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Facilities BEDROCK COMMUNICATIONS, INC. 152 Madison Ave., Ste. 802, New York, NY 10016

Mid-Market Review 36

Summer 2014

& Destinations

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For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals

San Jose

Expanded meetings capacity in the heart of Silicon Valley 28

Milwaukee

Two years of hotel room inventory growth around the Wisconsin Center 32 Crisis management for meetings 24

Puerto Rico 58

Puerto Vallarta 64

Karolyn Kirchgesler CEO of Team San Jose


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Facilities & Destinations

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summer 2014

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For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals

Columns Looking Ahead...................................................................................2 Viewpoint............................................................................................4 Tradeshow Trends Millennials ... What’s Up With That? by Francis J. Friedman.........20 Supplier Perspectives Keep Calm and Call the AV Guy, by Paul Wedesky.......................22

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Prime Site & Top Destination Awards Ballot................................4 Prime Site Meeting Hotel Awards Ballot....................................11 ELITE Awards Ballot.......................................................................15 Upfront Destination Watch, Hotel Watch, F&D International................. 6-19 Leading Edge: Andre Fournier, Destination Hotels & Resorts.....14 Crisis Management for Meetings Proactive Partners.............................................................................24

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Destinations San Jose............................................................................................28 Milwaukee.........................................................................................32 Puerto Rico........................................................................................58 Puerto Vallarta...................................................................................64 Hot List Conference Centers.........................................................................68

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F&D Mid-Market Review

Mid-tier Cities That Mean Business When It Comes to Meetings......36 2014 Mid-Market Gallery Atlantic City.......................................................................................38 Austin.................................................................................................40 Colorado Springs..............................................................................41 Hartford.............................................................................................42 Oklahoma City..................................................................................44 Palm Springs.....................................................................................45 Phoenix..............................................................................................46 Pittsburgh..........................................................................................48 Rochester..........................................................................................50 Savannah...........................................................................................52 Virginia Beach...................................................................................54 F&D: Sites & Cities Directory ...........................................................................................55 Ad Index............................................................................................55

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LOOKING AHEAD the “means” in Meetings Mean Business

A

s a member of the IAEE and head of a publication serving the meetings and events industries, I believe that Meetings Mean Business (MMB) is more than a mantra. The figures put forth by the joint industry coalition clearly demonstrate the importance of business travel, meetings and conventions to the economy as a whole. Attending AIBTM in Orlando earlier this spring, I was encouraged by the efforts proposed by Deborah Sexton and David Dubois to take the MMB campaign global, educating the public on the integral role this industry plays in the economies of developed nations, and the need to promote and defend the industry from misinformation. As a CPA, I am also a proponent of fiscal responsibility. Thus, during the past few years (see “Looking Ahead: Clear Thinking in Wyoming,” in the 2013 Facilities & Destinations SuperBook) I have questioned the wisdom of the constant expansion and building of new convention and conference centers with taxpayer dollars, especially if there was significant reason to doubt whether the facilities would be regularly occupied, and/or be able to generate enough convention/hotel tax revenue for the city to recover the probable losses involved in operating the facility. In the weeks leading up to this issue of Facilities & Destinations going to press, a series of critical opinions on publicly funded hotel and convention center development appeared in the media. One instance was Washington Post columnist Steve Pearlstein’s criticism of public subsidies for the newly constructed Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC. In turn, at least two senior members of the newly formed MMB Coalition responded to Pearlstein’s critique. According to John H. Graham IV, President of the ASAE, Pearlstein prematurely assumed that the new DC venue would not significantly impact the City’s ability to compete for convention business. Graham noted that Pearlstein “glossed over … the fact that the District is already beginning to book large city-wide conventions that would have been impossible to attract without a headquarters hotel property within walking distance of the convention center.” Graham’s defense of the meetings industry was on point and statistically sound. However, the MMB community did not address one of Pearlstein’s major criticisms: In negotiating with developers to build the Marriott, the city evidently did not take a stance that would be beneficial to its constituents, foregoing a complicated yet integral provision “that would allow it [Washington, DC] to recoup some of its money if operating profits from the hotel exceeded a certain level or the hotel was sold for a big profit.” Indeed, the MMB community neglected to note that a good deal of the revenue the hotel may generate will line the pockets of foreign investors instead of the taxpayers who are subsidizing the new hotel. Without question, it is important that the media and our elected officials know of our industry’s economic impact. Lobbying efforts, such as those conducted by the coalition this July, are a superb method of getting the word out. Of paramount importance, however, is the means through which meetings business is conducted. Particularly when hard-earned taxpayer dollars are at stake, integrity and acumen are required to ensure that transactions take into account the present and future impact on taxpayers. – David Korn Chief Operating Officer, Facilities Media Group dkorn@facilitiesonline.com

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Facilities &Destinations

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SUMMER 2014

2014

For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals

Volume 22 No. 2

Chief Operating Officer David Korn Associate Publisher Michael Caffin Editorial Director George Seli Contributing Editors Anthony Bilden Debi Lander Rosa Laufer Creative Direction & Design Scott-Goodman Associates Circulation Manager Winny Cheung Business Operations Nadia Derelieva © Copyright 2014 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 Karolyn Kirchgesler, CEO of Team San Jose, is among the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s “Women of Influence 2014.” Kirchgesler has led San Jose’s promotional organization since last September, and recently spearheaded the rebranding of the City National Civic, one of San Jose’s many options for offsite group functions.

Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


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.

28K

100K

sf.

sf.

of meeting space.

1 Myriad Gardens

of exhibit hall space.

Oklahoma City, OK 73102

15K seat arena.

Phone (405) 602-8500


Viewpoint

hoteliers: know thy customer’s meeting

W

hen it comes to group sales, successful hotel representatives “do their homework” prior to extoling the virtues of their properties. That means spending considerable time discussing the objectives of the client’s meeting, attendee demographics, event history and so on, before launching into “Here’s what we can offer.” This is what Andre Fournier, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing with Destination Hotels & Resorts (DH&R), calls “strategic selling” (see interview on page 14). Evidently, it is among DH&R’s best practices. At the company’s Spring 2014 Advisory Council Meeting, which was attended by our staff, it was noted that planners look for hotel salespeople who are “true strategic partners,” even to the extent of acting as “coaches” through site selection and contracting. In one anecdote, a DH&R salesperson “spent an hour at one

member’s office listening to all facets of the customer’s meeting. He was able to show a site that fit.” Similarly, staff at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs are also strategically minded when it comes to working with planner clients. Kari Robertson, CMP, Senior Event Marketing Specialist with CoBank, notes that they are “usually a step ahead of us in thinking and preparation, from the salesperson to the CSM” (see interview on page 41). As a result, CoBank has been a regular client of the historic hotel. With all the pressure on planners to deliver meetings that maximize ROI, it is reassuring to hear that major upscale hoteliers are so well educated on their customers’ meetings, and take the time to brainstorm how to best execute those events. “Know thy customer” also applies to tradeshow organizers, who are now faced with the challenge of engaging Millennials (aka Gen Y) with their shows. In this issue of Facilities & Destinations, I am pleased to feature a column by esteemed event industry consultant Francis J. Friedman, who is versed in the idiosyncrasies of Gen Y and presents invaluable pre-show marketing advice. – George Seli Editorial Director, Facilities Media Group gseli@facilitiesonline.com

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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

Top Destination

Your Name & Title_______________________________________ Organization____________________________________________ Phone___________________________________________________ Email___________________________________________________ Additional Comments____________________________________ ________________________________________________________ May We Contact You? Yes___ No___

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

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Facilities & Destinations 2014 SUMMER


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, it’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.

[512] 404-4200 www.austinconventioncenter.com

More than 250 live music venues nightly

Awarded LEEDÂŽ Gold Certification First convention center in TX


UpFront Destination Watch: Houston In January, the 146-room Hyatt Place Houston/ The Woodlands opened with 6,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The Westin Cleveland Downtown debuted in May next to the brand-new Global Center for Health Innovation & Convention Center complex. The 484room hotel houses 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting facilities. Unveiled in June, the $36 million renovation of the W Chicago – Lakeshore covered all 520 guestrooms, added a new signature restaurant and expanded the hotel’s 14,000 sq. ft. of meeting space to include new outdoor spaces offering panoramic city views. Last month, the Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C. broke ground on Pennsylvania Avenue, with completion scheduled for 2016. A $200 million redevelopment of The Old Post Office, the hotel will offer 270 guestrooms (averaging 600 sq. ft.), 36,000 sq. ft. of function space (including a 13,000-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom) and a 5,000-sq.-ft. luxury spa. 6

Artist’s rendering of the George R. Brown Convention Center’s new grand entryway. Meeting groups heading to Downtown Houston in the next few years will see many new developments, including a 323-room JW Marriott opening in September and a 1,000-room Marriott Marquis opening adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center in the spring of 2016. The JW Marriott, a transformation of the 102-year-old Samuel F. Carter Building, will offer 16,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The Marriott Marquis will feature more than 104,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including Houston's largest ballroom, and a rooftop “lazy river” pool. And by 2015, several improvements will have been made to the convention center itself, including a new grand entryway, widened sidewalks and more outdoor plaza space, a 1,900-space parking garage, a light rail station on the northwest corner, and additional retail/ restaurant establishments. But that’s just the beginning of what Houston has in store for visitors. Numerous restaurants and bars have opened around Market Square and the Historic District, and Houston Pavilions is being renovated and renamed as GreenStreet. By the end of the year, the half-million-sq.-ft. complex will feature a new park complementing its dining, shopping and entertainment venues, such as the House of Blues and Lucky Strike bowling. Continued on page 8 Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


UpFront The 231-room Hilton Cabana Miami Beach opened this summer. The hotel can host groups of up to 120 and offers a 2,000-sq.-ft. courtyard and two outdoor pools. La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, CA, is undergoing a multimillion-dollar, property-wide restoration. All guest casitas will be restored by fall 2014, followed by the villas, main lobby, pool and landscaping. Le Méridien New Orleans debuts this winter after a $29 million renovation of the Hotel New Orleans Downtown. The 410-room property will feature 15,000 sq. ft. of function space and a rooftop pool. As part of a $30 million renovation project, the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center will be remodeling its 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space in phases through December. Renovations to the hotel’s 1,329 guest rooms began in February and are expected to be finished in October. The renovation of the 52 suites will be completed by December. 8

Destination Watch: Houston

Continued from page 6

In addition, planners will have new educational venues at their disposal for group gatherings. By the fall of 2016, The Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage will open one block north of the convention center’s new garage. And by early 2016, the Lone Star Flight Museum, relocated from Galveston, will be opening at Houston’s Ellington Airport. The new $25 million facility will span 125,000 sq. ft. and include hangar space for aircraft display and storage, an auditorium, exhibit hall and more. Finally, the 86-year-old William P. Hobby Airport will boast $150 million worth of improvements by September 2015, including an additional parking garage, roadway modifications, new concourse and an expanded terminal.

Destination Watch: Las Vegas

Caesars Entertainment’s The Linq, a $550 million outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment district, opened this year and offers meeting planners a variety of locales for offsite in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. Among more than 30 venues, nine are available for rental: 1. Brooklyn Bowl. The Las Vegas location, the brand’s first outside of Brooklyn, features 82,000 sq. ft. of event space, including a 2,000capacity arena and three dining rooms with capacities of 60-85. 2. Chayo Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar. This upscale casual restaurant serves authentic Mexican dishes. Groups of 228 (seated) and 500 (reception style) can be accommodated. 3. F.A.M.E. Food, Art, Music and Entertainment combine to create an Asian culinary bazaar that accommodates 300 attendees on the second floor and 50 on the patio (reception style). 4. Flour & Barley. This rock ‘n’ roll themed brick-oven pizzeria boasts a capacity of 250. 5. Polaroid Fotobar and Andy Warhol Museum. The Fotobar is an “experiential” retail location where participants can turn their photos into innovative products. The museum on the second floor can host private functions for up to 300. 6. The Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery. This classic public house with sports bar AV welcomes up to 400 for a reception, 200 seated. 7. Yard House. American cuisine and an extensive tap selection highlight this restaurant, whose numerous event spaces accommodate from 98 to 200 (total capacity 725). 8. Blvd. Cocktail Company. An “Old Vegas” style event space in a lounge/piano bar setting that welcomes up to 100 attendees total, 200 on a flow. 9. The High Roller. The focal point of The Linq, this 550-ft. observation wheel has 28 glass-enclosed cabins that accommodate 40 guests. The Wheel House event space has 2,496 sq. ft. of meeting space, with an added 1,742 sq. ft. available in the foyer and patio. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


A Convention Center with a difference.

Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel

Riviera Palm Springs

See the difference for yourself. Fly in, check in, and get to your meeting in a half-hour. Located just one short mile from the Palm Springs International Airport, you’ll find a world-class facility, over 1,600 hotel rooms, 150,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, and a desert setting you just won’t find anywhere else. It’s not often that the outside of your meeting is every bit as inspiring as the inside. But it is here. Come see for yourself!

PalmSpringsCC.com Call us toll-free: (800) 333-7535


ies Media Group

s G u i d eDestination Watch: Boise UpFront Services Resource

ll

Marshall Hotels & Resorts will operate the Hotel UrbanRide 421 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001 (800) 525-5750; Fax: (212) 202-9638 Indigo Manhattan www.urbanride.net Financial District Chief Executive Officer: Jeremy Milikow when it Senior Vice President: Mitch Bornstein, SVP opens in 2016. The 25‘Leading Global Provider of Meeting & Event Transportation’ story, 190-room property will UrbanRide is a global provider of ground transportation for meetings & events, and uses the vans,from minibuses and motorcoaches. We provide betop-of-the-line locatedsedans, oneSUVs, block our clients with IMS, our software that enables meeting planners to better manage transportation for their meetings, conferences, conventions, tradeshows & other events. the new One World Trade We work exclusively with meeting & event planners and our customer service is the best in the business. UrbanRide is a one-stop solution for meeting & event transportation. Center and offer 1,450 sq. ft. of meeting space. The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills is schedKeppler Speakers 4350 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203 in 2017. The (703) uled 516-4000;to Fax:debut (703) 516-4819 www.kepplerspeakers.com 170-room Senior12-story, VP for Sales and Marketing: Johnhotel Truran offer approximately With will Keppler Speakers, creating memorable meetings never felt so easy. With over 25 years of experience, we provide you solid, seasoned expertise, making speaker selection 6,300 sq. ft. stress-free by managing all ofof the indoor details. Keppler Speakers saves you precious time by matching you with speakers who are right on target. From proven performers to dynamic risingmeeting stars, our speakers bring fascinating, real stories and a gift for inspiring audiences. space.

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Don’t Get Stuck in a Fishbowl! Don’t Get Stuck The Facilities Media Group in a Fishbowl! Facilities & Destinations The Media GroupGuide Facilities •Facilities Conference • Planner Facilities Facilities LIVE&•Destinations Booking Guide Facilities & &Event Management Facilities Event Management www.Facilitiesonline.com Facilitiesonline.com

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Greater Boise Auditorium District board members break ground on the Boise Centre expansion. (L-r): Jim Walker, Board Chairman; Don Knickrehm, Counsel; Steve Berch, Board Member; Judy Peavey-Derr, Board Member; and Hy Kloc, Vice Chair of Board.

