride.net Philadelphia – full-on fusion of old and new, historic and hip, trendy and traditional Philadelphia: The Complete Package

– historic landmarks, world-renowned dining options ranging from upscale eateries to the Chief Executive Officer: Jeremy Milikow famous cheese-steak; tax-free shopping, fast-action sports, an abundance of arts and Senior VicePhilly President: Mitch Bornstein, SVP culture. The newly expanded PCC, now more than 60 percent larger, features: 679,000 sq. ‘Leading Provider of Meeting & Event ft. totalGlobal meeting/exhibit space; 79 meeting rooms;Transportation’ a 55,400-sq-ft. ballroom; 528,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space; Wi-Fi throughout; HD digital signage throughout; in-house AV UrbanRide is a global provider of ground transportation for meetings & events, and – state-of-the-art sound, lighting and video options. PAGE usesservices the top-of-the-line sedans, SUVs, vans, minibuses and motorcoaches. We provide

our clients with IMS, our software that enables meeting planners to better manage C2 transportation for their meetings, conferences, conventions, tradeshows & other events. We work exclusively with meeting & event planners and our customer service is the best in RhodeUrbanRide Island is a one-stop solution for meeting & event transportation. the business.

Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau

Complex includes Rhode Island Convention Center, 13,000-seat Dunkin’ Donuts Center, 1,900-seat Veterans Memorial Auditorium; conveniently located in the heart of downtown Providence. Convention Center: 137,000 sq. ft. total meeting/exhibit space; main exhibit hall: 100,000 contiguous sq. ft.; 23 meeting rooms and pre-function space; 20,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; accommodates groups 10-5,000; 5,500 hotel rooms in the Greater Providence area, with 2,200 within one mile of Complex. Attractions: Culinary Arts Museum at JWU, Museum of Art at the RI School of Design, Providence Bruins (AHL Affiliate of Boston Bruins), Providence PAGE Performing Arts Center, Providence Place Mall, RI Philharmonic. 11 New York

Rochester Riverside Convention Center

144 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 456-0200; Fax: (401) 273-7046 www.GoProvidence.com Vice President of Sales & Services: Kristin McGrath, CDM Keppler Providence: TheSpeakers Creative Capital 4350 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203 Brimming with history, natural beauty and stunning architecture, Providence offers hotels, great res(703) 516-4000; Fax: (703) 516-4819 www.kepplerspeakers.com taurants, and stellar shopping all within blocks of each other. The Providence Warwick Convention & Senior VPBureau for Sales Marketing: John Truran Visitors booksand meetings, conventions, tradeshows and events of any size, working closely with planners to boost attendance, including targeted e-mail blasts, postcard mailings, Web site/microsite With Keppler Speakers, creating memorable meetings never felt so easy. With over 25 andofwelcome bannerswe throughout Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex years experience, provide city. youThe solid, seasoned expertise, making speaker selection includes RIbyConvention Center sq. ft. ofKeppler total exhibit space),saves 13,000-seat Donuts stress-free managing all of(137,000 the details. Speakers you Dunkin’ precious time by PAGE matching youthe with speakers who are right Auditorium. on target. From proven performers to dynamic Center, and 1,900-seat Veterans Memorial 41

123 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14564 (585) 232-7200; Fax: (585) 232-1510 www.rrcc.com Executive Director: Joseph A. Floreano, CFE “Do it better at the Rochester Riverside where you and your event are always the center of our attention!”

Convenient upstate N.Y. location, scenic Genesee River setting. 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibition space; 22 meeting rooms; 10,028-sq.-ft. ballroom; 49,275-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall; 5,000-seat theater; dedicated Internet connection over fiber optics; wireless access throughout facility; 1,100+ hotel rooms in a trio of major hotels connect venue, surrounded by several entertainment districts with restaurants, cafés, pubs, dance clubs, music halls, theaters. Rochester offers planners a compact PAGE convention district and New York State’s only one-stop convention facility. 55

rising stars, our speakers bring fascinating, real stories and a gift for inspiring audiences.


St. Charles Convention Center

1 Convention Center Plaza, St. Charles, MO 63303 (636) 669-3000 / (877) 986-7222; Fax: (636) 669-3001 www.stcharlesconventioncenter.com Director of Sales and Marketing: Bill Nicely Dedicated to Exceptional Service, Delivered with a Warm and Innovative Approach

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154,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space in a grand ballroom, junior ballroom and 17 breakout rooms; 27,600-sq.-ft. exhibit hall — expandable to 35,700 sq. ft. — total exhibit space: 76,533 sq. ft.; attached 296-room Embassy Suites; 578 hotel rooms within walking distance; 1,422 hotel rooms within 5 minutes; 10 minutes to Lambert St. Louis International Airport. Attractions: Historic Main Street Shopping and Dining, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Anheuser Busch Brewery, Six Flags Amusement Park, Ameristar Casino and Harrah’s Casino.





