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Facilities &Destinations Community Service Projects for Groups 1 7

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Mid-Market Review Virginia Beach: Celebrating its 50th anniversary and a revitalized meetings infrastructure 38

Spain’s Balearics: Four incentivizing islands 50

SmithBucklin’s David Weil on tradeshow trends 24

Jeff Hewitt of Visit Savannah


For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals



For information about booking your next event, contact our sales team at 1.888.222.3683 or visit us at meetinac.com

The Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority is proud to be accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of the Destination Marketing Association International.

Facilities &Destinations 2013



For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals

Mid-Market Review

Columns Looking Ahead...................................................................................2 Caffin’s Corner....................................................................................4 Viewpoint............................................................................................4 Designing Community Projects, by Nancy J. Zavada....................17 Second Tier, First Class, by Idan Keren...........................................18 Getting Strategic About SMMPs, by Deborah Borak....................20 A Roadmap to Great Marketing Events, by Scott Cullather.........22 Elite Awards Ballot..............................................................................5 Prime Site Meeting Hotel Awards Ballot........................................43 Awards of Excellence Ballot.............................................................58 Upfront Convention Center Watch, Hotel Watch, F&D International Leading Edge: Barbara Steinfeld................................................ 6-16 State-of-the-Industry Q&A Tools of Engagement: Optimizing the Attendee Experience Through Content, Technology and Logistics.................................24




Hot List Sports-Themed Meeting Venues....................................................26 On Location Virginia Beach...................................................................................38 Puerto Rico........................................................................................44 Spain’s Balearic Islands.....................................................................50

F&D Mid-Market Review

Second-Tier Stars..........................................................................27 2013 Mid-Market Gallery Austin..............................................................................................30 Colorado Springs..........................................................................31 Hartford..........................................................................................32 Oklahoma City...............................................................................33 Phoenix...........................................................................................34 Pittsburgh.......................................................................................35 Providence.....................................................................................36 Savannah........................................................................................37 Photoview AIBTM................................................................................................72 F&D: Sites & Cities Directory ..................................................................................... 55-70 Ad Index............................................................................................72




Facilities &Destinations




Mid-Market Review

Another Storm at the Javits Center



he latest Facilities & Destinations SuperBook featured New York City’s Prime Site Award-winning Jacob K. Javits Convention Center’s laudable role on the front lines of the response to the disaster wreaked on the region by last year’s “Superstorm” Sandy. The Javits Center has returned to the news recently, this time as the field of battle for a political storm. During the midsummer, pressure applied by New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo manipulated the scheduling at the Javits Center, granting preferred dates in January 2015 to the New York Boat Show. In addition, a second show on the Hudson River in September was added to the facility’s schedule. Cuomo’s move, according to The New York Times, was initiated at the request of a boating industry executive who detailed the economic impact of his industry to the State — reportedly $2.4 billion annually — and beseeched the Governor to obtain the more favorable dates to benefit his industry and the state’s economy. What was meant to be a “shot in the arm” to the boating industry resulted in a slap in the face to exhibitors whose shows were slated for the favorable dates but had to be moved. A lobbying group consisting of more than 50 tradeshows and organizations called Friends of Javits was formed, and decried the Governor’s decision. Friends of Javits made poignant arguments supporting their position. Claiming that “longstanding policy” at the Javits Center has been that exhibition dates “were chosen based on tax revenue generation for the City and State of New York, as well as economic opportunity for the New York hotel, restaurant and transportation sectors,” Friends of Javits concluded that it made no sense to give the Boat Show preferential treatment, as it “has seen attendance precipitously drop more than 30 percent over the past three years, even before Superstorm Sandy.” The lobbying group asserted that the five shows impacted by the Governor’s move had over 100,000 hotel room nights in the last year, and the Boat Show’s mostly local attendees do not generate much revenue for the City and State. Not surprisingly, Javits Center officials, whose appointments are dictated by the Governor, have sided with the Boat Show. If indeed Boat Show-related sales tax generates a significant part of the estimated $2.4 billion of economic impact noted earlier, then it is quite possible there is merit to the decision. Nevertheless, the justification for the decision could have been communicated more effectively. Insufficient dialogue between the parties has resulted in acrimony, hurt business tourism for the City in the short term, and sent a troubling message to the tradeshow industry. Let’s hope that governments use their leverage with a lighter hand in the future, and the event organizers at the Javits Center and beyond need not have to contemplate how sacred their show date agreements with government-owned facilities actually are. – David Korn Chief Operating Officer, Facilities Media Group dkorn@facilitiesonline.com


For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals

Volume 22 No. 2

Chief Operating Officer David Korn Associate Publisher Michael Caffin Editorial Director George Seli Contributing Editors Anthony Bilden Debi Lander Rosa Laufer Creative Direction & Design Scott-Goodman Associates Circulation Manager Winny Cheung Business Operations Nadia Derelieva © Copyright 2013 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.



Jeff Hewitt, Vice President of Business Development, Visit Savannah, notes that the city has enjoyed three consecutive years of growth in group bookings. For more developments in some of the country’s top midmarket cities, see our Mid-Market Review feature on page 27.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


AND THIS IS YOUR KINGDOM. For centuries, Connecticut has been a haven for revolutionary thinkers. A place of great history, beauty and energy that attracts leaders, cultivates courageous ideas and inspires bold deeds. Where better than in its heart - at the epicenter of the largest population base in the country - to purposefully create a destination for people to meet. 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

Caffin’s o r n e r


Top-Notch Mid-Market Cities . . . and Meeting Professionals

ach of the cities chosen to be examined in our Mid-Market Review special section boasts a vibrant meetings infrastructure and most importantly, impeccable service to planners. Those aspects have resulted in a long history of successful events for Austin, Hartford, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Providence, Savannah and Colorado Springs. Yet each town also has unique features that make it stand out in the midmarket, from Colorado Springs’ majestic scenery to Savannah’s classic architecture to Austin’s live music scene. Along with Virginia Beach (see page 38),


Little Rock (see page 11) and Rochester (see Back Cover), these cities are among the country’s best value-added site choices in the eyes of the meeting planners they work with, some of who share their comments in our review. Also look for insights from CVB leaders on the state of their city’s group business and new local developments. Speaking of industry professionals, we are introducing a new award in this issue, F&D’s Elite Awards (see facing page). Please take a moment to make your nominations. The winners will be announced in our 2013-2014 F&D Planner Guide issue in the early winter. I would like to hear from you. Find me on Facebook, follow me @MichaelCaffin on Twitter, or email me. Looking forward to seeing you at the upcoming IMEX America show in Las Vegas in Oct., and at the IAEE Expo! Expo! in Houston in Dec. – Michael Caffin Associate Publisher, Facilities Media Group mcaffin@facilitiesonline.com

acilities & Destinations staff enjoyed several memorable and productive business trips during summer 2013, including visits to Virginia Beach, Orlando, Puerto Rico and Chicago, where The Americas Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exposition was held in June. After spending 2011 and 2012 in Baltimore, AIBTM relocated to the Windy City to take advantage of its widespread appeal in the meetings industry, not to mention McCormick Place’s wealth of space. And the results were impressive. According to AIBTM officials, approximately 1,000 hosted buyers attended the show, about a 30 percent increase over last year, as well as 50 new exhibitors for a record total of 707 (see AIBTM Photoview, page 72). “McCormick Place and Choose Chicago [the city’s official DMO] work hand in hand. They have a fabulous venue first off, and then a great staff to make it easy for us to get all the things done that we needed to,” said Exhibition Director Michael Lyons, whom I spoke with in the weeks leading up to the show. No doubt AIBTM and its attendees will also be pleased with Orlando, next summer’s site. Of course, AIBTM’s move does not detract from the value proposition of mid-market cities such as Baltimore, which have plenty to offer planners. For example, groups

meeting at the Prime Site Award-winning Baltimore Convention Center are near the city’s renowned Inner Harbor and historic Little Italy, and just a 20-minute drive from BWI Airport. This year’s F&D Mid-Market Review showcases the virtues of many other cities that should not be overshadowed by their first-tier counterparts. And most importantly, we update you on what’s new with these “Second-Tier Stars,” which are always striving to further improve their meetings product. For a planner’s perspective on these destinations, I encourage you to read the site recommendations of Idan Keren, senior director of OKT Meeting (page 18). Another highlight in this issue is a Q&A with David Weil, Vice President, SmithBucklin Event Services (page 24). According to this veteran tradeshow and convention organizer, the quality of the attendee’s experience is paramount, and thus there is a need to “attract products, services and companies that are releasing innovative ideas” and to “structure the meeting in a way that allows for idea exchange.” If not, the event likely will not stand out from its competition. “When you look at the industry calendar every year,” Lyons observed, “there are dozens of events going on, and we can’t go to all of them; we have to make choices. Each buyer and each exhibitor has to figure out where they’re going to go this year, and where is their money and time is best spent.” I expect our readers’ time will be well spent perusing this latest installment of the Mid-Market Review. It might even inspire a new, value-added site choice for your future events. – George Seli Editorial Director, Facilities Media Group gseli@facilitiesonline.com


Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


Chicago and Baltimore: Each Is a Planner’s Kind of Town

I n t r o d u ci n g

Facilities & Destinations’

Elite Awards A meeting industry professional’s job is multifaceted. To truly shine, it takes a broad skill set, the kind of network that only comes with many years of experience, and oftentimes industry-specific advanced education. CVB executives must thoroughly know cities and the latest marketing techniques, planners must deliver memorable meetings and incentives on tight budgets, and tradeshow managers must be adept at myriad ways to maximize ROI for their attendees and exhibitors. On top of these “musts,” some professionals even find time to contribute to their field by participating in meeting industry associations, giving talks, writing articles in trade publica-

tions and more. Beginning with this year’s Planner Guide, Facilities & Destinations will be honoring our industry’s overachievers with the new Elite Awards. We encourage our esteemed readers to make nominations for CVB Executive of the Year, Convention Center Executive of the Year, Meeting Hotel Executive of the Year, Association Meeting Planner of the Year, Corporate Meeting Planner of Year and Tradeshow Manager of the Year. Who among your colleagues and business partners is making an especially strong contribution to today’s vibrant meetings industry? Cast your vote today.

NOMINATION FORM CVB Executive of the Year

Corporate Meeting Planner of the Year

1. Name:_____________________________________________

1. Name:_____________________________________________



2. Name:_____________________________________________

2. Name:_____________________________________________



Convention Center Executive of the Year

Tradeshow Manager of the Year

1. Name:_____________________________________________

1. Name:_____________________________________________



2. Name:_____________________________________________

2. Name:_____________________________________________



Meeting Hotel Executive of the Year 1. Name:_____________________________________________ Company:__________________________________________ 2. Name:_____________________________________________ Company:__________________________________________

Association Meeting Planner of the Year 1. Name:_____________________________________________ Company:__________________________________________ 2. Name:_____________________________________________ Company:__________________________________________

Nominated By: Name, Title:___________________________________________ Organization:_________________________________________ Phone:_______________________________________________ Email:________________________________________________ May we contact you?  Yes____ No____ Please Fill Out Form & Mail Your Vote To:

Facilities & Destinations Elite Awards 152 Madison Avenue, Suite #802, New York, NY 10016 or Fax to: (212) 213-6382 or email ballots@facilitiesonline.com

UpFront Convention Center Watch The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) has completed $20 million in recent improvements to the Las Vegas Convention Center, including a more modern faรงade, parking lot expansion, over one million sq. ft. of new carpeting, and upgraded lighting fixtures in the Central and North Halls . . . This summer, the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority (PCCA) approved the selection of SMG to privately manage and operate the Pennsylvania Convention Center as part of a coordinated effort to improve the customer experience, reduce costs at the Center and attract more meeting groups to the Philadelphia region . . . This summer saw the groundbreaking on the expansion of the Spokane Convention Center. Upon completion of the project in December 2014, the center will offer an additional 90,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space on the north side . . . 6

The American Association of Diabetes Educators Annual Meeting opens in Philadelphia: Tami Ross, 2013 AADE President, cuts the ribbon to open the exhibit floor of the AADE Annual Meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Aug. 5. The meeting draws more than 4,500 diabetes educators and healthcare professionals from all over the country.

The Cleveland Convention Center officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 14, followed by a Community Open House on June 15. The first event in the facility was the 2013 National Senior Summer Games, held July 19-Aug. 1. The Center offers 225,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and more than 90,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Facilities & Destinations 2013 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.

247,000 square feet of column-free space ★ Gigabit+ bandwidth, supports up to 7,000 wireless connections ★ Awarded LEED® Gold Certification First convention center in TX

(512) 404-4200 www.austinconventioncenter.com


Convention Center Watch

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded LEED Silver certification to the Sharonville Convention Center, located in Northern Cincinnati. The Center completed a $25 million expansion in April of last year that roughly doubled its size to 65,000 sq. ft. and added breakout rooms and dining venues. The project also earned the Center credits in all six LEED categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation and Design Process. Several steps and improvements were made to qualify and earn credits in all six categories. Among the many eco-friendly initiatives that were part of the project, an energy-efficient design was created that reflected $6,862 in annual savings in overall lighting costs, and $38,760 annual savings in overall HVAC costs.

Set for completion during the spring of 2016, the $325 million transformation of San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center (HBGCC) calls for both new construction and renovation to existing spaces. According to the HBGCC, the project will be accomplished while the center remains operational, with no disruptions to events and customers. Improvements include approximately 260,000 sq. ft. of new exhibit space for a total of over 500,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space; a new 54,000-sq.-ft. ballroom (billed as the largest in Texas); and a wraparound balcony showcasing the center’s location in the historic downtown along the River Walk. In addition, the HBGCC has the goal of achieving LEED Silver Certification with the project. 8

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

Pick.le n. (pi-kəl):

1. a difficult situation 2. an article of food that has been preserved in vinegar 3. an event requiring a dynamic location… like NOW!

Pittsburgh is that dynamic location!

Need a meeting site fast without being gouged? Don’t know where to turn? Then you are in a pickle! The David L. Lawrence Convention Center can help with our CMP (customized meeting packaging). We know there is more to a meeting than space so let us know your needs; we’ll customize a package for you. Contact Debbie at 412.325.6174 or dsmucker@pittsburghcc.com to resolve your pickle.

1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15222 | www.greenfirst.us | www.pittsburghcc.com 313,000 sq. ft. of Exhibit spacE | 31,600 sq. ft. ballroom | 53 mEEting rooms


Hotel Watch

In June, the 267-room DoubleTree by Hilton Cedar Rapids Convention Complex at the U.S. Cellular Center opened following a two-year, $144 million capital improvement and expansion plan led by the city of Cedar Rapids . . . The groundbreaking for the $400 million Horseshoe Baltimore in Baltimore, MD, took place in June. Caesars Entertainment, along with Rock Gaming and CBAC Gaming LLC, anticipate completion of the full-service gaming and entertainment venue in late 2014. The casino will offer approximately 7,670 sq. ft. of function space in addition to 4,615 sq. ft. of pre-function space . . . Hilton Hotels & Resorts makes its Lake Las Vegas debut with the reflagging of Ravella at Lake Las Vegas as Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa . . . The Tropicana Las Vegas - DoubleTree by Hilton plans to expand its meeting and convention facilities to more than 100,000 sq. ft. from its current 60,000 sq. ft. . . . 10

The Broadmoor, a Five Star, Five Diamond resort in Colorado Springs, will open The Ranch at Emerald Valley, an intimate luxury guest ranch in Colorado’s Pike National Forest just 30 minutes away from the resort. Offering refined rustic luxury, the retreat features 10 cabins, sleeping 32 guests among them, highlighted by wood-burning fireplaces. Broadmoor chef-prepared meals are served in the Grand Lodge, where guests gather around the large stone hearth. During the day, guests can enjoy myriad activities including fly-fishing in pristine mountain lakes, hiking scenic trails, and horseback riding through the mountains. Ranch guests also have access to all of The Broadmoor’s amenities. The Langham, Chicago opened mid-July within the 52-story riverfront IBM building (to be renamed AMA Plaza this month). The 316room hotel’s features include 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; a 22,000-sq.-ft. Health Club housing Langham’s signature Chuan Spa, with 40 treatment rooms emphasizing traditional Chinese medicine; and a fine art collection. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

Like the hush of anticipation moments before the crowd arrives, our meeting in Little Rock will never be forgotten. The elegant reception hosted within the Clinton Library’s inspiring spaces. Exchanging handshakes and smiles as we rode the River Rail electric streetcar to the evening’s diversion. Filling the Statehouse Convention Center’s ballroom with applause during our awards ceremony. Just ranked #1 in “America’s 10 Great Places to Live” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, and an Editor’s Choice in Outside magazine’s “Best Towns of 2013,” one thing’s clear – Little Rock is on a roll. It has a new Southern style that is uniquely its own, and we experienced it all there. We experienced it all in Little Rock.