Leaders of the Greater Boise Auditorium District celebrated the groundbreaking of the Boise Centre expansion on July 1. The $38 million project is part of the Civic Center Plaza development in Downtown Boise, ID, and will be connected by a concourse to the current facility. The new construction and planned renovations to the existing building add 44,000 sq. ft., nearly doubling the Boise Centre’s present function space. Completion is estimated in the third quarter of 2016. The expanded space will include a 15,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 14,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, 7,000 sq. ft. of prefunction/lobby space and a skywalk to the existing Boise Centre. Planned renovations to the existing Boise Centre include adding 8,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. 93

Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


Facilities & Destinations

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2014 Prime Site Meeting Hotel Awards Ballot VOTE for the top Conference Centers, Small to Mid-Size Meeting, University or Special Event Venues, and/or Hotels and Resorts your group has used for its meetings in the last three years. Please base your vote(s) on the following criteria: • Attractiveness and functionality • Technological capabilities • Quality of staff and conference planner • Team Building • Food & Beverage/Catering • Lighting

• Acoustics • Climate control • Proximity to airport and other transportation • On or off-site lodging • Other support services • Front-desk operations • Set-ups and breakdowns • Room décor • Quality/Size of Ballroom • Special Packages • Spa • Nearby Attractions

Name of Nominee_______________________________________________________________________ Name of Nominee_______________________________________________________________________ Name of Nominee_______________________________________________________________________ Check award you want to nominate the above for: Conference Center

Meeting Hotel

Your Name & Title_______________________________________________________________________ Organization____________________________________________________________________________ Phone__________________________________________________________________________________ Email___________________________________________________________________________________ Additional Comments____________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ May We Contact You? Yes___ No___ Fill Out Form & Mail, Email or Fax Your Vote:

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152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016 Fax: (212) 213-6382 Email: ballots@facilitiesonline.com Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

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UpFront Hotel Watch

Among The Broadmoor's new dining options is Natural Epicurean (above). Denver financier Philip Anschutz, whose company has owned The Broadmoor since 2011, appears to be following in the footsteps of visionary founder Spencer Penrose with several ambitious new projects at the historic Colorado Springs hotel. Penrose opened The Broadmoor in 1918 on 490 acres; today, the Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond resort encompasses 3,000 acres, 779 rooms and suites, 185,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, three championship golf courses, a Forbes Five Star spa, 26 retail boutiques and a renovated West Building. (See p. 41 for a discussion of CoBank’s meetings at the West Building.) Completed in May, the redesign includes a three-story addition with 31 new guestrooms and suites, a new façade, a cherry wood-accented lobby, and the opening of Ristorante del Lago, a 148-seat Italian eatery with idyllic lake views. In June, the West Building also became home to Natural Epicurean, a 120-seat restaurant focusing on innovative dishes using wholesome, organic ingredients. But the Broadmoor’s most extraordinary new projects may well be found out of doors, as its Wilderness Experience portfolio expands beyond The Ranch at Emerald Valley. In the words of John Rovie, the hotel’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing since January, the aim is to create 12

an “experience collection” for guests, and some of Tina Harlow, GM the most striking experiof Cloud Camp ences take place in the rugged grandeur of Colorado Springs. Meeting groups can now enjoy a view of those environs – and even parts of Kansas – from Cloud Camp, situated 3,000 feet above The Broadmoor. A scenic 25-minute drive from the hotel, the Cheyenne Mountain site consists of an 8,000-sq.-ft. Main Lodge and 11 guest cabins. The Main Lodge features a Great Room with a dining area, bar and two stone fireplaces, along with an expansive timber wrap-around deck. The Broadmoor has appointed Tina Harlow as General Manager of Cloud Camp, which opens Aug. 15. Most recently, Harlow worked in operations for the Paws Up Resort in Montana and Big Cedar Lodge, in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. At a retreat like Cloud Camp, a meeting group’s “ideas are only limited by themselves, not by their surroundings,” notes Allison Scott, the hotel’s Director of Communications. A similarly refreshing experience awaits at the resort’s new on-property Fly-Fishing School, highlighted by an Adirondack-style lodge with a dining table for 20, a large stone fireplace and expansive Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


T H E C H E C K L I S T T E S T: HAVE YOUR EVERY NEED ADDRESSED UNDER ONE ROOF.

The new Fly-Fishing School (exterior and interior).

covered decks. Custom-painted ceiling murals showcase artwork of nine Native American tribes indigenous to Colorado. And for those who prefer avian quarry, The Broadmoor is working on obtaining a permit for falconry. The Wilderness Experience is set to expand again next year with the opening of a private fishing camp located on Colorado's Tarryall River, as well as a renovated Seven Falls attraction, known as “Colorado’s Grandest Mile of Scenery.” In April, The Broadmoor purchased the attraction, including the falls, the surrounding canyons and 1,300 acres of adjoining property. Located 10 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs, Seven Falls features a spectacular natural box canyon, into which 181 feet of falls tumble. Next to the Falls, a 224-step stairway leads to a system of trails that take visitors to Midnight Falls and then onto Inspiration Point with a panoramic view of Colorado Springs. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

From the thriving downtown location to nearby hotels and entertainment to the flexible space available for events, the Phoenix Convention Center is often hailed as the place that covers the needs of meeting planners everywhere. But don’t take our word for it. Put us to the test today to explore everything we have to offer.

PHOENIXCONVENTIONCENTER.COM | 800-282-4842 |

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UpFront

Hotel Watch Key stakeholders and local officials gather to mark the official groundbreaking of Embassy Suites Charlotte Uptown in North Carolina. The 250-suite hotel, scheduled to open in June 2016, will house 7,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Executives from Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, CMC Hotels, BPR Properties and the Charlotte City Council participated in the groundbreaking.

Embassy Suites

Leading Edge: Andre Fournier Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing Destination Hotels & Resorts Andre Fournier’s 31-year career in the hospitality industry began with a desire to “welcome groups to amazing places.” In particular, he wished to share his experience of “the beauty and grandeur of Arizona,” where he attended Arizona State University and worked in catering. Fournier’s 20 years with Destination Hotels & Resorts have fulfilled that desire, allowing him to work with major group clients as Vice President of Sales for resorts in both Arizona and Colorado. Career highlights: I spent most of my career celebrating individual brands. And I was fortunate enough to do that by reflagging chain hotels into independent hotels that offer unique experiences. So for example, I reflagged the Sheraton Scottsdale to the Scottsdale Plaza Resort, and I placed some big McGraw Hill and Lenscrafters programs at that property, as well as GM out of Canada; we were doing so much business out of Canada after we repositioned that market in Scottsdale. I also had many successes in bringing in big incentive programs and automotive and financial industry meetings. A philosophy of strategic selling: We want to meet customers’ strategic objectives, and the first thing you need to do in that process is ask very good questions about what they’re looking for. They may not know. Their boss may just say, “I want to go to California.” But, for example, they may want to develop more business 14

distribution in the Central Texas market, and thus bring their players into that market so they can experience the area. And then our sales representative may recommend meeting at the La Cantera Hill Country Resort in San Antonio. Hotels that express their locale: If you’re going to downtown Seattle, for example, you want to get a flavor of Pike Place Market, and you’re going to look for something beyond the walls of the hotel. But why not bring some of those items within the walls of the hotel, so when attendees check in they’re already getting a sense of the culture? As we start to expand our footprint into core cities like Chicago, Miami and San Francisco, we want to find unique urban facilities that attract that curious traveler. Hospitality sales trends: Planners can now source multiple hotels in a keystroke, whereas in the past it took a significant amount of energy to visit a property and meet the local team. They do that later in their decision process, but you lose a little of that upfront. So we try to fill that gap through telling the story of our products, destinations and locations vs. just selling them. For example, we do that through video, effective Web presentations and virtual tours. Those kinds of technological items weren’t in the sales pitch process 10 years ago. We also need to discuss how we can be socially responsible with our carbon footprint, provide healthy choices in F&B, and address safety and security issues with meeting planners. In fact, it’s more about what hasn’t changed about group sales over the last 10 years. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


CAST YOUR BALLOT FOR

Facilities & Destinations’

E l i te A w ards 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. Beginning with our recent Planner Guide, 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

1. Name:_____________________________________________

1. Name:_____________________________________________

Company:__________________________________________

Company:__________________________________________

2. Name:_____________________________________________

2. Name:_____________________________________________

Company:__________________________________________

Company:__________________________________________

Convention Center Executive of the Year

Tradeshow Manager of the Year

1. Name:_____________________________________________

1. Name:_____________________________________________

Company:__________________________________________

Company:__________________________________________

2. Name:_____________________________________________

2. Name:_____________________________________________

Company:__________________________________________

Company:__________________________________________

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

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

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

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


UpFront

Hotel Watch

The Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center, Destination Hotels & Resorts’ latest acquisition. (Below): The recently opened Motif Seattle.

• The 319-room Motif Seattle, located

Destination Hotels & Resorts (DH&R), the largest operator of independent hotels and resorts, is approaching $1 billion in revenue. There are currently 41 hotels in the portfolio, representing over 10,000 guestrooms, over one million sq. ft. of meeting space, 18 upscale spas and 21 golf courses. Among those properties is the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, AZ, where DH&R hosted its 2014 Advisory Council this spring. Facilities & Destinations staff were pleased to contribute to the meeting, where numerous lodging trends in the meeting industry were discussed, including planners’ need for hotel salespeople who are strategic partners (see our feature on DH&R’s Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Andre Fournier, on page 14). DH&R also revealed some of its property acquisition and development plans, which are quite robust. The company is focused on increasing its urban footprint by expanding in cities such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. Toward that goal, DH&R recently acquired the Royal St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans. In addition, renovations are in the works at La Cantera Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, TX, and the Embassy Row Hotel in Washington, DC (taken over by DH&R last year). Both projects are scheduled for completion in 2015. Other significant DH&R property initiatives include the following: 16

downtown between Pike and Union Streets, opened on June 14. The upscale, chic property features a 10,000-sq.-ft. Executive Conference Level, a VIP Executive Boardroom, and the urban contemporary Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails – featuring the largest outdoor patio in downtown Seattle.

• On June 14, The Gant, situated

at the base of Aspen Mountain in Colorado, debuted the culmination of a 10-month, $5 million renovation and expansion effort of The Molly Campbell Conference Center. The project includes a new, 1,500-sq. ft. rooftop terrace, a new specialty café, expanded flexible indoor and outdoor floor plans, and contemporary new furnishings and accessories.

• Lowe Enterprises and AECOM Capital have

formed a joint venture with Atlas Hotels, Inc. to own, operate and reposition the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in the Mission Valley area of San Diego. Lowe’s hospitality management subsidiary, Destination Hotels & Resorts, has assumed management of the 954-room resort. Built in 1953, the resort offers more than 200,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including the 41,000-sq.-ft. Grand Exhibit Hall and more than 50,000 sq. ft. of outdoor event space.

• The Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center

has been added to the Destination Hotels & Resorts portfolio. Set to undergo renovations next year, the 326-room resort offers 80,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor function space. The Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center marks the third property operated by Destination Hotels & Resorts in the Phoenix market, joining Royal Palms Resort and Spa and Tempe Mission Palms. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


Century Center Convention Center Unique Architecture. Exceptional Experiences.

574.235.9711

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75,000 Square Feet of Flexible and Unique Meeting Spaces

Connected to the 291-room DoubleTree by Hilton Located in the heart of downtown South Bend

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UpFront

Hotel Watch

Sweeping vistas of the Coachella Valley and Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountain ranges await groups at The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs, CA, which opened in May. Perched on a 650-ft. bluff, the 244-room desert resort offers 16,000 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space and 15,000 sq. ft. of outdoor event space incorporating two lush, cliff-side lawns. Other highlights include a 25,000-sq.-ft. spa and the State Fare Bar & Kitchen, showcasing the best of California cuisine. (See page 45 for more Palm Springs meeting venues.)

UpFront Destination Watch: Panama The awardwinning design of the Amador Convention Center resembles a harpy eagle in flight, paying homage to Panama’s national bird.

The Amador Convention Center opens next year in Panama City. Located on the banks of the Panama Canal near the recently opened Biodiversity Museum (renowned architect Frank Gehry’s only building in Latin America), the convention center will be in proximity to Tocumen International Airport, which offers 17 direct flights to North America. The $193 million complex boasts 570,505 sq. ft. of meeting space including a banquet hall, exhibition hall, and conference facilities, as well as a grand plaza, outdoor amphitheater, 18

and 1,500-seat performing arts theater with balcony and box seating. According to the Panama Tourism Authority, the country hosted 126 congresses and conventions in 2012, a significant increase from the 66 held in 2011. That upswing is likely to continue with the opening of Amador Convention Center, along with a new partnership with Marketing Challenges International, the country’s official North American marketing and sales office.

Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


UpFront Destination Watch The 93-room Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam opened in April. Comprised of six historic townhouses, the five star property overlooks the Herengracht canal and is located in a UNESCO area.

China

In June, the Sheraton Reserva do Paiva Hotel and Convention Center opened near Brazil’s northeast region of Recife. The 298-room property’s convention center houses more than 16,000 sq. ft. across two ballrooms and three function rooms. The DoubleTree by Hilton Minsk is expected to open in Belarus by mid-2015. The 194-room property, located in proximity to city's historic old town and National Exhibition Centre, will house 8,611 sq. ft. of meeting space. Dreams Cancun is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation and will reopen in late 2015 as the Hyatt Ziva Cancun. Surrounded on three sides by the Caribbean Sea, the resort will offer 379 guest suites, over 11,000 sq. ft. of function space and a swim-with-thedolphins experience. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

Opened in July, the 416-room JW Marriott Hotel Zhengzhou is located on the top floors of the Millennium Royal Plaza, the tallest building in Central China at more than 900 ft. Zhengzhou boasts several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Shaolin Temple. Housing nearly 27,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, the new hotel is located between the Zhengzhou International Convention & Exhibition Center and Henan Art Center.

Indonesia

The Indonesia Convention and Exhibition (ICE) Center, located in West Jakarta, is scheduled to open early next year. Accessible to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, the ICE Center will house over 500,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space across 10 halls and at least 33 meeting rooms. Complementing the facility will be a vast amount of outdoor exhibit space, parking for 3,000 cars and a 300-room three-star hotel. The eco-friendly construction is using laminated glass and roof insulation to reduce the consumption of energy for airconditioning, as well as LED lights throughout. 19


Tradeshow Trends

Millennials . . . What’s Up With That?

