PRISM Hotel Awards 34
Facilities BEDROCK COMMUNICATIONS, INC. 152 Madison Ave., Ste. 802, New York, NY 10016
For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals
In Tune With NAMM
Anaheim maintains longtime group clients while investing in its future 36
3 Frontiers of Incentive Travel 70
F&D International • Curacao 52 • Dubai 46
Director, NAMM Trade Show Operations See her comments on the Anaheim Convention Center in the Planner Roundtable, p. 21
CONTENTS 52 40
News UpFront........... 8-20 Hotel Watch, Industry Watch, Tech Watch Leading Edge: Robert Stanfield.............10 F&D: Sites & Cities............... 57 Prime Site Awards Ballot..... 35 ELITE Awards Ballot................... 29 Ad Index............. 71
FEATURES Photoview IAEE Annual Meeting.......................6 IMEX America.................................74 Planner Roundtable On the Agenda: Convention Centers............................................21 Behind the Scenes A Better Back of the House...........26 ELITE Awards...................................28 PRISM Awards.................................30 Destinations Anaheim..........................................36 Kona Kai Resort............................40 F&D International Dubai...............................................46 Curacao...........................................52
INSIGHT Columns Looking Ahead................. 2 Viewpoint........... 4 Planner Perspectives 3 Frontiers of Incentive Travel, by Caren R. Bigelow............. 70 Tech Focus Make a Real Impact With Virtual, by Carolyn Clark.................. 72
Hot List Small CVBs......................................76 Facilities & destnations 2014-2015 winter
Appreciating Convention Centers as Economic Engines
here is a new version of “going green” when it comes to stories about convention centers and profitability — story recycling. Across the country the same story is recycled throughout the year: Convention centers barely turn a profit, or have losses; politicians decry the losses and public funding going into the moneylosing structure; and debate ensues. The issue eventually retreats, and is reborn at another time and place. Clearly, convention centers should not drain taxpayer dollars unnecessarily. But an annual loss on the convention center’s financial statements does not reflect the whole picture. A convention center should be viewed as an investment, and the return on that investment (ROI) is measured in terms of the economic impact the facility generates. Venues, if operated efficiently, should be magnets attracting people from near and far. These consumers will increase hotel occupancy, which translates into nightly room tax, patronize local dining establishments, spend on transportation to and from the venue, and utilize scores of other ancillary services that create tax revenue and jobs that ripple through the local economy. Critics of new convention center construction often claim that if private investors are unwilling to take some financial risk, why should a government agency? A simple rebuttal of this argument has to do with ROI. While a private investor’s ROI is based only on the center’s ability to meet its costs and turn a profit, a municipality or county’s ROI is based on the facility’s economic impact on the community. Building new convention centers with taxpayer money is a serious endeavor; thus, great responsibility needs to be exercised when considering the use of those funds and the potential ROI. Economic impact must be weighed conservatively. And after a facility has been built, decisions about change in management to introduce new efficiencies, as well as expansions and other improvement projects, need to be made in a fully informed, educated manner, not by simply noting the state of the venue’s bottom line. Tourism agencies and destination marketing organizations (DMOs) often track this vital data. One example is the San Francisco Travel Association, which produces a monthly tally of the events hosted in the city’s Facilities & Destinations Prime Site Award-winning Moscone Convention Center that includes the direct spending its events will generate. No doubt that advocates and opponents of convention center construction and expansion will put forth statistically based arguments to support their respective positions. That said, clear, complete disclosure of figures allowing for realistic projections of economic impact, comparative studies showing results of similarly sized venues, and other industry- and destination-specific variables should pave the way for less red tape and politics in this all too familiar debate. – David Korn Chief Operating Officer, Facilities Media Group email@example.com 2
Facilities & Destinations Winter 2014-2015
For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals
Volume 22 No. 4
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 2015 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 four 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.
ON THE COVER Since 1977, The National Association of Music Merchants has held the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products industry at the Anaheim Convention Center. Top-notch service is a major reason, according to Cindy Sample, NAMM Show Director. Recently, a new Grand Plaza and WiFi system have made the Center even more attractive.
Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
Orange County Convention Center
PLANNING TODAY FOR THE CENTER’S TOMORROW
The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando has embarked on the largest renovation project in its history: an ongoing Capital Improvement Plan.
INTERNATIONAL DRIVE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE
The OCCC currently links to all of its neighboring hotels via a network of four pedestrian bridges. The design for a fifth pedestrian bridge, spanning International Drive between the West Building’s Central Lobby Level III and the sidewalk in front of the Hyatt Regency Orlando, is complete. The finish date of this new overhead walkway is estimated for 2017.
FOLLOW OUR PROGRESS Get a first look at www.occc.net/cip OrangeCounty ConventionCenter @OCCC
INNOVATIVE MEETING SPACE
Due for completion in August 2015, the West Building’s Hall F will transform into the Tangerine Ballroom, a stunning 50,000 square foot multipurpose space.
Fittingly-named the Sunburst Room and Terrace, renovated meeting room W340 will add a new outdoor terrace space which will overlook the facility’s lush, Florida-style landscaping.
Call the Sales Department at 1-800-345-9845
Copper Blues Rock Pub & Kitchen
Reaching a new apex
6-MINUTE WALK At the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix, your aendees are minutes away from the eclectic nightlife and amazing local music they deserve. So book today and watch your event take a big step in the right direction.
ne sign of the maturity of today’s meetings industry is the ongoing development of planner certifications. In addition to the CIC’s Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation and GBTA’s and MPI’s Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM), there are now more specialized certifications, including the Green Meeting Industry Council’s Certificate in Sustainable Event Planning and the GBTA’s Strategic Meetings Management Certification (SMMC). There is even a designation appropriate for those focused on incentive travel: the Incentive Marketing Association’s Incentive Professional (IP). As these organizations are defining the planner’s body of knowledge, they also seek to define the meeting industry’s best practices, another sign of maturity. The CIC’s APEX (Accepted Practices Exchange) has been spearheading this effort for well over 10 years, identifying industry-wide accepted practices in numerous areas including RFPs, contracts, room blocks and post-event reporting. It’s great to see this initiative reaching a new “apex” in 2015 with a new Chair: Michael Owen, Managing Partner at Nashville, TNbased EventGenuity. In a statement, Owen discussed APEX’s goals this year: “We have assembled a dedicated team of industry thought leaders that continues to develop tools, refine best practices recommendations, and address ever-evolving issues impacting our industry such as High Speed Internet Access (HSIA) for Meetings & Events, Room Block Piracy/Poaching, eRFPs, Global Accepted Practices and more. . . . I’m eager to maintain the momentum in 2015.” Several “thought leaders” are new to APEX’s Standards Review Committee. Among them is Junior Tauvaa, Senior Vice President, Convention Sales, Anaheim/Orange County CVB. It will certainly benefit the Committee to receive input from a representative of one of the country’s most highly regarded CVBs and meeting destinations. For instance, Cindy Sample, Director, NAMM Trade Show Operations, who graces the cover of this issue, extols the Anaheim/Orange County CVB’s service in our latest Planner Roundtable (p. 21). That feature is meant to stimulate reader discussion around a critical topic in the field, in this case criteria for choosing a convention center. With more planners gleaning from one another’s best practices, we hope the meetings industry will reach even greater heights. – George Seli Editorial Director, Facilities Media Group firstname.lastname@example.org
800-282-4842 | 4 PCC-538 Facilities and Destinations-CoppBlues_HP.indd 1
Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter 12/19/14 12:52 PM
there’s teamwork happenIng here!
It’s ImpossIble to convey all the strengths of our exceptIonal team In just a hundred words, so we Included a pIcture to add a thousand more. Why do clients love our team so much? It’s a combination of collaborative spirit, a ‘whatever it takes’ tenacity and decades’ worth of know-how. Every event we host is different, each client’s goals unique. But no matter how challenging or enormous the event may be, our team sees to it that every aspect exceeds the expectations of clients, participants and attendees. Event planning, promotion, hospitality, food, drink and beyond – our people manage it all with professionalism and efficiency. If your event is too important to trust to just any venue, talk to the team at The International Centre.
canada’s leadIng event & meetIng facIlIty 6900 Airport Road Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 905.677.6131 / tf 1.800.567.1199 InternationalCentre.com
the International centre staff (from left to right) Ron Bentley, Director of Event and Client Services; Sandra Martin, Sales Manager – Trade and Consumer Shows; Trevor Lui, Director of Operations and Sustainability; Lee-Anne Leckie, Sales Manager – Meetings and Conventions; Raiman Dilag, Manager of Information Systems and Technology; Rita Medynski, Sales Manager – Trade and Consumer Shows; Kevin Parker, Sales Manager – Corporate; Tawfik Shehata, Executive Chef; and Nadena Singh, Director of Events Management
Expo! Expo! IAEEâ€™s Annual Meeting & Exhibition was held Dec. 9-11 at the Prime Site Award-winning Los Angeles Convention Center
Gregg Caren (left), Executive Vice President Convention Centers & Business Development at SMG; and John T. Noguchi, Director, Convention Facilities Department, City and County of San Francisco
Tim Linville, Director of Sales & Marketing, Cox Convention Center, and Morgan Oâ€™Neill, Convention Services Manager, Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau
David Austin, Senior Sales Manager, COBO Center
Ross Reeder, Director of Sales & Marketing, Ogden Eccles Conference Center
Rick Leson, Director of Sales, Palm Springs Convention Center
Ric Booth, General Manager, Duke Convention Center, and Stacey Church, General Manager, Mass Mutual Center
Sandra Martin (left), Sales Manager, Trade & Consumer Shows, and Rita Medynski, Sales Manager, Trade & Consumer Shows, The International Centre
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
(L-r): Debbie Smucker, Director of Sales & Marketing, David L. Lawrence Convention Center; Kathy Bart, Director of Sales, DeVos Place; and Erika Fregoso Roberts, Director of Sales & Marketing, Shreveport Convention Center
Wendy Frank, National Sales Manager, and Mark McMinn, Director of Sales, Team San Jose
(L-r): Craig Liston, Regional Vice President, Convention Centers, SMG; Sherry Chambers, Senior Director of Sales, Greater Columbus Convention Center; and John R. Page, General Manager, GCCC
Andrew McCauley, National Sales Manager, and Anissa L. Ladd, Senior National Sales Manager, Connecticut Convention Center
(L-r): Rakesh “Rocky” Gupta, Regional Director of Sales, Choose Chicago; Keith Murphy, National Sales Manager, McCormick Place; and Dawn Young, Director of Association Sales, Choose Chicago
Arleen F. Oliva, Senior Sales Manager, Rhode Island Convention Center
Nicole Perry, National Sales Manager, Visit Indy
Charles L. Starks (left), President & CEO, and Brian Ivey, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Music City Center
(L-r): Eva Prezenkowski, Sales Manager, Jeanne O’Grady, Senior Director of Sales & Marketing, and Naz Sabripour, Director of Convention Services, Pasadena CVB and Convention Center
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
In November, the Wyndham Riverfront New Orleans was rebranded as the Omni Riverfront Hotel, managed by Riverfront Lodging, LLC, after an $8 million renovation. Located in walking distance to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the Omni Riverfront Hotel features 202 guestrooms, nearly 4,000 sq. ft. of function space, and the newly opened, French-inspired Fulton St. Bistro | Bar. Le Méridien New Orleans opened in December following a comprehensive $29 million transformation. The newly renovated hotel features 410 fully redesigned guestrooms, including 22 suites; three new food and beverage outlets, including a new destination restaurant; and the addition of 1,600 sq. ft. of flexible function space for a total of 20,000 sq. ft. The Sheraton Kansas City Hotel and The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center now offer one of the fastest hotel Internet speeds in the city, as well as the Midwest, having upgraded their bandwidth to 1GB, split between the two hotels. 8
Embassy Suites Orlando – Lake Buena Vista Resort opened in November after a $13 million renovation. The project included a redesigned open atrium (above) with Bahamian-style décor, a redesign of the hotel’s 334 suites, and 10,000 sq. ft. of event space updated with new carpeting, lighting and AV equipment. Last year the Renaissance Dallas debuted 50,000 sq. ft. of LEED Standard Silver-certified function space, including a 16,000-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom and the 10,000-sq.-ft. City View Terrace, offering expansive views of the downtown skyline. The terrace features 6,000 sq. ft. of indoor event space with floor-to-ceiling windows and 4,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space with a retractable canopy and ambient lighting (right). Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
Convention & Event Venues
One click. One Call. SMG. Where do you want to show today?
Number To Call 866.BOOK.SMG
Shopping for almost anything is either one click or one call away. In the world of conventions, exhibitions and special events, how can you effectively shop for
To inquire about any or all SMG-managed Convention Centers contact: Gregg Caren Executive Vice Presidentâ€“Convention Centers 1-866-BOOK-SMG (866-266-5764) email@example.com
convention centers and destinations with only one click or call? The answer is simple. The answer is SMG. With exhibition venues in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, we can shorten the site selection process from months to days, or even hours.
In January, the AAA FourDiamond Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa & Convention Center in Branson, MO, completed the renovation of its 301 guestrooms and suites, and the renovation of all of its smaller meeting rooms. The resort also debuted an Executive Board Room and enhanced all of its 43,500 sq. ft. of meeting space with new LED lighting, flex-back banquet chairs and “linenless” meeting tables. In February, the 650-room Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando debuted its newly renovated, retro rockinspired guestrooms. The hotel houses 6,000 sq. ft. of function space. Hyatt Hotels Corporation is now offering free WiFi at all Hyatt hotels worldwide. Guests are able to access free WiFi on an unlimited number of mobile devices or laptops in Hyatt-branded hotel guestrooms and social spaces, regardless of booking method or loyalty program participation. The New Tropicana Las Vegas – a DoubleTree by Hilton is introducing new WiFi technology, including wired and wireless Internet access, in March. The Internet access will be available 10
UpFront Hotel Watch Leading Edge: Robert Stanfield General Manager Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate Promoted to General Manager of the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in November, Robert Stanfield has more than 25 years of hospitality and hotel management experience. Most recently, he was Resort Manager for the Omni Orlando, and prior to joining Omni in 2013 he served as Vice President of Food & Beverage for the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, MD, and the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The promotion is well deserved, according to Stephen Rosenstock, Senior Vice President of Operations for Omni Hotels & Resorts. “During his time at ChampionsGate, the resort has seen consistent high guest satisfaction ratings as a direct result of his leadership skills,” Rosenstock said. As General Manager, Stanfield is responsible for the strategic direction of the luxury resort. He demonstrates a bit of strategic thinking in discussing the 720-room Omni Orlando Resort’s latest venue, a professionalgrade sports field complex that opened adjacent to the hotel last spring. Exclusive to resort guests, the eight fields have catered to professional soccer teams from Europe, South America and the United States. “We’ve been able to host these teams as groups: They have planned functions at the fields, so they don’t take up the traditional ballroom space. And that opens the traditional space for other groups who may want to be in the hotel at the same time,” Stanfield says. Personal Involvement with Meeting Groups: When groups are considering us I always make it a point to be a part of that process. I also participate in the second stage, when they come back for their preplanning. And then once they’re onsite for their program, I make sure to have visibility as well. Group Business on the Rise: We feel confident that 2015 will be even stronger than 2014 [in terms of group bookings], and 2016 looks incredibly positive for us, as it does for much of the city. From a planning perspective, we’re starting to look further out because fortunately demand is healthy, so we’re booking 2016, 2017, 2018 and even some 2019 programs already. Our goal is to grow all segments of the group business, and we have sales managers that are dedicated not only by region, but by segment, such as pharmaceutical. Value Proposition in Orlando: We do well at capturing groups that want to take over an entire hotel, because if they went to a much larger facility they could potentially be one of two to five groups in house. And when groups are looking to do heavy networking and don’t want to lose their folks to a distraction in town, we’re often a great setting. We’ve been building ChampionsGate as its own destination from the inception; it was the original concept. Memorable Meeting: We hosted the American Express Retail Travel Network Learning Forum & National Summit in October. To be able to have 600 of the best travel professionals in the hotel was quite a treat, and a great opportunity for them to share their experience with us. They can be very critical, but came out with nothing but accolades. They said they had the best program they’ve ever had. Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
HOME OF THE
The Cox Convention Center is steps away from the vibrant Bricktown district, featuring a variety of canal-side restaurants, clubs, sports and music venues, plus nearby museums and attractions.
of meeting space.
1 Myriad Gardens
of exhibit hall space.
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
15K seat arena.