Hotel Watch

By 2016, Downtown Houston’s convention package will include six new hotels comprising about 2,000 guestrooms, all just a few blocks from the George R. Brown Convention Center. Among them are the 1,000-room Marriott Marquis, opening spring of 2016 with 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; the 300-room Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites, opening September 2015 with 6,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; and the 323room JW Marriott, opening spring of 2014 with 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space . . .

Leading Edge:

The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC, has been accepted as the newest member of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI). The AAA Four-Diamond, 185-room hotel has been a Chapel Hill landmark since 1924, and offers over 29,000 sq. ft. of function space. The hotel now receives ALHI’s authorized and dedicated Global Sales Organization (GSO) services and sales support, and becomes ALHI’s third member in North Carolina, joining the legendary Pinehurst Resort and the The Omni Grove Park Inn.

Barbara Steinfeld

President Tri-Valley Tourism Bureau Pleasanton, CA

Barbara Steinfeld became the Tri-Valley Tourism Bureau’s new President in April, replacing Grant Raeside, who stepped down last September. Steinfeld joins Tri-Valley after spending the last 16 years at Travel Portland, where she was the Vice President of Tourism Sales. Prior to joining the Portland tourism organization, Steinfeld worked as the International Tourism Manager at the Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau for eight years. She also chairs the Destinations Council of the U.S. Travel Association. Types of Groups That Tri-Valley Caters To: We have just under 5,000 hotel rooms, including the 36 hotels that are in the region. We don’t have any convention centers. Our largest hotel is the recently renovated San Ramon Marriott [362 rooms, 16,500 sq. ft. of meeting space]. So we are looking at small association and corporate meetings. What Distinguishes Tri-Valley: Golf, dining and wine tasting. I think the exploration of the cuisine in this area 12

could be really exciting for meeting groups that come here. We have a very surprising depth of ethnic cuisine. In addition to the general fresh California cuisine, we have a large ethnic population in Tri-Valley that gives us offerings such as Korean, Malaysian, Afghan and Taiwanese. TriValley is also very accessible. We’re located 33 miles east of San Francisco and serviced by three international airports, as well as BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit]. Memorable Recent Meeting: In December we hosted the Society of American Travel Writers. We took about 10 of them on a tour of the Tri-Valley wineries and then capped it off with dinner for all of them, 20-25 attendees, at Wente Vineyards, the oldest continuously run familyowned winery in America. The Ideal Tourism Bureau Sales Rep: They’ll go the extra mile and give the client personalized service. We don’t want to just sell the client what we have to sell; rather, we try to find out exactly what the client needs. New Initiatives at the Bureau: We’re going to be producing a new Meeting Planner Guide within the next 60-90 days. And we’re going to produce a trail guide this year in a cooperative effort with the Tri-Valley Conservancy. We have a lot of trails for hiking and biking, so it’s easy to pull the natural beauty of the area into a meeting. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

Take a giant leap forward by booking your next meeting, convention, performance or special event at the Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex. Collaborate with our experienced staff to design a meeting or event that meets your group’s specific needs. The variety and flexibility of our space allows us to make your event one of a kind. Reach new heights with your next event by choosing the Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex.

Rhode Island Convention Center




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


Hotel Watch

The 487-room Hyatt Times Square is slated to open in October. Located in the heart of the New York City’s Theater District, the hotel offers more than 8,000 sq. ft. of flexible indoor/outdoor function space, as well as a 4,200-sq.-ft. spa, rooftop lounge and state-ofthe-art fitness center. Two highly experienced Hyatt professionals have been selected for the key positions at the new hotel: Richard Morgan will serve as General Manager and Klair Johnston as Director of Sales and Marketing. A 35year Hyatt veteran, Morgan previously served as Senior Vice President of Field Operations for the Hyatt Place group of hotels. Johnston brings 15 years of hospitality experience to the Hyatt Times Square, and was most recently Director of Sales and Marketing at Hyatt Fairfax. 14

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

Planning an event? Rita and SandRa Will dO WHateveR  it taKeS tO MaKe it a SUCCeSS. Meet Sales Managers Rita Medynski and Sandra Martin, two more reasons you should consider The International Centre for your next meeting, conference or event. They bring a level of experience and professionalism to their work that you won’t find anywhere else. They’re committed to your success – no request is too large or detail too small. Give Rita and Sandra a call when you’re planning your next meeting or event.

Rita Medynski (L) and Sandra Martin (R)

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InternationalCentre.com 6900 Airport Road Mississauga, Ontario L4V 1E8 905.677.6131 / tf 1.800.567.1199

3 450+ EvEnts a yEar 3 $4.5 M rEnEwal Plan 3 500,000+ ft2 EvEnt & MEEtIng vEnuE 3 5,000 frEE ParkIng sPaCEs


Las Vegas Sands has announced plans to build a megaresort known as EuroVegas south of Madrid, in the town of Alcorcon. The company has submitted a non-binding viability study to the regional government of Madrid, and the tentative opening year is 2017. The $7.9 billion development would include up to six casinos and 12 hotels of approximately 3,000 rooms each, retail outlets, theaters and more.

Next year, Aer Lingus will begin offering a year-round, direct flight from San Francisco to Dublin, year-round service from Toronto to Dublin, as well as year-round flights to Shannon from the East Coast of the U.S. The expansion will bring the Aer Lingus long-haul schedule to 10 daily transatlantic services connecting North America with Ireland and Europe. “We work very closely with Aer Lingus, and we look forward to cooperating with them to maximize the promotion of these new routes,” says Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland Executive Vice President, U.S. and Canada. “North America is a tremendously important tourism market, and we believe that we are on course to achieve our best year ever from the United States. In 2013, we hope to welcome over one million American visitors. … Already, we have seen a significant increase, almost 27 percent, in the number of airline seats between the U.S. and Ireland for the peak season (JulyAugust) of this year.” In June, Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador, appointed Vinicio Alvarado as Minister of Tourism. Alvarado, who previously served as the head of the National Secretariat of Public Administration, holds an MBA from the Institute of Business Development and a doctorate in social communication from the National University of Loja. Among the major objectives Alvarado has outlined for the Ministry of Tourism is the enhancement of security and tourist services, as well as promotion of the wide variety of destinations that Ecuador offers. Released this summer, UK Economic Impact Study (UKEIS), commissioned by the Meeting Professionals International Foundation, revealed that the U.K. meeting industry delivers £58.4 billion (90.4 billion USD) to the United Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP), an economic contribution three times greater than agriculture. According to the UKEIS, the meetings industry is the country’s 16th largest employer, with more than 515,000 individuals directly employed, double that of the telecom industry. Visit www.mpiweb.org/UKEIS for more information. Singapore has retained its position as the leading meeting city and country in the world, according to the Union of International Associations (UIA) 2012 Global Rankings. Named top international meeting country for the second consecutive year and top international meeting city for the sixth consecutive year, Singapore hosted 952 of the meetings in the UIA database (nearly 10 percent), ahead of Japan (731) and the U.S. (658). According to the UIA report, “Meetings taken into consideration include those organized and/or sponsored by the international organizations which appear in the Yearbook of International Organizations and in the International Congress Calendar, i.e., the sittings of their principal organs, congresses, conventions, symposia, regional sessions grouping several countries, as well as some national meetings with international participation organized by national branches of international associations.” In addition, Singapore was named Asia’s Top Convention City for the 11th consecutive year by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). 16

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

CSR Perspectives CSR Perspectives CSR CSR Perspectives CSR Perspectives CSR Perspectives CSR Perspectives Perspectives

Designing Community Projects Keep them engaging and hassle free for you and your attendees By Nancy J. Zavada, CMP


ess than a decade ago, corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities during conferences and events were unheard of. Today, the majority of planners are including them in their programs. The most popular form of social responsibility for meetings is a community or “legacy” project. These projects fall into the “Feel Good, Look Good” category of CSR, as they both contribute to a sustainability cause and provide promotional benefits to the sponsoring organization.

3. Provide donations instead. If the timing of your event doesn’t allow for participants to volunteer for a hands-on project, consider donating. While this can always be cold, hard cash, it may be a more significant experience to have participants bring cans of food, school supplies, blankets, children’s books or professional clothing. This type of donation will definitely need to be tailored to the distance attendees will travel to the event, and what fits into a suitcase if air travel is involved. Some projects also charge volunteers a small registration fee, which is given to the charity.

“Leaving a community better than

4. Don’t forget your sponsors. Event sponsors love looking good, If your organization hasn’t already explored business. The business of meetings so give them an opportunity to be this type of charity event, it may be a welcome involved in a CSR project. Companies addition. Participants are asking how to give back can either sponsor the entire is no exception.” to the citizens of the destinations where meetings volunteer event or a part of it, such as are held. The key is to design the best community transportation, food and beverage, or project with the least amount of work during an already busy necessary supplies. One popular activity is to have a sponsor time. I offer four tips to get you started: for a “green angels” program. Green angels are onsite ecology volunteers who help attendees learn more about the waste 1. Make it personal. These projects are always more stream by recycling, reusing or composting during the event. successful when they fit the character of your organization, and The amount of waste diverted from the landfill is measured the demographics, abilities and interests of your participants. and reported during and after the event. Green angels can also Young, active participants may be more able to plant trees, give out stickers for name badges when they catch someone build shelters and carry food donations. Technology wizards doing a green act. Pre-promotion, onsite acknowledgement can offer to help a local low-income school program with their and post-event media will be important to them, and should fit computers or offer an afternoon of training. Businesses in the into your social media plan as well. Their support will help you energy industry may want to help retrofit community centers leave a legacy behind. to be more energy efficient. Consider the skillsets of both your organization and your attendees. Leaving a community better than you found it is a powerful way to do business. The business of meetings is no exception. 2. Partner with established charity volunteer Event attendees enjoy the opportunity to give back to the organizations. Make your life much easier by working community when you make it easy for them to participate. with an organization that already has a volunteer program CSR projects are a winning initiative for everyone involved. in place and can easily work with you and your participants. The easiest way to connect with these programs is by asking Nancy J. Zavada, CMP, is a Principal with MeetGreen, the visitors bureau, meeting venue or local vendors for a conference management and consulting firm she founded referrals in the destination. If they aren’t able to help you, try in 1994, and Co-Founder of the Green Meeting Industry nationwide resources such as the HandsOn Network (www. Council. She served on the Live Earth Global Green handsonnetwork.org, offering information on volunteer Team, and has received the “Achievement for Innovation in opportunities on any given day in a community), Feeding Hospitality Award” from the Institute for Innovation and America or Clean the World. Economic Development, California State University.

you found it is a powerful way to do

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspective Planner Perspectives

Seco n d Ti e r , F i rst C l a ss Four great value-added cities for your meetings By Idan Keren


econd tier doesn’t mean second best. Many show organizers and meeting planners, myself included, have emphasized how some second-tier cities offer better quality, service and overall experience than firsttier cities like Miami, Washington, DC, and New York City.

of meeting space, the Memphis Cook Convention Center can accommodate the meeting requirements of most companies. The center boasts the 2,100-seat Cannon Performing Arts Center and the 125,000-sq.ft. Exhibit Hall, which overlooks the Mississippi River. Within one mile, there are approximately 2,700 sleeping rooms.

“Providence is a city that simply

Planners should start taking advantage of Memphis, which offers reasonable rates and first-class service, not to mention more days of sunshine than Miami.

While there are no official criteria to determine whether a city is first, second doesn’t get the attention it deserves or third tier, there are general guidelines. because it plays younger brother to Austin, TX According to the Managing Director of Austin is quickly becoming one of EmpowerMINT, Christine Shimasaki, the likes of Boston.” America’s most popular meeting CDME, CMP, “A first-tier city has a destinations. With great food, a convention center with a minimum of happening nightlife and state-of-the-art facilities, the 500,000 gross square feet of exhibit space, compatible city can accommodate most any group at an affordable 10,000 sleeping rooms and has a major international price. Home to the South by Southwest music, film and airport hub.” interactive conference, Austin boasts a strong local music The desirability of such cities ultimately resulted in scene fit for all types of music lovers. Furthermore, Travel increased hotel rates and, unfortunately, less room for + Leisure ranks Austin among the top three of “America’s negotiation. On the positive side, it’s fairly easy to find Techiest Cities” ( January 2012). alternative meeting destinations that are both attractive The Austin Convention Center (ACC) offers almost and more negotiable. Below are four cities that, in my 300,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, and within one mile experience, fit the bill. planners can book accommodations among approximately Memphis, TN 7,000 guestrooms. And the ACC is only eight miles from Home to Beale Street, one of the most famous streets in the airport. the world, Memphis boasts a great music scene (ranging For the best rates, steer away from weeks when Austin’s from blues and jazz to rock ‘n’ roll) and more than 30 flagship conventions are in town. Instead, book your nightclubs, shops and restaurants. Visit Graceland and meeting when things are slow and hotels need customers. discover how the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” became a star July, August and September are the best months for or explore the National Civil Rights Museum at the finding great deals in Austin. Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

Providence, RI

Memphis is also home to an outstanding collection of modern meeting facilities. With over 190,000 sq. ft. 18

A city that simply doesn’t get the attention it deserves because it plays younger brother to the likes of Boston, Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

es Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspective Providence offers amazing restaurants, entertainment, nightlife and, most important, quality hotels with a variety of great meeting spaces. The city is home to one of the top hotel management and culinary programs in the country at Johnson & Wales University. And while it has that “big city feel,” Providence is actually small enough that attendees can walk its entire circumference in one day. Planners can certainly find great value in Providence, which is only 15 minutes from Warwick Airport. The Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC) consists of a 100,000-sq.-ft. exhibition hall, a 20,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 23 meeting rooms. A total of 5,500 guestrooms are available in the Greater Providence area. Try organizing your meeting between June and the beginning of September, and attendees can catch the WaterFire Show. The summer would also be a great time to take a day trip to Newport, RI, where attendees can visit some of the most famous mansions and stroll along the streets of this quaint, historically preserved city.

Portland, OR

No sales tax? No F&B tax? Yes, it’s true! Portland is a unique city that is filled with vibrant colors, interesting

people and plenty of breweries. “The City of Roses” is also extremely environmentally friendly, and has been recognized for its outdoor scenery. And it hosts festivals that many attendees will enjoy, including Portland Jazz Festival (February), Cinco de Mayo Fiesta (May) and MusicFestNW (September). On the meetings business side, Portland provides upto-date facilities, a high level of service and outstanding hotel accommodations among its many luxury boutique properties. Following Shimasaki’s criteria, Portland qualifies as a second-tier city since the Oregon Convention Center (OCC) has just over 255,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and almost 7,000 sleeping rooms within one mile. But like Memphis, Austin and Providence, it also qualifies as “best in class” among cities with that statistical profile.

Idan Keren is the Senior Director of OKT Meeting, a full-service corporate meeting planning company with more than 30 years of experience. His responsibilities include managing clients in the United States, meeting planning, social media marketing and more.

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Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives PlannerPerspectives Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspective Planner

Getting Strategic About SMMPs gu id e l i n e s t o ch oose th e be st th ird party t o h e lp i m ple me nt YOUR program By Deborah Borak, CDS, SMMC


et’s face it: We all get a little territorial about our company meetings. We don’t ever want to think that someone else can do our job. However, when it comes to adding a new process or tool within our organization, oftentimes we don’t have the skills or experience necessary to implement it and need to rely on outside consultants.

four guidelines to help an organization find the best partner to get their program off the ground and on the path to maturity.

1. Do your homework and be selective. Any company can say they know about SMM; however, not all third parties are fully versed in what it takes to implement a program. Ask your business partners, colleagues and industry friends for recommendations. Research what experience the individual or company has in implementing SMMPs. How long have they been in the SMM space? What experience can they bring to the table to assist with your program? What other services can they provide to help you build your SMMP?

Many companies are hearing about the benefits of implementing a strategic meetings management program (SMMP) and are learning more about what this monumental task entails. SMM is a disciplined approach to managing enterprise-wide meeting ontact companies you and event activity, including processes, know have implemented an suppliers and data. The idea is to achieve measurable business objectives that align SMMP to see if they are willing In addition to third parties there are with the organization’s strategic vision and travel management companies (TMCs) to share their RFP with you.” deliver value in the form of quantitative that compete with third parties for savings, risk mitigation and service quality. clients. A TMC can be an effective Some organizations take the time to option, if you already have a relationship with a TMC for research how to implement such a program, while others some of your travel services. However, make sure to vet the just try to get it moving forward. company fully and consider whether they can effectively I am often asked how people should start on their SMM handle your meetings. I like to think of a company’s journey. Sourcing an expert at SMMP development proficiency in terms of a restaurant. One that offers and implementation is a common first step. Here are Mexican and Italian food might have good selections in



Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

es Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspectives Planner Perspective each style. However, wouldn’t the food be better if the restaurant specialized in Mexican or Italian, and didn’t try to offer too much?

