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

2015 ELITE Awards 21

WINTER 2015-2016

& Destinations


For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals

The ‘New Breed’ of Hilton Headquarters Hotel For

Headquarters Hotel For The Palm Beach County Convention Center Represents The Brand’s Latest Offerings


3 Tech Tools

to Increase Attendee Engagement 64

California 28

Florida 36

Caribbean 40

JOHN PARKINSON General Manager, Hilton West Palm Beach

Grows On Trees HERE Bright people meet in San Jose, the smartest city in America

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New 60,000 sq. ft. ballroom • 81 breakout rooms with more than 190,000 sq. ft. of space 500,000 sq. ft. of renovated exhibit space • 800-room headquarter hotel opening 2019 © Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau – The Official Destination Sales & Marketing Organization for Greater Miami and the Beaches.

editor’s note

GREAt suppliers, Present and Past

Facilities & Destinations WINTER For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals


Volume 23 No. 4

Chief Operating Officer David Korn


here is no better time than winter to explore the virtues of the Sunshine State and the Golden State, two of the meeting industry’s most popular fair-weather destinations. Of course, a meeting destination is only as good as its suppliers, a pleasant climate notwithstanding. The fact that many Floridian and Californian cities are meetings powerhouses is attributable to the quality of their facilities, convention services and entertainment offerings, together with the ability of the local CVB to market that package. At its Adrian Awards Gala held in New York City on Feb. 16, the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) paid tribute to several marketing organizations in both states, including San Francisco Travel (Gold award for the redesigned www.sanfrancisco.travel) and the Greater Miami CVB (Gold award for the “It’s So Miami” advertising campaign). In addition, Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel, who graces the cover of the F&D 2015 SuperBook, won HSMAI’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award (see page 38 for details). Congratulations to these winners and the other awardees. One great supplier from the Golden State should remain in our memories: Tim Brown, Founder and CEO of Irvine, CA-based Meeting Sites Resource. Brown passed away on Jan. 25 in Palm Desert, CA, and since then has been honored by the meetings industry as one of its most devoted professionals. Apart from leading the company that brought him recognition as MPI’s Supplier of the Year in 1994, Brown was a vigorous contributor to the field: He served on MPI’s International Board and as President of its Orange County and San Diego chapters. He was a well-known mentor and a frequent guest writer for meeting magazines, including F&D: See his “Plan and Think Before You Ink” in the 2012-2013 Planner Guide, page 8. I had always found Brown and his wife, Jennifer, to be terrific sources on hotel contract negotiations and strategic meetings management. I extend my condolences to their family and wish Jennifer continued success as President of the company.

– George Seli Editorial Director, Facilities Media Group gseli@facilitiesonline.com


In Brief................................................................................................................. 4 Quick Takes Darren K. Green, L.A. Tourism........................................................................... 12 John Parkinson, Hilton West Palm Beach........................................................... 14 Perspectives Risk Management: Back to Basics, by Barbara Dunn O’Neal............................. 62 Digitally Connect With the Customer, by Ann Godi.......................................... 64 Photoview IAEE Photoview................................................................................................. 60 PCMA Photoview............................................................................................... 61


Planner Roundtable........................................................................................... 16 ELITE Awards..................................................................................................... 21 PRISM Awards.................................................................................................... 25 Destinations California........................................................................................................... 28 Florida............................................................................................................... 36 Caribbean: St. Croix and St. Thomas................................................................. 40 Offsite Venues: Historic Homes......................................................................... 58

Associate Publisher Michael Caffin Editorial Director George Seli Contributing Editors Anthony Bilden Rachel Kapur Deborah Shapiro Creative Direction & Design Scott-Goodman Associates Circulation Manager Winny Cheung Editorial Assistant Shuyu Guo Marketing Assistant Hang Wang Business Operations Nadia Derelieva © Copyright 2016 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 Facilities, 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016. Printed in U.S.A. Cover ad space is available by contacting a Facilities advertising account executive at (212) 532-4150.

ON THE COVER Since Jan. 27, John Parkinson and his team at the Hilton West Palm Beach have been busy welcoming the first guests to the new hotel, which promises to be a game changer in Palm Beach County, FL’s meetings scene. Not only is the property connected to the Palm Beach County Convention Center, but it also represents the Hilton’s latest features in convention hotels, from event lawns to lush pool areas.

Facilities Directory............................................................................................. 43 Advertiser Index................................................................................................ 63 2 Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 winter

Reasons for meeting in Puerto Rico: State-of-the-art technology ✓ Accessibility ✓ Accommodations ✓ Frequent flights on major carriers ✓ Fine dining ✓ Championship golf ✓ Museums ✓ Amenities ✓ Beach ✓ Adventure ✓ Nightlife ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ on a tropical island. In the Caribbean.

When you need your next meeting to be more than a meeting, head away from the mainstream. Head off the mainland. Contact the professional Meet Puerto Rico team at 1.800.875.4765. MeetPuer toRico.com | Escape the conventional.

In Brief



— The Georgia International Convention Center (GICC)

A rendering of the Javits Center’s new prefunction space, part of its proposed 1.2 million-sq.-ft. expansion

Larry Alexander, Detroit Metro CVB

Mercedes Miller, Georgia Intl. Convention Center will be pursuing Leadership of Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The GICC is investing $7 million into its lighting, water, heating, cooling and automation systems; Dallas, TX-based SCIenergy, Inc. is overseeing the project. “Becoming LEED certified continues our quest to offer exemplary service and efficiency while preserving the environment,” said Mercedes Miller, Executive Director of the GICC. “We’ve always been on the cutting edge … this is the next phase in our pledge to offer the best convention and hospitality experience in the state of Georgia.”


Greater Columbus Convention Center’s $125 million renovation and expansion is scheduled for completion in July 2017. As of January 2016, the project was reported to be about one quarter complete. Highlights include 37,000 sq. ft. of new exhibit space; an additional 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; LEED certification; upgraded Convention Center and Hyatt Regency meeting rooms, ballrooms and public spaces; and a new 800-space parking garage. 4

and Jefferson Avenue. “We’re not done yet,” said Larry Alexander, Chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We have to continue to strive to stay ahead of the game. We want to be sure we’re doing more with the capabilities of this facility for the future of meetings and conventions.”

LAS VEGAS, NV — ARIA Resort & Casino is embarking on an expansion of its LEED Gold-certified Convention Cen-

Thom Connors, Cobo Center

DETROIT, MI — The debut of Cobo Square, a large terrace for outdoor events, marks the completion of Cobo Center’s five-year, $279 million renovation. “I think the most important part of the reinvention of Cobo Center was the adaptive reuse of the old arena,” said Thom Connors, Regional Vice President of SMG and General Manager of Cobo Center. “By cutting part of it away and creating a new atrium, it really tied the whole renovation together and gave the view from the main concourse out to the river and across to Canada.” The renovations have also given organizers new tools to draw attendees to their events, including a new, state-of-the-art broadcast studio and the 160 ft.-by-30 ft. digital sign on the exterior of Cobo Center overlooking Washington Boulevard

Bobby Baldwin, ARIA ter. The $154-million project, scheduled for May 2016-February 2018, will deliver an additional 200,000 sq. ft. of meeting space across four stories, including a glass-enclosed venue with views of The Park and the new Las Vegas Arena. “Convention business at ARIA is booming, and demand is currently exceeding the space we have available,” said Bobby Baldwin, ARIA’s President and COO. “Hosting large meetings and conventions is a core part

of our business; as our clients’ needs grow, we are committed to grow with them.”

LAS VEGAS, NV —The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Convention Center expansion was completed with the January opening of the 70,000-sq.-ft. Oceanside Ballroom. The other components of the $70 million expansion — 350,000 sq. ft. of new exhibit space, a 20,000-sq.-ft. foyer and new underground parking — opened in August. The final phase of the resort-wide, multiyear transformation is the $100 million redesign of more than 3,000 guestrooms and suites, completed in February.  NEW YORK, NY — Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2016 agenda, presented in early January, calls for a $1 billion expansion and upgrade of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The 1.2 million sq. ft. expansion would result in a fivefold increase in meeting and ballroom space, including the largest ballroom in the Northeast at 60,000 sq. ft. Additionally, 500,000 sq. ft. of the exhibition space will be contiguous on one level. Construction is expected to begin in late 2016 on the project, which would also include a 34,000-sq.-ft. solar energy array, green roof terrace and truck garage. In mid February, the Javits Center launched Market Express, which allows customers to order a variety of meal and beverage options through their mobile devices for timely delivery to the their exhibit booth or offices throughout the six-block facility. Continued on page 6

Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 winter

Sunburst Room and Terrace

Honeybell Boardrooms

At the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) we are proud to be known as “The Center of Hospitality.” This symbolizes outstanding service to our clients and community, motivating their desire to return and enhancing the community’s reputation for excellence. As a world-class convention facility, we host some of the most dynamic regional, national and international conventions, meetings and trade shows. This allows the Center to fulfill its mission of economic development, ultimately benefiting the Central Florida region.

Discover what the Orange County Convention Center can do for you. Call our Sales Department at 1-800-345-9845 or e-mail sales@occc.net www.experiencetheneworange.com

Copper Blues Rock Pub & Kitchen

In Brief

CONVENTION CENTER WATCH Continued from page 4

(L-r): Casandra Matej, Executive Director of the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau; Robert Trevino, San Antonio District 1 Councilman; San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor; Michael Sawaya, Executive Director of San Antonio Convention Sports Facilities; and San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley welcome over 300 San Antonians to unveil the newly transformed Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.


6-MINUTE WALK At the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix, your attendees are minutes away from the eclectic nightlife and amazing local music they deserve. So book today and watch your event take a big step in the right direction.

— The newly transformed Henry B. González Convention Center (HBGCC) welcomed its first major convention Feb. 10-13 with the Texas Music Educators Association’s 2016 Clinic/Convention. The HBGCC’s $325 million expansion increased the HBGCC’s footprint to 1.6 million sq. ft., including 514,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, 86,500 sq. ft. of columnfree multipurpose space, 70 meeting spaces including divisible breakout rooms, and the 54,000-sq.-ft. Stars at Night Ballroom, reportedly the largest ballroom in Texas.


— In February, Events DC announced expanded complimentary WiFi services across the 2.3 million-sq.-ft. Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Events DC partnered with Smart City Networks to upgrade the service.



800-282-4842 | 6

The new 600-room Hilton Cleveland, connected directly to the FirstMerit Convention Center, is accepting reservations for July 25. The property offers over 46,000 sq. ft. of

Jason Bruges’s “Liquid Crystal” art installation revealed as the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center Atrium’s centerpiece function space, including a 20,778-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom and 15,729-sq.-ft. Junior Ballroom. Other features include an indoor pool and a 32nd-floor SkyBar with views of Lake Erie. Continued on page 8

Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 winter

Greater Akron, Ohio, is home to the region’s most convenient and affordable facilities for conventions, banquets and special events. Easily accessible from the interstate, turnpike and two

Northeast Ohio’s Top Meeting Points

airports, Summit County features 14 full-service hotels with more than 5,500 guest rooms, plus a remarkable range of impressive gathering spaces, including the John S. Knight

Convention Center. Call 800.245.4254 today to plan your next event with a member of our destination sales team. For more information, visit akron.travel.


/ S U M M I T

Convention & Visitors Bureau

800.245.4254 / akron.travel

In Brief

CONVENTION Hotel Highlights Continued from page 6

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — In January, the Walt

Disney World Swan & Dolphin became the largest convention hotel in Florida to offer highdensity WiFi. Permanently installed by XpoNet, the new system can provide groups of more than 15,000 attendees with strong, fast and reliable Internet service, supported by a full back-up system.


Jan. 29, executives from Omni Hotels & Resorts along with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, the Metro Council, leaders from the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Louisville Downtown Partnership broke ground on

the Omni Louisville Hotel, the brand’s first property in the state. Set to open in 2018 just one block from the Kentucky International Convention Center, the 612-room hotel will offer 70,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Highlights include Bob’s Steak & Chop House, a Mokara signature spa and an upscale market connected to the lobby.

NASHVILLE, TN — Opening in October, the Westin Nashville is adjacent to Music City Center and just steps from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The 454-room property offers 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a 7,038-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom.


— The 186-room Embassy Suites Wilmington Downtown Hotel officially broke ground on Feb. 12. Located adjacent

Breaking ground on the Embassy Suites Wilmington Downtown Hotel are Wilmington city officials, Harmony Hospitality representatives and Bob Maehling (third from left) of Embassy Suites Brand Management.

Newly Restored Marriott Syracuse Downtown Complements the Oncenter The Onondaga County Convention Center (the Oncenter) now has a formidable partner in its efforts to draw group business to Syracuse, NY. Just over a block away, the $70 million restoration of the Marriott Syracuse Downtown is nearing completion, positioning the former Hotel Syracuse as the Oncenter’s official headquarters hotel. Currently accepting reservations for June 2016 and later, the 261-room property offers 43,000 sq. ft. of function space that includes a modernized Finger Lakes Ballroom and eight meeting spaces designed to adhere to the standards of the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC). In 2015, Ed Riley, hotel developer and leader of the restoration, entered into a licensing agreement with Marriott International and selected Crescent Hotels & Resorts as the manager. But the hotel is no ordinary Marriott. Originally opened in 8

Paul McNeil, GM

1924, the Hotel Syracuse in its heyday welcomed highprofile guests such as President John F. Kennedy, President Eisenhower, Elvis Presley, Bob Hope, Charles Lindbergh and John Lennon. The interior is graced with terrazzo floors, 20ft. columns in the grand lobby, ceiling murals and original 1924 chandeliers. “It’s a Greek Revival building with a lot of Greek mythology in the artwork and exterior ornamentation,”

to the Wilmington Convention Center, the hotel will offer 6,600 sq. ft. of meeting space, as well as a 4,003-sq.-ft. roof deck and bar. The hotel is scheduled to open in the spring of 2017. “The addition of the Embassy Suites will allow us to comfortably host groups with up to 750 attendees, as well as pursue more regional and national opportunities,” noted Kim Hufham, President and CEO of the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau.

notes Riley. “The major public space and the exterior are going through a detailed restoration process, and the two formal ballrooms and guestroom corridors as well. The guestrooms themselves are a total gut and redo. In the guestroom artwork, we tell the history of the city and the hotel.” With the opening of the restored hotel, the city is poised to make new history with a renaissance of its downtown. “The hotel has been closed for about 12 years, and the

convention center hasn’t had a designated convention hotel, which is really critical to the city,” observes Paul McNeil, the Marriott’s General Manager. “So this is really an opportunity for the hotel to partner with the Oncenter and drive business into the city and generate the economic revitalization of the downtown.” One particular goal is to bring back some of the lost state association business, by extending attractive room rates at the Marriott, McNeil adds. “We think we’re very well positioned for convention business, but also because of our IACC facilities we think we’re good for the businesses in the area.” Syracuse’s cultural district offers attendees several nearby performing arts centers and theaters, including the historic Landmark Theatre just a block and a half away from the hotel. Syracuse University sporting events are another recreational option. And for a taste of the region, the hotel’s Eleven Waters restaurant showcases highly regarded Finger Lakes wines. —G.S.

Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 winter


Convention Centers...1 Number to Call

With 75 convention and exposition venues, thousands of employees, and decades of experience and know-how, SMG offers planners everything they need for a successful event. To learn about what SMG can do for you contact Gregg Caren at 1.866.BOOK.SMG gcaren@smgworld.com or visit smgworld.com

ndance. e t t a t pec nce transcendence. x E rie r o w n e d b y an e aces c p s p r r io it you at Monona Terrace. inte Ex n aw a

ing r de n a i s w h er e z zl p ga e Mono k a Da oof to L f r re o ng becomes thinki ing e sho y t k i s tion. inv on th lu e an of ac ’s b row’s pl e y r a He tod tomor

In Brief MEETING DEALS Grand Hyatt New York, New York, NY

Meetings booked by June 30 that consist of 100 or more paid guestrooms will receive 10 deluxe upgrades at a group rate, 10 complimentary VIP welcome amenities, 10 staff rooms on peak nights at 50 percent discount off group rate, 15 percent discount off AV rental through in-house provider, and several other rewards. Offer is valid for meetings held by Dec. 31, 2017 and is applicable for programs with a Thursday– Sunday stay pattern. (646) 213-6830; salesnycgh@ hyatt.com Hilton Waikoloa Village, Waikoloa, HI Newly introduced group specials effective through 2017 include a 5 percent rebate to master account, 50 percent discount on resort charge, 20 percent allowable attrition, complimentary meeting room rental and other rewards. The All-Inclusive Food & Beverage plan is available for $225 per person per day and the All-Inclusive Food-Only plan is available for $150 per person per day including tax and gratuities. (808) 886-1234; sales@hiltonwaikoloavillage.com Hyatt Place Washington DC/ US Capitol {MADISON, WI}


Planners contracting new groups by June 30, 2016, for stay dates now through Dec. 31, 2016 may select their favorite charity to receive a donation of 3 percent of the room revenue. For groups staying over a Friday and Saturday, 7 percent will be given to the charity for those days only. (202) 289-5587 Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC Meetings booked by April 30 can be eligible for a complimentary signature spa treatment for planners to use as a gift for VIPs, additional spa treatment for every 100 room nights consumed, 15 percent discount off all 50-minute treatments for attendees Monday through Friday, and Wellness Specialist consultations. (202) 787-6061; mowassales@mohg.com Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL When booking a meeting to arrive in 2016 of up to 50 rooms peak night, planners receive the following perks: one complimentary room for every 35 actualized rooms; one upgrade at group rate for every 35 actualized rooms; complimentary Internet in meetings space for attendees based on peak actualized rooms; 10 percent off audiovisual equipment; 10 percent off spa treatments; and 30 percent allowable attrition. (904) 285-7777, ext. 6500

©2016 Monona Terrace


Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 winter

The Cox Convention Center is steps away from the vibrant Bricktown district, featuring a variety of canal-side restaurants, clubs, sports and music venues, plus nearby museums and attractions.





of meeting space.

1 Myriad Gardens

of exhibit hall space.

Oklahoma City, OK 73102

15K seat arena.

Phone (405) 602-8500

Q u i c k


Darren K. Green Senior Vice President of Sales, L.A. Tourism By Anthony Bilden


n January of 2014, Darren Green was named Senior Vice President of Sales for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LA Tourism). He leads the citywide convention sales team, hotel sales team and the destination services team. Green’s 20 years of hospitality sales experience includes positions with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Hotels Corporation, Nikko Hotels International and KSL Resorts. Prior to joining LA Tourism, he served as Director of Sales for the Starwood Hotels of New York Metro Market Team.


and creativity. As one of the premier creative capitals of the world, the integration possibilities for culture is endless. Places planners wouldn’t automatically think of, such as Grand Ave or California Plaza, offer dynamic settings complete with amazing public art. The Petersen Automotive Museum recently reopened as the country’s finest automotive institution after a $125 million transformation. The Broad museum debuted in Downtown last year and houses more than 2,000 works of contemporary art. L.A.’s culture scene is as diverse as anywhere else in the world and offers something for every taste and interest.

hat services to planners do you believe set LA Tourism apart from other CVBs?


hat are some virtues of LA t the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention as a meeting destination Board, we are true destination experts whose that planners may not be aware No. 1 priority is to help planners make informed is the premier of, and which you are trying to decisions that will meet or exceed their objectives. promote? As a one-stop shop, we’re able to customize any destination for pre- and program to focus on matching a planner’s goals while etting around Los Angeles post-getaways. Attendees also showcasing authentic, only-in-L.A. experiences. has become much more With a team of sales representatives based in major convenient. L.A. boasts a robust can turn work into play cities globally, L.A. Tourism is able to develop critical metro rail system allowing relationships with planners to ensure an easy and attendees to get across the with weekend escapes to efficient process along the way. city and explore our unique Our award-winning Client Services team at L.A. neighborhoods with ease. Malibu, Marina del Rey Tourism has the inside scoop on everything Los Continued development on the Angeles has to offer and thinks outside of the box or Venice.” system will further connect L.A.’s to cater to the needs and interests of any group. distinct regions in the coming L.A. Tourism’s personalized, complimentary service years, such as the extension of the ensures our clients their planning and decision-making will Purple Line on the Westside. In fact, beginning this May, riders become easier, simpler and stress free. will be able to get from Downtown to Santa Monica on Metro’s Expo line in just 45 minutes. oes the organization have any new initiatives to share with Access to L.A. has never been easier. The Los Angeles Airport clients? (LAX) continues its multi-billion dollar modernization program to reimagine the airport experience to truly reflect L.A.’s culture, cuisine, e recently launched meetLA.com, a new industry-leading and 21st century lifestyle. The second-busiest airport in the nation, website designed specifically as a comprehensive gateway LAX offers unmatched lift for both national and international visitors for meeting and event professionals looking to conduct business with convenient flights and the most economical airfares than any in Los Angeles. meetLA.com offers critical tools to navigate the other major U.S. city. For groups with international attendees, LAX city of Los Angeles with ease, such as find a venue, compare serves as the perfect gateway to the destination. venues and live interactive mapping. And lastly, L.A. is the premier destination for pre- and postgetaways. Attendees can turn work into play with weekend escapes hich offsite venues or activities would you recommend to Malibu, Marina del Rey or Venice, where they can relish to planners seeking to express the local culture through Southern California’s beach vibe. Or they can bring the family and their event? enjoy world-class attractions such as Universal Studios Hollywood, lesser-known fact about Los Angeles is that we boast more which will debut The Wizarding World of Harry Potter this museums and cultural institutions than any other U.S. city. April. L.A. is an unrivaled gateway destination with access to all of From public street art and world-class museums to restored Southern California, making it a perfect setting for mixing business classic performance venues, L.A. is a thriving hub of arts, culture and pleasure.