Phone (405) 602-8500
UpFront Hotel Watch throughout the property’s approximate 100,000 sq. ft. of convention space, including the new Trinidad Pavilion, slated for completion in March, as well as in the resort’s 1,467 guestrooms and suites. Frontier Development & Hospitality Group LLC has acquired the 184-room Radisson Largo and will transform the property into the DoubleTree by Hilton Largo/Washington DC by May 1. Harrah’s Atlantic City is scheduled to complete its $125.8 million expansion in August. The project adds 125,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including two 50,000-sq.-ft. pillarless ballrooms, each divisible into as many as 27 breakout rooms.
The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah unveiled its Royal Suite (above and below) in December. Affording panoramic views of the Dubai skyline and the Palm Jumeirah, the suite can accommodate up to 50 attendees for special events. At 16,867 sq. ft., it is the largest suite in Dubai, a vibrant meeting destination profiled in this issue (p. 46).
Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, Montego Bay, Jamaica, opened in December. Together with the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, the new 224-suite property offers 18,286 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space and more than 30,000 sq. ft. of outdoor function space. 12
Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
247,052 square feet of column-free space
Cutting edge technology Customized network solutions Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout
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, itâ€™s easy to enjoy our famous live music. And with more than 250 venues, honky-tonks and dance halls, everybody leaves with their toes tapping.
 404-4200 www.austinconventioncenter.com
More than 250 live music venues nightly
Awarded LEEDÂŽ Gold Certification First convention center in TX
The Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, opened in December with 335 suites and 6,500 sq. ft. of meeting space. Located 20 minutes from the area’s international airport, the resort offers infinity pools, an oceanfront spa and 1,250 ft. of private beachfront. The recently opened, Five Star Shunde Marriott Hotel features 258 rooms and a 15,000-sq.-ft. pillarless grand ballroom. Shunde, a district of Foshan located in the center of the Pearl River Delta, is one of the most affluent counties in China. Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ W brand debuted in Colombia with the new 168room W Bogota. Featuring 7,900 sq. ft. of meeting space, the hotel is located in the heart of the city, steps from the fashionable Usaquen district, and between the city’s mountains and financial center. Sands China Ltd.’s The Parisian Macao is expected to open in late 2015. The approximately 14
San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
alm trees under a clear blue sky highlight the 15-minute ride from the San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport to Avenida Ashford, where the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is located. Featuring 525 newly upgraded guestrooms, the Four Diamond resort is set in an English-friendly neighborhood replete with restaurants and nightclubs. More active attendees can opt for hiking through the El Yunque rainforest, biking tours of nearby Old San Juan or exploring one of the city's historic forts (above). Onsite diversions are plentiful, thanks to the hotel’s private section of Condado Beach, resort-style pool (left) and nightly live entertainment at the Red Coral Lounge. The back of the bar opens and a stage is revealed for a salsa performance where guests are welcome to hone their dance skills. The Stellaris Casino has a wide variety of slot machines and card tables, as well as a pair of roulette wheels. The San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino offers 14,283 sq. ft. of meeting space across 13 meeting rooms, including the American International Grand Ballroom with a capacity of 800. Another option is the La Vista Grill, which is closed for lunch but available for group reservations during that time. —Uri Strauss Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
Greater Akron, Ohio, is home to the regionâ€™s most convenient and affordable facilities for conventions, banquets and special events. Easily accessible from the interstate, turnpike and two
Northeast Ohioâ€™s Top Meeting Points
airports, Summit County features 13 full-service hotels with more than 5,400 guest rooms, plus a remarkable range of impressive gathering spaces, including the John S. Knight Convention Center. Call 800.245.4254 today to plan your next event with a member of our destination sales team. For more information, visit akron.travel.
A K R O N
/ S U M M I T
Convention & Visitors Bureau
800.245.4254 / akron.travel
10/31/2013 3:51:48 PM
UpFront Industry Watch 3,000-room hotel will feature gaming space, a retail mall, replica Eiffel Tower, MICE space, diverse food and beverage options and entertainment. Hilton Lake Como is expected to open in 2017 in the Lombardy region of Italy. The 162-room hotel will be located within a mixed-use development, adjacent to the historic Via Olmo. Hilton will manage the hotel on behalf of GBH Spa, an affiliate of the Limonta Group.
The San Diego Convention Center Corporation projects that events held in the San Diego Convention Center this year are expected to reach $1 billion in regional impact, generating over $600 million in direct attendee spending with total tax revenues surpassing $21 million. At the time the forecast was released (Dec. 30), 107 events were booked, with many more expected to book in the coming months. Total expected attendance is estimated at 849,950, with the current figure expected to increase over the year. This will mark the center’s highest attendance since 2008, when it welcomed 951,618 attendees. The annual forecast also identifies 16 medical meetings in 2015 that are projected to generate $421.7 million in regional impact and draw a record attendance of over 161,000 people. Some of the major medical groups convening at the center include the American College of Cardiology, American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, American Society of Microbiology and the American Society of Nephrology. For more Southern California meeting news, see pp. 36-44.
On Jan. 13, Meet AC held a press conference at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall where Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian officially announced the formation of the Atlantic City Sports Commission. “Sports is big business, and through the formation of the Atlantic City Sports Commission we are positioning Atlantic City to attract additional sporting events to our city year round,” says Meet AC President/CEO Jim Wood. John Palmieri, Executive Director of the CRDA Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, comments, “While we continue to work with our contracted operations company, Global Spectrum, and provide incentives to bring events to Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Convention Center, we look forward to leveraging Meet AC’s ability to maintain a presence in the sports promotion business world and draw attention to the benefits of bringing additional events to the area.” 16
(L-r): Meet AC Board Chairman and General Manager of the Sheraton Jeff Albrecht, Meet AC Secretary and owner of Dock’s Oyster House Frank Dougherty, Mayor Guardian's Chief of Staff Chris Filiciello, Meet AC President/CEO Jim Wood, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, Meet AC Treasurer and VP of Hotel Operations at Resorts Casino Mark Sachais and Meet AC Legal Counsel and attorney at law Jack Plackter.
Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
Whether you have 50 or 5,000 attendees, we can put together the perfect package for your meeting or convention.
• 585.232.7200 • www.rrcc.com
UpFront Industry Watch Destination Hotels’ third annual “State of the Meetings Industry” survey gathered input from more than 185 meeting corporate, association, government and independent meeting planners nationwide. Following are some of the most significant results: Thirty-seven percent of respondents said that •their meeting budgets would be higher in 2015,
while another 51 percent said their budgets would remain the same and just 12 percent said budgets would decrease. In comparison, 26 percent of planners responding to the prior year’s survey said they had more budget to work with, 55 percent had the same spend, and 19 percent faced a declining budget.
Twenty-eight percent of planners said their •organizations will conduct more meetings in
2015 than in 2014, while 65 percent said they will hold the same number. Last year, only 21 percent said they would plan more meetings for the year, while 68 percent said they would plan the same number.
Short lead times are apparently becoming •more common. For 2015, 20 percent of
responding planners say they will typically book
"Destination Hotels sales reports plus wider industry research indicate that autumn 2014 saw the strongest seasonal growth in the group segment since 2008—outpacing the growth in both the transient and individual business —Andre Fournier, traveler segments." Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing
meetings within 60 days of arrival, compared to 16 percent for 2014. is the first Destination Hotels “State of •theThisMeetings Industry” survey in which food
and beverage options, instead of “flexible space configurations across the property,” rated third in importance after geographic location and room rate as a top site selection criterion.
Most respondents indicated that sufficient •bandwidth for reliable, high-speed wired and
wireless connectivity to the Internet is the technology they most need to make their meetings successful.
Active or adventure teambuilding activities •were of interest to 75.7 percent of respondents.
Wakefield, MA-based HCC Specialty Insurance is the latest Global Partner in the International Special Events Society’s newly launched Global Partner Program. ISES will be working closely with HCC Specialty on a number of cross-promotional, educational and study-based initiatives, including a dedicated survey on event insurance trends and risk management. HCC Specialty will also partner with ISES at a number of international events. “We are excited to join forces with ISES and believe our event-focused insurance offerings will provide a unique benefit to its members, which is at the very core of their mission and values,” Kevin White says Sean Curtin, Senior Vice President at HCC Specialty. Kevin White, CESP, President of ISES, comments: “We are delighted to welcome HCC Specialty to our growing family of valued and trusted Global Partners. They have a well-earned reputation for supporting the events industry over the past 32 years and to providing an outstanding service to their clients, large and small. We look forward to working with them and to developing a Sean Curtin long and mutually beneficial partnership.” 18
Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
UpFront Tech Watch Signature Boston, comprised of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, Boston Convention Marketing Center and partners in Boston's hospitality community, has teamed with Attend.com and Digitell Inc. to provide planners registration services and digital event solutions, respectively. Meeting planners working at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) and the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center will be able to host webinars, conduct live streaming and capture content, thanks to the partnership with Digitell. In addition, planners will have access to Digitell’s expertise in overall digital program development to help them enhance content and engage attendees. Attend.com, a Boston-based startup that provides online software to help event organizers streamline the event management process, will help Signature Boston simplify and automate management of small to mid-size events to decrease costs and free-up onsite resources. The registration service will include Internet, hardware and access to a wide array of registration functions. These include wireless nametag printing, mobile attendance tracking, text-message alerts for VIP arrivals and access to data and analytics following the event, all ordered at one rate through one point of contact. “Attend.com and Digitell don’t just do registration and live streaming. They offer resources and knowledge, plus innovative, cutting-edge solutions to challenges that modern event planners face,” says Johanna Storella, the MCCA's Chief Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
Strategy Officer. F&D recently spoke with Matt Engel, CEO of Attend.com, on what distinguishes the tool among the many apps in the meeting registration space. “The real value proposition for Attend.com is the end-to-end offering: the contact list, the online registration form, online payment, check in, wireless nametag printing, and reporting and analytics. In the market there are several point solutions just for check in, and some do the wireless printing, but they’re not tied into the registration aspect or the email aspect, the other portions that our application offers.” Wireless nametag printing is especially convenient when checking in large numbers of registrants, Engel notes. “Imagine a large event where there are four people checking in 1,000 people. There may be eight or 10 printers, and you can print to any of them from one iPad. Every 30 seconds [the attendee information] is updated, so organizers can look at various different demographics based on how they have chosen to set it up on their registration forms. On the iPad it comes up as a pie chart, and they can drill down to the finest level of detail. And then on the back end of the event, all that information can be closed looped into CRM systems.” —GS 19
UpFront Tech Watch Marriott and Starwood are the latest hoteliers to offer complimentary Internet access to members of their special guest programs. As of Jan. 15, all Marriott Rewards or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members who book on a Marriott direct booking channel receive free standard in-room WiFi at participating hotels worldwide. Participating brands include JW Marriott, Autograph Collection Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments, Gaylord Hotels and AC Hotels by Marriott, as well as Marriott Rewards’ exclusive luxury partner, The RitzCarlton. As of Feb. 2, all Starwood Preferred Guest members who book through one of the company’s digital channels receive free standard in-room Internet access during their stay at all participating hotels worldwide.
Cvent, a leading cloud-based enterprise event management platform, acquired Elite Meetings International in January. Santa Barbara, CAbased EMI is a hospitality marketing company whose online venue-sourcing tools for meeting planners — EliteMeetings.com and SpeedRFP.com — will be integrated into Cvent’s growing hospitality cloud offering. “We are excited about the acquisition because EMI is a natural fit in our growing portfolio of solutions and will benefit both meeting planners and hospitality marketers,” said Reggie Aggarwal, Founder and CEO of Cvent. “We have known and respected Cvent for years as the market leader,” said Kelly Foy, Founder and CEO of EMI. “We think this combination will bring powerful value to meeting and event planners across the globe, not only for locating the most attractive luxury and upscale hotels for group business, but also for sourcing venues across all markets with the most dynamic, innovative tools and integrated solutions.”
Facilities & Destinations
Awards of Excellence B al l o t Please consider the following criteria when voting: Attractiveness & Functionality of Meeting Venue Size & Quality of Meeting Space Technological Capabilities Quality of Staff Food & Beverage Options Lighting, Acoustics, & Internet Access Other Meeting/Event Support Services Amenities Recreational Activities Dining & Entertainment Options Lodging Quality Accessibility to Airport Ease of Travel within Destination
Name of Nominee_______________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Check Award You want to nominate the above for: Prime Site
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Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
ON THE AGENDA: CONVENTION CENTERS Five perspectives on the top site-selection criteria Robin V. Hayes, CMP, Senior Director, Conference Planning & Professional Education, American Counseling Association Jean M. Heis, CMP, Director, Meetings & Exhibits, Institute of Food Technologists Billie Robinson, Director, Meetings & Conventions, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses Cindy Sample, Director, NAMM Trade Show Operations Kathy Smith, CMP, Former Director of Meetings, The American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine By George Seli
convention center offering the right “dates, rates and space” is often required for a city to be in the running to host a large convention or trade show. The event planner will usually be faced with several viable cities whose centers do meet those key criteria, and in order to make a choice, the next step is to dig deeper into the qualities of the facility, including proximity to hotels, the layout of the meeting space, technological and green features, F&B options and more. Centers that check off many if not all items on a planner’s “wish list” are likely to enjoy repeat business from the group, particularly if those great features are complemented by great service. The American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) brought its Annual Meeting back to the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center last year, and a major reason was the service the group enjoyed in 2004. “I have worked with other centers whose staff either seemed like they were new to the scenario of convention services or they just hadn’t 21
quite gotten it,” observes Kathy Smith, CMP, who at the time was in her 27th and final year as Director of Meetings for AANEM. “But that is not at all true about the Savannah Convention Center. My convention services manager was top notch, dedicated to the success of the program, and the catering person was wonderful to work with as well.” One of the most salient cases of repeat business is The NAMM Show, which has been at the Anaheim Convention Center for 34 years, and service — both from the Center and CVB — is again one of the primary drivers of the relationship. “Anaheim has been a great partner in growing and evolving with NAMM and always keeping NAMM’s members in mind,” remarks Cindy Sample, Director, NAMM Trade Show Operations. In what follows, three other planners along with Smith and Sample discuss some of their top criteria for choosing a convention center. These decision makers also highlight promising trends in areas such as connectivity, sustainability and catering. Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
know that there is some competition with the hotels, and they really want groups to hold their social events with F&B attached at the center.” –Robin V. Hayes SURROUNDING HOTELS Heis: I look at the overall hotel package, including proximity, a healthy mix of high- and low-priced options nearby, chains with rewards points, etc. Hayes: When a convention center has an adjacent hotel, that is ideal because we can have our ancillary programs at the hotel. However, we used the Hawaii Convention Center for our 2014 Conference & Expo, where the Hilton Hawaiian Village was the headquarters hotel, and that was [accessed via] shuttle. So it’s not a “make or break” factor. DESIGN, LAYOUT AND AESTHETICS Hayes: At the Hawaii Convention Center, our attendees are not walking from one end of the center to the other because it’s “stacked.” You have the breakouts right on top of each other as well as the ballroom for general session. Robinson: We require quite a few breakouts, 10 concurrent sessions in each block. And I recently went to the Puerto Rico Convention Center and laid out my prospective program [about 3,500 delegates] room by room with my local rep, and it fit perfectly. I believe there had to be some planners involved in the design of that center because it’s really well laid out, easy to navigate and features a lot of natural light. On top of that the aesthetics really make it attractive. Smith: They designed the Savannah Convention Center with big glass windows facing the city that lights up so beautifully, and one end of the center has a window so you see their beautiful new bridge. And the colors are muted greens, teals and purples, so they go with the area. OUTDOOR FUNCTION SPACE Robinson: I think that many centers will try to make you believe that they have outdoor spaces [devoted to] 22
events, but I find that many of them actually have converted space that they will try to sell you as part of their overall square footage. You’ll see that you’re standing in what used to be a parking deck or something to that effect. But the Puerto Rico Convention Center clearly has outdoor space that was built into the center during the planning stage, so that’s the difference.
HIGH TECH FEATURES Heis: We plan to roll out additional tech features at IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo [McCormick Place South in July], including digital signage, an exhibitor technology showcase, a mobile app with gamification and possibly interactive wayfinding. [In 2013, McCormick Place partnered with Elevate Digital to install 20 of the vendor’s interactive digital displays.] Sample: The mobile app is very important, as well as our registration system. Any features that will help our members navigate and stay informed are key. Hayes: We still do banners, but we like the idea of the electronic boards throughout; our sponsors will sponsor one of the signboards. On the signboards we also include information and news about the conference. And of course everybody brings multiple devices, and the wireless connection was really good at the Hawaii Convention Center. They also had many “hotspots” where attendees could do some light Internet surfing without any interruptions. That’s really important to us. Groups spend a lot of money on wired and wireless connections, whether it’s for the expo hall or breakouts. So that was a nice plus. I see that centers are expanding these areas where you can have complimentary Internet access.
