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

Small-Market Review 15

Fall 2015

& Destinations


For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals



Reno 25

San Antonio & Austin 28

Dispute Resolution in a Seller’s Market 45

7 Tech Tips

for Managing Email 46

Brent DeRaad

President and CEO Visit Tucson

Puerto Rico offers 1.2M sq. ft. of meeting space, 14,000 hotel rooms, 2,000 dining options, hundreds of non-stop flights and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, 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.

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Wi-Fi meets the demand of the largest tech companies in

patent generations. The Valley’s palpable sense of dreams

the world and enables complete connectivity and maximum

turned to reality is enough to inspire every group visiting

productivity. San Jose is the birthplace of big ideas. We invite

Silicon Valley. Meet in San Jose and connect to the best free

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Meet HERE. San Jose, California sanjose.org 800.SAN.JOSE

editor’s note

moving at the speed of the meetings business

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


Volume 23 No. 3

Chief Operating Officer David Korn


he ability to plan meetings quickly, not just strategically and cost effectively, remains an important part of the trade. Indeed, 49 percent of respondents to the latest MPI Meetings Outlook survey indicate that lead times are getting shorter. Access to the best site-selection resources is essential to a fast turnaround. F&D fits into this picture by providing the kind of targeted site coverage that will help planners narrow down their options. And with the intense competition for space in first-tier cities, a stronger focus on the small market is called for. A new department called Value Destinations (page 48) serves as a quick-reference guide to those small but capable meeting cities. This issue provides even more coverage of that market with the annual Small-Market Review (page 15). Even with the right site-selection tools, however, one can’t plan quickly if one doesn’t work quickly. This issue brings you tech-savvy advice from Debbie Mayo-Smith, CSP, on how to handle the deluge of email from meeting owners, staff and suppliers (page 46). In the context of a short lead time, it’s particularly valuable to be able to sift through more messages in less time. A recognized productivity expert, Mayo-Smith delivered a talk entitled “Get More Done in Less Time: Tools for Planner Productivity” at ibtm america in Chicago this June. The show organizers themselves are keen on helping planners optimize their time, as evidenced by the improved “matchmaking” system debuting at ibtm america 2016 in Nashville. Via technology developed by Reed Exhibitions, exhibitors will request meetings with planners based on their hosted buyer profiles, and then planners can accept or decline the appointment. “This is a unique method of ensuring that both parties at ibtm america have control of their time and investment at the event, knowing they have back-toback appointments that are totally at their own request, matching their business objectives,” said Jaime McAuley, Event Director, ibtm america. Time is of the essence for planners, whether they are at the office working on their own events, or attending a tradeshow. With the breadth of industry news and perspectives in F&D Fall, I expect the time you spend perusing the issue will be well spent.

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

CONTENTS In Brief........................................................................................ 4 Meeting Deals....................................................................................... 10 Quick Takes: Gregg Talley of Talley Management Group.......... 12 SMALL-MARKET REVIEW.......................................................... 15 Prime Site and Top Destination Awards Ballots........................ 19 PRISM Hotel Awards Ballot....................................................... 23 Reno, NV.................................................................................. 25 San Antonio and Austin, TX...................................................... 28 Arizona..................................................................................... 31 FACILITIES DIRECTORY............................................................. 34 Facilities A-Z Index.................................................................... 34 Pay Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain........................... 45 Become an Email Guru.............................................................. 46

Associate Publisher Michael Caffin Editorial Director George Seli Contributing Editors Anthony Bilden Rachel Kapur Rosa Laufer Debi Lander 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 2015 by Bedrock Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. Opinions expressed in by-lined articles and advertising copy are not necessarily those of the publisher. Advertisers are responsible for all costs, damages and claims regarding advertising insertions. Facilities & Destinations is published four times a year by Bedrock Communications, Inc., 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016. Telephone: (212) 532-4150. Fax: (212) 213-6382. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Bedrock Communications, Inc., 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016. Printed in U.S.A.

ON THE COVER Brent DeRaad, President and CEO of Visit Tucson, has reason to smile. Metro Tucson hotel revenue is up 7 percent in 2015, due in part to an increase in corporate and small association meetings. “We anticipate an outstanding year ahead,” says DeRaad, who is featured in this issue’s report on Arizona’s thriving meetings industry (page 31).

Value Destinations.................................................................... 48 Advertiser Index....................................................................... 48 2

Facilities & Destinations 2015 FALL

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

In Brief

Destination watch

(L-r): Richard Polk of EOP Architects, Karen Williams, President and CEO of the Louisville CVB; Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer; Governor Steve Beshear (at podium); Rip Rippetoe, Kentucky State Fair Board CEO; David Tandy, Louisville Metro Council President; and Mike Libs, KSFB Vice Chair.

LOUISVILLE, KY: Governor Unveils Convention Center Expansion Design On Sept. 29, Governor Steve Beshear joined officials of the Kentucky International Convention Center and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer to unveil the design and renderings for the convention center’s expansion and renovation, taking place from August 2016 to summer 2018. The project will increase contiguous exhibit space by more than a third, from 146,000 sq. ft. to over 200,000 sq. ft.; add a 40,000-plus sq. ft. ballroom; and renovate the center’s meeting rooms. The project will also pursue the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership

in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification. “The improvements for the Kentucky International Convention Center are very important to downtown Louisville and the many businesses that depend upon conventions in this city,” Beshear said. “This work will result in an annual economic impact of more than $50 million and will help retain current business and attract new conventions to Kentucky. Tourism is a major industry in our state with an economic impact of $13.1 billion last year.” PHILADELPHIA, PA: PHLDiversity Holds Annual Luncheon PHLDiversity, a division of the Philadelphia Convention and

(L-r): Tanya Hall, Community Relations Director, AETNA; PHLDiversity Luncheon honoree Dr. Stephen S. Tang, President and CEO of uCity Square; and Greg DeShields, Executive Director of PHLDiversity.


Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), hosted its 2015 Annual Luncheon on Oct. 7 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. Honors included the Community Recognition Award, given to Dr. Stephen S. Tang, President and CEO of uCity Square; the Industry Appreciation Award, given to Jay H. Shah, Chief Executive Officer of Hersha Hospitality Trust; and the Bring it Home Award given to Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Congressman Bob Brady and Former Governor Ed Rendell for their efforts in bringing the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Philadelphia. Greg DeShields, Executive Director of PHLDiversity, noted that in 2014, Philadelphia hosted more than 520 meetings and conventions, including major multicultural conventions such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (2015), which generated $11 million in economic impact; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (2014), which brought in $7.3 million; and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (2014), which produced $6.4 million. See page 12 for an interview with Gregg Talley, whose company managed the recent World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. SAN ANTONIO, TX: Convention Center Expansion Topped Off San Antonio recently topped off the $325 million expansion of its Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center three months ahead of schedule. The $93.5 million first phase of construction added 270,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space on the center’s eastern side. When the expansion is completed in February 2016, the facility will offer: 514,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, 85,000 sq. ft. of column-free multipurpose space, a new ballroom of over 54,000 sq. ft., 70 meeting spaces including divisible breakout rooms, a wrap-around balcony with views of the downtown and River Walk, and enhanced circulation and wayfinding. “With the transformation of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio is ensuring that it will be able to not only welcome larger and more diverse groups, but also offer the highest service and venue platform for returning groups who have found a home in our city,” says Casandra Matej,

Executive Director of the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau. For more developments in San Antonio’s meetings industry, see the Texas feature on page 28.

Joe D’Alessandro, President and CEO, SFTA SAN FRANCISCO, CA: SFTA Introduces Meeting Neighborhood Network Connections The San Francisco Travel Association has launched the San Francisco Meeting Neighborhood Network Connections, comprised of hotels and venues that work together to offer greater amounts of meeting spaces and guestrooms than a single hotel can provide. “While Moscone Center is being expanded, San Francisco has increased hotel availability for 2016, 2017 and 2018. With the Neighborhood Network Connections, meeting planners can find flexible meeting space and accommodations for up to 2,500 on peak nights,” says Joe D’Alessandro, President and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association. “Attendees benefit by having an intimate neighborhood experience with the amenities of a citywide meeting.” WASHINGTON, DC: Destination DC’s Strategy for the New Fiscal Year In fiscal year 2016, Washington, DC will host 15 citywide conventions with an estimated economic impact of $277.9 million. The city will be ready for the influx with 2,004 new hotel rooms coming online through the rest of the year and in 2016. In addition, Destination DC’s Convention Sales and Services team is prepared with strategies to continue attracting business to the city in the new fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. According to the organization, the team will focus on research,

Facilities & destinations 2015 Fall

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

In Brief Destination watch

Industry Leaders

Chris Silcock

Melissa Riley Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton Worldwide and new inductee of the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor, cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the Hilton Legacy Exhibit at the University of Houston.

Elliott Ferguson attracting international business and creating unified city site visits. “Seamless site visits are one of my top initiatives,” says Melissa Riley, Vice President of Convention Sales and Services. “We will work with partners including Events DC, hotels, restaurants and destination management companies to ensure everything from the prospect’s arrival at the airport to dining experiences are unparalleled.” “I’ve charged Melissa with continuing to expand our international business and developing innovative ways to reach new customers,” added Elliott Ferguson, President and CEO of Destination DC. “Her leadership will help us continue to win clients in international and luxury markets.” The international sales team is also expanding its DC Ambassador Circle, which utilizes respected third parties to help bid on international business in their respective fields. 6

Christopher J. Nassetta Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton Worldwide, was inducted into the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management on Oct. 21. He is the Hall of Honor’s 67th inductee. The event, whose proceeds supported the College’s newly established Hospitality Without Borders Endowment, also featured the grand opening of the Hilton Legacy Exhibit.

industry, and is Managing Director of Sustainable Events Ltd. She recently received an honorary doctorate from The Leeds Metropolitan University for services to the event industry in sustainability.

Chris Silcock In September, Hilton Worldwide appointed Chris Silcock Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for the company, based at its global headquarters in McLean, VA. Silcock has nearly 20 years of experience with Hilton, most recently serving as Head of Sales and Revenue Management.

At the International Convention Center Conference in Atlanta are (l-r) Carol Wallace, President and CEO, San Diego Convention Center Corporation; Karen Totaro, General Manager, Atlantic City Convention Center; and Frank Poe, Executive Director, Georgia World Congress Center.

Fiona Pelham Fiona Pelham Fiona Pelham will become Meeting Professionals International’s International Chair in January. Pelham launched the not-for-profit Positive Impact in 2005 to provide education for a sustainable event

Carol Wallace On Oct. 2, Carol Wallace, President and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, was honored with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM). She received the award during the International Convention Center Conference in Atlanta. Wallace was noted as being the first woman of color to lead a

convention center during her tenure at the Colorado Convention Center in 1988, as well as the first African-American woman to serve as IAVM chair, among other distinctions. In related news, Wallace recently announced her retirement as President and CEO effective Dec. 31, 2016, marking 25 years she has served the Corporation. She will serve in a consultant position from Dec. 31, 2015 until retirement.

Facilities & destinations 2015 Fall

there’s teamwork happenIng here!

It’s ImpossIble to convey all the strengths of our exceptIonal team In just a hundred words, so we Included a pIcture to add a thousand more. Why do clients love our team so much? It’s a combination of collaborative spirit, a ‘whatever it takes’ tenacity and decades’ worth of know-how. Every event we host is different, each client’s goals unique. But no matter how challenging or enormous the event may be, our team sees to it that every aspect exceeds the expectations of clients, participants and attendees. Event planning, promotion, hospitality, food, drink and beyond – our people manage it all with professionalism and efficiency. If your event is too important to trust to just any venue, talk to the team at The International Centre.

canada’s leadIng event & meetIng facIlIty 6900 Airport Road Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 905.677.6131 / tf 1.800.567.1199 InternationalCentre.com

Follow us!

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

In Brief

Hotel watch

Fred Sawyers, GM, WDW Swan and Dolphin SOUTHEAST Lake Buena Vista, FL — The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin has completed redesigning every guestroom in the 758-room Swan Hotel. The work is part of a $125 million redesign project that will transform every guestroom in both the Swan and Dolphin buildings by the end of 2017. New Orleans, LA — The 100room Radisson Hotel New Orleans Airport opened in late October. Located one mile from the Louis Armstrong International Airport, the hotel offers various onsite amenities including a restaurant, bistro lounge, meeting space, fitness center, outdoor pool and free high-speed Internet.