D W W A 12

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 winter

247,052 square feet of column-free space

Cutting edge technology Customized network solutions Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout

When you book your next meeting at the Austin Convention Center, the movers and shakers are already here. With six entertainment districts and a safe and walkable downtown, 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

Q u i c k


John Parkinson

General Manager, Hilton West Palm Beach

By George Seli


he Hilton West Palm Beach opened on Jan. 27 with several meeting groups on the books for early February. The strong interest from groups — both association and corporate, both in state and out of state — is no surprise given the property’s unquestionable value to the local infrastructure. Connected by enclosed walkway to the Palm Beach Convention Center, the 400-room hotel has its own 24,000-plus sq. ft. of indoor meeting space and boasts a prime location: three miles from the Palm Beach International Airport; walking distance to both CityPlace (an upscale shopping and dining hub) and the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; and minutes from some of Palm Beach’s finest golf courses. General Manager John Parkinson has been with Hilton for about 13 years, most recently as GM of the Doubletree by Hilton at Walt Disney World Resort, and has helped to transition several properties to the Hilton brand, including the Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood.


id your team face any challenges in introducing this hotel into the market?

ur biggest job has been a campaign to get the word out about what West Palm Beach is all about, that it’s a great meeting destination. Many groups had been to The Breakers, but we’re offering a downtown convention center atmosphere.


ow did the convention center hotel plan come to fruition?

oasis. That’s the model Hilton has used at a number of hotels, especially in Florida.


hat does the hotel offer in terms of outdoor event spaces?

e have two large event lawns of about 2,400 sq. ft. each at the pool deck, and one at the front of the property of about 6,000 sq. ft. that will be utilized for larger shows and tented events. Event lawns are definitely something that’s coming into the new breed of Hilton.


ow would you describe the cuisine of the hotel’s signature restaurant, Manor? n Florida we’re very lucky to have fresh seafood and produce because of the climate, so we decided to embrace that. Chef Matthew Byrne, formerly Tiger Woods’ personal chef, uses fresh local ingredients and makes dishes from scratch.

Hilton has “a very

strong track record in the last few years of opening and running convention center hotels.”



s group dining available?

es. Manor seats about 150 indoors and about 60 more outdoors.


oes the Hilton have a working relationship with CityPlace?

t had been talked about for quite a long time; the convention center was built a little over 10 years ago. It’s a first-class convention center, but they never had a traditional headquarter hotel. Due to economic conditions the hotel [plan] went away for a while and then it came back. The Related Group, the owner and the developer of the hotel, are very vested in West Palm Beach. They own CityPlace and have developed some of the condo buildings in the area. So when they got the opportunity to be involved in this project, they jumped at it.

e’ve talked to a number of different facilities in CityPlace, and they’re very excited to have us here. For those who go shopping and want to have dinner at CityPlace but not lug all their things around, we’re working on a deal with where guests can drop off their items at the guest service counter at CityPlace and we’ll come pick them up.


he main thing in my opinion is being the easiest hotel to do business with, and that’s been my motto at any hotel I’ve ever been at. Every one of them did more group business when I left than when I started. When a group says, “We’re coming to West Palm Beach for this meeting and we’d like to do X, Y and Z,” we say, “Let us work with our local sources and help you find [the vendors].” It’s a lot easier for us to reach out to our contacts and handle those kinds of logistics than them calling from New York, for example, to try to find a restaurant when they’ve never been to the area. We work with some DMCs to help us with that. And it always surprises me that many hotels don’t give groups that kind of concierge feel.

hy do you believe Hilton was selected as the operator?

think Hilton is one of the premier brands when it comes to running convention center hotels. We have a very strong track record in the last few years of opening and running convention hotels. One thing Hilton does a very good job of is building a convention hotel and adding some unique features, such as an amazing pool area out back with a sprawling deck, almost three quarters of an acre, with a lush atmosphere. So after having a tough day in meetings, attendees can walk outside to this great Florida 14


hat is your approach to ensuring meeting groups have a great experience?

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 winter

PITTSBURGH MIGHTY. BEAUTIFUL. VIBRANT. The perfect setting for powerful events.


P l a nn e r R o u nd t a b l e


What distinguishes great convention and visitors bureaus from good ones? Faye Brooks, Director, Meetings & Travel Department, American Bar Association Anne Daniel, GTP, Senior Manager, Travel, Meetings & Events, Ferguson, a Wolseley Company Beth Kozlowski, Senior Corporate Meeting Planner, HRG North America onsite for Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. Cathy L. Nash, CMP, Director, Meetings and Conventions Department, American Psychiatric Association Kathy Sturm, Director of Programs, Society of Architectural Historians


By George Seli

or many planners, CVBs are key partners in the site selection and planning process. Ideally, they are a “knowledgeable, timely, intuitive resource,” according to Anne Daniel of Ferguson, a Wolseley Company, and help to “ensure that the planners have a great experience with the city, convention center and hotels,” notes Cathy Nash of the American Psychiatric Association. Of course, the ideal and the real do not always coincide. While planners are generally pleased with the work of these organizations, they occasionally find their preferred services and approaches lacking. In an industry where strong working relationships between planners and suppliers is critical, it is important for the clients to voice their preferences and expectations. That is exactly what our five roundtable participants undertake with regard to CVBs, resulting in constructive feedback. The objective is to continue to refine these partnerships, which many planners have valued over the years. As Kathy Sturm of the Society of Architectural Historians remarks, “The majority of my dealings with CVBs over the past 10 years have all been very positive, and I am grateful for all that they do for our organization.”


Kozlowski: My favorite feature is an at-a-glance hotel section that lists number of sleeping rooms, total amount of meeting space, total number of meeting rooms and largest ballroom (with ceiling heights for bonus points). It makes it so much easier to quickly see if a city might even be able to hold one of our larger programs by seeing the maximums in town. I also like a CVB calendar so we can see if there are any citywides or large groups in over our dates before we get too far into the research for that location. Brooks: A good search feature is important, for example, if you are trying to find hotels that have more than 500 rooms or if you want to look at a venue that can accommodate 50 people. Daniel: Having hotels provide their sold-out dates on the website would be a great time saver. Also, planner ratings would be a great value. 16

“Post event, it would be

nice if the CVB rep could provide us with an estimate of the economic impact our meeting has made on the city. That is always very hard information to obtain.”

–Faye Brooks, American Bar Association

Nash: Information on what the city has to offer is the most important [feature], including restaurants, shopping and special attractions. Maps are also very helpful to get a sense of how close the convention center is to the hotels. Floor plans of the convention center and hotels are also nice to find all in one place. Sturm: The important [data] are airline lift to the city, and what services are offered for free, based on the number of delegates or room nights. Preferably, not a lot of moving/changing graphics.


Brooks: When we work with a bureau in a city that we are [considering] for either of our citywide meetings, we ask that the CVB provide us with a comprehensive list of hotels that are interested in bidding for our business. On that list should be the prime contact for the hotel, the number of rooms they can commit, and the number of meeting rooms they will commit. We also want to know their average current group rates. We do not need fancy three-ring binders or letters from the mayor included with the results; a comprehensive chart with the information requested is sufficient. Many bureaus now have e-proposals, which work out well. Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 winter

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the International centre staff (from left to right) Ron Bentley, Director of Event and Client Services; Sandra Martin, Director of Sales; Trevor Lui, Director of Operations and Sustainability; Lee-Anne Leckie, Sales Manager – Meetings and Conventions; Raiman Dilag, Director of Technology Services; Rita Medynski, Sales Manager – Trade and Consumer Shows; Kevin Parker, Sales Manager – Corporate; Tawfik Shehata, Executive Chef; and Nadena Singh, Director of Events Management

“Having hotels provide

their sold-out dates on the CVB website would be a great time saver.”

–Anne Daniel, Ferguson, a Wolseley Company

Kozlowski: Our RFPs are pretty detailed so we expect to only get responses that meet our requirements. There is nothing more frustrating to a planner than to go through a large proposal only to find out it’s for alternate dates or a second option, and that wasn’t called out on the first page or email. The format I prefer is a PDF emailed with all of the pertinent information. I am not a fan of e-proposals — so many times it just doesn’t have all of the detail requested, or the link expires before I can go back and revisit it. Daniel: A preferred format is to have hotels listed in categories as to a hotel’s ideal meeting size. Nash: A simple Excel sheet or list showing the complete hotel package, including the total number of rooms for each hotel and the number they are offering for our block, rates, amenities, rebates and proximity to the convention center. No huge binders with tons of paper are needed. Sturm: CVBs can ensure the hotels do not reach out to me individually, until the site inspection and negotiation process begins.


Daniel: A good response time from a CVB, at least an initial response, is within 48 hours. Kozlowski: I would like acknowledgement of receipt of the request within 24 hours. Then, depending on the size of the program and its needs, an acceptable response time would be anywhere from three to seven days. Brooks: For bidding on a citywide piece of business, I would say one to two weeks is a good response time, depending on the number of hotels to research. Sturm: My response time is always included and allows time for the CVB and hotels to respond. I confess that I am not always able


Nash: Have a detailed schedule sent a few weeks before the site visit so I can review and ensure everything is covered, and that there is not too much time allotted per venue. I usually only need 15-20 minutes to see overflow hotels and 60 minutes for the headquarter hotel. It’s important that they assist with keeping everyone on schedule. Sturm: Concentrate on what is of value to me, and don’t waste the time of the local venues, hotels, conference centers, restaurants, etc. that are out of our budget. Pack as much in as possible. I am there to work, not play.

Kozlowski: The best use of my time on site visits is when we are shown only properties that really match our brand and requirements. Many times CVBs want to show you everything they can offer to “see what sticks” instead of taking the time to research the brand and the event and really tailor the hotels or venues to those that we would actually consider, even if that means admitting it might not be a fit this time around. Brooks: When meeting with hotels to negotiate contracts or confirm rates, the CVB should make sure that we are meeting with the salesperson who has the authority to make decisions. It is frustrating when that person has to go back to their director or to the revenue manager to get approval. Daniel: Engage in a pre-site visit planning call with the CVB asking a series of questions. Many times, you don’t know what you don’t know, and this is an opportunity for a CVB to be a partner.


Nash: During the site visit, if there is a hotel where we don’t know the staff, [the CVB’s] setting up lunch during the site visit at that hotel is helpful. At the center, allowing 20 minutes at the beginning of the site visit to have a sit-down meeting to go over expectations and to get to meet key convention center personnel. Brooks: The CVB can give [the facility reps] a little background and history of our group and our total business. In many cases, because of our volume, we are key accounts with the major chains, and the hotels should be made aware of that. Daniel: Making sure that the hotels/venues/support services are actively involved with the CVB’s efforts. Providing an introduction, especially if the CVB has worked with the requestor in the past, would be a tremendous help.

“The best use of my time

on site visits is when we are shown only properties that really match our brand and requirements. Many times CVBs want to show you everything they can offer to ‘see what sticks.’”

–Beth Kozlowski, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. 18

to reply back to them to meet certain quarterly goals, but I have a lengthy process to follow and am usually searching and negotiating three years out, while managing what is already in place.

Kozlowski: Having a solid understanding of what we are about, what we are looking to accomplish and being a champion on our behalf to get the best of what we are being proposed. Sturm: Each year our conference is held in a different city. I have found that even with chains, there are differences in what the [hotel] representatives offer. The CVB can work on our mutual behalf to strengthen the relationship so that it is truly a winning solution for all involved, especially the delegates attending. If not, they will not return on their own, and I won’t return in later years.


Nash: Providing a microsite to promote our meeting and Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 winter

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their city is key. We like to get set up about 18 months in advance of our meeting and then update it as content about the meeting becomes available. Also, setting up a separate site visit with their marketing people and our key marketing staff is very helpful, [as is] taking our marketing staff on a tour of the city to include special attractions, restaurants, transportation, etc. Sturm: New Orleans, Detroit and Buffalo have all posted welcome signs at the airports and on the convention center marquee, when applicable. This has led to press coverage and community participation. Brooks: The Chicago CVB (Choose Chicago) goes the extra mile by producing lamppost banners on the major streets of downtown Chicago and at the airports welcoming our attendees. Nash: The Atlanta CVB has some of most creative promotional pieces developed and available to the planner. They have great copy available for planners to customize for their meeting. Toronto had awesome branded banners around the city. Toronto also utilized a company to make calls to members who had not registered a few weeks prior to the meeting. They then supplied us with comprehensive data regarding the responses to the calls.

“The Toronto CVA

utilized a company to make calls to members who had not registered a few weeks prior to the meeting. They then supplied us with comprehensive data regarding the responses to the calls. ”

–Cathy L. Nash, American Psychiatric Association

I receive accurate reporting from the hotels as well as any rebates due, which the hotels may be slow to pay. Sturm: The wrap-up is to ensure that all have been properly thanked. If there is any post-conference press, sharing with us any feedback from the community is appreciated.



Nash: I need the CVB rep to assist with recommending venues from small private dinners to larger, unique spaces for receptions up to 700 people.

Kozlowski: The ideal CVB rep to me would be committed to getting the best for both their city and our event. I love to see someone passionate about what they are getting to be a part of, but I also don’t want them to appear over-excited, over-eager or try too hard to make a square peg fit into a round hole.

Daniel: I expect the CVB to be a resource and a strategic partner, but not necessarily fulfill the requirements and responsibilities of the planner.

Sturm: Designing special events is not a priority due to our strict budget, but we always discuss cost-saving approaches and seriously listen to their ideas. It is very important to me as a nonprofit association. Kozlowski: Getting us some cost savings for bringing our meeting to their city by working with vendors to bundle some requirements is a welcome approach. Also, if the CVB can incorporate some no-cost branding to the coaches, at the airport, etc., to make us feel more entwined with the city, it’s a sign of a great partnership as well as a value-add.


Brooks: During the event, we hope that the CVB rep will sit in on the headquarter hotel pre-convention meeting, and help us with providing someone to man a desk for city/restaurant information at our headquarter hotel or convention center if one is not already provided. We also hope that they will come visit us in our offices a few times during the meeting to see if any assistance can be provided. Post event, it would be nice if the CVB rep could provide us with an estimate of the economic impact our meeting has made on the city. That is always very hard information to obtain. Daniel: A great CVB would establish periodic communication with the planner to ensure all services/requests/needs are being handled by the provider and engage on behalf of the planner when necessary. Nash: I like quick electronic responses to questions I have during the meeting. I need for them to work with local police departments in the event of special events in the city that will create transportation challenges for our attendees. If there are problems with any of the hotels, I need for them to intervene. Post meeting, I need for them to ensure 20

Nash: Cheerful, helpful, but not to the point where it becomes an intrusion or imposition on your time. Great CVBs make themselves available so you know they have your back without taking your time by stopping by unannounced when you may be running in 20 directions.

Brooks: CVB reps should be “passionate” about the city they represent. It always helps when the rep is an actual resident of that city or was born and raised in the city they represent. More importantly, we consider our rep to be an advocate on our part and sometimes ask for their help in working out challenges with the hotels or convention center. Therefore, a rep should be somewhat engaged in our entire bidding process as well as contract negotiations. Sturm: A non-assertive sales demeanor, but one that appears to be wanting to build a long-term relationship. Don’t make me feel like the size of my meeting is not a priority, especially when a larger meeting comes in after we are in negotiations or have a signed contract. We realize that your plates are full and that there is a lot of competition, and know that we wish to continue the collaboration from beginning to the end and beyond.

“We always discuss

cost-saving approaches and seriously listen to their ideas. It is very important to me as a nonprofit association.”

–Kathy Sturm, Society of Architectural Historians

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 winter

F&D 2015

ELITE Convention

Center Executives


e are pleased to announce the convention center executives who received the Facilities & Destinations 2015 ELITE Award, an accolade that recognizes professionals making a difference in the meetings and events industry. Nominated by readers via a ballot appearing in F&D issues and on Facilitiesonline.com, these leaders have made their facilities into strong economic engines for their communities. They keep their buildings ahead of the curve, while maintaining fruitful relationships with local DMOs, hoteliers, civic organizations and businesses. They have a long track record of career successes, stay active in industry organizations and, most importantly to F&D readers, ensure their staffs excel in customer service. We encourage our readers, who themselves are respected in the meetings industry, to continue to select professionals deserving this recognition. Nominations for next year’s ELITE Awards can be made via the ballot in this issue (page 53). Following are the 12 convention center executives who received the most nominations last year. We look forward to recognizing more ELITE professionals in this category and others in future issues.

Ric Booth

Robert L. Johnson

General Manager, Duke Energy Convention Center

President/General Manager, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

James D. Brown

Oscar McGaskey Jr.

Executive Director, Rochester Riverside Convention Center

Paul Cramer

Executive Director, The Classic Center

Peggy Daidakis

Executive Director, Baltimore Convention Center

Courtney Dyer

General Manager, Virginia Beach Convention Center

Shura Garnett

Division Senior Vice President, Spectra Venue Management and Food Services & Hospitality

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

Executive Director, Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Facilities

Jennifer Noble

General Manager, Durham Convention Center

Karen Totaro

General Manager, Atlantic City Convention Center

Kevin J. Twohig

Chief Executive Officer, Spokane Public Facilities District

Matthew Voreyer

General Manager, Sacramento Convention Center Complex


F&D 2015

ELITE Convention

Center Executives

Ric Booth

Paul Cramer

Peggy Daidakis

General Manager Duke Energy Convention Center Cincinnati, OH

Executive Director The Classic Center Athens, GA

Executive Director Baltimore Convention Center Baltimore, MD

Paul Cramer, Executive Director of The Classic Center for over 20 years, began his successful career in Rochester, NY, working his way up from a Banquet and Concessions Manager in 1986 to an Assistant Executive Director by 1994. In 1995, Cramer worked with The Classic Center Authority and local community in Athens, GA, to oversee the development and construction of The Classic Center. Cramer extended his reach into the community by developing and overseeing a successful Workforce Development program, which provides assistance and skills to those seeking a career in hospitality. The program includes the nonprofit organization Bread for Life, the Hospitality Careers Academy and the Athens Tech Hospitality Program. The Classic Center Cultural Foundation, also developed and overseen by Cramer, provides performing and culinary arts scholarships and supports performing and visual arts programs for the Athens community.

In July of 1986 Baltimore Mayor Clarence Burns appointed Peggy Daidakis the first female director of a national convention center. She was instrumental in the expansion of the Baltimore Convention Center, which tripled its size. Under her direction, the Center has played host to Presidential visits and gubernatorial and mayoral inaugurations. She currently oversees a full-time staff of more than 150 who all play a part in welcoming over 500,000 visitors to the facility each year. Daidakis was the Co-Chair of the IAAM/DMAI Task Force for Best Practices of Convention Centers and Destination Marketing Organizations, which produced a white paper that has become a major resource for sales and marketing and operating practices for the industry. In 2013, the Convention Industry Council honored her as an inductee to the CIC Hall of Leaders. This award is one of the highest honors in the hospitality industry.