“We are a food ingredient
convention, so it’s important that convention centers understand and allow product sampling on the expo floor: That provision is critical to us.” –Jean M. Heis
GREEN FEATURES & SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES Sample: The Anaheim and Nashville convention centers [the latter is the site of the Summer NAMM Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Show] are both very committed to their sustainability efforts, and I believe that should be the norm for everybody. It’s our responsibility to be good stewards of our resources, and I’m happy to be currently working with centers who take that seriously.
important that convention centers understand and allow product sampling on the expo floor: That provision is critical to us. Other clauses that we tend to focus on include exclusives, cancellation and indemnification. One that’s not necessarily critical but is of interest is commissions back to the building for sponsor advertising.
“I find some of the centers are not that forthcoming about renovation and expansion plans. So that’s one of the first questions that we’ll ask.” –Billie Robinson
Heis: I think green features are really important, and it’s a question we ask facilities when we start the negotiating process. Although over the last few years, I think facilities have gotten really good at having green procedures in place as protocol. Many of them include their green efforts within their building guidelines so a planner can readily see what the building is doing to green itself. I wouldn’t say it’s a deal breaker [if a center isn’t sufficiently green], but we would have a contingency plan with our service contractor to at the very least recycle as much as possible onsite. Hayes: One of the other centers we met at a couple years ago was the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and they have LEED certification, so their green efforts are really outstanding. They also track their performance, which is very important to us. We are internally looking at our programs so that we’re going in that direction, and we certainly look for centers and hotels that are also responsible environmentally. Smith: We’ve had a convention center offer someone to come in and tell us how we could be green and do away with our “footprint.” And what it sounded like was, “Here’s how we want you to pay for it.” So I think convention centers walk a very fine line between providing the information and assistance [with sustainable practices], and telling you what to do and what it will cost. KEY CONTRACTUAL ITEMS Heis: We are a food ingredient convention, so it’s Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Robinson: The cancellation clause is always a big part of contracts, but I also look at what the exclusive center services are, for example security, AV or F&B, and any pending construction or renovation to the center. [If they can’t guarantee the project will be finished on time], I try to get a clause in there that will allow us to get out of it altogether. That’s one of the elements that I find some of the centers are not that forthcoming about: renovation and expansion plans. So that’s one of the first questions that we’ll ask.
CONTRACT FLEXIBILITY Heis: It’s been my experience that convention centers are typically less flexible on negotiating terms when compared to hotels. However, I would still approach the negotiation process with a convention center the same as I would with a hotel. Hayes: Convention center contracts are almost like a leasing agreement and not as flexible or forgiving [as hotel contracts]. But my motto is, you have to ask
“It’s our responsibility
to be good stewards of our [environmental] resources, and I’m happy to be currently working with centers who take that seriously.” –Cindy Sample
for it. There is some negotiating that I certainly make an effort to do. We’re very heavy on space so we use space at the center as well as the hotel, but because we do have F&B at the center I try to have the sliding scale there so if we spend a certain amount on F&B at the center the rate is adjusted. So in addition to the cancellation [penalty] sliding scale, there’s the F&B sliding scale. Not every center works that way. 23
Sample: As with hotels, even within the same brand group, the contracts are all different. It would be nice if there were more standards in place; however, you have to look at each one uniquely and draw from your experience to navigate the terms required to ensure your organization and your events are covered for anything that might come up. Legal representation is a great resource as well. I wouldn’t want to go through the process without several key perspectives and eyes on the contract terms. Smith: We have found that one of the things that’s more difficult with a convention center is their ability to give us dual indemnification. We have had convention centers who said the [liability for] everything is on you. And we say, “Wait a minute, if one of your staff leaves a vacuum cleaner cord across the carpet and someone trips and falls, that’s your responsibility.” And we’ve had centers come back and say, “No, you brought the people in, it’s your responsibility.” We will not sign a contract that does not give us dual indemnification. Both parties should be held accountable for their own responsibility. But the second time we do a contract with a center is much easier than the first time, because we’ve already jumped through those hoops and know the issues that are going to be important to both the association and to the city. OVERALL IMPROVEMENT IN F&B QUALITY Sample: Both Anaheim and Nashville have done a great job with improving the food offerings. We still receive feedback from our members and attendees about wanting better food options and improved overall dining area ambiance. We get compared to the European shows that have bistro-style food environments, so we work with our F&B partners to think outside the box and try new food options, seating and layouts to improve the experience. We have a ton of food trucks at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, and those are a huge hit. We also bring in craft beer trucks such as one from Stone Brewery to enhance the experience further. Heis: F&B is an area in the convention center arena that has improved greatly in the last few years. The quality of food served by convention center caterers has become more varied with heart healthy, vegetarian/vegan and even local/sustainable sourcing of food products. I think convention center catering departments take much 24
pride in offering great food options to planners. They want your attendees to have a good experience, and they will work with you if you have a price point you must meet or have a themed event, for instance. Smith: I can say that the food at the Savannah Convention Center was excellent, and more affordable than it is in a hotel. Hayes: Convention centers know that there is some competition with the hotels, and they really want groups to hold their social events with F&B attached at the center. So I see that that is changing the F&B selection, and I suppose they really want to give the group a memorable experience. That’s certainly important because we do an opening reception that opens up the hall on the first day. The chefs come out and introduce themselves to you. We’re used to hotels working with us on customized menus, but we’re seeing the don’t like a convention centers also able bigger facility, to do that.
because it’s not ‘my’ facility; we prefer to take it over completely.” –Kathy Smith
Robinson: We are moving toward having more of our larger functions inside of the centers because of [the improved F&B]. The quality over the years has gotten a lot better, and the pricing as well.
SECURITY PRACTICES Robinson: Security is a really critical part of our convention because it’s 98 percent women. So we’ll sit down with their security folks, and sometimes the chief of police can tell us what the requirements would be for securing our folks. I’ve been doing this 15 years and I feel more comfortable if I have my own security person working in conjunction with the center, for many different reasons. We have a lot riding on our insurance obligations to our vendors because we bring in our own AV many times, and our own decorator many times. We have millions of dollars of equipment that we’re responsible for, and our security people are more internally focused since we know where all the major pieces of equipment will be stored and what our schedule is like. We leave the outside security to the folks at the convention center. EXPANSIONS: ALWAYS A PLUS? Sample: The Anaheim Convention Center expansion [beginning in October and adding 200,000 sq. ft. of meeting space] means more space for our members to show their product and more options for NAMM to serve its membership base with the products, services, education and events that they deem valuable for their Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Hayes: We’re booked through he Anaheim Convention 2019 and there are Center expansion means more some centers we’re going back to, such options for NAMM to serve its as the New Orleans Smith: Like every convention center, Convention Center, members with the products, Savannah is which is looking services, education and events more promising. considering whether they would be better [The city is that they deem valuable for off adding a little in a major their business.” –Cindy Sample investing more space and redevelopment making the center plan around the more appealing to convention center, including new retail, entertainment a bigger group. I cautioned them not to get too big, and lodging components, to be completed by 2018.] The because they fill a very nice niche right now. I don’t Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center is like a bigger facility, because it’s not “my” facility; we also one that we’re looking at; they’ve expanded their prefer to take it over completely. And if you look at the ballroom. statistics on how many meetings are 500 people or fewer, which is even smaller than mine [about 1,100], I Heis: We took a trip out to Boston in April of last think it’s high 80 percent. year to discuss their expansion plans for the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, not just the exhibit NEW PROJECTS OF INTEREST hall and meeting space, but hotel rooms as well [see Heis: The New Orleans Ernest Morial Convention p. 26 for a Q&A with Fred Peterson, Director of Facilities Center  renovation wasn’t a deciding factor for Operations with the Massachusetts Convention Center [selecting the center for IFT 2014], but we were really Authority]. We recently contracted with them for our pleased with the renovation outcome and how it elevated 2019 meeting and are really excited about adding the look of our show. another city to our rotation. business. We are looking forward to the additional space in 2018.
For more information about the Kansas City Convention Center, please call 816-513-5000 or visit www.kcconvention.com
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
behind the scenes
In Conversation With . . .
Director of Facilities Operations Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
A Better Back of the House
Optimizing the logistics of Boston’s convention centers through customer feedback By George Seli
16-year veteran of the active in the broader convention Massachusetts Convention industry, serving as Board Center Authority (MCCA), Member and Region I Director Fred Peterson was one of the first of IAVM and Board Member of hires when the Boston Convention ESCA (Exhibition Services and & Exhibition Center (BCEC) was Contractors Association), and legislatively approved. As such, maintaining affiliations with he has a historical perspective PCMA and IAEE. on the facility that is rare among its staff. “I went through the full an you describe one of the cycle of acquiring the 60-acre site, events that you are most going through site remediation, proud of supporting at the demolition, tenant relocation, BCEC? designing, building and ultimately opening the BCEC back in 2004,” ibos [the annual SWIFT he recalls. “It was a once-inbanking conference, Sept. a-lifetime experience.” Today, 29-Oct. 2, 2014] was truly an Peterson oversees a 250-member international event staff that works in areas such as that had a tremendous transportation, security, parking, loading and ith two convention amount of product other “back of the house” operations. While coming in from overseas, centers you can serve convention and tradeshow planners seldom millions of pounds of deal with him directly, his role remains critical freight. Some of the two different tiers in to their success: “I often say that if you don’t exhibit booths were the industry, and it’s get the back of the house right, the front of the really “tricked out,” so house just won’t happen.” we couldn’t have the paid off for us.” Peterson also oversees operations at local labor do it, and the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial they played more of a Convention Center and MassMutual Center, as well supportive role to folks that were flown in from all as the Boston Common Garage. And now that the over the world to build these complicated setups. 1.3 million-sq.-ft. expansion of the BCEC has been With so much international labor, there was a little approved, Peterson will play a key role in meeting bit of a language barrier, and we made sure the same the logistical challenges to operations that arise as people worked with the same people [who could best the $1 billion project moves ahead. In addition to understand each other] throughout. The event took these responsibilities, Peterson manages to be quite almost three weeks from the first arrival of product to
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
the final departure of product. It was a very complicated event that I would say tested everyone. But at the end of the day the client couldn’t be any happier, and we’re actually getting Sibos into more of a rotation every few years in coming back to Boston because they loved the experience they had. I actually like to refer to such challenges as opportunities because you really test not only your staff and the facility, but also the contractors that kind of fuel what we do in these buildings.
“We’re always surveying
attendees and exhibitors, and if there are issues we will send them to the designated contractor and business manager from that union, so they actually see firsthand what the customer is saying about us.”
hat is your approach to ensuring that contractors deliver the best service to clients?
think one of the great things we do here in Boston is have monthly meetings with our contractors and internal operations. I chair the meetings and we have a very robust agenda where we discuss past, current and future challenges. We talk about how our rules and regulations apply to what is contractually obligated to the client, and try to address any issues well in advance. In addition, we’re always surveying attendees and exhibitors, and if there are issues we will send them to the designated contractor and business manager from that union, so they actually see firsthand what the customer is saying about us. They need to hear that more often than not because I think that really translates into them working with their own employees and union members to improve. One of the things that we were hearing through surveys is that there were some complaints coming in from exhibitors and show managers about the [duration of the] labor call. So we partnered with ESCA to develop badge-scanning equipment to support ESCA’s worker identification system. We went from 90 seconds to get an employee out onto the hall floor to 8-9 seconds. That’s been a godsend to us and to our customers.
part from size, what are some of the important differences between the BCEC and the Hynes Convention Center that planners should note?
ith two convention centers you can serve two different tiers in the industry, and it’s paid off for us. The Hynes serves a different niche, almost like a second tier. It’s located in proximity to numerous hotels, businesses and historical buildings, while the BCEC is at the developing
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
waterfront that is really the future of Boston. The BCEC is 10 years old as of last June. It’s sleeker, with a lot of glass and stainless steel, and has a lot of natural light. We like to say the BCEC is one of the most technologically advanced convention centers in the world, with features such as a video wall, 110-ft. marquee and free, reliable WiFi. We also have our own IT staff of about 50.
peaking of dedicated IT staff, does the MCCA offer any other convention services you would consider distinctive?
e have our own transportation department, a full- and part-time staff of over 50 individuals, which is rare if not unique in the industry. There are a lot of transportation management companies that provide shuttle service to the convention centers, and in 2006 we started to get some complaints from customers about the cost of transportation in Boston. So we’re of the mindset that if we’re going to get complaints on it we’re going to actually own it. Within Boston Convention Transportation Services (BCTS) we will bid on events coming to Boston, and we have over 30 different types of vehicles approved to work on an event. On the pricing side the idea was to drive some of those prices down, by making things a little more competitive. I think that’s worked, and with BCTS we’ve become more successful over the years. But whether we win or lose transportation services bids, we work incredibly well with the transportation management companies just to make sure the customer’s experience is exceptional.
ou’ve described the BCEC’s expansion as “an enormous undertaking.” What kinds of projects will be involved?
e refer to the expansion as a campus because it’s not only blowing out the back wall of the BCEC, adding a larger ballroom, and so on, but we also have two hotels going up across the street and two garages being built around the same time. For example, we have a south lot that’s 1,300 spaces, and when we start to expand the south lot goes and we have to find a temporary location for parking. So there will be a tremendous amount of activity while we remain super focused on customer service. 27
Facilities & Destinations
orporate and association meeting planners have often had to contend with downsized in-house staffs since the recession, and keeping up with their workload of events can be a challenge. Fortunately, there is no shortage of highly qualified meeting professionals on the supplier side, from third-party planners to the many hotel and CVB representatives attuned to the needs of today’s planner. Those needs typically go well beyond logistical assistance to strategic event design and marketing. The ELITE among these supplier-side meeting professionals have a wealth of experience and knowledge, and are immersed in the industry outside of their businesses; several are active members of organizations such as MPI and PCMA. Following are the 10 who received the most nominations from our readership. We look forward to recognizing more ELITE professionals in this category in future issues.