2. RFI, RFP or both?

“Select a third party that

works the way you want to and doesn’t make you conform to their standards.”

Once you have selected a variety of companies based on your research, you need to determine if you will send them a request for proposal (RFP) only or provide a request for information (RFI) first. An RFI lets everyone know what you are trying to accomplish and asks simple questions about the company’s scope of work. Can they provide all the services you need, or would you have to work with more than one company? An RFP is much more complex. An RFP asks specific questions regarding a company’s scope of services, pricing, and contract terms and conditions. Other questions you can ask in an RFP include: Does the company utilize service level agreements (SLAs)? Do they work with a variety of partners to get you competitive bids for services? Are they familiar with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and other regulations within your particular industry? And, who are their clients? You can find sample RFPs online, and I would also recommend contacting companies you know have implemented an SMMP to see if they are willing to share their RFP with you. In addition, consider creating an RFP template, which keeps you from having to start from scratch, and allows you to tweak an existing document so that it asks the questions you want and supports your company culture.

4. Go at your own pace. There is no set timeframe to complete the process of finding a third party. If you are going to invest the research time to find a company, make sure to review the information, ask follow-up questions of the vendors, and do Webinars or face-to-face meetings so you can see their work. Implementing an SMMP is a lengthy but rewarding process, and it is important to surround yourself with the right people for the task.

Deborah Borak, Director of Global Accounts with Littleton, CO-based ConferenceDirect, works with a variety of clients in the corporate, association and SMERF sectors. She is an active member of PCMA, GBTA, ASAE and MPI, and has served on committee and board positions throughout the meetings industry. In 2010, she earned her Strategic Meetings Management Certification as part of the inaugural group of GBTA graduates to do so.

Dynamic. Diverse. Distinct.

3. Consider the human element. Relationships are paramount within the meetings industry. Working with a partner you trust is critical. You need to make sure they understand your end goals, as well as your organization’s culture. It is also important to select a company that works the way you want to and doesn’t make you conform to their standards. For instance, some third parties provide one person to source all of your meetings, regardless of whether the meeting is for 10 or 10,000 attendees. Other organizations have different individuals or departments work on meetings of different sizes. Therefore, you could end up working with several people implementing your programs and sourcing your meetings. If you prefer to have one person to work with, make that known up front, at the RFP stage. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

norfolk is a vibrant coastal city full of fantastic meeting venues, fun things to do and fascinating things to see. With its rich history, great weather, distinctive dining and nightlife, norfolk is the perfect destination for your next meeting. contact our sales team today to learn about our sail into savingstm incentive program. visitnorfolktoday.com 1-800-368-3097


Case in Point Case in Point Case in Point Case in in Point Case in Point Case in Point Case in Point Case Ci Case Point

A R oa dm a p to G r e at Marke tin g E v e n t s From listening to clients to creating an engaging brand environment By Scott Cullather


n event-marketing experience is comprised of numerous moving parts. When those parts are aligned correctly, the brand shines. When one of those elements is off, the experience suffers and you miss an opportunity. But how do you build that perfect marketing vehicle, an event that changes the way people think, feel, behave and perform? Think of the following as a six-stage roadmap to creating a successful marketing experience, illustrated by an event that my company, inVNT, designed for Opel, a German automobile manufacturer and GM subsidiary. Listen The first stop on the roadmap is to listen and ask incisive questions that enable the planner to fully understand the business situation, competitive landscape, challenges and opportunities, in terms of perceptions or behaviors that need to change. The goal is to obtain comprehensive knowledge of the brand, messages and “personality” that will be woven throughout the event.

whereby the brand personality is woven — explicitly and implicitly — into every component of the experience. Opel ADAM didn’t have the brand recognition and budget resources of some of the other auto manufacturers competing for share of voice at the Paris Motor Show. Our creative strategy identified a need to do something fresh and completely unexpected for ADAM, challenging the status quo as a way to stand out from the crowd. To celebrate the distinct spirit of the ADAM, we developed a unique event the day before the auto show — away from the noise of the convention center he challenge is to create a — providing the press with an opportunity to experience ADAM ‘brand halo,’ whereby the brand in an intellectually and emotionally personality is woven – explicitly engaging way.


and implicitly – into every

Locate When you can, choose venues component of the experience.” that both support and enhance For the world debut of the Opel ADAM at the the story. Be indefatigable in your 2012 Paris Motor Show, this understanding, search and, if budgets allow, create surprising experiences within combined with a robust mobile strategy, helped us design the confines of a chosen venue. Every point on this roadmap a unique experiential-marketing event that powerfully counts, and venue selection is critical. communicated the hip, urban personality and style of Opel’s new car. This was a unique brand story because the ADAM Leading up to the Paris Auto Show, a digital PR and marketing is a completely customizable vehicle designed for a youth initiative targeted influential international automotive and market. lifestyle journalists with invitations to a pre-show coffee/ lunch. After rigorous scouting, two venues were chosen that Develop best reflected the brand and were most conducive to the event Development begins with definition. Based on the information experience. Journalists were invited to iconic Parisian cafés, for gleaned in the first stage, strategic imperatives can be clearly example, a street-side café near the Eiffel Tower, or a cool, urban defined and shared with clients. Building on this platform, location in the Pompidou Centre. Simply by being in a different the planner develops a creative concept that reflects the brand locale from where the other automotive companies were identity, while allowing room for growth as other elements making their announcements, the Opel ADAM launch felt fall into place. The challenge is to create a “brand halo,” unique, and true to the essence of the brand story. Journalists 22 Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

Case in in Point Case in Point Case in Point Case in Point Case in Point Case in Point Case in Point Case in to this group of journalists, including updates the next morning from Opel’s auto show press conference. Furthermore, the sheer spectacle of a car launch occurring right on the sidewalks of Paris generated streetlevel interest from “citizen journalists” who uploaded personal shots of the ADAM within their social media communities.

snapped up the opportunity to attend, because they suspected that they would experience something unlike the dozens of other announcements they would see at the show. Create Successful event-marketing content is unique, brand-centered and always moves the story forward. Put a lot of time, energy and thinking into creating content that challenges convention and highlights your client’s brand in unexpected and memorable ways. As the journalists chatted, surrounded by the vibrant Parisian café scene, a band of spoken-word artists suddenly arose from the crowd – from tables in the café, or from the sidewalk. The performers riffed — in five languages, depending on the native language of the journalists — on themes of individuality, connectivity, mobility and energy with original poetry that vividly described the lifestyle attributes and brand essence of the Opel ADAM. These energetic live performances culminated in the surprise arrival of Jam, Glam and Slam, three versions of the fully customizable Opel ADAM. The cars were driven right up to the cafés, allowing journalists to engage directly with the vehicles on the street, in the environment in which consumers would drive them, as well as speak with Opel executives oneon-one. Drive Every successful event-marketing experience requires a digital plan that drives awareness and creates audience engagement, participation and “shine” around the product or message. Ideally, the digital plan will build a community and communicate the brand story before, during and after the event. A custom mobile application provided a powerful way to communicate the Opel ADAM launch experience. Branded digital assets were sent to mobile phones during the program so journalists could blog and post as the event unfolded. Additionally, Opel continued to push information digitally Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

Engage Audience engagement he sheer spectacle strategies are key to creating a powerful of a car launch occurring experience. Knowing the audience is just one part. right on the sidewalks of Understanding how to communicate and finding Paris generated streetthe most powerful way to level interest.” attract, intrigue, motivate and surprise is the route to true engagement. If you’ve done your job right, your profound knowledge of the brand personality will reveal this route.


We stepped outside the traditional motor show conference to reach journalists by creating an intimate, engaging, unexpected and entertaining multilingual experience that communicated the individuality and passion of ADAM, in a way that was authentic to the brand, spoke to the target audience and demonstrated Opel’s optimism and confidence. Our iconoclastic slam poetry events reached over 300 journalists, generating front-page coverage in global publications and millions of media impressions, making the ADAM the fourth-most-covered car at the Paris Motor Show.

Scott Cullather is the Global Managing Partner of inVNT, a brand communications agency that collaborates with organizations to create meetings and events, media and digital strategies, and brand environments. 23

te of the Industry State of the Industry Stateof ofthe the Industry State of the Industry State of the Industr State Industry

In Conversation With . . .

David Weil

Vice President, SmithBucklin Event Services Tools of Engagement: Optimizing the attendee experience through content, technology and logistics By George Seli


hospitality industry veteran of 20plus years, David Weil specializes in tradeshow and convention management and operations. At Chicago-based SmithBucklin, he is involved in delivering a multitude of services – speaker selection, site selection, marketing, event technology and more – to a client base that is 95 percent associations. As such, Weil is well positioned to provide insight on a variety of trends and strategies in the field. For some of the events SmithBucklin manages, including the American Society for Healthcare Engineering’s Annual Conference & Exhibition, KeHE Summer Selling Show and America’s Beauty Show, rapidly growing attendance is a major trend. “We’re very proud of that,” Weil says, “and what we always say to our clients is that growth is what you define as important.” Increased revenue is clearly important, but he stresses there are other aspects, such as growth in “membership, awareness and branding.”

Q. A.

How would you assess the current health of the convention and tradeshow industry? As a whole we go as GDP goes, so when money frees up, people can attend, there are more members, and more money in the coffers to invest back into the event. Many of the events and associations have regained their footing, and are looking at new ways of doing things.

Q. A.

Speaking of new approaches, are you seeing any overall change in the duration of tradeshows? Yes, the average show length is now two-and-a-half to three days. Being out of the office four or five days is too long. People want to come in, check out what’s going on, do some networking, get a couple of nuggets, feel energized and connect. So we’re looking at the schedule of events and cutting what’s not needed, seeing how we can make it more efficient and cost effective for all the stakeholders. But you have to find a good balance; you can’t say we’re a half-day show, or no one’s going to jump on the plane. With one less show day, venues 24

may have to [schedule] two groups to fill the week. So that’s the impact you’re going to see on more venues. Also, you need to ensure that the third day is valuable and important so people stay for it. We had one group do a Jimmy Buffett concert [on the last day] because exhibitors wanted to make sure people stayed.

Q. A.

What are some keys to ensuring ROI for attendees? It’s important to be aware of industry trends and align the content with relevant topics. We need to attract products, services and companies that are releasing innovative ideas, and structuring the meeting in a way that allows for idea exchange. So it’s not about doing the same old, same old; it’s really about strategic discussion on what’s happening in our industry, how do we want to ur ‘killer app’ brand our event, and what’s is face-to-face important to our constituents. We want people walking away interaction, talking saying, “That was awesome.” to colleagues and What defines a great hearing their troubles keynote speaker? and the solutions One that provides energy and a vision of the future, they provided.” so that attendees go back to their offices or their stores and tell their coworkers, “We’ve got to do this.”


Q. A.

Q. A.

SmithBucklin is very active in the mobile space. What are mobile apps contributing to the delegate’s experience? We’ve used mobile apps to do gamification [e.g., games that award points for booth visitation]. It can control behavior and help with networking and engagement, which is always good. We’re also using the app to replace some directories and printed pieces. It’s been both green and impactful for people, as they [are more likely to] keep some of the information post-show. We’re also going to see more lead retrieval with mobile apps. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

ry State of the Industry State of the Industry State of the Industry State of the Industry State of the Indu

Q. A.


Do you feel that mobile communications to We’ve created a central hub, like a attendees can distract from the live event? central business district. Whereas in f [a central hub] Not really, when you consider that so the past we would have a coffee station, a new can get people on many people are already looking at product area, and a demo area [in different their phones. And if [a mobile app] helps locations], we now structure the floor plan so the show floor from attendees achieve their objectives when that we can create this critical mass, and it’s a their hotel room or a they’re there, if it helps them select the right must-go on the show floor. And we set up a session, find the right person to network “Genius Bar” where [expert] volunteers will restaurant or a bar, with, or find the right product, then it’s a talk about certain subjects. It’s an area that I’m happy to create great tool. If attendees don’t want to look generates energy and excitement. And from at it the whole time they’re there, and they there the attendees filter into the rest of the that traffic.” want to “unplug” and connect with people, hall. If [the hub] can get people on the show then that’s our “killer app.” Our killer app is floor from their hotel room or a restaurant or face-to-face interaction, talking to colleagues and hearing a bar, I’m happy to create that traffic. their troubles and the solutions they provided. That’s what excites me about face-to-face meetings. What would you cite as the top mistake convention and show organizers make? What kinds of questions do you think are most effective on They hear a trendy idea and implement it without post-event attendee surveys? really thinking, does this solve our problem? What What speaker created an idea for you? What new are we trying to accomplish? A couple of years ago product did you find that you didn’t know existed organizations were implementing mobile apps, and it didn’t before? Did you meet and connect with the right people in the make sense for a majority of their attendees’ demographics. industry? Such questions really uncover value. For example, the attendees mostly had BlackBerrys and the [event hosts] were not implementing a native app. It’s Has SmithBucklin followed any trends in exhibit really important to do some strategic analysis and then pick floor design? the tool.


Q. A.

Q. A. Q.


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Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review




Anaheim, CA

Canton, OH


Foxborough, MA


Bronx, NY


Hot List

Status: Hot Category: Sports-Themed Meeting Venues FYI: Receptions, business meetings, banquets and other functions simply become more exciting when associated with sports, and fortunately meeting planners can count on finding rentable venues that make that connection in most any city. The following sampling ranges from a well-known dining/ entertainment venue focused on sports broadcasting, to museums that educate on sports history, to a conference center at one of the nation’s most famous stadiums.



Anaheim, CA www.espnzone.com/anaheim ESPN Zone Anaheim in Downtown Disney features a Studio Grill with 28 HD TVs and a stage area with a 12 1/2ft. HD big screen as its backdrop; the space can accommodate 175 seated, 300 for a reception. The Screening Room (175 seated, 225 reception) is also well stocked with HD TVs, and the 10,000-sq.-ft. upstairs sports arena (400 reception) is filled with interactive sports and racing games. The entire venue can accommodate up to 1,200 attendees. 26

Football 2] Pro Hall of Fame

Canton, OH www.profootballhof.com/ meetingsandrentals The Pro Football Hall of Fame, just 10 minutes from the Akron-Canton Airport and less than one hour from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, offers full-service catering, a professional event planning staff and group tours of the museum. Meeting spaces include the 3,180-sq.-ft. Event Center (350 reception, 344 theater, 240 banquet) with a 900-sq.-ft. prefunction area; a 2,050-sq.-ft. second-floor conference room (190 reception, 180 theater, 120 classroom); and a 3,960-sq.ft. seasonal plaza tent (433 theater, 411 reception, 320 banquet).

Hall at 3] The Patriot Place

Foxborough, MA www.thehallatpatriotplace.com Dedicated to the history of the New England Patriots, this 36,000-sq.-ft. facility opened in 2008 and features 11 exhibit galleries, including the 150-seat Raytheon Theater, which presents the signature film, Patriots Way. The Grand Hall, with 30,000 sq. ft. of interactive exhibits spread over two floors, serves as the main function space. Audiovisual features include four 30-ft.-high Magink Pylons with a digital movable ink display made of modular tiles, as well as 14 projectors.


Little Falls, NJ

Stadium – ] Yankee 4Conference FedEx Banquet and Center Bronx, NY www.yankees.mlb.com/nyy/ballpark/events The FedEx Banquet and Conference Center at Yankee Stadium accommodates groups of up to 175 in 2,400 sq. ft. of flexible space. A 12-person boardroom is adjacent to the meeting space for any breakout room needs. The Center features state-of-the-art audiovisual technology, including built-in screens and teleconferencing capabilities. It is available year round, on both game days and non-game days.