Visit Savannah

101 East Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401 (877) SAVANNAH/(912) 644-6424; Fax: (912) 644-6499 www.SavannahMeetings.com www.SavannahVisit.com VP Business Development & Services: Jeff Hewitt Savannah is a convention city capable of hosting large, high-level meetings, conventions and special events. Welcome to Savannah, est. 1733, waiting to charm you with tree-filled squares and perfectly preserved historic buildings. Savannah has the capacity to accommodate large groups in its convention, exhibit and meeting facilities, the largest being the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. Total event space: 330,000 sq. ft.; exhibit space: 100,000 sq. ft.; ballroom: 25,000 sq. ft.; pre-function space: 6,600 sq. ft.; meetings rooms: 13; 14,000 hotel rooms citywide. PAGE

Don’tGet Get Stuck Stuck ininaaFishbowl! Fishbowl! Don’t The FacilitiesMedia Media Group The Facilities Group Facilities & Destinations SuperBook

Facilities & Destinations Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review FacilitiesFacilities • Conference Planner & Destinations • Planner Guide Guide Facilities LIVE •• Facilities Booking Facilities SuperBook BookingGuide Guide Facilities & Event Management Facilities & Event Management Facilitiesonline.com www.Facilitiesonline.com 50



2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

About MONTEGO BAY CONVENTION CENTRE The pride of Montego Bay, the new Conference Centre brings serious finishing, and latticework screens. And it’s super elegant - marble tiles business to the second city and as an international convention destina- and stylish furniture. tion, it is already making an impact on the local economy. Unlike leisure The facility offers over travel, which has its peak seasons, convention business is year round 100,000 square feet of and the benefits are shared - the Centre feeds into the 5-star hotels convention and meeting along the elegant corridor and the attractions in and around the area space – all very flexible offer leisure activities for the delegates. Now open, the local business and functional. There are community has been very supportive – with the Centre being booked three main areas, and for meetings, retreats, training workshops and special events. each one can be divided up to offer several It is also becoming known as a sports venue, hosting championship options: The Exhibition events in table tennis, taekwondo and domino competitions. Church events are popular, so too are weddings which can be held on the large Hall is massive, spread over two separate buildings, it can accommodate landscaped lawns. The venue also targets the music industry, and is 6,200 theatre style, 4,700 banquet seating, or 282 booths; the Grand ideal for concerts, which can be held indoors, or in the huge paved Ballroom, carpeted with chandelier lighting, can seat 1,580 banquet style. courtyard overlooking the ocean. To date the two big events include On the west wing, another building houses 9 meeting areas, the largest the major international tourism trade shows - Caribbean Marketplace accommodating up to 600, to a small boardroom. Not overlooked in and JAPEX. Surprisingly, the room rates are very good and clients are design are the spacious pre-function lobby areas, with reception desks able to manage their budget depending on all the add-ons, such as and comfortable seating, and the large, immaculate public washrooms. audio visuals and catering. Another building, the Jamaica Room, with windows on all sides, has great The Centre is located on prime land and the complex is the first of its wall space, and is planned as an art gallery to feature ongoing exhibikind in the Caribbean - owned by the local Urban Development Corpora- tions. Then there’s the brick-tiled courtyard, which can hold 2,600 people tion, funded by a US$ 45 million loan from EXIM Bank of China and built reception, great for large outdoor parties. There is also the Ocean View by the Chinese. Well planned and designed, it is impressive in many Terrace, which can seat 1,500 banquet style. ways. Architecturally it delivers so much and incorporates several design elements. Elevated, it has a dramatic view of the coastline, with The 15,000sq. ft. kitchen, which is probably the largest, best equipped on a backdrop of the mountains; there’s the grandeur of the old Georgian island is a huge space with additional prep rooms for salads, seafood, style public buildings seen in Jamaica, with cut stone work dominating meat and pastry. Catering is a big part of the Centre’s services from the exterior, along with large green plantation style shutters, yet there coffee and tea breaks, to working lunch buffets, cocktail parties and is enough glass and chrome to give it all a very modern feel. There are 5-course banquets. Both the kitchen and Exhibition Hall also have freight the water features - narrow, long shallow pools, all calming and access. Parking is ample, with coach bays. tranquil. The interior décor has Asian-influences in the cherry wood There will be a full service business centre offering secretarial services. All the meeting rooms are soundproof, and equipped with the latest in IT facilities including fully integrated global broadcast and teleconferencing For more information | www.mobaycentre.com capabilities. There is also a team of roaming audio visual technicians. Montego Bay Convention Centre | Half Moon P.O. Box #4058, Rose Hall, St. James, JAMAICA | E: mobaysales@mobaycentre.com | T: +1 876 622 9330