Chad Chappell, CMP, CTA, Director of Sales, Visit Baltimore
General Manager, Sheraton Macao
Angie Duncan, CMP, CMM, Global Account Director, Global Accounts, BCD BCD M&I M&I
President, America’s Guest
Ann Godi, CMP
President & CEO, Benchmarc360
Rita Harrell, CEM
Sales & Exposition Manager, Myrtle Beach Convention Center
Phelps R. Hope
CMP, Senior Vice President of Meetings and Expositions, Kellen Company
Allison Kinsley, CMM, CMP
Founder and Chief Meeting Architect, Kinsley Meetings
Yulita Osuba, CMP
Deputy Director, Orange County Convention Center
Steve van der Molen, CFBE, CMP Vice President of Meeting Operations, Atlantic City Region, Caesars Entertainment
Facilities & Destinations 2014 Winter
2015 ELITE AWARDS
CAST YOUR BALLOT FOR
Facilities & Destinations’
E l i te A w ar d s 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 publications
and more. Facilities & Destinations honors 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
Convention Center Executive of the Year
Tradeshow Manager of the Year
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 email@example.com
2014 Facilities & Destinations Prism hotel Awards
ongratulations to our 2014 F&D Prime Site Meeting (PRISM) Hotel Award winners. Our readers selected 76 properties, both domestic and international, as exceptional lodging choices for corporate and association meetings. This recognition from the group segment comes on the heels of a strong year for the hotel industry. According to 2014 year-over-year data from STR, Inc., occupancy at U.S. hotels was up 3.6 percent to 64.4 percent; average daily rate rose 4.6 percent to $115.32; and RevPAR increased 8.3 percent to $74.28. While the growing demand behind these increases swings the pendulum closer to a sellerâ€™s market, great hotels like our PRISM awardees do not rest content with favorable market conditions. Rather, they constantly strive to offer an outstanding experience to both leisure and business guests. For meeting attendees in particular, that means a comfortable amount of function space and breakouts, the latest AV equipment, robust Internet connectivity, an emphasis on sustainable
meetings, proactive convention services, creative catering, and good options for offsite events and group transportation. Accordingly, readers nominated hotels and resorts based on numerous criteria: * Attractiveness and functionality * Technological capabilities * Quality of staff and convention services * Food & beverage/catering * Lighting * Acoustics * Climate control * Proximity to airport and other transportation * Guestroom amenities * Front-desk operations * Setups and breakdowns * Room dĂŠcor * Quality/size of ballroom * Special packages * Spa * Nearby attractions Look for ballots for the 2015 F&D PRISM Hotel Awards in our Spring, Summer and Fall issues. Winners will be announced in the 2014-2015 Winter issue. Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Facilities & Destinations 2014 Winter
2014 Prism Hotel Award Winners United States & Puerto Rico
Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, NV
Grand Hyatt Denver
Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix, AZ
Grand Hyatt San Antonio
Beau Rivage, Biloxi, MS
Hilton Anatole, Dallas
Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV
The Borgata, Atlantic City, NJ
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, CO Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, Galena, IL
Hilton New York Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Los Angeles, CA
Eden Roc Miami Beach, FL
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
El Conquistador, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Hyatt Regency Orlando
Foxwoods Resorts Casino & MGM Grand at Foxwoods, Mashantucket, CT Galt Hotel & Suites, Louisville, KY Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Hotel, National Harbor, MD Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center, Nashville, TN Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Kissimmee, FL Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, TX Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake 32
Hilton New Orleans Riverside
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch JW Marriott Austin JW Marriott Indianapolis JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa Keystone Resort & Conference Center, Keystone, CO The Langham, Boston, MA Marriott Boston Cambridge Marriott Crystal City at Reagan National Airport, Washington, DC Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
W O R L D W I D E LO C AT I O N S
L AT I N A M E R I C A
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Facilities & Destinations 2014 Winter
2014 Prism Hotel Award Winners MGM Grand Detroit
Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
MGM Grand Las Vegas
Wynn + Encore Las Vegas
Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center, Galveston, TX
New York Marriott Marquis
Camino Real Polanco Mexico City
Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, IL
Fairmont St. Andrews, Scotland
Renaissance Nashville Hotel
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Ritz-Carlton Boston Common
Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando, FL
Hotel Okura, Amsterdam
Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, FL
Hyatt Regency Toronto
The Balmorral, Edinburgh, Scotland
The Phoenician Resort, Scottsdale, AZ Iberostar Cancun The Sheraton Kansas City Hotel Intercontinental Montreal Sheraton Puerto Rico, San Juan Sheraton Waikiki, Honolulu Trump National Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Miami, FL Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, Orlando, FL Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, FL Westin Copley Place, Boston, MA Westin Kansas City at Crown Center Complex
Intercontinental Presidente Mexico City Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Old Course Hotel, St. Andrews, Scotland Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa The Savoy, London Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort, Los Cabos Trump Hotel, Toronto
Westin Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Facilities & Destinations
2015 Prime Site Meeting Hotel Awards Ballot VOTE for the top hotels, resorts and conference centers your group has used for its meetings in the last three years. Please base your vote(s) on the following criteria:
• Acoustics • Climate control • Proximity to airport and other transportation • Onsite or offsite lodging • Other support services • Front-desk operations • Setups and breakdowns • Attractiveness and functionality • Room décor • Technological capabilities • Quality of staff and conference planner • Quality/size of ballroom • Special packages • Teambuilding • Spa • Food & beverage/catering • Nearby attractions • Lighting Name of nominee_______________________________________________________________________ Name of nominee_______________________________________________________________________ Name of nominee_______________________________________________________________________ Check the award you want to nominate the above for: Meeting Hotel/Resort
Your name and title______________________________________________________________________ Organization____________________________________________________________________________ Phone__________________________________________________________________________________ Email___________________________________________________________________________________ Additional comments____________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ May we contact you? Yes___ No___ Fill Out Form & Mail, Email or Fax Your Vote:
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152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016 Fax: (212) 213-6382 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Anaheim Home to one of Californiaâ€™s most avant-garde convention centers
Facilities & Destinations 2014â€“2015 Winter
community of entrepreneurial vintners settled in Southern California’s Santa Ana Valley in the mid-19th century. Their city was called Annaheim (later changed to its current spelling) to represent its geographical location, and the hard-working German immigrants that called the Santa Ana Valley heim, German for home. The fruits of their labor, first vineyards and then produce, provided them sustenance for the better part of the next century. Tourism currently drives Anaheim’s economy, and while considered part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Anaheim is a bustling city in its own right. Home to major corporations, two professional sports teams and Disneyland, the city is extremely accessible to meeting attendees both nationally and internationally, via four nearby airports. Visiting the Prime Site Award-winning Anaheim Convention Center’s campus while in the region was high on our agenda, particularly due to the inauguration of the Grand Plaza earlier in 2014. In December, Facilities & Destinations staff were finally able discover what all the fanfare was about. The Anaheim Convention Center’s campus, with over 1.6 million sq. ft., can accommodate thousands of attendees, and planners can be creative with the array of available meeting spaces. The Grand Plaza, formerly a city block leading up to the convention center’s main entrance, has been enclosed and transformed into 100,000 sq. ft. of multipurpose outdoor space. The path from the plaza to the convention center is lined with palms as well as orange trees, reflecting the region’s agricultural origins. In front of the convention center is a multitiered fountain that can illuminate in the evening with multicolored lights. With ample space for displays and booths, the area is ideal for an array of events — exhibitions, fairs, concerts and dining. Coupled with the mostly favorable weather year-round in Southern California, the plaza is a valuable option for planners looking to create a unique setting for their event.
Facilities & Destinations 2014–2015 Winter
The convention center’s outdoor space is not limited to its Grand Plaza. Outside of the convention
“Installing this new, fully redundant, high-density WiFi network positions the ACC as a national leader in wireless connectivity.” Plaza was packed with fans waiting to enter the convention center. During the convention, the main halls were filled with participants joining in in-depth discussions and panels with the company’s designers, game stations set up for fans to play the newest game releases and participate in tournaments, and booths set up for attendees to purchase game-related merchandise. The climax of BlizzCon for many was its gaming championships, held in the arena.
center’s arena, former home to the American Basketball Association’s Anaheim Amigos, is the Arena Plaza. With views of nearby Disneyland in the background, the plaza features a knoll with palm trees, a fountain area with benches and an additional 100,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space right outside the arena. Suitable for a wide spectrum of events, the arena can host entertainment functions held in tandem with a convention, or fill its 7,500-seat capacity for a keynote speaker addressing a large corporate group. With ceiling heights ranging from 45 ft. to 89 ft., the venue offers over 28,000 sq. ft. of floor space. The high ceilings allow for rigging, making the arena an option for tradeshows and exhibitions as well as sporting competitions. A prime example of the versatility of the campus took place this past November, when Blizzard Entertainment held its eighth annual BlizzCon. The videogame convention drew thousands to Anaheim, many dressed as characters from the company’s games. The event took full advantage of the unique venues within the campus. Prior to the commencement of the event, the Grand 38
Owned by the City of Anaheim, the convention center has made a point to stay ahead of the curve rather than simply stay competitive within the meetings and events industry. Atop free attendee WiFi, still not offered in so many facilities around the country, the convention center is undergoing yet another upgrade, slated for completion this year, to make the convention center the first on the West Coast with 10 gigabit Internet connectivity. “Installing this new, fully redundant, high-density WiFi network positions the ACC as a national leader in wireless connectivity,” says Tom Morton, Executive Director, City of Anaheim, Convention, Sports & Entertainment. “This will enable event planners, exhibitors and attendees to fully engage the largest of mega bandwidth needs.” Another advantage is conveniently located accommodations. While many metropolitan areas struggle to transport attendees to convention centers and debates continue about public funding of convention center hotels, Anaheim has no such issues. Within walking distance of the Convention Center are more than 4,000 rooms. Three of the major hotels have recently undergone $53 million in renovations, namely the 490-room Sheraton Park Hotel (28,000 sq. ft. of function space) and the two adjacent to the Grand Plaza — the 1,572-room Hilton Anaheim (100,000 sq. ft. of function space) and the 1,030-room Anaheim Marriott (82,000 sq. ft. of function space). Facilities & Destinations 2014–2015 Winter
The BlizzCon videogame convention has been held in Anaheim since 2005. The Anaheim Resort District, which encompasses Disneyland, Angel Stadium and the Honda Center — all within a mile of the convention center, has an inventory of 20,000 guestrooms. That number is expected to increase by 7.5 percent by year’s end, with nine brand-new hotels being added in 2014–2015. The new additions will include the return of the Hyatt brand to Anaheim and a series of value properties. Jay Burress, President and CEO, Anaheim/ Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau, notes that nearly $200 million is currently being invested by major hotel brands into the Anaheim Resort District for development and renovations, which he says is a “testament to our appeal in the marketplace.” He adds that “Anaheim continues
to evolve as a distinctive and inviting location, and our latest hotel developments will help keep our destination fresh and competitive in the leisure and convention market.” Atop the hoteliers’ investments, the convention center itself announced in October that it plans to embark upon an expansion of its current facilities with an additional 200,000 sq. ft. of flexible space for exhibits, meetings and events, to be built adjacent to its Arena Plaza. As economic growth continues in the region, meeting and event planners should be encouraged by the investment that Anaheim and its partners in the hospitality sector are making in the city’s future. —DK
our content needs. We don’t see ourselves ever going anywhere else.
How do you find the event planners at the convention center to work with? They are a pleasure to work with. VidCon is a year-round planning process, and the staff at the ACC is always quick to answer your questions throughout the year.
Managing Director, VidCon
idCon, an online video conference, has been held annually at the Anaheim Convention Center since 2012, and will return this year, July 23–25. More than 20,000 attendees are expected, and more than 300 of the most innovative and influential YouTube creators will be presenting. Following are comments from Colin Hickey, Managing Director, on the group’s facility of choice. Why have you partnered with the Anaheim Convention Center instead of others in the region, e.g., San Diego or Los Angeles, or outside of the region? It’s the biggest in California and it’s close to LA. We have a lot of different types of programming, which means the ACC is a perfect fit for us. There is always a space that suits
Facilities & Destinations 2014–2015 Winter
Are you pleased with the quality of the catering service? Aramark is great. We have a lot of different needs when it comes to food. They always listen to our crazy ideas and come through when the time comes. What activities or attractions outside of VidCon do you feel helped to draw people to Anaheim? It doesn’t hurt that Disney is across the street. 39
San Diegoâ€™s Kona Kai Now Better Than Ever By Debi Lander
hen a company like Noble House Hotels & Resorts spends $22 million to update one of its prime properties, you know the final product will be first class. Such is the case with Kona Kai Resort, located at the tip of Shelter Island in San Diego. The legendary Southern California resort now boasts a cutting-edge, chic look that befits the dynamic city and waterways surrounding it. Completed last summer, the second phase of the Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
Located on the tip of Shelter Island, Kona Kai Resort offers a scenic shoreline walking and biking path.
Resort & Marina renovation included the resort’s 129 guestrooms, waterfront restaurant and lobby, which emulates the sun and sea with gold and turquoise accents. “We are extremely excited about Kona Kai Resort & Marina’s newly transformed amenities,” says Linda Apichell, General Manager. According to Apichell, many local companies schedule their board meetings, business events and workshops at the resort, which offers a total of 55,000 sq. ft. of Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
indoor/outdoor function space. Up to 500 attendees can be accommodated with 13,000 sq. ft. inside and an additional 43,000 sq. ft. in outdoor venues. “Opportunities for group collaboration, creative breakout sessions and teambuilding activities are boundless,” she adds, “and most importantly, open to group customization.” The East Beach offers comfortable seating for up to 400 guests in a serene setting with terraced walkways and bougainvillea-draped arches and columns. 41
Relaxing and dining by the resort’s marina and pools are just a couple of ways to enjoy the Southern Californian weather.
The adjacent Point Loma Ballroom spans 9,398 sq. ft. and the Cabo Garden adds 11,439 sq. ft. for receptions. Location, location . . .
The drive from San Diego International Airport along with spectacular views of the marina, home to Shelter Island takes less than 10 minutes, to some of the swankiest yachts in the world. thereby enabling quick transit for guest arrivals Vessels features live music most nights. Executive and departures. The island maintains an underChef Roy Hendrickson whipped up the best glutenstated park-like profile with no glitzy high-rise free apple tart I have ever tasted, not to mention a buildings. A popular shoreline walking and butter lettuce salad dressed cycling path lies directly across from with a whole lobster tail and a Kona Kai, offering views of passing Captain Lynn Hanna grass-fed beef filet entrée. naval carriers and cruise liners. The Kona Kai complex consists of two-story structures spread out over 11 acres. The buildings’ traditional red-tile roofing and terracotta accents are reminiscent of early California Missions.
and his crew welcome groups of up to 24 guests for a three-hour sail aboard Stars & Stripes USA-11, docked at the resort.
All guestrooms are oversized and airy with sliding glass doors leading to private balconies lending marina or ocean views. Standard amenities include in-room refrigerators, coffee makers, flat-screen televisions, iHome radios and complimentary high-speed Internet access. The hotel is 100 percent smoke-free. Guests can dine in the recently revamped Vessels Restaurant and enjoy “Top Chef” cuisine 42
The newly constructed Spa Terre features six treatment rooms for facials, massage and body wraps including a Vichy Wet Room and a couple’s suite. Also included is a “Zen Den” relaxation room, two manicure stations and three pedicure thrones. Eucalyptus steam rooms were placed in both the men’s and women’s locker rooms. Fitness enthusiasts don’t need to miss a workout because the new state-of-the-art fitness center with MATRIX and TechnoGym equipment rests below the spa. A panoramic glass wall facing the marina keeps exercisers going with inspiring scenes. Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
Meetings at Kona Kai benefit from plenty of natural light.
Attendees will also find plenty Guests can dine in the of recreation at recently revamped Kona Kai, from Vessels Restaurant carefree lounging in poolside and enjoy “Top Chef” cabanas to cuisine along with soaking tension spectacular views of away in the hot tub to lap swimthe marina. ming. Guests can also rent jet skis, kayaks, canoes and paddleboards, and lessons are available at the marina dock. The secluded harbor almost guarantees calm waters, which creates the ideal setting for beginners. The resort also boasts a privately owned beach that offers planners the opportunity for group events by the sea. Southern California usually delivers ideal weather, with annual average highs between 64-76 degrees and average lows from 48-62. Stars & Stripes USA-11, the authentic 1992 America’s Cup Racing Yacht, docks in a reserved slip at the Kona Kai. Captain Lynn Hanna and his crew welcome groups of up to 24 guests for a threehour sail. If teambuilding is a priority, a custom program can be designed for the outing. Groups can step aboard Stars & Stripes from Kona Kai and head out toward Point Loma, passing harbor seals lounging on marine buoys and into the Pacific Ocean. Six able bodies must grind the winches to raise the mainsail, a massive 3,500-sq.ft. Carbon Fiber 3DL beauty. Volunteers are encouraged to assist, and everyone may take a turn at the helm, feeling the power of this magnificent sailboat as it cuts through the water. Sailors relish Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
the distant view of the San Diego skyline as the boat returns, especially at sunset. All crewmembers are knowledgeable mariners just waiting to spin a few yarns about their seafaring days. 4 Choice Group Outings in San Diego
San Diego draws more than 33 million tourists each year with a long list of first-rate attractions and activities. Here is a sampling: 1. Visit the Zoo. A daytime VIP visit to the San Diego Zoo is always a winner. The famed zoo houses more than 3,700 animals including giant pandas, and can be booked for an animal-themed party or evening event in the private Zoofari area. SeaWorld is another nearby attraction offering exclusive rental space for groups. 2. Tour the USS Midway Aircraft Museum.