White Sulphur Springs, WV — The Greenbrier’s new 8,042-yard, 18-hole mountaintop championship golf course, set to open next fall, will be the result of the first-ever collaboration between four golf legends: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino. On Oct. 16, Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier, brought together the four Hall of Fame icons for the groundbreaking ceremony. Winston-Salem, NC — The DoubleTree by Hilton WinstonSalem – University opened on Oct. 2 following a $6 million property-wide renovation. Located two miles from Wake Forest University, the 150-room hotel houses 6,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. MIDWEST Cleveland, OH — On Sept. 30, representatives from Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland, Turner Construction Company, Hilton Worldwide, community leaders and other hotel project supporters celebrated the “topping out” of the $272 million Hilton Cleveland Downtown, scheduled to open in June 2016. The 600-room convention-style hotel property will house more than 46,000 sq. ft. of function space and connect to the new

City of Cleveland Chief Regional Director Ed Rybka (left, at podium) speaks at the recent topping-out ceremony for the Hilton Cleveland Downtown, set to open next June.


Breaking ground on The Greenbrier’s new mountaintop course are (l-r) Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino.

Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation. Evansville, IN — A new DoubleTree by Hilton is being built in the downtown area. Scheduled to open in October 2016, the 241room hotel will be connected by sky bridges to the Ford Center and the Old National Events Plaza. Over 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space will be on property. SOUTHWEST Austin, TX — Austin is astir with hotel developments, including: the 366-room Westin Austin Downtown, opened in July with 15,000 sq. ft. of function space; the 194-room Hotel Granduca, a new property with 9,144 sq. ft. of function space; a 190-room Hyatt House opening in April 2016; a $15 million renovation of the Renaissance Arboretum Hotel, being completed this year; and a $49 million guestroom and ballroom renovation of the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, scheduled for February 2016-May 2017. For more developments in Austin’s meetings industry, see the Texas feature on page 28. Houston, TX — The Hyatt Regency Houston Galleria opened on Oct. 16. The 325room hotel offers 11,000 sq. ft. of function space and is located next to Texas’ largest shopping center, The Galleria. The Hyatt Regency Houston Galleria is part of the Galleria Plaza development that will also include the Hyatt Place Houston Galleria by early next year.

WEST Las Vegas, NV — Caesars Palace Las Vegas is investing $75 million to renovate its Roman Tower, which will open as the Julius Tower on Jan. 1, 2016. An homage to Julius Caesar, the tower will feature guestroom amenities such as 55-inch TVs, luxurious Beautyrest Bouvet Island Mattresses, a specially curated minibar and Englishthemed Gilchrist & Soames inroom toiletries and amenities.

Gary Selesner, President, Caesars Palace Redmond, WA — Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. recently announced plans to break ground on a dual-branded Aloft and Element hotel development in Redmond, set to open in July 2017. The 150-room Aloft Redmond and 131-room Element Redmond will be located just outside the campus of Microsoft Corporation’s world headquarters and offer 6,500 sq. ft. of meeting space. Continued on page 10

Facilities & destinations 2015 Fall

Whether you have 50 or 5,000 attendees, we can put together the perfect package for your meeting or convention.


• 585.232.7200 • www.rrcc.com

In Brief Hotel watch

Renton, WA — Hyatt Regency Lake Washington at Seattle’s Southport is a new build expected to open in 2017. The 347-room hotel will offer 43,000 sq. ft. of meeting and prefunction space, including the 15,000-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom and event terraces overlooking Lake Washington.

Cairo, Egypt — The 331-room Nile RitzCarlton, Cairo opened on Oct. 22. The property’s amenities include an Olympicsized swimming pool and cuisine that ranges from Arabian to Italian to Continental.

San Francisco, CA — The Palace Hotel completed a $40 million renovation on Oct. 5 that included its 556 guestrooms and public spaces.

Chennai, India — The InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort opened on Oct. 15. Overlooking the Bay of Bengal, the 105-room resort is located less

than 20 miles from the Chennai International Airport. Macau, China — The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central debuts Dec. 17, 2015 on the western bank of the Pearl River Delta, a 10-minute drive from Macau International Airport. Guests can walk to the Historic Center of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 400-room hotel’s largest meeting space is 6,760 sq. ft. Taipei, Taiwan — The Taipei Marriott Hotel, opened in

September, is Marriott’s debut property in Taiwan. Located 10 minutes from the Songshan International Airport, the 320room hotel offers 32,300 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a 13,600-sq.-ft. grand ballroom, billed as Taiwan’s largest. Toronto, ON —The Omni King Edward Hotel, built in 1903 as Toronto’s first luxury hotel, has completed a $40 million restoration that includes its 301 guestrooms, meeting spaces, the lobby, restaurant and bar.


BLUFFTON, SC The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, A Montage Resort (843) 706-6500

GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa (345) 945-3800

DENVER, CO Magnolia Hotel Denver (303) 607-0900; denversales@ magnoliahotels.com


Planners can take advantage of The Inn at Palmetto Bluff’s “Warm Weather Guarantee” offering. For any day when the temperature does not reach the ideal 60 degrees, guests’ room rate will be reduced by one dollar for each degree below 60. These offers are valid for groups consisting of 10 or more rooms per night with a two-night minimum. Meetings must take place between Jan. 1 and Feb. 29, 2016.

The resort has introduced a new Sips beverage plan, as well as a customized Savor meal program, both available from July through October to groups of 40 people or more per day. The Sips Package includes beverages through the day. Cost is $77 per day. The Savor Package includes breakfast, lunch and dinner at resort outlets during regular hours of operation or for group programmed meals. Cost is $78 per day. Both packages may be combined for $155 per day, inclusive of service charge, priced add-ons. In addition to five complimentary suite upgrades, the Magnolia Hotel Denver provides groups a complimentary room and 10 percent off the total catering cost for every 30 rooms booked. Groups will also receive a complimentary one-night stay in the brand-new Presidential Suite. These offers are available for groups that book in 2015 for the following year and spend at least $10,000 in guest room revenue and/or $5,000 in catering revenue.

ORLANDO, FL Loews Sapphire Falls Resort (888) 331-9108

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, the newest onsite hotel at Universal Orlando, is offering groups rates as low as $139 per night for meetings booked from Dec. 31, 2015 to March 31, 2016. The offer is valid for new business only, groups of 10 or more. Offers subject to availability and are not combinable; must be contracted by Dec. 31, 2015.

QUEENS, NY SpringHill Suites New York LaGuardia Airport (718) 651-5000

Planners who book 10 or more rooms along with meeting space for up to 20 people may choose a perk to complement their reservation. Planners can opt to receive double Marriott rewards points, an upgrade to one-bedroom suites applicable to 10 rooms, or 50 percent off valet parking (available for cars only). The Pick Your Perk offer is available for reservations made by March 31, 2016. Rooms must be booked for Friday and Saturday, Saturday and Sunday, or Sunday and Monday nights.

WYNDHAM HOTEL GROUP www.wyndhamrewards. com/gomeet

Wyndham Rewards’ go meet, launched at IMEX America 2015 in Las Vegas, allows planners who are members of the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program to earn one point for every dollar spent on qualifying revenue at participating hotels, regardless of billing method. There is no minimum spend requirement and no maximum point limit. According to the company, Wyndham Rewards is the first major rewards program of its kind to offer a flat 15,000-point free night redemption rate and the only program in the industry to offer a minimum of 1,000 points with every qualified stay. Facilities & destinations 2015 Fall





Spectra brings together our proven expertise in all aspects of event management in a clear and simple way - as one. With a variety of Spectra-managed Convention Centers throughout North America, we are the experts that help bring out the best in event planners using proven methods, innovative concepts, responsive customer service, and passionate industry professionals to turn your event into an unforgettable experience.






Quick TAKES: Gregg Talley, FASAE, CAE

President and CEO, Talley Management Group, Inc.

Creating “Sacred Space” for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia By George Seli


hen the Pope named Philadelphia the site of the next World Meeting of Families back in 2012, the planning for the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families was transferred to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In turn, the Archdiocese reached out to the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau to initiate the RFP process for the meeting management function. Talley Management Group, Inc. won the bid for the high-profile event, which would bring in over 20,000 attendees from Sept. 22-25, 2015. Based in Mount Royal, NJ, just outside of Philadelphia, Talley Management Group was founded in 1987 by Gregg Talley, President and CEO, and his partner and father Robert K. Talley. Gregg’s 30-year career in the meetings industry includes service as past Chair of PCMA and current service on the ICCA Board of Directors.


hat do you feel helped Talley win the bid for the World Meeting of Families?

e do citywide events. Our largest client is the International Convention for Alcoholics Anonymous, which draws over 55,000 attendees. We’re accustomed to dealing with complex events, and I think that certainly helped us in being able to speak to some of the challenges that [the World Meeting] might present and how best to move it forward for success.


our company began planning the event with the Archdiocese in 2013. What were some of the initial priorities for the team?


irst and foremost was creating a website and a program so we could start to promote what the event was all about. And from there we needed to build out the housing and registration process,


and the tradeshow and sponsorship sales component. Those components needed to be up and active fairly early so we could gauge interest and obviously sell out the exhibit hall.


ere any aspects of the planning notably different than other citywide conventions you have managed in the past?


he layers of approval that you go through were certainly more detailed than we do for a typical client. Because this is not just a program committee; it’s layers within the Archdiocese in Philadelphia and then layers within the Vatican itself.

“One of the great things

was the way the city came together to make this happen. The Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, SMG, our labor partners — everyone was at the table throughout the planning process and really engaged.”


hat were your goals for the attendee experience?

he key thing is that we wanted to create an environment that felt friendly and safe. We were dealing with a global audience of families, so we had a huge number of children; 1,500 registered for the youth congress. That took on a life of its own in making sure the instructions were clear and that we had security around the youth conference so that families could feel confident leaving their children with us for the day. We also needed to create a space that allowed for the spirituality of the event. So we turned two exhibit halls in Pennsylvania Convention Center into a church for morning mass for 10,000 people each day. That was a unique challenge, [but the result] was spectacular.


ow would you describe the experience of working with your partners in the city? ne of the great things was the way the city came together to make this happen. The Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, SMG, our labor partners — everyone was at the table throughout the planning process and really engaged.

Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall

The Breadfruit & Rum Bar

Talley Management Group, Inc. and its supplier team turned two exhibit halls in the Pennsylvania Convention Center into a cathedral-like venue for morning mass.

[Regarding the SMG management of the convention center] I can tell you as a customer it’s night and day in terms of the experience and the can-do attitude of the unions, who were at every single one of our planning meetings. We actually had to close the show down earlier than we anticipated in order to help our exhibitors who needed and wanted to leave Philadelphia before it closed down for the papal visit taking place. [All the parties] were at the table offering solutions. That’s what you want to see.


hat does it take to achieve that kind of integration among the teams?

hat has to be a plan in and of itself because there are so many moving parts. You’ve got to make sure everyone understands the big picture and how they plug into it. It takes constant communication and updating so that folks feel a part of the process and have the opportunity to contribute. For example, as a planner you may think, “OK, I just need to deal with my general service contractor on this,” but the building’s saying, “Wait a minute, we can make this easier if we do X, Y and Z.” It’s that level of input and teamwork that you absolutely must have to ensure success, particularly for an event this complicated and large. We had site visits from different representatives within the Vatican literally every other month throughout the planning process. There was constant discussion, touring and updating, which created a way for our extended supplier team to really get the feel of what we were trying to achieve.


ill you take away any special memories from the World Meeting?

ust watching the faces of the attendees when [they experienced] the sacred space we created. You watch how people respond to it, and that is something to look back on and realize you created exactly what you wanted to have happen in that exhibit hall that morning. For the two hours of morning mass, that was a cathedral.

Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall

8-MINUTE WALK At the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix, your attendees are minutes away from James Beard Award winners, ethnic delights and local culinary wonders. So book today and watch your event take a big step in the right direction.


800-282-4842 | 13


W W W. C E N T U R Y C E N T E R . O R G

THE PERFECT SETTING FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT SMG, the Century Center Board of Managers and the City of South Bend are committed to providing an exemplary destination for meetings, conventions, consumer shows, banquets, trade shows and entertainment. No matter what configuration your event requires, we can accommodate your needs at the Century Center.

120 South Saint Joseph Street, South Bend

Ph: 574-235-9711 – Fax: 574-235-9185


hen a small-market city builds a convention center hotel, it’s a sure sign that group business is healthy. And planners are receiving that sign from several small-market cities these days, which helps to expand their site options beyond the highly competitive firsttier market. New, convenient lodging space can create an opportunity for a more cost-effective meeting, which is always welcome.