One of Spectra Venue Management’s most experienced managers, Ric Booth has worked for private management, an NBA team, and city and state governments. From convention centers to arenas, stadiums and amphitheaters, Booth has led his teams to greater accomplishments and improved results in every area. In Houston, TX at Reliant Park, during an extensive construction phase, Booth managed more than 350 events while keeping the construction plans on track. At the George R. Brown Convention Center, he facilitated the transition to a larger and more complex facility, built a relationship with a new headquarter hotel partner and helped his staff maintain high levels of productivity and service. In Cincinnati, he successfully directed the hiring of a new staff, helped create the new culture of service and worked with the CVB and local hotels to put Cincinnati back in the forefront to host national and regional conventions. In the past nine years, the Duke Energy Convention Center has exceeded budget annually, built a strong base of repeat business and developed a team that is able to accommodate complex conventions and events with great success. 22

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

F&D 2015


Convention Center Executives

Shura Garnett

Oscar McGaskey Jr.

Jennifer Noble

Division Senior Vice President Spectra Venue Management and Food Services & Hospitality St. Charles, MO

Executive Director Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Facilities Kansas City, MO

General Manager Durham Convention Center Durham, NC

Shura Garnett is responsible for overseeing the Central Division of Spectra’s Venue Management and Food and Hospitality operations including convention centers, arenas and food and beverage operations. She is also responsible for the development and implementation of Spectra’s national sales initiatives for all convention centers. With over 20 years of industry experience, Garnett has held positions as a Regional Vice President for Global Spectrum, General Manager of the St. Charles Convention Center, Director and CEO of the Midland Convention Center and the Vice President of Visitor Development for the Midland Chamber of Commerce. She has served as Chairman of the IAVM Convention Center Committee, member of the Industry Affairs Committee, member of the Board of Governors, Chair of the Board of Education and Chair of the Diversification Committee. She was then elected First Vice President of the IAVM and worked her way through the chairs to become the Chairman of the Board of the IAVM. Garnett received the 2005 IAVM Presidential Citation and the prestigious Charles A. McElravy Award in 2014.

Oscar C. McGaskey Jr. oversees Kansas City’s Convention and Entertainment Facilities, which include the Convention Center, Conference Center, Municipal Auditorium, Kemper Arena and American Royal Center. He is responsible for a $35 million departmental budget and 100 full-time employees. Under McGaskey’s leadership, the Kansas City Convention Center has received the prestigious Facilities & Destinations Prime Site Award for the past nine years. During his 11 years as Executive Director, he has been directly responsible for over $250 million in new construction and renovation projects. He has also been recognized by the City Council of Kansas City for his leadership and commitment to providing a high level of customer service at the Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Facilities.

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

GM Jennifer Noble and her team have reduced the net subsidy of the Durham Convention Center from $1.3 million to $14,579 in four years. A 30-year industry veteran, Noble came to Durham after serving for seven years as the Assistant General Manager and Director of Sales and Marketing of the Spectra-managed Conference Center at Niagara Falls. She previously served as Sales Manager at the Hyatt Regency in Buffalo, and as Director of Sales at the Four Star, Four Diamond Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, Edwards, CO. Throughout her tenure in the industry, Noble has been actively involved in the community, working with organizations such as the Durham Rotarian, Salvation Army, Million Meals, NCJJ Walk for Unity and the Buffalo City Mission. She is also involved in various boards, including the NCCU Hospitality Advisory Board, Durham Rotary Board and Bull City Crown Pleasers.


F&D 2015

ELITE Convention

Center Executives


Karen Totaro

Kevin J. Twohig

Matthew Voreyer

General Manager Atlantic City Convention Center Atlantic City, NJ

Chief Executive Officer Spokane Public Facilities District Spokane, WA

General Manager Sacramento Convention Center Complex Sacramento, CA

Karen Totaro is the General Manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center for Spectra (formerly Global Spectrum). She relocated from Cincinnati where she held the position of Assistant General Manager at the Duke Energy Convention Center, also managed by Spectra. Prior to Cincinnati, Totaro served as the Assistant Executive Director at the Oregon Convention Center for nine years and Associate Director at the University of Dayton Arena for five years. During her career, she has played an active role in IAVM by serving in several capacities, including her current role as Chairman of the Board as well as First and Second Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. Totaro was instrumental in the planning of the IAVM Region IV Conference in Portland and assisted with the conference planning in Vancouver, Spokane and Seattle, as well as the International Convention Center Conference in Portland in 2010. Planning regional conferences became a great asset when she was asked to Chair the VenueConnect Planning Committee for 2014 in Portland.

Kevin J. Twohig is a Gonzaga University graduate who has worked in Spokane since his graduation in 1971. He owned and operated a touring concert production company that provided services for Expo ‘74, the environmentally themed World’s Fair held in Spokane. In 1975, he accepted a position with the City of Spokane at the Spokane Opera House and he has been operating public assembly facilities in Spokane ever since. He developed the International Ag Trade Center, the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, the INB Performing Arts Center renovation, the Spokane Convention Center Exhibit Hall and the Convention Center completion project. As CEO of the Spokane Public Facilities District, he is responsible for the marketing, sales, maintenance, operations and success of the Arena, the Convention Center and the INB Performing Arts Center. The three facilities are operated profitably and host over 800 events each year with well over 1 million annual attendees. In 2011, Kevin received an appointment as a Civic Leader for AETC (Air Education & Training Command) representing Fairchild Air Force Base.

As General Manager, Matthew Voreyer oversees the operations of the Sacramento Convention Center Complex, which includes the Convention Center, Memorial Auditorium and the Community Center Theater. A 30-year hospitality industry veteran with extensive facility operations and sales experience, Voreyer brings a grassroots approach to his management style. He has been with the Complex since 1999, previously serving as Director of Sales & Marketing and Deputy General Manager. He also worked for Hyatt Hotels Corporation for 14 years. Voreyer’s dedication to his profession and positive attitude have earned him industry recognition. He is actively involved in various professional and charity organizations.

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

2015 Facilities & Destinations Prism hotel Awards


ongratulations to our 2015 F&D Prime Site Meeting (PRISM) Hotel Award winners. Our readers selected 76 properties, both domestic and international, as exceptional lodging choices for corporate and association meetings. Recognition from the group segment is critical for any hotelier competing in a market where supply is on the rise. According to STR’s February 2016 Pipeline Report, there are 497,409 rooms in 4,057 projects under contract in the United States, representing a 14.2 percent increase in the number of rooms under contract compared to February of last year. In addition, the number of rooms in construction is up 16.7 percent in year-over-year comparisons. With more properties on the market and many existing ones expanding, hotels must continue to strive to offer a guest experience that makes them “stand out in the crowd.” For meeting groups, that means a combination of features, including a comfortable amount of function space and breakouts, the latest AV equipment, robust Internet connectivity, an

Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 winter

emphasis on sustainable meetings, proactive convention services, creative catering and good options for offsite events. Accordingly, F&D readers nominated hotels and resorts based on numerous criteria: * Attractiveness and functionality * Technological capabilities * Quality of staff and convention services * Food & beverage/catering * Lighting * Acoustics * Climate control * Proximity to airport and other transportation * Guestroom amenities * Front-desk operations * Setups and breakdowns * Room décor * Quality/size of ballroom * Special packages * Spa * Nearby attractions Look for ballots for the 2016 F&D PRISM Hotel Awards in our Spring, Summer and Fall issues. Winners will be announced in the 2016-2017 Winter issue.


2015 Prism Hotel Award Winners United States & Puerto Rico Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix Beau Rivage, Biloxi, MS Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV The Borgata, Atlantic City, NJ The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs Caesars Atlantic City Caesars Palace Las Vegas Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, Galena, IL Eden Roc Miami Beach El Conquistador, San Juan, PR Galt Hotel & Suites, Louisville, KY Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Hotel, National Harbor, MD Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center, Nashville, TN Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Kissimmee, FL Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, TX Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, WI Grand Hyatt Denver Grand Hyatt San Antonio Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City Hilton Anatole, Dallas, TX Hilton Atlanta Hilton Austin Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hilton New York Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, 26

Los Angeles, CA Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago, IL Hyatt Regency Orlando Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch JW Marriott Austin JW Marriott Indianapolis Keystone Resort & Conference Center, Keystone, CO The Langham, Boston, MA Marriott Crystal City at Reagan National Airport, Washington, DC MGM Grand Detroit MGM Grand Las Vegas Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center, Galveston, TX New York Marriott Marquis Omni Dallas Hotel Omni Nashville Hotel The Otesaga Resort Hotel, Cooperstown, NY Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, IL Renaissance Nashville Hotel Ritz-Carlton Boston Common Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando, FL Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, FL The Phoenician Resort, Scottsdale, AZ The Sheraton Kansas City Hotel Sheraton Puerto Rico, San Juan Sheraton Waikiki, Honolulu, HI Trump National Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Miami, FL The Venetian/The Palazzo, Las Vegas, NV Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 winter

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, Orlando, FL Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, FL Westin Copley Place, Boston, MA Westin Kansas City at Crown Center Complex Westin Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA Wynn + Encore Las Vegas International The Balmorral, Edinburgh, Scotland Camino Real Polanco Mexico City

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Fairmont St. Andrews, Scotland Hotel Okura, Amsterdam Hyatt Regency Toronto Iberostar Cancun Intercontinental Montreal Intercontinental Presidente Mexico City Marina Bay Sands, Singapore The Savoy, London Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort, Los Cabos Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos

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Hilton West Palm Beach

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Venice Beach epitomizes the Californian spirit

CALIFORNIA The Golden State’s thriving cities are calling more meeting groups to ‘go west’ By George Seli


ne can expect the nation’s third-largest and most populous state to offer visitors a great deal of variety within its borders. California delivers with both cosmopolitan cities and coastal getaways, climates that range from subtropical to subarctic, and a bold multiculturalism. From a planner’s perspective, the Golden State has a wealth of resources to accommodate a variety of meetings, from a sprawling tradeshow in Los Angeles or San Francisco to an incentive program in scenic cities like Newport Beach or Santa Barbara. As the home of Silicon Valley, California tends to be ahead of the curve technologically, but that doesn’t just apply to high tech. The state’s transportation infrastructure is poised to become one of the nation’s most advanced with the recent approval of an updated plan to build a high-speed rail system that will enable a three-hour commute between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The first section of the $64 billion, 500-mile system, stretching from the Kern County line to San Jose, is expected to be operational by 2025. The state is also associated with healthy living and sustainability, values that often influence the operation and design of its meeting facilities. For example, several Californian convention centers have earned LEED certification. In 2012, San Francisco’s Moscone Center became the first convention center on the West Coast to achieve LEED Gold for Existing Buildings. More recently, the LEED Gold-certified Los Angeles Convention Center received the Sustainable Innovation Award in the Materials & Resources category at the United States Green Building Council-LA’s 11th Annual Green Gala, Nov. 13. 28


The state’s most populous city is a prime example of the vibrancy of California’s tourism industry. In January, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (L.A. Tourism) President and CEO Ernest Wooden Jr. announced that the city welcomed a record 45.5 million (including 6.7 million international) visitors in 2015. That figure represents an increase of 2.8 percent over 2014 levels and breaks visitation records for the fifth consecutive year (see infographic).

The Los Angeles Convention Center’s sunlit atrium

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter


Accessible and affordable, California’s Capital is served by Sacramento International Airport which offers 130 flights per day. Once you’ve arrived, you’re just minutes from the downtown Sacramento Convention Center, which offers flexible meeting space, award-winning farm-to-fork catering from Classique Catering – a Centerplate Company – plus, an on-site Starbucks and APizza café. More than 1,000 first-class hotel guest rooms are located just steps from the Convention Center and another 1,000 guest rooms within walking distance. To experience Sacramento call us today at 916-808-5291. SACRAMENTOCONVENTIONCENTER.COM

scheduled to open on Aug. 1. Complemented by 254 guestrooms, the facility’s 25,000 sq. ft. of stateof-the-art meeting space includes 25 separate meeting rooms with the largest (Centennial Hall) accommodating 750 attendees. Supported by a highly trained technical staff, the Luskin Conference Center features advanced connectivity, audiovisual equipment, teleconference services and free, ultra-high speed Wi-Fi throughout. The cuisine at PLATEIA, the Center’s 162-seat restaurant and lounge, will highlight fresh, locally sourced ingredients. In addition, the Center is working toward LEED Gold certification. Several other new developments in the city will indirectly help to augment meetings business even further. Green cites “the bustling commercial development throughout Los Angeles, especially in Downtown where as we speak, there is more than $8 billion being invested in hospitality infrastructure.” Major additions include the 900room InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, part of the Wilshire Grand Center opening next year; and the 755-room expansion of the JW Marriott L.A. LIVE scheduled to open in 2018. Los Angeles’ sports world will also be drawing the attention of both planners and the general public. “The spotlight is shining bright on Los Angeles right now, especially with the recent announcement of the new NFL stadium in nearby Inglewood, which will provide another enticing venue option in the years to come,” says Green. “And with L.A. being a finalist to host the 2024 World Olympics, the destination is top-of-mind among meeting professionals.”


The city’s meetings business is also on the upswing, according to Darren K. Green, Senior Vice President of Sales, L.A. Tourism. “Our meetings and conventions business in Los Angeles is soaring to new heights in 2016. In fact, we have 33 citywide conventions on the books for this year, the most for the city in the last 15 years. The economic impact of these conventions to L.A. is estimated to be $429 million.” Projecting further out, Green notes that “2017 is looking to be another major year, with bookings approaching 350,000 projected hotel room nights generated, due to larger citywide conventions than in 2016.” Among several returning conventions this year will be E3 – Electronic Entertainment Expo in June with 49,000 attendees, and the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation’s ANIME EXPO in July, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary with an expected 100,000 attendees. “On the corporate meetings front, Los Angeles is seeing a surge of new business from within both the technology and medical verticals,” Green says. “Most recently, there has been a rapid influx of tech companies and startups to the city because Los Angeles is the epicenter of where entertainment, tech and creativity converge. This has created the fastest-growing tech hub in the country — dubbed ‘Silicon Beach’ — and tech companies are flocking to do their meetings business here. And by having some of the country’s finest medical institutions right here in Los Angeles such as UCLA, USC, Cedars-Sinai and City of Hope, it’s helped propel a rise in medical meetings as well.” Speaking of UCLA, meeting planners will have a compelling new option on the campus with the Luskin Conference Center 30

One of California’s “greenest” convention centers is found in Pasadena. The LEED Gold-certified Pasadena Convention Center offers groups a 55,000-sq.-ft. Exhibit Hall, 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 29 meeting rooms, complemented by the 3,000seat Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The 17,000-sq.-ft. Exhibit Hall C underwent a $900,000 renovation and reopened February 2015. Adjacent to the Convention Center is the 311-room Sheraton Pasadena, which houses 11,523 sq. ft. of function space. In addition to these resources, Pasadena’s leading-edge science and art institutions make the city even more attractive to many groups. “Pasadena is heating up as a science and innovation destination,” says Jeanne O’Grady, Senior Director of Sales & Marketing, Pasadena CVB. “Recently selected for COSPAR Scientific Assembly 2018 and home to internationally recognized institutions such as CalTech, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Art Center College of Design, Pasadena is the perfect location for meetings that inspire.”

“Pasadena is heating up as a science and innovation destination.” —Jeanne O’Grady, Senior Director of Sales & Marketing, Pasadena CVB Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

INSPIRE? There’s a place where innovation meets inspiration. And business meetings are elevated to unforgettable gatherings. Some of the world’s most influencial minds come to live, work, and create in Pasadena.

For more information call (800) 307-7977 or go to pasadenameetings.com

for its upscale shopping, and The Playhouse Bastions of the city’s vibrant arts and District, site of summertime concerts, culture scene include The Huntington Library The San Diego festivals and an annual art market. Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (in Convention Center is nearby San Marino), Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena Museum of California expected to welcome San Diego Art and the Pacific Asia Museum. When Like many of California’s cities, San Diego a record-breaking it comes to historic architecture, there is no boasts beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, better museum for attendees to explore than warm weather and exciting nightlife. But number of delegates Pasadena itself. The city boasts 1,000 buildings there are many points of interest that are on the National Register of Historic Places, to its 66 primary uniquely San Diego, such as the historic including the famed Gamble House, built for Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village, the USS conventions in 2016. David and Mary Gamble of Procter & Gamble Midway Museum and Petco Park, home of in 1908. Old Pasadena, comprising 22 blocks, the San Diego Padres. And all of these great is home to more than 200 buildings dating free-time options for attendees are accessible to back to the 1800s. one of the state’s finest convention centers. Old Pasadena also features more than 200 restaurants, Located just 10 minutes from the San Diego International including the celebrated Eden Garden Bar & Grill and the Vertical Airport, the LEED Silver-certified San Diego Convention Wine Bistro. The birthplace of Julia Child, Pasadena overall offers Center houses 615,701 sq. ft. of exhibit space, the 90,000-sq.-ft. more than 500 restaurants — more per capita than New York City. Sails Pavilion, 72 meeting rooms (including two 40,000-sq.-ft. Other neighborhoods of note include South Lake Avenue, known ballrooms) and 184,514 sq. ft. of outdoor terrace space with views

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

interesting thing to weave into a program and create a truly F&D staff recently had the pleasure of experiencing San unique and memorable experience. Our events team can Diego with a stay at its upscale Hard Rock Hotel. Living help a meeting planner execute this flawlessly with curated up to its name, the hotel has hosted its share of concerts, playlists, music trivia breakouts, company memorabilia, including The Black Eyed Peas’ performance at the propconcerts and DJ lessons.” erty’s grand opening in 2008 and The trendy property has over a Prince show in the Legends 40,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor Ballroom. A fascinating array of event space, which includes a musical memorabilia carries the 9,100-sq.-ft. banquet hall that can theme throughout the hotel, which accommodate up to 1,000 guests. offers everything from the Rock Eight themed breakout rooms Spa to Rock Star Suites, providing showcase different musicians, such VIP treatment. The hotel’s suites as Madonna and David Bowie. (comprising nearly half of its 421 Among the notable spaces are The guestrooms) have welcomed a Edge, a 3,496-sq.-ft. room featuring number of celebrity guests, includpop culture memorabilia that make ing David Beckham and Ashton for great conversation-starters; Kutcher. Woodstock, an outdoor space that On the more practical side of can transform into a concert venue; the hotel’s appeal, planners will and Elevation, a rooftop venue. note that guests are well situated “We have very dynamic and to explore San Diego. “Our location flexible meeting spaces unlike is second to none,” notes Letty traditional hotels,” says Canizalez. Canizalez, Director of Sales. “We “Our rooms are flooded with are located at the entrance to the natural light from floor-to-ceiling city’s famed Gaslamp Quarter, with windows in 80 percent of our all of the best restaurants, shops meeting space. We also have the and nightlife just steps away. We flexibility to conduct meal events are right across from the San Diego in a spectacular urban outdoor Convention Center and Petco Park, setting or in one of our two bars or and just 10 minutes from the airport, Maryjane’s restaurant.” so it’s the perfect home base when The Hard Rock Hotel San Diego’s Director of Maryjane’s Diner can be rented visiting the city.” Sales, Letty Canizalez out for group breakfasts and/or Various kinds of meeting groups meetings. For poolside or evening have taken advantage of that home drinks, Float is the perfect option; at night the bar has fire base. “The majority of our group business is corporate followed by pits and excellent views of the city. Another casual option annual association meetings,” says Canizalez. “We are also seeing is 207, which turns into a club on the weekends and can an increase in incentive programs coming to San Diego. Many be reserved for group dinners. Nobu, one of the upscale companies are celebrating their top performers with a unique restaurants at the Hard Rock, is known for its delectable experience at the Hard Rock.” sushi and seafood dishes. A unique fine-dining option for The experience can be customized with branding groups is the Wine Riffs experience, which is a food pairing elements for the client organization, and the hotel itself with music, lighting and wine. provides “a built-in theme for any group,” Canizalez —Rachel Kapur explains. “Everyone loves music, and it’s such a fun and 32

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

of the San Diego Bay. More than 11,000 hotel rooms are within a mile and a half of the facility, and transportation around the downtown is easy with the San Diego Trolley. Record-breaking business is projected this year at the San Diego Convention Center, based on the San Diego Convention Center Corporation’s 2016 annual forecast released on Dec. 28, 2015. Attendee spending from the 108 events scheduled at that point is expected to deliver over $1.2 billion in regional economic impact. Among those events, 66 primary citywide conventions are expected to attract an all-time facility record of 673,814 primary attendees, surpassing the previous record set in 2008. Yet another record would be the 856,035 hotel room nights projected for 2016. Among the popular attractions that will benefit from this robust convention business are SeaWorld San Diego and the San Diego Zoo, both of which have venues for private events. Other offsite event options include House of Hints, a “live escape” game that originated in Europe and is ideal for teambuilding; and San Diego Sailing Tours, offering cruises aboard vintage yachts with views of Harbor Island, Downtown San Diego and Shelter Island. Dining in Gaslamp Quarter is an adventure unto itself, with eateries such as Union Kitchen & Tap for classic American fare and Zymology 21 for unique food and drink options in a sciencethemed restaurant. Puesto Restaurant, which recently won the “Best Restaurants of San Diego Award,” is perfect for Mexican food with a San Diego flair.