The time is now for tradeshow organizers to get acquainted with Generation Y

I

By Francis J. Friedman

t’s no secret that what I call the “thumb generation” is driving the new economy. The thumb generation can be seen heads down, thumbs ablaze on their hot-rodded smartphones changing the world. What’s up with that? What does it mean for the face-to-face industry? The millennial generation (generally considered born from 1982–1995) has been defined as Gen Y (right behind them, born 1996–2002, is Gen Z). Soccer moms over-scheduled this generation with multiple activities and schlepped them around in the family van. This generation grew up with the concepts that everybody gets a gold cup, nobody is a loser, everybody is equal, cooperate rather than compete, girl power, and why wait till tomorrow when you can get what you want now. They saw dad lose his job from “the organization,” learned about President Bill Clinton’s sex scandal and how Bill Gates and Michael Dell built billion-dollar companies and did not finish college. They see a dysfunctional Congress. Gen Y is in a hurry and they want to change the world and its institutions as they believe these institutions are corrupt and need to be changed. Gen Y is the networked, always connected via smartphones and social media, generation. Smartphones in many cases are their only phone, and their phones are always on. Believing the larger world to be corrupt, this generation relies heavily on their peers for connection, information, vetting products and services, and their own personal social status. They join organizations and buy products from 20

entities they trust and which are endorsed by their peers. Concepts that derive from social media, such as friends, likes, followers and being followed, are all a part of Gen Y group participation, belonging and status affirmation. These concepts have now morphed into the larger society and into today’s marketing practices. This always-on and multitasking generation is “distracted.” As such, they have moved to telling/sharing their life stories via short text and photos (e.g., Twitter and Pinterest). It’s hard to get and hold their attention for any length of time, and that trait particularly impacts tradeshows whose message is not engaging, fast-paced and on-target with how they consume content. Being in a hurry also means not standing in line to process things the old-fashioned way, but rather “hacking” through all of the unnecessary “stuff” to build a shortcut to an outcome. This generation believes in getting something done and “out there” even if it’s not perfect, and then fixing it in successive iterations. Their motto is “better done than none.” So, “hacking” a solution and fixing it on the fly is inherent in this generation. (Think software versions 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, etc.) As a generation saddled with college debt, Gen Y is the first generation to return home to live after college. With money tight, this generation believes that sharing and “functional usage” of an asset is more important than tying up funds in owning the asset, such as buying a house or a car. They are also delaying marriage. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


For example, www.zipcars.com, www. airbnb.com and www.uber.com are “hacks” on traditional car rental and hotel concepts that increase asset utilization by private owners and deliver functional utilization and cost control to renters. These hacks also reflect this generation’s interests in reducing the ecological impact of over consumption. This generation values experience over possessions because experiences can be shared with peers and thus enhance their group status. (Think apps and selfies here.)

“The promises you

make to this community in your pre-show materials about the experiences you will offer need to actually be delivered onsite. Millennials are skeptical about being ‘sold.’”

Engaging Millennials Pre-Show So, what does all this mean for tradeshow organizers? This generation is your new customer. They are moving into the lower-level marketing and executive positions and starting to affect decisions on where and how to exhibit and which shows and events to attend. They want to have an impact, be taken seriously and influence the decisions that give direction to their organization and their career. And they want you to participate with them in that process. They want your event to have a relationship with them, engage them, surprise them and deliver an experience that moves them and their company to the next level of success. They want to be able to tell their company and their friends about the knock-out experience they had (for themselves and for their organization) by the way you engaged, surprised and delivered results for them. And, they want all this now. Pre-show, the engagement effort requires listening in on forums related to your industry and your millennial target audience. What are the issues they are discussing, and what is the vocabulary they are using in those discussions? What is their point of view about the issues being discussed? Do you understand their point of view and the vocabulary used in the discussions? Understanding the issues of your target audience and the vocabulary used makes it easier to introduce your show or event into these forums using the appropriate language and syntax of your community. Successfully entering into the dialog of your target audience community takes care and planning. As you introduce your event into this community, be appropriate with what you do. Provide information. Millennials want “stories” about who you are or what you offer. Provide pictures and video of who you are Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

and what you are up to. Have speakers and presenters provide content that is interesting and informative. Be authentic, candid and responsive in your community dialog.

The promises you make to this community in your pre-show materials about the experiences you will offer need to actually be delivered onsite. Millennials are skeptical about being “sold.” They want authenticity and candor. So, if you promise the Dave Matthews Band at your event, it better be the real thing and not a karaoke night with a Dave Matthews Band theme. Once you start the dialog with this community it needs to be maintained and nurtured on an ongoing basis. Millennials do not want to feel used or taken for granted. Leaving the millennial community after you start to engage them is like cutting your nose off to spite your face. You just get to the point where they trust you and you then break that trust by leaving the community. This is not a good thing to do because you won’t get them back again. You’ll appear selfish and insincere and not really interested in cultivating a relationship with them. Millennials . . . What’s up with that? Everything. This generation wants your show to reach out and engage and cultivate them through direct interaction and social media (think pictures, Infographics, gamification). They want you to ask them to participate in your show design and focus. They want to cooperate with you in building what they want and have it delivered in an onsite format that is engaging, surprising and rocks their world (think selfies and Tweets). Gen Y is in a hurry, and now is the time to “hack” your traditional event processes and find ways your event can engage your new customers at their level. If you wait to get started on this journey, your shows and events may not be here when Gen Z comes knocking. Francis J. Friedman is a marketing, branding and business-building expert with over 25 years of tradeshow and event industry experience. He is a senior consultant, author and speaker for this industry. His New York City-based consulting company, Time & Place Strategies, Inc., is in the business of client problems — and the delivery of creative, profitable, business-building solutions. 21


S u p p l i e r P e r s p e ct i v e s

Keep Calm and Call the AV Guy

Reap the rewards of partnering with the right company By Paul Wedesky

C

onference audiovisual (AV) is such a mystery to most people outside of the meetings industry, and to some within the industry as well. The world of conference AV has evolved from the guy with the glasses taped together rolling the 16mm film projector into a classroom, to highly skilled production teams with video, audio, lighting and IT (yes IT) engineers. AV companies today even include management teams coordinating keynote sessions with wide-screen blended imaging and video mapping, presentations in multiple breakout rooms, exhibits with large format LED and digital signage throughout the event. In other words, this is not your father’s AV anymore . . . Indeed, the technical side of events is now mostly computer driven — lighting boards, audio boards, LED, projection mapping, networking rooms for presentation management, and so on. Your AV team and IT team are now one team, and knowing the capabilities of those teams will create a smooth-running conference for years to come.

complex events, it is advisable to develop a relationship with a company you can use anywhere in the country and that understands the goals of your event(s). Building that core team of professionals assures you that there will be no surprises, no matter the city or the venue. Most major cities have union regulations for operating conference AV, and all companies use the same pool of technical labor. But it’s the core management and production teams that make the difference. The oo many event company that can give planners treat AV as you a consistent team, an afterthought and working together on all not as part of the overall aspects of the event, is the start of good AV.

“T

planning process. The AV team should be part of the meeting’s design team.”

The first step is selecting an AV company, which can make or break the overall experience. Following are guidelines to help you make the best choice.

Quality over quantity. A common misconception is that a company that has a large amount of equipment or many offices is a sign of good AV — it’s not. Anyone can purchase equipment resources. What is important is that the company has the right equipment and the right people.

Consistency and understanding. Small meeting groups in hotels may choose to use in-house AV companies, most of which are well equipped to handle boardroom events. But for larger and more

A full menu of services. In today’s conference world you need a company that can offer the complete package, not only from the AV perspective, but also from the “creating an engaging

22

Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


experience” perspective. Conferences today value content as “king.” From the management of speaker and conference content to exhibitor content, the best AV companies understand the value of content and have the tools and talent to help move that content to the attendees. Planners can save time and money by working with a single company that can manage the complete event, including logo creation, stage design, banner placement, exhibit floor logistics, exhibitor AV needs, meeting room setup, union management, trucking logistics and more. Too many event planners treat AV as an afterthought and not as part of the overall planning process. The AV team should be part of the meeting’s design team. The result is a better “flow” for the event and a better environment for the attendees, exhibitors, speakers and event management team. Signs of great AV. Most events are educational at the core and driven by content. It may be selling products and/or services, it may be training doctors, nurses, teachers or salespeople, but the overall goal of the event is to move content from one trusted source to the attendee. The ultimate sign that

Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

the AV was great is that the attendee got a clear understanding of the message. They could see and retain the content, they could hear and understand the speakers, and they had an engaging experience. From a service perspective, the best sign that you have had a great experience with your AV team is if you can’t remember speaking to them during the conference, which means there were not many problems. AV teams for the most part work in the shadows and behind the drape, where they make magic happen. Paul Wedesky joined Global Experience Specialists (GES) in December 2013 as Senior Vice President of Audiovisual Services. He has more than 25 years of multimedia experience in the tradeshow and meetings industry. Prior to joining GES, he was Senior Vice President of National Operations for PSAV and had been Senior Vice President of PSAV’s Sales, Convention & Tradeshow Division. Wedesky is a Certified Association Sales Executive through PCMA and a Certified Meeting Professional through MPI. He is a member of PCMA, MPI and IAEE.

Facilities & Destinations SuperBook Advertiser Index

23


Proactive

Partners

Suppliers who zero in on crisis management for conventions and tradeshows

I

By George Seli

n recent years, tragic reminders of the vulnerability determine whether and how much to invest on of live events have been in the public eye, from security services. “They go back to their legal the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in 2011 department after we initiate the contact and see, to the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. With so from a liability point of view, what additional funds many performances and marathons that had they need to allocate to security,” says Alexan, transpired safely, no one expected these crises. former Chairmen of the IAEE’s Crisis Prevention Similarly, planners who work on scores of incidentand Management Task Force. free conventions, if not hundreds Moving from crisis preventhroughout their careers, undertion to response, a planner standably do not think about “The biggest challenge may not be a major player on crisis management as often as with a medical emergency the team that includes venue they think about site selection in this day and age is that staff and perhaps local police, and ROI. And when they do everybody has a cell phone. EMT, etc. But he or she can focus on risk preparedness, they may consider it to be more the We may have six EMTs onsite again have valuable coordinating role, White contends. province of meeting venue staff. but attendees are right on “What we expect from them “Surprisingly, there are many the phone calling 911.” is to manage and account [host companies] who don’t even for their own people. For want to talk about risk assessexample, we can’t know that ment. Or they will just depend on venue security,” observes Peter Alexan, President we lost Ms. Jones, while everybody else is out of the building.” A planner may also be involved in of Santa Ana, CA-based RA Consulting, a security crisis communications to attendees. management company. As a former meeting planner, Jane T. White, Event Manager at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, understands that mindset: “Well, I’m going to a building and they know what to do” in terms of crisis prevention and management, she explains. “The onus is on the venue almost all the time. For example, the venue would come back and say to the planner, ‘Because of the size of the crowd and the nature of your event, our recommendation is that you have this much security staff present.’” Similarly, planners would field recommendations from third-party security providers to ultimately 24

Beyond these contributions to crisis management, a planner is largely dependent on experts in that field for risk assessment and the development and execution of contingency plans. Still, it is helpful for a planner to have some understanding of how some of the industry’s best partners in security and safety operate, as this knowledge can guide their supplier sourcing in this area. Venue Preparedness

The Virginia Beach Convention Center trains its employees and contracted staff once a year to Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


review emergency procedures, White says, and closely observes the local fire code for its group clients, which range from 10 to thousands of participants. “The fire code says we must have a crowd manager per 250 attendees, and an advanced life support EMT for every 500 attendees,” White explains, adding that the attendee numbers reflect those present in the building at any one time. So a car show that draws 10,000 people per day would not need 20 EMTs if only two or three thousand are in house at any given time. Of course, risk assessment may dictate that an EMT should be present for a group engaging in a physically risky activity, regardless of the attendee numbers. “Last year we saw a perfect example: We had an ink tattoo convention and they like to do unusual things that kind of push the envelope [e.g., a flame eater],” White recalls. “And they had to have several meetings with the fire marshal, who explained to them what they could do and the parameters in order to do it safely.” With the right number of EMTs onsite, the venue is in a better position to respond to a medical emergency, which includes getting the afflicted individual(s) “out of public view as quickly as possible,” says White. “The biggest challenge with a medical emergency in this day and age is that everybody has a cell phone. We may have six EMTs onsite but attendees are right on the phone calling 911. Luckily for us, our EMTs communicate with the dispatcher so that if a 911 call is received, the dispatcher knows to contact EMT onsite. That way, they’re not dispatching an ambulance needlessly.” Frantic 911-dialing is less likely if attendees see more uniformed venue staff present, as then they will tend to first ask staff if there is an EMT onsite. In contrast, the visibility of security staff (as opposed to generic venue staff) should be kept in check. “We don’t want it to feel like an armed camp,” says White. “The goal is that the people Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

Jane T. White, Event Manager at the Virginia Beach Convention Center (above).

coming into the building shouldn’t see all the elements that we put into place to [ensure security]; it should be seamless.” Similarly, a security provider such as RA Consulting often tries to keep a low profile when protecting certain individuals or groups, in order to avoid raising concern among other attendees. For example, “if they’re giving a presentation, we pick them up and escort them behind the scenes to the room,” says Alexan. CONTINGENCY PLANS FOR SECURITY RISKS

Alexan’s team — comprised of individuals with law enforcement, FBI and Secret Service backgrounds — typically gathers information about potential threats from the meeting host, and then collaborates with venue security staff, local police and other key entities to develop contingency plans. “I do have something of a unique approach,” he says. “I usually don’t just do one contingency plan, but rather three. I like to have a “safe room,” two to three exit routes, and two to three different responses depending on the circumstances. You have to come up with multiple scenarios and keep everybody involved.” In his recent experience with convention and tradeshow security, Alexan has observed some disturbing trends that underscore the need for such contingency plans. “Within the last three years we’ve been interacting a lot with FBI undercover 25


investigation regarding espionage or sabotage on the computer industry side,” he says, “and mainly they’re after Russian-originated threats. Also, there have been threats against individuals at a couple of computer shows that had new technology coming out.” At some medical shows “the threats are getting to be more personal, for example, directed at a group of doctors that decided not to approve a certain medication through FDA. And we had occasions like that three to five years ago with some doctors,” Alexan reports. “What kind of potential Access Control

The choice in badges for access control neatly illustrates how a host company can invest in security to varying degrees, and that investment is guided by risk assessment. But the best investment may be a partnership with a supplier that 26

is highly proactive in security and safety procedures, beginning well before the convention. Alexan’s team, for example, will typically “meet with the [host company’s] principal prior to coming onsite, which many security firms don’t do,” he says. “We will sit with them and explain the risks we see and the contingency plans we are developing.”

threat are you looking at? Depending on that, the badge access control will vary from a hologram badge to a piece of paper.” One sign that a venue prioritizes

Access-control strategies are key to addressing such threats, and a major decision in this area is the type of badging system to use. “There is not one magic wand that you can use across all different kinds of shows. My suggestion is to consider how secure you want your event to be,” says Alexan. “What level of risk do you have, what kind of potential threat are you looking at? Depending on that, the badge access control will vary from a hologram badge to a piece of paper.” One of the shows RA Consulting works with is the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo, which uses hologram badges, an especially effective way of combatting badge duplication. These reveal their ID information (a hologram image) only when exposed to ultraviolet light (or black light). “It’s not utilized a lot because the cost is higher than usual,” says Alexan. “The other type of badge we use is called an expiration or wipeout badge. So you can provide a badge for one day, and at the end of the day the badge will go black. And that’s very high-end security. You can also do a watermark on a badge to give you higher access control. Then we can step down to picture laminated badges, sometimes with barcodes or magnetic stripes, for medium to high access security.” Precon Practices

Peter Alexan, President of Santa Ana, CA-based RA Consulting.