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review


McNeese Fitzgerald Associates Photography


Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau 123 Park Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102; (405) 297-8912 / (800) 225-5652 Fax: (405) 297-8888 • www.visitokc.com

Meet in Oklahoma City


klahoma City’s western charm and lively atmosphere create the perfect backdrop for your next meeting, conference or convention. With a downtown urban renaissance and shimmering riverfront, a burgeoning art scene and world-class museums and entertainment, the possibilities in Oklahoma City are endless. “Oklahoma City plays host to meetings and conventions of all sizes,” said Elizabeth Richardson, Director of Convention Sales & Services. “We have experienced steady and consistent growth in the meetings and conventions business year over year and are gaining more and more recognition as a destination and future years look very strong for Oklahoma City.” The Cox Convention Center is one of the most centrally located convention centers in the nation and just across the street from three of the downtown hotels which combined offer more than 1,400 of Oklahoma City’s nearly 16,000 hotel 52

rooms. Not to mention it is just steps away from the thriving Bricktown Entertainment District. A glass-enclosed skywalk connects the adjacent Renaissance Hotel to the Cox Convention Center’s second floor, featuring an impressive 25,000-sq.ft. ballroom. Additional meeting rooms total 27,500 sq. ft. of convention and preconvene space. And the meetings bar is likely to be set even higher in the future: Oklahoma City voters approved funding to build a new $280-million downtown convention center, the largest of the eight projects approved in the city’s third Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) proposal. MAPS3 will fund the projects through the extension of an existing one-cent sales tax, making the projects debt-free upon completion. For More Information: Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau; Elizabeth Richardson, Director, Convention Sales & Services; Phone: (405) 297-8952 or (800) 225-5652; Fax: 405-297-8888; Email: erichardson@okccvb. org; Web site: www.visitokc.com

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review





RHODE ISLAND Providence, RI – The Creative Capital

Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau 144 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903 • Phone: (401) 456-0200; Fax: (401) 273-7046 • www.GoProvidence.com/VIP


rovidence, RI has all of the key ingredients that make a meeting successful – plenty of square footage, convenient hotels and ample amenities. But it’s the city’s stellar restaurants, walkable downtown, and vibrant nightlife that will make a meeting memorable. Dubbed the Creative Capital, Providence is known for its world-class dining, and eclectic arts and culture scene. Travel + Leisure readers voted Providence one of America’s Favorite Cities, ranking the city No. 2 in the U.S. for food. And as home to the world’s largest culinary educator, Johnson & Wales University, Providence reaps the rewards of having many of the school’s graduates demonstrate their culinary talents in local restaurants. Providence also boasts one of the nation’s leading art schools, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). The RISD Museum of Art, a must-see stop for visitors, houses more than 80,000 works ranging from French Impressionist paintings to contemporary multimedia art. The Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex – comprised of the Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC), the Dunkin’ Donuts Center (Dunk) and the Veterans Memorial Auditorium (The Vets) – stands in the heart of Providence within steps of hotels and things to see and do. The RICC consists of a 100,000-contiguous-sq.ft. exhibition hall, a 20,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 23 meeting rooms, and the Rotunda Room which provides spectacular views of the city. There are also two adjacent garages with 2,400 parking spaces. The Center is conveniently located within one mile of 2,200 hotel rooms, and a total of 5,500 rooms are available in the Greater Providence area. Convenience and connectivity are key features of the Complex. Ample meeting space, hotel rooms and entertainment options are all within easy reach. At one end, the Convention Center is connected via skybridge to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, the area’s premier events arena. At its other end, the RICC is attached to the 564-room Westin Hotel, and 54

Providence Place, a downtown mall offering more than 170 shopping, dining and entertainment options. The 13,000-seat Dunk is home to the AHL Providence Bruins and the Big East Providence College Friars, and hosts sporting events, major concerts, family shows, and trade shows. The Dunk features 31,000 sq. ft. of arena space, a ceiling height of 90 feet, a 25,000-sq.-ft. concourse, a new 12,000-sq.-ft. lobby, two party suites, two lodges, a new restaurant, and five renovated meeting/hospitality rooms. The Vets, a 1,900-seat theatre, is a historic performing arts venue that boasts flawless acoustics, a breathtaking proscenium stage, and now, following a multi-million dollar renovation, a backstage that will leave performers feeling pampered. The Vets is also available for elegant corporate events, speaking engagements and more. Located between New York City and Boston, Providence is within easy reach by plane, train or car. About 25 percent of the United States’ population lives within 500 miles of the city. The Amtrak train station is located within walking distance of the Complex, and offers rail service throughout the Northeast Corridor. Nearby Warwick, RI features miles of scenic coastline and additional hotel, dining, shopping and entertainment choices. For those flying into Rhode Island, Warwick’s T.F. Green Airport is just 10 minutes from downtown Providence. The airport’s eco-friendly InterLink hub provides passengers with an array of transportation options. Conveniently housing a rental car facility, public transportation options, and rail service to Providence, Boston and beyond, the InterLink offers travelers ease, affordability and accessibility. The award-winning Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau is eager to work with planners to make their next meeting or convention a success. Whether exploring exhibit space at a trade show or at a gallery opening, or meeting in or stepping out on a ballroom floor, attendees can meet with a new perspective ... in Rhode Island.