Berra Museum & 5] Yogi Learning Center

Little Falls, NJ www.yogiberramuseum.org Dedicated to the famed, charismatic Yankee player and manager, the Yogi Berra Museum is located on the campus of Montclair State University. The facility offers a versatile setting for groups of up to 125. Its Sky Box room affords great views of Yogi Berra Stadium, home of the minorleague New Jersey Jackals and Montclair State Red Hawks. An intimate 70-seat theater features CD, DVD and PowerPoint capabilities for meetings, presentations and group fundraising events.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

Second-Tier Stars

Proving that mid-market does not mean middle of the road


By Anthony Bilden

hen one thinks of great boxers, heavyweight champions often come to mind first, from Rocky Marciano to Muhammad Ali to George Foreman. But of course there are greats in all weight classes, from Sugar Ray Leonard (middleweight) to Floyd Mayweather Jr. (lightweight). Similarly, when a planner thinks of top cities in the meetings industry, the big “contenders” such as Orlando, Las Vegas and Chicago naturally come to mind, given the size of their convention centers, hotel packages, airports and downtowns. These quantitative factors do entitle a city to be called “first tier” and are typically advantageous for planners. Yet there are also qualitative factors that make a city a great host for meetings, aspects such as CVB service, wellmanaged hotels and convention centers, distinctive offsite venues and activities, and overall local charm. Cities of any size, including those that rank as second and third tier, can exhibit these qualities.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


“We view our size as a competitive advantage. A 2,000attendee meeting commands the attention of the entire city.” — Kristen McGrath, Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau

The mid-market cities we feature in this year’s MidMarket Review certainly do. And in some cases, they “punch above their weight” in the meetings market, as associations and corporations decide to bring business to them instead of their first-tier counterparts — knowing that a large group in a smaller town will usually receive more attention among local suppliers. “We view our size as a competitive advantage,” says Kristen McGrath, CDME, Vice President of Sales & Services, Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau. “A 2,000-attendee meeting commands the attention of the entire city. We’re able to roll out the red carpet, provide welcome signage at the airport, on street poles and at restaurants, and even afford access to our mayor. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras likes to personally greet groups and has been known to offer his cell phone number. These personalized touches go a long way in making attendees feel both welcome and special.” Given that mid-market cities often deliver more personalized service, not to mention relative affordability, planners do well to send an RFP and perhaps do a site visit if there is any question whether the cities can physically accommodate their event, as opposed to simply writing off the destination as too small. Savannah, GA, for one, is doing promotion to ensure that planners are adequately informed as to its capacities, including the 330,000-sq.-ft. Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. “I believe our message is beginning to be heard, that Savannah has the ability to host groups larger than what most planners may have previously thought,” notes Jeff Hewitt, Vice President of Business Development at Visit Savannah. “We are enjoying our third consecutive record year for both group hotel rooms 28

consumed as well as future group bookings. And once they’ve been here, they usually post record attendance.” Great mid-market cities focus not only on promoting their meetings product, but also on improving it by investing in hotel renovations and developing new services to planners. “Most of our hotels have gone through major renovations over the past year, and we will soon welcome the new Embassy Suites to the historic district,” Hewitt says. “In addition, we have the recent conversion of the historic Mulberry Inn to a Kimpton hotel. We also look forward to the opening of the Cotton Sail Hotel and a new riverfront Kessler hotel that is expected to break ground in 2014.” On the services side, Visit Savannah launched a corporate social responsibility service program this year. “In addition to transportation, accommodations and meals, meeting planning professionals can coordinate with local charities to offer their convention attendees the opportunity to add service projects during their time in Savannah,” Hewitt adds. Providence facilitates “voluntourism” through its Creative Contributions program, which invites meeting and convention groups to support local community-based organizations while they are in town, via service projects, fundraisers, supply drives and other efforts. Many hotels are available to groups as a home base for these activities, and Providence has some new lodging developments to report: The iconic, 90-year-old Providence Biltmore Hotel is being renovated, and Omni Hotels & Resorts acquired the Westin hotel this year. “The addition of the Omni brand to our convention hotel package in January 2013 has been terrific for Providence,” McGrath says. “And with the renovation of the 564-room hotel Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

scheduled for next year, we expect to see more groups taking a serious look at our city.” One group that takes Providence quite seriously is the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society (CESSE), whose annual meeting was held in the city this summer (see page 36). A primary reason is McGrath’s organization: “The Providence-Warwick CVB is a longtime sponsor of CESSE,” says Brenda C. Park, CESSE Meetings Manager. “Upper management was especially impressed by, and grateful for, the strong team environment of the CVB, the Rhode Island Convention Center, and both the Omni and Hilton hotels as they all worked together seamlessly to create a positive experience for CESSE.” In addition, she notes that Providence’s proposal to the CESSE “was very competitive,” as is typical of mid-market destinations. With the Biltmore and Omni projects, the future is looking bright for Providence’s meetings industry, as it is for Oklahoma City. A new $253 million downtown convention center, which is slated to include 200,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, is projected to open in 2019. And planners will likely need the CVB’s new Oklahoma City Meeting Planners Guide to navigate the city’s multitude of lodging options. Several new hotels are coming online, including the 134-room Aloft Oklahoma City Downtown (projected to open late this year with 5,000 sq. ft. meeting space); and the 155-room Hilton Garden Inn and 100-room Homewood Suites (projected to open late 2013/early 2014 with a combined meeting space of 6,000 sq. ft.). Several other cities we feature in this year’s midmarket gallery also have new properties on the horizon, including Austin, Colorado Springs and Pittsburgh. The 1,012-room JW Marriott Austin hotel is scheduled to open early 2015 with an impressive 112,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The property will be located within two blocks of the Austin Convention Center. In Colorado Springs, the Crowne Plaza has been rebranded as the Hotel Elegante Conference and Event Center, featuring 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. In addition, Cheyenne Mountain Resort, a Benchmark Resort, is in the final stages of a major $3.8 million renovation of its Pete Dye-designed 18-hole championship golf course. And Pittsburgh will welcome a new Kimpton hotel and a new Embassy Suites next year. Meanwhile, Hartford is busy “going green” with its iQuilt Plan, whose centerpiece is the 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 40-acre Bushnell Park, the oldest park in the country, will also be renovated as part of the plan. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

“I believe our message is beginning to be heard, that Savannah has the ability to host groups larger than what most planners may have previously thought.” — Jeff Hewitt, Visit Savannah

Indeed, competition among mid-market cities is just as intense as among first-tier cities, and association and corporate groups must be regularly enticed with new hotel developments, convention center upgrades, city infrastructure improvements and more. Otherwise, a city will begin to pale next to its more vital competitors. Following is a look at eight cities that are forces to be reckoned with in the mid-market meetings industry, and will continue to be so in the coming years. 29




exas’ capital is much more than a great live music scene. There is plenty of American history on display at institutions such as the State Capitol, the LBJ Presidential Library and the Texas State History Museum. Artloving attendees can visit the Blanton Museum of Art, while nature lovers will enjoy downtown’s Lady Bird Lake, bordered by 10 miles of trails. The main downtown entertainment districts are Sixth Street, Warehouse, Market and Red River. South Austin is known for dance halls and favorite local eateries; South Congress has an eclectic mix of vintage shops, bars and restaurants; and the University of Texas area is replete with live music venues. In the “Live Music Capital of the World,” groups can enjoy bands playing in over 200 venues, any night of the week.

(Top): The LEED Gold-certified Austin Convention Center. (Above): The downtown area, home to 22 hotels.

Just down the street from the city’s vibrant nightlife is the Austin Convention Center (ACC), the first convention center in Texas, among two in the United States, to achieve LEED® Gold Certification for Existing Buildings. The Center houses a 247,052-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall, a 43,300-sq.-ft. ballroom and 54 meeting rooms. The facility features complimentary wireless Internet access,

high-speed Internet2 access, plug-and-play capabilities and an onsite technical staff. The ACC is a short distance from 7,000 downtown hotel rooms across 22 hotels, and attendees can step out to partake of everything from fine dining in four-star restaurants to down-home barbecue and authentic Tex-Mex.


Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


ith attractions such as Pikes Peak, the Garden of the Gods Park, North Cheyenne Canon and Seven Falls, Colorado Springs is a destination with much natural beauty. But it is also well prepared to host meetings with its 14,000 hotel rooms, including properties by Doubletree, Embassy Suites and Marriott, not to mention iconic resorts such as The Broadmoor and Cheyenne Mountain Resort. The downtown area is home to unique eateries including local craft breweries, charming shops, an outdoor art sculpture program called “Art on the Streets” and vibrant nightlife. For a trip back in time, direct participants to Historic Old Colorado City, the original Colorado territory, which showcases unique architecture, patio dining and various street festivals throughout the year.

Colorado Springs www.visitcos.com

Group excursions can be arranged to multiple museums that are in proximity, including Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, McAllister House Museum and the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. Other intriguing venues include the U.S. Olympic Training Center, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the latter particularly appealing to conventioneers travelling with families.

Just 10 minutes from downtown is Manitou Springs, a mountain town whose natural mineral springs Native American tribes believed to have healing powers. Other popular sites include the Penny Arcade, Cave of the Winds, Manitou Cliff Dwellings and the Pikes Peak Cog Railway Depot.

Meeting Space Logistics Cornelia Horner, CMP Vice President American Land Title Association

The Washington, DC-based American Land Title Association held its Annual Convention in Colorado Springs from Oct. 17-20, 2012. The Broadmoor welcomed about 700 title industry professionals and accommodated a 40-booth exhibit. The Association hadn’t met at the legendary hotel in 10 years, so the return generated some excitement, according to Horner.

The hotel’s function areas are very well laid out. They have a convention center across the street from the main property [Broadmoor Event Center Complex, including the 60,000-sq.-ft. Broadmoor Hall], and that’s where you can have a large general session and an exhibit hall. They have some small breakout space in the main hotel, and their West building has two more ballrooms [5,040 sq. ft. and 3,115 sq. ft.], so you can actually have two fairly large meetings going on at the same time [in the Event Center and Broadmoor West]. As we unexpectedly grew by about 30 percent for the meeting, our block sold out and we needed more rooms. The Broadmoor helped us out by being creative and accommodating the overflow. Travelling to Colorado Springs

If you fly directly into Colorado Springs it is rather expensive because it is a small airport, but the city is fortunate in that it’s only about 45 minutes from Denver. Many of our attendees did fly into Denver so they didn’t have to make a connecting flight, and then either got a shuttle or rented a car. We didn’t really get complaints about that. Offsite Events

We visited a local wolf preserve [Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, about an hour from Colorado Springs], where attendees learned how the wolves are being protected and actually got to pet them. People absolutely loved that. We also held an evening event at Cave of the Winds, near the Garden of the Gods, arranged through The Broadmoor’s onsite DMC.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


development plan. The anchor of this rapidly developing area is the 540,000-sq.-ft. Connecticut Convention Center, which offers a 140,000-sq.ft. main exhibit hall, a 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 19 meeting rooms and many high-tech features such as Webcasting and cyber-cafes. Attached to the Center is the AAA Four Diamond, 409-room Marriott Hartford Downtown, which offers an additional 13,500 sq. ft. of meeting space. Also nearby are the 393-room Hilton Hartford, 350-room Ramada Plaza and 215-room Holiday Inn.




he 47-acre urban revitalization project known as Adriaen’s Landing is evidence that Hartford is a city steeped in both history and the future. Named for Dutch mariner Adriaen Block, who in 1614 became the first European explorer in the Connecticut River valley region, the project is the cornerstone of a five-year, multifaceted state and city economic

Hartford’s entertainment resources are diverse enough to please most any meeting attendee. Connecticut Whale and UCONN athletics events are complemented by major cultural attractions such as the Mark Twain House & Museum, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. Groups can explore the West End, one of Hartford’s most architecturally significant neighborhoods, and Elizabeth Park, home to the oldest municipally operated rose garden in the nation. Front Street is an up-and-coming area featuring the recently opened 800-seat Spotlight Theater, which will offer special-event rooms and a 75-seat restaurant. This fall, Capital Grille, a new upscale steakhouse, is expected to open on Front Street, along with the 600-seat Infinity Music Hall and Bistro. Ted’s Montana Grill will also be opening in the first quarter of 2014.

Partnering With the Connecticut Convention Center Benjamin Levisay CEO and Director of Sales and Marketing XRX, Inc.

Sioux Falls, SD-based XRX, Inc. publishes Knitter’s Magazine and books on knitting and crocheting. The company also stages STITCHES Events, including STITCHES East, which will take place Nov. 7-10 at the Connecticut Convention Center. XRX has partnered with the Center for five years for STITCHES East, a consumer show that is expected to draw about 6,000 attendees this year.


We were in Baltimore [for STITCHES East] for a while, and when we went looking for a new venue, the Connecticut Convention Center acted like they wanted our business and continue to act like a good partner with us. I like the big ballroom [40,000 sq. ft.] at the top level, and the Center has a lot of breakout rooms [14], which is necessary since we have so many educational sessions. And it’s connected to the Hartford Marriott Downtown, so it’s a really nice intimate experience; when we go there we will take over the entire convention center and hotel. We have a very good relationship with the Marriott, and we tend to partner with convention centers that have either a Renaissance or a Marriott next to them. Advantages of Hartford

Hartford is extremely accessible, almost smack-dab between Boston and New York. They’re a friendly little city. The Chamber of Commerce lets the city know we’re coming, and some of the restaurants will offer a discount to people wearing a STITCHES badge. They also have a wonderful bus that tours the city as well as hydrogen-powered [zero emission] busses. CVB Marketing Assistance

The Hartford CVB has been wonderful to work with. A couple years ago they had our Knitter’s Magazine editor in to teach one of the morning shows how to knit, and so they help us promote. They’re very much a partner in letting people know we’re here and getting the word out. Their social media crew is very adept. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

Oklahoma City www.visitokc.com


ver the past two decades, Oklahoma City has been transformed through more than $5 billion of public and private investment in quality-of-life projects and improvements that add to the city’s virtues as a meeting site. Affordable rates and a friendly atmosphere complement Oklahoma City’s 16,000 hotel rooms and the formidable Cox Convention Center, which houses more than 150,000 sq. ft. of total meeting space. That includes a 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, eight exhibit halls totaling 100,000 sq. ft. and additional meeting rooms totaling 27,500 sq. ft. of function and pre-function space. A 6,500seat theater is also available. Continued on Page 72

Virtues of Oklahoma City

Lauren Warkentine Customer Relations/ Account Manager Computer-Rx

Oklahoma City-based ComputerRx brings pharmacies from across the United States to the Cox Convention Center for a software training and networking meeting called Idea Exchange. The latest installment, April 5-6, drew 600 representatives of approximately 450 pharmacies, as well as 75 representatives of 42 vendors that partner with Computer-Rx. Attendees stayed at the Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel by Marriott, with overflow primarily at the Courtyard Oklahoma City Downtown and the Residence Inn Oklahoma City Downtown.

I received many compliments during the week about how clean Oklahoma City is and how friendly the people are. Attendees were also shocked by how much the city has to offer. Our event is in April, so many attend the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game and Barons hockey games. They also enjoyed dinner and nightlife in Bricktown, and visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum as well as art museums. It has turned out to be a great centralized hotspot for our meeting with everything in walking distance, and affordable prices. A Proactive CVB

The CVB was exceptional to work with. They actually came to me and offered any assistance they could with hotels, transportation, marketing and anything else they could do. During the convention the staff from the CVB and the hotel were always watching and helping when needed. I felt there was always someone else making sure things were running smoothly without me even asking. Logistical Convenience

The Marriott and the Cox Convention Center are a good pairing because they are right across the street from each other, and connected by a sky bridge. It made it very easy for our guests. The layout of the convention center is also functional, open and practical. I have been to several convention centers were you feel you get lost inside, let alone trying to get there. Local Entertainment

We worked with Box Talent Agency to source local entertainer Wade Tower, who became a crowd favorite during our casino-themed night. The convention center worked very well with the agency to make our night seamless. Post-event Evaluation

The customer [feedback] and overall increased reputation were huge following our show. This was true of the first year, and it continued to grow the second year. It has been mentioned as one of the best shows in the industry in only its third year. 33 Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review



The Phoenix Convention Center’s North Building is linked to the neighboring West Building by a glass-encased sky bridge.


ess than four miles from the Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix boasts great accessibility despite its second-tier status, not to mention a massive convention center that is one of the nation’s best. Featuring a dedicated stop on the METRO Light Rail line, the Phoenix Convention Center houses 900,000 sq. ft. of function space, including a 312,500-sq.-ft. exhibit hall; ballrooms of 46,000, 45,000 and 28,000 sq. ft. respectively; a 21,000-sq.-ft. Executive Conference Center and 99 meeting rooms; the 2,312-seat Symphony Hall; and the 1,364-seat Orpheum Theatre. More than 2,500 guestrooms are within walking distance of the facility, including 1,000 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown and more than 1,200 rooms at the newly renovated Hyatt Regency and 500-plus rooms at the Wyndham Hotel. Phoenix enjoys over 300 days of sunshine every year, which is ideal for outings to baseball and basketball games at Chase Field and U.S. Airways Center, and to CityScape, a new outdoor shopping mall that includes Lucky Strike Bowling Alley and Stand Up Live Comedy Club. The Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center is across the street from the Convention Center, and a quick walk takes attendees to the Arizona Science Center in historic Heritage Square. The Phoenix Art Museum is just a short light rail ride away. The Valley of the Sun also offers some of the best golfing and spa experiences in the nation, along with attractions such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, the Phoenix Zoo and Camelback Mountain.


Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review




he Steelers’ hometown is a prime player in the second-tier market, and its Gold and Platinum LEED-certified David L. Lawrence Convention Center is a major reason. The newly carpeted facility has a dynamic architectural design with open terraces and a suspended roof structure. Inside, planners have at their disposal a 236,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, 31,610-sq.-ft. ballroom, 53 meeting rooms and two theaters. The entire building is enabled with WiFi. Surrounding the Center are so many upscale hotels that a planner might forget Pittsburgh is second tier. They include the 616-room Westin Convention Center Hotel, 596-room Omni William Penn Hotel, 333room DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh Downtown, 402-rooom Pittsburgh Marriott City Center, 300-room Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, 712-room Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh and 399-room Sheraton Station Square Hotel. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center features a dynamic architectural design with open terraces. Major downtown attractions include the Mt. Washington neighborhood, with a memorable view of the city skyline; the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, where planners can rent facilities at art, natural history and science museums; the Duquesne Incline, opened in 1877; Penguins hockey and Pirates baseball; Rivers Casino; and major performing art centers including Heinz Hall, Benedum Center and O’Reilly Theater. 35




he heart of Providence’s events industry is the Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex, which includes the Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC), the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Meeting planners will naturally focus on the RICC, whose elegant Rotunda Room affords spectacular views of a downtown that offers 2,200 hotel rooms within one mile of the Center. The RICC houses 137,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space,

Brenda C. Park CESSE Meetings Manager Park-Way Meetings, LLC Greenville, SC

The annual meeting of Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives (CESSE) – CESSE 2013 Annual Meeting was held in Providence July 16-18, with approximately 460 in attendance. CESSE used the Omni Providence as the main hotel, and the Hilton Providence as the overflow hotel. The sessions were held in the Rhode Island Convention Center.


a 20,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 23 meeting rooms. Working hand in hand with clients of the RICC is the Providence Warwick CVB, which provides services such as targeted e-mail blasts, reciprocal Web links, attendee microsites, welcome banners throughout the city and welcome signage in member establishments.

The compact downtown is known for being very walkable, with hotels, great restaurants, and eclectic shopping all within blocks of each other, and on their walks attendees can also enjoy historic sites and architecture. A standout area is Federal Hill, home to one of the country’s best Little Italys with more than 100 restaurants, as well as bakeries, wine shops and specialty food markets. Other local attractions include Bank of America Skating Center, Festival Ballet Providence, Providence Bruins (AHL Affiliate of Boston Bruins), Providence Performing Arts Center, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Trinity Repertory Company and the iconic spectacle known as WaterFire, with 100 bonfires burning just above the surface of the three rivers that flow through the downtown.

Why Providence?

Providence is easily accessed from a major portion of the United States, and in driving distance from the majority of the East Coast, where many of our associations are headquartered. The city offers varied options for sleeping rooms and event space in proximity, as well as offsite venues and entertainment choices within walking distance. CVB Support

We received tremendous marketing and planning support. The CVB created a microsite for our meeting, worked with us on recommendations for offsite venues, participated in weekly planning team conference calls, gathered and distributed housing reports, etc. Rhode Island Convention Center

Due to the size and space needed for our group, we were able to utilize the entire fifth floor of the Convention Center. Having everything on one floor was very convenient for our attendees and vendors. In addition, the Convention Center is easily accessible from the street level as well as from the Omni, through a covered, indoor connector. Unfortunately, the Center lost power for three-and-a-half hours due to a problem with two sub-stations in Providence. Everyone from the General Manager down stayed in contact with us, giving us constant updates via text message and personal interaction. The banquet team pulled off a miracle by serving a hot lunch for more than 400 attendees in the midst of a power outage. Offsite Events

Our Board dinner was held at the Squantum Association, which is a beautiful private venue that overlooks the water, about 20 minutes from downtown Providence [in Riverside, RI]. Both the food (a clambake including lobsters) and the service were top notch. The opening reception was held at Waterplace Restaurant overlooking the Waterplace Basin, and included a Waterfire event. It was a beautiful evening, and a nice surprise for the city dwellers in Providence, as it was not a normally scheduled Waterfire. The CVB worked with Sullivan Custom Planning and Ten 31 Productions for the entertainment and arrangement for both the Waterfire event and our Final Gala at the Omni. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review



The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center


avannah is known for its rich history as the first colonial and state capital of Georgia, a natural beauty accented by moss-draped live oaks, and 18th and 19th century architectural styles. Here, groups can explore myriad boutiques, galleries and specialty shops in Historic Meetings District, as well as many other attractions including: 22 lush squares, trolley tours, the Jepson Center for the Arts, the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, the Mighty Eight Air Force Museum, City Market, River Street, Forsyth Park and numerous golf courses. And with 15,000 hotel rooms citywide, planners have plenty of lodging options complementing the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, located on the Historic Savannah River. The facility offers 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 21 meeting rooms and a 367-seat theater.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


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Virginia Beach

Keen on Bringing More Groups to its Shores By George Seli


irginia’s largest city, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has certainly “come a long way” in the meetings industry with the opening of the highly sophisticated Virginia Beach Convention Center six years ago and the development of upscale beachfront hotels. The town already had the charm of being a “more soothing” version of Ocean City, MD, as one planner remarked during a familiarization program I attended in the city this summer. And ocean-side fun is just part of the entertainment that today’s Virginia Beach has in store for meeting groups. The phased opening of Town Center in recent years brought more cosmopolitan shopping and dining options, as well as the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts and hotels by Starwood and Hilton. More physically active attendees have a slew of watersports at their disposal – and even horseback riding – in a generally mild climate that is the envy of many cities. With all of that in its favor, Virginia Beach could do some resting on its laurels as a strong competitor in the second- and third-tier meetings markets. But the impression I received was of a city striving to create a better product for both association and corporate meeting planners. When Mayor William D. Sessoms Jr. addressed our group during a breakfast at the Convention Center, he stated, “We welcome suggestions for improvement; shame on us if we don’t listen.” The goal is to bolster group business during the October-May off-season. During that time, Al Hutchinson, Vice President of Convention Sales & Marketing for the Virginia Beach CVB, stressed, “we’re wide open for meetings and conventions.” Hutchinson and his team at the CVB are affable professionals who catered to our individual focuses, whether meeting planning, sports marketing, or reporting on these industries. They understand their city’s value proposition for different types of groups, and the CVB helps to deliver that value through its connections to numerous suppliers. “Because we’re a city entity, it’s easy for us to find partners and make things happen for you,” Hutchinson noted. When it comes to sourcing entertainment, the CVB partners with Beachevents, a City of Virginia program that coordinates concerts, festivals and activities held at the oceanfront resort area. Situated about a 20-minute drive from Norfolk International Airport, the city boasts 35 miles of ocean and bay beaches, 14 miles of which are free and


Fourteen of Virginia Beach’s 35 miles of ocean and bay beaches are free and open to the public.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

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Al Hutchinson Vice President of Convention Sales & Marketing, Virginia Beach CVB

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


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The Virginia Beach Convention Center

open to the public. While this fact can’t be appreciated upon And even bigger projects are “waiting in the wings,” as the initial arrival in the resort area, the city’s maritime culture is city is in negotiations to secure financing for a multimillionimmediately signaled by a 34-ft. cast bronze statue of King dollar entertainment megaplex on the 8.6-acre former site Neptune, located at the boardwalk on 31st Street overlooking of the Dome, a historic entertainment venue demolished in Neptune Park. The three-mile-long boardwalk itself is iconic; 1994. The proposed new facility would include the tallest the original wood-decked version was built in 1888 and Ferris wheel on the East Coast, movie theaters, a bowling alley, spanned four blocks. Virginians have explored the sky as well an ice-skating rink, a 2,500-seat Broadway-style theater and as the sea, and the Naval Aviation more. The site could also serve as Monument along the boardwalk the final destination for a proposed is comprised of imposing bronze extension of The Tide, Hampton n the hotel front, the most statues of famous pilots, along with Roads Transit’s light-rail line, from granite storyboards. Norfolk to the Virginia Beach talked-about development is oceanfront; the feasibility of this the restoration of the iconic New Developments project is currently being studied. One of the most significant recent A second entertainment facility Cavalier Hotel, built in 1927. developments in the Atlantic being discussed is a new 18,500-seat Avenue resort area is 31Ocean, a arena adjacent to the Virginia Beach mixed-use complex that opened Convention Center. this spring. Boasting a variety of shopping and dining On the hotel front, the most talked-about development is establishments, 31Ocean is located across from the 289the restoration of the iconic Cavalier Hotel, comprised of the room Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, housing 12,000 Cavalier On-The-Hill, built in 1927, and the contemporary sq. ft. of function space, including a 7,100-sq.-ft. ballroom Cavalier Oceanfront; together, the properties offer 25 event overlooking the ocean. Among the property’s highlights are the venues that can accommodate up to 2,000 attendees. Virginia Empyrean Club (an exclusive “hotel within a hotel” on the top Beach developer Bruce Thompson, CEO of Gold Key/PHR three floors) and Salacia, billed as Virginia’s only AAA Four Hotels and Resorts, purchased the Cavalier this summer for Diamond steakhouse. In addition, groups looking for authentic $35.1 million and plans to pursue the renovation. Italian dining can now visit three such eateries under one roof The latest hotel to add to the city’s 12,000-room inventory at Big Italy, which recently opened between 33rd and 34th will be the 167-room Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Streets on Atlantic Avenue. Oceanfront, which debuts next spring with 5,000 sq. ft. of



Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

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Town Center. With an eclectic mix of shopping, dining and entertainment covering 17 city blocks, Town Center is something of an urban escape from the beach scene. Here, attendees can experience world-renowned performers at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, which is a splendid venue for offsite events. The Sandler Center offers theater-style seating for 1,300 and a grand lobby accommodating 150 seated guests and up to 250 for receptions. The facility’s outdoor plaza can accommodate up to 400 guests. Town Center is also home to the four-star, 236room Westin Virginia Beach Town Center.

Military Aviation Museum. One of the largest private collections of vintage military airplanes in the world is found at this museum, which can host groups of up to 1,000 attendees. The new 15,000-sq.-ft. World War I hanger is available for rental, as well as meeting space that seats up to 50 attendees. There is also the option of having individual aircraft perform for a group.

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Virginia’s largest aquarium is home to Restless Planet, a permanent exhibit of 6,000 animals and 367 species including Komodo dragons, exotic cobras, the endangered Tomistoma (a species of freshwater crocodile), spotted eagle rays and more. The Aquarium also houses an IMAX Theater, and can host events of up to 2,000 attendees. The Founders Inn and Spa. With over 25,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, The Founders Inn is noted for its Grand Georgian architecture, artworks and antiques, not to mention hightech features such as worldwide video teleconferencing and computerized custom lighting in the Virginia Ballroom.

Virginia Beach Tennis and Country Club. Located just one mile from the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel & Conference Center, the largest tennis facility in the Mid-Atlantic region offers 25 outdoor clay courts, three outdoor hard courts and a junior Olympic-size pool. Particularly impressive is the new indoor tennis facility, which houses 10 side-by-side courts, a vast space that can be converted for special events with the use of a portable flooring system. A 225-seat restaurant and sports bar features open-air mezzanines overlooking the courts, and a two-story wellness center is also onsite, offering the latest cardio and strength-training machines. Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Founded in 1952, the Virginia MOCA is located just six blocks from the oceanfront and features a large atrium that accommodates up to 350 guests. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

Historic homes. Among many examples is The Adam Thoroughgood House (1719), one of the oldest houses from the early Colonial period and a National Historic Landmark. The house can host 125 guests for a reception, 50 individuals in its meeting space and up to 80 banquet guests. Also notable is The Lynnhaven House, furnished as a historic home/museum to interpret the period in history from 1725 to 1727. The house accommodates up to 300 guests outdoors and 150 guests indoors. First Landing State Park. This 2,888-acre park fronting the Chesapeake Bay features 1.25 miles of beachfront and more than 19 miles of interpretive hiking trails through protected salt marsh habitat, freshwater ponds, beach, dunes, forest, tidal marsh and cypress swamp. The park offers a meeting room at the main visitor center for up to 45 attendees and the Chesapeake Bay Center, which can accommodate 65 guests and includes an outdoor amphitheater for up to 185 guests. 41

On Location On Location On Location On Location On Location On Location On Locat meeting space and two oceanfront restaurants. Currently, the city’s newest property is the 189-room Oceanaire Resort Hotel, offering 2,600 sq. ft. of ocean-view function space with an additional 1,175 sq. ft. of pre-function space. The second floor, dedicated as a conference level, offers two private executive suites equipped with smart boards, audiovisual equipment and high-definition TVs. The 10th-floor lounge and sundeck offer an additional 4,341 sq. ft. of function space.

favorites presented in individual cordial glasses. Benson is the head of Distinctive Gourmet, a division of Centerplate and partner with the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Another memorable experience our group had at the Center was not only “filling,” but fulfilling: The Give Back Marketplace. Stationed around a room were various Virginia Beach meeting industry suppliers with tables of toiletries and other items for victims of the tornado in Oklahoma as well as a local veteran organization called Vetshouse. We circulated the room, filling tote bags with these items while networking with the representatives at the tables. This multitasking was ultimately rewarding from both a business and CSR (corporate social responsibility) perspective. The Virginia Beach CVB’s program “One Beach, One World” offers meeting planners CSR opportunities; for example, by identifying volunteering activities for attendees. The city itself is the first destination in the Commonwealth of Virginia to be certified by Virginia Green, the Commonwealth’s campaign to promote environmentally friendly practices within the hospitality industry. In 2009, the Virginia Beach CVB became the first Platinum business member of the Green Meeting Industry Council and joined the Convene Green Alliance.

Virginia Beach Convention Center About 3,500 of Virginia Beach’s hotel rooms are located within 2.5 miles of the crown jewel of the city’s meeting industry, the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Having participated in a comprehensive tour of this facility – from the meeting rooms to the kitchens to the loading docks – I can attest to the care the staff takes in all areas, one of them being sustainability. Kimberlee Dobbins, the center’s fulltime sustainability coordinator, gave our group a presentation on the center’s various green practices, including the use of Green Seal Certified cleaners and energy-saving lighting and HVAC systems. The first convention center in the country to achieve LEED Gold certification for Existing Buildings, the Virginia ehind the Virginia Beach Beach Convention Center’s Seeking Planner Feedback environmentally friendly features Convention Center lies a garden Our visit concluded with a breakfast include the use of renewable and “debriefing” at the Hilton materials such as Cumaru wood with 12 beds of fresh produce Virginia Beach Oceanfront that for flooring, meeting suite veneers used for onsite catering. mainly consisted of asking the and outdoor decks; and an energyevent planners in the group about efficient glass system that limits their impressions of the city and ultraviolet light penetration and recommendations for improvement. The length of the harnesses solar energy in the pre-function spaces. session and depth of the questioning suggested city officials The center houses 150,012 sq. ft. of exhibit space, in attendance, including councilmen John Uhrin and James a 31,029-sq.-ft. ballroom (with programmable LED Wood, were quite serious about attracting more group business. lighting) and 26 meeting rooms spanning 28,929 sq. ft., all The major suggestion for improvement concerned the complemented by 2,209 free parking spaces. The columnneed for a large headquarters hotel in walking distance to the free exhibit hall, divisible by four, features 40-ft. ceilings convention center. A planner for a faith-based organization along with 10 ft.-by-10 ft. grids permanently etched into the noted that many of his attendees are older people who would floor to facilitate exhibit set up. Courtney Dyer, the center’s appreciate not having to shuttle from an oceanfront hotel to very personable general manager, described the hall’s four the convention center. City officials at the debriefing were quite subdivisions as having a “Texas toast” layout, arranged side aware of the logistical advantage such a property would bring, by side with each supported by its own meeting room suites, noting that proposals are being developed. A headquarters hotel concessions, pre-function and registration spaces, show would certainly make Virginia Beach even more competitive management offices, storage rooms and restrooms. One of the facility’s most memorable spaces is its observation in the second- and third-tier markets, given that cities such as Louisville, Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, Raleigh and Savannah deck on the 10th story, from which the oceanfront skyline is have such hotels complementing their convention centers. visible. The same glass-facade tower houses a unique triangular Overall, planners said they were “pleasantly surprised” with boardroom and VIP lounge. Behind the convention center Virginia Beach, and one planner noted the convention center lies another surprising feature: a garden with 12 beds of fresh was among the finest she had ever seen, a comment that produce used for onsite catering. Executive Chef Paul Benson drew applause. Of course, there are many other reasons to be encouraged our group to pick herbs, berries and fruits from enthusiastic about this revitalized destination – from the topthe garden for use in the healthy, original and delectable meals brand beachfront resorts to historic homes to museums of art he would later prepare us, including his signature Soup Sips and aviation. And let’s not forget the saltwater taffy. — gazpacho, yellow and red pepper coulis and other seasonal



Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


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Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid_Market Review


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A panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean from a suite at the Caribe Hilton. 44

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

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Puerto Rico

An Island Apart Unique culture and idyllic resorts await meeting groups at this ‘rich port’


s my trip to the island of Puerto Rico came to a close, I found myself lounging on a smoothly sanded beach in San Juan, enjoying the serenity of crystal blue ocean waves. Oddly, I began pondering how the words “island” and “isolation” are related etymologically. The context of this thought was not that of an aspiring lexicographer; rather, it was my curiosity as to how Puerto Rico’s isolation allowed it to develop since Spain’s settlement of the island over 500 years ago.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