crisis management also occurs early in the planning process. “It’s one of the things the salespeople discuss with planners as they go along,” says White. “They may not spend a lot of time on it. But they’re going to mention upfront the things the planner needs to think about from a budget standpoint and what information we’re going to need from them” in order to properly carry out the convention center’s security and safety procedures. That kind of proactive approach effectively lets planners know that they’re in good hands. Crisis Management Sites of Interest FEMA Emergency Management Institute’s free online courses on emergency management www.training.fema.gov/IS/NIMS.aspx Event Safety Alliance, publisher of the Event Safety Guide www.eventsafetyalliance.org IAVM’s online Trained Crowd Manager program www.iaamtraining.com IAVM’s Academy for Venue Safety and Security www.iavm.org/avss/avss-home State Department travel alerts and warnings ww.w.travel.state.gov/content/passports/ english/alertswarnings.html Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


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


San Jose

M

eeting groups that thrive in an atmosphere of innovation, not to mention a sunny, subtropical climate, have an ideal destination in San Jose. The “capital” of Silicon Valley is the headquarters of Adobe, Cisco Systems and eBay, and many other household names in high tech have offices here. To really convey the essence of San Jose, planners can stage a private event at The Tech Museum of Innovation, located within walking distance of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. And groups that are technologically focused can often make valuable industry connections while meeting in the city. A case in point in the SPIE Advanced Lithography Exhibition, held annually in San Jose since the early 1990s. San Jose is “a high-tech center, and lithography is related to the semiconductor industry. So it is a good area for us,” notes Randy Cross, Director, Event Services and Venues at SPIE (The International Society for Optics and 28

Photonics). “Attendees can make contact with exhibitors, and exhibitors with co-exhibitors, companies they might get components or systems from.” Last year’s conference brought in about 2,400 lithography experts from 31 countries including Japan, Germany, Taiwan, Korea, Netherlands, Israel and China. Those attendees enjoyed the convenience of a mere five-minute commute from the Mineta San Jose International Airport to the convention center area downtown. “San Jose is getting better all the time in terms of international lift,” Cross observes. “We’ve found that the vast majority of attendees can fly right into San Jose. A few international participants do fly into San Francisco, and then there are Bay Area shuttles to San Jose. So whatever Mineta airport can’t do internationally, you’ve got San Francisco airport [as a backup], and they’re both pretty attractive.” Mineta is also ramping up its domestic service: This year, Southwest Airlines added a daily nonstop flight each to Denver, Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


The Capital of Silicon Valley updates its meetings product By George Seli

“We’ve been with Team San Jose a long time because they make a good effort to understand your business and get to know you as a client.” —Randy Cross, SPIE

Orange County, San Diego and Seattle; Hawaiian Airlines resumed year-round daily nonstop service to Honolulu; Delta Air Lines added four daily nonstop flights to Seattle; and Alaska Airlines launched daily nonstop service to Salt Lake City. San Jose’s compact, walkable downtown is another logistical advantage. “Restaurants, retail, art galleries and any type of entertainment from museums to theaters are all right here at your fingertips within a two- to three-block radius. We like to call it a campus,” notes Meghan Horrigan, Director of Public Affairs and Information with Team San Jose. Various upscale hotels are part of that campus, including the 731-room Fairmont San Jose (65,000 sq. ft. of function space), the 239-room Hyatt Place San Jose/Downtown (largest meeting space 5,874 sq. ft.), the stately, 171-room Sainte Claire (scheduled to become the Westin San Jose with over 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space), the 353-room Hilton San Jose (largest meeting room 10,000 sq. ft.) and the 506-room San Jose Marriott (21,000 sq. ft. of funcFacilities & Destinations 2014 summer

tion space). Both the Hilton and the Marriott are connected to the convention center. “You’ve got a hotel attached at each end, which is wonderful; our attendees like that a lot,” Cross notes. “The lithography show has a fair amount of affiliate functions around the event, and the surrounding hotels all get portions of that affiliate business.” The variety of downtown hotels allows SPIE attendees to find properties that fit their lodging tastes, budget and loyalty points, he adds. The area also includes the recently renovated City National Civic (formerly San Jose Civic Auditorium) and the Center for the Performing Arts, both located across from the convention center. “A tremendous amount of our clients utilize the City National Civic either for a special reception or general session. It’s a historic venue and has a robust AV package,” says Horrigan. “The Center for the Performing Arts has also recently undergone a number of renovations, and part of that has to do with our ability to host some new Broadway offerings, but meeting planners utilize that venue as well.” While the renovation of these venues is certainly a plus for groups, the big news in San Jose’s meetings industry has unquestionably been the 169,000-sq.ft. expansion and full renovation of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, completed in 29


The San Jose McEnery Convention Center

October. “Up until the expansion we utilized some space at the Hilton on the west end, but now we are able to bring that part of the program down into the new ballroom space, which is much nicer,” Cross relates. “And we only use two of the exhibit halls, so now they have the ability to use the west end meeting space and Hall 3 for another group simultaneously.”

“When the hotels realized that the expansion was going to move forward, almost every single downtown hotel at the time also decided to renovate.”

“We’ve seen tremendous interest in the convention center since the expansion,” Horrigan says. “We’ve already sourced 219 new business opportunities using the expanded space, and more than a third of those are new to San Jose. So the expansion helps us not only secure our ongoing client base, but it also provides us with a huge opportunity to attract business to the destination. For example, last month we brought in the annual conference for BlogHer. It’s their first annual conference in a convention center, and we definitely secured that group because of our expansion.” BlogHer ’14 is also the first convention to use the center’s just-launched free WiFi, an extension of the city’s Wickedly Fast Free WiFi already offered at the airport and in the downtown area. “If you think of San Jose as the capital of Silicon Valley, people automatically think that of course we’re going to have the best of the best technology, and we believe we do now,” says Horrigan. The industry-leading wireless technology can support multiple devices per attendee, allowing thousands of attendees the ability to stream 30

uninterrupted. The convention center also offers a new technology package that includes a “white glove service” geared toward groups who need wired and custom wireless solutions, and a “bring your own geek service” for groups with their own technical staff who need to build a private network and extend their network to the convention center. The San Jose Marriott is making its own tech upgrades with a recent $500,000 investment to install wireless routers in all of its guestrooms and suites. The new system has greatly increases individual guest room Internet speed and can service up to six wireless devices at one time. Overall, downtown San Jose’s hotel portfolio is renewed since the convention center expanded. “When the hotels realized that the expansion was going to move forward, almost every single downtown hotel at the time also decided to renovate,” Horrigan recalls. A new project is the completion of the first phase of a $4.5 million renovation of the San Jose Airport Hotel, rebranded to the Four Points by Sheraton San Jose Airport. The second half of the project, which will be completed this fall, includes a makeover of the hotel’s 195 guest rooms and lobby area, plus enhancements such as 100 MGB high-speed Internet access. Complementing San Jose’s high-performing meet-

Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


ing facilities is the dynamic entity that serves as a liaison for planners: Team San Jose. Recently the City of San Jose unanimously approved new contracts for Team San Jose to lead CVB services and manage seven venues including the McEnery Convention Center, Parkside Hall, South Hall, City National Civic, Center for the Performing Arts, Montgomery Theater and California Theatre. “Team San Jose’ s partnership with the City of San Jose has generated strong fiscal and economic results in the past few years” said Mayor Chuck Reed in a statement. “We expect that Team San Jose will continue to perform admirably in the years ahead, drawing international and national conventions and world-class theater productions which will in turn attract visitors, secure room nights, and generate jobs and tax revenues.”

has seen 43 new restaurants open downtown in the last 18 months. The newest ones include Café Eden, featuring Mediterranean cuisine; First to Market, serving “farm to fork” fare in the historic Wesnitzer building; and Arepa Swing, home to authentic Venezuelan cooking.

The latter restaurant is found in San Pedro Square Market, a hub for musicians, coffee connoisseurs, artists and artisans. Its focal point is the Peralta Adobe, the oldest building in San Jose. Another major public space is the Plaza de Cesar Chavez, home to the San Jose Jazz Festival, arts and crafts fairs, and many other public events. Nearby is the San Jose Museum of Art, which can accommodate meeting groups of 20 to 150 during the day in the Wendel Education Center, with other spaces available any night of the week for 100 to 3,000 guests. More specialized and equally fascinating is the A new, 10,000-sq.- Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum of Art & Planetarium, which houses the largest ft. event space is collection of Egyptian artifacts on exhibit now available at in western North America.

For meeting planners, Team San Jose is effectively a “one-stop shop” for meeting services, as opposed to dealing with separate representatives for a CVB, convention center and other venues. “In most destinaClub Auto Sport, tions there are multiple agencies that you need to work with. In San A new, 10,000-sq.-ft. event space is now displaying rare Jose it’s one agency, it’s Team San available at Club Auto Sport, founded collectible cars. Jose, and we handle everything in 2007 by local car collectors and motor from beginning to end for the clisports enthusiasts. The space features ent,” Horrigan says. “So if planners floor-to-ceiling windows, a clubhouse are looking to source F&B services, book hotel rooms, showroom, sleek lounge bar and an exclusive array create full marketing campaigns within the downof rare collectible cars available for display. The club town area, book a theater or a unique reception space also offers numerous corporate teambuilding activi— those are all things that Team San Jose handles ties, from go-kart racing to simulated racing. Meeting directly. And what we’ve heard from the beginning groups can also hit the actual highway during free of our tenure in 2004 is how easy it is to navigate San time and experience San Francisco (about 50 minJose as a destination and how much Team San Jose utes away) or Napa Valley (about 1½ hours). is an advocate for their events’ success.” Cross, who Thanks to such assets and its revitalized facilities, partners with Team San Jose primarily for convenSan Jose has seen its events business trend upward tion services and F&B support, notes that “We’ve in recent years, and that includes meetings and conbeen with them a long time because they make a ventions. “Between 2012-2013 to this last fiscal year, good effort to understand your business and get to we’ve seen a 22 percent growth in total events to the know you as a client. They work with you to make convention center and the theaters that we manage,” sure you’ve got the right space in the convention Horrigan notes. “The economy is obviously helping center for your event.” drive that event growth, but also because we have the Cuisine and Culture convention center expansion and we’re able to host On the F&B front, Team San Jose focuses on using multiple events at the same time, we have an opporfresh ingredients sourced from the Greater Bay Area, tunity to see growth year over year.” Just as a softthereby supporting local farms. Even if attendees are ware update can create excitement among users, the not treated to Team San Jose’s catering, they are sure latest “version” of San Jose is apparently creating to have a great culinary experience in the city, which a buzz among event planners. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

31


Milwaukee

RiverWalk allows attendees to take a scenic stroll during their free time.

The dynamic Wisconsin Center District is the centerpiece of this Midwestern meetings hub

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By Anthony Bilden

ext May, the Electrical Wire Processing Technology Expo will take place at Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Center, where it has been held since 2001, and where it will likely remain for the foreseeable future. “We’ve done a survey every year asking the exhibitors, ‘Should we move from Milwaukee?’ We took the question out this year because 99 percent of the replies are always ‘no,’” says Jay Partington, President of Hartland, WI-based Expo Productions Inc. The Wisconsin Center hires Partington’s company to run the show, whose attendance has been “phenomenal

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over the last three years. We keep growing in exhibit space as well as attendance,” he says. Last year’s attendance over 2,700 people, representing 41 states and 28 countries. The lakeside city of Milwaukee is a major reason for that success, affording attendees numerous advantages. Downtown hotels are just eight miles from General Mitchell International Airport, which is easy to get in and out of despite its size. “And our international attendees remark how safe and clean Milwaukee is, and that prices are so much lower than Chicago,” Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


The Wisconsin Center takes advantage of natural lighting on its exhibit level.

The city ranks in the top 10 most affordable convention cities in the U.S. out of nearly 70 surveyed by Runzheimer International.

Partington adds. Indeed, the city ranks in the top 10 most affordable convention cities in the U.S. out of nearly 70 surveyed by Runzheimer International (based on cost of first-class lodging and three meals per day, per delegate). In addition, the airport “regularly receives accolades for its ease of use, employee friendliness and comparatively low airfares,” Tracy J. Goudreau, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Wisconsin Center District, points out.

From the Electrical Wire Processing Technology Expo to the high-profile National Governors Association meeting, the Wisconsin Center hosts a variety of tradeshows and conventions, maintaining a “fairly consistent” volume of bookings over the last few years, Goudreau notes. The Center offers 188,695 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, a 37,506-sq.-ft. grand ballroom and an additional 39,640 sq. ft. of meeting space that can be divided into as many as 28 meeting and breakout rooms. Advanced technology capabilities are complemented by about $1.2 million in public art. Connected via skywalk are the 729-room Hilton Milwaukee (housing 30,000 sq. ft. of meeting Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

Tracy J. Goudreau (top), Director of Sales and Marketing, Wisconsin Center District; and Jay Partington, President of Expo Productions, Inc., a longtime partner of the Center.

space) and 481-room Hyatt Regency Milwaukee (more than 26,000 sq. ft. of flexible function space). Partington highlights the Wisconsin Center’s registration area on the exhibit level, which affords scenic views of the city, and the facility’s catering, handled by Levy Restaurants. For a true taste of Milwaukee, attendees can stroll along RiverWalk, which links Old World Third Street to the Historic Third Ward, site of the Milwaukee Public Market. Third Street is home to many restaurants representing the German side of Milwaukee’s heritage. Popularly perceived as a “blue collar” town, Milwaukee has quite a work ethic when it comes to improving its assets. RiverWalk has been continually expanded, and is now three miles in length, and the Wisconsin Center Dis33


The iconic Milwaukee Art Museum itself makes an artistic statement.

Hotel News trict’s convention campus is being “perpetually The 900 new hotel guestrooms that will have come renovated,” Goudreau says. “The renovations extend beyond our physical structures to the con- on line between fall 2012 and fall 2014 are “a big advantage” for the Electrical Wire Processing Technolstant upgrading of our staff.” Of note, the Center ogy Expo, “because we can get bigger blocks at some has recently installed new ballroom carpeting and a new speaker system. In addition, a feasibil- of the other hotels,” Partington explains. Among the standout hotel developments are ity study for the expansion of the the following: Wisconsin Center has been con“Our international Scheduled to open in fall 2014, ducted and the District’s Board the 381-room Potawatomi Hotel attendees remark is reviewing recommendations, & Casino will house more than Goudreau reports. how safe and clean 10,500 sq. ft. of meeting space. Milwaukee is, and that Designed as a 3 1/2-star facilComplementing the Center are prices are so much ity, the hotel will feature refined the historic, 4,100-seat Milwaukee furniture and fixtures throughTheatre and the 12,700-seat UWlower than Chicago.” out and will be smoke-free and Milwaukee Panther Arena. These eco-friendly. venues provide additional options Multimillion-dollar renovafor group functions. “Milwaukee tions were recently completed on the historic hosts an annual insurance industry meeting which Pfister Hotel, including a refurbishment of its has steadily grown over the years. Thanks to the 176 “tower” rooms. Built in 1893, the AAA Four expandability of our Wisconsin Center campus, Diamond Pfister offers 307 guestrooms and we’ve been able to comfortably accommodate their over 25,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. growth,” says Goudreau. In addition, the Theatre The Courtyard Milwaukee Downtown has and Arena offer nearby entertainment that attendcompleted a renovation of its 169 guestrooms. ees can enjoy. “When a show is going on across The 243-room Doubletree by Hilton Milwaukee the street, we sometimes include tickets in special Downtown has renovated its lobby. offers for our exhibitors. And some of our exhibiThe 729-room Hilton Milwaukee City Center’s tors do events for their staff or special customers suites have been completely renovated. [at those venues],” Partington says.