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

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The Buckeye State


By F&D Staff

n the meetings industry, Ohio’s cities lack the cachet of an Orlando or a Las Vegas, but this classic Midwestern state should not be overlooked as a great second-tier option. For one, it’s very marketable as a major contributor to Americana, as well as politics and business. Ohio, whose name derives from the Iroquois word for “great river,” is bounded by Lake Erie to the north and the Ohio River to the south, and is a focal point of Native American history. The state is a more modern “Mother of Presidents” than Virginia, with native sons including Ulysses S. Grant and William Howard Taft. And on the business front it is a strong performer to this day, particularly in manufacturing 56

and finance. The state has been ranked second in the nation for best business climate by Site Selection magazine, and boasted the seventh-highest GDP of all 50 states in 2010, when it enjoyed a GDP growth rate of 2.7 percent. Last year, Ohio’s GDP grew by 1.1 percent, trailing the national average of 1.5 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Association and corporate planners can do their part to keep Ohio’s economy on track by booking meetings in this accessible, All-American state, and in the process they’ll benefit from a wealth of top-notch (and affordable) meeting facilities, offsite venues and recreational offerings, from Akron to 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

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Cincinnati at dusk

Toledo. Highlights include the burgeoning city of Cincinnati, which is investing millions in downtown development projects that will include new venue options for groups. And in Cleveland, home of the iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, hotel development is rockin’ with an additional 933 hotel rooms soon to be available downtown and in the University Circle area, thanks to the city’s $2 billion visitor-related development project across Northeast Ohio. Meanwhile, Columbus, the state capital and the country’s 15th-largest city, is not to be outdone with the brand-new Hilton Columbus Downtown debuting this year. The property is connected by sky bridge to the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

known as a technologically leading-edge facility throughout the meetings industry. But that’s no surprise, given that Columbus itself is an avant-garde city, befitting the eponymous explorer of the New World. The city is home to the world’s largest private R&D foundation in science and technology, the Battelle Memorial Institute, not to mention CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service), the world’s largest clearinghouse of chemical information, and the nation’s largest campus, OSU. A meeting can only benefit by taking place in such a thriving intellectual climate. And yet, Columbus is just one of Ohio’s robust mid-market cities. 57

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The Center of All America® City is appropriately named, as a three-time All America® City winner. Settled among the rolling hills of the Old Connecticut Western Reserve and along the shores of the Ohio and Erie Canalway, Akron boasts a rich heritage reflected in the ethnicity, lifestyles and social diversity of its residents and visitors. A leading world center in polymer research, Akron continues to play an innovative role in science, industry and medicine. Meeting planners have at their disposal the John S. Knight Center, complemented by more than 5,400 hotel rooms countywide.

John S. Knight Center

Akron’s convention center (www.johnsknightcenter.org) features an exhibition hall of 30,000 sq. ft., 12,000 sq. ft. of banquet space, an additional 12,600 sq. ft. of meeting space across 16 meeting and breakout rooms, and a 22,000-sq.ft. lobby highlighted by a distinctive glass rotunda and spiral staircase. Total exhibit space is 41,000 sq. ft. On the technological front, the center features state-of-the-art video conferencing and streaming systems, wireless Internet connectivity, state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and an infrared communications system for the hearing impaired. Other venue features include an onsite culinary department and a parking deck with skywalk access. 58

Staying There

Within one and a half blocks of John S. Knight Center are 339 guestrooms across two hotel properties: the Quaker Square Inn at the University of Akron (60,000 sq. ft. of convention space), built within the framework of the former Quaker Oats factory, and the Akron City Centre Hotel (16,000 sq. ft. of meeting space).

Getting There

Downtown Akron is 11 miles from Akron-Canton Airport, and 30 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. State Route 8, known as the Akron Expressway between city limits, begins at an interchange with I-76 and I-77 just southeast of Akron’s central business district.