South; 181,440 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 53,410 sq. ft. of meeting space in Moscone North; and 300,000 sq. ft. of function space in Moscone West. Planners can look forward to more than 170,000 sq. ft. of additional meeting space with Moscone Center’s $500 million expansion, scheduled to be completed in 2018. Approximately 22,000 hotel rooms are just minutes away from Moscone Center, in the midst of San Francisco’s wealth of dining and shopping, and accessible to famed cultural areas such as Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury and the Mission District. New hotels include the 196-room Hotel Zeppelin, a boutique property near Union Square with 3,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; and the Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel. Reopened as a Fairmont, the latter property houses 276 guestrooms and 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. As a first-tier city, San Francisco is an easy fly-in for delegates. The San Francisco International Airport offers nonstop connections with 77 U.S. cities on 13 domestic airlines, and directly connects to the downtown via Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).

San Jose

While not a first-tier city like San Francisco or Los Angeles, San Jose offers great air accessibility with its own international airport. Recently, service into Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) has been expanding: American Airlines has added daily nonstop service to and from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport between June 1 and Aug. 15, and Air Canada has launched new nonstop service between SJC and Vancouver International Airport beginning May 9. When delegates arrive at the airport, they can begin enjoying the city’s Wickedly Fast Free Wi-Fi, which extends into the downtown and throughout the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Located just 3.9 miles from the airport, the Convention Center offers 214,760 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 112,523 q. ft. of meeting space, including a 35,194-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom. Surrounding the facility are 2,200 committable downtown hotel rooms on peak, part of 4,000 rooms citywide. Offering logistical convenience for groups, the Center is connected to both the 353room Hilton San Jose and the 506-room San Jose Marriott. Team San Jose manages the Convention Center as well as two

Moscone Center is set for a $500 million expansion by 2018.

MPI’s 2015 World Education Congress drew about 2,500 attendees to San Francisco, reportedly a 25 percent increase from the previous year.


San Francisco is highly regarded in the meetings industry, as shown by MPI’s choosing the city as the site of its 2015 World Education Congress. The event drew about 2,500 attendees, reportedly a 25 percent increase from the previous year. Many of the City by the Bay’s venues were showcased for this key audience of decision-makers, including PIER 48 across from AT&T Park; The Fillmore, a legendary concert venue; City View, an indoor/outdoor venue overlooking the renowned Yerba Buena Gardens; and City Hall, where the Closing Night Celebration took place. The World Education Congress was headquartered at the SMG-managed Moscone Center, the centerpiece of San Francisco’s meetings industry. The facility offers 260,560 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 60,580 sq. ft. of meeting space in Moscone Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

San Jose features one of the state’s most compact and walkable downtowns. other nearby venues planners may find appealing: the recently renovated City National Civic (formerly San Jose Civic Auditorium) and the Center for the Performing Arts. A venue that truly symbolizes San Jose as the “capital” of Silicon Valley is The Tech Museum of Innovation, a 132,000-sq.-ft. facility that is available for group rentals. A 280-seat IMAX Theater is part of the museum. Creativity is not just technological in San Jose, where attendees can enjoy a variety of arts and culture. Points 33

Downtown Sacramento’s dining and entertainment resources are growing with the development of the Sacramento Kings’ new arena, Golden 1 Center.

of interest include the Winchester Mystery House, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, the Plaza de Cesar Chavez (home to the San Jose Jazz Festival) and the San Jose Museum of Art.


The state capital is home to a dynamic meetings hub that includes the Sacramento Convention Center, 2,398seat Community Center Theater and 3,849-seat Memorial Auditorium as part of one complex, complemented by the 503room Hyatt Regency Sacramento adjacent to the Convention Center. Offering its own 27,000 sq. ft. of meeting space including a rooftop ballroom with views of the Capitol, the Hyatt has served as the headquarters hotel for many groups, including California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing (C.A.S.H.). C.A.S.H. held its 37th Annual Conference on School Facilities

Feb. 22-24 at the Convention Center, which houses 137,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 31 meeting rooms. “It’s a midsized convention center and a good fit for our group,” notes Greg Golik, CAE, Operations Director for Murdoch, Walrath & Holmes, an association management company that has C.A.S.H. as a client. “The tradeshow space is right below the space we use for our breakouts and registration; they just take a ride down an escalator or elevator.” About 1,800 attendees were on hand for business and education within both the Convention Center and Hyatt, as well as meetings in offsite venues. “The coalition is public/private and you have associate members on the private side that are hosting dinners during this conference for their clients or would-be clients. So they’re always looking for venues nearby to host these dinners,” notes Golik. “There are several options, and it’s getting better.” Golik recommends both Mulvaney’s and Ella Dining Room & Bar as

“My contact at the [Sacramento CVB] works with the folks at the Convention Center to ensure that whatever it is that we need budget wise or service wise is negotiated for us. They really care about repeat business.” —Greg Golik, CAE, Operations Director, Murdoch, Walrath & Holmes

Julia Morgan House: Now Available for Meetings

Located about two miles from the Sacramento Convention Center, the historic Julia Morgan House recently became available to groups as an event and conference center. Constructed from 1919-1922, the mansion is owned by Sacramento State University and offers a beautifully landscaped garden accommodating about 200 attendees and four stateof-the-art conference rooms for groups of 10-40. Advanced AV and property-wide WiFi is available, as is catering by Sacramento State’s Epicure Catering. For more historic homes available to meeting groups, see page 58. 34

great options for groups. Set to open in October, the Sacramento Kings’ new arena, Golden 1 Center, has caused an influx of new downtown restaurants and other venues, he observes. The Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau is also a valuable resource for the C.A.S.H. Conference. “The relationship between the CVB and the Convention Center is very good,” says Golik. “They work hand in hand to ensure that the client’s needs are met. So my contact at the bureau works with the folks at the Convention Center to ensure that whatever it is that we need budget wise or service wise is negotiated for us. They really care about repeat business. The CVB also does microsites for us that highlight surrounding areas like wine country or Lake Tahoe.” Indeed, “golden” opportunities for diversion are never far away from a California meeting site. Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter



ToP Women Executives at California CVBs Suzanne Aed

National Sales Manager Greater Palm Springs CVB visitgreaterpalmsprings.com (760) 969-1367 saed@palmspringsoasis.com uzanne Aed has served as the National Sales Manager for Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau since 2006. With her nine years experience in this industry, Aed represents the California desert resort communities in convention sales and marketing services. Aed is also experienced in meeting planning and event management.


Alison Best

President & CEO Visit Oakland visitoakland.org (866) 744-4740 alison@visitoakland.org rior to her current role, Alison Best served as Vice President of Sales and Services for the Santa Monica CVB. She has served as Director of Sales for Tourism Whistler, and began her career in tourism with UNIGLOBE Advance Travel. Best is currently involved with MPI, SITE, FICP, ASAE, HSMAI and is a 10-year member of DMAI.


Tammy Blount

President & CEO Monterey County CVB seemonterey.com (831) 657-6400 tammy@seemonterey.com ith her 27 years of experience in sales and marketing, Tammy Blount focuses on bringing more business and tourists to Monterey County. In her previous role as President & CEO of the Tacoma Regional CVB, she was credited with bringing disparate groups together for regional or statewide tourism coordination, including the Washington Tourism Alliance.


Lorraine Chapman

Director of Strategic Alliances Greater Ontario CVB discoverontariocalifornia.org (909) 937-3032 lchapman@ontariocvb.org orraine Chapman develops partnerships with DMOs, businesses and other private revenue sources to support programs, promotions and events that benefit local businesses and drive room nights to Greater Ontario’s hotels. In previous roles, she has managed revenues of $1.4 million annually in both member revenue and partnerships.


Layla Forstedt

President/CEO Fresno/Clovis CVB playfresno.org (559) 981-5507 layla.forstedt@fresnocvb.org ayla Forstedt served as Vice President at the Fresno City & County Convention & Visitors Bureau prior to her current role. Before that she held the position of General Manager/Director of Sales at Piccadily Hotels Group. She is experienced in event management and hospitality.


Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

Iris Himert

Executive Vice President Long Beach Area CVB visitlongbeach.com (562) 495-8333 irish@longbeachcvb.org ith the exception of a stint in the late ‘80s as Assistant Director of Sales for the Disneyland Hotel, Iris Himert has put her skills, energy and passion into selling Long Beach since 1983. Prior to her current role, she served as Senior VP of Sales for the Long Beach Area CVB.


Kerri Kapich

Senior Vice President of Marketing San Diego Tourism Authority sandiego.org (213) 236-2354 kvkapich@sandiego.org erri Kapich joined the SDTA in 1997, when she was responsible for strategic planning, brand management and partnerships. In 2001, she was named as one of the “Top 100 Marketers” in the nation by Advertising Age Magazine. Most recently, she was honored by the San Diego Business Journal with a 2012 Women Who Mean Business Finalist Award.


Karolyn Kirchgesler

CEO Team San Jose sanjose.org (408) 792-4107 kkirchgesler@sanjose.org arolyn Kirchgesler brings more than 25 years of industry experience to her present position. Prior to joining the organization, she was CEO at Visit Saint Paul. She has also held executive-level roles with the Greater New Haven CVB, Sioux Falls Convention Center and Aberdeen CVB.


Anne LeClair

President & CEO San Mateo County CVB smccvb.com/welcome (650) 348-7600 annel@smccvb.com nne LeClair has been the President and CEO at San Mateo County CVB for 15 years. Her previous experience includes Vice President, Major Corporations at the California Chamber of Commerce, and President and CEO at San Mateo Chamber of Commerce. She is experienced in event planning, public relations and marketing.


Kathy McAdams

Vice President Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board discoverlosangeles.com (213) 236-2354 kmcadams@latourism.org athy McAdams is responsible for driving citywide convention sales. She joined L.A. Tourism as Director of Sales in 1994, prior to which she was Director of Sales for Columbia Sussex Hotels in Washington, DC, responsible for selling 14 Radisson hotels. McAdams has also served as Manager, Meetings and Conventions for the American Society of Travel Agents.





The state’s meeting cities are poised to deliver even more value By Anthony Bilden

Pointe Orlando is an inviting free-time option for attendees


he Sunshine State is home to many destinations that are ideal for incentives and retreats, such as the Emerald Coast, The Keys and the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine. But it is the two first-tier hubs, Miami and Orlando, that naturally draw the most attention in the meetings industry. In particular, meeting professionals are eyeing the planned expansions of the Miami Beach Convention Center and the Orange County Convention Center. The former project, valued at approximately $500 million, would expand exhibit space to 500,000 sq. ft. and add a 60,000-sq.-ft. grand ballroom, three junior ballrooms and 59,000 sq. ft. of breakout spaces. An 800-room headquarters hotel has also been proposed as part of the project, scheduled for completion by 2018. The Orange County Convention Center’s proposed expansion is similarly ambitious, adding approximately 80,000 sq. ft. of meeting rooms, a 130,000-sq.-ft. multipurpose hall and a 1,500-space parking garage. The additional space would be well received by event organizers such as Ed Chase, Vice President, Conferences, LRP Publications. Owned by LRP, the FETC (Future of Education Technology Conference) held Jan. 12-15, 2016 brought just over 9,000 professionals in the field to Orlando. “We use half of the North/South Building, but we are growing and I know that a lot of the other events that use that facility are growing as well. So we can all make use of more space,” says Chase. With an 8 percent increase in attendance over last year’s FETC, Orlando is clearly working as a site choice. “If we were to leave Orlando we would have many of our attendees quite upset with us, especially those who travel from the North to the South in the middle of January,” Chase adds. Indeed, the agreeable Floridian weather, coupled with the state’s breadth of outdoor recreational options, can make even conventions and tradeshows feel a bit like incentive trips for participants. 36


The formidable Miami Beach Convention Center is just one of three major convention facilities in the city. The recently redesigned Miami Airport Convention Center, located adjacent to Miami International Airport, offers 172,000 sq. ft. of exhibit and meeting space, including a 29,000-sq.-ft. ballroom. In Downtown Miami, groups have available the SMGmanaged James L. Knight International Center, comprised of the 5,000-capacity James L. Knight Center; the Miami Convention Center, with 28,000 sq. ft. of function space; and the 612-room Hyatt Regency The Miami Beach Convention Miami, with 23,000 sq. ft. Center (top) and the city’s iconic South Beach of meeting space. It need not be “all business” for delegates in Miami, however. South Beach is a world-renowned nightlife destination, while enthusiasts of history and culture can explore the Art Deco Historic District, the Peréz

Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 Winter

Art Museum Miami and Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Coconut Grove, to name just a few options. Miami’s upscale resorts are another source of free-time diversion. Trump National Doral, for example, recently unveiled a state-of-the-art tennis facility and the Trump Spa as part of its multiyear, $250 million renovation. Also new to Miami’s hotel scene is the Bayfront Meeting Space at YVE Hotel Miami, A Destination Hotel. The 2,000-sq.-ft. venue is composed of one main conference room, two boardrooms and two open break areas that accommodate up to 50 people. The hotel is walkable to Brickell’s dining and shopping destinations, The Shops at Midtown Miami and the Miami Design District.

spa, restaurant and public spaces. A new beachfront restaurant, Burlock Coast, opened in November 2015 at the Ritz. The Pelican Grand Beach Resort has completed a $6 million expansion, adding two new ballrooms — each with an oceanfront terrace — for meetings and events. The 487-room B Ocean Resort is completing a property-wide renovation by midyear. And two upscale hotels have made notable improvements to their meeting space: The Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six has renovated its 5,900-sq.-ft. Panorama Ballroom, while the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort has debuted BalQony, offering 4,500 sq. ft. of indoor/ outdoor function space.



“In the next two years we will have a new landscape and horizon with… landmark hotels attracting the high-end market.” —Nicki E. Grossman, President, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

Further up Southeast Florida’s coast, Fort Lauderdale welcomes groups with the 600,000-sq.-ft., SMG-managed Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Adjacent to the Intracoastal The 349-room Margaritaville Beach Waterway, the Resort on Hollywood Beach opened venue has the dis- last fall tinction of being the state’s first convention center to earn LEED certification. But it’s not just meeting groups that are strengthening Fort Lauderdale’s tourism industry. “Month after month and year after year, we are experiencing tremendous growth in our visitor numbers,” notes Nicki E. Grossman, President of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “There are many factors contributing to this success, including our increasingly popular lifestyle appeal. In the next two years we will have a new landscape and horizon with exciting new high-rise towers, beautifully designed condos and landmark hotels attracting the high-end market.” Upcoming properties include The Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, expected to open in summer 2016 with 290 guestrooms and 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; a dual-hotel complex featuring a Starwood Tribute Portfolio (209 rooms) and Element by Westin Hotel (114 rooms) with 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, opening spring 2017; the 367-room HYDE Resort in 2017; and a 150-room Four Seasons property in 2018. Several of Fort Lauderdale’s upscale hotels have renovated, including the Five Diamond Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, which recently unveiled an $8 million renovation to guestrooms, Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 Winter

“It’s an exciting time for The Palm Beaches, as the destination has made significant progress in its ability to attract more meetings, conventions and tradeshows.” —Jorge Pesquera, President and CEO, Discover The Palm Beaches

Like Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach has its own international airport, and the quality of its upscale resorts is on par with any city in Florida. Seventeen hotels in The Palm Beaches have met the criteria for Five Diamond and Four Diamond Ratings from the AAA for 2016. The Five Diamond properties are in the city of Palm Beach: Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach and The Breakers Palm Beach. The latter debuted its exclusive Flagler Club (a 25-room boutique hotel) and the renovated Spa at The Breakers late last year. New hotels coming online include a 200-room Hyatt Place opening in Boca Raton this summer with 4,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; a Mandarin Oriental Hotel opening in Boca Raton in 2017; and a 150-room Canopy by Hilton breaking ground in West Palm Beach in May. “Aside from its obvious warm weather and coastal appeal, the area boasts a very wide range of accommodations with excellent meeting facilities,” notes Jorge Pesquera, President and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism

The Palm Beach County Convention Center (pictured) has a new partner in the Hilton West Palm Beach 37

marketing organization. “From classic legendary resorts to upscale and trusted brand hotels and select-service properties for small meetings, they are all easily accessible via uncluttered roadways, just minutes from the stress-free Palm Beach International Airport, and less than one hour’s drive from other major airports in Fort Lauderdale and Miami.” A major new hotel in the meetings market is the Hilton West Palm Beach, connected to the Palm Beach County Convention Center (PBCCC). “This integrated hotel–center combination is the only one of its kind in South Florida, a major leap in the evolution of strategic tourism assets for The Palm Beaches,” says Pesquera. (For an interview with the hotel’s GM, see page 14.) Palm Beach’s Downtown Convention District includes 1,200 hotel rooms within five blocks of the PBCCC, all within walking distance to the Raymond F. Kravis Performing Arts Center and CityPlace, the popular open-air shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Other options include high-end shopping on Worth Avenue and a visit to The Norton Museum of Art. Overall, The Palm Beaches have over 40 museums and more than 200 cultural attractions. “It’s an exciting time for The Palm Beaches, as the destination has made significant progress in its ability to attract more meetings, conventions and tradeshows,” Pesquera concludes.


“If we were to leave Orlando we would have many of our attendees quite upset with us, especially those who travel from the North to the South in the middle of January.” —Ed Chase, Vice President, Conferences, LRP Publications

Part of Orlando’s success in attracting meetings and conventions is Visit Orlando, both in terms of its marketing efforts and services to groups. Moreover, the organization’s President and CEO, George Aguel, is “a key player in the hospitality and travel community, and is making innovative strides while representing the most visited destination in the country,” according to Robert A. Gilbert, President and CEO of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). Aguel was honored with the HSMAI’s Albert E. Koehl Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Marketing at the Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala on Feb. 16 in New York City. Orlando itself is making “innovative strides” with compelling new attractions at its world-renowned theme parks. Universal Orlando Resort is debuting “Skull Island: Reign of Kong” this summer at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The ride lets guests experience the ancient temples and tribes on King Kong’s native island. Also this summer, SeaWorld Orlando will be introducing Mako, a 200-ft.-tall roller coaster claimed to be Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest, reaching speeds of 73 mph. Walt Disney World Resort is making strides in the shopping and dining area with Disney Springs, a transformation of Downtown Disney that will ultimately double the number 38

(Above): A rendering of Disney Springs’ new Town Center area (Right): Visit Orlando’s George Aguel receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from HSMAI’s Robert Gilbert (left) of shops, restaurants and other venues to more than 150 establishments. Disney Springs has four distinct outdoor neighborhoods: The Landing, Marketplace, West Side and Town Center, all interconnected by a spring and lakefront. Dining highlights include Morimoto Asia, which opened in September 2015 as Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s first-ever pan-Asian restaurant. The BOATHOUSE is another intriguing offering. The upscale, waterfront dining experience features live music and guided tours aboard land and water vehicles. More quality dining and shopping can be found along the city’s well-known International Drive, which debuted I-Drive 360 last May. The complex features three attractions: The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando and SEA LIFE Aquarium. “The Convention Center is in walking proximity to restaurants down I Drive,” notes Chase. “We’re very fortunate to have that many options for our attendees. Visit Orlando provided us with brochures we gave out for the local restaurants.” Two factors make Orlando ideal for the FETC, Chase explains. The first is the Orlando International Airport: “It’s an easy airport to get to from wherever you are in the country with a lot of direct flights,” he says. The second is the Orange County Convention Center. “The venue itself is very well laid out for us. This year we had 500 breakout sessions and workshops from Tuesday through Friday, so we needed a lot of space, a lot of different rooms. In addition, we have a pretty sizable expo floor, and the Convention Center’s show floor lends itself well to people doing demos of their software, 3D printing, etc. It’s a big enough room [in the North/South Building] where we’re able to spread out and give people a chance to see what the best and newest is.”