Convention Center Hotel Investments Point to a Strong Small Market

A case in point is the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas’ new hotel, slated to break ground next year. This fall it was announced that the 350room hotel would be a Westin. “Starwood is a tremendous asset for this unique property,” said Irving City Manager Chris Hillman in a statement. “The combination of the hotel, the Irving Convention Center and the Irving Music Factory will create a distinctively walkable, beautiful, and easily accessible meeting and entertainment environment like few others.” Another vibrant entertainment district is found in Kansas City, which “has invested over $2 billion in downtown development highlighted by the Kansas City Live! Entertainment District, located just three blocks from the Convention Center,” notes Oscar McGaskey, Executive Director of the

“Kansas City has invested over $2 billion in downtown development highlighted by the Kansas City Live! Entertainment District located just three blocks from the Convention Center.” —Oscar McGaskey, Executive Director, Kansas City Convention Center

Kansas City Convention Center. “With these amenities, Kansas City offers a unique meeting and visitor experience.” And like Irving, Kansas City is presenting a new lodging choice for groups with an 800-room Hyatt hotel adjacent to the Convention Center, breaking ground early next year. Kansas City is featured in this installment of the F&D SmallMarket Review, along with three other cities that should be on the value-minded planner’s radar: Springfield, IL; Pasadena, CA; and Akron, OH. Springfield has its own convention center hotel news to share: The 369-room Hilton Springfield, adjacent to the President Abraham Lincoln – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, will become the Wyndham Springfield – City Centre next year after a $3 million renovation. The 310-room President Abraham Lincoln – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel is connected to the Prairie Capital Convention Center, which itself has been recently renovated. Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall

Planners booking these facilities can receive assistance from a very proactive CVB. “Customers choose Springfield for many reasons, but certainly one of them is the top-notch service our office provides,” says Gina Gemberling, Executive Director of the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our sales team truly enjoys helping planners make the most of their experience here.” While a small-market destination, Springfield has been successful in “hosting a run of national events lately,” says Gemberling, “and I think the ease of planning here is certainly one of the factors. Not to mention all of the fun things for attendees to do when the meeting is over.” Of special interest is Springfield’s historical credentials, with highlights including the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and New Salem Historic Site.

Pasadena offers its own connection to history with the 19th-century architecture in Old Pasadena. And one of the upgrades to the city’s historic structures will certainly interest planners: In February, the Pasadena Convention Center introduced its newly restored historic exhibit hall, spanning 17,000 sq. ft. Akron has also recently augmented its convention center product with the John S. Knight Center’s The View, a patio adjacent to the upper-level ballrooms perfect for al fresco entertaining.

Recreation and entertainment options are plentiful in each of the four cities featured, and that is part of what makes them small-market standouts. Not only do they boast developing convention center infrastructures, but they also give attendees engaging ways to spend their free time. In this vein, West Palm Beach, FL’s new convention center hotel also deserves a mention. The 400-room Hilton West Palm Beach, opening in January, is connected to the Palm Beach Convention Center by an enclosed walkway. Numerous recreational and cultural sites are nearby, including CityPlace shopping and dining district, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Norton Museum of Art, Henry Morrison Flagler Museum and several golf courses. Look for an interview with the Hilton’s GM John Parkinson in the F&D Winter issue.

“Customers choose Springfield for many reasons, but certainly one of them is the top-notch service our office provides. Our sales team truly enjoys helping planners make the most of their experience here.” —Gina Gemberling, Executive Director, Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau 15

The John S. Knight Center

Akron, OH

Akron-Summit County Public Library borders the Center on the west and the popular Akron Art Museum is directly to the north. Additionally, a wonderful variety of restaurants are located within blocks of the Center, promising cuisines to please everyone. The space at the John S. Knight Center is as accommodating and flexible as its professional staff. The Center features an exhibition hall with approximately 30,000 sq. ft.; 12,000 sq. ft. of banquet space; an additional 12,600 sq. ft. of meeting space; and 22,000 sq. ft. of magnificent lobby, highlighted by the distinctive glass rotunda and spiral staircase. The lower level features an atriumstyle concourse, 12 flexible meeting rooms and six permanent meeting rooms. The upper level features banquet room and ballroom space totaling 12,855 sq. ft. that can be divided into 5,080 The 2014 National Student Steel Bridge Competition, held at the John S. Knight Center


he John S. Knight Center is a state-of-the-art exhibition, convention and banquet center, located in the heart of Akron’s vibrant downtown, named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal. In 1937, the Knight publishing family bought the Miami Herald, which began a series of purchases and mergers leading to the formation of the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain in 1973. This established the Beacon Journal as the original Knight headquarters of what has evolved to be one of the largest newspaper groups in daily circulation in the United States today. Offering tremendous flexibility, the Center hosts large meetings and tradeshows held by national, regional and state organizations and trade associations, as well as smaller, more intimate business gatherings. Medical, religious, fraternal, corporate, legal education and government organizations are among the many groups that have had successful events at the John S. Knight Center and have benefited from the expertise and help of the Center’s professional staff. The John S. Knight Center is surrounded by landmarks and attractions, all within easy walking distance. Directly adjacent to the Center is Greystone Hall. Formerly the Masonic Temple, the 1917 building is now downtown Akron’s most majestic banquet and special event venue. A two-story ballroom, sitting parlor, lounge and garden room provide inviting and elegant event spaces. The 16

The View, a new outdoor event space at the John S. Knight Center and 6,775 sq. ft. to separate dining and meeting functions. A new outdoor space, The View, provides a spacious outdoor patio for entertaining. The upper level’s 30,000 sq. ft. exhibition hall has ceilings 30 ft. to the trusses and 48 ft. to the decking. The Center meets the Americans with Disabilities Act specifications, with features such as infrared audio communication and inductive loops for the hearing impaired. Additional services and benefits of the Center include: catering services, with a modern kitchen, experienced chefs and capable staff efficiently providing everything from continental breakfasts to sit-down gourmet dinners for groups of five to 3,500; video streaming, video conferencing and wireless Internet connectivity; and an adjacent city parking deck connected to the Center by an enclosed skywalk. For more information about these or other Center services, call (330) 374-8900 or (800) 245-4254, or visit www.johnsknightcenter.org. Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall

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

Kansas City, MO

The Municipal Auditorium complex

Kansas City Convention & Entertainment Facilities’ Grand Ballroom


ith a creative energy all its own, Kansas City is anything but business as usual. It’s a convention destination where friendly people, affordable prices and a central location are a given. Where creativity can be found around every corner. A place with a spirited personality and a genuine heart that’s a breath of fresh air. Meet Kansas City. To friends, it’s just KC. Great meetings happen at the Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Facilities. The eight-square-block convention and special event facility can accommodate every need with 388,800 sq. ft. of column-free exhibit space on one floor; 48 state-of-the-art meeting rooms; a 2,400-seat fine arts theater; an arena that seats more than 10,700 people; and a unique outdoor festival plaza. And not only is it all in one location, but the complex is also connected to major downtown hotels and parking by skywalks and underground walkways.

The iconic Bartle Hall Pylons

Encompassing more than 800,000 sq. ft., the Kansas City Convention & Entertainment Facilities can serve all of a planner’s meeting needs under one roof. One of America’s largest green ballrooms, the 46,484-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom is certified LEED silver, boasting waterless plumbing, energy-efficient heating and cooling, and one of the most sophisticated lighting systems in the world. That’s enough to make other cities turn green with envy. The Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Facilities is located at 301 West 13th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105. Call (816) 513-5000 or visit kcconvention.com.


Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall

Facilities & Destinations


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

Name of Nominee_____________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Check Award You want to nominate the above for: Prime Site

Top Destination

Your Name & Title_____________________________________________ Organization__________________________________________________ Phone_________________________________________________________ Email_________________________________________________________ Additional Comments__________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ May We Contact You? Yes___ No___

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

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

The Kansas City convention And Entertainment Facilities 301 West 13th Street, KCMO 64105 | P: 816-513-5000 | kcconvention.com

Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall


Pasadena Convention Center

Jamie pham

Old Pasadena Historic Brick Alleyways

Pasadena, CA


here’s a reason Pasadena is the perfect choice for meetings. The weather is idyllic. Mountain views and blue skies abound. Intimate neighborhood allure is infused with modern energy and metropolitan offerings that make it a destination in itself. Pasadena is located just 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles, and is conveniently accessible from all LA-area airports and freeways. The Gold Line light rail transports passengers from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles and points in between. In February 2015, the Pasadena Convention Center welcomed the newly restored historic exhibit hall with 17,000 sq. ft. of possibilities. The state-of-the art Pasadena Convention Center features 80,000 sq. ft. of space for meetings of all sizes, with spacious exhibit halls, an expansive ballroom and 29 meeting rooms. Over 2,500 hotel rooms are available within the city to fit all budgets, 1,200 within walking distance of the Convention Center. An eclectic mix of shopping, theaters, golf, museums and gardens are all conveniently just steps away from Pasadena’s Civic Center. There’s literally something significant around every corner, whether you’re into architecture, design, high fashion, music, theater, museums or galleries. Pasadena is the heartbeat of SoCal’s cultural side. Art connoisseurs have a myriad of landmark museums and galleries, housing everything from European masters to early California Impressionists to modern art. Literary lovers can peruse rare books and manuscripts. Explore mile upon mile of stunning botanical gardens, top-notch arts performances and live concert venues. A tour of the town will lead to a beautiful treelined shopping district along South Lake Avenue, galleries and specialty shops in the Playhouse District, 19th century structures and quaint alleyways in Old Pasadena, and an open-air urban village in Paseo Colorado. Pasadena could easily be called “Foodie City,” with more than 500 restaurants — more per capita than New York City. 20

Historic Civic Center District Some of the world’s greatest minds have chosen to live and work in Pasadena, and there are countless possibilities for incoming meeting groups. In addition, the destination experts at the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) offer a variety of personalized services to meeting planners. For more information, visit www.PasadenaMeetings.com or call (800) 307-7977. Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall

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

Springfield, IL

The historic downtown Convention District (above) and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Groups also often look to the beautiful and historic Illinois State Fairgrounds for their events; it’s a perfect place for animal shows, auto club conventions, races and expos of all kinds. The 366-acre grounds feature 29 buildings, historic barns, 250-plus campsites and 24-hour security. The convenient location, just minutes from the downtown historic district, allows for large outdoor events with the convenience of the nearby city center.


pringfield is a historic Midwestern capital city filled with world-class sites and attractions, combined with a friendly small-town atmosphere. It’s a place where visitors get a glimpse of “real” America and the city that Abraham Lincoln loved. Meeting planners might be surprised to learn that the city has three distinct convention areas. In all, there are 4,000 hotel rooms and almost 350,000 sq. ft. of function space, making it an easy choice for everything from small regional to large national events. The newly renovated Prairie Capital Convention Center, in the heart of the downtown historic district, is connected to the President Abraham Lincoln – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and adjacent to the Hilton Springfield, set to become the Wyndham Springfield – City Centre in 2016. The Downtown Historic Area offers a total of 130,000 sq. ft. of function space and over 900 guestrooms. Another plus — it is within walking distance of most of the city’s world-class Lincoln sites, including the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Situated near beautiful Lake Springfield, and just off of Interstate 55, the Lake Area district is anchored by the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and boasts 60,000 sq. ft. of function space, including a 30,000-sq.ft. exhibit hall. In all, planners will find close to 1,300 hotel rooms in this area, and lots of nearby dining and shopping options. 22

The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau staff helps planners pull off even the most complex event with ease. The bureau offers a menu of complimentary services ranging from assistance with site selection, attendance-building programs, welcome and registration booths, visitor information and more. They’ll even help your organization arrange tours of some of the city’s most-requested historic sites, such as the Lincoln Home, the Old State Capitol and the Lincoln Tomb. In addition, many of the city’s world-class historic sites and museums are available as one-of-a-kind venues. Imagine a dinner in front of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum’s White House façade, or a group picnic among the log cabins of New Salem State Historic Site. The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau can help planners arrange unique sites that will make their event “one for the history books.” Located at the intersection of Interstates 55 and 72, Springfield is just 3.5 hours by car from Chicago and 1.5 hours from St. Louis. It’s also served by the regional Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, and daily Amtrak service. A central and easily accessible location means good attendance numbers. Indeed, conventions and events of all sizes are finding a home in Springfield. At the intersection of so much to see and do, Springfield is the perfect location to make events legendary. For more information about hosting a meeting in Always Legendary Springfield, Illinois, visit www.visitspringfieldillinois.com/planners or call (800) 545-7300. Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall

Facilities & Destinations


2015 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 Fall

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


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A Resurgent Means Meetings Value


amously posted on the iconic arch in Reno’s downtown is the motto, “The Biggest Little City in the World.” While its population is in the hundreds of thousands, Reno exhibits the feel and attributes of a small city, with a warm hospitality among its residents that incoming groups will surely appreciate. And given the lack of congestion, planners can take advantage of a variety of outdoor areas that allow big things to be done in Reno.