• • •

34

Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


Milwaukee is home to the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum, where attendees can gather among 450 motorcycles in an industrial-chic setting.

747. The Milwaukee Art Museum features a cathedral-like reception hall with a 90-ft. glass ceiling and dramatic views of Lake Michigan. Function spaces include the 25,000-sq.-ft. Quadracci Pavilion and 10,000-sq.-ft. Windover Hall. A new rooftop ballroom (a conversion of former • revolving Polaris restaurant) is coming to the

• •

Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. Slated for a 2015 opening in the heart of the Third Ward, a new 158-room Kimpton boutique hotel will feature a chef-driven, destination restaurant on the ground floor, plus a rooftop bar and expansive meeting space. A 200-room Westin hotel is slated to break ground near Milwaukee’s lakefront by the end of 2014.

Distinctive Offsite Venues

Many cities boast of having “unique” venues for group functions, but Milwaukee literally does: The city is home to the world’s only HarleyDavidson Museum. Here, attendees can gather among 450 motorcycles in an industrial-chic setting located along the scenic Menomonee River. Described as “quintessential Milwaukee” by Margaret Casey, Public Relations Coordinator for VISIT Milwaukee, the museum can accommodate up to 10,000 attendees indoors and up to 15,000 outdoors. Spaces include the 10,456-sq.-ft. Garage and 5,651-sq.-ft. Rumble. A very different kind of museum experience is found in a building with soaring moveable “wings” that open to a width the size of a Boeing Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

The city’s maritime heritage is on display at Discovery World, whose 6,400-sq.-ft. Pilot House atop the Aquatarium offers a 90-ft. diameter rotunda surrounded by an 18-ft. outdoor balcony. “Discovery World was the site of major receptions for last year’s National Governors Association and Connect Marketplace. It’s a very popular venue for spectacular lake views and combined facility/tent space,” Casey notes. Special events can also be held at the Milwaukee Public Museum (maximum capacity 3,500); Henry Maier Festival Park (five VIP decks and private event spaces); and Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers (field itself, and 10+ spaces of various sizes accommodating up to 400). VISIT Milwaukee assists planners in scouting out and booking these offsite venues, but that’s just one among many value-added services it provides. For example, staff can create information-packed microsites to promote meetings. And more than 200 enthusiastic volunteers are available at no cost for meet-and-greets, registration assistance, and more. They do it all with a Midwestern hospitality that will make attendees forget they’re in Wisconsin’s largest metropolis. As Partington puts it, “We’re a city, but we act like it’s a small town.” 35


Mid-Market Mid-tier cities that mean business when it comes to meetings

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he U.S. Travel Association’s Meetings Mean Business Coalition has been stressing the value of meetings to the U.S. economy, and it’s easier to make that case with evidence that mid-market cities are performing well in the meetings market. It is natural that first-tier cities such as Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago will be strong performers, given their ideal airlift, massive meetings infrastructures and general visibility as site choices. But lower-tiered cities that regularly draw in significant corporate and association group business demonstrate that the meetings industry is reaching many corners of the country, and supporting a variety of local economies.

attractions. The expanding Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River provides exciting activities for all members of an attendee’s family.”

Mid-market convention centers may not compete with the first-tier players in terms of square footage, but many of them are on par in terms of quality and special features. One example is Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLCC), which “was carefully designed to offer our clients flexible event space,” says Tim Muldoon, General Manager. “So whether you are holding a tradeshow, general One case in point is Oklahoma City, where session, or networking event, “bookings remain strong,” notes Tim our space can adapt to meet Linville, Director of Sales & Marketing, your event needs.” SMG Oklahoma City. “We’re excited by In addition, “The Exhibit “We’re thrilled to start the success of last year’s Oklahoma City Hall allows for the option work on the city’s new Oilfield Expo, which returns for a second of natural light, which is year this fall.” The success and potential convention center, which a sought-after feature for of the city’s meetings industry has many of our tradeshows should open before the prompted investment in a new Downtown and conventions. And end of the decade.” Convention Center of approximately 237,000 sq. ft. of columnTim Linville 470,000 sq. ft. (with approximately free exhibit space and Director of Sales & Marketing, 235,000 sq. ft. of sellable space), replacing SMG Oklahoma City 125-ft. ceiling heights the Cox Convention Center. “We’re provide our clients with thrilled to start work on the city’s new excellent sightlines for convention center, which should open before the general sessions and large tradeshow booths.” end of the decade,” Linville adds. And yet, the new The DLCC is also Gold and Platinum LEED facility is just one component of “the resurgence of certified and even a certified Wildlife Habitat, Oklahoma City,” which “makes us one of the most “offering attendees a moment of tranquility in an exciting places in the country to have a corporate urban downtown location,” says Muldoon. meeting or tradeshow,” he says. “We are steps from the vibrant Bricktown entertainment district, Partly due to its design features, the DLCC is a which is home to canal-side restaurants, clubs and high-performing mid-market convention center, 36

Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


Review currently “having a strong year with quality citywide bookings such as the P&G Gymnastics Championships scheduled for August,” says Muldoon. “And we are excited to announce that the National League of Cities has selected Pittsburgh for its 2016 Annual Convention.”

By George Seli

“We are excited to announce that the National League of Cities has selected Pittsburgh for its 2016 Annual Convention.” Tim Muldoon General Manager, David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Austin is also enjoying new partnerships with incoming convention groups, according to Paul Barnes, Austin Convention Center Assistant Director – Sales, Events, Marketing. “In addition to our annual events like South by Southwest, Texas Computer Education Association, DELL and National Instruments, there are always new convention organizations booking in Austin each year, such as the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and the Medical Library Association.” And while

Destinations that are effective in the meetings industry also solicit and take into account feedback from their clients. This is especially important for mid-market cities, which cannot rest on their laurels as much as their first-tier counterparts when it comes to drawing meetings business. “When we take a look at the feedback that our clients give us, the features that consistently receive the highest marks are our “Client feedback tells us that customized network solutions and our complimentary WiFi service,” Barnes says. we are really setting the bar “This feedback tells us that we are really sethigh for many events that ting the bar high for many events that have have detailed and substantial detailed and substantial technology needs. Also, the fact that we manage all of our own technology needs.” Paul Barnes in-house services results in better service, Assistant Director – Sales, Events, better response times and better packages.” Marketing, Austin Convention Center

year-over-year bookings are flat, Barnes notes that “event attendance has increased 13 percent over the last fiscal year.” Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

The following pages feature 11 mid-market cities that offer convention centers and hotels that are ahead of the curve, distinctive culture and entertainment, and relative affordability. Indeed, good things do come in mid-sized packages. 37


Atlantic City atlanticcitynj.com

The Atlantic City Convention Center has enjoyed robust business thus far this year.

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tlantic City draws meeting groups with 486,600 sq. ft. of exhibit space at the Atlantic City Convention Center, and business has been good in the first half of 2014. Forty-one events held at the Convention Center attracted nearly 220,000 delegates, who used more than 46,000 room nights and generated delegate spending of $68.5 million. In addition, convention sales staff booked 35 events at other facilities throughout the city that attracted nearly 29,000 delegates who used 18,000 room nights and generated $13.5 million. Some attendees are attracted to Atlantic City by its renowned casino gaming. But the city’s non-gaming attractions also hold considerable sway. According to John Palmieri, Executive Director of the Casino Redevelopment Authority, “Non-gaming revenues, including spending on hotels, entertainment and food and beverage, have increased by more than $160 million in just the last two years and are now approaching $1 billion annually.”

Among the non-gaming attractions is the Boardwalk landmark Steel Pier, which will become a year-round attraction as part of a $100 million, three-phase makeover. A new building will be erected that will house the new food court and arcade area. Phase II includes plans for a new museum, retail entertainment space and a 200-ft.high Ferris wheel. The third and final phase calls for a new version of the Marine Ballroom, a 2,000-seat venue. Renovations are expected to be complete in 2015. 38

Complementing Atlantic City’s attractions are its meeting facilities and hotels, several of which are also undergoing new developments. For example, Caesars Entertainment is building a new meeting and conference facility at its Harrah’s Atlantic City location, with an estimated cost of $125.8 million. The 250,000-sq.-ft. facility will offer 125,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and feature two 50,000-sq.-ft. pillar-less ballrooms. Meanwhile, Tropicana Entertainment Inc. has announced a proposed series of renovations that include the addition of a light show/ entertainment feature to Tropicana’s boardwalk façade, a new fitness center on Brighton Avenue and North Tower hotel room renovations. Additionally, 10,000 sq. ft. of space will create four retail shops and a gym at Pacific and Morris Avenues. These projects are anticipated to commence in late 2014 with an expected completion date by the end of 2015. What is more, Bally’s Atlantic City has completed a $5.6 million renovation of its gaming floor. All of these developments are reinvigorating Atlantic City, one of the Northeast’s most experienced hosts for meeting groups. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


YOUR BUSINESS IS WORTH $1 MILLION, & WE’VE GOT THE MONEY TO PROVE IT. Here’s how the Atlantic City $1,000,000 Incentive Program works: • This program is available to new group or meeting business, or to groups and meetings that have not met in Atlantic City for three years, with arrival dates from 2014through 2017. • The event must generate at least 500 room nights at an Atlantic City property. • Priority is given to midweek, nonsummer arrivals and departures. • The program is for groups using the Atlantic City Convention Center or individual properties.

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


Austin austintexas.org

The Austin Convention Center is one of the country’s most technologically advanced facilities of its kind.

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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 fourstar 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. Coming soon are the 1,012-room JW Marriott (February 2015) and the 326-room Westin Austin Downtown (2016). 40

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 highspeed Internet II access, plug-and-play capabilities and an onsite technical staff to help with networking needs. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


Colorado Springs visitcos.com

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natural choice for active groups, Colorado Springs is home to Pikes Peak, Cave of the Winds, the Garden of the Gods Park, North Cheyenne Canon and the Manitou Springs incline, which can be legally hiked as of last year. Colorado Springs also has a very proactive CVB that ensures groups make the most of the destination. In fact, Kathy Reak, Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau Director of Convention Sales, has been chosen as the 2014 recipient of the Meetings Industry Council of Colorado’s Leadership Award.

Kari Robertson, CMP Senior Event Marketing Specialist CoBank

The city’s 14,000 hotel rooms include properties by Doubletree, Embassy Suites and Marriott, as well as renowned resorts such as The Broadmoor (see client interview, below) and Cheyenne Mountain Resort. Multiple offsite venues make for educational group experiences, such as the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, McAllister House Museum and the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. Attendees can also explore the U.S. Olympic Training Center, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Historic Old Colorado City, which is popular for shopping and dining.

Meeting site at the Broadmoor

My preferred choice is the West Building. I like that ballroom [10,682-sq.-ft. Rocky Mountain Ballroom] much better; it’s more intimate. The Energy Directors Conference was held at the International Center [14,996 sq. ft.], given our group size. Onsite special events and activities

Denver, CO-based CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states, has held several meetings at The Broadmoor, including the Communications Industry Executive Forum and Energy and Water Executive Forum this month. Roughly 350 participants attended each meeting. Last month, CoBank’s Energy Directors Conference brought a group of more than 500 to the historic hotel. According to Robertson, the national group of attendees finds the property easily accessible; they either fly into Colorado Springs Airport or to Denver International Airport and then either rent a car or take the Broadmoor’s shuttle. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

We’ve often used Cheyenne Lodge [6,314 sq. ft.] on the Mountain Course for a mid-week dinner, and sometimes we do different themes such as Birds of Prey or Colorado Wolves. This year we’re doing a tasting of Colorado beers. Most of our receptions are held at the Broadmoor pool, which affords such an amazing view at sunset. Another fun activity is the bowling alley at Broadmoor West. And golf is a huge attraction; the two forums [this month] both have golf outings, and we get close to 200 participants at each one of those. Group service

One of the big reasons we love the Broadmoor so much is that they know our customers and are usually a step ahead of us in thinking and preparation, from the salesperson to the CSM. For example, they know what our customers like to eat, and how much of the food they’re going to go through. They also help us in originating themes for our events. 41


Hartford ctconventions.com

The Connecticut Convention Center “rolls out the red carpet” for its meeting group clients.

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roups meeting at the Connecticut Convention Center now have numerous diversions right across the street in Hartford’s new Front Street District, which includes Spotlight Theatres, The Capital Grille, Ted’s Montana Grill, Infinity Music Hall and Nixs restaurant and lounge. Recently opened are Infinity Music Hall and Bistro, a 600-seat live music and restaurant venue, along with Nixs, a seafood-focused eatery with craft cocktails. Lodging choices are also plentiful, with the AAA Four Diamond, 409-room Hartford Marriott Downtown, the 393-room Hilton Hartford, the 350-room Radisson Hotel Hartford and the 215-room Holiday Inn. There are up to 1,600 hotel rooms within Hartford and 6,500 rooms within a 15-mile radius. Overlooking the beautiful Connecticut River at Adriaen’s Landing, the 540,000-sq.-ft. Connecticut Convention Center is one of the Northeast’s most ideal locations for tradeshows, conventions and business meetings. With over 140,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space (divisible into two halls), a 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom (divisible into three rooms) and 25,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, the Connecticut Convention Center is the largest convention facility between New York and Boston. The venue also features exceptional demographics and highway access at the crossroads of New England, where interstates 84 and 91 meet. With a prominent visual presence on Hartford’s historic skyline, the center’s 110-ft. glass atrium dramatically rises 10 stories above a grand public plaza and a tree-lined riverfront esplanade. 42

The Connecticut Convention Center has been constructed to spare no detail in making every function accommodating. Offering award-winning F&B service led by an in-house executive chef and culinary team, state-of-the-art rigging, wiring and WiFi, flexible spaces, abundant prefunction areas and ample onsite sheltered parking, the facility has taken every facet of hosting an event into consideration. The expanded Bradley International Airport, conveniently located 15 miles away, serves 19 commercial carriers and nearly 300 national and international flights daily, including direct flights to Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas. Hartford is located midway between Boston and New York and easily accessible by rail, bus or car, making it simple for travelers coming into the Greater Hartford area. Attendees can board the Dash, a free, public transportation service for simple access throughout the city. Also offered is the Bradley Flyer, a convenient, economical mode of transportation from Bradley International Airport to the Capitol City. The Connecticut Convention Center provides its own exclusive, in-house catering services – something very few convention centers can offer directly. A certified executive chef will personally oversee every detail of a dining experience and customize any menu, from a 10-person coffee break to a spectacular banquet for 9,000. The staff helps planners coordinate memorable F&B experiences for conventions, ethnic and themed events, and high-profile corporate events. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


YOU RULE.