San Diego hosts the largest naval fleet in the world, and touring the USS Midway is a fitting tribute. The aircraft carrier was the longestserving ship in the 20th century, from 1945 to 1992. Many former sailors volunteer as guides and are ready to offer stories of shipboard life. Touring provides an understanding of the difficulties the military faced, especially during take-offs and landings from the ship. Attendees can 43
Southern California Resort Update Valley Center
Last spring, Harrah’s Resort Southern California debuted a 403-room hotel tower that brought the resort’s total number of guestrooms to 1,065. The tower includes 52 expansive suites with valley views. December 2013 saw the opening of the 53,221-sq.-ft. Events Center, also part of the resort’s $160 million expansion and renovation. The AAA Four Diamond Award-winning resort is located 30 minutes from wine country and 50 minutes from downtown San Diego. Temecula
Pechanga Resort & Casino in Riverside County is embarking on a two-year, $285 million wander through the sleeping quarters, engine room, galley, bridge, officers’ quarters, flight control center and the pilots’ ready rooms. The flight deck permits interactive experiences like climbing into aircraft cockpits and snapping close-up photos of vintage planes. 3. Point Loma Sportfishing. Still another immersive option for groups is a ride on an amphibious vehicle that winds through San Diego’s streets before splashing down for a cruise of the harbor. Fishing trips can be arranged through Point Loma Sportfishing, located close to the Kona Kai. Excur44
expansion project that will add a 550-room hotel wing, a luxury spa, 67,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and prefunction space, a 23,000-sq.-ft. luxury spa, a resort-style pool complex and a rooftop restaurant. The AAA Four Diamond Award-winning resort, located on the Pechanga Indian Reservation, currently offers 517 guestrooms. West Hollywood
The second phase of The London West Hollywood’s $25 million renovation debuted the 110-seat Screening Room this January. Billed as the largest onsite screening room for a hotel in the Los Angeles market, the venue offers a 20 ft.-by-8.5 ft. screen, advanced Dolby technology and satellite broadcast capabilities. It is located across from the signature Gordon Ramsay restaurant and is complemented by a 560-sq.-ft. prefunction bar area. The 225-suite hotel’s primary meeting space is the 3,960-sq.-ft. Kensington Ballroom, with outdoor event spaces including Rooftop West and Hampton Court. sions are available for a half day or deep out into Mexican waters, and planners can add an element of competition by awarding a prize to the attendee who catches the biggest or smallest fish. 4. Bar hopping. Home to 87 area breweries,
San Diego has been called “America’s Craft Beer Capital,” and there are many opportunities for group tasting events at local pubs.
Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2014-2015 Winter
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Dubai Welcoming meeting groups with some of the Middle Eastâ€™s best vistas and venues By Christine Hinz
Facilities & destinations 2014-2015 Winter
loating on a traditional dhow in the Dubai Creek, one can see the souks that sell gold and spices on one side, while traditional Emirati “wind towers” and small abras dot the water’s edge on the other.† Here it’s easy to be transported back to Dubai’s early days as a modest trading port on the Arabian Gulf. But with a glance over the shoulder, the iconic Burj Khalifa comes into view. The tallest building in the world, this astonishing site serves not only as a juxtaposition to Dubai’s living history, but a reminder of all that Dubai has become in the span of just over 40 years: a place of forward-thinking, fastpaced development, with a bustling business sector and a bright, shiny future. Qualities such as these drew more than 11 million visitors to the city in 2013, including many meeting and incentive groups.
Facilities & destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Downtown Dubai (preceding page) stands in contrast to Old Dubai (left). (Right): Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center (Below): Dubai Mall
With Dubai’s recent “Clients choose win to host World Expo 2020, a sixDubai because it month event expected is nearby or a to draw 25 million visito ultra-luxury accommodamidpoint between tors, His Highness tions. Anne Thornley-Brown, Mohammed bin offices in Africa, President, Executive Oasis Rashid Al Maktoum, International, a TorontoEurope, North Vice President and based consulting firm America and Asia. Prime Minister of specializing in teambuilding There are strong airline connections the UAE and Ruler of and luxury corporate events, Dubai, promised to has been hosting programs from all major cities on all of these “astonish the world.” in Dubai since 2000. “I have continents.” –Anne Thornley-Brown, had a front-row seat to Dubai is already makPresident, Executive Oasis International ing this vision a realobserve one of the most ity. “The vision of His dramatic transformations Highness has created a destination with experiof a society and environment on the planet,” she ences that no other city can offer,” states HH says. “What I love about Dubai is the intersection Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Dubai of traditional Middle Eastern culture with a Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. modern high-tech and high-end infrastructure.” “We have a number of attractions that are famous throughout the world, including the Burj Khalifa, With a long list of distinctive experiences availthe Burj Al Arab and the Palm Jumeirah; the world’s able, including skiing at an indoor snow resort, largest shopping malls; and an incredible infrastruc- exploring the desert by camel or getting a bird’sture which acts as a magnet for global travelers.” eye view of the famed Palm Jumeirah archipelago by helicopter, Dubai delivers on its pledge. Behind Dubai’s youthful glow is also a mature “Groups fall in love with Dubai, while clients hotel portfolio able to meet the needs of the choose the destination because it is nearby or a group market, including more than 600 propermidpoint between offices in Africa, Europe, North ties and 89,000 guestrooms ranging from budget America and Asia,” Thornley-Brown explains. “There are strong airline connections from all † Dhow: a vessel with lateen sails used in the Red Sea and Indian major cities on all of these continents.” Ocean. Souk: an open-air marketplace common in the Middle East
and North Africa. Abra: a wooden boat traditionally used as a ferry. 48
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an art deco décor located 63 floors above the downtown’s action for private cocktail receptions or late-night lounging. At the base of the Burj Khalifa, the 160-room Armani Hotel features “designer” guestrooms as well as stunning outdoor event spaces alongside the Dubai Fountain for up to 600 delegates.
Nearby, the recently opened 351-room JW Marriott Marquis Dubai dubs itself the tallest hotel in the world at 72 floors. With more than 86,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, the property features two ballrooms, the 14,983-sq.-ft. Dubai Ballroom and the 12,835-sq.-ft. Emirates Ballroom, along with 32 meetings rooms and four executive boardrooms. The 156-room Vida Downtown Dubai, a new hotel brand with a contemporary upscale urban feel, offers four meeting rooms able to be comThe recently expanded bined to accommodate up to 180 Dubai International delegates theater-style.
The recently developed Downtown Dubai has become the “in” gathering place for visiConvention and tors and groups. Anchored by WORLD TRADE CENTER the awe-inspiring Burj Khalifa, Exhibition Center Located in the heart of Dubai’s Downtown Dubai encompasses offers more than Business District and just 10 the Dubai Mall, the world’s largone million sq. ft. of minutes from Downtown and the est shopping center offering Dubai International Airport, the top global retail brands, dining function space. Dubai International Convention options ranging from cupcake and Exhibition Center (DICEC) at kiosks to fine dining, as well as Dubai World Trade Center complex is the largan indoor ice-skating rink and one of the world’s est purpose-built meeting venue in the Middle largest aquariums, featuring a walkthrough tunEast. nel and underground zoo. At the Souq Al-Bahar, a contemporary shopping venue with an Arabian feel, more traditional items are for sale, including Recently, the DICEC completed an expansion clothing, accessories, jewelry, crafts and artworks project resulting in more than one million sq. ft. from the region. Several restaurants overlook the of meeting and exhibition space at the facility. Designed to accommodate the growing demand Burj Khalifa Lake. for exhibition space in the region, the new Sheikh Nearby accommodations include the 196-room Saeed Halls offer four exhibition halls that add Address Downtown Dubai, located adjacent to approximately 270,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space to the facility. This includes the multipurpose the Dubai Mall. Function space at the property Trade Center Arena, with nearly 98,000 sq. ft. of is suitable for groups of up to 550 attendees, exhibition space able to host events for more than with the Symphony Ballroom offering floor-to10,000 delegates. ceiling views of the Burj Khalifa and the choreographed water shows of the Dubai Fountain. For other large events, the column-free, Able to host 400 theater-style in the ballroom, 82,914-sq.-ft. Sheikh Rashid Hall can be custhe property also has a smaller ballroom and tomized for plenary sessions, concerts, sportboardroom for more intimate events and is ing events, banquets and more. Adjacent is the home to CUT, Wolfgang Puck’s popular steak column-free, 41,537-sq.-ft. Sheikh Maktoum Hall, restaurant, and Neos, an upscale venue with Facilities & destinations 2014-2015 Winter
“We have a number of attractions that are famous throughout the world, including the Burj Khalifa [tallest building in the world], the Burj Al Arab [billed as a seven-star hotel] and the Palm Jumeirah [a palm-shaped, manmade archipelago].”
a conference venue that can be divided into four meet(L-r): Burj Al Arab, Palm ing rooms for up to 750 delJumeirah and Burj Khalifa egates each, or utilized as are among the city’s most a banquet venue for up to impressive feats 1,800 guests. This flexible of engineering. design allows for the two halls to combine, providing a single-level exhibiBEACHSIDE tion space spanning over CONFERENCES –HH Helal Saeed Almarri, 124,000 sq. ft. Even further, Dubai’s location Director General, Dubai Department of the 161,480-sq.-ft. Za’abeel Tourism and Commerce Marketing beside the azure waters Hall can accommodate up of the Arabian Gulf to 12,000 people for exhibioffers a magnificent tions or be subdivided into three separate halls. natural backdrop for group gatherings. The 1,539room Atlantis, The Palm is the largest all-in-one The DICEC also has more than 30 flexible meetconference space in the city. Located at the apex ing rooms that can host groups from 20 to more of the famed Palm Jumeirah, a manmade archithan 200 attendees, and four Majlis, traditional pelago in the shape of a palm tree and home to Arabian gathering spaces for refreshment and luxury hotels and exclusive villas, Atlantis, The discussion of important community issues. In Palm offers three ballrooms and two boardrooms addition, the World Trade Club offers panoramic along with 14 meeting rooms for conferences of up 360-degree views with a number of upscale prito 2,000 attendees. In addition, the Atlantis feavate meeting, dining and event space options. tures more than 20 onsite restaurants and nightlife 50
Facilities & destinations 2014-2015 Winter
venues, an aquarium and waterpark, and activities such as dolphin encounters and helicopter tours to make a splash out of any conference or incentive program. The Madinat Jumeirah is a traditional Arabian “village” comprised of three properties offering a total of 876 guestrooms. Located on a private stretch of beach, the resort has 40 restaurants and nightlife venues and 75 boutiques in its own souk. Along with an onsite conference center, Madinat Jumeirah offers more than 86,000 sq. ft. of function space, including four ballrooms, an indoor arena and outdoor amphitheater, as well as distinctive Arabian-themed indoor-outdoor venues for up to 425 guests accessible by small wooden abras that glide along the property’s manmade lagoons and waterways.
GROUP ACTIVITIES WITH AN ARABIAN TWIST
At the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, located in Dubai’s historic Al Fahidi District, groups are invited to learn about the Muslim faith and practices, and how they tie into Arabian culture. Introduced to the theme, “Open Heart, Open Minds,” delegates
Facilities & destinations 2014-2015 Winter
participate in a walking tour of a recreated Emirati village, followed by a visit to a mosque before enjoying a traditional Arabian meal hosted in a traditional Emerati “wind tower” home. All the while, they are encouraged to participate in dialogue about the differences and similarities between Arabian culture and their own.
2. Another option is an evening at the Al Sahra
Desert Resort. Less than 30 minutes from Dubai’s city center, the venue offers the experience of true Arabian splendor. Built with the look of an Arabian qasr (castle) nestled in the dunes, the resort welcomes groups of up to 3,000 attendees for live entertainment, camel rides, henna painting (using a dye from the henna plant) and falcon demonstrations. Participants can visit a small souk selling gifts and enjoy a lavish buffet featuring classic Arabian fare.
3. To experience the historic feel of the Dubai
Creek in modern luxury, Bateaux Dubai offers an air-conditioned all-glass cruise experience with open decks to take in the views. The ship can accommodate groups of up to 200 for a sitdown dining event. 51
o a ç a r u C A culturally rich and affordable getaway for groups By Nicole Vera
or many people, the word “Curaçao” brings to mind the bright blue, citrus-flavored liqueur that this Caribbean island is known for. But there’s so much more to discover about this intriguing destination, such as its rich history, colorful architecture, international cuisine and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Curaçao is located in the southern Caribbean, about 40 miles from the coast of Venezuela. It’s the largest of the ABC islands (the others are Aruba and Bonaire), which are part of the Netherlands. While the official language of Curaçao is Dutch, both English and Spanish are widely spoken here, as is Papiamentu, a Creole blend of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, English and Arawak Indian.
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Background: The highly popular Knip Beach. From top: Willemstad’s brightly painted houses; Netto Bar, home of the famed Ròm Bèrdè (green rum); Punda and Otrabanda, separated by the Sint Anna Bay; and Dinah Veeris, owner of the Den Paradera Herb Garden.
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the island is tucked away on the André Rojer, North American U.S. taxpayers can claim outer fringes of the hurricane Marketing Manager for the belt, which minimizes some of Curaçao Tourist Board, a tax deduction for the weather risks that may be describes some of the reasons expenses associated found in other Caribbean why Curaçao appeals to groups. with a convention held destinations. “This is a destination where you can swim with dolphins, host a in Curaçao to the same The capital of Curaçao is private dinner on a 300-year-old extent as a convention Willemstad, an incredibly fort or at an 18th century plantaheld in the United States. picturesque and historic city. tion house, and dive at more than It’s filled with a rainbow-hued 65 sites around the island. People array of Spanish and Dutch Colonial architecare looking for experiential travel and anything that will leave them enriched from an experience. ture that helped earn the city a designation as a In addition to providing tax benefits to groups, in UNESCO World Heritage Site. The two main sections of Willemstad’s historic city center, Punda Curaçao we can effectively tailor unique experiand Otrobanda, are situated on opposite sides ences for groups and encourage them to step a of St. Anna Bay and are connected by the Queen bit further out of their comfort zone.” Emma pontoon bridge (fondly called “the swingIf the words “tax benefits” grabbed your attention, ing old lady”) that swings open so ships can enter the busy harbor. here’s the deal. The United States and Curaçao have a tax information agreement that allows U.S. An Active Culture taxpayers to claim a tax deduction for expenses “Many people are surprised at how much there is associated with a convention held in Curaçao to do on the island,” says Juliette Buddingh, Manto the same extent as a convention held in the aging Director of the destination management United States. That’s one practical reason for bringing a group to Curaçao. Another one is that company Business Serenity Ltd. “There are a lot
Resorts With a View
Unsurprisingly, many of Curaçao’s top resorts take advantage of the island’s natural environs, including the Four Diamond Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, operated by Benchmark Resorts & Hotels. The 350-room resort is set on a 2,000-acre nature preserve and features a pristine white sand beach, protected swimming lagoon and more than 36,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor event space. 54
Views of Piscadera Bay can be enjoyed at two upscale properties by Marriott and Hilton, respectively. The 247-room Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino houses a casino, spa, multiple dining outlets including a kosher kitchen, and more than 4,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. An additional 27,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space is available at the World Trade Center Curaçao, located adjacent to the resort. Set on 23 acres of lush gardens, the Hilton Curaçao contains 196 rooms, including an executive floor, along with a casino, spa, onsite scuba diving center and more than 7,500 sq. ft. of event space. Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Carnival-themed event decor and nautical fun for groups, courtesy of Business Serenity, founded by Adrine Basak and Juliette Buddingh (right).
“For our carnival theme we bring the parade to the hotel with a group of carnival dancers. We also do fireworks, so it’s really a party scene.”
–Juliette Buddingh, Managing Director, Business Serenity Ltd.
in favor of giving attendees ample opportunities to sample the island’s cuisine. With more than 200 restaurants to choose from, the possibilities for dinearounds are virtually endless.
Speaking of fun in the sun, Curaçao has more than 35 beaches and is famous for its excellent snorkeling and diving. “There is this beautiful paradise on the west side of the island called Cas Abao Beach,” Buddingh explains. “We do a ‘battle of the flags’ there [with groups] which is like a beach Olympics, and then in late afternoon, we’ll crank up the barbeque and put in a live dancing band and we’ll turn it into a party on the beach. It’s always great fun. We bring in the watersports and we’ll even create a private little lounge corner where we’ll do massages and pedicures.”
Buddingh lists a few offsite venues that are popular with groups. One is Landhuis Brakkeput Mei Mei, an outdoor restaurant set on the front terrace of a 19th century plantation house. “It’s owned by the biggest catering company on the island,” she describes. “We’ve done events there for 200-300 people a la carte, with two or three choices for the main course, and we have them in and out in an hour and a half with amazing reviews.” Another option is the Hato Caves. “It’s extraordinarily beautiful with the stalactites and stalagmites all lit up. We do the walking tour through the cave and when they come out there’s a terrace alongside the rocks where we do a “One Thousand and One Nights” theme with belly dancers and a fortuneteller. It’s just a very special, different kind of location, something that you don’t typically see in the Caribbean islands.”
Curaçao’s rich cultural diversity, which comes from the more than 55 nationalities that reside on the island, is reflected in its cuisine. “We are a very international island and there are so many great restaurants,” Buddingh adds. She recommends that clients skip the hotel meal packages
Business Serenity can also arrange other themed events. “We have a beautiful carnival parade here every year,” Buddingh notes, “so what we do for our carnival theme is bring the parade to the hotel with a group of carnival dancers. We also do fireworks, so it’s really a party scene.” Another
of things going on. There’s a very active culture here of dining out. We have beaches and water sports and beautiful weather. It’s kind of like a city destination and a fun-in-thesun destination all tied up in one.”