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Fortín de San Gerónimo (Fort Saint Jerome), built in the 17th century, is located at the entrance to Condado Lagoon. of becoming a U.S. territory in 1898. Business and industry have developed on the island, creating a modern, cosmopolitan San Juan. Boasting an impressive skyline of office towers and a vibrant city life, the island is home to pharmaceutical, banking and technology industries. As a result, Puerto Rico enjoys a higher standard of living than many countries around the globe. Puerto Rico had already set itself apart in subtle ways prior to the industrial revolution and globalization of world trade. One example is its cuisine, aptly described as a “melting pot.” The island’s original inhabitants, the Tainos, had a diet that consisted primarily of fish, corn, tropical fruits and vegetables. The Spanish arrival introduced beef and pork, as well as wheat and rice. These European staples were later supplemented by African foods At first glance, Puerto Rico’s when slaves were brought to history is similar to most of the Puerto Rico to plant and harvest Compared to other former Americas. A Spanish explorer – in this sugarcane. Assimilating each case Christopher Columbus, during Spanish colonies, Puerto Rico group’s foods produced numerous his second voyage to the new world dishes that locals incorporate into has fared well economically. in 1493 – asserted dominion over the their Cocina Criolla, a source of island. While under the Spanish flag, pride to the island. Business and industry the island served as an important port As a tropical island, Puerto have developed on the of entry into the New World, with Rico has not only cultivated a fortifications, still standing, structured unique culture, but also developed island, creating a modern, to create a strong and lasting presence a thriving tourist trade. Minutes of Spain’s colonial interests. Spain’s cosmopolitan San Juan. from San Juan’s airport, one will initial goals were realized as its reign find beaches, world-class hotels lasted hundreds of years until ceding and resorts attracting visitors year the island to the United States. round. Business tourism also finds a home on Puerto Over the centuries, however, Puerto Rico developed a Rico, with facilities that cater to leisure and MICE travel unique character all its own thanks to its isolation from alike. Flexible meeting space is available at a wide array the rest of New Spain. Some traits are more noticeable of facilities. From the Facilities & Destinations Prime than others. Linguistically, for example, Puerto Rico Site Award-winning Puerto Rico Convention Center to developed a dialect of Spanish influenced by immigrants to conference and ballrooms at local hotels, Puerto Rico has the island during the 19th and 20th centuries. Politically, the infrastructure to support conventions and expositions, movements advocating independence from Spain did not banquets, and meetings large and small. Facilities & impact Puerto Rico as seriously as they did the Americas. Destinations was privileged recently to take a look at the Compared to other former Spanish colonies, Puerto island and some of Hilton’s properties in the capital, San Rico has fared well economically, reaping the benefits Juan, and we were impressed with what we saw. 46

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

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The Caribe Hilton, San Juan’s largest resort hotel.

The Caribe Hilton peers back in Caribe Hilton

time, overlooking the adjacent

comfortable feel, both for leisure and work. To maintain its leadership position as one of Situated on a peninsula Spanish colonial fortifications the key resorts in San Juan, last year the hotel between the Condado launched a $60 million renovation project Lagoon and the of San Gerónimo, while staking that is now in its final stages. New furniture, Atlantic Ocean is the a claim in modernity as the carpets, bathrooms and design elements for Caribe Hilton, the the main tower have been completed, and largest resort hotel in birthplace of the piña colada. improvements to all 305 main-building San Juan. Just minutes guestrooms will culminate during the year. from the airport, the Meeting planners have 24 meeting rooms Caribe Hilton’s setting with 65,000 sq. ft. of total meeting space at their disposal. reflects the spirit of Puerto Rico. Engulfed by beaches and In addition to two ballrooms, there are 11 conference magnificent ocean vistas, the hotel also peers back in time, rooms, a business center and one of Puerto Rico’s largest overlooking the adjacent Spanish colonial fortifications of exhibition halls, with 15,700 sq. ft. To take advantage San Gerónimo, while staking a claim in modernity as the of the tropical climate, meeting planners can select birthplace of the piña colada. from indoor function space that extends onto terraces A mainstay in San Juan for decades, the fashionable overlooking the ocean, beachside promenades lined with Caribe Hilton continues to be the setting for events palm trees, or the pool area, where one of the pools can be encompassing benefit banquets and international conferences. The facility’s perennial popularity is a testament specially fitted with a fiberglass covering to create a dance floor. La Islita, a cozy manmade island protruding from the to the quality and service offered at the hotel. Spread out beach, provides an additional small meeting setting under over large acreage, the combined 910 rooms of the Caribe the skies, surrounded by the sea. Hilton and Condado Lagoon Villas provide guests a Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


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The Condado Plaza Hilton

THE Condado Plaza HILTON Across the harbor from the Caribe Hilton is the luxurious Condado Plaza Hilton (formerly the Conrad). The hotel itself extends from the Condado Lagoon to the Atlantic Ocean, Be it the color schemes, providing the 571-room property with guestroom décor panoramic views of both the ocean and the lagoon. Beyond the peaceful waters of the or spacious marble lagoon, one can peer out at numerous highrise towers, a monument to the island nation’s antechambers, the perennial economic growth. Extending from Condado Plaza Hilton is the lagoon to the ocean, the property has an enclosed beach and snorkeling reef providing “dressed to impress.” a quiet setting for beachgoers, restricted from any motorized water sports and boats in an effort to restore the coral. While much of Puerto Rico’s appeal is related to the Plaza is a facility that is “dressed to impress.” Its 41,000 sea, the Condado Plaza offers multiple opportunities sq. ft. of event space, capable of accommodating up for leisure, including three pools, a 24-hour casino and to 1,100 attendees, provides planners a selection of 18 a vibrant nightlife, among a long list of entertainment flexible conference and meeting spaces, with many of the options. larger meeting spaces overlooking the waters below. With The care that went into the design elements of the breathtaking views by day, and the night skies reflecting hotel is present throughout. Be it the color schemes, off the sea during the evening hours, the Condado Plaza’s guestroom décor, spacious marble antechambers or picturesque waterfront vistas make the hotel a favorite for elegant modern chandeliers in public areas, the Condado locals and visitors alike. 48

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

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El San Juan Resort & Casino

The El San Juan Resort & Casino

The El San Juan Resort & Casino has long been one of Puerto Rico’s most renowned properties. The hotel’s design, in both its meeting spaces and 386 guestrooms, tastefully reflects the styles of different eras of the island’s development, and the hotel continues to set the bar for luxury resorts. Outdoor meeting spaces Located minutes from the airport, the El abound at the El San San Juan welcomes meeting attendees with a variety of upscale amenities. Spread out over Juan Resort & Casino, 15 acres, the hotel is enwrapped with whiteincluding poolside venues sanded beaches and grounds blooming with tropical foliage, affording a serene setting for and a shaded meeting relaxing or conducting business. While enchanting, historic San Juan area under a banyan tree. beckons nearby, the resort has a multitude of offerings to keep guests from ever leaving its to offer as well, with 35,000 sq. expansive grounds. Seaside, the hotel’s beach club features ft. of flexible meeting space, including 14 meeting rooms an open-air lounge, swim-up bars in the pool, daybeds and and the ornately decorated International Ballroom, with hammocks along the beach. On the water, jet skiing and chandeliers providing a touch of Old World elegance. parasailing are among the available activities. On land, The Outdoor meeting spaces also abound, including poolside Edouard de Paris Day Spa provides an opportunity for venues and a shaded meeting area under a banyan tree. indulgence, and there are both tennis courts and a fitness Attendees staying at the El San Juan and experiencing center on site. In addition to a 16,500-sq.-ft. casino, the Puerto Rico, as summed up by Olivier Maumaire, the hotel has a smorgasbord of culinary offerings that could resort’s general manager, have “the best of both worlds.” satisfy any palate. We could not agree more, and from our perspective, it is From a meetings perspective, the El San Juan has plenty definitely a balancing act worth attempting. —Rosa Laufer Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


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Spain’s Balearic Islands An intriguing escape for meeting and incentive groups By Debi Lander

Ibiza, the White Island, known for its nightlife and vast harbor. (Below): Young girl dressed in traditional island attire.


ention you’re taking your attendees to the Balearic Islands and you might get a quizzical look. More likely, the four islands will be recognized by their individual names: Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and the least well known, Formentera. They lie off the coast of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea between the mainland and Africa. Catalan and Spanish are the co-official languages, but many locals understand English. The Balearics are popular summertime vacations spots for mainland Spaniards and other Europeans, but relatively few Americans visit the islands. The easiest U.S. gateway is Iberia Airlines through Madrid, and then short flights between the islands. Spain positions itself as one of the world’s top destinations for congresses and meetings. The Spain Convention Bureau estimated the economic impact of MICE activity in 2012 in Spain at five billion euros. According to the International Congress & Convention

Association (ICCA), Spain hosts the third-highest number of international events, after the U.S. and Germany. Attractive climate and gastronomy, historic features and tourism infrastructures are among the reasons for this achievement. In 2012, Madrid and Barcelona, the two biggest cities in Spain, were naturally its biggest draws for MICE groups, but the Balearic Islands offer intriguing options.


Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

Ibiza Ibiza has a robust hospitality infrastructure, with 80,000 beds among 500 lodging options. The island’s indefinable

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Mallorca’s port in Sóller attracts boaters and beachgoers.


Spain positions itself as one of the world’s Es Vedra, the mysterious rock island, magic attracts those looking for top destinations for famous as Bali Hai in the film South nightlife as well as nature. The congresses and meetings. Pacific, is located off the southwestern Moors gave Ibiza the distinctive coast. A hilltop overlook near Es character that led to its name — the The Spain Convention Vedra displays the glamour that is White Island. Looking down on the Bureau estimated the Ibiza: glistening Mediterranean water, harbor from the top of the ancient natural coves, small beaches, huge rock fortress, one can see white adobe economic impact of MICE formations, boats and beautiful people. cube architecture similar to the Greek Isles. And wearing all-white, activity in 2012 in Spain Formentera light clothing is a chic look called at five billion euros. “Ibiza Fashion.” An hour-long boat ride from Ibiza Dalt Vila, the upper town of harbor leads to Formentera, which is Ibiza, is the capital city and a entirely flat except for a small plateau on UNESCO World Heritage Site — one of four on the the eastern end where your group can visit the lighthouse. island. Here, groups can explore a citadel that guards the The island’s beauty is its simplicity, tranquility and narrow corridors and medieval streets crowded together undeveloped beaches and shorelines. More than 60 percent over the mouth of an almost circular bay. The old harbor of the island’s natural landscape is protected by law. district, Calle de la Virgen, is festive throughout the night. Arrange a day trip to Formentera for participants; it’s By day, the plaza, marketplace and boutiques are stylish, well worth the effort so they can enjoy sandy strands, charming and calm. turquoise waters and fresh seafood. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


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Island Meeting Hotels Formentera is known for its undeveloped shorelines. Sixty percent of the island’s natural landscape is protected by law. Mallorca Mallorca, the largest, most popular and most culturally rich of the Balearic Islands, enjoys 300 days of sunshine annually. Over 20 million visitors each year explore 1,405 square miles of remarkably scenic coastline, pine-forested mountains (up to 4,000 feet high), lively fishing ports, ancient monasteries and the historic and thriving European city, Palma. No other European island has a The Balearic wider range of scenery. Recreational pursuits Islands can include some of Europe’s finest golf courses, tennis, justifiably claim to cycling, horseback riding, cater to meeting boating and water sports. A terrific way for and incentive attendees to sightsee attendees of all Palma is by Segway. They can explore the yacht tastes, from sun harbor backed by the grand Gothic cathedral, seekers to history La Seo, and the white, buffs to foodies. circular battlements of the 14th century Bellver Castle at the other end. Built on the foundation of the Moorish Mosque following the Christian reconquest in 1299, the cathedral is poised high above the seawall. Other scenic areas include Parque del Mar, which fronts the bay, and the tree-lined avenues that lead past the Almudaina Palace to the central paseo known as Es Born. The elongated plaza once hosted jousting tournaments and is now the hub of Palma’s social life. Culturally curious attendees will find world-class museums nearby, including Pilar and Joan Miró Fundacion. The town of Valldemossa, with the former Carthisian Monastery, La Cartuja, is the island’s most visited attraction after La Seo Cathedral. The cloisters contain famous works by Miró and Picasso. 52


biza and Mallorca’s worldwide potential as a tourist destination is well known. But with their location in the heart of the Mediterranean, wide selection of hotels, high quality of service professionals and modern airports, they are equally viable for meetings and incentive travel. Menorca is also gaining prominence in the MICE market. Here is a sampling of hotels in the Balearics that are capable hosts for your events. Mallorca Castillo Son Vida Built in the 13th century, surrounded by subtropical gardens and incomparable views of the Bay of Palma, this enchanting castle hotel offers 164 rooms and suites. The Starwood hotel property boasts four golf courses, tennis courts, four swimming pools and a premier spa. Es Vi, an intimate bodega-style restaurant with ceiling-high glass doors, offers sophisticated cuisine and 400 different wines. Attendees can relax while tasting typical Spanish tapas in the historic ambience of the renowned Bar Armas. A magnificent outdoor terrace overlooks the Bay of Palma and is frequently utilized for cocktail parties and receptions. The renovated castle and towers offer six meeting spaces, the largest being 4,306 sq. ft. All are state-of-the-art multimedia equipped. La Residencia Adjacent to the small medieval hilltop town of Deià on the northwest coast, La Residencia is an unexpected, luxurious gem. The twin historic manors that make up La Residencia have gardens dotted with orange trees, an olive plantation, and important collections of sculptures and other works of art. Beyond the hotel’s outdoor pools are individual villas with private terraces and a wellness spa. This boutique hotel was once owned by Richard Branson but now belongs to the OrientExpress group. Situated in the foothills of the Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

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La Residencia in Deià offers dramatic views and elegant lodging.

Menorca Insotel Punta Prima Prestige, San Luis This sprawling property is perfectly suited for large meeting groups. There are five easily convertible meeting rooms, totaling over 8,000 sq. ft. All have natural lighting and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment. Each of the Insotel Punta Prima Prestige’s 52 suites has a large bedroom and a spacious sitting room, en suite bathroom with separate tub and shower, a second bathroom with shower, free WiFi access, kitchenette with glass-ceramic cooktop, microwave and refrigerator. The Prestige Spa offers a full menu of treatments, and the hotel includes a wide range of sports facilities in addition to the gym. The Insotel Punta Prima Resort, a connecting property, offers all-inclusive type lodging in apartments.

Tramuntana Mountains, it offers 67 rooms and suites, and four restaurants. Michelin-star fine dining at El Olivo is truly one of the best gastronomic experiences in Mallorca. The beach is just a brief walk away. Small meeting and incentive travel groups are welcomed here. Six conference rooms are available, the largest being 1,400 sq. ft. Ibiza Atzaró Hidden within its own orange grove, Agroturismo Atzaró is a centuries-old family finca (estate) that has been restored and converted into luxurious accommodations. Guests enjoy privacy amidst landscaped gardens, water fountains, a 43-meter lap pool, spas and secluded spots for relaxation and rejuvenation. There is also an area with live DJs, sushi and cocktail bars, art lounges and a new fashion lounge and private party venue featuring a Champagne Bar. Offering 21 guestrooms in two different styles, Atzaró is ideal for small meeting groups. One, the traditional old farmhouse style, with its classical Ibicencan architecture and charm; the other with more modern, “Zen” decor. Almost all rooms have private terraces and a fireplace. While exuding an intimate feel, Atzaró successfully manages great events, such as the presentation of the summer collection for fashion brand Mango by Penélope Cruz, the Product Launch of Eye-Wear Vogue by Giselle Bünchen, and the opening and closing parties of the International Festival of the Cinema. Given that experience, the resort is naturally a capable host for corporate meetings. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

Insotel Punta Prima Prestige lies at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. Torralbenc Torralbenc, a new hotel and member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, lies near the municipality of Alaior, on a small hill surrounded by vineyards and affording commanding views of the Mediterranean. Situated between Mahón and Ciutadella, the property is a traditional Menorcan farm that has been renovated into a boutique hotel, respecting the rich heritage and ancient archaeology of the area. Whitewashed farm buildings dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries have been renovated to create 22 rooms and cottages, decorated in soft and soothing creams and whites. Attendees can take part in cookery classes and rustle up traditional Menorcan cuisine, or spend the day at the nearby beach. One group meeting room is available, plus private dining and reception areas. 53

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One of Mallorca’s most unusual diversions is riding the old-fashioned train from Palma to Sóller, a town known for its antique shops, boutiques and historic sites. For participants who rent a car, a drive to Deià is a must. They’ll see vistas of the Tramuntana Mountains running down to the sea and honey-colored stone cottages on cobbled lanes.