AND THIS IS YOUR KINGDOM. For centuries, Connecticut has been a haven for

540,000 sq. feet of space

revolutionary thinkers. A place of great history,

1600 hotel rooms

beauty and energy that attracts leaders, cultivates

40 - three and four-star restaurants

courageous ideas and inspires bold deeds. Where better than in its heart - at the epicenter of the largest population base in the country - to

Interactive science center 250 registered historic sites Within a 2-hour drive of 23 million people Front Street District located

purposefully create a destination for people to

across from the Connecticut

meet. It’s not merely a convention center, but a

Convention Center includes:

convention kingdom. And you are royalty.

Spotlight Theatres, The Capital Grille, Ted’s Montana Grill, Infinity Music Hall and Nixs.

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT

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


Oklahoma City visitokc.com

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lanners looking to the Southwest would do well to consider the up-and-coming Oklahoma City, with 1,600 convention center district hotel rooms, 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. And of course, free time in Oklahoma City is not complete without a visit to Bricktown, where attendees can dine, enjoy live music, stroll along Bricktown Canal or cruise on Bricktown Water Taxi. A new downtown convention center is in the works, but for now the Cox Convention Center remains quite formidable, housing 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 21 meeting rooms, a 15,000seat 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

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from Will Rogers Airport, a streamlined facility that is easy to get in and out of. 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 features a restaurant, interactive water features, a new children’s garden, 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, zip line, 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. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


Palm Springs visitgreaterpalmsprings.com

Groups that meet at the Palm Springs Convention Center (above) can experience Villagefest (right), a Thursday night street fair.

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reater Palm Springs, CA, includes nine Coachella Valley communities: Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Desert Hot Springs, Indio and Coachella. Groups thus have a variety of experiences available in the area, but one thing they all have in common is an average of 350 days of sunshine. Diversions include 115 golf courses, Palm Desert shopping, chic restaurants, botanical parks, art museums and historic estates. It’s also easy to get to Palm Springs, with Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) serviced by 10 carriers connecting to 500 cities across the globe. Of note, American Airlines has recently introduced daily nonstop service from Chicago O’Hare to PSP. For alternative airlines, four additional major airports are located within a two-hour drive. And just three blocks from the heart of Downtown Palm Springs and historic Palm Canyon Drive is the Palm Springs Convention Center. Housing 150,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, the PSCC includes 18 meeting rooms, 112,561 sq. ft. of exhibit space and a 20,016-sq.-ft. ballroom. Groups can also take advantage of more than $2 billion in new and enhanced hospitality products and amenities. New openings include the 163-room Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs last October and the 260-room Ritz-Carlton, Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

Rancho Mirage in May. Renovations have recently been completed at the 884-room JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, 538-room Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, 530-room Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa and the 257-room Hilton Palm Springs Resort. Attendees also have plenty of activities outside the meeting room walls in Palm Springs, such as hiking in the Painted Canyons, Jeep tours to the edge of the San Andreas Fault and rock climbing at Joshua Tree National Park. On the cultural side, groups can enjoy musicals and live music performances at McCallum, Annenberg, Palm Canyon and Arthur Newman theaters. 45


Phoenix visitphoenix.com

The Phoenix Convention Center’s West and North Buildings are connected via skywalk.

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hanks to the metamorphosis in Phoenix’s urban core, convening in America’s sixth-largest city packs more value than ever. In the heart of downtown, the Phoenix Convention Center is mere steps from pro sports arenas, science and history museums, and great restaurants and shopping. With so many ways to keep busy, and so many opportunities for groups to enjoy themselves, it’s easy to see why Phoenix is an ideal destination. Phoenix’s thriving, walkable downtown is home to professional sports, shopping, theater, universities, dining, night life and art galleries. In fact, downtown’s Roosevelt Row was recently named by USA Today as one of the 10 best city arts districts in America. So whether a delegate is a foodie that saw one of downtown’s many restaurants featured on The Food Network or The Cooking Channel, or wants to take in some local culture, downtown Phoenix delivers. The downtown 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, which directly serves the Convention Center. The Phoenix Convention Center is just 15 minutes, or four miles, from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). The soaring Arizona-inspired architecture of the Phoenix Convention Center is designed to share the wonders of

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Southwestern culture, stimulate the imagination, and welcome guests to this premier meeting destination. Thousands of images of Arizona from cultural, historic and geographic points of view are combined with indigenous materials, stones and native metals to form unique design concepts. Every detail – from colors and textures to lighting, angles and entrances – inspires guests to explore the marvels of Arizona. The Phoenix Convention Center offers more than 900,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space as well as Arizona’s largest ballroom at 46,000 sq. ft. – just two of the attributes that made it one of the country’s top 10 convention facilities. Thoughtful touches include 61 loading docks (22 of which are climate-controlled), exhibit halls with pre-scored floors and an Executive Conference Center. The 2,312-seat Symphony Hall and the historic 1,364-seat Orpheum Theatre offer two additional unique venue options to provide flexibility and variety for events. Total exhibit space is 584,500 sq. ft., with a 312,000-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall, and there are 99 breakout rooms. The Convention Center also offers superior telecommunications, and network services guarantee enough bandwidth to handle every event, big and small. From meeting room and exhibit halls to ballrooms and public spaces, wall-to-wall WiFi coverage is available throughout the entire center. With a dedicated onsite support team, the “Always Up” policy ensures a reliable network during peak activity times. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


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Pittsburgh visitpittsburgh.com

The LEED-certified David L. Lawrence Convention Center (right)

D

uring the DMAI’s 2014 Annual Convention in July, four VisitPITTSBURGH representatives were recognized for their CDME certification: Karen Fisher, CDME, Chief Financial Officer; Mary Grasha Houpt, SPHR, CDME, Vice President of Human Resources; Karl Pietrzak, CDME, Vice President of Convention Sales; and Lynne Popash, CDME, Vice President of Partnership Development. That is a significant number of CDMEs for one organization, given that only 28 destination marketing industry professionals nationwide have earned the designation. “It is important that our staff is educated on the best business models and the latest trends and technologies in the travel industry so that we remain experts in our field and have the competitive edge over other cities,” says Craig Davis, President and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH.

City Center, 300-room Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, 712-room Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh and 399-room Sheraton Station Square Hotel. What is more, Pittsburgh’s walkable downtown is replete with museums, shopping and about 200 restaurants all within 30 blocks.

Another aspect that gives Pittsburgh the competitive edge in the second-tier market is the Gold and Platinum LEEDcertified David L. Lawrence Convention Center, which features a dynamic architectural design with open terraces and a suspended roof structure. The WiFi-enabled building houses a 236,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, 31,610-sq.-ft. ballroom, 53 meeting rooms and two theaters. Numerous upscale hotels surround the convention center, including the 616room Westin Convention Center Hotel, 596-room Omni William Penn Hotel, 333-room DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh Downtown, 402-rooom Pittsburgh Marriott

Far from being a “steel town,” Pittsburgh today is among the nation’s best centers for the arts. In fact, American Style Magazine voted Pittsburgh “Best Arts Destination in the Country” amongst mid-sized cities. The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh offers both the third-largest dinosaur exhibit in the world and a vast collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art. Nine theaters are located in the Cultural District downtown, along with numerous arts galleries. Other attractions include the Duquesne Incline, opened in 1877; Penguins hockey and Pirates baseball; and Rivers Casino.

Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

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Pick.le n. (pi-kəl):

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

Pittsburgh is that dynamic location!

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

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


Rochester visitrochester.com

Complementing the 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.

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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 daytrip 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, largescale 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 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

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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. “We routinely offer services not found at most other convention centers,” says Executive Director Joseph A. Floreano, CFE. “One example is our in-house food and beverage operation, including 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 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. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


The perfect place to meet Rochester, New York

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

585.232.7200 • www.rrcc.com


The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center (left).

Savannah visitsavannah.com

S

avannah offers groups a one-of-a-kind experience that mixes historic architecture, cultural attractions, coastal cuisine and scenic beauty with successful conventions, meetings and special events. Savannah’s eclectic sophistication will enthrall attendees, while 22 park-like, moss-draped squares placed throughout historic downtown will make them feel relaxed and focused. Elegant accommodations within blocks of abundant meeting venues make gatherings in Savannah a step above the rest. With more than 45 cultural attractions, Savannah draws meeting attendees craving a diverse experience. Trolley, Segway and walking tours covering history, hauntings, architecture and food will fill down time with excitement and entertainment. Meeting attendees also are sure to enjoy Savannah’s palate-pleasing, coastal cuisine and farm-to-table fare served at restaurants throughout the city. The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, situated on the Savannah River, offers a total of 330,000 sq. ft., including 100,000 sq. ft. of prime exhibit space and 50,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space. Up to 21 breakout rooms are in the space, including 13 meeting rooms, four executive boardrooms, a 25,000-sq.-ft. grand ballroom and a state-ofthe-art auditorium. A 45 ft.-by-30 ft. hanger door allows large equipment and aviation-oriented tradeshows to be displayed in the center’s exhibit hall. Additional meeting facilities Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

located throughout downtown Savannah include the Coastal Georgia Center and the Savannah Civic Center. There are a variety of convention hotels throughout Savannah including the 403-room Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, 383-room Savannah Marriott Riverfront, 347room Hyatt Regency Savannah and the 246-room Hilton Savannah Desoto. Nearly 5,000 rooms are available at various hotels in the Historic District, and more than 15,000 total hotel rooms in the greater Savannah area. All hotels and meeting spaces in the Historic District are located within walking distance to numerous high-style boutiques, galleries, restaurants and more. In addition, two new boutique hotels are now open: The Brice and The Cotton Sail Hotel. Located just 15 minutes from downtown, the Savannah/ Hilton Head International Airport is one of the busiest in the Southeast. With 46 daily nonstop flights via American, Delta, Jet Blue, United and US Airways from Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington DC, it’s easier to get to Savannah than ever before. The low-cost CAT shuttle and DOT shuttle are available for quicker travel, including a direct route from the airport to downtown. Once a group is here, there are several ways to get around, with many visitors preferring to explore pedestrian-friendly Savannah by foot. 52


Virginia Beach visitvirginiabeach.com

A

meeting destination that rivals many others, Virginia Beach is the perfect balance of coastal beauty and vibrant urban amenities. Offering unique and exclusive meeting locations, the seaside city is the ideal location to bring people together year-round. With a primary focus on providing extraordinary service, the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau’s dedicated meetings and conventions sales and service team has the tools and facilities to make every meeting a success. Boasting the first convention center in the country to achieve LEED® Gold Certification for Existing Buildings, the resort city continues to elevate industry standards for sustainability. The Virginia Beach Convention Center features more than 500,000 sq. ft. of space, including a 150,000 sq. ft., column-free exhibit 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 ft.-by-10 ft. grids permanently etched into the floor to facilitate exhibit setup. Each of the four hall subdivisions is supported by services including meeting room suites, concessions and prefunction and registration spaces. City-owned and managed by experienced CVB professionals, the facility offers competitive rates and is situated just blocks from one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most beautiful beaches. A few minutes from the oceanfront, Town Center rises with upscale shopping, dining and entertainment, providing the perfect downtown experience. The cultural centerpiece of the city, the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts is in a class by itself. A performing arts venue with theater-style seating for 1,300, the Sandler Center features a Grand Lobby and outdoor performance plaza. The Virginia Beach CVB prides itself not only on excellent venue options, but also on a well-trained and experienced staff

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The Virginia Beach Convention Center is complemented by one of the country’s most picturesque seasides.

always prepared to provide exceptional service to meeting planners. Planners can now get acquainted with the staff via the “Meet the Team” feature on the Virginia Beach Meetings website. 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 organization seeking voluntary support. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program broadens the reach for groups wanting to help others. The CVB has partnered with several organizations in six key areas: Combating Homelessness; Hunger & Domestic Violence; Assisting Youth & the Elderly; Supporting the Armed Forces; Restoring & Protecting our Environment; Community Service General; and International Outreach. Virginia Beach has more than 18,600 acres of state parks and wildlife refuges, over 121 navigable miles of waterways and 35 miles of ocean and bay beaches to explore. Other local attractions include The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium, Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research & Enlightenment and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art to name a few. Planners have endless options for fresh seafood and dining, downtown shopping, nautical fun and entertainment. Centrally located, Virginia Beach is a mere 20 minutes from Norfolk International Airport, with multiple daily departures and nonstop destinations, and 45 minutes from Newport News/ Williamsburg International Airport. It is a 3.5-hour drive from Washington, DC, seven hours from New York City, and also can be reached via an Amtrak station in the neighboring city of Norfolk. Accommodation options are plentiful with more than 10,000 hotel rooms citywide, 7,000 of which are located within three miles of the convention center. Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


Sites & Cities Directory

Advertiser Index

Atlantic City CVA.........................................................................55

Atlantic City CVA........................................................................ 39

Austin Convention Center......................................................55

Austin Convention Center........................................................5

Century Center.............................................................................55

Century Center..............................................................................17

Colorado Springs CVB..............................................................55

Colorado Springs CVB................................................. Cover 3

Connecticut Convention Center........................................ 56

Connecticut Convention Center........................................ 43

Cox Convention Center.......................................................... 56

Cox Convention Center.............................................................3

David L. Lawrence Convention Center........................... 56 Little Rock CVB............................................................................ 56

David L. Lawrence Convention Center........................... 49

Meet Puerto Rico........................................................................ 56

Little Rock CVB.............................................................................27

Palm Springs Convention Center....................................... 56

Meet Puerto Rico........................................................................ 63

Phoenix Convention Center................................................. 56

Palm Springs Convention Center..........................................9

Puerto Rico Convention Center......................................... 56

Phoenix Convention Center...................................................13

Rochester Riverside Convention Center.........................57

Rochester Riverside Convention Center..........................51

San Jose McEnery Convention Center............................57

Visit Savannah............................................................................... 53

Visit Savannah................................................................................57

Team San Jose.................................................................. Cover 2

Team San Jose...............................................................................57 Virginia Beach CVB.....................................................................57

Virginia Beach CVB....................................................................... 7

Wisconsin Center.........................................................................57

Wisconsin Center............................................................Cover 4

new jersey

texas

Atlantic City Convention Center

Austin Convention Center

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

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

A year-round destination with all the amenities you expect from a premier resort; 20,000 first-class hotel rooms (8,000 committable), top entertainment, golf, shopping, world-class dining and 11 casinos. The Atlantic City Convention Center is a bright, modern facility accommodating meetings and expos of all sizes, four contiguous exhibit halls (486,600 sq. ft.); 32,000 sq. ft. of pre-function space; 109,100 total sq. ft. meeting space; 45 meeting rooms including a 29,400-sq.-ft. ballroom; free WiFi; voice/data communications; green facility – single-roof solar systems, and aggressive recycling and energy-savings programs. PAGE 39

INDIANA

5

Colorado

Century Center South Bend

120 South St. Joseph Street, South Bend, IN 46601 (574) 235-9711 www.centurycenter.org Director of Sales & Marketing: Crista Tompson Unique Architecture. Exceptional Experiences. The Century Center, built on the banks of the West Race canal, overlooks the St. Joseph River and is attached to the 11-acre Island Pavilion, completed in May 2013, as well as the 292-room DoubleTree by Hilton, renovated in 2013. The Century Center features over 75,000 sq. ft. of convention space, including a 25,000-sq.-ft. Convention Hall that can be split into two smaller halls, 41,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 700-seat theater, 16,640-sq.-ft. ballroom and 18 meeting rooms. The 12,000-sq.-ft. Discovery Ballroom can be separated into two equal halls. Free basic WiFi available. Main entrance renovated in 2013, lighting PAGE retrofit completed in 2013 and carpet replacement completed in 2014. 17

Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

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. Prefunction spaces offer downtown views. New walkway connects 3rd and 4th levels. PAGE Nearby 6,000 downtown hotel rooms.

Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

515 South Cascade Avenue, Suite 1300, Colorado Springs, CO 80903 (800) 888-4748, ext. 132; (719) 685-7632 www.visitcos.com Director of Convention Sales: Kathy Reak Elevate Your Opportunities Choose Colorado Springs as your meeting location and enlist the help of the award-winning staff of the Colorado Springs CVB to ease the planning process. They offer an extensive range of complimentary services. Whether it’s customized site visits, teambuilding ideas or distributing RFPs, they are here for you. Start planning your next event in this unrivaled mountain metropolis. Colorado Springs offers 14,000 guestrooms, 5,000 convention PAGE guestrooms and 400,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space. C3 55


Connecticut

oklahoma

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

www.ctconventions.com

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

The views are stunning, the space is immense, and the ease of booking an event is superior. 205,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibit space, dramatic riverfront setting, accessible to 23+ million people within a 2-1/2 hour drive; 19 meeting rooms; 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 180,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space/140,000-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall; 3,200-seat ballroom; attached to 409-room Marriott Hotel; 700 rooms (downtown); 6,500 rooms (within 30 miles). Attractions: The Old State House; Wadsworth Atheneum; Mystic Seaport & Marinelife Aquarium; Foxwoods Resort Casino; Mohegan Sun Resort; Essex Valley Railroad. PAGE 43

Pennsylvania

Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau

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

In downtown Pittsburgh’s cultural district, within steps of theaters, cinemas, galleries, restaurants and 2,500 hotel rooms, just across the bridge from PNC Park & Heinz Field, the environmentally smart, SMG-managed, 1.5 million-sq.-ft. facility features 313,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 37 loading docks, 53 meeting rooms, a 31,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, two 250-seat theaters. The building’s dynamic architectural design offers breathtaking views, open terraces, suspended roof structure. Technology: 1Gb circuit with DS3 backup, fiber optic backbone network, multi-mode fiber, CAT6 (copper) cabling, video conferencing, wireless Internet access. PAGE 49

Puerto Rico

426 West Markham, Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 370-3224; Fax: (501) 374-2255 www.littlerock.com VP Marketing and Communications: John Mayner A capital city with a national airport, Little Rock offers non-stop or one-stop service from most of the U.S. and many international cities, as well as more than 9,000 hotel rooms citywide. Its Statehouse Convention Center Ballroom offers nearly 83,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and the 18,362-sq.-ft. Wally Allen Ballroom. The downtown River Market entertainment district is adjacent to the Convention Center. What is more, Little Rock CVB’s Convention Services department has recently teamed-up with Marketing and Communications to assist meeting planners with attendance stimulation through PAGE customized, technologically cutting-edge strategies. 27 california

Meet Puerto Rico

Palm Springs 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. 63

arizona

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. 13 56

3

arkansas

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Phoenix Convention Center & Venues

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

227 North Avenida Caballeros, Palm Springs, CA 92262 (760) 325-6611 www.palmspringscc.com Director of Sales: Rick Leson Like No Place Else Located just 1.5 miles from the Palm Springs International Airport, the Palm Springs Convention Center is walking distance to 1,600 hotel rooms and just blocks away from the Heart of Downtown and historic Palm Canyon Drive. The PSCC offers 120,000 sq. ft. of carpeted exhibit space, a 20,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 21 breakouts and a lobby with panoramic mountain views. Outdoor function spaces include a 20,000-sq.-ft. Event Lawn and the adjacent Jackie Lee Houston Plaza. High-speed wireless Internet access is available throughout the facility, and Savoury’s Full Service Catering serves both onsite and offsite events. PAGE The PSCC is attached to the 410-room Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel. 9

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Convention Center

100 Convention Boulevard San Juan, PR (800) 875-4765; (773) 654-1758; Fax: (787) 725-2133 www.prconvention.com National Sales Director: Rosa M. Luke The Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport is just 13 minutes from the Puerto Rico Convention Center, which is surrounded by 1,887 guestrooms within a three-mile radius, and the attractions of Old San Juan. PRCC features 600,000 sq. ft. of total space and can accommodate groups of up to 10,000. Signature wave-like roofline and a 13-story glass curtain offer spectacular views of the San Juan Bay and area beaches. Offers 152,700 sq. ft. of exhibition space, a 39,500-sq.-ft. ballroom, and 36,200 sq. ft. of additional meeting space, including 15 separate meeting rooms on two levels, divisible into 28 breakout rooms. The PRCC has unveiled a new solar energy PAGE array that is one of the largest green initiatives of its kind on the island. 63

Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer


New York

California

Rochester Riverside Convention Center

San Jose Convention Center

123 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14564 (585) 232-7200; Fax: (585) 232-1510 www.rrcc.com Executive Director: Joseph A. Floreano, CFE “Do it better at the Rochester Riverside where you and your event are always the center of our attention!” Convenient upstate N.Y. location, scenic Genesee River setting. 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibition space; 22 meeting rooms; 10,028-sq.-ft. ballroom; 49,275-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall; 5,000-seat theater; dedicated Internet connection over fiber optics; wireless access throughout facility; 1,100+ hotel rooms in a trio of major hotels connect 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. 51

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. C2

California

Georgia

Visit Savannah

101 East Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401 (877) SAVANNAH; (912) 644-6424; Fax: (912) 644-6499 www.SavannahMeetings.com www.SavannahVisit.com VP Business Development & Services: Jeff Hewitt Savannah is a convention city capable of hosting large, high-level meetings, conventions and special events. Welcome to Savannah, est. 1733, waiting to charm you with tree-filled squares and perfectly preserved historic buildings. Savannah has the capacity to accommodate large groups in its convention, exhibit and meeting facilities, the largest being the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. Total event space: 330,000 sq. ft.; exhibit space: 100,000 sq. ft.; ballroom: 25,000 sq. ft.; pre-function space: 6,600 sq. ft.; meetings rooms: 13; 14,000 hotel rooms citywide. PAGE 53

Team San Jose

408 Almaden Boulevard, San Jose, CA 95110 (800) SAN-JOSE sanjose.org Director of Sales: Mark McMinn As the 10th largest city in America and the Capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is known as a business mecca, but offers all the sophisticated entertainment options delegates need for staying and playing. The Winchester Mystery House, Tech Museum of Innovation, Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Great America, Levi’s Stadium, SAP Center and San Jose Museum of Art are all in easy access of the city’s 9,000 hotel rooms. Team San Jose is a one-stop shop whose offerings include an in-house, health-conscious culinary team that cuts out the middleman, streamlining service and increasing quality and value. In addition, Team San Jose’s interactive website PAGE provides a virtual tour and an in-depth look at meeting setup options. C2

Virginia

Virginia Beach CVB

Available on

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 7

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Facilities & Destinations

TM

wisconsin

Wisconsin Center

400 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53203 (414) 908-6001; Fax: (414) 908-6010 www.wcd.org Director of Sales & Marketing: Trace Goudreau tgoudreau@wcd.org Milwaukee – easy-to-get-to, easy-to-navigate, visitor-friendly meetings destination known for its hospitality and beautiful Lake Michigan location. The Wisconsin Center, home to the $1.4 million Burke Family Collection of integrated and commissioned art, features 32 meeting rooms, a 37,506-sq.-ft. ballroom, 189,695 sq. ft. of total exhibit space; 4,100-seat Milwaukee Theatre and 12,700-seat U.S. Cellular Arena. Ballroom equipped with built-in rigging points and high-amperage power sources, complete Wi-Fi, audio-visual, satellite, video conferencing and remote network capability throughout facility. 1,543 hotel rooms connected PAGE by skywalk; 3,359 in downtown area; 15,000+ in immediate metro area. C4 Facilities & Destinations 2014 summer

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on location

Puerto Rico

Guests of the 416-room RitzCarlton, San Juan, enjoy a two-mile stretch of beach.

By Debi Lander Hundreds of years ago, Christopher Columbus and Ponce de Leon discovered gold nuggets in Puerto Rico’s rivers. Today, the island group between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean is a trove of riches for meeting planners. “We know Puerto Rico hits the marks when it comes to top accommodations, great activities, fine dining and sophisticated meeting and event spaces,” stated Milton Segarra, President and 58

CEO, Meet Puerto Rico. “The true value of meeting in Puerto Rico is about bringing all these elements together to create a singular, memorable and distinctive experience for delegates.” As Segarra implies, Puerto Rico goes beyond the conventional. The 100-by-35 mile island offers 1.3 million sq. ft. of meeting space, more than any other Caribbean location. Hotel rooms number 14,000, complemented by more than 2,000 dining options. Plus, getting to Puerto Rico is easy as airlines offer hundreds of nonstop flights. Transportation to many other Caribbean destinations requires flying first to Facilities & destinations 2014 summer


Beyond the Conventional The Puerto Rico Convention Center boasts recently installed solar panels.

Miami, and then transferring to smaller airlines and possibly shuttling again via ferry. Adding to the ease, U.S. residents don’t need a passport, and there is no need to exchange money; they can simply use U.S. dollars. Of course, American law governs the territory. But it’s really the natural beauty of Puerto Rico’s beaches, rainforests, undersea life and golf courses that makes a meeting memorable outside the conference rooms. The attractions range from the adventurous (such as underground caves, zip-lining and rappelling) to the historic, 500-year-old walls of the El Morro Fort, Facilities & destinations 2014 summer

part of the U.S. National Park system. Culinary and cultural festivals are plentiful, too. Based on a planner’s objectives, Meet Puerto Rico team members join forces with the waterfront hotels, golf resorts and rustic tropical retreats to make it happen. Photographs By Debi Lander

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(L-r): Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, located in walking distance of the Convention Center; La Concha – A Renaissance Resort; and the recently restored Condado Vanderbilt Hotel.

Isla Verde

four-bedroom villa for weddings and private events. The property is also home to a fiveacre spa and the Cousteau Ocean Society Ambassadors of the Environment program, which incorporates eco-education with land/sea adventures such as snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and touring an ancient Taino archaeological site.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan, located just five minutes from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in the Isla Verde district, couldn’t be more convenient. The Ritz’s reputation for outstanding facilities and service attracts well-heeled tourists who desire elegant, luxurious surroundings. Indeed, individual “We know Puerto Rico hits the guestrooms are spacious, Convention Center with oversized marble bathDistrict marks when it comes to top rooms divided so couples The dramatic, 600,000-sq.accommodations, great activities, have plenty of room. But the ft. Puerto Rico Convention fine dining and sophisticated Ritz-Carlton also attracts Center sits near historic and delights meeting planOld San Juan. The 10-yearmeeting and event spaces.” ners with a ballroom/confer—Milton Segarra, President and CEO, old building features the ence center that overlooks a Meet Puerto Rico latest technology, includgorgeous pool and gardens. ing recently installed solar Breakout sessions in smaller panels that provide green meeting rooms even manage to offer outdoor views. power. The exhibit hall offers a total of 152,700 sq. ft. The beachfront property’s 30,000-sq.-ft. ballroom/ that can be partitioned into three halls (A – 40,500, conference space is slated for renovation during B – 71,300 and C – 40,900). A mezzanine area overOctober-November of this year. looks the main exhibit hall, and the third floor contains a 39,551-sq.-ft. ballroom (the largest ballroom For incentive winners, consider the ultra-luxury in the Caribbean) that can be divided into two areas. Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve on The third floor also features an outdoor terrace with Laurance Rockefeller’s former property. The 114-room an additional 12,832 sq. ft. posh hideaway offers a 4,558-sq.-ft. meeting room, a boardroom and several private dining areas includThe 503-room Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & ing Su Casa, a colonial-style hacienda featuring a Casino is within easy walking distance for 60

Facilities & destinations 2014 summer


(Above): The El Conquistador Resort’s Casita Village. Forts built by the Spaniards today provide panoramic views of San Juan Bay (above, right) and fine dining (right).

conventioneers. The Sheraton offers 35,000 sq. ft. of its own flexible meeting space in its conference center, which can accommodate up to 1,800 attendees. The 16,000-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom is ideal for large functions, while smaller ones can use the 7,700-sq.-ft. Miramar Junior Ballroom or other meeting rooms. Some functions are just better outdoors, and the fourth floor, 57,000-sq.-ft. sundeck is perfect for that. It features a 5,500-sq.-ft. al fresco planned function area that looks out onto the Bay of San Juan. Two new hotels are being added to the Convention Center district: the 126-room Hyatt House San Juan (opening this fall) and a 252-room Courtyard by Marriott (currently under construction). Condado District

Moving on to the Condado District, planners will find La Concha – A Renaissance Resort, known for its nightlife, lively lobby scene and beachfront activities. La Concha’s Ocean Tower is currently undergoing a guestroom refurbishment to be completed this fall. The resort offers 25,000 sq. ft. of meeting space plus outdoor function areas including a stunning beachfront, six restaurants and four pools. The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel has reopened with its magnificent Spanish Revival architecture, opulent interiors and dramatic ocean views. Since its Facilities & destinations 2014 summer

inception in 1919, the storied Vanderbilt Hotel has catered to sophisticated travelers with five-star luxury. Restored to its original grandeur by virtue of a meticulous renovation, the Vanderbilt offers the 2,800-sq.-ft. Salon Dorado with Murano glass chandeliers for up to 120 guests, Salon Luchetti with floorto-ceiling windows providing uninterrupted ocean views for 80 guests, and the regal Salon Azul for 50 guests. The patio/ballroom area accommodates up to 600 guests. There’s also a cigar lounge, VIP executive lounge and a roundtable boardroom that seats 12. El Conquistador

Puerto Rico’s largest convention hotel is the El Conquistador, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, on the east coast in Fajardo. The sprawling grounds and 72-hole golf course sit 300 feet above the edge of the sea. A special tool for meeting planners is the “El Con 360” App, which offers 360° floor-to-ceiling virtual tours, points of interest, maps and video and photo galleries, helping planners visualize their meetings at the resort. The El Conquistador offers 100,000 sq. ft. of flexible indoor/outdoor meeting and event space. The $42 million Grand Atlantic Conference Center is gorgeous, with cutting-edge technology. Groups can host a function in the 21,090-sq.-ft. Grand Atlantic Ballroom or the 19,982-sq.-ft. Grand 61


Visitors to Puerto Rico savor flavorful food that represents the heritage of Spain, native tribes of the island and Western Africans. Mix those cuisines with the talents of worldclass chefs, and attendees’ palates will be pleased. Classic culinary highlights include island-grown coffee, piña colada or DonQ brand rum punch served in a coconut, and tostones (twice-fried garlicky green plantains). Culinary tours and cooking classes showcasing these delights are a natural choice for groups. Kayaking and exploring the rich foliage of El Yunque National Forest are among the islands’ most memorable experiences.