A reimagined COnvention center

The Reno-Sparks Convention Center has transformed itself from its humble beginnings as a coliseum with bleachers to a world-class convention center. The facility offers five contiguous exhibit halls totaling 381,000 sq. ft., the 30,000 sq. ft., column-free Mt. Rose Ballroom, 53 meeting rooms and 12 acres of outdoor patio space with mountain views. Street-level hangar doors permit aircraft, fire trucks and other extra-large vehicles to enter directly onto the tradeshow floor. Unique to the convention center are gas Ben McDonald, Communications Manager at the Reno-Sparks lines on the show floor, enabling culinary shows to stage barbeConvention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA), notes that many of cues indoors. When exhibitors are not cooking their own food, Reno’s outdoor spaces can be “sold as part of the destination.” As convention center caterer Levy Restaurants can service them and an example, he cites the ease with which planners can organize attendees via multiple kitchens throughout the venue. open-air street fairs and gatherings,   even in downtown’s Virginia Kane lists several reasons for her Street. The central thoroughfare is selection of — and return to — used regularly for outdoor events, Reno and its convention center “Reno is a good fit and its location is optimal, for the VFW’s 2020 gathering. being but one block away from the for us. The center “Reno is a good fit for us. We have 56,000-sq.-ft. Reno Events Center previous experience with Reno — is well laid out, and a concentration of major 2006 and 2012. The center is well hotels including Harrah’s, laid out — it’s nice to have it all costs are Whitney Peak, Eldorado, Silver on one level, costs are affordable, affordable and Legacy and Circus Circus.  and the city bid was attractive,”   she explains. Kane also lauds the the city bid Yet Reno’s assets are not only staff at the RSCVA, describing attracting meeting groups. In was attractive.” them as “friendly, knowledgeable, recent years, a number of corporaprofessional, efficient and caring —Vanessa Kane, CMP, CMM, tions have sparked an economic reabout what will truly work for our Manager Meetings & Events/Exhibits, surgence in the city. Robyn Nichols, convention and anxious to provide Veterans of Foreign Wars RSCVA Director of National another excellent experience for Accounts for Convention Sales, our members.” notes that currently, the city can account for recent and planned The food and beverage team at the investment of $7 billion. The city’s most recent win is the Tesla venue was “good to work with,” says Kane, noting that she Gigafactory that is slated to provide 6,500 high-tech jobs in the appreciated that the convention center “has a decent food court area. Other major companies, including Apple and Amazon as well that can provide food and beverage for our attendees, many as scores of startups, have also come to the area seeking tax incenof whom remain in the center all day, each day. They are very tives and benefits, not to mention the city’s high quality of life.  negotiable as well, and that for us, a not-for-profit veterans service   organization, is extremely important.” As business develops, says Nichols, “air traffic between Reno and major cities will increase, making the city more accessible” for RENO’S RESORTS meeting groups. Indeed, Vanessa Kane, CMP, CMM, Manager Conveniently reaching across the parking lot from the convention Meetings & Events/Exhibits for the Veterans of Foreign Wars center is the pedestrian sky bridge that connects to the Atlan(VFW), who is planning the group’s 2020 gathering in the city, tis Casino Resort Spa. The upscale, 1,000-room property connotes that she is “looking forward to the … enhancements that tains 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including two 12,000-sq.-ft. will increase the airlift into the city and at the same time help to ballrooms. The hotel underwent a $110 million expansion in 2011 reduce the airfare costs.”  that included its event space, spa and casino. The enhancements    created the only major meeting space in Reno with floor-to-ceiling The Reno–Tahoe International Airport is a short distance from windows, complemented by a veranda. A new Executive Boardall the major hotels. Planners and attendees alike will appreciate room has also been added. being able to disembark from their flight, claim luggage, secure transportation and reach their hotel in less time than it takes to Over lunch at the New York Deli, one of the 10 dining spots leave the baggage claim area in most metropolitan destinations. located in the hotel, Toni Koster, Director of Sales at the Atlantis, As an added perk, most properties provide free shuttle service to described a series of intangible advantages of bringing events to and from the airport for guests. Another option is the RAPID tranReno in general. The city has many family-owned hotels like the sit line, which connects the downtown area to other major hotels, Atlantis, she explained, “resulting in a higher level of care and as well as to the convention center. quality of service.” Regarding the Atlantis, she noted that it would   25 Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall

Reno has many family-owned hotels, “resulting in a higher level of care and quality of service.” —Toni Koster, Director of Sales, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa not be unusual “to see the owner onsite inspecting the premises to ensure everything is in order.” With a message that resonates from the top, guests readily take notice of the “higher standards of service.” The positive atmosphere that permeates the workplace at the Atlantis — and other major Reno hotels that F&D staff visited — results in low turnover rates and “consistent service — and people come back for it,” said Koster. The Atlantis and the 1,623-room Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, the convention center area’s two major hotels, partner to accommodate groups that exceed the properties’ individual room capacities. We last visited the Peppermill a dozen years ago, prior to the construction of its commanding 600-room, all-suite Tuscany Tower. The adjoining 106,000 sq. ft. of event space includes the eponymous 62,000-sq.-ft. Tuscany Ballroom, reported to be the largest pillarless meeting space in the region. The high ceilings, measuring from 28 ft. to 35 ft., create a versatile space that can be used not only for entertainment, but also for keynote presentations and tradeshows. The Executive Boardroom at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino

The penthouse level of the Tuscany Tower houses a luxurious 4,000-sq.-ft. Executive Boardroom that encompasses two floors — a bar and banquet space is located on its lower level connected by a spiral staircase to the larger conference area. Decorated tastefully with walnut ceiling and wall paneling, leather seating and couches, marble fixtures and a conference table with workstation connections for 26, the boardroom has been carefully designed to cater to attendees’ personal comfort. State-of-the-art AV equipment includes multiple flat-screen monitors surrounding the room. The 2,000-room Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, the region’s largest property, has undergone $75 million of renovations and upgrades over the past three years, including a $1.5 million redesign of its Grand Ballroom space. The hotel’s meeting and exhibition spaces connect to 85,000 sq. ft. of contiguous space utilizable for 26

tradeshows and concerts. In addition, the property’s Nevada Conference Center contains 40,000 sq. ft. of space as well as a built-in registration area and spacious prefunction areas. While award-winning chef Jerry Ignatich directs the in-house catering at the Grand Sierra Resort, providing groups with dining options that are among the best in the region, the hotel also houses a restaurant row that serves a wide selection of cuisines at multiple price points. Exclusive to the Grand Sierra Resort is Charlie Palmer Steak Reno, the only restaurant in the region operated by a celebrity chef. The restaurant, as well as a number of the other dining venues at the hotel, offers private dining rooms for groups.   Entertainment at the Grand Sierra Resort will be taking on a new dimension with venues that will do double duty for entertainment and meetings. The new Live Nation-affiliated Grand Theater can seat 2,700 and will be a magnet for entertainers visiting Reno as well as a space for keynote addressees and other presentations. The 25,000-sq.-ft. Lex nightclub is also available for private events. Among the resort’s satisfied group clients is the US Sports Congress. “Our convention at the Grand Sierra Resort was highlighted by a fantastic partnership that ran through every department,” relates Lou Mengsol, SMP, CSEE, President. “The benefit of having staff members focused on our program from sales to planning to implementation was invaluable. Their attention to detail and service for our group was second to none.”  


Gambling is legal in Nevada and planners readily state their groups do consider the city for its gaming. That said, the meeting facilities in Reno’s major resorts are located on different levels than their casinos, creating distraction-free meeting environments. The properties also offer numerous diversions for their guests beyond gaming. For example, each of the resorts is home to a signature spa: The Peppermill’s 33,000-sq.-ft. Spa Toscana is spread out over three levels and home to a caldarium heated via the hotel’s geothermal energy system. Atlantis’ spa offers a variety of services and has received multiple awards year after year. In addition to a spa, the Grand Sierra houses a 50-lane bowling alley and a movie theater that plays first-run familyfriendly movies. Reno also offers a wide selection of offsite activities. The Truckee River Walk provides great views of the historic river along which the city was founded, and accesses parks, public art, and shopping and dining establishments. Sports enthusiasts can take in a night at the new AAA minor league Aces Ballpark, home to the Pacific Coast League champion Reno Aces. Hiking, biking and seasonal sports on the lake and slopes have become synonymous with the Tahoe area. Travelling south from Reno, groups can experience the region chronicled by Mark Twain, rich in the history of the westward expansion and replete with natural beauty. The National Park Service lists multiple sites throughout Reno, Virginia City and Carson City, all worth seeing.  


There are a number of hotels with formidable meeting facilities hugging the Nevada/California border at South Lake Tahoe, located an hour’s drive from Reno. On the California side of the border is the Heavenly Mountain Resort, at the base of which is a gondola leading skiers up the mountainside as well as a village with multiple dining options and shops. While there are numerous smaller properties here, planners may consider the 400-room Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, an all-suite, non-gaming hotel that has significant meeting space (10,000 sq. ft.). On the Nevada side of the border planners can find the 539-room Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe (14,300 sq. ft. of meeting space), the 437-room Montbleu Resort, Casino & Spa (16,000 sq. ft.), and two Caesars Entertainment hotels, the 552-room Harrah’s Lake Tahoe (25,000 sq. ft.) and the 700-room Harvey’s Lake Tahoe (25,000 sq. ft.). The Caesars’ hotels are directly across the street from each other and connected by an underground passageway. The properties’ upper levels have unobstructed views of Lake Tahoe, with fine dining options that provide similarly stunning views. “Clearly, gambling is a draw,” says Caesars Entertainment’s Terry Azevedo, Director of Sales, Western Region, who was raised and currently resides in the area. Indeed, the premium suites on Harrah’s 16th and 17th floors with butler service were added primarily for the “high rollers.” However, Azevedo also notes that the function and meeting space is loCamp Richardson Historic Resort cated on the second floor of both hotels, & Marina, South Lake Tahoe allowing attendees to access their events without passing by the casinos should they choose.   Both sides of the lake “The big months have venues in the north for meetings as well. Incline Village, Nevada, located 34 miles [in Tahoe] are from Reno, is home to the Hyatt Regency Lake September and Tahoe, a 26-acre resort, October. April, spa and casino. The hotel has 500 feet of private Destination Hotels’ May and November beach on the lake, ski Resort at Squaw Creek are also non peak, and bicycle rentals onsite, and seasonal shutwith no summer crowds.” The Tahoe experience is about outdoor tles to local ski resorts, in —Terry Azevedo, recreation in the natural beauty of the addition to a casino that countryside, and the resort accommodates Director of Sales, Western Region is open 24 hours. The guests in that regard. Summer activities 422-room property also Caesars Entertainment could include an easy hike to the nearby has 24 lakeside villas and Olympic Village, fly fishing, water sports 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting at Lake Tahoe, or cycling alongside the space. nearby Truckee River. As the weather gets colder, there are op  portunities for sledding and cross-country skiing, and the hotel SQUAW VALLEY has its own ice skating rink. On the lake’s California side, a short drive from I-80 that connects Reno with Sacramento and San Francisco to the west, is the The Resort at Squaw Creek houses a conference center with Squaw Valley area’s Olympic Village. The city played host to the 33,000 sq. ft. of versatile indoor meeting space. The 9,525-sq.-ft. 1960 Winter Olympics, and visitors to the area are welcomed by a Grand Sierra Ballroom is accompanied by a second ballroom of perpetually lit flame beyond which a sign stands commemorating 5,200 sq. ft.; both have large windows that look out over the valley the games and countries that participated. The area is now home and its peaks. The picturesque setting can be captured outdoors to California’s second-largest ski resort. as well, where there is almost 15,000 sq. ft. of event space, as well   as an ice rink that is covered during the warmer months. Nestled in the Squaw Valley over 195 acres is the 405-room Destination Hotels’ Resort at Squaw Creek. The hotel and its During the latter half of the 19th century, Reno’s position in a Robert Trent Jones Jr. championship golf course occupy the valley at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range made it an integral base of the valley, providing views of the nearby mountains that link along the country’s westward expansion. To our good fortune, are stunning in the summer and even more breathtaking when the travails of heading to and from the West Coast have been borne covered in snow. A lift leads up to the nearby ski resort, making by past generations; mountains that tested pioneers are now admired the luxury property popular for a variety of incentive groups as by hikers, bikers and skiers. The Tahoe region today is easily accesthe seasons change. sible to groups from California, Nevada and the west, and the city   is serviced by interstate highway and a growing airlift that includes The hotel — and Destination Hotels in general — aims to provide recently added daily non-stop service to and from New York City via guests not just with lodging but also an experience that encomJet Blue. In more ways than one, planners and attendees will find passes all the region has to offer without leaving the property. today’s Reno quite accommodating. —DK Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall


on location

San Antonio & Austin

Progressive Texan cities ready to round up more meetings business By Rachel Kapur

Downtown San Antonio


wo of the Lone Star State’s outstanding second-tier cities, Austin and San Antonio, make unique additions to Texan culture and history, from a world-renowned live music scene to the River Walk and the Alamo. While both towns have always been strong draws for meeting groups due to such iconic features, today they are even more attractive with significant investments being made into meeting and lodging facilities. San Antonio boasts a soon-to-open convention center expansion, while Austin is offering two new, 1,000-plus room hotels. F&D staff recently had the pleasure of experiencing Texan hospitality in both cities, with upscale properties by Marriott serving as our home base.