Menorca Greener, softer and subtler than its Balearic neighbors, Menorca calls to groups seeking quieter surroundings. The island presents a number of reminders of its prehistoric past — primarily stone remains that litter much of the countryside. These rock mounds and giant T-shaped stone monuments known as taulas are linked to Talayot culture that existed on the island in the second millennium BC. There are two main towns, Mahón, the current capital and major port, and Ciutadella, the former Moorish capital at the western end. The British moved the seat of power to Mahón in 1722, establishing a naval base at its enormous natural deep-water harbor, which can dock the largest of today’s cruise ships. British architectural influence can be seen in a number of classical Georgian sash-windowed townhouses around Mahón’s pleasant squares. Ciutadella, on the other hand, is quite a different place; its 54

Menorca’s former capital, Ciutadella, is famous for its horse festival. narrow, cobbled streets lined with whitewashed arches have a distinctly Moorish/Andalusian feel to them. Ciutadella also overlooks a harbor, but it is for small pleasure craft and fishermen. The waterfront promenade, lined with restaurants and backed by the remnants of the old city walls, presents one of Menorca’s most appealing settings. Attendees can also drive up to Menorca’s high point, Mont Toro at 1,150 feet, for a view of almost the entire island and the chance to explore a charming old monastery where there’s a memorial to Menorcan settlers who were among the earliest residents of St. Augustine, FL. The Balearic Islands can justifiably claim to cater to meeting and incentive attendees of all tastes, from sun seekers to history buffs to foodies. Meals are fresh and often expertly prepared, whether in beach bars, farmhouses or fine restaurants. What is more, roads are generally in very good condition and getting around by car is easy. Each of the four islands has a unique flavor and feel, so planners have a choice of memorable experiences for their groups. Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

F&D SiTES & Cities Directory • F&D SiTES & Cities Directory • F&D SiTES & Cities Directory new jersey


Austin Convention Center

Atlantic City Convention Center

1 Convention Boulevard, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 (609) 449-7136; (888) 222-3683 Fax: (609) 345-3685 www.atlanticcitynj.com • meetinac.com

Vice President, Convention Sales: Gary Musich Your Northeast Business Address

A year-round destination with all the amenities you expect from a premiere resort; 20,000 first-class hotel rooms (8,000 committable), top entertainment, golf, shopping, world-class dining and 11 casinos. The Atlantic City Convention Center is a bright, modern facility accommodating meetings and expos of all sizes, four contiguous exhibit halls (486,600 sq. ft.); 32,000 sq. ft. of pre-function space; 109,100 total sq. ft. meeting space; 45 meeting rooms including a 29,400-sq.-ft. ballroom; free WiFi; voice/data communications; green facility – single-roof solar systems, and aggressive recycling and energy-savings programs. PAGE C2

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. of meeting/exhibit space, including five column-free, contiguous exhibit halls (256,097 sq. ft. of total exhibit space), seven 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 7



Connecticut Convention Center

Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

515 South Cascade Avenue, Suite 1300, Colorado Springs, CO 80903 (800) 888-4748, ext. 132; (719) 685-7632 www.visitcos.com Director of Convention Sales: Kathy Reak Elevate Your Opportunities Choose Colorado Springs as your meeting location and enlist the help of the award-winning staff of the Colorado Springs CVB to ease the planning process. They offer an extensive range of complimentary services. Whether it’s customized site visits, teambuilding ideas or distributing RFPs, they are here for you. Start planning your next event in this unrivaled mountain metropolis. Colorado Springs offers 14,000 guestrooms, 5,000 convention PAGE guestrooms and 400,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space. 25 oklahoma

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

Director of Sales & Marketing: Michelle Hughes “The Spotlight’s On The NEW Connecticut Convention Center”

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/140,000-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall; 3,200-seat ballroom; attached to 409-room Marriott Hotel; 700 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 3


Cox Convention Center

David L. Lawrence 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

1000 Ft. Duquesne Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (412) 325-6174; Fax: (412) 565-6104 www.pittsburghcc.com Director of Sales & Marketing: Debbie Smucker

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 are across the street. From arts and adventure to cowboy culture and family fun, Oklahoma City offers an eclectic mix of heritage and hotspots. PAGE 61


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 breathtaking 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 9

ontario, CAnada


The International Centre

1101 W. McKinley Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768 (909) 623-3111; Fax: (909) 623-9599 www.fairplex.com Director of Sales: Melissa DeMonaco-Tapia An entertainment and convention destination; home of the world-renowned L.A. County Fair since 1922 and site of 500 consumer and tradeshows annually. 487 beautifully landscaped acres with eight art deco exposition halls, onsite 244-room 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 PAGE track.

6900 Airport Road, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L4V 1E8 (905) 677-6131; (800) 567-1199 internationalcentre.com Sales Manager, Trade & Consumer Shows: Sandra Martin There’s something happening here For over 40 years The International Centre has been home to many of Canada’s largest and most popular events. With 548,000 sq. ft. of versatile exhibit and conference space, the Centre offers an upscale atmosphere, an exceptional culinary experience and a team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals to ensure the success of your next event. The largest exhibit hall is 125,500 sq. ft. and the largest ballroom is 17,068 sq. ft. A total of 63,500 sq. ft. of meeting space includes 26 meeting rooms. Located three minutes from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, The International Centre is surrounded by PAGE more than 10,000 hotel rooms and a variety of great restaurants and attractions.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


You Can Do Anything Here




Atlantic City Convention Center

Atlantic City, NJ 08401 • (609) 449-7136; (888) 222-3683 Fax: (609) 345-3685 www.atlanticcitynj.com • www.meetinac.com


ith new resorts, a new marketing campaign and new Tourism District initiatives, Atlantic City, NJ, is your “must do” East Coast destination for meetings, conventions and tradeshows. Largely untouched by Superstorm Sandy, Atlantic City’s resorts, Boardwalk and amenities are ready to welcome groups of all sizes. Atlantic City Convention Center The Atlantic City Convention Center remains the centerpiece of the meetings market in Atlantic City. The bright, modern building offers 486,600 sq. ft. of contiguous expo space, easily dividable for multiple functions. The 45 meeting rooms range from 700 to 11,880 sq. ft. and offer voice/data connections throughout. An in-house catering staff can handle everything from a continental breakfast or a box lunch to a gala banquet, and the onsite UPS Business Center can handle all of your shipping, fax services, color or black-and-white printing and many other needs. There’s also free basic Wi-Fi, an in-house audio-video staff, easy load-in and move-out from 29 loading docks and 1,400 onsite parking spaces. It’s a short walk from several of the city’s first-class resorts, and the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel is linked by a covered bridge. The Atlantic City Alliance has established a $1 million incentive program to attract groups and meetings in 2013. Information is available at http://www.atlanticcitynj.com/!userfiles/pdfs/AC-meetingsincentive.pdf. Accommodating Resorts When it comes to staying in Atlantic City, we’re very accommodating with 20,000 first-class guestrooms (up to 8,000 committable on peak nights), and there’s always something new to see or do. The city’s newest resort, Revel, offers nearly 1,900 first-class guestrooms, a 70,000-sq.-ft. event center and plenty of resort amenities. The former Trump Marina Hotel Casino is now the Golden Nugget, with all-new restaurants, spa, shopping, meeting rooms and guestrooms.


Atlantic City – A “Must Do” Meeting Destination

Atlantic City’s resorts also offer excellent facilities for small and large meetings and conventions. You’ll find boardrooms with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, small and large showrooms and theaters, intimate meeting rooms, breakout rooms, ballrooms and more. Innovative Spaces There are plenty of innovative spaces for receptions and dinners, too. One Atlantic offers a blank canvas to design any kind of special event with ocean and Boardwalk views, while the Atlantic City Aquarium at Gardner’s Basin gives you a unique setting among marine life. The city’s famous nightclubs provide a fun atmosphere with a beat to match in settings ranging from high-tech to inviting poolside terraces, while the city’s many restaurants can provide anything from a family-style to gourmet experience. New Attractions Blend with Old Favorites The Atlantic City Tourism District was created last year, embarking on a five-year plan to enhance the city’s tourism offerings. The Atlantic City Alliance helped further those plans with “Artlantic,” an installation of art parks throughout the city. The Alliance also created “Duality,” a 3-D laser light and sound show projected several times every night on the famous Boardwalk Hall façade, which has received rave reviews. This summer, the city’s first casino, Resorts, introduced a $35 million venue with a 400-seat Margaritaville Café, beachside LandShark Bar & Grill and Five O’Clock Somewhere Bar. The famous Steel Pier is phasing in a three-part, $102 million renovation project that will include a museum, 2,000-seat ballroom, new rides, restaurants and nightclubs, plus an enclosure enabling it to stay open nearly year-round. Bass Pro Shops plans to break ground this spring on one of their outdoor sports mega-stores at Tanger Outlets, The Walk. The 70,000-sq.-ft. store is slated to open the end of 2013 or early 2014. Surf schools and surf bars are popular summer activities, and shopping is popular year-round in the retail outlets, indoor shopping plazas and shopping piers. Of course, strolling the historic Boardwalk, golf, top entertainment, spas and casino gaming are perennially popular.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 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® Gold certified 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 368,980 sq. ft. of exhibit and meeting space. The five column-free exhibit halls totaling 247,052 sq. ft., accommodate 1,289 10 ft.-by-10 ft. 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 fourstory convention center. Ample parking is provided in two parking garages with a total capacity of 1,700 spaces.

Technological Features Rated one of the most technologically advanced convention centers in the country, this gigabitrated 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. It offers a variety of in-house services including complimentary wireless Internet access, redundant high-speed Internet II access, plug-andplay capabilities, and an on-site technical staff to help with networking needs.

Hotels Austin offers more than 30,000 hotel rooms, with 7,000 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 and Hyatt Place Downtown Austin. Coming soon are the 1,012-room JW Marriott (2015) and the 326-room Westin Austin Downtown (2016).

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.

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.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

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, plugand-play capabilities Austin •Hotels: 7,000 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 •Amy Harris, Director of Sales


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he industry’s leading exhibitor education and training program, Exhibiting ROI-Q Academy™, hich has consistently proven to greatly increase exhibitor success/ROI, to significantly With Keppler Speakers, creating memorable meetings never felt so easy. With over 25 URGENT: Please Fill Out Form & Mail, Email orwe Fax Youryou Vote crease exhibitor “retention rates”… and to dramatically increase event sponsorship sales. years of experience, provide solid,to seasoned expertise, making speaker selection is the exhibition industry’s leading and fastest growing exhibitor education, training,Facilities and full stress-free by managing all of the details. Keppler Speakers saves you precious time by & Destinations me/full service “consulting” solution and is fully supported by the International Economic you with speakers are right on target. From proven performers to dynamic 152 Madison Avenue, Suitematching 802, New York, NYwho 10016 lliance – conceived at Harvard University, TSEA, BPA Worldwide and ECEF. The C.W. Allen rising stars, our speakers bring fascinating, real stories and a gift for inspiring audiences. Fax: (212) 213-6382; Email: ballots@facilitiesonline.com roup delivers the exhibition industry’s leading network quality, global television productions n a risk-free and revenue-generating basis.


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Facilities & Destinations 2013 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-ft. glass atrium dramatically rises 10 stories above a grand public plaza and a tree-lined 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.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 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, the Greater Hartford area is a convenient destination for groups. 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 and 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 three- and fourstar 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!


oklahoma The one-million-sq.-ft. facility is surrounded by a growing number of hotels and attractions. exhibitions, inspirational rallies, major sporting events and worldclass entertainment. Exhibit Hall The Exhibit Halls offer more than 100,000 sq. ft. of space, 80,000 of which is column-free. They can be divided into up to eight halls and feature four street-level doors, each 24 ft. wide and 20 ft. tall, along with an added loading dock. Meeting Rooms and Ballrooms The meeting room complex at the Cox Convention Center features 21 meeting rooms varying in size from 672 sq. ft. to 6,412 sq. ft.; a permanent board room for 20 to 50 people; and a 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, which can be divided into five smaller halls or meeting rooms ranging from 3,278 sq. ft. to 11,216 sq. ft. Technology As the venue’s naming rights partner, and provider of telecommunication services, Cox continues to ensure that the convention center meets and/or exceeds the requirements of its clients and guests. Cox increased wireless Internet capabilities throughout the convention center, allowing SMG to offer free wireless (Wi-Fi) hotspots to visitors in designated pre-function areas. Cox also enhanced the venue’s technology infrastructure to allow Internet access speeds of up to one gigabit.

Cox Convention Center One Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 (405) 602-8500 • Fax (405) 602-5129 www.coxconventioncenter.com


he SMG-managed Cox Convention Center is located in downtown Oklahoma City – a city known for being both accommodating and affordable. The one-million-sq.-ft. facility is encompassed by a growing number of hotels and attractions, including the Bricktown dining and entertainment district, the Myriad Botanical Gardens, and the Chesapeake Energy Arena, a 20,000-seat arena which is also managed by SMG. The Cox Convention Center is a multi-purpose venue designed to host everything from meetings and community events to major conventions, tradeshows, concerts and sporting events.

Location Located just off I-40 between I-35 and I-44 in downtown Oklahoma City, and just 10 miles/15 minutes from the Will Rogers World Airport, Cox Convention Center is one of the most centrally located venues of its kind in the nation. Hotels and Parking More than 1,400 of Oklahoma City’s 15,000-plus hotel rooms are located within walking distance of the Cox Convention Center. Two hotels connect to the facility: the Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel is joined by a glass-enclosed sky bridge; and the Sheraton Oklahoma City Hotel offers access through downtown Oklahoma City’s newly renovated underground concourse, which opens into the convention center’s 900-space underground parking garage. A total of more than 20,000 parking spaces are available throughout the downtown and Bricktown area.

Arena With seating for up to 15,000, 65-ft. ceilings and over 32,000 sq. ft. of floor space, the Arena, located at the heart of the Cox Convention Center, offers an environment designed for epic

Attractions and Activities Visitors can enjoy the mild climate while strolling along the Bricktown canal, or through the 17-acre Myriad Botanical Gardens featuring the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory. Restaurants, shops and theaters are also within walking distance. Other mustsee attractions located downtown include the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. The Oklahoma City Zoo, Science Museum Oklahoma, and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum are also visitor favorites.


Facilities & Destinations 2013 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%.


DLCC Overview Building size: 1,500,000 sq. ft. Exhibit space: 313,400 sq. ft. Meeting room space: 109,562 sq. ft. Rooftop terrace: 40,000 sq. ft. 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.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

F&D SiTEs & Cities Directory • F&D SiTEs & Cities Directory • F&D SiTEs & Cities Directory arkansas


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

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

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 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 attendance stimulation through PAGE customized, technologically cutting-edge strategies. 11

Located in the heart of the Virginia waterfront, this compact meetings destination features hotels and convention facilities suited for any need. Norfolk has a sparkling waterfront dotted with trendy restaurants, arts districts, museums, attractions and shopping. Getting around is easy with Virginia’s first light rail system, The Tide. The city offers 5,400 rooms and 500,000 sq. ft. of total meeting space including Norfolk Waterside Marriott, Sheraton Norfolk Waterside, Norfolk Plaza, Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center, the Norfolk Scope and more. Attractions: MacArthur Center Mall, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, Hermitage PAGE Foundation Museum, Norfolk Tides AAA Baseball and Virginia Zoological Park. 21


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 features new canal-side restaurants, clubs, music venues and attractions, all across the street from three hotels housing PAGE 1,600 of Oklahoma City’s 16,000 hotel rooms. 67 rhode island


Phoenix Convention Center & Venues

100 North Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 (602) 262-6225; (800) 282-4842 www.PhoenixConventionCenter.com Director of Sales: Debbi Foshee A Whole New Angle on Meetings and Events The award-winning Phoenix Convention Center is within walking distance of shopping, entertainment, sports and theater venues, and just 15 minutes from Sky Harbor International Airport. More than 2,500 guestrooms are within walking distance of the facility, including 1,000 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown and more than 1,200 at the newly renovated Hyatt Regency. The PCC boasts nearly 900,000 sq. ft. of function space, including 312,500 sq. ft. of continuous exhibition hall space, three ballrooms (46,000, 45,000 PAGE and 28,000 sq. ft.), and a 21,000-sq.-ft. Executive Conference Center. 68 Rhode Island

Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau

Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex

10 Memorial Boulevard, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 456-0200 www.GoProvidence.com Vice President of Sales & Services: Kristin McGrath, CDME

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

Providence, RI is known for stellar restaurants, rich history, natural beauty and stunning architecture. The city’s compact downtown area makes it an extremely walkable city, with the Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC), hotels, restaurants, and eclectic shopping all within blocks of each other. Attractions include Bank of America Skating Center, Culinary Arts Museum at JWU, Providence Performing Arts Center, RI Philharmonic, WaterFire Providence, and more. T.F. Green Airport is 10 miles from the RICC, which offers 167,000 sq. ft. of function space, including 137,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 23 meeting rooms. PAGE Within one mile of the RICC are 2,200 hotel rooms. 19