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
5 Classic Curaçao Experiences
Hit the Beach.
The incredible clarity of the water and the endless shades of turquoise are nothing short of mesmerizing. Three great choices on the island’s west side are Cas Abao, Playa Forti and Knip Beach, which was once named the most beautiful beach in the world.
oldest continuously operating Jewish temple in the western hemisphere.
Shop at the Floating Market. Located
in the Punda section of Willemstad, the floating market is the site where vendors from Venezuela dock their boats to sell fresh produce and other wares.
Visit the Curaçao Ostrich Farm. Attendees
may be surprised to find ostriches on a Caribbean island, but they can get a closer look at these big birds and even feed them as they take a narrated safari jeep tour through this nine-acre farm.
Dine at the Gouverneur. Located on
Take a Walking Tour. No visit to
Curaçao would be complete without taking a walking tour of Willemstad’s historic city center and a stroll across the Queen Emma Bridge (above). The area’s historic Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue is the
theme is called Tropical Rhythms of Curaçao. “We bring in firebreathers and stiltwalkers and have a very funky kind of entertainment going on, and all of the décor is in sunset colors like fuchsia and yellow. It can be quite spectacular.” The tour operator Touraçao can put together a variety of excursions, including deep-sea dives, snorkeling trips, a sunset cruise and city and island tours. “The best part is that we can offer two or three different options per day for participants to choose from and be involved in what they like the most, making sure they have fun, learn and bond,” explains company representative Joaquin Duenas. We also have access to 17thand 18th-century estates, TV studios and cultural celebration sites.” 56
the Otrobanda waterfront, the restaurant and café Gouverneur de Rouville is set in a beautifully restored 18th century mansion that once served as the home of the governor of Curaçao. Local specialties include Keshi Yena (stuffed cheese) and Karni Stoba (classic Curaçao beef stew).
Arriving in Style
Touraçao can also arrange special services for VIPs arriving in Curaçao International Airport, including luxury transfers, personalized meetand-greets and a host to whisk senior executives through customs and immigration. American and InselAir are among the air carriers that fly into the airport, which boasts the longest runway in the Caribbean. JetBlue recently launched nonstop service to Curaçao from New York’s JFK airport. Buddingh says that the name of her company, Business Serenity, was inspired by the needs of meeting planners. “We know how it can get,” she explains. “They need serenity, and we’ll take care of the business when they’re down here.” As Curaçaoans would say in Papiamentu, dushi! (sweet!). Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Sites & Cities Directory
John S. Knight Center
77 East Mill Street, Akron, OH 44308 (330) 374-8900 / (800) 245-4254; Fax: (330) 374-8971 www.johnsknightcenter.org VP of Sales: Dirk Breiding
Akron/Summit CVB (John S. Knight Center).......... 57 Austin Convention Center ............................................... 57
The Center of All America® City
Akron – set among the rolling hills of the Old Connecticut Western Reserve and along the shores of the Ohio and Erie Canalway. The John S. Knight Center is downtown Akron’s showcase for great events. State-of-the-art video conferencing and streaming systems, onsite skilled support/service staff, full-service catering; 16 meeting rooms; 12,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 30,000-sq.-ft. exhibition hall (41,000 sq. ft. total exhibit space); 12,000 sq. ft. of banquet space; an additional 12,600 sq. ft. of meeting space; 22,000-sq.-ft. lobby, highlighted by distinctive glass rotunda and spiral staircase. 5,400 hotel rooms county-wide. PAGE
Connecticut Convention Center .................................. 57 Cox Convention Center..................................................... 57 The International Centre.................................................... 57 Kansas City Convention Center..................................... 57
Meet Puerto Rico.................................................................... 61 texas
Orange County Convention Center............................. 61
Austin Convention Center
Pennsylvania Convention Center................................... 61
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
Phoenix Convention Center & Venues........................ 61 Joe Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center................................................................ 61 San Jose Convention Center............................................ 61 Team San Jose.........................................................................63 Virginia Beach CVB ..............................................................63
Connecticut Convention Center
Cox Convention Center
100 Columbus Boulevard Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 249-6000; Fax: (860) 249-6161
One Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 (405) 602-8500; Fax: (405) 602-8505 www.coxconventioncenter.com Director of Sales and Marketing: Tim Linville
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.
The International Centre
6900 Airport Road, Suite 120, Mississauga, ON. L4V 1E8 (905) 677-6131; (800) 567-1199; FAX: (905) 677-3089 www.internationalcentre.com Sales Manager, Trade & Consumer Shows: Sandra Martin There’s Something Happening Here! Located three minutes from Toronto Pearson International Airport, The International Centre offers 548,000 sq. ft. of expansive and versatile function space, an exceptional culinary experience and a team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals, many with CEM and CMP designations. Thirty-three meeting rooms, 125,500-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall, 48,000 sq. ft. of conference center space. State-of-the-industry AV equipment built in, ultra high-speed Internet, complimentary WiFi in the Grand Lobby. Forty brand-name hotels nearby, providing over 10,000 rooms. Recently completed Phase 1 of a $7 million improvement project PAGE that renovated Hall 1, added a new Connector building to Hall 5 and more. 5
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
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 WiFi 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
Kansas City Convention Center 301 West 13th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105 (800) 821-7060; Fax: (816) 513-5001 www.kcconvention.com Director of Sales: Gemma Zook
An energetic city forged by a rich history, Kansas City has a central location, is highly affordable and is brimming with eclectic cuisine, swinging jazz, one-of-a-kind museums, a thriving arts scene and fantastic shopping. 1 million-sq.-ft. Kansas City Convention Center accommodates everything from mid-sized meetings to citywide conventions – 388,800-sq.-ft. column-free exhibit space, 142,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, 46,484-sq.-ft. state-of-the-art Grand Ballroom, 48 meeting rooms. Arena houses 7,316 permanent seats, 2,405 seats on risers plus capacity for 1,000 theater-style on main floor. 946 guestrooms PAGE nearby; 3,500 downtown hotel rooms, 26,000 citywide. 23 57
Austin Convention Center
he capital of Texas offers meeting groups 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, groups 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. After conventions and meetings wrap-up each night, attendees may choose to enjoy Austin’s entertainment districts – Second Street, the Warehouse District and the 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, attendees can find live music playing in nearly 250 different venues. Austin offers more than 30,000 hotel rooms, with 6,500 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. The 1,012-room JW Marriott opened in February 2015, and the 326-room Westin Austin Downtown opens in 2016.
A 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 369,132 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 sq. ft. to 40,510 sq. ft. in size and 54 meeting rooms and show offices totaling over 58,000 sq. ft., complete the four-story convention center. Ample parking is provided in two parking garages with a total capacity of 1,700 spaces. Rated one of the most technologically advanced convention centers in the country, this gigabit-rated facility moves voice, video and data at over one billion bits per second. The Center’s high-tech capabilities help create the perfect technology partner for the annual SXSW international convention. It offers a variety of in-house services including complimentary wireless Internet access, redundant high-speed Internet II access, plug-and-play capabilities and an onsite technical staff to help with networking needs.
500 E. Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78701 • (512) 404-4200; Fax: (512) 404-4220 www.austinconventioncenter.com 58
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Cox Convention Center The Cox Convention Center houses 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 21 meeting rooms, a 15,000-seat arena and a 6,500-seat theater, all connected by a skybridge to the 258-room Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel (66,000 sq. ft. of meeting space). The downtown area is only about 20 minutes from Will Rogers Airport, a streamlined facility that is easy to get in and out of. Oklahoma City offers 1,600 convention center district hotel rooms (16,000 overall), affordable rates, a hospitable atmosphere and cultural highlights such as the newly opened Exhibit C art gallery, displaying the works of Chickasaw artists. Other cultural highlights include the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
klahoma City is investing $250 million in a new downtown convention center of approximately 470,000 sq. ft. (with about 235,000 sq. ft. of sellable space), replacing the Cox Convention Center by the end of the decade. The new facility is a continuation of the city’s resurgence that includes the nearby Bricktown entertainment district, home to canal-side restaurants, clubs and attractions. In addition, the expanding Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River provides exciting activities for attendees and their families. Since 1993, Oklahoma City has seen more than $5 billion of public and private investment in quality-oflife projects and improvements throughout the city.
Just west of the Cox Convention Center is the Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory. The Gardens underwent a $38 million transformation in April 2011, and now includes a restaurant, interactive water features, a new children’s garden, dog release area, grand event lawn and more. Attendees can also explore a variety of intriguing neighborhoods in Oklahoma City, including the Plaza District, with art galleries and specialty shops; Stockyards City, showcasing Oklahoma’s Western heritage; 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, ziplining, running and fitness activities. In addition, the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau is a boon to planners, offering complete convention servicing and support through a computerized housing bureau and registration technology.
1 Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 • (405) 602-8500; Fax: (405) 602-8505 • coxconventioncenter.com Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
KANSAS CITY CONVENTION & ENTERTAINMENT FACILITIES
ith a creative energy all its own, Kansas City is anything but business as usual. It’s a convention destination where friendly people, affordable prices and a central location are a given. Where creativity can be found around every corner. A place with a spirited personality and a genuine heart that’s a breath of fresh air. We’d like you to meet Kansas City. To friends, it’s just KC. Great meetings happen at the Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Facilities. The eightsquare-block convention and special events facility can accommodate every need with 388,800 sq. ft. of column-free exhibit space on one floor; 48 state-of-the-art meeting rooms; a 2,400-seat fine arts theater; an arena that seats more than 10,700 people and a unique outdoor festival plaza. And not only is it all in one location, the complex is connected to major downtown hotels and parking by skywalks and underground walkways.
301 West 13th Street, Suite 100 Kansas City, MO 64105 (816) 513-5000 kcconvention.com
Encompassing more than 800,000 sq. ft., the Kansas City Convention & Entertainment Facilities can serve all your meeting needs under one roof. One of America’s largest green ballrooms — the 46,484-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom — is certified LEED silver, boasting waterless plumbing, energyefficient heating and cooling, and one of the most sophisticated lighting systems in the world. That’s enough to make other cities turn green with envy.
The Grand Ballroom • One of the nation’s largest eco-friendly ballrooms at 46,484 sq. ft. • Features one of the most sophisticated lighting systems in the world.
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Meet Puerto Rico
Orange County Convention Center
Ochoa Building, 500 Tanca St., Suite 402, San Juan, PR 00901 (800) 875-4765; Fax: (787) 725-2133 www.meetpuertorico.com Vice President of Business Development and Sales: Joyce Martínez Puerto Rico offers 1.2 million sq. ft. of state-of-the-art conference facilities, breathtaking natural attractions, championship golfing, resort spas and sizzling nightlife and casinos. The experts at Meet Puerto Rico, MPR, have liaisons to more than 250 members and can arrange luxury group accommodations and itineraries, gather proposals, coordinate site inspections and more. Recent/upcoming hotel openings include the Hyatt House San Juan, Courtyard by Marriott, Hyatt Place Manati and The Hyatt Bayamón & El Tropical Casino. The $29 million Paseo Puerta de Tierra project, a boardwalk linking historic Old San PAGE Juan with other popular tourism areas, is expected to open in late 2015. 65
West Concourse – 9800 International Drive, South Concourse – 9899 International Drive, North Concourse – 9400 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32819 (407) 685-9800, (800) 345-9845; Fax: (407) 685-9876 www.occc.net Director of Sales: Rodney Gutierrez, CMP The Center of Hospitality, where it’s all about your experience The second largest convention center in the nation, the award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) offers seven million total sq. ft. of meeting space, including 2.1 million sq. ft. of total exhibition space, 74 meeting rooms/235 breakout meeting rooms and the 62,182-sq.-ft. Valencia Room (largest ballroom). Additionally, the OCCC boasts a 2,643-seat theater, a 160-seat lecture hall and state-of-the-art techPAGE nology. Directly connected by pedestrian bridge to 5,000 luxury guestrooms. 3 arizona
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215) 418-4700 www.meetphl.com Senior Vice President, Convention Division: Julie Coker The Complete Package The LEED-certified Pennsylvania Convention Center features one million sq. ft. of saleable space, the ability to host two major tradeshows simultaneously, 82 meeting rooms, 528,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, two ballrooms (including the 55,408-sq.-ft. Terrace Ballroom) and a Grand Hall housed in the historic Reading Railroad train shed. More than 9,000 hotel rooms are within a 15-minute walk of the center, whose North Broad Street entrance connects to the Avenue of the Arts and Museum Mile. Nearby are the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin PAGE Museum, Franklin Institute, and other major cultural institutions. C2
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. 4
Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center
123 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14564 (585) 232-7200; Fax: (585) 232-1510 www.rrcc.com Executive Director: James D. Brown “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 to thevenue, surrounded by entertainment districts with restaurants, cafés, pubs, dance clubs, music halls, theaters. Rochester offers planners a compact conPAGE vention district and New York State’s only one-stop convention facility. 17 California
San Jose Convention Center
150 West San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95113 (800) SAN-JOSE sanjosemeetings.com Director of Sales: Mark McMinn Innovation Starts Here The San Jose McEnery Convention Center recently debuted its $130 million makeover and an additional 169,957 sq. ft. of flexible ballroom and meeting space with a hip, modern design and state-of-the-art technology – bringing the new grand total to 550,000 sq. ft. of flexible space, including a 143,000-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall, a 35,194-sq.-ft. ballroom and 43 meeting rooms. A 15,588-seat theater (Hall 1-3) is also available. The Convention Center’s revamped lobby features sit steps where convention attendees can plug in and network between sessions; a new networking lounge; more breakout rooms; and additional PAGE flexible meeting spaces. Free WiFi is now available throughout the Center.
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Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Orange County Convention Center
THE CENTER OF HOSPITALITY At the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando we are proud to be known as The Center of Hospitality. This symbolizes our outstanding service to clients, motivating their desire to return and enhancing the community’s reputation for excellence. Since opening our doors over 30 years ago, the staff and onsite service partners of the OCCC have endeavored to exceed expectations. Our tagline encapsulates this commitment – The Center of Hospitality, where it’s all about your experience! With an incredible space and our impeccable service, the OCCC is consistently rated the top in our class. Exhibitors, attendees and meeting planners alike acclaim our attention to detail, as we see to their every need with a variety of facilities and services including over seven million sq. ft. of combined meeting space, sophisticated amenities and world-class onsite providers. FACILITY FEATURES The award-winning Orange County Convention Center, located in the heart of the Convention Center District and only 15 minutes from the Orlando International Airport, provides a multitude of event options in two beautiful buildings — the West and North/South. The OCCC’s West Building boasts 1.1 million sq. ft. of exhibition space, all on one level, supported by 97 covered loading docks. This beautiful facility includes a total of 49 meeting rooms/141 breakouts, the 2,643-seat Chapin Theater, 160-seat lecture hall, 62,182-sq.-ft. multipurpose Valencia Room, a full-service restaurant, four food courts, one business center and 1,450 onsite parking spaces. Connected to the West Building via a pedestrian bridge, the Orange County Convention Center’s North/South Building offers over 950,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, containing two 92,000-sq.-ft. general assembly areas. The exhibition space is supported by two covered loading docks with 76 truck bays. Other amenities include 25 meeting rooms/94 breakouts, two innovative restaurants, four food courts, two business centers and 4,777 onsite parking spaces. As a testament to the OCCC’s commitment 62
to sustainability, the North/South Building has been awarded LEED EB:OM (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance) Gold status and houses one of the largest solar panel arrays in the southeastern United States. ONSITE SERVICE PARTNERS The OCCC offers first-rate assistance through our partnerships with the following providers: Centerplate – Catering and Specialty Services Smart City – Internet, Telecommunications and Digital Advertising FedEx Office – Business Centers and Mobility Solutions LMG – Audio-Visual Services Bags – Remote Skycap, Valet, Bag and Coat Check SeaWorld® Orlando – Gold Key Partner Universal Orlando® Resort – Gold Key Partner BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE This is a time of great transformation and reinvention for the OCCC and our surrounding Convention Center District. With new and improved transportation, entertainment and accommodation options changing the landscape, the Central Florida area is experiencing a period of tremendous growth and reinvestment. After three decades of activity, the OCCC is embarking on the largest renovation project in our history: a five-year, $187 million Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that will ensure an even stronger foundation for the next 30 years and beyond. Developments at the facility include life safety upgrades, roof replacements, enhanced technology networks and the installation of digital and wayfinding signage. In the OCCC’s West Building, underused spaces are being repurposed into the multipurpose Tangerine Ballroom, the Sunburst signature meeting room with outdoor hospitality terrace and the Hamlin boardrooms. These new and renovated meeting spaces in the West Building are due for completion in August 2015. In addition to upgrades within the facility, capital improvements will also stretch beyond the walls of the OCCC. The Center currently links to all of our neighboring hotels and their 5,000+ luxury guest rooms via a network of four pedestrian bridges. The design for a fifth pedestrian bridge, spanning International Drive between the West Building’s Central Lobby Level III and the sidewalk in front of the Hyatt Regency Orlando, is complete. The estimated finish date for this new overhead walkway is 2017.