Itinerary Tips

Cultural Attractions: Akron Art Museum, Akron Civic Theatre, Summit Artspace, Northside Arts District Recreation: Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio’s only national park), Lock 3 Park, Ohio and Erie Canalway Towpath Trail, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Akron Zoo, Hale Farm & Village, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

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Cincinnati is a city with an eye to the future and a foothold in the past. It has invested $150 million over the last five years in revitalizing Over-The-Rhine, the nation’s largest urban historic district, located north of downtown. Yet it has also recently invested $500 million in a major new mixed-use development to the south: The Banks. Situated between the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals stadiums, The Banks incorporates residential units, office space, dining, and leisure and entertainment venues, with current and future tenants including 11 independent and new-tomarket restaurants. The development also connects the Central Business District to the waterfront via a scenic riverfront park. Overall, Cincinnati offers attendees a wealth of lodging, dining and entertainment options. Within five blocks of its Duke Energy Convention Center are 3,000 hotel rooms, 75 restaurants and 200 shops, many of which are in Fountain Square, just two blocks from the convention center.

What’s New

• Beginning of development of Phase II of The Banks. • Early 2013 will see the grand opening of the downtown Horseshoe Casino in the revitalized Broadway Commons District. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

• New hotels include 21c Museum Hotel (a 160-room boutique hotel), a 200-room Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites, and a Hilton-brand hotel in the historic Cincinnati Enquirer building. In addition, a Hyatt Regency Cincinnati renovation was recently announced. • The just-completed renovation of the eight-acre Washington Park includes the addition of a 500-space underground parking garage. Construction is under way for the 45-acre Smale Riverfront Park. • Also breaking ground this year is the $110-million Streetcar Project running from the downtown central riverfront to the revitalized Over-the-Rhine district.

Duke Energy Convention Center

Cincinnati’s convention center is located in the heart of downtown, just blocks from I-71 and I-75 and only 10 minutes from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The facility offers 750,000 sq. ft. of total meeting space including 31 meeting rooms, a 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 200,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space. Prestige AV & Creative Services is the preferred in-house audiovisual services partner, while Smart City provides extensive event technology services.

Staying There

Major downtown hotels include the 872-room Millennium 599

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Hotel Cincinnati (27,000 sq. ft. of meeting space); the 561room, AAA Four Diamond Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza (40,423 sq. ft. of meeting space); the 486-room Hyatt Regency Cincinnati (33,324 sq. ft. of meeting space); and the 456-room Westin Hotel Cincinnati (32,000 sq. ft. of meeting space).

Getting There

Downtown Cincinnati is 12 miles to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Major highways are I-71, 74 and 75.

Itinerary Tips

Cultural Attractions: Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, Harriet Beecher Stowe House, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Taft Museum of Art Sightseeing: BB Riverboats, Queen City Riverboats, observation deck at Carew Tower


The vibrant lake-side city of Cleveland is filled with worldclass arts, choice accommodations, trendy eateries and clubs, and top-notch attractions like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, PlayhouseSquare Theater District and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. More than $2 billion worth of tourism-related development is under way, bringing a new convention center and multiple new hotels and restaurants to the city. Groups will find a logistically convenient selection of hotels in Greater Cleveland, which offers a total of 22,000 guestrooms, with more than 4,000 of them located downtown. The majority of downtown hotels are within a short walk of the convention center and downtown attractions, while suburban properties are only a 15-20 minute drive away. In addition, more than 20 hotels housing some 3,100 rooms are located near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

What’s New

• After $22 million in renovations, the Tudor Arms Hilton Doubletree has been transformed into the 11-story, 157room Hilton Doubletree at University Circle, offering 3,772 sq. ft. of meeting space. • Opening next spring will be the 150-room Courtyard by Marriott in University Circle (2,000 sq. ft. of meeting space), the 150-room Aloft Hotel Cleveland Downtown (3,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) and the 161-room Kimpton Hotel Downtown Cleveland (7,400 sq. ft. of meeting space). • The former Crowne Plaza Cleveland City Centre located downtown closed in November and will reopen as the 472600

room Westin Cleveland Convention Center Hotel with 25,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

The Cleveland Convention Center & Medical Mart

Set to open in July 2013, Cleveland’s new convention center (www.clevelandmedicalmart.com) will combine permanent medical showrooms, a Class-A exhibition hall and stateof-the-art conference facilities tailored to the needs of both the medical and mainstream marketplace. The $465-million facility, which is LEED Silver-certified, also will feature a 30,000-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom offering panoramic views of Lake Erie. The CCC will house 319,099 sq. ft. of meeting space, including 35 meeting rooms, a 32,193-sq.-ft. ballroom and 225,928 sq. ft. of total exhibit space. Also on premises will be a 3,360-seat theater. Advanced tech features include wireless connectivity, multi-site video conferencing, highdefinition display systems, technology labs and intelligent classrooms.