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. 13

New York

Rochester Riverside Convention Center


Visit Savannah

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. C4

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

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review





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



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

hidden gem of Southern California, Fairplex is conveniently centered between the mountains, valleys and beaches that define Los Angeles County. The 487-acre campus is ideal for almost any gathering and is home to more than 300 year-round events servicing a diverse range of clients. The beautiful historic campus attracts three million visitors annually. Fairplex shines as one of the most versatile event venues in the region. Indoors and out, in any month of any season, every aspect of the campus is as flexible as it is scenic. Restaurants, a wine pavilion, exposition halls, an urban farm, museums and the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel are just some of the spaces the campus has to offer. Large column-free exhibit halls are ideal for trade and consumer shows, product demonstrations, and filming. Each hall is air-conditioned and a historical art gallery and adjoining patio are suitable for a number of events. Picnic Hill, overlooking the entirety of the beautiful property, is also ideal for outdoor gatherings. The outdoor areas of the campus have been utilized in many ways, from recreational auto shows and sales to a number of festivals including the Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits competitions and the world-famous L.A. County Fair. Park-like settings, fountains and beautiful landscaping throughout the grounds ensure a pleasant experience for all guests. Earlier this year, Fairplex celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center. Since opening in 2012, the Center has hosted multiple events and companies ranging from Armstrong Garden Center to Cal Spas and an Anheuser-Busch InBev product launch celebration. The $28 million project was designed with versatility in mind. The 85,000-sq.-ft. space is divided into spacious ballrooms, breakout rooms with interactive digital white boards, videoconferencing and high-speed Wi-Fi. The facility is I.A.C.C. certified with Silver LEED certification. For any event large or small, Fairplex offers a wide variety of dining options ranging from fresh farm-to-table produce grown on-site at McKinley’s Farm to food trucks. Each of the PROXIMITY three onsite restaurants offers unique freshly made meals. Just nine miles west of LA/Ontario Barretts Sales & Racing’s large, grassy infield is ideal for concerts, picnics and festivals. International Airport The historical 40,000-seat Auto Club Raceway and 1,000-foot long drag strip have served as Easy access to Los Angeles, Riverside, San locations for auto testing, research, filming and driving courses. Bernardino and Orange counties From music festivals to wrestling tournaments, weddings to business seminars and trade Nearby dining, entertainment, theaters, shows to wine tastings, Fairplex offers the best in customer service, event production and art and recreational destinations customizable space. They weren’t kidding when they said the possibilities are endless.


Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

anything YOU CAN DO



A regional expo. A national championship. An elegant, intimate awards banquet.

Outdoor areas offer wide functionality. Park-like settings, fountains and beautiful landscaping throughout the grounds ensure a pleasant experience for all guests.

A hidden gem of Southern California, Fairplex is conveniently located 30 minutes from anywhere in Southern California. The 487-acre campus is ideal for almost any gathering.

Barretts Sales & Racing’s large, grassy infield is ideal for concerts, picnics and festivals. The 40,000-seat Auto Club Raceway and 1,000-foot long drag strip have served as locations for auto testing, research, filming and driving courses.

Indoors and out, in any month of any season, every aspect of the campus is as flexible as it is scenic. Restaurants, a wine pavilion, expo halls, an urban farm, museums and the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center are just some of the spaces the campus has to offer. Large column-free expo halls are ideal for trade and consumer shows, product demonstrations and filming.

They weren’t kidding when they said the possibilities are endless.

Contact us to

plan your next event & discover endless possibilites...

p - 909.622.2220 • sheraton.com/fairplex • 601 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, CA 91768


Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau

123 Park Avenue Oklahoma City, OK 73102 • (405) 297-8952 • www.visitokc.com


f you’ve never been to Oklahoma City, you may just be surprised by all we have to offer. And if it’s been a few years since your last visit, we know you’ll be amazed by our progress. Over the past two decades, we’ve transformed our city through more than $5 billion of public and private investment in quality-of-life projects and improvements. We’ve created something special and we can’t wait to show it off. In the heart of downtown Oklahoma City, the Cox Convention Center boats more than 150,000 square feet of total meeting space including an impressive 25,000-square-foot ballroom, 100,000 square feet of exhibit space and additional meeting rooms totaling 27,500 square feet of convention and pre-convene space. The convention center also includes a 15,000-seat arena making it the perfect venue for convention groups of any size. And the best is yet to come. In 2009, Oklahoma City voters approved funding to build a new $252 million downtown convention center projected to be completed in 2018. The center is slated to include 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 35,000-square-foot ballroom and 50,000 square feet of additional meeting space. With seven hotels within walking distance of the Cox Convention Center, downtown Oklahoma City provides several choices for resting your head. Four additional hotels are currently under construction with a fifth in the planning stages. The downtown room total of will increase to nearly 2,500 rooms once all properties are complete. The Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel is connected to the convention center via a second floor sky bridge for easy access. Looking for something with a bit of historic charm? Head two blocks north of the convention center to the historic

Skirvin Hilton. This grand hotel opened in 1911 and features original woodwork, flooring and other original architectural details. For a more unique meeting location, look to Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District located along the Oklahoma River on the southern edge of downtown. The Chesapeake Boathouse offers an event room for meetings as well as team building activities such as dragon boating and kayaking. New to the Boathouse District in 2011, the Devon Boathouse and the Chesapeake Finish Line tower feature event spaces for various sized groups with stunning views of the Oklahoma River and the downtown Oklahoma City skyline. Downtown Oklahoma City offers plenty to see and do including the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, the Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory and more. Located just steps from the Cox Convention Center, the Bricktown Entertainment District is home to dozens of restaurants ranging from top-of-the-line steakhouses to down home, Oklahoma barbeque. With 22 nonstop flights to 19 destinations in the U.S., getting to Oklahoma City is a breeze. The Will Rogers World Airport is conveniently located just 15 minutes from downtown. Oklahoma City is located at the crossroads of I-35, I-40 and I-44 making travel quick and easy. The Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau offers complete convention servicing and support for groups of any size and can assist in any aspect of meeting planning. Online meeting planner’s guide is available with hard copies available upon request. So, make Oklahoma City the destination for your next convention. For more information, go to www.visitokc.com/meeting-planners


Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review







Phoenix Convention Center & Venues

100 North Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004

(602) 262-6225; (800) 282-4842 • PhoenixConventionCenter.com


ecently named one of the top 10 convention centers in the U.S., the award-winning Phoenix Convention Center is located in the heart of Downtown Phoenix. The center is within walking distance of major convention hotels, shopping, entertainment, sports and theater venues, has a dedicated stop on the METRO Light Rail line, and is just 15 minutes from Sky Harbor International Airport. Facility features include 900,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibition space as well as Arizona’s largest ballroom — 46,000 sq. ft. with a dedicated street level entrance — plus two multipurpose ballrooms of 28,000 and 45,000 sq. ft. Stacked floor plans accommodate multiple groups simultaneously and 20 of the 46 convenient loading docks are climate controlled. The facility boasts 99 meeting/breakout rooms, sustainable construction and daily operations, and the West Building is LEED-Silver certified. Understanding the importance of having options in coordinating a convention, meeting or event, our venues accommodate the diverse needs of a thoughtful and unique event plan. The Executive Conference Center features 21,000 sq. ft. of high-end meeting space, a 192-seat lecture hall, a corporate boardroom and 14 additional conference rooms accommodating up to 200 attendees. Symphony Hall is a 2,312-seat concert hall with amazing acoustics and is home to the Phoenix Symphony, The Ballet Arizona and The Arizona Opera. Built in 1929 and recently renovated, the historic Orpheum Theatre provides seating for 1,364 guests and has the unique ability to transform any event into a masterpiece. Complementing your gathering with flavorful and innovative selections, our exclusive catering partner, Aventura, creates an unforgettable culinary experience for your meeting attendees. Phoenix Convention Center staff and service partners are guest-centered and provide an exceptional experience for clients and visitors. At several points in the center and around downtown, guests will encounter concierge staff, Venue Hosts and Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors who are readily available to answer questions, provide directions or recommend places to go and things to do. For a whole new angle on meetings and events, book your next event at the Phoenix Convention Center & Venues!


North Building

Exhibition Space

With almost 585,000 square feet within its three exhibit halls, the Phoenix Convention Center offers a stacked floor plan that accommodates the most superior of displays. But don’t take our word for it. Put us to the test today and contact us to see everything that Phoenix has to offer.


Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


Create Your Perfect Meeting in Providence, RI

Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau

10 Memorial Boulevard, Providence, RI 02903 • (401) 456-0200 • www.GoProvidence.com


rovidence, RI, known as the Creative Capital, continues to make headlines for its top-notch culinary scene. Travel + Leisure readers voted Providence the No. 1 food city in the U.S. in their recent “America’s Favorite Cities” poll. The city’s restaurants offer something for every taste, serving a global array of cuisines and cooking styles. Providence’s chefs are known for employing innovative techniques, while at the same time embracing the culinary traditions of the varied cultures that immigrated to the area over the centuries. And as home to the world’s largest culinary educator, Johnson & Wales University, Providence reaps the rewards of having many of the school’s alumni and students demonstrate their culinary talents in local restaurants. Providence is also an epicenter of the arts. For museum lovers, the RISD Museum at the Rhode Island School of Design houses more than 80,000 works of art, ranging from Greek sculpture and French Impressionist paintings to contemporary multimedia art. WaterFire, a multi-sensory art installation, is Providence’s signature event, and has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city. This series of bonfires installed on the three rivers of downtown Providence combines aromatic wood smoke, flickering firelight and enchanting music to create a truly singular experience. WaterFire is typically scheduled on Saturdays from May through October. In the heart of downtown, lies the Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex — comprised of the Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC), the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and the Veterans Memorial Auditorium (The Vets). 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. The Complex 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. Ample meeting space, hotel rooms and entertainment options are all within easy reach of the RICC. At one end, it’s 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 Omni Providence, and Providence Place, a downtown mall offering more than 170 shopping, dining and entertainment options. The 14,000-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 tradeshows. The Dunk features 31,000 sq. ft. of arena space, a ceiling height of 90 feet, a 25,000-sq.-ft. concourse, a 12,000-sq.-ft. lobby, two party suites, two loges, five renovated meeting/hospitality rooms and more. The Vets, a 1,900-seat theater, 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. Nearby Warwick, RI features miles of scenic coastline and additional hotel, dining, shopping and entertainment choices. The city’s T.F. Green Airport is just 10 minutes from downtown Providence. The airport’s eco-friendly InterLink hub conveniently houses a rental car facility, public transportation options, and rail service to Providence, Boston and beyond. The staff at the award-winning Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau is eager to work with planners to create a successful event. Whether attendees are exploring exhibit space at a trade show or a gallery opening, or stepping out on a ballroom floor, they can meet with a new perspective . . . in Rhode Island.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review


New York New York state’s only one-stop convention facility

Rochester Riverside Convention Center

123 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14564

(585) 232-7200 • Fax: (585) 232-1510 • www.rrcc.com


onveniently located in the heart of Rochester, NY, the Rochester Riverside Convention Center enjoys a scenic setting on the Genesee River with outdoor patios and balconies providing wonderful views. It also offers the convenience of enclosed walkway connections to large hotels and parking garages.

Technological Features

Located in a community known around the world for its high-tech expertise, the Rochester Riverside gets high marks for handling all types of technology needs. The Riverside Convention Center has upgraded to a dedicated Internet connection over fiber optics to meet all of the growing number of technical requirements our customers have. This service is available wireless throughout the facility and is scalable from 5 MB to 1 GB.

Other Features

“We routinely offer services not found at most other convention centers,” says Executive Director Joseph A. Floreano, CFE. “One example is our in-house food and beverage operation, including two pastry chefs. In addition, our Riverside Productions and Riverside Catering divisions can even assist groups utilizing space in other places throughout the region. Basically, we are New York State’s only one-stop convention facility.” With Rochester’s 12 colleges and universities, world-famous corporations, and growing number of high-tech firms, there are also plenty of local speakers and other resources available from this combination of educational, business and research expertise. Personalized service and a can-do attitude are additional features that meeting planners really appreciate. According to Dr. Steven E. Schopp, Executive Administrator of the New York State School Music Association, “What I most enjoy about working with the Rochester Riverside Convention Center — aside from a general professionalism that is the rule rather than the exception — is the friendly, positive attitude of staff at every level. These are people I like to work with and that, combined with a firstclass facility, make the Riverside an outstanding convention venue.”

Hotel Rooms

More than 1,100 rooms in a trio of major hotels connect with the Rochester


Riverside Convention Center to create a compact convention district in the center of the city. There is a 362-room Rochester Plaza; 465-room Radisson, which just completed a $6 million renovation of its facility; and a 336-room Hyatt Regency. Delegates also enjoy the convenience of walking between hotels and the Convention Center in minutes using the enclosed skywalk system or scenic riverside walkway.

Pier 45

Experience the eclectic atmosphere of Pier 45. Rochester Riverside’s newest dining experience, located on the city’s spectacular waterfront along the shores of Lake Ontario.You’ll find everything from a light tapasstyle menu to a full dinner service, large-scale gourmet desserts, a fully stocked custom bar and an inviting veranda that accommodates both planned events and impromptu get-togethers.

Nearby Attractions

Several entertainment districts surround the Rochester Riverside with restaurants, cafés, coffee houses, pubs, dance clubs, music halls, theaters and more. Rochester also boasts numerous museums, including the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography & Film, the Susan B. Anthony House and the acclaimed Strong National Museum of Play.

Destination Features

Rochester is the northern gateway to the magnificent Finger Lakes region with its rolling hills, lush valleys and 11 namesake lakes. It is also a region becoming famous for its more than 100 vineyards, excellent wines and numerous “wine trails.” With the recent addition of the New York Wine and Culinary Center in nearby Canandaigua, the wineries and farmer’s markets of the Finger Lakes region offer delegates meeting in Rochester wonderful day trip options for pre- or post-conference enjoyment.

Distance to Airport

The Greater Rochester International Airport — 150 flights daily — is an easy, stress-free, 10-minute drive from the Rochester Riverside Convention Center’s front door.

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review



don’t miss this surge of opportunity! The buzz is all about IMEX America. In just weeks, thousands of key players will be here for the global event that energizes business, networking and education. Seize your chance now and connect with the power source for the industry.



pulse of the meetings industry.

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Scenes from AIBTM 2013, June 11-13, 2013, McCormick Place, Chicago For more photos visit facilitiesonline.com/igallery

Donna Brogan (left) of the Dublin (Ireland) Convention Bureau, and Lynda Reilly, Account Manager Associations, The Convention Centre Dublin.

Marisa Federico, CMP, National Sales Manager, Boston Convention Marketing Center holds her favorite industry magazine while posing with fellow Boston National Sales Manager Mary J. Choueiri, CASE.

Oklahoma City Continued from Page 33

(L-r): Dani Boss, Portland Area Director of Sales, Governor Hotel, Hotel Deluxe, Hotel Lucia; Maureen Clampitt, Regional Director of Sales, Travel Portland; and Lisa Chan, CMP, Sales Manager, Oregon Convention Center.

Advertiser Index

The convention center is connected via sky bridge to the 258-room Renaissance Oklahoma City, and is across the street from four downtown hotels, which combined offer nearly 1,000 rooms. Just steps away is the thriving Bricktown Entertainment District, a former warehouse district home to dozens of restaurants and nightlife options. Attendees can also enjoy a stroll along the mile-long Bricktown Canal, take a cruise on a Bricktown Water Taxi, or catch a ballgame at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

Atlantic City CVA

Other distinctive neighborhoods include the reinvented Plaza District, with art galleries and specialty shops; Stockyards City, where Oklahoma’s Western heritage can be vividly experienced; the Adventure District, home to the Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Zoo and Remington Park Racing Casino; and the Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River, offering rowing, kayaking, cycling, zip line, running and fitness activities.

IMEX America


The International Centre


Little Rock CVB


Visit Norfolk


Oklahoma City CVB


Phoenix Convention Center


Providence Warwick CVB


Rhode Island Convention Center


Major museums in town include the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Attendees can also visit the Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory for a scenic respite from business sessions. 72 72

Austin Convention Center Colorado Springs CVB Connecticut Convention Center Cox Convention Center David L. Lawrence Convention Center

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Fairplex 65

Rochester Riverside Convention Center Cover 4 Visit Savannah

Cover 3

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review

Name: Savannah Age: 280 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.


The perfect place to meet Rochester, New York

Whether it’s 50 or 5,000 attendees, the Rochester Riverside Convention Center is perfect for your meeting or convention.

585.232.7200 • www.rrcc.com

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Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review  

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

Facilities & Destinations 2013 Mid-Market Review  

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

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