Plenty of lodging (over 12,000 guestrooms) and plenty of coastline (23 miles) await groups in this colorful seaside city. Attractions include the Boardwalk and Pier, Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, Richard Petty Driving Experience and the famous Daytona International Speedway. Speedweeks takes place in February, Bike Week is in March and Biketoberfest is in October. More than 1,200 guestrooms are in walking distance of the Ocean Center Convention Center, offering groups 200,000 sq. ft. of space including 160,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 12,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 32 meeting rooms. Additionally, the complex includes a 9,050-seat arena. Just outside the facility are the Ocean Walk Shoppes, Daytona Lagoon Waterpark and Entertainment Complex, and Peabody Auditorium. Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 Winter


Northeastern Florida offers one of the state’s best combinations of affordability, quality meeting venues and offsite entertainment. Dubbed “The River City by the Sea,” Jacksonville affords groups opportunities to meet in view of the St. Johns River or Atlantic Ocean. And even when attendees are inside the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, they’ll enjoy views of the former train terminal’s historic architecture. Located minutes from the Jacksonville International Airport, the facility offers 275,000 gross sq. ft. of flexible meeting space plus 78,500 sq. ft. of continuous exhibit space. Over 2,300 hotel rooms are less than a mile away. Like Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville is teeming with renovations to its upscale hotels. The Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, Omni Jacksonville and Embassy Suites Jacksonville–Baymeadows have all recently completed major renovations. Expected to be completed by year’s end are the Sheraton Jacksonville’s $7 million property-wide renovation and the Lexington Hotel & Conference Center’s approximately $20

million renovation. The Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront is Northeast Florida’s largest convention center hotel with 116,000 sq. ft. of function space. Outdoor gathering space is plentiful, with 21,120 sq. ft. of river decks. A short walk away from the Hyatt is The Landing, Jacksonville’s hub for dining, shopping and festivals. Live country music is a staple at the newly rebranded Maverick’s Live, one of many entertainment venues at The Landing. Other free time options for attendees include The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, Times-Union Center for Performing Arts, Cummer Museum of Arts & Gardens, MOCA Jacksonville and The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. New offsite event venues for groups include Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, which opened its first Jacksonville location at the St. Johns Town Center. The restaurant accommodates more than 335 guests, with indoor and outdoor seating as well as three large private event rooms. The Barge Jax, floating on the St. Johns River, has approximately 6,000 sq. ft. of event space. And golfers can look forward to Topgolf’s 65,000-sq.ft. golf entertainment center opening this summer.

Event Calendar: Florida City Date Event Boca Raton March 4-16, 2016 Festival of the Arts BOCA Boca Raton April 8-9, 2016 Boca Bacchanal Clearwater Sept. 19, 2015 - 50 Artworks for 50 Years at March 13, 2016 Museum of Fine Arts Clearwater April 8-10, 2016 Tampa Bay Blues Festival Daytona Beach March 5, 2016 DAYTONA Supercross By Honda Daytona Beach March 12, 2016 DAYTONA 200 Fort Lauderdale March 18, 2016 Jazz In The Gardens Jacksonville March 12, 2016 Gate River Run Miami March 16, 2016 Carnaval & Calle Ocho Festival Miami March 16-19, 2016 Funkshion: Fashion Week Miami Beach Miami March 21-April 3, 2016 Miami Open Miami Nov. 6-15, 2016 Miami International Auto Show Miami Dec. 1-4, 2016 Art Basel Miami Beach Miami Jan. 29, 2017 Miami Marathon and Half Marathon Miami Feb. 16-20, 2017 Progressive Miami International Boat Show Orlando Feb. 25-March 13, 2016 Central Florida Fair Orlando April 16, 2016 Florida Funk Fest Panama City Dec. 3, 2016 Panama City Beach Marathon Panama City Dec. 10, 2016 NewSong’s Very Merry Christmas Tour Panama City Feb. 24-25, 2017 PCB Mardi Gras and Music Festival Pensacola January-April 2016 Pensacola Ice Flyers Ice Hockey Pensacola April 22-23, 2016 Extraordinary Women Conference 2016 Pensacola Nov. 4, 5, 6, 2016 Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival Pensacola Nov. 5, 2016 Foo Foo Festival Pensacola Nov. 13, 2016 Pensacola Marathon Tampa March 5, 2016 Florida Brewer’s Guild Annual Festival Tampa March 12-13, 2016 Gasparilla Music Festival Tampa April 16, 2016 31th Annual Best of Tampa Bay Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 Winter


on location

Incentivizing Islands

A scenic day on the greens in St. Thomas

St. Croix and St. Thomas are home to some of the Caribbean’s finest resorts By Rachel Kapur

F&D staff recently had the pleasure of experiencing two of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ most pristine destinations: St. Croix and St. Thomas. Here incentive groups will find fascinating history, gorgeous beaches, delectable cuisine and plenty of unique excursions, not to mention Caribbean-style “R&R.” It can all be enjoyed while lodging at one of several upscale resorts, including properties by major brands such as Marriott and Ritz-Carlton.

St. Croix

The Buccaneer

Estate Whim, a plantation that dates back to 1733, is the perfect spot for a unique opening reception that can be held indoors or outdoors.

The largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix is a two-hour flight from Miami, FL, and 30 minutes from the airport is the beautiful Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa. The 151-room hotel features spacious guestrooms that offer either ocean, beachfront or island views, along with kitchenettes and free WiFi. The hotel’s function spaces total 9,280 sq. ft.; the largest meeting room can accommodate 160 people. A unique location for a 40

small meeting or dining experience is the Bell Tower, located outside of the main building. Additionally, the recently renovated Mahogany restaurant is available for group dinners or receptions.

For offsite group dining or meetings, we recommend renting out Estate Whim, which dates back to 1733. The plantation consists of acres of history and a museum of artifacts dating back hundreds of years. This is the perfect spot for a unique opening reception that can be held indoors or outdoors. The Buccaneer, family-owned and operated, has been an iconic hotel in St. Croix for over 67 years. This luxury property is just minutes away from the historic town of Christiansted and 20 minutes from the airport. This hotel is known for its exceptional service and accommodations, and has a very high percentage of Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 Winter

repeat guests. The 138 guestrooms include 50 oceanfront deluxe rooms that were recently renovated. In addition to being a historical landmark, The Buccaneer is an ideal spot for a meeting or incentive trip. The hotel has unique meeting spaces including The Sugar Mill, which can accommodate up to 100 attendees for an opening or closing reception. Group activities include beach Olympics, golf and snorkeling lessons.

Snorkeing in St Croix The Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa The 200-room Divi Carina Bay Hotel is the only all-inclusive hotel in St. Croix. The hotel also has the island’s largest meeting space, the Palm Room, which can host 400 attendees, and the Surf Room, which accommodates 250 attendees. Guess can partake of a casino, 24-hour tennis courts, and “the best pizza on the island” at the East End Pizza Restaurant.

5 Top Group Activities 1.

Off-roading around St. Croix with Tan Tan Tours.


Snorkeling around Buck Island, which has one of the top-rated beaches in the world.


Visiting the Nelthropp Family-operated Cruzan Rum Factory in St. Croix.


Exploring the famous Cane Bay, commonly referred to as the Wall – the floor drops 3,200 feet. It is regarded as the best scuba diving spot in the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Chartering Lady Lynsey, the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas’s 53-ft. luxury catamaran. Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 Winter

St. Thomas

A short seaplane flight away from St. Croix is the island of St. Thomas. This island is known for its pirate history, bountiful shopping and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, known as “Megan’s Beach.” St. Thomas is 14 miles long and it takes approximately two hours and 30 minutes to drive around the entire island. Although it may seem small, St. Thomas offers plenty to see and do. The peak season is from October to April. St. Thomas has many fine dining establishments, including the top-rated Havana Blue, which is located at the stunning Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. The hotel features 478 rooms, including 17 royal suites, four grand suites and six harbor suites. Planners have the option of choosing view types for their attendees. Renovated in 2011, the hotel has the Caribbean’s largest ballroom, which is 14,112 sq. ft. and accommodates up to 1,400 guests for a sit-down dinner. The ballroom features state-of-the-art technology including rear projection on both sides of the ballroom. The hotel works closely with event planners and has had many unique events in the ballroom, including an annual Vegas Style Casino Night complete with slot machines. Planners can opt for private group check-in as well as all-inclusive pricing. The Sugar Bay Resort and Spa, formerly the Wyndham Sugar Bay, is an ideal location for smaller groups, offering 249 rooms and 16,560 sq. ft. of meeting space. The hotel underwent a complete renovation in March 2015. Set against a backdrop of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the Five Star Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas is nestled on a 30-acre waterfront estate. The 180-room hotel was renovated in the last four years and features over 10,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor function space with views of the Great Bay and St. John. Bernd Kuhlen, GM, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas 41

2015 a Banner Year for Puerto Rico Tourism


he Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) reports record-breaking numbers in several key tourism categories for 2015. The influx of tourists contributed nearly $4 billion to the Puerto Rico economy, representing a 20 percent growth in that area since 2012. Following are some of the key indicators.

lBoosted by the addition of 10 new airlines flying to eight new destinations in Puerto Rico, the PRTC reported an increase in tourist hotel registrations, contributing to a record-breaking 71 percent occupancy rate and a record-breaking average room rate of nearly $160 in 2015.

lAnother large draw was the increase in international tourism events such as the International Tourism Expo (ETI 2015), the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operation Summit, MOVE, the Leaders Forum of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) and Routes Americas.

Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, Executive Director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company

lFor the first time since 2008, Puerto Rico received more than five million visitors at Puerto Rico airports, resulting in an increase of visitor spending to $3.82 billion and representing 20 percent growth in the tourism sector/industry since 2012. lA record number of tourists visited the island by sea in 2015; Puerto Rico saw more than 1.5 million cruise passengers, resulting in an increase of more than 45 percent over 2013.

lIn order to satisfy this influx of tourists, Puerto Rico has added 1,000 new hotel rooms since 2013, resulting in a record 15,000 available rooms. Additionally, Puerto Rico currently has another roughly 4,000 rooms in the final stages of the development and construction process.

While the PRTC projects a small decrease in hotel bookings over the short term as a result of the current Zika virus outbreak, it expects another strong year for Puerto Rico in the tourism sector in 2016. By the end of 2016, Puerto Rico expects to achieve its goal of 10 million visitors at Puerto Rico airports. On the meetings front, the country will host the 23rd Annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Cruise Conference & Trade Show in September, drawing in thousands of consumers and providing a boost to the economy.

Facilities & Destinations


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Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 Winter


Sites & Cities Directory

Austin Convention Center

500 E. Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 404-4200; Fax: (512) 404-4220 www.austinconventioncenter.com Director of Sales: Amy Harris Live Music Capital of the World


Cox Convention Center

One Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 (405) 602-8500; Fax: (405) 602-8505 www.coxconventioncenter.com Director of Sales and Marketing: Tim Linville


Hilton West Palm Beach

600 Okeechobee Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL 33401 (561) 231-6010 HiltonWestPalmBeach.com Director of Sales and Marketing: Edd Karlan

Ontario, canada

The International Centre

6900 Airport Road, Suite 120 Mississauga, ON. L4V 1E8 (905) 677-6131; (800) 567-1199; Fax: (905) 677-3089 www.internationalcentre.com Director of Sales: Sandra Martin There’s Something Happening Here! OHIO

Akron Convention & Visitors Bureau / John S. Knight Center

77 East Mill Street, Akron, OH 44308 (330) 374-8900 / (800) 245-4254; Fax: (330) 374-8971 www.johnsknightcenter.org VP of Sales: Dirk Breiding The Center of All America® City New York

Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center 123 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14564 (585) 232-7200; Fax: (585) 232-1510 www.rrcc.com Executive Director: James D. Brown “Do it better at the Rochester Riverside!” Puerto Rico

Meet Puerto Rico

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


Monona Terrace Convention Center

One John Nolen Drive, Madison, WI 53703 (608) 261-4000; Fax: (608) 261-4049 www.mononaterrace.com Sales/Event Services Manager: Laura Cornell, CMP Where Business and Inspiration Meet Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

A LEED® Gold certified, technologically advanced convention center located near downtown’s famous entertainment districts. Multi-level facility spans six city blocks; features 369,132 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibit space, including five column-free, contiguous exhibit halls (247,052 sq. ft. of total exhibit space), seven ballrooms (40,510 sq. ft. is largest) and 54 meeting rooms. Complimentary high-speed, high-density wireless services throughout; onsite engineers; proven ability PAGE to handle 7,000 simultaneous connections. Pre-function spaces offer downtown views. 13 Pedestrian walkway connects 3rd and 4th levels. Close to 7,500 downtown hotel rooms. 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. Multipurpose 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 PAGE offers an eclectic mix of heritage and hotspots. 11 The new Hilton West Palm Beach is connected to the Palm Beach County Convention Center by an enclosed walkway. The 400-room property houses 24,000 sq. ft. of flexible function space including the Coral and Oceana Ballrooms. Approximately 11,000 sq. ft. of event lawns surrounding the property are also available. Amenities include a lush, outdoor pool area, outdoor dining at Galley, and Manor, the hotel’s signature restaurant showcasing seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients. Among the nearby cultural attractions are the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and the Norton Museum of Art. CityPlace shops and restaurants are in PAGE walking distance. Palm Beach International Airport is about three miles away. 27 Located three minutes from Toronto Pearson International Airport, The International Centre offers 548,000 sq. ft. of expansive and versatile function space, an exceptional culinary experience and a team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals, many with CEM and CMP designations. Thirty-three meeting rooms, 125,500-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall, 48,000 sq. ft. of conference center space. State-of-the-industry AV equipment built in, ultra high-speed Internet, complimentary WiFi in the Grand Lobby. Forty brand-name hotels nearby, providing over 10,000 rooms. Recently completed Phase 1 of a $7 million improvement project PAGE that renovated Hall 1, added a new Connector building to Hall 5 and more. 17 Akron – set among the rolling hills of the Old Connecticut Western Reserve and along the shores of the Ohio and Erie Canalway. The John S. Knight Center is downtown Akron’s showcase for great events. State-of-the-art video conferencing and streaming systems, onsite skilled support/service staff, full-service catering; 16 meeting rooms; 12,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 30,000-sq.-ft. exhibition hall (41,000 sq. ft. total exhibit space); 12,000 sq. ft. of banquet space; an additional 12,600 sq. ft. of meeting space; 22,000-sq.-ft. lobby, highlighted by distinctive glass rotunda and spiral staircase. PAGE 5,400 hotel rooms county-wide. 7 The Rochester Riverside Convention Center has a convenient upstate New York location in a 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 with 266 exhibit booth capacity or 5,000 seating capacity; dedicated Internet connection over fiber optics with wireless access throughout facility; 1,100+ hotel rooms in a quartet of major hotels connect to the venue, surrounded by entertainment districts with restaurants, cafes, pubs, dance clubs, music halls and theaters. Rochester offers planners a compact convention PAGE district and New York State’s only one-stop convention facility. 19 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 hotel openings include the Hyatt House San Juan located in the Convention Center District and the luxurious Condado Vanderbuilt Hotel in the Condado area. The $29.7 million Hyatt Place San Juan, located in the Puerto Rico Convention District adjacent to the recently opened Hyatt PAGE 3 House San Juan, debuted in the first quarter of 2016. Located in heart of Madison’s vibrant downtown on the shore of Lake Monona. Frank Lloyd Wright-designed, spectacular five-level structure features public promenades, meeting rooms with striking lake views, extensive rooftop gardens and the attached 240-room Hilton Madison (1,000+ rooms within walking distance); 250,000 sq. ft., including 85,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibit space; 23 meeting rooms; 40,000-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall; 5,540-sq.-ft., 320-seat Lecture Hall; 14,000-sq.-ft. ballroom. 68,000 sq. ft. of rooftop gardens available for events. Wireless access throughout – Internet 2 access; business center, gift shop, art/ PAGE exhibit area and expansive areas for registration/information needs. 10 43


Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

701 Brickell Avenue, Ste. 2700, Miami, FL 33131 (305) 539-3071 MiamiMeetings.com SVP, Convention Sales: Ita Moriarty ita@gmcvb.com Florida

Ocean Center Convention Center

101 North Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, FL 32118 (386) 254-4524; (386) 254-4512 www.oceancenter.com Assistant Director/Director of Marketing: Angela Daniels The great Florida venue! FLORIDA

Orange County Convention Center West Concourse – 9800 International Drive, South Concourse – 9899 International Drive, North Concourse – 9400 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32819 (407) 685-9800, (800) 345-9845; Fax: (407) 685-9876 www.occc.net Director of Sales: Rodney Gutierrez, CMP California

Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau

300 East Green Street, Pasadena, CA 91101 (800) 307-7977; Fax: (626) 795-9656 PasadenaMeetings.com Senior Director of Sales & Marketing: Jeanne O’Grady Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Convention Center 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215) 418-4700 www.meetphl.com The Complete Package Director, Sales & Marketing & Convention Services: Stephanie Boyd ARIZONA

Phoenix Convention Center & Venues

100 North Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 (602) 262-6225; (800) 282-4842 www.PhoenixConventionCenter.com Director of Sales: Debbi Foshee In the Heart of Downtown: Enjoy Our Space, Explore Our City California

Sacramento Convention Center 1030 15th Street, Suite 100 Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 808-5291; Fax: (916) 808-7687


Team San Jose

408 Almaden Boulevard, San Jose, CA 95110 (800) SAN-JOSE sanjose.org Director of Sales: Mark McMinn


Greater Miami is a vibrant area whose renowned neighborhoods include South Beach, Coconut Grove and Little Havana. Among the area’s major attractions are American Airlines Arena, Pérez Art Museum Miami, MiMo in North Beach, Bal Harbour and two national parks: Biscayne National Preserve and Everglades National Park. There are a total of 50,134 hotel rooms, and the Miami Worldcenter will add an 1,800-room Marriott Marquis when it opens in 2020. The Convention Center currently offers 500,000 sq. ft. of total exhibit space and 81 meeting rooms. The Greater Miami CVB offers groups banners, airport signs, destination material, regisPAGE tration personnel services, website, promotions and more. 1 Located at the core of Daytona Beach, the Ocean Center Convention Center is just steps away from the Atlantic Ocean and 10 minutes from Daytona International Airport. The center houses 160,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 9,050-seat arena, 12,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 32 meeting rooms. Ocean Walk Shoppes directly across the street offers dining and entertainment featuring Sloppy Joes’, Johnny Rockets, Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company and other establishments. The Ocean Center is adjacent to Daytona Lagoon Waterpark and Entertainment Complex and to Peabody Auditorium offering concerts, Broadway PAGE shows and other entertainment throughout the year. C4 The second largest convention center in the nation, the award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is known as “The Center of Hospitality, where it’s all about your experience.” The facility offers seven million total sq. ft. of meeting space, including 2.1 million sq. ft. of total exhibition space, 74 meeting rooms/235 breakout meeting rooms and the 62,182-sq.-ft. Valencia Room (largest ballroom). Additionally, the OCCC boasts a 2,643seat theater, a 160-seat lecture hall and state-of-the-art technology. Directly connected by pedestrian bridge to 5,000 luxury guestrooms. PAGE 5