The International Exposition (I-X) Center

The International Exposition (I-X) Center (www.ixcenter. com) is one of the largest single-building exposition centers in the world, offering more than one million sq. ft. of exhibit space and parking for up to 7,200 vehicles. The center’s total exhibit space is 845,000 sq. ft., and it houses 26 meeting rooms, a 16,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and a 1,000seat theater. Meeting space tech features include computer, Internet and AV facilities, and an outdoor ExpoTron video 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

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(Left): An artist’s rendering of the Medical Mart at the Cleveland Convention Center. (Above): The I-X Center.

meeting space), the 293-room Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade (over 7,000 sq. ft. of meeting space), the 252room Embassy Suites Cleveland-Downtown (10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) and the 205-room Wyndham Cleveland at PlayhouseSquare (13,000 sq. ft. of meeting space). University Circle is home to the 299-room Intercontinental Hotel & Conference Center Cleveland (over 28,000 sq. ft. of meeting space), among other upscale properties. display towering 50 feet in the air with dual-sided screens 47 ft. wide by 40 ft. tall.

Kalahari Resort

Kalahari Resort (www.kalahariresorts.com) in nearby Sandusky offers 215,000 sq. ft. of space for trade shows, exhibitions, conventions, conferences, faith-based retreats and other gatherings. All events at Kalahari are complemented by the resorts’ authentic, African-themed décor, creative onsite planning services and a wealth of onsite activities. Kalahari Resort features more than 890 guestrooms and suites, 11 food and beverage outlets, four retail shops, and a world-class spa all under one roof. The resort offers 215,000 sq. ft. of function space (after a recent $22-million expansion added 120,000 sq. ft.), which includes 67,255 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 38,232-sq.-ft. ballroom and 39 meeting rooms. Meeting space tech features include complimentary Wi-Fi in all guestrooms, meeting spaces, exhibition areas and common areas; Internet bandwidth speeds up to 100Mb/s throughout resort with capacity to increase to 1 Gb/s; and state-of-the-art lighting and AV controls along with numerous built-in hi-lumen/Hi-Def projectors and monitors.

Staying There

Major downtown hotels include the 400-room Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center (22,378 sq. ft. of meeting space), the 379-room Doubletree by Hilton Cleveland Downtown/Lakeside (over 10,000 sq. ft. of 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Getting There

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) offers more than 250 daily departures to more than 75 nonstop destinations across the U.S. to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. CLE is the Midwest hub for United Airlines and is a 15-20 minute drive to downtown Cleveland.

Itinerary Tips

Cultural Attractions: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Pro Football Hall of Fame, PlayhouseSquare (second-largest performing arts center in the country) and a variety of venues in University Circle (Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Institute of Music and Severance Hall) Recreation: Horseshoe Casino Cleveland, Cedar Point (ranked “Best Amusement Park in the World” for 13 consecutive years by Amusement Today), Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Entertainment Districts: East 4th Street (House of Blues, Hilarities comedy club, Flannery’s Irish Pub, Chef Michael Symon’s Lola); Historic Warehouse District (unique coffee shops, specialty boutiques); Historic Gateway District (Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena, hosting a variety of sporting events); Little Italy; historic Tremont (blue-collar neighborhoods with rich cultural heritage); Ohio City (located across the Cuyahoga River and west of downtown, home to ethnic eateries and Victorian-era homes) 61

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Ohio’s capital and largest city is a progressive, warm and friendly destination with a renowned convention center. Named among the most affordable U.S. tradeshow destinations, Columbus is celebrating its bicentennial this year and is home to a variety of attractions, including the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Triple A Clippers baseball team, Short North Arts District and more. Nearly 26,000 hotel rooms citywide allow meeting groups to experience the best Columbus has to offer.

What’s New

• The 532-room Hilton Columbus Downtown, connected by deluxe sky bridge to the convention center, opened in October with 30,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Other surrounding hotels have been recently renovated. • The Greater Columbus Convention Center includes recently renovated restrooms and an expanded West Garage. It has also recently launched a set of state-of-theart mobile applications (see box).

Greater Columbus Convention Center

Managed by SMG, the 1.7 million-sq.-ft. GCCC (www. columbusconventions.com) is one of the busiest convention centers in North America and home to the 74,000-sq.ft. Battelle Grand, the largest multipurpose ballroom in Ohio, with LED ceiling lighting capable of multiple color combinations. A Prime Site Award winner, the GCCC is located in the midst of a vibrant entertainment district, close to Port Columbus International Airport and connected to five hotels. The facility offers 3,370 parking spaces with 10,000 more within two blocks. The GCCC’s 410,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, served by 33 loading

docks and three drive-in ramps, includes a 336,000-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall and three other contiguous exhibit halls. Also available is the 25,000-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom and 15,000-sq.-ft. Terrace Ballroom. Overall meeting space is 107,410 sq. ft. across 65 meeting rooms. Among its tech features is facility-wide wireless Internet access dedicated (100Mbps network with DS3 backup, CAT-5e and CAT-6 wired) and online ordering of exhibitor services.