West Concourse – 9800 International Drive South Concourse – 9899 International Drive North Concourse – 9400 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32819 (407) 685-9800, (800) 345-9845; Fax: (407) 685-9876 www.occc.net Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Phoenix Convention Center & Venues
hoenix offers groups a vibrant, walkable downtown district highlighted by fine dining, nightlife, sporting events, theater, art galleries and more. In fact, downtown’s Roosevelt Row was recently named one of USA Today’s 10 best city arts districts in America. And with more than 325 days of sunshine a year and an average temperature of 72 degrees, the weather is almost always permitting. It is thus unsurprising that in a 2014 survey of show managers, Phoenix ranked the second most popular destination for tradeshows and events. Named one of the top-10 convention facilities in the country, the Phoenix Convention Center will host the 2015 NFL Experience and International Media Center for Super Bowl XLIX. The facility offers more than 900,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space, including a 312,500-sq.-ft. Main Exhibit Hall and a 46,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, complemented by the 2,312seat Symphony Hall and the 1,364-seat Orpheum Theatre. Conveniences include 61 loading docks (22 of which are climate-controlled), exhibit halls with pre-scored floors, and an Executive Conference Center. The Phoenix Convention Center also offers superior telecommunications and network services that guarantee enough bandwidth to handle any size event. The Phoenix Convention Center is four miles, or just 15 minutes, from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Guests arriving at Sky Harbor have multiple transportation options, including the METRO Light Rail, which has a dedicated stop at the Convention
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Center. Downtown Phoenix has more than 3,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the Phoenix Convention Center and more than 6,000 hotel rooms located along the METRO light rail system.
100 North Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 (602) 262-6225, (800) 282-4842; Fax: (602) 744-2987 PhoenixConventionCenter.com Virginia
Virginia Beach CVB
2101 Parks Avenue, Suite 500, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 (757) 385-4700; (800) 700-7702; Fax: (757) 437-4747 www.VisitVirginiaBeach.com/meetings Recognized for its great value and commitment to hospitality, Virginia Beach is centrally located on the East Coast, just 20 minutes from Norfolk International Airport and Amtrak, with more than 10,000 hotel rooms citywide and 7,000 rooms within three miles of the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Planners have endless options for fresh seafood and dining, downtown shopping, entertainment and unique offsite venues including Oceanfront, Chesapeake Bay and Town Center areas of the destination. The LEED-certified Virginia Beach Convention Center features a 150,000-sq.-ft., column-free exhibit hall, 31,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 29,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and over 2,200 free parking spaces. PAGE C3
Team San Jose
408 Almaden Boulevard, San Jose, CA 95110 (800) SAN-JOSE sanjose.org Director of Sales: Mark McMinn Why do 98 percent of convention planners and tradeshow executives declare that San Jose is great for meetings and tradeshows? Three words: Ease of booking! Yep, unlike other destinations, San Jose has a unique model where with one phone call a planner can be connected and check availability for the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and over 8,000 hotel rooms — 850 rooms are connected to the convention center and another 2,000+ within a block. On top of the stellar hotel package, San Jose’s compact, campus-like downtown allows conventions to truly own the city. San Jose can be booked with the ease of a big-box hotel property — saving event planners time, energy and resources, so they can focus on the success of the meeting. PAGE C4
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Meet Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico Convention Center
ith more than 1.3 million sq. ft. of meeting space and over 14,500 guestrooms throughout the island, a world-class convention center and an increasing range of accommodation options, Puerto Rico continues its emergence as one of the most sought-after meeting destinations offering delegates a distinctive and memorable experience. With recent additions to air service, renovated hotel and resort properties, and the opening of new properties, Puerto Rico is an attractive option for meeting and convention groups. In fact, Puerto Rico was selected to host 96 events for this winter season, including conferences, annual meetings and sports activities. This represents an estimated 40,894 room nights and a total direct spending of $23 million into the local economy, noted Milton Segarra, President and CEO of Meet Puerto Rico (MPR-Puerto Rico Convention Bureau). MPR is a private organization responsible for attracting meetings, conventions, tradeshows and incentive groups to Puerto Rico.
Hotel & Tourism Association Travel Marketplace, the Harvard and Tufts University women swimming teams, and the Oakley 2015 Retail Assault. NEW PROPERTIES, RENOVATIONS AND UPGRADES New hotels continue to open in Puerto Rico. The two newest include:
“Puerto Rico has everything to make a successful meeting or convention — including a state-of-the-art convention center, prime hotels and infrastructure — but with the advantage that we are on a tropical island in the Caribbean,” said Segarra. “The interesting thing about what is happening in these events is that it is not only the meeting in a conference room. Now planners are seeking experiences that make the event memorable. These groups are making trips to experience Old San Juan, Bacardi Rum Factory, El Yunque Rainforest, the bio bay and ziplining.” Groups range from multinational companies to medical and educational conferences to sporting events, among others.
Hyatt House San Juan – Hyatt House San Juan officially opened its doors this past October, becoming Puerto Rico’s first extended stay hotel as well as the brand’s first Hyatt House hotel outside of the continental United States. The 126-room property offers the conveniences of hotel living with the comforts of home, with studio and one-bedroom suites featuring panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and San Juan Bay. The hotel’s suites also feature full kitchens, living space with HDTVs and bedrooms with a plush bed. The hotel is part of a 113-acre Puerto Rico Convention Center District.
Segarra said that 30 groups visited Puerto Rico last November for a total of 12,998 room nights with an impact of $7.2 million in direct spending for the benefit of the tourism industry. As an example, he mentioned the National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference 2014, the Renewable Energy Latin American & Caribbean Conference & Exhibition (RELACCX) 2014 and the National Academy of Neuropsychology Annual Conference. During the month of December the island hosted 20 groups for about 8,800 room nights and a direct expenditure of $5 million. Newark Museum Meeting 2014, Harland Clarke National Sales Meeting and the 2014 Playbill Broadway in the Caribbean are some of the groups escaping the conventional for their meetings. January was the busiest month with 46 groups generating a total of 19,062 hotel nights and a contribution of $10.6 million. Groups include the Caribbean
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel – Since its inception in 1919, the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel has catered to sophisticated travelers who place one aspiration above all else — to pursue the lifestyle of five-star luxury and leisure within some of the world’s most exclusive destinations. Restored to its original grandeur by a meticulous renovation, this cherished landmark stands today as a monument to timeless elegance and style. On December 2014 the hotel welcomed guests with the unveiling of 319 elegant guestroom and suite accommodations resembling sumptuous private residences, many with dramatic ocean views, including 63 Commodore Suites and 42 Biltmore Suites.
Ochoa Building, 500 Tanca Street, Ste. 402, San Juan, PR 00901 • (800) 875-4765, (787) 725-2110; Fax: (787) 725-2133 meetpuertorico.com 64
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
A 600,000 sq. ft. convention center with a 152,700 sq. ft. exhibition hall, a 39,500 sq. ft. ballroom, and 15 meeting rooms that can blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, on a tropical island. In the Caribbean.
Our Convention Center has everything you could possibly want or need to ensure a successful event. Surrounded by lush rainforest and endless turquoise water, youâ€™ll never look at meetings the same way again. Contact us at 1.800.875.4765 MeetPuertoRico.com
PHILADELPHIA Here For The Making of Great Meetings
ost a record-breaking meeting or convention in Philadelphia, Travel Magazine’s Top Hotel City in 2014. With world-class restaurants, more than 11,000 hotel rooms ranging from concept boutiques to world-renowned brands, extraordinary attractions and great shopping, Philadelphia is a modern renaissance city rich in history, culture, innovation and vibrant neighborhoods full of character. The list of all Philadelphia has to offer within a compact, walkable downtown is as long as its history. The birthplace of America, Philadelphia is a visionary city with an entrepreneurial spirit. Between its historic blocks and skyscrapers, a modern Renaissance is taking place. The city’s eclectic and impressive dining scene has garnered global attention from Iron Chefs, Top Chefs, and James Beard award-winners, while festivals like The Roots Picnic, Wawa Welcome America, and Jay-Z’s Made in America amplify its appeal. From renowned cultural institutions, including the Barnes Foundation and Philadelphia Museum of Art, to its extensive public art collection including more than 3,600 murals, there’s more to discover in Philadelphia than cheesesteaks! Add in one of the country’s premier facilities, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and an award-winning team at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) and it’s easy to see why so many regard Philadelphia as the perfect location for a tradeshow or convention. Planning and facilitating your event in Philadelphia will be a breeze with the PHLCVB’s three congresses, PHLSports, PHLLife and PHLDiversity, there to help planners increase attendance and grow sponsorship opportunities. Each Congress works seamlessly with the PHLCVB and Convention Center staffs to provide access to industry experts, and connect conventions with off-site networks, venues and regional attractions. The PHLCVB also assists with services like customized microsites, interactive floor plans, targeted e-marketing campaigns, local PR assistance and delegate discounts to raise attendance without raising expenses. Exhibit Facilities The expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center, now managed by SMG, is the 14th largest in the nation and has the capacity to host larger tradeshows or two conventions simultaneously. The expanded center features one million square feet of saleable space and the largest contiguous exhibit space in the Northeast — 528,000 square feet. The Convention Center also boasts the largest ballroom on the East Coast — 55,408 square feet, and 79 meeting rooms and a soaring Grand Hall that lives in a historic train shed. 66
In May 2014, the Pennsylvania Convention Center and four trade labor unions signed a new agreement that modernizes the Center’s work rules and provides expanded exhibitor rights, giving convention groups more independence and flexibility and creating a more efficient show floor. Exhibitors may now set up and tear down within 600-square feet of their booth, something which previously could not be done at the building. They can also look forward to unloading personally-owned vehicles using their own equipment, including dollies, luggage carriers, non-hydraulic carts, and two-to-four wheel hand trucks. Since these changes were implemented in May, the National Association of Black MBA’s (NBMBAA), the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have all signed on to take their meetings to Philadelphia, citing the improved work rules and expanded exhibitor rights. Getting There Philadelphia’s central location, within a day’s drive of 40 percent of the U.S. population, makes getting there easy and affordable. Amtrak’s 30th Street Station is one of the busiest hubs in the nation and Philadelphia International Airport is serviced by 30 airlines providing flights to 124 domestic cities and 38 international destinations. For more information on booking your next meeting in Philadelphia, contact: Julie Coker Graham, Executive Vice President Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau P: 215-636-4470 Email: juliec@discoverPHL.com www.MeetPHL.com Stephanie Boyd Director, Sales & Marketing & Convention Services Pennsylvania Convention Center P: 215-418-4759 email@example.com www.paconvention.com Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
JoSEPH A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center
Complementing the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center is The Penthouse (below), serviced exclusively by Riverside Catering. The Penthouse is located on the top floor of an 11-story midcentury modern building on the corner of East End Avenue and Main Street, offering expansive views of Downtown Rochester and placing a planner’s event in the heart of it all. The venue provides great access to the East End, business district, and future Midtown sites.
ochester 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. 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. Rochester Riverside’s newest dining experience is the eclectic Pier 45, located on the city’s spectacular waterfront along the shores of Lake Ontario. Groups will find everything from a light tapas-style 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. Conveniently located in the heart of the city is the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center, with a scenic setting on the Genesee River featuring outdoor patios and balconies. The Greater Rochester International Airport — 150 flights daily — is just a 10-minute drive from the Convention Center’s front door. Complimentary airport transportation provided by all major hotels.
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 50MB Burst able to 200 MB. The Center features an in-house food and beverage operation, including a Pastry Chef. 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. More than 1,100 rooms in a trio of major hotels connect with the Joseph A. Floreano 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 has 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.
123 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14564 • (585) 232-7200; Fax: (585) 232-1510 • www.rrcc.com Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Team San Jose
San Jose Means Serious Business hy do 98 percent of convention planners and tradeshow executives declare that San Jose is great for meetings and tradeshows? Three words: Ease of booking! Yep, unlike other destinations, San Jose has a unique model where with one phone call a planner can be connected and check availability for the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and over 8,000 hotel rooms — 850 rooms are connected to the convention center and another 2,000+ within a block. On top of the stellar hotel package, San Jose’s compact, campus-like downtown allows conventions to truly own the city. San Jose offers the ease of booking the destination as if it were a big-box hotel property. This saves event planners valuable time, energy and resources, so they can focus on the success of the meeting. As the CVB for San Jose, Team San Jose also manages San Jose’s Convention and Cultural Facilities, which includes the recently expanded and renovated San Jose McEnery Convention Center. The $130 million project brought the total convention space in San Jose to 372,754 sq. ft. Also included in Team San Jose’s portfolio are unique arts, entertainment and special event venues including the California Theatre, the Center for the Performing Arts, Montgomery Theater and the newly renamed City National Civic.
New Wickedly Fast Free Wi-Fi In an effort to deliver the best experience for meeting planners and attendees, Team San Jose partnered with the City of San Jose to launch Wickedly Fast Free Wi-Fi in the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. This new industry-leading, complimentary Wi-Fi service allows one connection to cover an attendee from the Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) to the downtown area and throughout the Convention Center. The Wi-Fi’s infrastructure was created by leading Silicon Valley companies to accommodate today’s multiple-device users. Unlike other free Wi-Fi services, thousands of users can stream simultaneously with no service lag. It’s All Right Here! From a destination standpoint, San Jose offers an attendee experience that is the embodiment of Silicon Valley: serious business done in a relaxed atmosphere. Attendees will experience a range of post-convention activities in Downtown San Jose with over 200 dining and lively nightlife options, contemporary museums, edgy galleries, and vibrant performing arts and entertainment — all within walking distance from the Convention Center. Other mustsees in San Jose include the weird and wacky Winchester Mystery House, interactive TechShop and the geeky Tech Museum of Innovation. Another reason to meet here is our exciting and easy-to-navigate destination. As the gateway to Northern California, San Jose provides attendees with central access for visiting San Francisco, nearby wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains, sandy beaches in proximity and world-class golf courses. And, with the Mineta San Jose International Airport only five minutes outside of downtown, two additional international airports (Oakland and San Francisco) nearby, and a variety of public transportation options such as VTA light rail or Caltrain, getting into and around San Jose is easy. Book San Jose now! Sales contact: Mark McMinn, Director of Sales, Team San Jose, firstname.lastname@example.org 68
Team San Jose 408 Almaden Boulevard San Jose, CA 95110 (800) SAN-JOSE www.sanjose.org
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
ith coastal charm influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, a vibrant downtown district and a variety of yearround events, Virginia Beach offers a distinct vibe for every meeting. The destination boasts a variety of unique and exclusive meeting locations, as well as more than 10,000 guestrooms city-wide in hotels that are excellent venues for a variety of meeting sizes and budgets. Virginia Beach boasts the first convention center in the country to achieve LEED® Gold Certification for Existing Buildings and continues to elevate industry standards through its sustainability efforts. This stateof-the-art facility features more than 500,000 sq. ft. of space, including a 150,000-sq.-ft., column-free hall, 29,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a 31,000-sq.-ft. ballroom. The exhibit hall, divisible by four, features 40-ft. ceilings, along with 10-by-10-ft. grids permanently etched onto the floor to facilitate exhibit setup. Each of the four hall subdivisions is supported by resources that include meeting room suites, concessions, and prefunction and registration spaces. Only a few minutes from the oceanfront, Virginia Beach’s Town Center offers upscale shopping, dining and entertainment, providing a dynamic downtown experience. Nestled within Town Center, visitors will find the region’s newest performing arts facility, the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, featuring theater-style seating for 1,300, while also boasting a grand lobby ideal for catered events. Flanked by grand staircases and illuminated by an exquisite chandelier, the three-story lobby is an ideal place for a banquet or reception. Guests can also enjoy a performance in the facility’s outdoor performance plaza, which can accommodate up to 400 guests. The Virginia Aquarium provides a distinctive venue for any type of offsite event. From an intimate, sit-down dinner for 20 overlooking the salt marsh to a cocktail reception amid sea turtles and sharks for 2,000 attendees, the Virginia Aquarium offers a dramatic backdrop for any event. Additionally, this year, an array of new facilities provides even more options for the ideal Virginia Beach event. At the oceanfront, situated on the Virginia Beach boardwalk, the new Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront features 167 all-oceanfront rooms, including 24 suites and
12 executive suites, supported by two oceanfront restaurants and 5,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space. Also new to Virginia Beach is the Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium, an outdoor, aerial adventure park unlike any other. Featuring multiple ziplines and ropes challenge courses that vary in difficulty, the park is the first of its kind in the state of Virginia and is ideal for teambuilding activities and adventure beyond the boardroom. Another thrill-seeking group activity is the new iFly Virginia Beach, the city’s first indoor skydiving complex. Located in the heart of the oceanfront resort area, the $49 million project includes an iFly wind tunnel that will provide a safe and protected way for individuals to experience the thrill of a freefalling skydive. The Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau not only prides itself on providing excellent venue options, but also on the professional services offered by a well-trained and experienced staff that is always prepared to deliver exceptional service. To further the destination’s focus on sustainability, the Virginia Beach CVB’s give-back program, “One Beach, One World,” offers groups the opportunity to be matched with a local or international charity or nonprofit organizations seeking voluntary support, broadening the reach for groups wanting to help others. To learn more about Virginia Beach’s meeting and event offerings or explore facilities, go to www.VisitVirginiaBeach.com/Meetings.