Pasadena offers groups year-long warm weather, five-star accommodations, endless shopping and entertainment options, and more restaurants per capita than New York City. There are over 2,500 guestrooms citywide, more than 1,200 of which are within walking distance of the Pasadena Convention Center. The expanded Pasadena Convention Center features a 55,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall (expandable to 80,000 sq. ft.), a newly restored 17,000-sq.-ft. historic exhibit hall, 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 29 meeting rooms, 3,000-seat Civic Auditorium and a 22,000-sq.-ft. outdoor plaza. Major local attractions include the Historic Rose Bowl PAGE Stadium, Pasadena Playhouse, Norton Simon Museum and Pacific Asia Museum. 31 The LEED-certified Pennsylvania Convention Center features one million sq. ft. of saleable space, the ability to host two major tradeshows simultaneously, 82 meeting rooms, 528,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, two ballrooms (including the 55,408-sq.-ft. Terrace Ballroom) and a Grand Hall housed in the historic Reading Railroad train shed. More than 9,000 hotel rooms are within a 15-minute walk of the center, whose North Broad Street entrance connects to the Avenue of the Arts and Museum Mile. Nearby are the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin PAGE Museum, Franklin Institute and other major cultural institutions. C3 The award-winning Phoenix Convention Center & Venues is within walking distance of shopping, entertainment, sports and theater venues, and is just four miles from Sky Harbor International Airport. There are more than 3,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the center and more that 6,000 hotel rooms located along the Metro Light Rail System. Named one of the top-10 convention center facilities in the country, PCC&V offers more than 900,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space, including a 312,500-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall and a 46,000-sq.-ft. ballroom — all complemented by the 2,312-seat Symphony Hall and the 1,364-seat historic PAGE 6 Orpheum Theatre. Small-town friendly with big-city amenities, Sacramento hosts 6+ million visitors annually. Located in the heart of downtown, the Sacramento Convention Center features 31 meeting rooms; two 10,000-sq.-ft. registration/pre-function areas; Exhibit Hall – 134,000 sq. ft. contiguous space/divisible into five separate areas; 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom (1,500 banquet-style/2,500 theater style), divisible into 10 meeting rooms. Activity Building is a fully carpeted, 11,200-sq.-ft. facility with 12 meeting rooms, connected by concourse to the exhibit hall. 4,000-seat Memorial Auditorium; 2,452-seat Community Center Theater. 2,000 hotels within walking distance; PAGE 10,000 citywide. Classique Catering; Wolfgang Pucks Express. 29 As the Capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is known as a business mecca, but also offers a variety of sophisticated entertainment options for delegates. The Winchester Mystery House, Tech Museum of Innovation, Levi’s Stadium, Center for Performing Arts, San Pedro Square Market and San Jose Museum of Art are all in easy access of the city’s 8,000 hotel rooms (4,000 committable on peak). The Sainte Claire Hotel has been rebranded to a Westin San Jose, and 2016 will bring a new property by AC Hotels. Rather than handing planners off to other organizations once the meeting is booked, Team San Jose does it all, from housing, convention PAGE C2 center and facility event services to customized F&B menus, permits and special events. Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

Destination TEXAS

Austin Convention Center


he capital of Texas offers meeting groups many historical attractions, including the State Capitol, the LBJ Presidential Library, the Texas State History Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, and many more museums and art galleries. Or groups can experience the beauty of central Texas, captured by downtown’s Lady Bird Lake and bordered by 10 miles of trails enjoyed by runners, walkers and cyclists. Surrounded by three lakes and a network of parks, Austin offers the perfect environment for enjoying the best of nature. After conventions and meetings wrap-up each night, attendees may choose to enjoy Austin’s entertainment districts – Second Street, the Warehouse District and the famous Sixth Street. The Austin Convention Center is just down the street from the city’s vibrant nightlife, where visitors can also enjoy everything from fine dining in four-star restaurants, to down-home barbecue and authentic Tex-Mex. As the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin echoes with the sound of country, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, jazz and Tejano. On any given evening, attendees can find live music playing in nearly 250 different venues. Austin offers more than 33,000 hotel rooms, with 7,500 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, W Austin, Hyatt Place Downtown Austin and the 1,012-room JW Marriott Austin. The 326-room Westin Austin Downtown opened in July 2015 and the Fairmont Austin is scheduled to open in 2017. 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 hightech capabilities help create the perfect technology partner for the annual SXSW international convention. It offers a variety of in-house services including complimentary wireless Internet access, redundant high-speed Internet II access, plug-and-play capabilities and an onsite technical staff to help with networking needs.

500 E. Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78701 • (512) 404-4200; Fax: (512) 404-4220 austinconventioncenter.com Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter


Destination oklahoma

Cox Convention Center


klahoma City is investing $250 million in a new downtown convention center of approximately 470,000 sq. ft. (with about 235,000 sq. ft. of sellable space), replacing the Cox Convention Center by the end of the decade. The new facility is a continuation of the city’s resurgence that includes the nearby Bricktown entertainment district, home to canal-side restaurants, clubs and attractions. In addition, the expanding Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River provides exciting activities for attendees and their families. Since 1993, Oklahoma City has seen more than $5 billion of public and private investment in quality-of-life projects and improvements throughout the city. The Cox Convention Center houses 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 21 meeting rooms, a 15,000-seat arena and a 6,500-seat theater, all connected by a skybridge to the 258-room Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel (66,000 sq. ft. of meeting space). The downtown area is only about 20 minutes from Will Rogers Airport, a streamlined facility that is easy to get in and out of. Oklahoma City offers 1,600 convention center district hotel rooms (16,000 overall), affordable rates, a hospitable atmosphere and cultural highlights such as the 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. 46

Just west of the Cox Convention Center is the Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory. The Gardens underwent a $38 million transformation in April 2011, and now includes a restaurant, interactive water features, a new children’s garden, dog release area, grand event lawn and more. Attendees can also explore a variety of intriguing neighborhoods in Oklahoma City, including the Plaza District, with art galleries and specialty shops; Stockyards City, showcasing Oklahoma’s Western heritage; the Adventure District, home to the Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Zoo and Remington Park Racing Casino; and the Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River, offering rowing, kayaking, cycling, ziplining, running and fitness activities. In addition, the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau is a boon to planners, offering complete convention servicing and support through a computerized housing bureau and registration technology.

1 Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 (405) 602-8500; Fax: (405) 602-8505 coxconventioncenter.com

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

Destination NEW YORK

Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center


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 New York Wine and Culinary Center in nearby Canandaigua, the wineries and farmer’s markets of the Finger Lakes region offer delegates meeting in Rochester wonderful day-trip options for pre- or post-conference enjoyment. Several entertainment districts surround the Rochester Riverside with restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, pubs, dance clubs, music halls, theaters and more. Rochester also boasts numerous museums, including the George Eastman Museum, the Susan B. Anthony House and the acclaimed Strong National Museum of Play. The city is proud to be home to the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, a nine-day event featuring 300+ concert, as well as the Fringe Festival, a unique 10-day event celebrating the arts with 500+ performances all over downtown Rochester. Conveniently located in the heart of the city is the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center, with a scenic setting on the Genesee River, featuring outdoor patios and balconies. The Greater Rochester International Airport — 54+ flights daily — is just a 10-minute drive from the Convention Center’s front door. Complimentary airport transportation is provided by all major hotels. Rochester is a community known around the world for its hightech expertise, which has led to the city being selected as the location for the Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Integrated Photonics. The Rochester Riverside also gets high marks for handling all types of technology needs. The Riverside Convention Center has upgraded to a dedicated Internet connection over fiber optics to meet all of the growing number of technical

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

requirements its customers have. This service is available wireless throughout the facility and is scalable from 50 MB to 100 MB. The Center features an in-house food and beverage operation, which includes an Executive Pastry Chef. In addition, the Riverside Productions and Riverside Catering divisions can even provide services to groups utilizing offsite locations throughout the region. Basically, the Riverside Convention Center is New York State’s only one-stop convention facility. More than 1,100 rooms in a quartet of major hotels connect with the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center to create a compact convention district in the center of the city. There is a 217room Holiday Inn, 460-room Radisson, a 338-room Hyatt Regency and a 106-room Hilton Garden Inn. Delegates also enjoy the convenience of walking between hotels and the Convention Center in minutes using the enclosed skywalk system or the scenic riverside walkway.

123 East Main Street Rochester, NY 14604 (585) 232-7200 rrcc.com


Destination PUErto Rico

Meet Puerto Rico


uerto Rico continues its emergence as one of the most sought-after meeting destinations, offering delegates a distinctive and memorable experience as well as an ever-growing roster of top-rated hotels and resorts totaling approximately 15,000 guestrooms throughout the island. In addition, with more than 1.3 million sq. ft. of meeting space, the Caribbean’s largest and most technically advanced convention center and the ability to host major citywide conventions and upscale luxury incentives, Puerto Rico is an attractive option for meeting and convention groups. “Meet Puerto Rico is an innovation-driven organization,” said Milton Segarra, President and CEO of Meet Puerto Rico. “We try to stay ahead of the trends and offer what our planners need — before they ask. We listen to their feedback and provide accordingly. There is a new generation of meeting planners and attendees and we have to be thinking ahead in how we structure our offerings to meet the new ways in which they are looking to design meetings. Authentic experiences are still key as well as the use of social media, and Meet Puerto Rico answers the call in both of these areas.” The experiences groups take away from visiting Puerto Rico are vital to the meeting’s success. With the Super Bowl behind us, Spring Training just starting and the Olympics around the corner, sports are top of mind. This year, the MLB returns when the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Florida Marlins, May 30-31, on the newly renovated field of Hiram Bithorn Stadium. The May 31 game also marks MLB’s 15th Annual Roberto Clemente Day — the Puerto Rican Hall of Famer outfielder and humanitarian — celebrated throughout the MLB and marks the MLB’s return to Puerto Rico after six years. This summer, USA Swimming has selected Puerto Rico as the site of the 2016 post-Olympic-Trials, pre-Olympic-Games “foreign” training camp. They will utilize Puerto Rico’s Natatorium of San Juan, a covered outdoor swim facility designed after the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games pool with capacity for 1,800 spectators. Puerto Rico’s experiences extend beyond sports. There is 500 years of history, culture, and top-quality cuisine unique to the culture and destination. Myriad activities allow groups to go outside and explore nature, such as hiking the only subtropical rainforest in the United States. Other activities allow attendees to participate in Puerto Rico’s culture by trying out the local dances or helping to grow local foods. A wide variety of CSR elements rounds out the offerings. To help increase attendance, engagement and content for meetings, Meet Puerto Rico offers planners a social media program called Eleventes. The program can enhance current social media strategies already established by the groups, or it can help create a custom social

media program targeted for a particular audience — at no cost to the planner. New Developments The Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino has completed a $15 million+ renovation. The $29.7 million, 149-room Hyatt Place San Juan has opened in the Puerto Rico Convention District, adjacent to the recently opened Hyatt House San Juan. The latter property is Puerto Rico’s first extended stay hotel and the brand’s first Hyatt House hotel outside the continental United States. In addition, the 260-room Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde recently completed a $10 million renovation; there is a planned multimillion dollar renovation of The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan’s lobby lounge and surrounding area; Copamarina Beach Resort & Spa’s approximately one million dollar renovation updated the arrival experience, pathways, pools and some of their 106 guestrooms; and the Wyndham Hotel Group recently opened TRYP by Wyndham® Isla Verde, representing a nearly $8 million investment in the lifestyle brand’s first opening in both the Caribbean and in Puerto Rico. In addition, the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (LMM), which has recently undergone a $750 million renovation and will be embarking on an additional $200 million enhancement program, has consistently demonstrated the effective and efficient handling of security measures. Seven of the major U.S. Federal agencies and Puerto Rico security forces all work together onsite at the LMM international airport facilities to monitor and combat potential threats. Meet Puerto Rico closed out the first half of the new fiscal year (FY) 2015-16 with the organization’s best finish on record for the past six years: 125 groups booked their meetings in Puerto Rico from now to 2018, for a total of 89,750 room nights. This reflects a 116 percent completion of MPR’s midyear goal and a direct impact of $50 million to the local economy. Upcoming groups include the 9th Routes Americas event, February 2016; the Purdue University Women’s NCAA Golf Tournament, February 2016; the Latin American & Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA), May 2016; and the GE Corporate Staff Meeting, May 2018. While Puerto Rico is a tropical island in the Caribbean, it’s also a U.S. commonwealth. That means U.S. citizens can travel to the island without a passport; flights are considered domestic. And with more than 1,800 weekly flights from the United States and international destinations (1,499 nonstop and 382 direct flights from U.S.), Puerto Rico is undeniably a quick Caribbean getaway for Americans.

Ochoa Building, 500 Tanca Street, Ste. 402, San Juan, PR 00901 (800) 875-4765; (787) 725-2110; Fax: (787) 725-2133 • meetpuertorico.com 48

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

Destination wisconsin

monona terrace convention center Madison, Wisconsin: An Inspiring Place for Smart Meetings.


adison, Wisconsin, combines exceptional facilities with the intellectual and emotional capital needed for meeting success. Home to the renowned University of Wisconsin–Madison, the vision of Frank Lloyd Wright, the insight of Aldo Leopold and a majestic Capitol built upon an isthmus alive with cultural arts, engaging intellectual pursuits and a wealth of recreational opportunities, Madison is the place for smart meetings. Monona Terrace, a crown jewel of Madison’s cultural isthmus, was the first convention center in the nation to be LEED-EBcertified at the Silver Level by the U.S. Green Building Council. After earning Silver in 2007, Monona Terrace was recertified at the Gold Level in 2015. To earn its Gold certification, the Convention Center invested in initiatives to increase recycling rates, utilize green cleaning products, and adopt clean energy use and conservation. The facility purchases 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. Monona Terrace has become a symbol of sustainability for the community of Madison and an inspiration to all those who choose to visit the city.

Accommodations: More than 8,000 hotel rooms are available to groups in Madison, with 1,000 rooms within walking distance of the Monona Terrace® Convention Center. Accommodation styles run the gamut from first-class convention hotels, such as the 240-room Hilton Madison (the headquarters hotel for the convention center), to limited-service hotels and budget-conscious lodging. Bed and breakfasts are another attractive choice in Madison, and several provide services and amenities appropriate for executive attendees. Convention Facilities: The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed

Monona Terrace® Convention Center is a touchstone for both the Madison community and groups coming to the city. Sweeping lines and vast, arched windows typify the structure, which offers dramatic surroundings for groups. In total, Monona Terrace Convention Center offers 85,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibition space. Highlights of the center include: • 37,200-sq.-ft. Exhibition Hall that accommodates 212, 10 ft.-by-10 ft. booths. • 13,524-sq.-ft. Madison Ballroom, divisible by four • 7,000-sq.-ft. Grand Terrace • 68,000 sq. ft. of rooftop gardens may also be reserved for events.

One John Nolen Drive, Madison, WI 53703 (608) 261-4000 • mononaterrace.com

Facilities & Destinations


2016 Prime Site Meeting Hotel Awards Ballot

Name of nominee______________________________________ VOTE for the top hotels, resorts and conference centers your group has used for its meetings in the last three years. Please base your vote(s) on the following criteria:

• Attractiveness and functionality • Technological capabilities • Quality of staff and conference planner • Teambuilding • Food & beverage/catering • Lighting • Acoustics • Climate control • Proximity to airport and other transportation • Onsite or offsite lodging • Other support services • Front-desk operations • Setups and breakdowns • Room décor • Quality/size of ballroom • Special packages • Spa • Nearby attractions Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

Name of nominee______________________________________ Name of nominee______________________________________ Check the award you want to nominate the above for: Meeting Hotel/Resort

Conference Center

Your name and title_____________________________________ Organization___________________________________________ Phone_________________________________________________ Email__________________________________________________ Additional comments___________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ May we contact you? Yes___ No___ Fill Out Form & Mail, Email or Fax Your Vote: Facilities & Destinations 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016 Fax: (212) 213-6382 Email: ballots@facilitiesonline.com 49

Destination Florida

Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau


rganizing an event that attendees rave about long after the teambuilding selfies are posted and shared is not an impossible dream: It’s So Miami. More than 50,000 hotel rooms, venues to accommodate any size group and the high-tech conveniences a planner expects are set against the tropical backdrop of year-round al fresco dining, the surf and sand of some of the world’s most glorious beaches, out-of-this-world off-sites and fabulous nightlife for the entire team. Miami is the event destination that goes beyond fulfilling everything on a planner’s checklist. It sails the checklist across the turquoise ocean. Open for Business Today. Reimagining for Tomorrow At 647,648 sq. ft., the Miami Beach Convention Center is home to some of the world’s largest events and festivals. Reimagined, the Miami Beach Convention Center is embarking on a magnificent transformation: a $592 million LEED-certified renovation with 500,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 81 breakout rooms and new 60,000-sq.-ft. ballroom to be completed by January 2018. With it comes a proposed adjacent 800-guestroom headquarter hotel for January 2019. But There’s More Along with flagship-hotel meeting rooms and ballrooms, Miami boasts two other convention centers: the 100,000-sq.-ft. James L. Knight Center and the 172,000-sq.-ft. Miami Airport Convention Center. Also in development, the new Marriott Marquis at Miami Worldcenter project will break ground with an 1,800-room hotel and 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space. Easy In. Easy Out. Every Day Miami International Airport offers 97 international and 53 domestic, nonstop flights daily from more than 100 airlines, as well as more flights to Latin America and the Caribbean than any other airport in the nation. Modernized infrastructure and streamlined accessibility to and from the airport are designed to make hosting an event in Miami as easy and stress free as possible.


Citywide Facts & Features

Accommodations: 386 Hotels/50,134 Rooms Three Convention Centers Totaling Nearly 1M Sq. Ft. and 74 Specialized Meeting Facilities Off-Site. Out of this World For off-sites, the challenge for a planner is deciding what to offer delegates. Major league sports are a hit. Downtown is a vibrant cultural hub and the Pérez Art Museum Miami is stunning inside and out. Oceanside, there’s beach volleyball or sunset cruises. Greater Miami also features two national parks — Biscayne National Preserve and Everglades National Park. There’s NASCAR’s Homestead-Miami Motor Speedway, Miami Open, World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. And the golf and tennis aren’t just for spectators. For fashionistas, Miami is home to the world’s largest collection of designer boutiques. Tropical. International. Yet Right in the Continental U.S. In Miami, delegates can meet people and sample gourmet cuisine from every corner of the earth. Meeting participants can explore the world’s third-largest barrier reef, sample locally crafted beer and rum, discover the perfect Cuban coffee and guava pastry or take in the ballet, a Latin rock concert or a string quartet. They can mingle over cocktails on rooftop lounges, admire world-renowned public art murals or find themselves in the center of international festivals like Art Basel. And salsa the night away. There’s an unforgettable event on the horizon waiting to be planned. Make it a reality at MiamiMeetings.com.

701 Brickell Avenue Ste. 2700, Miami, FL 33131 (305) 539-3071 (800) 933-8448, ext. 3071 miamimeetings.com

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

Destination FLORIDA

Ocean Center Convention Center


he Ocean Center Convention Center is at the forefront of today’s meeting locations. With sweeping architecture, dramatic pre-event areas, captivating permanent and rotating art galleries, the Ocean Center is sure to be a planner’s perfect venue. A dynamite location situated in the core area of Daytona Beach, the Ocean Center promises spectacular sunrises, beautiful beaches and plentiful dining and entertainment options. Steps away from the Atlantic Ocean, the Ocean Center is also just 10 minutes from Daytona International Airport. Planners can count on the Ocean Center’s 200,000 sq. ft. of space providing flexibility and adjustability. The center offers an exhibit hall, 9,050-seat arena, 12,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 32 meeting rooms. The main exhibit hall is 93,028 sq. ft. and total exhibit space is 160,000 sq. ft. The facility is known for its experienced staff with many years of hospitality experience. An outstanding catering staff delivers delectable menus, themed events and eye-appealing presentations. And when the meeting breaks, the ocean awaits. The Ocean Center Convention Center is surrounded by first-class accommodations, an abundance of entertainment and dining options, and attractions galore. The Center is only 400 feet from the beautiful beaches of Volusia County. Ocean Walk Shoppes directly across the street offers dining and entertainment featuring Sloppy Joes’, Johnny Rockets, Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company and other establishments. The Ocean Center is adjacent to Daytona Lagoon Waterpark and Entertainment Complex and to Peabody AuditoFacilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

rium, offering concerts, Broadway shows and other entertainment throughout the year. The “World Center of Racing” is home to the Daytona International Speedway, Richard Petty Driving Experience and annual events such as Speedweeks, Bike Week and Bikertoberfest. During their free time, meeting attendees can explore numerous points of interest such as the Daytona Beach Boardwalk, Sugarmill Botanical Gardens, Sugarmill Ruins and the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum.