Staying There

Hotels serving the GCCC include the 633-room, recently renovated Hyatt Regency Columbus (over 70,000 sq. ft. of function space), 532-room Hilton Columbus Downtown (30,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) and the 375-room Crowne Plaza Columbus-Downtown (10,247 sq. ft. of meeting space). There are 3,788 hotel rooms in downtown Columbus, with 2,950 committable.

Getting There

Distance from midtown to the Port Columbus International Airport is seven miles. The major highways serving Columbus are I-670, I-71, I-270 and I-70.

Itinerary Tips

Columbus is home to a variety of intriguing districts


The SMG-managed Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) hosted an estimated 2.5 million visitors in 2011. Many of those visitors increasingly rely on mobile apps to find their way around unfamiliar facilities and destinations. Catering to this trend, the GCCC has launched a set of state-of-the-art mobile applications for iPhone, iPad and Android. Built by SwiftMobile of Cambridge, MA, the free apps will give GCCC visitors a tool for navigating the 1.7 million-sq.-ft. facility, and for getting around Columbus, by offering venue floor plans and basics, area maps, local business listings and transportation information. The GCCC has also launched an innovative app upgrade program, which enables event planners to customize the apps with their branding, agenda, attendee profiles, show floor maps, exhibitor directories and more. Some customizations are offered free of charge. For a competitive price, more advanced upgrades, such as opportunities for event planners to sell mobile sponsorships and advertising, are available. Visit www.columbusconventions.com for more information. 62

2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

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and neighborhoods. The Short North Arts District was referred to as “the premier arts district in the nation” in a story recently published in The New York Times. The Arena District is home to Nationwide Arena, where the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets play, plus the award-winning Huntington Park home of the Columbus Clippers baseball team and a variety of bars and restaurants. Other major areas include the Historic German Village, the Brewery District, the Discovery District, the Scioto Mile and University District, including The Ohio State University campus and the Wexner Center for the Arts. Columbus is also home to COSI science center, Franklin Park Conservatory, the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus Commons, Easton Town Center, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, as well as dozens of restaurants within walking distance of the GCCC.


From world-class meeting facilities to attractions and dining options to keep attendees feeling inspired and energized, Toledo is a solid option for Ohio-bound groups. Offering 7,500 hotel rooms citywide, the city is not only known as “the Crossroads of America” due to its central Midwestern location, but also happens to be the “Water Recreation Capital of the Midwest” and overlooks more than 200 acres of scenic Maumee River waterfront. Here, planners have at their disposal unique venues such as the historic Valentine Theatre and the close-to-nature Nairobi Events Pavilion.

SeaGate Convention Centre

Toledo’s convention center, “Where Fun and Function Meet,” offers 75,000 sq. ft. of column-free exhibit space that can be divided into three 25,000-sq.-ft. halls. Twenty-five fully

appointed meeting rooms offer the latest technology and are complemented by 20,000 sq. ft. of pre-function space.

Staying There

The downtown area features the 399-room Park Inn Hotel (nearly 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; connected to the convention center) and the 240-room Grand Plaza Hotel (17,000 sq. ft. of meeting space).

Getting There

The distance from midtown to Toledo Express Airport is 10 miles. Ohio Turnpike and I-75 are the major highways.

Itinerary Tips

Cultural Attractions: Toledo Museum of Art & Glass Pavilion, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Huntington Center Recreation and Dining: Toledo Zoo, Fifth Third Field, Hollywood Casino, Toledo Raceway, Toledo Botanical Gardens, Tony Packo’s Café

Advertiser Index Montego Bay Akron/Summit CVB................................ 27 Convention Centre....................................5 Austin Convention Center..................... 43 Visit Norfolk............................................. 26 Boise CVB...................................................4 Oklahoma City CVB............................... 53 Positively Cleveland..................................3 Philadelphia CVB...........................Cover 2 Connecticut Convention Center.............7 Rhode Island Cox Convention Center................Cover 4 Convention Center................................. 11 David L. Lawrence Providence Warwick CVB...................... 41 Convention Center................................. 29 Rochester Riverside Fairplex.................................................... 49 Convention Center................................. 55 Kansas Expocentre........................Cover 3 Visit Savannah......................................... 39 Little Rock CVB..........................................9 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review