2101 Parks Avenue, Suite 500, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 • (757) 385-4700, (800) 700-7702; Fax: (757) 437-4747 www.VisitVirginiaBeach.com/Meetings Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
of Incentive Travel Stay abreast of changes in technology, age demographics and site selection By Caren R. Bigelow
ncentive travel planning is not just about selecting the destination, but about creating a series of well thought-out details that lead up to a program that inspires and connects with qualifiers. In order to do that successfully, planners must understand the most current trends in the industry and the changing attitudes of their audience. Several program features that were once considered the exception are now often considered must-haves, from mobile apps to community service projects. Following are three areas in which key trends can be observed.
when participants have multiple devices on them at all times, and they expect free, fast, reliable WiFi, whether they are at a resort or on a cruise ship. Another tech trend is iPad check in. Attendees’ information has already been captured by the time they arrive, and iPad check-in takes very little time. So they can begin enjoying themselves that much sooner. We also want to make departure as simple as possible for them. Incentive qualifiers can print their boarding passes from the iPad e are in the station and not worry about the long lines at the airport. “Information Now”
age when participants expect free, fast, reliable WiFi, whether they are at a resort or on a cruise ship.
Technology Tools Guests are increasingly relying on their smartphones, and a mobile app is expected at most meetings today, including incentive programs. Schedules can be customized to each individual and changes in the agenda can be pushed out to everyone at a moment’s notice. Attendees can have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips at all times.
Qualifier Demographics Generation Y. Generation X. Baby Boomers. Multigenerational incentive groups are requiring planners to provide a wider variety of activity options, from community service projects to action/adventure to just relaxing by the pool. The Gen X group tends to gravitate toward activities such as golf, spa and museum tours, whereas the Gen Y/Millennial group tends to prefer activities such as zip-lining, indoor skydiving or surfing lessons.
Planners are requiring adequate bandwidth to keep their participants connected and engaged, and they want to work with properties that will invest in technology to help improve the participant experience. We are in the “Information Now” age
Planners today are not just looking for experiences that fit those audiences, but those that represent the destination. They want to offer personalized experiences that give qualifiers more interaction with unique local assets, whether it be wine
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
blending, exploring natural wonders or a Richard Petty driving experience.
Site Selection In the past, all-inclusive properties were often bypassed for incentives and meetings because of the lack of quality and service. But today the use of allinclusive properties is a strong trend due to the development of more four- and five-star resorts in incentive destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean.
can provide a new experience for incentive qualifiers who have already visited the standard European destinations.
Chartering European river cruises has also become more popular. These ships can offer qualifiers fourand five-star level accommodations and services not seen in the river cruises of yesterday. With the purchase price in U.S. dollars, river cruises also give planners more control over their budget, as well as the ability to provide a new experience for many well-travelled incentive qualifiers who have already visited the standard European destinations.
advertiser index Akron/Summit CVB......................................................15 Austin Convention Center........................................13 Cox Convention Center..............................................11 The International Centre..............................................5 Joe Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center....................................................... 17
River cruise ports-of-call are typically off the beaten path and, depending on the budget, there is the opportunity to create a oncein-a-lifetime event in a small town for the group. Incentive travel will continue to be critical to keeping and motivating a companyâ€™s top performers, and staying on top of the latest trends allows planners to deliver a program that maximizes the reward.
Caren R. Bigelow, Director of Travel at Atlanta, GA-based USMotivation, has more than 25 years of experience in management and operations in the travel industry, both on the air and land side of the business. She joined USMotivation in January 2001 to manage the Planning and Purchasing team and has since been promoted to manage all of travel. Bigelow is responsible for planning, operations, air and individual travel and final approval of all supplier contracts.
Meetings/Tradeshows/Exhibitions/ Convention Centers/CVBs/Hotels/ Resorts/Conference Centers
JW Marriott Indianapolis...........................................33 Kansas City Convention Facilities........................25 Meet Puerto Rico..........................................................65 Orange County Convention Center..................... 3 Philadelphia CVB.........................................................C2 Phoenix Convention Center..................................... 4 SMG....................................................................................... 9 Team San Jose.............................................................. C4 Virginia Beach CVB.....................................................C3 Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort...........................................31 Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
THE FACILITIES MEDIA GROUP Essential Planning Tools 71
Make a Real Impact With Virtual
Why planners can’t afford to ignore the value proposition of virtual meetings
By Carolyn Clark
n today’s digitally driven world, meeting planners must master a wide array of technologies, from social media to mobile apps to gamification. However, one item needs to be at the top of the to-do list: adding a virtual component to the meeting. Why? A meeting is more than a three-day collection of educational sessions and networking receptions. It’s a brand that must connect with audiences everywhere, everyday. A virtual strategy can help to drive future face-to-face registration numbers, increase attendee satisfaction, extend the life of the meeting and uncover new revenue opportunities. Here’s a closer look at why virtual is a crucial piece of an association meeting or tradeshow.
live experience, and they made this comment after going “all in” on PCMA’s 2011 virtual meeting accompaniment.
A virtual meeting
is the ultimate way to help potential attendees realize that the in-person meeting is worth their time and money.
Today’s virtual attendee is next year’s face-to-face participant Let’s face it: attending a meeting is a big investment. Given registration fees, airfare and hotel expenses, not to mention days away from the office, making the decision to travel requires some kind of assurance that the experience will pay off. A virtual meeting is the ultimate way to help potential attendees recognize that the meeting is worth their time and money.
PCMA, for example, cites metrics showing that the organization’s virtual meeting is playing a crucial role in inspiring members to attend onsite. In fact, at PCMA’s 2012 Convening Leaders Annual Meeting, more than 100 face-to-face attendees said the hybrid meeting influenced their decision to register for the 72
Why do they register for the inperson experience if they can get the virtual experience at home? Because they realize the face-to-face experience is more robust. Organizations only offer a select number of courses to attract attendees’ attention, and of course, these attendees know they’re missing the real action of shaking hands, collecting business cards and forging new business relationships. A virtual meeting is a “nudge” strategy. It pushes virtual attendees over the edge to join the event faceto-face the following year.
Virtual content makes onsite feel less overwhelming A virtual meeting capture does more than reach those who could not physically join the meeting; it also creates an even bigger ROI for those attendees who paid to travel to the host city. Think about the last meeting you attended. Did you manage to make it to every session and speaker on your list? Chances are the answer is no. Meeting schedules are packed with concurrent sessions, making it impossible for one attendee to soak in all the insights and ideas. Once the meeting’s sessions are recorded, edited and posted to the host organization’s online library, face-to-face attendees can catch up on Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
ies Media Group
s Guide Services Resource
what they may have missed. Consider offering this on-demand learning materialUrbanRide as a complimentary bonus package to reward those loyal attendees 421 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001 (800) 525-5750; Fax: (212) 202-9638 who made the trip to the meeting. The offer can www.urbanride.net stand for a limited time (e.g., 60 days) and then the Chief Executive Officer: Jeremy Milikow content can Mitch be paid-access for the remainder of Senior Vice President: Bornstein, SVP the year. ‘Leading Global Provider of Meeting & Event Transportation’
UrbanRide global provider ground transportation for meetings & events, and Everyis apiece of ofcontent uses the top-of-the-line sedans, SUVs, vans, minibuses and motorcoaches. We provide creates an opportunity our clients with IMS, our software that enables meeting planners to better manage transportation for their meetings, conferences, otherplace, events. Is the meeting over? With aconventions, virtual tradeshows strategy& in We work exclusively with meeting & event planners and our customer service is the best in really just isbeginning. After capturing all those theit’s business. UrbanRide a one-stop solution for meeting & event transportation.
educational sessions and loading them onto the organization’s website, the URL will look much more attractive to online users searching for coverage of the issues and trends that impact their professional lives. As they look for ways to earn continuing education credits and stay on top of changes in the Keppler Speakers 4350 N. Fairfax Dr., Suitelibrary 700, Arlington, VA 22203 can become their industry, that of content (703) 516-4000; Fax: (703) 516-4819 ultimate resource. It also represents an untapped www.kepplerspeakers.com Senior VP for Sales and Marketing: Johnorganization. Truran revenue stream for the Attendees are happy toSpeakers, pay a creating smallmemorable fee for meetings accessnever to felt webinars and With Keppler so easy. With over 25 years of experience, we provide you solid, seasoned expertise, making speaker selection panel discussions. stress-free by managing all of the details. Keppler Speakers saves you precious time by
This is the next generation of expectation For more evidence that it’s time to embrace virtual meeting technology, one need look no further than the most important voice in the conversation: the attendees. According to a 2014 American Express Meetings & Events survey of 161 meeting attendees from throughout North America (“Great Expectations: The Evolving Landscape of Technology in Meetings”), 63 percent agree that they would attend more meetings and events virtually if the option were available. However, that statistic should not scare planners into thinking their faceto-face meeting is in any kind of danger: 74 percent of those attendees still believe that in-person attendance delivers the greatest value. Carolyn Clark is the Director of the Virtual Edge Institute, headquartered in Chicago, IL. She brings a diverse background to the Institute, including senior-level positions at brand marketing and strategic agencies and 16 years in the meetings and hospitality industry.
matching you with speakers who are right on target. From proven performers to dynamic rising stars, our speakers bring fascinating, real stories and a gift for inspiring audiences.
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Scenes from America 2014
IMEX America was held Oct. 14-16 at the Prime Site Award-winning Sands Expo & Convention Center, Las Vegas
Jรถrg Bauler, Director Convention Bureau, City of Munich
(L-r): Chimaine Shadd; Adel Saeed Al Yaaqoubi, International Promotion Executive, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, and Melanie Germano, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority
Christian Mutschlechner, Director, Vienna Convention Bureau
Manny Corral, Director of Sales & Marketing, Margaritaville Beach Resort
(L-r): Michael J. Reynolds, National Account Director, Jim Wood, Chief Executive Officer, and Felicia Davis, Manager, Convention Services, Meet AC
Teri Orton, General Manager, Hawaii Convention Center
Val Eglinton, Director of Sales, The Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
John Iannini, Vice President, Meetings & Events America, Meliã Hotels International
(L-r): Steven Daun, Sales Manager – Associations, Aberdeen Exhibition and Convention Centre; Rory Archibald, Sales & Business Development, Edinburgh International Conference Centre; and Richard Knight, Director of Marketing – The Americas, Visit Scotland Business Tourism
Caroline Pidroni (left), Director of Sales & Marketing, North America, and Virginie Baeriswyl, Account Manager, Meetings & Incentives, Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau
(L-r): Andrew J. Kidde, Director, Global Group & Incentive Sales, L.E. Hotels; Efrem Harkham, Chairman and CEO, L.E. Hotels; and Tiernan Redmond, Head of Sales, Sunborn Gibraltar
Milton Segarra (center), President and CEO, Meet Puerto Rico
Brendon Elliott, Vice President of Sales & Resort Marketing, and Stephanie Tanpure, Director of Sales, Venetian Macau Limited
Corinne Janssen, Director of Sales, Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central
Ray Bloom, Chairman, IMEX Group
Tania Weinkle, Communications Director, and Junior Tauvaa, Senior Vice President of Convention Sales and Meeting Solutions, Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau
Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
Oak Brook, IL
Status: Hot category: Small CVBs FYI: While the CVBs in
this selection represent relatively small cities and suburban areas, they are big on enthusiasm about their destination and services to incoming meeting groups. CVB staff are ready to assist planners in getting the most out of these site choices, whether in terms of meeting facilities, offsite activities or marketing value.
DuPage CVB Oak Brook, IL
discoverdupage.com DuPage County offers the convenience, accessibility and value of Chicago’s western suburbs. Just a few miles west of downtown Chicago and convenient to O’Hare and Midway International Airports, DuPage County offers several “clusters of convenience” with world-class restaurants, attractions, entertainment and shopping all within walking distance or a short drive of hotels and meeting venues. The county has over two million sq. ft. of meeting space, and 100+ hotels and resorts with a combined total of over 16,000 rooms. Many of the hotels offer airport shuttle service, and all offer free parking and complimentary transportation within a five-mile radius. The DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau provides a long list of complimentary Signature Services; see www.discoverdupage.com/planners-meetings-services.cfm.
2] Greater Bangor CVB Bangor, ME
Greater Bangor is a unique, four-season meeting destination that offers an international airport, a casino and a state-of-the-art convention center. Bangor is a modest city with a population of 30,000. Within the Greater Bangor area planners will find additional meeting and convention space at five surrounding colleges and universities and other venues in the region. The Greater Bangor CVB’s services include logistics assistance; pre and post-convention and event servicing; coordination of lodging, catering and event services; pre-function site visits; specialized landing page with unique URL on VisitBangorMaine.com; registration and hospitality tables; private walking or bus tours of area attractions and history; personalized private familiarization tours of the region; and coupon books with maps and special offers. 76
3] Greater Ontario CVB Ontario, CA
The Greater Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau provides meeting professionals with a comprehensive resource when booking a tour, convention, meeting or event within the cities of Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga. The region boasts scenic mountains, deserts, vineyards and metropolitan areas that are both historic and cosmopolitan in character. For meeting needs of all sizes — from a conference room to a citywide convention utilizing the Ontario Convention Center — or for a special exposition or sporting event, the Greater Ontario CVB will provide the necessary destination support tools to execute a successful experience, including assistance with marketing and offsite venue selection, DMC referrals, visitor guides and maps, special-offer savings guides and a Web page connection at DiscoverOntarioCalifornia.org.
4] Hampton CVB Hampton, VA
Delegates convening in Hampton are greeted by scenic waterfront vistas, exceptional facilities, world-class attractions and an eclectic array of shopping and dining. There are 2,500 hotel rooms in proximity to the Hampton Roads Convention Center, which offers 35 flexible meeting spaces including a 102,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall and a grand ballroom seating 2,000. A covered walkway connects the center to a headquarters-quality Embassy Suites Hotel, and the Hampton Coliseum arena shares the campus. Unique event venues include the Virginia Air & Space Center, Peninsula Town Center, cruise vessels, national treasures like Fort Monroe National Monument and the American Theatre and Hampton University Museum. The Hampton CVB offers a complete line of complimentary and customizable services for groups utilizing 50 or more overnight hotel rooms, including name badges, promotional brochures, staffed welcome table and tour assistance.
5] Olympia Lacey Tumwater VCB Olympia, WA
The capital of Washington state is one of the most scenic and historic settings in the Pacific Northwest. Settled between snow-capped Mt. Rainier and the bays of south Puget Sound, Olympia and Thurston County have many attractive large event facilities, such as the 192-room Red Lion Hotel and its adjacent 8,000-sq.-ft. Conference Center, and the 430-room Great Wolf Lodge and its 10,000 sq. ft. of flexible conference space. The region boasts more than 2,200 brand and boutique hotel rooms. Attractions include the Capitol Building and campus, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, seven golf courses and three tribal casinos. The VCB’s destinations team will manage a planner’s RFP process from start to finish, and schedule site tours. Facilities & Destinations 2014-2015 Winter
With our team behind you, better practice your strut. Bring it to the Beach. Call 1-800-700-7702 or go to VisitVirginiaBeach.com/meetings.
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Published on Mar 1, 2015
For Association and Corporate Meeting Planners. PRIme Site Meeting (PRISM) Hotel Awards. Destination Spotlights: Anaheim, Curacao & Dubai. P...