101 North Atlantic Avenue Daytona Beach, FL 32118 (386) 254-4524 (386) 254-4512 oceancenter.com


Destination FLORIDA

Orange County Convention Center

EXPERIENCE THE NEW ORANGE rlando has been named the first destination in the United States to surpass 60 million visitors, setting a new record for the U.S. tourism industry. This recent announcement reiterates the significance of Orlando as a tourism destination. As that number continues to grow, the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is finding new ways to showcase the leadership and quality of service that has made the destination one of the most popular in the world, not only for tourism but also for meetings and conventions. Exhibitors, attendees and meeting planners alike acclaim the attention to detail provided by the OCCC, with a variety of facilities and services including over seven million sq. ft. of combined meeting space, sophisticated amenities and world-class onsite providers. The OCCC is consistently rated a top-tier convention center with incredible spaces, including the multipurpose Tangerine Ballroom, the Sunburst signature meeting room with outdoor hospitality terrace, along with the all-new Honeybell and Hamlin boardrooms.

ness centers and 4,777 onsite parking spaces. As a testament to the OCCC’s commitment to sustainability, the North/South Concourses have been awarded LEED EB:OM (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance) Gold status and house one of the largest solar panel arrays in the southeastern United States.

FACILITY FEATURES The award-winning Orange County Convention Center, located in the heart of the Convention Center District and only 15 minutes from the Orlando International Airport, provides a multitude of event options in two beautiful buildings – the West and North/South. The OCCC’s West Concourse boasts 1.1 million sq. ft. of exhibition space, all on one level, supported by 97 covered loading docks. This beautiful facility includes a total of 49 meeting rooms/141 breakouts, the 2,643-seat Chapin Theater, 160-seat lecture hall, 62,182-sq.-ft. multipurpose Valencia Room, a full-service restaurant, four food courts, one business center and 1,450 onsite parking spaces. Connected to the West Concourse via a pedestrian bridge, the OCCC’s North/South Concourses offer over 950,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, containing two 92,000-sq.-ft. general assembly areas. The exhibition space is supported by two covered loading docks with 76 truck bays. Other amenities include 25 meeting rooms/94 breakouts, two innovative restaurants, four food courts, two busi-

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE This is a time of great transformation and reinvention for the OCCC and the surrounding Convention Center District. With new and improved transportation, entertainment and accommodation options changing the landscape, the Central Florida area is experiencing a period of tremendous growth and reinvestment. After three decades of activity, the OCCC is three years into its largest renovation project in its history: a five-year, $187 million Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that will ensure an even stronger foundation for the next 30 years and beyond. The CIP brings a number of facility-wide renovations and upgrades and adds new spaces to meet the needs of clients and to keep the campus competitive. For example, the new cutting-edge Destination Lounges in the OCCC’s North/South Concourse will provide sophisticated, technology-focused environments for networking and rejuvenation. In addition to upgrades within the facility, capital improvements will also stretch beyond the walls of the OCCC. The Center currently links to all of the neighboring hotels and their 5,000+ luxury guestrooms via a network of four pedestrian bridges. The construction of a fifth pedestrian bridge, spanning International Drive between the West Concourse’s Central Lobby Level III and the sidewalk in front of the Hyatt Regency Orlando, is underway. The finish date of this new overhead walkway is estimated for 2017.


West Concourse – 9800 International Drive; South Concourse – 9899 International Drive; North Concourse – 9400 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32819 (407) 685-9800, (800) 345-9845 • occc.net 52

ONSITE SERVICE PARTNERS The OCCC offers first-rate assistance through its partnerships with the following providers: • Centerplate – Catering and Specialty Services • Smart City – Internet, Telecommunications and Digital Advertising • FedEx Office – Business Centers and Mobility Solutions • LMG – Audio-Visual Services • Bags – Remote Skycap, Valet, Bag and Coat Check • SeaWorld® Orlando – Gold Key Partner • Universal Orlando® Resort – Gold Key Partner

Learn more at www.experiencetheneworange.com. Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter


F&D 2016




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 their cities and the latest marketing techniques, while convention center and hotel executives must work to maintain industry-leading products and convey their value proposition to meeting planners. On top of these “musts,” some professionals find time to contribute to

their field by participating in meeting industry associations, giving talks, writing articles in trade publications and more. Facilities & Destinations honors our industry’s overachievers with the ELITE Awards. We encourage our readers to make nominations for CVB Executive of the Year, Convention Center Executive of the Year and Meeting Hotel Executive of the Year. Who among your colleagues and business partners is making an especially strong contribution to today’s vibrant meetings industry?

NOMINATION FORM CVB Executive of the Year

Nominated By:

1. Name:_____________________________________________

Name, Title:___________________________________________



2. Name:_____________________________________________




Convention Center Executive of the Year

May we contact you?  Yes____ No____

1. Name:_____________________________________________ Company:__________________________________________ 2. Name:_____________________________________________ Company:__________________________________________

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

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

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



PHILADELPHIA Here For The Making of Great Meetings


ost a record-breaking meeting or convention in Philadelphia, Travel Magazine’s Top Hotel City in 2014. With world-class restaurants, more than 11,000 hotel rooms ranging from concept boutiques to world-renowned brands, extraordinary attractions and great shopping, Philadelphia is a modern renaissance city rich in history, culture, innovation and vibrant neighborhoods full of character. The list of all Philadelphia has to offer within a compact, walkable downtown is as long as its history. The birthplace of America, Philadelphia is a visionary city with an entrepreneurial spirit. Between its historic blocks and skyscrapers, a modern Renaissance is taking place. The city’s eclectic and impressive dining scene has garnered global attention from Iron Chefs, Top Chefs, and James Beard award-winners, while festivals like The Roots Picnic, Wawa Welcome America, and Jay-Z’s Made in America amplify its appeal. From renowned cultural institutions, including the Barnes Foundation and Philadelphia Museum of Art, to its extensive public art collection including more than 3,600 murals, there’s more to discover in Philadelphia than cheesesteaks! Add in one of the country’s premier facilities, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and an award-winning team at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) and it’s easy to see why so many regard Philadelphia as the perfect location for a tradeshow or convention. Planning and facilitating your event in Philadelphia will be a breeze with the PHLCVB’s three congresses, PHLSports, PHLLife and PHLDiversity, there to help planners increase attendance and grow sponsorship opportunities. Each Congress works seamlessly with the PHLCVB and Convention Center staffs to provide access to industry experts, and connect conventions with offsite networks, venues and regional attractions. The PHLCVB also assists with services like customized microsites, interactive floor plans, targeted e-marketing campaigns, local PR assistance and delegate discounts to raise attendance without raising expenses.

Exhibit Facilities The expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center, now managed by SMG, is the 14th largest in the nation and has the capacity to host larger tradeshows or two conventions simultaneously. The expanded center features one million sq. ft. of saleable space and the largest contiguous exhibit space in the Northeast — 528,000 sq. ft. The Convention Center also boasts the largest ballroom on the East Coast — 55,408 sq. ft., and 79 meeting rooms and a soaring Grand Hall that lives in a historic train shed. 54

In May 2014, the Pennsylvania Convention Center and four trade labor unions signed a new agreement that modernizes the Center’s work rules and provides expanded exhibitor rights, giving convention groups more independence and flexibility and creating a more efficient show floor. Exhibitors may now set up and tear down within 600 sq. ft. of their booth, something which previously could not be done at the building. They can also look forward to unloading personally owned vehicles using their own equipment, including dollies, luggage carriers, non-hydraulic carts, and two-to-four wheel hand trucks. Since these changes were implemented in May, the National Association of Black MBAs (NBMBAA), the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have all signed on to take their meetings to Philadelphia, citing the improved work rules and expanded exhibitor rights. Getting There Philadelphia’s central location, within a day’s drive of 40 percent of the U.S. population, makes getting there easy and affordable. Amtrak’s 30th Street Station is one of the busiest hubs in the nation and Philadelphia International Airport is serviced by 30 airlines providing flights to 124 domestic cities and 38 international destinations. For more information on booking your next meeting in Philadelphia, contact: Julie Coker Graham, President and CEO Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau P: (215) 636-4470 Email: juliec@discoverPHL.com www.MeetPHL.com Stephanie Boyd, Director, Sales & Marketing & Convention Services Pennsylvania Convention Center P: (215) 418-4759 sboyd@paconvention.com www.paconvention.com Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

Destination Arizona

Phoenix Convention Center & Venues


onvening in America’s sixth-largest city packs more value than ever. Located in the center of a vibrant walkable downtown, the Phoenix Convention Center & Venues is mere steps from a variety of urban eateries, live music, professional sports, art museums and more. In fact, USA Today recently named downtown’s Roosevelt Row one of the 10 Best City Arts Districts in America. So whether attendees are looking for restaurants featured on The Food Network, or just wanting to take in some local culture, downtown Phoenix has something for everyone. Named one of the top-10 convention center facilities in the country, the Phoenix Convention Center & Venues offers more than 900,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space, including a 312,500-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall and a 46,000-sq.-ft. ballroom. Conveniences include 99 meeting rooms, 61 loading docks (22 of which are climate controlled), exhibit halls with pre-scored floors and an Executive Conference Center — all complemented by the 2,312-seat Symphony Hall and the 1,364-seat historic Orpheum Theatre. The Phoenix Convention Center & Venues was in the international spotlight in 2015, hosting the Super Bowl’s NFL Experience and Media Center. The Orpheum Theatre was the hottest ticket in town when The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon filmed its live performance there. Not to be outdone, Symphony Hall hosted the nationally televised NFL Honors show. Recently, Phoenix hosted the 2016 College Football Playoff Fan Central and is looking forward to hosting the NCAA Final Four in 2017.

Phoenix has nonstop service from 80 U.S. and 20 international destinations, so getting to and from “America’s Friendliest Airport” is both easy and affordable. The Phoenix Convention Center is four miles from Sky Harbor International Airport. Guests flying into Phoenix have multiple transportation options, including the Metro Light Rail, which has dedicated stops at the Convention Center. There are 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. With more than 325 days of sunshine a year, the weather is almost always permitting. In a 2014 survey of show managers, Phoenix ranked the second most popular destination for tradeshows and events in the country. There are so many things to do, and with an average temperature of 72 degrees, it’s easy to see why Phoenix is an ideal destination for a planner’s next event.

100 North Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 • (602) 262-6225; (800) 282-4842; Fax: (602) 744-2987 phoenixconventioncenter.com Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter


Destination california

Sacramento Convention Center


he discovery of gold near Sacramento in 1848 started California’s famous “Gold Rush,” bringing thousands of fortune seekers and entrepreneurs to the area almost overnight. Today, meeting planners discover their own type of gold when they select Sacramento as a meeting destination. Convention Center Complex: Located in the State Capital of California, the Sacramento Convention Center is just 20 minutes from the Sacramento International Airport, and located in the heart of downtown. The Sacramento Convention Center offers over 134,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit hall space on one floor, and another 61,000 sq. ft. of additional meeting space with 31 meeting rooms on three levels. A 2,400-seat Community Center Theater and 4,000-seat Memorial Auditorium are close by. All three facilities are within walking distance to major downtown hotels, shops and restaurants. For those driving into town, a Convention Center parking garage is located just two short blocks to the main entrance of the Center. Hotel Inventory: Within walking distance of the Convention Center (or a short shuttle ride away) are more than 2,000 rooms and a dozen hotel properties. Only a pedestrian walkway separates the Sheraton Grand and the Hyatt Regency from the entrance to the Center. Several other properties can be found within a few blocks of the Center, including the Marriott Residence Inn at Capitol Park, Holiday Inn at Capitol Park, Best Western Sutter House, Holiday Inn Express, Clarion and Embassy Suites Waterfront. Attractions: With over 600 events and approximately one million visitors annually, Sacramento offers something for everyone. The city is strategically located in Northern California — 90 minutes northeast of San Francisco. It offers a wealth of cultural activities, professional sports and a wide range of family attractions. Take time to walk in the city and stroll through Capitol Park. Visit the many shops, relax on a riverboat or water taxi, and don’t forget to experience Old Sacramento where wooden boardwalks, cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages will transport you back in time.

This capital city has a convention center with 134,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 31 meeting rooms

1030 15th Street Ste. 100 Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 808-5291 Fax: (916) 808-7687 sacramentoconventioncenter.com

Food & Beverage: Award-winning Classique Catering is the celebrated caterer at the Convention Center and manages onsite Wolfgang Puck’s Express and Starbucks coffeehouse. Classique Catering is a division of Centerplate and pride themselves on excellent service and quality product. 56

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

Destination California

San Jose McEnery Convention Center


mbedded in the heart of Silicon Valley, the San Jose McEnery Convention Center provides groups over 365,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space in a modern venue with outstanding technological capabilities. As a bonus, Team San Jose’s all-inclusive service assists with housing, event services, customized food and beverage, permits and special events.


Downtown San Jose offers over 250 dining and nightlife options ranging from eclectic galleries and museums in the SoFA District, a diverse dining scene in San Pedro Square — the city’s unofficial dining district — and vibrant performing arts and entertainment offered at any of the four Team San Jose-managed theaters. Other popular cultural pockets in the city are Japantown San Jose — one of three remaining Japantowns in the United States; and Little Saigon — a district that blends traditional Vietnamese and modern American culture. San Jose’s neighboring towns provide central access to notable Northern California leisure activities. Tucked in the hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Los Gatos and Saratoga are great wine-tasting options, Michelin-starred dining and local shopping. Nearby Santa Cruz and Monterey are perfect distances for a beach getaway day along the iconic Pacific Coast.


San Jose is home to over 6,600 technology companies in the city, and visitors can experience their own slice of Silicon Valley technology with free Wickedly Fast Wi-Fi. The nation’s best free Wi-Fi experience extends from Mineta San Jose International Airport, within downtown and throughout the convention center — all covered under one connection.


San Jose has 8,000 hotel rooms available citywide ranging from contemporary to historic boutiques. Eight hundred and fifty of those rooms Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter

are connected to the convention center and another 2,000-plus are within a block. Groups will find familiar brands such as Fairmont, Marriott, Hilton, Westin, Hyatt, Holiday Inn and La Quinta Inn & Suites.

Airport and Transportation

For convenient access to the heart of Silicon Valley, Mineta San Jose International Airport is only 3.9 miles from downtown. Additionally, international airports in Oakland and San Francisco and local transit throughout the Bay Area on VTA light rail, Caltrain and BART ensure a smooth arrival and departure. San Jose’s Airport has added new routes from San Jose to London via British Airways with service beginning May 4, 2016, and San Jose to Frankfurt via Lufthansa with service beginning May 16, 2016. The airport also announced new routes from San Jose to Vancouver, BC via Air Canada beginning May 9, 2016.

Sustainable Meeting Services

Team San Jose’s Director of Food & Beverage and Facilities and Property Operations have identified an opportunity (through the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act) to donate unused food to local nonprofit organizations. Hotel partners from Hilton, Marriott, The Fairmont and DoubleTree, plus Levi’s Stadium, the SAP Center and Shoreline Amphitheater, signed on to the initiative, called Hunger at Home. In appropriate Silicon Valley-style, Team San Jose have partnered with the City of San Jose and Waste No Food to continue this work. Waste No Food provided a web and mobile marketplace to reduce food waste by matching potential donors with charities via mobile app for IOS and Android. In total, Hunger at Home and the Waste No Food app have already provided nearly one million meals.

150 West San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95113 (800) SAN-JOSE • sanjose.org 57

Gracious Homes for Groups The Beauregard-Keyes House, built in 1826, accomodates up to 200 attendees for a reception.

Meeting at a historic mansion can be a real conversationstarter among attendees By George Seli


lanners can go out of their way to create special events with intriguing themes and décor, hiring vendors to transform spaces into ambiances that will give attendees something to write home about. Oftentimes, a simpler solution is to rent a venue with a built-in ambiance and character, such as a historic building with architectural appeal or a picturesque outdoor space. The effect on attendees can justify the expense. “If you’re in a convention situation, you’re inside a meeting room or a ballroom, and I think in general people love to change the venue and to see beauty, history and gardens,” says Janie Lambeth, Event Chairman for the National Society of Colonial Dames of America. “It just adds a dimension to the convention that is very special.”

Historic town halls, theaters and museums fit the bill in many cases; but these venues, while visually impressive, can feel somewhat impersonal. Attendees are likely to get a more welcoming impression when they arrive at a historic home, such as North Carolina’s Burgwin-Wright House, which the Society has utilized for its Annual Meeting (see below). After all, a domestic environment is intended to make people “feel at home,” and historic homes and mansions often do so in elaborate ways, with classic furnishings, personal effects of former residents, and well appointed, intimate spaces for family gatherings. There are many “conversation starters” in these homes that can foster networking among attendees, and docents and historians are typically available to provide fascinating background on the house and prior owners. Attendees will get a sense of history through the experiences of these individuals, some of whom are well-to-do professionals of the 19th century. The five homes detailed below are a small sampling of what our country offers in the way of rentable historic houses. While they are all exceptionally maintained today, it should be borne in mind that some of their histories are not entirely glorious. New Orleans’ BeauregardKeyes House, for example, fell into poor condition in the early part of the 20th century until American author Frances Parkinson Keyes restored it to its Victorian splendor. Similarly, Portland, Maine’s Victoria Mansion was scheduled to be demolished and replaced by a gas station after being damaged by a hurricane in 1938. Fortunately, retired educator Dr. William H. Holmes purchased the property and saved it from this fate, reopening the house in 1941, newly named in honor of Britain’s Queen Victoria. 58

Beauregard-Keyes House and Garden Museum – New Orleans, LA

Built in 1826 by architect Francois Correjolles for a wealthy auctioneer by the name of Joseph Le Carpentier, the Beauregard-Keyes House is the birthplace of Paul Morphy (1837-1884), world chess champion and one of the game’s greatest prodigies. The House displays the Paul Morphy Archive, including author Frances Parkinson Keyes’s The Chess Players – A Novel of New Orleans and Paris, which sold in the tens of thousands of copies following its publication in 1960. Keyes restored the House in the mid-20th century to reflect its appearance and décor in the late 1860s, when General Beauregard lived there. The Keyes Foundation has maintained the House as a museum since her death in 1970. The Historic House Rental package includes the Parlor, Ballroom, Library, Loggia, Grand Center Hall, front and rear Galleries, and the Courtyard and Parterre Garden. The House accommodates 200 people for a reception or 100 for seated dinner. The package also includes one security guard, three hours prior to start time for vendor set up, and one hour after end time for vendor breakdown.

Burgwin-Wright House & Gardens – Wilmington, NC

The circa-1770 Burgwin-Wright House is a rare survivor of Wilmington’s colonial era and the only house from this era that is open to the public. It is a splendid example of Georgian architecture and its foundation — made of ballast stones — was part of an earlier structure, the city jail. Two arched outdoor jail cells remain intact, adding interest to the courtyard. Landscape architects from Colonial Williamsburg, Alden Hopkins and Charles Peterson, designed the lush surrounding gardens, comprised of seven distinct areas including an orchard. Rentals include use of the gardens, courtyard, the Florence Kidder Room and catering kitchen. The museum is fully furnished with rare antiques and artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries, and guided group tours are offered at discounted rates.

The Burgwin-Wright House’s gardens

The Annual Meeting of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America has been held at the Burgwin-Wright House. Most guests stayed at the 272-room Hilton Wilmington Riverside, just 0.2 miles away. “To me it’s the most beautiful historic home downtown,” Lambeth says. “Generally the annual meetings get about 150 people, and we hosted Facilities & DESTINATIONs 2015-2016 Winter

“For our event at the Burgwin-Wright House, we had candelabras, garden lights and a cocktail buffet. We featured Southern cuisine, such as little shot glasses of shrimp and grits.” –Janie Lambeth, Event Chairman, National Society of Colonial Dames of America

a cocktail dinner party in the gardens of the House. We used Little Pond Caterers, and they did a beautiful job. We had round tables with tablecloths, candelabras, garden lights and a cocktail buffet. We featured Southern cuisine, such as little shot glasses of shrimp and grits.”