The time is ripe for planners to consider San Antonio. Casandra Matej, Executive Director of the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau, highlights several reasons. “San Antonio has long been a favorite meeting destination as much of our meeting scene is connected by the picturesque River Walk. Now, with the expansion of our Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, the explosion of our culinary scene and our historic missions being noted as a World Heritage Site, the options for meetings are more desirable than ever,” says Matej, who earned her Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation this summer. The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center currently houses four exhibit halls with over 440,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, 67 meeting rooms, three ballrooms and the 2,319-seat Lila Cockrell Theatre. More than 13,000 of the city’s downtown hotel rooms (over 42,000 citywide) are within minutes and walking distance. This infrastructure has supported a healthy meetings business. “Taking stock of 2015 so far and looking ahead to 2016, bookings 28

“We are expecting an increase with larger meetings of 2,000 attendees or more following the opening of our convention center expansion in January 2016.” —Casandra Matej, Executive Director, San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau have been strong in terms of attendance and new, short-term opportunities,” Matej notes. “We are expecting an increase with larger meetings of 2,000 attendees or more following the opening of our convention center expansion in January 2016.” (For details on the project, see p. 4.) “One fantastic example of the size and caliber of meetings flocking to San Antonio is the recent Seventh-Day Adventist 60th General Conference Session that welcomed some 70,000 attendees,” she relates. “This highly successful conference was the city’s largest and longest to date. We were thrilled to see how our community welcomed them. We coordinated with the entirety of our community to make ensure this group’s needs were met: police, airport, hoteliers, transportation companies, even Facilities & Destinations 2015 FALL

Fiesta Texas and El Mercado for unique souvenirs. We highly recommend the Feast restaurant, the Pearl area for great dining, and the Menger Hotel for a haunted experience with a cocktail.

San Antonio’s recently lengthened River Walk

restaurants, who adjusted menus to accommodate their dietary restrictions.” The Seventh Day Adventist meeting took place July 2-11, a time when temperatures in San Antonio are well into the 90s. But that kind of climate also means 300 days of sunshine a year and January and February highs in the 60s. The warm temperatures make it inviting for attendees to explore one of the oldest cities in the United States. San Antonio is filled with historical landmarks, beautiful landscapes and strong German and Mexican influence. Its five Spanish colonial missions (including The Alamo) represent the largest concentration of Spanish colonial missions in North America and, as Matej points out, they have recently been named a World Heritage site by UNESCO. But San Antonio is also a forward-thinking city. Among its improvement projects is the recently completed lengthening of the River Walk from three to 15 miles, an investment of $358.3 million. Two Marriott properties are conveniently located on the River Walk, including the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter, where F&D staff spent their first night in the city. Offering 1,000 guestrooms, including 86 suites, the hotel is part of Marriott’s Convention & Resort Network and features 60,000 sq. ft. of premium meeting space across 36 meeting rooms. The hotel is attached to the Rivercenter Mall and steps away from the No. 1 tourist destination in Texas — The Alamo.  The Alamo welcomes more than 2.8 million visitors a year. It is the oldest of five missions that were built to protect local Native Americans from hostile tribes and also for conversion to the Catholic faith. The Alamo was built in 1724 and eventually became the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. The Alamo has rentable space perfect for events, including the Alamo Hall (capacity 200 seated) and various outdoor function areas. The River Walk is the second most visited tourist destination in Texas, with over 75 restaurants, numerous shops and theaters. Our staff enjoyed Boudro’s dining river cruise, which was a great way to explore the River Walk. The SAGA light show at the San Fernando Cathedral, held on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday nights, is also a memorable free-time activity for meeting attendees. Besides the River Walk and Alamo, other popular attractions in San Antonio include the largest SeaWorld in the United States, Six Flags Facilities & Destinations 2015 FALL

Another quality lodging option in the area is the San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk, located across the street from the Marriott Rivercenter. The 507-room hotel recently underwent a $40 million renovation. Every room in this contemporary hotel that faces the San Antonio River has its own private balcony. The hotel has 14,976 sq. ft. of meeting space across 14 function rooms. One of the meeting rooms has a large terrace on the River Walk that accommodates up to 200 people.  Located in the heart of Hill Country, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is a beautiful escape for meeting groups. Spanning 600 acres of rolling hills, meandering creeks and live oak trees, the hotel features 1,002 rooms, including 85 suites, which reflect the authentic style and hospitality of the Texas Hill Country. Each guestroom at the resort features a balcony, luxurious bedding, spacious work desks and LCD cable TVs. With two world-class PGA Tour golf courses on site, attendees can perfect their game or just spend a few hours shooting through 36 challenging holes with stunning views. Guests can relax in The Lantana Spa, billed as the largest spa in Texas, and attendees with families will especially enjoy the six-acre water park. Besides the onsite activities, Hill Country is close to top wineries, great hiking trails and excellent bird-watching areas.  Like the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter, the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa is part of the Marriott Convention & Resort Network. The Network includes hotels that have 1000+ guestrooms, exceptional service and can execute meetings that convene more than a thousand attendees. The hotel offers 19 meeting rooms and has three levels of meeting space totaling 265,000 sq. ft. The 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom is divisible into three sections. Outdoor function space is also available, as is Knibbe Ranch, which offers groups activities such as a hot-air balloon ride, armadillo race and much more. The 1,000-acre ranch can accommodate 1,100 guests.  New to San Antonio’s hotel scene is the 146-room Hotel Emma, which opened Oct. 1. The boutique property is housed within the Pearl brewery’s 119-year-old building. Also new in town is The DoSeum, a science and art museum; the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, formerly the Municipal Auditorium; and Pacific Point Preserve, SeaWorld’s newest environment, featuring sea lions, harbor seals and more.


Like San Antonio, Austin is enjoying high demand in the meetings market, no doubt due to its stellar convention center, growing hotel infrastructure and local character. “Group business is growing, especially with larger corporate and association meetings,” says Steve Genovesi, Senior VP of Sales with the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our medical and high-tech meetings in particular have proven to be the largest areas of growth.” A major new association client is the Modern Language Association, whose Annual Convention in January will utilize nearly 29

The Austin Convention Center and the Fairmont Austin (right), a 1,068-room property opening in 2017.

4,500 rooms. “With the addition of our nonstop flights from London, Toronto, and a seasonal from Frankfurt that will start next summer, we’re also seeing more incentive and international business groups that are considering Austin,” Genovesi adds.

“We’re fortunate that the majority of our new hotels are close to the Convention Center, which allows us to present a very walkable package.”

stands today used to be a parking lot with food trucks. In keeping with its past, the hotel maintains a “Burger Bar” on the side of the building with the food truck style and pricing. Befitting the largest hotel in Austin, the JW Marriott Austin houses an impressive 120,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, which includes 42 meeting rooms and ballrooms of 30,000 sq. ft. and 23,000 sq. ft.

The CVB is counting on even more performance —Steve Genovesi, Senior VP of Sales, from the city’s meetings Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau sector thanks to major new hotels. “Our business plan is to maximize the new hotel inventory coming in, especially the 1,012-room JW Marriott Austin, opened Attendees have much to do in Austin, from kayaking on Lady in February of 2015, and the 1,068-room Fairmont Austin that will Bird Lake to horseback riding to playing golf. Those travelling debut in 2017,” Genovesi says. “We’re fortunate that the majority of with families may want to check out the Dell’s Children Museum. our new hotels are close to the Convention Center, which allows us Another standout is Franklin Barbecue, a James Beard Awardto present a very walkable package. Our first priority is to secure winning establishment.  groups that would have previously not considered Austin but now are able to with our growing variation of hotel product mix.” “We are fortunate to have so many unique offsite venue options in Austin for clients and exhibitors to choose from,” noted Genovesi. Those new groups will experience one of the most avant-garde “Our services department does a great job of linking clients to convention centers in the country. The Austin Convention these venues and gathering proposals, and also provides outCenter offers 247,052 sq. ft. of column-free exhibit space divisible standing communications to downtown restaurants and music into five contiguous halls. The upper level Grand Ballroom on the venues when a group is coming into town.” north side is one of the largest in Texas at 40,510 sq. ft., and 54 meeting rooms and show offices span 58,000 sq. ft. across all four Speaking of music venues, Austin’s live music scene is legendary, levels. The Center is also a gigabit-rated building offering compliwith notable hotspots including the Skylark Lounge, Continental mentary wireless Internet access throughout. Club, Elephant Room, Paramount Theatre and the Victory Grill, where greats such as Etta James and Janis Joplin have performed. To experience Austin, F&D staff stayed at the new JW Marriott And given the burgeoning hotel and convention center infrastrucAustin, which affords panoramic views of the city and a beautiful ture in both Austin and San Antonio, the prospect of meeting in rooftop pool. The hotel is conveniently located downtown near these towns is, more than ever, music to a planner’s ears. the famous Sixth Street shopping and dining area. Austin has a world-renowned food truck scene, and the area where the hotel George Seli contributed to this report. 30

Facilities & Destinations 2015 FALL



Red Rock State Park, outside Sedona

Convening in the Valley of the Sun and beyond By George Seli


everal features have put Arizona on the meetings map: luxurious resorts such as The Arizona Biltmore and The Boulders, top-rated golf courses, the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and, of course, The Phoenix Convention Center, with its 900,000 sq. ft. of function space. Yet the Valley of the Sun also draws attention as the host of major sporting events, and that vehicle for destination marketing is going full throttle today. Phoenix welcomed Super Bowl XLIX in February, and is looking forward to the College Football Playoff National Championship in January 2016 and the NCAA Men’s Final Four in April 2017. Planners will no doubt be impressed by Phoenix’s ability to host all the ancillary events that accompany these sports milestones, as well as to attract such high-profile games in the first place. “Phoenix will become the first city ever to host the Super Bowl, the CFP National Championship and the Final Four in consecutive years,” says Lorne Edwards, Director of Sales, Visit Phoenix. “That’s a testament not only to Phoenix’s great weather and destination appeal, but also to the evolution of our downtown core.” Further testament comes from the uptrend in group business, Edwards notes, with just one example being the Materials Research Society, a scientific trade group that recently confirmed Phoenix for the next five years, starting in 2016. “Phoenix has seen positive growth in future bookings within the group segment during the past three years. This past fiscal year was our second-best year ever for future bookings production,” he says. In addition, the corporate meetings sector is developing. “Phoenix is seeing greater diversification within its business mix, with more corporate groups electing to bring their large conventions to the downtown, which has traditionally attracted mostly trade associations and SMERF groups,” says Edwards.