Caribbean Ballroom, or hold a board meeting in one of 16 breakout rooms. The property includes a funicular that takes guests down to the marina village, where they can catch the boat to private Palomino Island, offering beach and watersport facilities. Palomino Island is ideal for private beach events, and is especially lovely in the evening when illuminated by tiki torches. The El Conquistador also offers the elite Casita Village, a secluded enclave of oneto three-bedroom villas, complete with butler service and private pools. Activities and Attractions

Puerto Rico is a golfer’s dream with around 30 courses, 15 of which are considered world class.

Puerto Rico is among the top 10 places worldwide to see a rainforest, and El Yunque National Rainforest is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system. The display of colorful green foliage bursts with the sound of Coqui, the song of the resident tree frogs. Guides are available to lead a group on a variety of hiking trails, passing scenic waterfalls and wildlife. If participants are lucky, they might catch a glimpse of the Puerto Rican Parrot, an endangered species only found here. Advise guests to dress for wet conditions as El Yunque receives 100 billion gallons of precipitation per year. Meeting planners can also organize kayak or boat tours, but a word of caution: Kayakers must paddle through a dense, mangrove-lined channel at night. It’s dark; unless the group understands this, there could be some unhappy participants. Thus, it may be preferable to reserve the electric boat tour. 62

Puerto Rico’s geographic position made San Juan one of the key historic outposts of Spain’s West Indies dominions. San Juan National Park includes two forts built by Spaniards. Castillo San Cristóbal helped guard the city from land attacks, while Castillo San Felipe del Morro guarded the entrance to the San Juan Bay. Private candlelight dinners can be arranged in these spectacular World Heritage sites. Shopping enthusiasts will appreciate some time on the narrow cobblestone streets of Old San Juan. They’ll find shops with wrought-iron balconies selling artisan handicrafts, antiques, collectible art and designer clothing.

Puerto Rico deserves the moniker of “golf capital of the Caribbean.” It’s a golfer’s dream with around 30 courses, 15 of which are considered world class. Planners can arrange a golf outing or a challenging tournament for their attendees. One of the major draws of this island are the crystalclear Caribbean waters that shimmer in various hues of turquoise, and the soft, white-sand beaches. All watersports are available, including surfing. Sailing and snorkeling tours can take attendees out to an uninhabited island. Puerto Rico’s friendly culture combines with its outstanding natural beauty and historical treasures to make it one of the top meeting destinations in the Caribbean. Surely planners and attendees will find that the island goes beyond the conventional and exceeds expectations.

Facilities & destinations 2014 summer


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, you’ll never look at meetings the same way again. Contact us at 1.800.875.4765 MeetPuertoRico.com


on location

Puerto

Vallarta

L

iz and Dick obviously knew a good thing when they saw it. Back in the early ’60s when Richard Burton was filming the movie The Night of the Iguana near Puerto Vallarta, Elizabeth Taylor traveled there to visit him. Even in those pre-paparazzi days, the press got wind of their affair and the resulting publicity helped put Puerto Vallarta on the map as a tourist destination. It was then a sleepy fishing village, but today this beautiful resort city on Mexico’s Pacific coast offers all of the world-class 64

amenities needed to host productive meetings and reward top performers. First and foremost, Puerto Vallarta has the good fortune of being located on the stunning Bay of Banderas. Norma Furlong, president of locally based Tukari DMC, explains why the bay is such an important asset to the city. “The reason why the Bay of Banderas belongs to the club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World, a French organization that includes only 36 bays in the world when there Facilities & destinations 2014 summer


Meetings augmented by natural beauty, luxurious resorts and an abundance of adventures By Nicole Vera the USA, we have an impressive hotel infrastructure and very competitive rates, wonderful offsite venues, high-quality tourism services, social responsibility and professional and very friendly people.” The people, she believes, are what really set the city apart. “You can ask any meeting planner who had a program here and they will tell you our people are some of the kindest in any meetings and incentive destination.” Puerto Vallarta recently signed on to become a “Preferred Partner” of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) in an effort to attract more business travelers from the U.S. and Canada, and is participating in both the MPI World Education Congress in August and IMEX America in October. The city has had little trouble attracting general tourism as of late: Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism reports that Puerto Vallarta had an average hotel room occupancy of 8,612 rooms from January to April, 2014, 10 percent more when compared to the same period in 2013. Resort Rooms With a View

Puerto Vallarta is a paradise for planners that prefer all-inclusive resorts to make the budgeting process easier since meals and other amenities are included the rate. Casa Velas is an all-inclusive, adults-only boutique hotel located in Puerto Vallarta’s Cruising off Mexico’s Pacific coast (above) and paddling the exclusive Marina district just five minutes crystal-clear ocean lagoon at Costa Sur Resort & Spa (inset). from Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport. Casa Velas offers 80 suites and the best of both worlds, since the hotel overlooks are more than 2,188 in total, is because we have the beauty, the rich marine life, the Sierra Madre Moun- Marina Vallarta Golf Club, yet also offers exclusive beach access. The hotel’s private Ocean Club tains surrounding the Bay and wonderful subtropiis located just minutes away via a complimentary cal weather that allows you to swim year round.” hotel shuttle that runs continuously throughout She lists some of the city’s other advantages. “We the day. And if the lushly landscaped grounds and are three hours away from almost any gateway in pool at Casa Velas aren’t relaxing enough, guests Facilities & destinations 2014 summer

65


Puerto Vallarta’s convention center accommodates up to 7,000 attendees in 75,000 sq. ft. of space.

one of the many tours that take you to the charming pueblitos where you can see how little has changed. Stop at the Botanical Gardens on the way — one of Vallarta’s unique attractions. Shop on the plaza of a 500-year-old town. And if you’re feeling frisky, go ahead and take a zipline tour of the jungle canopy. It won’t be dull!” can head to Spa Casa Velas to indulge in the treatment of their choice. For meetings or special events, planners have more than 2,700 sq. ft. of function space at their disposal. Guests staying at Casa Velas also have access to the facilities at the hotel’s nearby sister property, the beachfront Velas Vallarta, that has 345 suites and more than 14,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

There is no shortage of panoramic views of Banderas Bay for attendees to enjoy in Puerto Vallarta, and that’s certainly true at Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa. The resort’s 165 rooms feature contemporary décor and the spacious suites deliver a true “wow” factor with their marble floors, private terraces (some even equipped with an inviting hammock), whirlpool tubs and spectacular ocean views. The beach and pool area at Garza Blanca offer beautiful settings for private events.

Set on the southern shore of Banderas Bay, Costa Sur Resort & Spa puts an end to that ever-present dilemma about who gets the best rooms. Every one of “You can ask any meeting its 202 suites delivers ocean views planner who had a through floor-to-ceiling windows. program here and they For group events, the resort has a palapa (thatched-roof dwelling) will tell you our people that’s ideal for cocktail receptions, are some of the kindest as well as a private oceanfront terin any meetings and race that can accommodate up to incentive destination.” 40 guests for dinner. Gelsey Fadul, the resort’s marketing and sales director, described some of the options that guests have. “Our activities program will give you as much or as little as you want to do — every day. Start with our own protected lagoon, a unique amenity in Vallarta. In the morning you can slowly snorkel (or just float lazily) past the beautifully colored tropical fish that now live in our lagoon. On another day, take our own Costa Sur Tour to the Los Arcos Marine Preserve for more ambitious snorkeling. Or learn how to scuba dive with our PADI-certified instructor. Ask Jose or Arturo to teach you how to paddle board (yes, you can — it’s easy). Or cruise the lagoon in kayaks.” For attendees who prefer to say on terra firma, Fadul offers other suggestions. “Just sign up for 66

Scheduled to open late this year is the Hotel Mousai at Garza Blanca, a 72-suite, adults-only hotel located on the Garza Blanca property. Billed as “Puerto Vallarta’s boldest and sassiest new hotel,” the hip, contemporary-styled Hotel Mousai will include The Red Room, which is being described as a “fantastically versatile private event venue” designed to accommodate 140 guests for a banquet or 200 for a conference.

Mexico is known for its tequila, and the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is one of the few resorts in the world that makes its own brand of tequila from agave grown onsite. For a unique activity, groups can participate in one of the weekly tequila tastings led by the resort’s tequila sommelier, Audrey Formisano, who will educate them on the history of tequila and how it is made, and then introduce them to all five varieties the resort produces. (On a related note, the Minister of Tourism recently announced that a Tequila Museum will open on the site of Teatro Vallarta.) The CasaMagna Marriott has 404 guest rooms, including 29 suites, and offers 13 meeting rooms containing more than 8,900 sq. ft. of function space.

Facilities & destinations 2014 summer


The newly opened Holiday Inn Express Puerto Vallarta is conveniently located near the airport and just minutes from the city’s downtown area. The sleek, contemporary, seven-story hotel offers 115 rooms, including eight suites, as well as two meeting rooms and a rooftop pool area.

75,000 sq. ft. of space, and the column-free Gran Salon VallarThe convention center ta can be subdivided into eight is the only venue in separate rooms. The venue’s the world that has a outdoor terrace, Plaza Mayor, contains 226,000 sq. ft. of event natural protected area: the mangrove ecosystem space. The convention center is the only venue in the world that known as Estero El has a natural protected area. Estero El Salado, located adjacent Salado. A Convention Center to the convention center, is an That’s Close to Nature immersed mangrove ecosystem The Centro Internacional de Convenciones de and an important refuge for the area’s plant and Puerto Vallarta (CIC Puerto Vallarta) is ideal for animal life. Part of the convention center’s income groups that need a large venue for their events. It is invested in the conservation of this valuable can accommodate up to 7,000 attendees in over natural resource.

5 Prime Puerto Vallarta Experiences Puerto Vallarta offers a wide variety of experiences for groups to enjoy. Here’s a sampling of some of the best: Entertainment

Norma Furlong, president of Puerto Vallartabased Tukari DMC, recommends the dinner show called “Rhythms of the Night.” Performed under the stars in an outdoor amphitheater, the show is inspired by the myths, legends and cultures of Mexico. The only way to reach the venue is by taking a cruise across the bay.

and sea adventures. The company’s extreme adventures include off-road driving, Mexico’s longest and fastest zipline, and a thrilling hillside waterslide. Sea adventures include flyboarding, surfing, whale watching, luxury sailing, dolphin swims and sea lion encounters. The company also offers “Hidden Mexico,” a guided tour through Vallarta’s beautiful botanical gardens, pre-Hispanic petroglyphs and El Tuito, a colonial village founded in the 16th century. El Malecon

Cultural Events

Furlong can also set up an artisan market where attendees can interact with local craftsmen who produce items such as piñatas and silver jewelry. Another popular choice is to plan a Mexican-themed event featuring local foods, mariachi musicians and dancers in colorful traditional attire. Teambuilding

Banderas Bay is ideal for staging a competitive regatta or other outdoor activities designed to foster a sense of teamwork. Outdoor Adventures

Vallarta Adventures, Mexico’s premier adventure company, offers an extensive menu of land Facilities & destinations 2014 summer

No visit to Puerto Vallarta would be complete without taking time to stroll along El Malecon, the city’s iconic boardwalk that stretches approximately 12 blocks along the waterfront. It’s the perfect place to catch a blazing sunset over the Pacific. 67


3

4

peachtree city, GA

2

Glen Cove, NY

1

London, England

Austin, TX

F& D

Hot List

5

Leesburg, VA

Status: Hot category: Conference Centers FYI: Several new developments highlight this list of meetings-

specialized facilities, known for offering groups the latest technology and amenities in a distraction-free environment. The AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center in Austin is expanding, and across the pond, the IACC-certified 155 Bishopsgate just opened in London. In addition, Glen Cove Mansion Hotel & Conference Center has appointed a new F&B director, and the venerable National Conference Center is under new ownership and led by a distinguished new vice president/GM.

AT&T Executive Education & 1] Conference Center Austin, TX

www.meetattexas.com Complemented by a nearly 300-room hotel, this University of Texas at Austin facility has 40,000 sq. ft. of meeting space across 37 different rooms, including a 300-seat Amphitheater and an 800seat divisible ballroom. Known for its high-tech features, the AT&T Conference Center supports videoconferencing and webcasting, as well as telepresence meetings reaching up to 48 locations. The Amphitheater has a 12-panel ultraclear digital multimedia wall. The Center is expanding its conference space with a 15,000-sq.ft. ballroom, 5,000 sq. ft. of prefunction space and a 5,500-sq.-ft. banquet kitchen in the new Robert B. Rowling Hall, projected to break ground in December and open in early 2017.

2]

155 Bishopsgate London, England

www.etc155bishopsgate.co.uk Opened in June and an IACC member, 155 Bishopsgate is a new offering from etc.venues. The single-floor facility houses 20,000 sq. ft. of function space, located at the entrance to Liverpool Street Station in the heart of London. A main conference suite and three additional rooms can accommodate groups of up to 550 for a conference or 350 for a seated dinner, while the Galleria is ideal for an exhibition of 50 stands or a networking event. 155 Bishopsgate also offers a team of onsite chefs, AV technical support staff, and an IT infrastructure that includes two 12-screen plasma walls. 68

3] Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree Peachtree City, GA

www.dolceatlantapeachtree.com

Situated within 40 acres of Georgia pines and only 25 miles from Atlanta, Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree offers IACC-certified meeting space that includes 65 conference rooms. A 5,300-sq.-ft. ballroom, a 150-capacity auditorium and two amphitheaters accommodating up to 80 attendees are also part of the property’s 63,000 sq. ft. of function space. Tech resources include an onsite IT/AV staff, videoconferencing capability and complimentary WiFi throughout the center. With 233 guestrooms, an indoor pool and outdoor teambuilding options, Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree is a full-service retreat.

Cove Mansion 4] Glen Hotel & Conference Center Glen Cove, NY

www.glencovemansion.com Located just 30 minutes from JFK and LaGuardia airports, Glen Cove Mansion Hotel & Conference Center is an IACC Platinum Member with 29,000 sq. ft. of function space and 27 meeting rooms. The 187-guestroom Georgian-style mansion celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2010. Guests can enjoy Long Island Sound views, the Garden Room Restaurant, Pub 1910, an indoor swimming pool and whirlpool, garden swimming pool, racquetball courts, lighted tennis courts, a jogging trail and a sports field. Personalized teambuilding events are offered. The facility recently named Gus Montesantos as Director of Food & Beverage. A 35-year hospitality veteran, Montesantos most recently served as F&B director for the Doubletree Guest Suites by Hilton Times Square in New York City.

5] The National Conference Center Leesburg, VA

www.conferencecenter.com

A renowned conference center located about 45 minutes from Washington, DC, and 12 miles from Dulles International Airport, The National Conference Center offers 917 guestrooms and over 250,000 sq. ft. of function space, including the West Belmont Place catering complex with its 16,500-sq.-ft. ballroom. An 800-seat dining room and two bars are onsite. NCC PS Enterprises LLC, a venture between an affiliate of PCCP, LLC, and affiliates and principals of Stoneleigh Capital, LLC, acquired the center in April. The group has retained LaKota Hotels & Resorts to oversee day-to-day operations. In addition, the property has appointed a Vice President and General Manager, Geoff Lawson. Lawson was North American President of IACC for two years. Facilities & destinations 2014 summer


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Facilities & Destinations - Summer 2014  

Featuring: Annual F&D Mid-Market Review Destinations: Milwaukee, San Jose, CA, Puerto Rico, Puerto Vallarta Columns: Tradeshow Perspec...

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