The Gingerbread House – Savannah, GA

private home. And the “We’ve all been to Mansion has a great nice hotels, but history to it. There are a lot of restored this is different, furnishings, period you’re in a restored wall coverings and private home. There are a lot of artwork; so it’s quite a unique space.” General restored furnishings, period wall Growth has rented coverings and artwork.” Lockwood-Mathews – Douglas Adams, Mansion for upscale Senior Director, General Growth Properties dinner functions as well as presentations for 20–30 attendees. “The Mansion is very conveniently located right in the downtown core of Norwalk,” Adams adds.

Sure to make an impression on attendees is The Gingerbread House, aka the Asendorf House, with its elaborate gingerbread arches and spindles on the front porch and side balcony. Built in 1899, the house is considered one of the country’s premier examples of “Steamboat Gothic gingerbread carpentry.” Celebrities and U.S. presidents including Woodruff and Roosevelt have visited The Gingerbread House, located in Savannah’s historic district. Groups can explore numerous features of this storybooklike locale, including two balconies with views of 200-year-old oak trees, a grand ballroom with solid oak bar, a conservatory, three fireplaces, a wooden staircase, antique furnishings and a private courtyard with a gazebo and small waterfall.

Victoria Mansion – Portland, ME

Rental packages include up to 10 round tables with 100 chairs; Gold and Platinum Elite packages include a personalized reception for up to 100 The Gingerbread House attendees, as well as tablecloths and linens, floating candles in glass cylinders, and lit candles throughout the house, among many other items. The Gingerbread House Staff can also provide special items for an additional fee, such as classic cars (e.g., a 1949 Rolls Royce Bentley), trolley services and musical entertainers.

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970, Victoria Mansion is one of the finest examples of the Italian villa style in American domestic architecture. Attendees can explore approximately 2,000 sq. ft. of elaborate interiors designed by Gustave Herter, a leading furniture maker and interior designer of the 19th century.

Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum – Norwalk, CT LockwoodMathews Mansion

Financier and railroad baron LeGrand Lockwood built the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion between 1864 and 1868, and today this National Historic Landmark is regarded as one of the earliest and most significant Second Empire Style country houses in the United States. Displaying Gilded Age interiors and furniture, the Mansion has been featured on the A&E television series America’s Castles and in the Hollywood film The Stepford Wives. The newly renovated first floor of the Mansion offers a Rotunda with 42-ft. ceilings, accommodating 100 attendees for a seated dinner and 150 for a buffet. The Billiards Room accommodates 60 seated and 120 for a buffet.

“It feels like you’re in a grand old home,” remarks Douglas Adams, Senior Director at Chicago, IL-based General Growth Properties, which owns retail centers, regional malls and urban properties throughout the country. “We’ve all been to nice hotels, but this is different, you’re in a restored Facilities & DESTINATIONs 2015-2016 Winter

Victoria Mansion

Also known as The MorseLibby House, Victoria Mansion was built between 1858 and 1860, just before the start of the Civil War. It served as a summer home for Ruggles Sylvester Morse, a Maine native and luxury hotel proprietor. The Society of Maine Women of Achievement, now known as Victoria Mansion, Inc., has operated the building as a historic house museum since 1943.

Groups can rent the Mansion for meetings and events, as well as the lawn and a 300-sq.-ft. space over the Carriage House Gift Shop. The Mansion staff can provide caterer referrals, docents, lecturers and an Events Coordinator who will walk through the property with renters prior to their event to discuss specific needs. The Coordinator is onsite for all events to ensure renters and their guests have a great experience. Musi“Every [holiday season] our clients cal entertainment enjoy coming to Victoria Mansion is a fine choice, to see what the decoration is as the Mansion boasts splendid going to be like. It keeps the acoustics.

event fresh.”

– Kathrine Davis, Marketing & Business A three-piece Development, Penobscot Financial Advisors musical ensemble greets guests of Penobscot Financial Advisors’ customer appreciation events at Victoria Mansion. The Maine-based firm has been renting the Mansion for these gatherings during the holiday season over the last three years. A little over 100 financial advisory clients attend, which is a “comfortable” number for the venue’s size, notes Kathrine Davis, Marketing & Business Development for Penobscot. The Events Coordinator “ensures all of our contractual agreements are in place, making it quite easy for us to have an event there,” she adds.

Guests mingle while enjoying drinks and appetizers, and exploring the Mansion’s ornate rooms. “They’ve got their facility all decked out for Christmas, which is quite spectacular,” says Davis. “Every room in the house gets decorated by a different designer, and there is a different theme every year. So every year our clients enjoy coming to Victoria Mansion to see what the decoration is going to be like It keeps the event fresh.” 59


IAEE 2015 Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition was held Dec. 1-3 at the Baltimore Convention Center

(L-r): Kathy Tinker, Bonnie Ward and Kathleen Borgne of VisitTulsa and the Cox Business Center

(L-r): Rebecca Williams, Knoxville Conv. Center; Maggie Thrasher, Mobile Conv. Center; and Crista Tompson, Century Center

Eric Reichert, Alliant Energy Center Account Manager, at the Greater Madison CVB booth

Lori Dobbins, Sales Manager, Greensboro Area CVB

S. Scott Boyd, Orange County Commissioner, and (l-r) Shellie Spear, Yulita Osuba and Kathy Hogan of the Orange County Conv. Center

Montego Bay Convention Center GM Dittie Guise (l) and Sandra Daley Francois, Director of Global Sales

Eric Blanc (l), Tampa Convention Center, and Jason Carroll, Visit Tampa Bay

David Austin, Cobo Center, and Kathy DeCiantis, Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center

Tom Meehan (r), GM, and Matt Tungett, Director of Sales, Irving Convention Center

The Greater Louisville CVB team including (l-r): Doug Bennett, Angi Van Berg, Proscovia Mattas (background) and Cleo Battle

Mark McMinn (r) and Jason Koteff of Team San Jose display the back cover of the F&D 2015 Summer issue

Tim Buckley, Director of Sales, and Anna Reasoner, Sales Manager, Ocean Center, Daytona Beach


Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter


PCMA 2016 PCMA Convening Leaders took place Jan. 10-13 at the Vancouver Convention Centre

Al Hutchinson, President, Mobile Bay CVB, and Judy Draucker, Convention Services Manager, Richmond Region Tourism

Jeff Dixon (l), VP of Sales, Scotiabank Convention Centre, and David Campbell of Freeman

EventsDC President and CEO Gregory O’Dell and VP Communications and Marketing Chinyere Hubbard

Visit Baltimore President Tom Noonan (r) and Doug Bennett, SVP, Convention Development, Louisville CVB

Carol Wallace, President and CEO, Carol Wallace & Associates

Martha Sheridan, President and CEO, Go Providence

Visit Anaheim President and CEO Jay Burress (r) and Senior VP of Sales Junior Tauvaa (l), along with The Expo Group’s Jason Miller

Gavin Mealiffe (r), VP of Sales, and Greg Marlier, National Sales Manager, Tropicana Las Vegas

Barry Moskowitz, VP, Convention Sales, Greater Miami CVB

GM Mark Leahy and Director of Sales and Marketing Judy Kent, FirstMerit Convention Center of Cleveland

Yulita Osuba (l), Deputy Director, Orange County Convention Center, and Amy Brown, Director of Sales, Austin CVB

Todd Bertka (l), VP Convention Sales, Virginia Beach CVB, and Dustin Arnheim, Director of Convention Sales, Visit Indy

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 Winter


Risk Management: Back to Basics Ensuring that meetings and events don’t put your organization in legal jeopardy By Barbara Dunn O’Neal


and each of them (collectively “the indemnitees”), from and against any and all claims, demands, actions, judgments, costs, and expenses, including costs of defense thereof, incurred by any of the indemnitees caused by or arising from the negligence, gross negligence, or intentional misconduct of Supplier, its officers, directors, employees, agents, or contractors. With such a clause in place, should the bus get into an accident, an attendee get hurt, and that attendee sue the organization, the organization can invoke its rights under the indemnification clause and have the bus company hire lawyers to defend the lawsuit on the company’s behalf right from the beginning and to pay any damages awarded against the organization. Indemnification clauses should be part of every contract as there is always the possibility that the good or service that is being purchased will cause harm to someone and the organization will be sued. By having indemnification in the contract, the organization knows that it will be protected in such circumstances. One last note regarding indemnification: It is important to have the organization’s lawyer draft or hile many organizations review each indemnification provision as this is the type of clause in which may have one million dollars one word can make a difference in the of coverage, such an amount is scope of the protection.

vent professionals play an integral role in managing risk and liability for their client or organization. As such, it is important to understand the “tools” planners have in their “toolbox” for that purpose. As you review this information, keep two important mottos in mind: “Hope for the best but plan for the worst” and “It is easier and cheaper to keep you out of trouble than to get you out of trouble.” With that said, let us focus on three key risk management tools: risk avoidance, risk shifting (indemnification) and risk retention (insurance).

Risk Avoidance

The best way event professionals can manage a risk is to make sure the risk never happens in the first place. That means event professionals and their staff members are ensuring the safety of their attendees before, during and after the event. Before the event, event professionals not sufficient in today’s dollar should use a comprehensive site Risk Retention terms given the cost to defend (Insurance) inspection list to check the facilities to be used for the conference. Special Another way an organization can cover a personal injury lawsuit. attention should be paid to pathways its risk is through risk retention. When and lighting. Planners should ensure an organization purchases insurance, that any additional needs, e.g., extra it is agreeing to “retain” the risk (up signage or personnel, will be on hand to ensure the safety of to the dollar amount of the deductible). The insurance company attendees. covers everything in excess of that deductible. Let us explore During the event, event professionals should work closely some types of insurance: with staff to ensure the safety of attendees. Often this may mean (1) General commercial liability insurance is often referred to having security and personnel stationed in key entrance and exit as GCL or CGL or errors and omissions insurance. This insurance areas to ensure a proper flow of individuals. is the backbone of any organization’s insurance coverage as it After the event, event professionals should follow up promptly protects against damages incurred by personal injury or death on any complaints of safety problems or issues. Any problems lawsuits, among other things. For example, if an organization should be thoroughly investigated and then followed up with the is sued by an attendee who slipped and fell at their event, this person who reported the problem. liability insurance would cover the cost of defending the lawsuit along with paying any damages which are awarded against the organization. Note that liability insurance coverage should start Risk Shifting at two million dollars. While many organizations may have one One of the most effective ways planners can manage risk on million dollars of coverage, such an amount is not sufficient in behalf of their organizations is to shift risk to vendors. An today’s dollar terms given the cost to defend a personal injury example of risk shifting is indemnification. The concept is that lawsuit. the organization shifts risk to the party that can best control the As with the indemnification provision, it is important to have risk. For example, if the organization is hiring a bus company to the organization’s lawyer and insurance representative involved transport attendees at their conference, the risk is that the bus in the review of liability insurance to ensure the organization is will get into an accident and attendees will get hurt. In this case, getting comprehensive coverage. Of particular concern is the the organization shifts that risk to the bus company by asking list exclusions, i.e., those items that are not covered under the the bus company to indemnify the organization in their contract. policy. Note that liquor liability claims are typically excluded from The indemnification language states that the bus company will general commercial liability insurance. Given the risk that the indemnify and hold the organization harmless (from a financial standpoint) from any claims due to the bus company’s negligence. organization may be held liable for liquor liability claims under social host liability, event professionals should ensure that their Here’s a sample indemnification clause: organization has obtained an endorsement or rider to have such Supplier shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless claims covered under the policy. [Organization Name], its officers, directors, employees and agents 62 Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 winter


F&D SITE VISITs Charlotte, NC

Vancouver, BC City incorporated 1886 Population (city) 603,000 Population (metro) 2.4 million Convention venue Vancouver Convention Centre Square footage 466,500 Hotel inventory 13,000 Average daily nonstop flights into/out of city 321

Recent major events (convention venue) SIGGRAPH bringing 16,000 attendees

City incorporated 1768

M iscel la n eo us facts

Population (metro) 2.3 million

Seaplanes Seaplanes take off and land on bay behind the Vancouver Convention Centre. Sports teams Vancouver Canucks (NHL), BC Lions (CFL) Gold Vancouver was important for prospectors during the late 19th century Klondike Gold Rush.

Recent major events (city) 2010 Winter Olympic Games

(2) Directors and officers liability insurance protects the directors, officers and other key personnel in the event they are individually named in a lawsuit. (3) Property and casualty insurance covers equipment and other property owned by the organization and insures it against fire, theft or other damage. (4) Event cancellation insurance protects the revenue and costs associated with the organization’s conference. If the organization would have to cancel its event entirely or shut it down earlier than scheduled due to weather problems or transportation strikes, event cancellation insurance would cover either the revenue that would have been generated from the event, or the expenses incurred in the cancellation of the event, whichever is greater. While this type of insurance no longer provides coverage for acts or terrorism (although organizations can purchase riders to obtain such coverage), it covers many other occurrences that could impact an event.


So now that you have an understanding of risk avoidance, insurance and indemnification, you can begin using these “tools” in your work as event professionals to minimize the risk to your client and your own organization. Barbara Dunn O’Neal is a Partner with the Associations and Foundations Practice Group at Barnes & Thornburg, where she concentrates her practice in association law and meetings, travel and hospitality law. She can be reached at (312) 214-4837 or barbara.dunn@btlaw.com. ©Copyright 2016. Barbara Dunn O’Neal, Barnes & Thornburg LLP. Chicago, Illinois, USA. All rights reserved under both international and Pan American copyright conventions. No republication permitted without the express written consent of the copyright holder. This article shall not be construed as legal advice. In all instances, individuals should seek their own legal counsel.

Facilities & Destinations 2015-2016 winter

Population (city) 810,000

Convention venue Charlotte Convention Center Square footage 280,000 Hotel inventory 4,579 Average daily nonstop flights into/out of city 690 Recent major events (city) 2012 Democratic National Convention

Recent major events (convention venue) Alpha Kappa Alpha with 11,500 registered attendees M i sce l l a neous facts

Seaplanes “Miracle on the Hudson” jet is housed in Charlotte’s Carolinas Aviation Museum. Sports teams Carolina Panthers (NFL), Charlotte Hornets (NBA) Gold In mid-1800s Charlotte was home to numerous goldmines and had a branch of the U.S. Mint.

advertiser index Akron/Summit CVB...........................................................................7 Austin Convention Center........................................................... 13 Cox Convention Center................................................................. 11 David L. Lawrence Convention Center................................. 15 Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.........19 Hilton West Palm Beach................................................................27 The International Centre................................................................17 Meet Puerto Rico................................................................................3 Monona Terrace Convention Center......................................10 Greater Miami CVB............................................................................1 Ocean Center...................................................................................C4 Orange County Convention Center.........................................5 Pasadena CVB.................................................................................... 31 Philadelphia CVB............................................................................C3 Phoenix Convention Center.........................................................6 Sacramento Convention Center..............................................29 SMG...........................................................................................................9 Team San Jose .................................................................................C2 63

Digitally Connect With the Customer

3 technologies to immediately increase engagement at your marketing events By Ann Godi, CMP


vent marketing, also known as experiential marketing and participatory marketing, has gained an impressive amount of mindshare in the event space over the last few years. While event marketing has been an important promotional vehicle for a long time, the widespread use it has seen post Great Recession has been amazing. One of the most important reasons for the rise of event marketing is that such events are typically front and center with the customer. And engaging customers — often those at the most senior levels — is key to an organization’s success. There are various ways to further engagement at events, but we are going to focus on three digital approaches.

1. Use Event Apps to Their Full Potential

A great event app is one that fits your event marketing objectives and audience demographics. If you are uncertain which to choose, seek a consultant that is well versed in helping you determine the most appropriate app. Next, be sure to take the time to design the content for the app. Your app investment dollars are not well spent if the content and activation components are not effective. We estimate that our staff spends approximately 50 hours on app activation for large, complex events.

3. Help Attendees Connect Virtually

Be social. We live in a very connected and social time. Don’t fight it, don’t discount its importance or ignore it — rather, embrace it. Most apps have a social component; be sure to use it if it does, and this is another reason to activate early. Let stakeholders begin to drive value early, and you will see the community rally around the social medium with engagement levels that will surprise you. We have a client whose largest event brings in several thousand attendees. For years they rejected this component (and in fact the entire concept of the app). The first year in they had over 50 percent engaged from day one of activation (65 percent by the end of the event). By year two ake the time to they were at nearly 90 percent and the design the content social component was amazing — the participants were the best marketing for the app. Your app channel.


investment dollars are not well spent if the content and activation components are not effective.

Activate at least a few weeks in advance; don’t wait for the event to engage your participants. If your event has sponsors and/or exhibitors, much of their ROI will come from this time period, so give them an opportunity (for a price or at certain levels of sponsorship) to market their company, products, special deals, booth activities such as demos or giveaways, etc.

2. Add an Element of Gamification

Gamification is a great addition to a live event. What better way to drive outcomes via human behavior than by integrating a fun element? The technology options for integrating gamification are many. Top of mind are the more complete apps have added gamification elements; standalone software is another option and can often support more complex games with less typical rewards. Our team has had great success with incorporating gamification into the expo element of an event, and then supporting it at the live event with an announcer on the expo floor driving the activity. To appeal to participants’ competitive nature, category leaders can be both announced live and identified on a large screen for everyone to track. 64

In addition to apps, there are many other ways to help attendees be social. Most interactive kiosks have a social media wall utilizing one or more channels, Facebook and Twitter most commonly. Do you have a general session with production and large screens? Social media activity can stream to the screen, and Twitter is perfect for this. Create your event hashtag and run the stream on the screen. This is also a great way to have your event expand its reach beyond the live audience and engage nonattendees. Integrating social elements in this way will likely increase attendance at future events as well. HINT: Have someone monitor the activity prior to it going live just to be sure nothing “inappropriate” goes direct. The person can scan the live stream and delete any such content in seconds. Get these three tech elements working for you and reap the rewards of increased engagement immediately. Ann Godi, CMP, is President and CEO of Benchmarc360, Inc., a strategic meeting and event marketing company headquartered in Atlanta, GA. She founded Benchmarc360 and is responsible for the strategic vision and global scope of the company. Under her direction, the company has become a global leader in SMM (strategic meeting management), managing conferences, meetings, events and sales recognition/incentive programs. In January 2014, Godi began a three-year term on the international board of PCMA. She is a past chairwoman of MPI. Facilities & destinations 2015-2016 winter

“EVERYTHING HAS BEEN VERY EASY.” ASHLEY BURGAN Rapid Pathogen Screening Exhibitor, IDWeek™

WE MAKE IT EASY IN PHILADELPHIA It all starts with our magnificent, state-of-the-art Pennsylvania Convention Center, followed by significant cost efficiencies resulting from the progressive work rules and streamlined services implemented by SMG management. Add to this our award-winning sales and services teams, ready to meet your every need, and an East Coast location that delivers record-breaking attendance, and you’ll see why Philadelphia is easily the ideal choice for your next event.

We’re here to help plan your meeting or convention in Philadelphia. MeetPHL.com or 1-855-MEET-PHL

The Great Florida Venue D A Y T O N A


The Ocean Center is located in the heart of one of America’s favorite family destinations. It’s the perfect venue for meetings and conventions large and small, exhibitions, entertainment events and sporting competitions. And when the meeting breaks, the ocean awaits. Book the Ocean Center and the best staff in the business will make your next event your best event.

The great Florida venue! 101 N. Atlantic Ave. Daytona Beach, FL 32118 800.858.6444 oceancenter.com

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Facilities & Destinations - Winter 2015-2016  

F&D's Winter edition, includes: Quick Takes with L.A. Tourism's Darren K. Green, and Hilton West Palm Beach's John Parkinson. Planner Perspe...

Facilities & Destinations - Winter 2015-2016  

F&D's Winter edition, includes: Quick Takes with L.A. Tourism's Darren K. Green, and Hilton West Palm Beach's John Parkinson. Planner Perspe...

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