Facilities & destinations 2015 Fall

“This past fiscal year was our second-best year ever for future bookings production.” —Lorne Edwards, Director of Sales, Visit Phoenix These groups will discover numerous cultural and educational venues to explore during their free time, including the Phoenix Art Museum, Desert Botanical Garden and the Heard Museum, showcasing Native American art. The Heard’s display is “inside a beautiful building with Spanish Colonial architecture and a fountain-filled courtyard,” Edwards relates. “The museum can arrange private tours or a hoop-dancing demonstration, and it has several interesting meeting rooms and event spaces.” Part of the Downtown Phoenix Arts District is Roosevelt Row, home to galleries, restaurants and boutiques. For fine dining with 360-degree views of the Valley, planners can book Orange Sky, located on the 15th floor of the Talking Stick Resort. Golfers have fine choices (e.g., the Boulders and Troon North golf clubs) as do spa enthusiasts (e.g., the Joya and Aji spas). A site visit allows a planner to truly appreciate the breadth of what Phoenix has to offer. 31

“We have had tremendous success in booking conversion when we bring clients in to see the destination firsthand,” says Edwards. “We will continue to do that, and we will also continue to build strategic alliances with our partner hotels, as well as civic leaders and notable industry suppliers, all with the goal of driving visibility and making the meeting experience a seamless process that includes the entire downtown community.” Another way that Visit Phoenix is demonstrating its commitment to the meetings sector is by augmenting its staff in that area. This July, the CVB hired 30-year hospitality and travel industry veteran Rich Cerino as Director of Convention Services, and Heather Trent and Tom Michalisko, CMP, as directors of national accounts. Trent is based in Austin, TX, and will handle convention business in the Texas and Southern California markets, while Michalisko will oversee citywide sales efforts in Washington, DC. “We have an award-winning Convention Services team that thrives on going the extra mile and collecting and listening to client feedback,” says Edwards. “In the past that has meant creating water stations and providing shade umbrellas to customers who meet here in the summer, connecting community-conscience groups with local charitable projects that fit their mission, and staff volunteering to participate hands-on in such projects. Visit Phoenix has more than 1,000 member businesses, and we can also provide housing and registration services.” The city will offer new housing options next year with the opening of the Luhrs City Center Marriott, a 320-room property that will include a Courtyard by Marriott and a Residence Inn by Marriott. In addition, the Ritz-Carlton Phoenix that closed for renovations this year will reopen in December as part of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. The 277-room hotel will feature a new restaurant and two bars, a fresh pool experience, 32

The Phoenix Convention Center’s North and West Buildings are connected in the lower level exhibit hall and via a sky bridge on the upper level. the addition of a boutique spa, an expanded contemporary fitness center and more than 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Also recently renovated is The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. Featuring a Frank Lloyd Wright architectural style, the “Jewel of the Desert” sits on 39 acres at the foot of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. Currently offering 740 guestrooms and over 200,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor function space, the Biltmore has been welcoming meeting groups since 1929, and continues to develop new recreational options for guests. For instance, the Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience, in its second year, provides luxury sports cars for two-and-a-half hour tours of desert and mountain roads, guided by Belgian racing champion Didier Theys. Groups that want to experience both Arizona’s great outdoors and its indigenous culture might opt for Corona Ranch, Edwards suggests. “Corona Ranch, which is just six miles from the convention center, consistently wows groups with its Western Rodeo and Mexican Charreada demonstrations.”


A more formal expression of Arizona’s Old West culture can be found in Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, which opened last January. The two-story, 40,000-sq.-ft. museum is located downtown and features five galleries of paintings, sculptures and cultural artifacts. The Virginia G. Piper Auditorium and adjacent sculptural gardens are available for rental; the museum has a total capacity of 25 to 1,000. July 2016 will bring another major offsite venue to Scottsdale: The 16acre OdySea Aquarium, billed as the largest aquarium in the SouthFacilities & destinations 2015 Fall

Tucson at dusk

west. It will be part of the existing OdySea in the Desert complex that includes Butterfly Wonderland, OdySea Mirror Maze and, over the next several years, an IMAX theater, a Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, Flight Shop indoor skydiving and more. Three notable hotel renovations have been completed this year in Scottsdale: An $8 million makeover at the Boulders Resort & Spa that includes upgrades to its 160 casitas; a $10 million renovation and reopening of the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch, A Destination Hotel; and a renovation and reopening of The McCormick Scottsdale’s 125 guestrooms. Scottsdale’s resorts boast some of the finest golf courses in the country, such as the Boulders’ two award-winning, Jay Morrishdesigned courses. But there are also independent golf venues with their own event facilities, including McCormick Ranch Golf Club, with its 6,600-sq.-ft. West Lawn Pavilion and elegant clubhouse accommodating 50-100 attendees. TopGolf Riverwalk, opened in 2014, is a less traditional option for groups. The 65,000-sq.-ft. venue features three levels of golf bays from which players hit microchipped golf balls at dartboard-like targets that track each shot’s distance and accuracy. TopGolf can accommodate groups of 10 to 1,200 in its boardroom, banquet rooms and large rooftop terrace, and offers full and partial buyouts.


Also part of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area is Tempe, which can accommodate groups of up to 500 attendees. One of the finest entertainment venues here is the 3,000-seat, Frank Lloyd Wrightdesigned ASU Gammage theater, home to the Desert Schools Broadway Across America – Arizona and Beyond series. In addition, attendees can visit the Tempe Center for the Arts (host of Carnival of Illusion) and Casino Arizona. Families will enjoy the $12 million LEGOLAND Discover Center opening at Arizona Mills mall in 2016. Both Fort McDowell Adventures and the Desert Belle Tour Boat offer captivating experiences for corporate groups. New hotels in Tempe include the 140-room, college-themed Graduate Tempe, which offers an 1,800-sq.-ft. ballroom and a 2,150-sq.-ft. rooftop venue. Also new are the 180-room Drury Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe (2,700 sq. ft. of meeting space) and the 117-room Hampton Inn & Suites Tempe (780-sq.-ft. meeting room).


While the Valley of the Sun is Arizona’s focal point for meetings, Phoenix is not the only city that is reporting strong performance in this sector of the state’s tourism industry. “We have enjoyed an increase in corporate and small association meetings, which has played a big role in growing metro Tucson hotel revenue by 7 percent in 2015,” notes Brent DeRaad, President and CEO of Visit Tucson. “Bookings are well ahead of last year for our peak season in early 2016, and we anticipate an outstanding year ahead.” Tucson also made Cvent’s list of top 50 cities for meetings and events in the United States for 2015, ranking 48. The rankings are based on meeting and event booking activity in the Cvent Supplier Network. Behind this performance is the city’s “strong value proposition for groups seeking a high-end experience in a beautiful setting,” DeRaad explains. SMG began managing the Tucson Convention Center in Facilities & destinations 2015 Fall

“Metro Tucson offers a strong value proposition for groups seeking a high-end experience in a beautiful setting.” —Brent DeRaad, President and CEO, Visit Tucson

October 2014, helping to deliver a quality experience for groups and exhibitors. SMG is also overseeing the other venues in the complex: the 511-seat Tucson Leo Rich Theater, the 2,289-seat Tucson Music Hall and the 8,920-seat Tucson Arena. The convention center houses a total of 205,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space. Tucson is also home to a variety of intriguing offsite venues for meeting groups, such as the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, situated between the Tucson Mountains and Saguaro National Park. Among the museum’s event spaces are the Desert Garden, which accommodates 250 for a standing reception; the Water Oasis Theater, which seats 265; and the Green Room, seating 220 for a dinner surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. The Pima Air & Space Museum, which accommodates groups of 20 to 400, was recently graced with the donation of an original flight test 787 Dreamliner from The Boeing Company, expanding its world-renowned collection. Foodies can look forward to next year’s debut of The Carriage House, by James Beard Award-winning chef Janos Wilder. The multi-use space will feature a cooking school, as well as a private event/dining room and patio. The venue will accommodate up to 70 guests for demonstration classes and 20 for hands-on classes. Tucson’s resort industry also has new developments to share. Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort has more than doubled its room count with the construction of 32 additional guestrooms. Loews Ventana Canyon Resort is undergoing a comprehensive renovation of its 398 guestrooms, 37,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, lobby, fitness center, signature Lakeside Spa and Flying V Bar & Grill. The project is scheduled for completion early next year. And a new, 137-room AC Hotel by Marriott will open in early 2017. Primo and Signature Grill at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa have garnered 2015 awards from Wine Spectator, as have restaurants at many of the state’s other upscale resorts: Talking Stick Resort (Orange Sky), Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North (Talavera), The Phoenician (J&G Steakhouse), Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (Bourbon Steak), and the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa (Deseo). Groups can look forward to sharing a toast after a rewarding gathering in Arizona, one of the country’s best combinations of meeting venues, recreation and sunshine. 33

Sites & Cities Directory Akron Convention & Visitors Bureau/John S. Knight Center...................................................................... 34 Austin Convention Center......................................................................................................................................... 34 Century Center South Bend..................................................................................................................................... 34 Cobo Center................................................................................................................................................................... 34 Cox Convention Center............................................................................................................................................. 36 David L. Lawrence Convention Center................................................................................................................ 36 Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center......................................................................................... 36 Kansas City Convention Center.............................................................................................................................. 36 The International Centre............................................................................................................................................ 36 Meet Puerto Rico.......................................................................................................................................................... 36 San Jose McEnery Convention Center................................................................................................................ 36 Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau............................................................................................................. 36 Phoenix Convention Center.....................................................................................................................................40 Visit Spokane...................................................................................................................................................................40 Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau...........................................................................................................40 Team San Jose................................................................................................................................................................40

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


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



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 track record of handling 7,000 simultaneous connections. Pre-function spaces offer downtown PAGE 5 views. New walkway connects 3rd and 4th levels. Near 6,000 downtown hotel rooms.

Austin Convention Center

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

The Century Center, built on the banks of the West Race canal, overlooks the St. Joseph River and is attached to the 11-acre Island Pavilion, completed in May 2013, as well as the 292-room DoubleTree by Hilton, renovated in 2013. The Century Center features over 75,000 sq. ft. of convention space, including a 25,000-sq.-ft. Convention Hall that can be split into two smaller halls, 41,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 700-seat theater, 16,640-sq.-ft. ballroom and 18 meeting rooms. The 12,000-sq.-ft. Discovery Ballroom can be separated into two equal halls. Free basic WiFi available. Main entrance renovated in 2013, lighting retrofit completed in 2013 and PAGE carpet replacement completed in 2014. 14


Century Center South Bend

120 South St. Joseph Street, South Bend, IN 46601 (574) 235-9711 www.centurycenter.org Director of Sales & Marketing: Crista Tompson Unique Architecture. Exceptional Experiences.



Cobo Center

1 Washington Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 877-8777; Fax: (313) 877-8577 www.cobocenter.com Director of Sales: Greg DeSandy



Greatness comes from within. THE NEW COBO CENTER We are not done yet –

723,000 sq. ft. of

Overlooking the Detroit River and our international neighbor, the Cobo Center’s elegant banquet rooms and over 100 meeting rooms total 200,000 sq. ft., accommodating from 25 to 2,500 attendees. The Center is physically linked to all downtown Detroit hotels and entertainment districts by the Detroit People Mover, an elevated railway system, and a station on the third floor. The Grand Ballroom is 40,000 sq. ft., dividable with a retractable wall. Features 40-foot ceiling height with built-in rigging points, color-programmable LEDs and 21,000 sq. ft. of meeting space below the ballroom. Cobo Center is completing PAGE Phase 3 of its $279 million renovation this year. C4 2


1 Rendering of Cobo Center Riverside Entrance (now open) 2 South Atrium Renovation 3 Outdoor Video Walls

Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall

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, 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 and the new W Austin and Hyatt Place Downtown Austin. The 1,012-room JW Marriott opened in February 2015, and the 326-room Westin Austin Downtown opens in 2016. A winner of the Prime Site Award every year since 1995, the Austin Convention Center, a LEED® Gold-certified building, has

emerged as a leader in the convention and meeting industry. A premier facility located in the heart of the capital city’s downtown business district, the Center spans six city blocks with 369,132 sq. ft. of exhibit and meeting space. The five, column-free exhibit halls, totaling 247,052 sq. ft., accommodate 1,289 10 ft.-by-10 ft. exhibit booths. Seven ballrooms ranging from 3,896 sq. ft. to 40,510 sq. ft. in size and 54 meeting rooms and show offices totaling over 58,000 sq. ft., complete the four-story convention center. Ample parking is provided in two parking garages with a total capacity of 1,700 spaces. Rated one of the most technologically advanced convention centers in the country, this gigabit-rated facility moves voice, video and data at over one billion bits per second. The Center’s 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 Fall



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


David L. Lawrence Convention Center

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

Kansas City Convention Center 301 West 13th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105 (800) 821-7060; Fax: (816) 513-5001 www.kcconvention.com Director of Sales: Gemma Zook

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 Sales Manager, Trade & Consumer Shows: Sandra Martin There’s Something Happening Here! 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 California

San Jose McEnery Convention Center

150 West San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95113 (800) SAN-JOSE; Fax: (408) 277-3535 SanJose.org Director of Sales and Destination Services: Mark McMinn 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


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. 3 Located in downtown Pittsburgh’s cultural district along the Allegheny River, the environmentally smart, Gold/Platinum LEED® certified, SMG-managed David L. Lawrence Convention Center features 313,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space with 37 loading docks, 53 meeting rooms and a 31,000-sq.-ft. ballroom. The center’s dynamic architectural design offers breathtaking views, open terraces and column-free space. Technology: 1Gb circuit with 100Mb backup, single-mode fiber optic backbone, multi-mode fiber, CAT6 (copper) cabling, robust Wi-Fi network that supports high bandwidth and high density requirements. PAGE C3

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. 9 An energetic city forged by a rich history, Kansas City has a central location, is highly affordable and is brimming with eclectic cuisine, swinging jazz, one-of-a-kind museums, a thriving arts scene and fantastic shopping. One million-sq.-ft. Kansas City Convention Center accommodates everything from mid-sized meetings to citywide conventions – 388,800-sq.-ft., column-free exhibit space, 142,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, 46,484-sq.-ft. state-of-the-art Grand Ballroom, 48 meeting rooms. Arena houses 7,316 permanent seats, 2,405 seats on risers plus capacity for 1,000 theater-style on main floor. 946 guestPAGE rooms nearby; 3,500 downtown hotel rooms; 26,000 citywide. 19 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. 7 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 C2 House San Juan, is expected to open in the first quarter of 2016. The San Jose McEnery Convention Center sits in the center of Downtown and boasts hundreds of events each year — from the huge draw of Fanime, the Silicon Valley International Auto Show, and many annual tech conferences, to smaller specialty events, meetings and tradeshows. The center houses 367,526 sq. ft. of overall meeting space, including 43 meeting rooms, a 35,194-sq.-ft. ballroom and 214,760 sq. ft. of exhibit space. Free Wickedly Fast Wi-Fi and an in-house audiovisual team are available. The center is connected to the San Jose Marriott and Hilton San Jose. Recent major events include Wizard World Comic Con San Jose (Sept. PAGE 4-6, 2015), QuickBooks Connect 2015 (Nov. 1-4) and Drone World Expo (Nov. 17-18, 2015). 1 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. 21 Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall



COBO CENTER Centered around you. THE NEW COBO CENTER We are not done yet – $279 Million Renovation is nearly complete and brings with it lots of head-turning additions:

723,000 sq. ft. of Exhibit Space.