CLOsing Thoughts

When Conventions Care BY David Korn

Chief Operating Officer, Facilities Media Group


arly autumn in New York City the recent economic downturn. As follows a similar pattern every year. tradeshows break down, bringing n a recent Boston Globe article, a A couple of the seasonal changes promotional material back to the I notice regularly are baseball playoffs office is not always conventional. tradeshow attendee was quoted starting to capture the attention of Much of the material left behind the tabloids and traffic increasing as is trashed. In a recent Boston Globe as saying that he had “seen 20 millions of area children head back to article, a tradeshow attendee was school. quoted as saying that he had “seen or 30 backpacks just sitting on Some of the back-to-school events 20 or 30 backpacks just sitting on benches …” and he “would in my home include bemoaning benches …” and he “would rather see the “abrupt” end of our children’s them given away than just thrown rather see them given away than summers, arranging carpools for away.”  Helping the environment and various extracurricular activities and just thrown away.” completing school supply lists yet to be community, the Massachusetts fulfilled. Then life gradually gets back Convention Center Authority into its groove — or at least it is supposed to!  (MCCA) stations bright blue bins around its tradeshow floor Until Election Day, presidential candidates will debate as part of its “Community Assistance by Responsible Events whether or not things are better in the U.S. compared to four Program” (also called CONVENTIONS C.A.R.E.). Product years ago. Their discourse, however, is lost on many children donation stations are used to collect backpacks, pens and other whose focus is returning to school. Getting to their school may office supplies for students, as well as a comprehensive list of be a simple endeavor, but being loaded up with supplies for their other materials benefiting charities. Contents are sorted and education is not. Independent surveys project that the costs for donated to local nonprofit organizations that assist needy children’s school supplies will increase approximately 14 percent residents in the Boston community. this season over last year.  Facilities Media Group applauds the MCCA for its efforts During the summer it came to our attention that one to give back to its community and benefit the environment. of our Prime Site Award winners was doing something May CONVENTIONS C.A.R.E. inspire other facilities to to help children who have been especially hindered by bolster their own corporate social responsibility programs.



Providence From Page 36: eco-friendly InterLink hub, which houses a rental car facility, public transportation options, and rail service to Providence, Boston and beyond. About 2,200 hotels rooms are within one mile of The Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex, which includes the RICC (www.riconvention.com), the Dunkin’ Donuts Center (Dunk), and the Veterans Memorial Auditorium (The Vets), and is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Providence. The RICC offers 167,000 sq. ft. of function space including 137,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 20,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 23 meeting rooms. Surrounding the center is Downcity Providence, home to world-class dining and a variety of theaters and performing arts venues. Major local attractions include the Providence Performing Arts Center, Culinary Arts Museum at JWU, Festival Ballet Providence and sporting events (Providence Bruins, Providence College Friars Basketball). For a taste of Italy, attendees will want to head to Providence’s Federal Hill, named “One of the Five Best Little Italys in the U.S.” by celebrity Chef Mario Batali. Federal Hill has more than 100 restaurants and shopping boutiques. 64


Rochester From Page 37: lobby and restaurant; the 460room Radisson Rochester Riverside Hotel (30,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) has redone its meeting room level as well as some of its guestrooms; the Rochester Plaza Hotel & Conference Center (30,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) has just started Phase I renovation of all public spaces and 250 of its 362 guestrooms (Phase II will include the remainder of the guest rooms); and the former Strathallan Hotel, now Strathallan a Doubletree by Hilton, has updated its more than 150 rooms, added an indoor swimming pool and restaurant, and will now provide exclusive suites and meeting rooms on its 9th floor with dramatic skyline views of Rochester. Additionally, plans have recently been announced for a 106-room Hilton Garden Inn on East Main Street, steps from the Rochester Riverside Convention Center (RRCC). This new property will include a bar and restaurant, pool and fitness center, meeting rooms, and a business center. Both the Hyatt and the Radisson are connected to the RRCC (www.rrcc.com), located alongside the Genesee River. The center houses 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 10,028-sq.-ft. ballroom and a 5,000-seat theater. 2012 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review

Professional services and amenities, with friendly, Midwestern hospitality.

The Kansas Expocentre brings together everything you need in a convenient, central location. With 75% of the U.S. population capable of reaching our facility in just a one-day drive, the Expocentre is quickly becoming the destination of choice for budget-conscious conventions and tradeshows. Sample our hospitality by calling Gracie Moore at 785.235.1986, or take a peek around our facilities at www.KsExpo.com.

Topeka, Kansas

Profile for Facilities Media Group

Facilities & Destinations 2012 Mid-Market Review  

F&D's mid market review, providing an in-depth examination of value-driven second and third tier destinations.

Facilities & Destinations 2012 Mid-Market Review  

F&D's mid market review, providing an in-depth examination of value-driven second and third tier destinations.

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