More robust technology, with Free WiFi and enough connectivity for The new 40,000 sq. ft. 30,000 simultaneous users. Grand Riverview Ballroom with floor Spectacular Outdoor to ceiling views of the Video Walls – 3X as large Detroit River and over as billboards. 50,000 sq. ft. of flex space. An In-house Broadcast An Outdoor Event Plaza facing the downtown skyline, connected to a terrace overlooking the river.

Voted Best Sports City in the U.S. by USA Today, Detroit is home to the Lions, Tigers and Red Wings – all a short walk from Cobo. The Red Wings will move to a new arena and event center in The District Detroit.

managed facility

1 Rendering of Cobo Center Riverside Entrance (now open) 2 South Atrium Renovation 3 Outdoor Video Walls 4 Shinola City Clock



Studio with a soundstage and satellite uplink to distribute your meeting content to stakeholders.





Our Riverfront – which of course is right outside Cobo – has just been voted one of the Best 10 Riverfronts in the Country by USA today.

Retail is popping, including the first Midwest Boutique for John Varvatos just a few blocks away and Shinola and Willys in Midtown, just a short ride up the soon to open M-1 RAIL Streetcar. (2016)

cobocenter.com | Downtown Detroit

Over 30 new restaurants and bars have opened within walking distance and no more than a 5-minute ride away.

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. 38

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 Fall

Destination New York

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 recent addition of the New York Wine and Culinary Center in nearby Canandaigua, the wineries and farmer’s markets of the Finger Lakes region offer delegates meeting in Rochester wonderful day-trip options for pre- or post-conference enjoyment. Several entertainment districts surround the Rochester Riverside with restaurants, cafes, coffeehouses, pubs, dance clubs, music halls, theaters and more. Rochester also boasts numerous museums, including the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography & Film, the Susan B. Anthony House and the acclaimed Strong National Museum of Play. Complementing the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center is the Penthouse, serviced exclusively by Riverside Catering. The Penthouse is located on the top floor of an 11-story mid-century modern building on the corner of East Avenue and Main Street, offering expansive views of Downtown Rochester and placing a planner’s event in the heart of it all. The venue provides great access to the East End, business district and future Midtown sites. 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 Fall

requirements its customers have. This service is available wireless throughout the facility and is scalable from 50 MB, burstable to 200 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 assist groups utilizing space in other places throughout the region. Basically, the 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 the 362-room Rochester Plaza; 460-room Radisson, which has completed a $6 million renovation of its facility; a 338room Hyatt Regency; and a recently opened 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; Fax: (585) 232-1510 • rrcc.com 39


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 washington

Visit Spokane

801 W. Riverside Ave., Ste. 301 (509) 624-1341; Fax: (509) 623-1297 www.visitspokane.com Director of Sales: Shannon Shannon


Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau

109 N. 7th Street, Springfield, IL 62701 (800) 545-7300; (217) 544-8711 www.visitspringfieldillinois.com Executive Director: Gina Gemberling


Team San Jose

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

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 13 Orpheum Theatre. Spokane, Washington’s second-biggest city, is leading the way with a just-expanded convention center that is connected to 1,100 guestrooms. The Spokane Convention Center now has 92,000 additional sq. ft. and is connected by skybridge to the brand-new Davenport Grand Hotel. At 500,000 sq. ft., the center includes 40 meeting rooms, three ballrooms and 120,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space. Major local attractions include Riverfront Park, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) and The Historic Davenport Hotel. The Convention Center District features dozens of restaurants, great shopping and loads of entertainment. Come see why USA PAGE Today named Spokane America’s (2nd) Best Riverfront City! 44 Springfield, IL is the home of Abraham Lincoln, the capital of Illinois and a stop along historic Route 66. The city features 47 tourist sites, attractions and museums and over 300 special events each year. There are hotel rooms 3,991 citywide. Major attractions include the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the Illinois State Capitol and the Dana-Thomas House – a Frank Lloyd Wright Design. Attached to the President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, the Prairie Capital Convention Center is a recently renovated, state-of-the-art facility located in the heart of PAGE 23 Springfield’s historic district. It offers 40,000 sq. ft. of column-free exhibit space. 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 1 center and facility event services to customized F&B menus, permits and special events.



Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall FAX TO (212) 213-6382 OR EMAIL US AT subscriptions@facilitiesonline.com

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, downtown’s Roosevelt Row was recently named one of the 10 Best City Arts Districts in America by USA Today. So whether you’re 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 recently in the international spotlight with the 2015 NFL Experience and Media Center for Super Bowl XLIX. The Orpheum Theatre was the hottest ticket in town when The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon filmed their live performance, and not to be outdone, Symphony Hall hosted the nationally televised NFL Honors show. 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 System, 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. 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 your next event.

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


Destination PUErto Rico

Meet Puerto Rico


ith more than 1.3 million sq. ft. of meeting space and 15,000 guestrooms throughout the island, a world-class convention center and an increasing range of accommodation options, Puerto Rico continues its emergence as one of the most sought-after meeting destinations offering delegates a distinctive and memorable experience. With recent additions to air service, renovated hotel and resort properties, and the opening of new properties from top global brands, Puerto Rico is an attractive option for meeting and convention groups. And, modeling itself after newly identified industry trends and strategies, Meet Puerto Rico continues to market the destination’s ability to host major citywide conventions through three key areas: traditional sales efforts, branding and strategic partnerships. “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.” 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 put in place by the groups, or it can help create a custom social media program targeted for a particular audience — at no cost to the planner. Experiences groups take away from visiting Puerto Rico are vital to the meeting’s success. One trend that continues to remain true to the meetings and conventions delegate is the need to experience the destination beyond the meeting room. 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. And meeting those trends head-on is working. Meet Puerto Rico closed out the first quarter of the new fiscal year 2015-‘16 with the organization’s best finish on record for the past six years: 53 groups booked their meetings in Puerto Rico from now to 2018, for a total of 38,749 room nights. This reflects a 100 percent completion of MPR’s quarterly goal and a direct impact of $21.8 million to the local economy. Upcoming groups include: The American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, January 2016; Purdue University Womens NCAA Golf Tournament, February 2016; the Latin American & Caribbean AirTransport Association (ALTA), May 2016; and the GE Corporate Staff Meeting, May 2018. In addition, The Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, 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. It is supported onsite by the collaborative joint efforts of seven of the major U.S. Federal agencies and Puerto Rico security forces, who all work together at the LMM International airport facilities to monitor and combat potential threats. An additional benefit to booking a meeting in Puerto Rico is that not only is it a tropical island in the Caribbean, but it is also a U.S. Commonwealth. That means visitors who are U.S. citizens can travel overseas and not have to carry a passport; your flight is considered domestic. And with more than 2,000 weekly flights from the United States and international destinations (971 nonstop and 353 direct flights from the 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 42

Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall

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 Fall

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

Last year, Team San Jose’s Director of Food & Beverage and Facilities and Property Operations 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. This year, in appropriate Silicon Valley-style, Team San Jose 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 • www.sanjose.org 43

Pay Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain . . . Seller’s market sees hotel owners more involved in dispute resolution By Samuel J. Erkonen, Esq.


ftentimes meeting planners ask me, “Are we in a buyer’s or a seller’s market?” My typical lawyer response is along the lines of “It really doesn’t matter because we always keep our eye on the items that get us in trouble, such as attrition, cancellation, liquor liability, etc.” Like in the movie Million Dollar Baby, protect yourself at all times. In a seller’s market, space is tougher to come by and more expensive, but the liability issues remain the same. What makes this seller’s market different is the high degree of property owner influence in dispute resolution.

“These days we see

the hotel’s ownership group calling the financial shots, and almost always with a near total disregard for maintaining the client relationship.”

In the past, planners worked with sales managers to envision, create, plan and execute special events and meetings. If things did not go as planned, the planner could count on the sales manager to make things right. In more difficult situations, the planner and sales manager could enlist the help of the property’s general manager to save the day. Cancellation and attrition are a part of the business, and in years past there was a spirit of cooperation. Remember the creative solutions? “OK, sorry you need to cancel, but if you pay a chunk of the cancellation fee we’ll give you a credit if you bring your event back to our property in the future.” Or, “sorry you need to downsize your event, but if you agree to move your function into a smaller room we will waive/reduce the attrition.” It was the land of bunnies and rainbows, an industry with the unstated goal of repeat business. It appears those days are, at least for the time being, gone. These days we see the hotel’s ownership group calling the financial shots, and almost always with a near total disregard for maintaining the client relationship. One wonders at times if the owner cares about past relationships as well as future business. The sales manager cares, the general manager cares, but are we really sure about ownership? I recently worked on a mediation in Miami concerning a series of contracts that needed to be cancelled because the group simply outgrew its space. As an incentive for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 contracts, the hotel long ago gave the group certain concessions in the years leading up to 2016. When the group notified the hotel that it was necessary to cancel 2017 and 2018, the hotel sought the entire retail value of the concessions granted. Initially we thought the demand for full retail value was not appropriate as the hotel did not pay full retail value out of its pocket for such things as free parking, free cocktail party, and so on. But in the spirit of resolving the matter we nevertheless offered to pay two thirds of the retail value of the concessions granted (since we cancelled two thirds of the contracts in question). Facilities & destinations 2015 fall

A good offer, right? Not for the owners; they wanted the full retail value of all of the concessions granted. It gets better. So we drag everybody to Miami for the mediation and the hotel’s “generous, best and final offer” was $225,000 on top of the full retail value of the concessions granted — the $225,000 being for supposed lost interest plus attorneys’ fees. So much for each side being willing to bend a little bit in order to resolve a dispute. Needless to say, the mediation failed. By the way, the mediator, a retired judge with 60 years’ experience, said he has never seen anything like it. Moreover, the attorney for the hotel is a good friend of mine and very respected in the field. I know his hands are being tied by the owners. The takeaway from this case is that if the hotel can treat a longtime, major customer in this manner, just think of how a smaller customer will be treated. Planners and their legal advisors need to be aware of this phenomenon. While we are often dealing with relationship-minded people at the hotel, it is the ownership — the man behind the curtain — who is calling the shots. Protecting ourselves at all times means educating our clients that we must be precise in our estimations. It used to be “go big or go home,” plan it and they will come. Now the smart planner strives to be as precise as possible and err on the side of going too low. It’s better to scramble for rooms and space than to wonder if the hotel will go after our group for the shortfall. They will. SAMUEL J. ERKONEN is a Partner with Howe & Hutton, Ltd., based in Chicago, IL. A graduate of the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Erkonen has extensive litigation experience at the state and federal levels and presently serves primarily the hospitality, entertainment and trade association industries. He is a frequent speaker for MPI and its chapters, the MPI Foundation’s Platinum Series programs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, PCMA, ASAE, ISES and other groups in the meetings, travel and hospitality industries. 45

Become an Email Guru

7tips to get through more messages in less time By Debbie Mayo-Smith


ike many professionals nowadays, meeting planners are often inundated with email from colleagues, clients and the slew of suppliers they work with. As the event date draws closer, the deluge of incoming messages can be especially difficult to manage. The following seven how-to tweaks can definitely help planners ease the burden of email, ultimately freeing up at least two working weeks a year. Internalizing these tips allows you to sail through incoming email — responding with a click, sorting, prioritizing and communicating through your pile in minutes flat.


Rules/Filters — your personal inbox secretary

You probably have heard of Rules/Filters, but dollars to doughnuts you’re not using them to their phenomenal potential. What: This function automatically reads your incoming or outgoing emails and performs the tasks you set, such as filing in folders, forwarding to someone else, responding to the email and deleting. How to use: Automatically sort incoming/outgoing event emails, answer Web inquires quickly, perform routine tasks, sort through irrelevant emails. Where: Outlook: Home Ribbon > Rules. IBM Notes: Tools > Rules. Gmail: Settings > Filters. Mac: Home Ribbon > Rules Advanced thinking: You can pre-set subject lines in your event/ promotion email addresses, and then have a rule set to not only put it in a folder but also respond to it. In MS Office, when you insert a hyperlink, one of the options is “insert an email address.” If you click that box, there is a field for entering responding subject lines.


Quick Parts — Never retype paragraphs, bank numbers, repetitive phrases again

What: Instead of retyping the same answer yet again, or digging through sent items or drafts, create a Quick Part and then click your mouse to insert it. How to use: Set once, then forget. Add your normal salutation. Where: Outlook > in an email’s Insert ribbon > Quick Parts; also in Word documents. IBM Notes: Use the Stationery feature. Gmail: At the bottom right of an email is a down arrow. Click it and select Canned Responses. Mac: Insert > Scrapbook


Smartphone keyboard shortcuts, hot keys and personal dictionaries

What: When using your smartphone, you don’t need to type repetitive phrases or items ever again. You write something once: a phrase, your email address, phone number, bank account number, LinkedIn response, etc. Save it with an acronym. Then when you next need it, you simply type the acronym and your phone will show the long phrase instead to substitute. For example when I type “sis”, debbie@successis.co.nz pops up. How to use: Set once, then use repeatedly. Where: IPhone: Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcut. 46

Galaxy: Settings > Language & Input > Samsung Keyboard > Hot Keys. Android: Same as Galaxy but use personal dictionary.


Quick Step — new in Outlook 2010/13

What: Remove repetitive actions with this function. It’s easy to overlook, but once used it will be indispensable. How to use: Do you ever go back to an email and click it unread? Do you create new team emails, or send ones to certain people often? How about replying to an email and deleting the original in your inbox or putting an email into a certain folder? Well, each of these actions takes several clicks. By creating a Quick Step, the action is performed with only one touch of the mouse. Example: I write a weekly media column. Normally, I would hit “new email” (one click), and then type out the three different email addresses for the addressees (at least nine clicks, first two letters of each name and then accepting the autocomplete). But with Quick Step,I open a new email, addressed to the three individuals, with one touch. Where: Outlook: 2010/13 Home Ribbon > Quick Steps


Drag and drop — never type out again

What: Used creatively, drag and drop can replace cut and paste and typing out from scratch. How to use: Take incoming emails and drag and drop them into Contacts to create new contacts. Drop onto the calendar icon to create a new appointment or meeting. Drop across to a different screen to Windows Explorer to save the email (and attachments). Even better, you can highlight text within an email and drag and drop that instead of the entire email. Where: Primarily an Outlook function. IBM Notes: You can drag and drop into the To Do list only. Gmail: not available.


Turn Outlook into a CRM system

What: Activities/People Pane. One click of a button on a contact will show you all the activity you have had with that person: emails, tasks, meetings, etc. How to use: Simply save a person as a contact. Then when you click the activity button it’s automatic. You can select what activity, emails only for example. It also shows where the item is stored. Where: Click open a contact in Outlook 2007/2010 > on the Contact ribbon, select the Activities tab. Outlook 2013: the People Pane replaced Activities. Simply drag up the little grey horizontal line at the bottom of an email to view the People Pane.


Tasks — never forget again

What: Your automatic memory prompt, persistency builder and project manager. How to use: Tasks should be one of your favorite functions. Build in business development tenacity by reminding yourself to follow up on outstanding proposals and items due. Assign meeting action points to staff members and prompt them. Use Tasks to take a project from start to finish — even assigning time and mileage. Where: Outlook: You’ll find the Tasks icon under Sent; IBM Notes: To Do; Gmail: Tasks Debbie Mayo-Smith, CSP, is a leading productivity expert, bestselling author and well-known business speaker. She delivered a talk at ibtm america 2015. Her free monthly newsletter can be accessed at www.successis.co.nz/newsletter.htm. Facilities & destinations 2015 FALL


IMEX America 2015 Snapshots from IMEX America, Oct. 13-15, Sands Expo & Convention Center, Las Vegas

MPI President and CEO Paul Van Deventer speaks at the Mexico Tourism Board reception at Rockhouse, The Venetian.

Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel holds a copy of the 2015 F&D SuperBook, whose cover he graces.

(L-r): Tifani Jones, Director of Sales, Wisconsin Dells VCB, and Beth Ulatowski, Director of Sales, and Denise Humphrey, Convention Sales Manager, Greater Green Bay CVB

Debbie Smucker (left), Director of Sales and Marketing, David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and Sherry Chambers, Senior Director of Sales, Greater Columbus Convention Center

MGM Resorts International’s Senior Vice President of Hotel Sales Michael Dominguez and Public Relations Director Sandy Zanella

Dustin Arnheim (left), Director of Sales, Visit Indy, and Tim Miller, Director of Sales and Marketing, Conrad Indianapolis

Explore St. Louis staff (l-r): Judi Holler, Natl. Convention Sales Manager; John Bettag, VP of Sales; Dana Dhom, Natl. Convention Sales Manager; and Holly Lammert, Executive Meetings Sales Manager

IMEX Group Chairman and Founder Ray Bloom noted that IMEX America 2015 was the largest in the show’s five-year history.

Delano Vegas GM Matthew Chilton (left) and Mandalay Bay President and COO Chuck Bowling

Mary Manier, Director of Sales, Experience Grand Rapids

Christian Mutschlechner, Director, Vienna Convention Bureau

Julie Dodds (lower right), Director of Convention Sales, and the rest of the team at Visit Anchorage

Facilities & Destinations 2015 Fall


Value Destinations Darren Mcgee

Long Island, NY

Groups that meet in Long Island can explore lighthouses, championship golf courses, Gold Coast mansions and vineyards (Long Island was named one of the Top Ten Wine Regions in the World by Wine Enthusiast). What’s New: The Islandia Marriott and Melville Marriott recently completed renovations. New recreational options include Brew Crew Cycle Tours, the Long Island Beer Bus and the Long Island Wine Bus.

Ocean City, MD

Ocean City is home to 10 miles of free beach, a three-mile Boardwalk, 17 championship golf courses, nightlife, shopping and more. Just a short drive from most major East Coast cities, Ocean City offers 9,500 hotel rooms. What’s New: Ocean City’s Roland E. Powell Convention Center houses 214,000 sq. ft. of flexible space, including a newly renovated ballroom and expanded exhibit space, 25 meeting rooms and a brand-new, 1,200-seat performing arts center.

Pigeon Forge, TN

Pigeon Forge, located at the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offers attractions such as the 200-foot-tall Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and about 14,000 lodging units. The LeConte Center, a special events facility, opened in the fall of 2013. It includes a 100,500-sq.-ft., clear-span hall, a 12,000-sq.-ft. multipurpose hall and up to 14 multipurpose rooms. What’s New: Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and the Margaritaville Island Hotel are both recently opened properties.

South Walton, FL

Known for its 26 miles of white sand beaches and turquoise waters, South Walton is home to upscale resorts such as the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and Embassy Suites Destin. After prequalified site inspections, Visit South Walton will reimburse a planner’s travel expenses to South Walton following the conclusion of the trip. What’s New: The 602-room Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa added 7,500 sq. ft. of exhibit and event space in March 2015.

Champaign County, IL

Champaign County offers more than 3,800 hotel rooms and over 240,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Visit Champaign County now offers meeting planners Savor the Flavor, a tasteful tour of the finest beverages and treats in Downtown Champaign. What’s New: A 145-room Hyatt Place with 3,200 sq. ft. of meeting space recently opened two blocks from the Illinois Terminal. The TownePlace Suites by Marriott opened in July 2015 on the University of Illinois campus. The Home2 by Hilton is set to open in early 2016.

Owensboro, KY

Located on the Ohio River, Owensboro is host to more than 20 festivals, including a weekly entertainment block party at Smothers Park in the revitalized downtown. What’s New: The Owensboro Convention Center opened January 2014 (140,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; 44,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall). The OCC is adjacent to two new hotels: The Hampton Inn & Suites and Holiday Inn Riverfront. The International Bluegrass Music Museum and Center is undergoing a $15 million expansion and relocation.

Grapevine, TX

Centrally located between Dallas and Fort Worth, Grapevine allows attendees to explore both art and history with points of interest such as the Grapevine Vintage Railroad and the Palace Arts Center. Winery tasting rooms, the Grapevine Glockenspiel Clock Tower, boutique shops, live entertainment venues and over 200 restaurants can be found downtown. What’s New: The Hyatt Regency DFW has debuted Aviators, a newly renovated 10,000-sq.-ft. event and function space.

www.corningfingerlakes.com Danielle Roman, CTIS, Steuben County Conference & Visitors Bureau • (866) 946-3386; droman@corningfingerlakes.com

cityofpigeonforge.com Jennifer Smith, Sales Manager, City of Pigeon Forge (865) 429-7432 jsmith@cityofpigeonforge.com

Southeast MIDWEST

Steuben County is home to world-class museums, farmer’s markets and wineries, and vast natural landscapes of rolling hills, lakes and forests. What’s New: The Center at Park Avenue is a new facility suitable for business functions. With a seating capacity of 99, the Center offers scenic views of the Southern Tier hills. The world-renowned Corning Museum of Glass has added the Contemporary Art + Design gallery with increased opportunities for special events, dinners and receptions.

ococean.com Norma Dobrowolski, Destination Sales Manager, Ocean City Convention & Visitors Bureau (410) 289-8181; ndobrowolski@ ococean.com



Corning & the Southern Finger Lakes, NY

www.discoverlongisland.com/ meetings Joan LaRosa, Director of Sales, Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau • (631) 951-3900, ext. 306; jlarosa@discoverlongisland.com



Book affordable meetings in America’s best small-market cities

www.visitsouthwalton.com Pamela Watkins, Director of Sales and Special Events, Visit South Walton (850) 622-7815; pamela@visitsouthwalton.com

www.visitchampaigncounty.org Leah Longueville, Director of Sales, Visit Champaign County (217) 351-4133 leahl@visitchampaigncounty.org visitowensboro.com Laura Alexander, Director of Sales and Marketing, Owensboro Convention Center (270) 687-8800; lalexander @owensborocenter.com www.grapevinetexasusa.com Brady Closson, Director of Sales, Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau (817) 410-3559; bclosson @grapevinetexasusa.com

Advertiser Index

Akron Convention & Visitors Bureau.................................................................................................... 17 Austin Convention Center............................................................................................................................5 Century Center South Bend......................................................................................................................14 Cobo Center.................................................................................................................................................... C4 Cox Convention Center.................................................................................................................................3 David L. Lawrence Convention Center.............................................................................................C3 Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center........................................................................ 9 Kansas City Convention Center..............................................................................................................19


The International Centre................................................................................................................................7 Meet Puerto Rico............................................................................................................................................C2 Montego Bay Convention Centre..........................................................................................................24 Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau............................................................................................21 Phoenix Convention Center......................................................................................................................13 Spectra.....................................................................................................................................................................11 Visit Spokane......................................................................................................................................................44 Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.........................................................................................23 Team San Jose.......................................................................................................................................................1 Facilities & destinations 2015 Fall

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


KENDRA A. COOK Cobo Center Event Manager


A shining star! It was like Kendra was holding my hand across the phone. LISA COX MICHIGAN EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION


Welcome to a place where you can be part of something. Where a city and center are transforming. A place where you can actually feel good about a meeting. Where people go out of their way for you because that’s what we do. Because here, you matter. What matters to you? Value? Service? Sustainability? Knowing there’s another person on the end of the phone, holding your hand? We get it. We have reinvented this city and center for you. COBOCENTER.COM



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Profile for Facilities Media Group

Facilities & Destinations - Fall 2015  

Cover Feature: Bright Outlook for Arizona Meetings Inside: Small Market Review, Dispute Resolution in a Seller's Market, 7 Tech Tips for Man...

Facilities & Destinations - Fall 2015  

Cover Feature: Bright Outlook for Arizona Meetings Inside: Small Market Review, Dispute Resolution in a Seller's Market, 7 Tech Tips for Man...

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