Page 1

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

Mid-Market Review 19


& Destinations


Atlantic City Meetings industry ups the ante with new investments

For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals

6 Ways

to Add Value to Your Events 45


Karen Totaro

General Manager, Atlantic City Convention Center

Susan Katz: PCMA’s Newest Leader 8

San Jose 14

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.


Getting a jump on the economics of next year’s meetings


WT Meetings & Events recently released its 2016 Meetings and Events Forecast, and on one hand, the study brings encouraging news about the vitality of the meetings industry: The company expects an increase in the number of North American meetings held domestically next year. But on the other hand, many organizations may find it more expensive to hold those meetings, as CWT predicts a 4.3 percent increase in lodging costs in North America, as well as higher F&B costs. Along with these budgetary challenges for planners will be stricter attrition and cancellation policies for hotels in high-demand markets, the CWT study predicts. With challenges come opportunities, however. In this issue of F&D, Jennifer C. Squeglia, CMP, owner of RLC Events and former in-house planner with both Fidelity Brokerage Company and John Hancock, shares ways to bring value to events despite the seller’s market, and thereby demonstrate to stakeholders your value as a meeting professional (page 45). Flexibility is important, and that includes a willingness to explore mid-market destinations as potential sites. Nine of these value-added cities are featured in our annual Mid-Market Review (page 19). In addition, HOT NEWS at Facilitiesonline.com brings you a special feature on meeting in Chattanooga, a crossroads in the South. Enjoy the issue. – George Seli

Editorial Director, Facilities Media Group gseli@facilitiesonline.com

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


Volume 23 No. 2 Chief Operating Officer David Korn Associate Publisher Michael Caffin Editorial Director George Seli Contributing Editors Anthony Bilden Debi Lander Rosa Laufer Creative Direction & Design Scott-Goodman Associates Circulation Manager Winny Cheung Business Operations Nadia Derelieva

Readers’ Comments

“Hesitant on Havana,” by David Korn, F&D 2015 SuperBook, page 4

David, I enjoyed reading your perspective on business and travel to the island in the recent Facilities & Destinations. I can’t agree with you more. It will take years before the island, the people and the amenities are ready for our meetings industry. Like you, I believe that it’s simply too soon to even consider it. Yes one day, but not anytime soon. As a Cuban American, I would love to see it one day be as successful as my home and place of work Las Vegas, but hesitant that all proceeds will only assist an already greedy regime and do nothing for our industry, the customers or the people that need the help the most, the Cuban people. —Victor

© 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.

CONTENTS Prime Site and Top Destination Awards Ballots........................ 13 ELITE Awards Ballot.................................................................. 25 In Brief........................................................................................ 4 Meeting Deals......................................................................................... 7 In Conversation With Susan Katz of PCMA................................. 8 Atlantic City.............................................................................. 10 San Jose.................................................................................... 14 MID-MARKET REVIEW............................................................. 19 FACILITIES DIRECTORY............................................................ 38 Facilities A-Z Index.................................................................... 38 6 Ways to Bring More Value to Your Events............................. 45 Value Destinations.................................................................... 47

ON THE COVER There are many drivers behind Atlantic City’s thriving meetings business, from the dynamic team at Meet AC to Harrah’s new Waterfront Conference Center. Among the factors is also the forward-thinking leadership at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Learn about the facility’s “MasterPlan” for improvement in our interview with GM Karen Totaro (page 11).

Advertiser Index....................................................................... 48 2

Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer





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.






In Brief Destination watch

Lori Leib , Hampton CVB

for SportsHampton, a sports marketing organization. Fulton will primarily focus on cultural, fraternal, military reunion, patriotic, religious, and social welfare markets for the bureau. A 30-year veteran of the hospitality industry, she most recently worked as Director of Sales for the Hampton Inn/Comfort Inn in Gloucester, VA. Leib will primarily focus on corporate, education, engineering, green, hobby, and science and technology markets. A 17-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Leib most recently worked as Director of Sales for the Holiday Inn Express Hampton Coliseum. Hierstein was most recently the Senior Group Services Manager for the Hampton CVB. See Value Destinations (p. 47) for more information on Hampton.

Netti Fulton , Hampton CVB Mandalay Bay Convention Center

Brooks Hierstein, Hampton CVB HAMPTON, VA: New CVB Appointments The Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB) recently made several staff appointments: Netti Fulton and Lori Leib as Group Sales Managers, and Brooks Hierstein as the designated representative 4

LAS VEGAS, NV: Mandalay Bay Expansion Opens Last month, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino opened the Mandalay Bay Convention Center’s 350,000-sq.-ft. expansion and welcomed a longtime client as the first group into the new space: MAGIC, the world’s largest fashion marketplace (pictured above). The second and final phase of the expansion will transition existing space into a 70,000-sq.-ft. carpeted ballroom. Upon completion of the project in January, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center will boast more than two million total sq. ft. and over 900,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space. Among the features of the new space are high-density WiFi and an additional rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) array spanning eight acres.

LOS ANGELES, CA: Selected to Host IPW 2024

Ernest Wooden Jr., President & CEO, LATCB This June, Los Angeles was designated the host city for the U.S. Travel Association’s IPW 2024 and the ninth annual U.S.-China Tourism Leadership Summit 2015. Los Angeles last hosted IPW, the travel industry’s premier international marketplace, in 2012. “As one of the world’s premier travel destinations, we’re ready to roll out the red carpet once again for IPW 2024,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president and CEO of Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LATCB). In addition, Brand USA, in partnership with the China National Tourism Administration, Visit California and the LATCB, brought the U.S.-China Tourism Leadership Summit to Los Angeles for the first time Sept. 8-11, 2015. The city will be well prepared for IPW 2024 with 17 new hotels are under construction and another 22 in final planning stages countywide; these 39 hotel projects will deliver more than 7,900 new hotel rooms to the L.A. area. L.A.’s hotel occupancy and hotel room nights sold both set all-time highs in 2014: Hotel occupancy for the year reached 78.9 percent, surpassing the previous 2013 high of 76.8 percent, the LATCB reported in May.

NASHVILLE, TN: New Visitation Record Direct visitor spending and visitation in 2014 was the highest in Nashville’s history, according to research released by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Direct visitor spending rose to $5.43 billion in Davidson County in 2014, compared to $4.99 billion in 2013, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Travel Association. The total direct visitor spending for Nashville represents 31.5 percent of all visitor spending in the entire state. Total visitation reached 13.1 million for 2014, up from 12.2 million in 2013, according to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. More recently, Nashville’s Convention Center Authority announced that the preliminary operating results of Music City Center for fiscal year 2015 show operating revenues of over $32.5 million and expenses of $30.9 million, which greatly exceed the budgeted operational projections. NEW ORLEANS, LA: Local DMC Wins ISES Award Diane B. Lyons, CMP, DMCP, President of New Orleans-based ACCENT on Arrangements, Inc., has won the International Special Events Society (ISES) “ISES Esprit Award” in the category of Best Meeting/Conference Program with a budget over $250,000. The award was presented at 2015 ISES Live, held in New Orleans in August. “We are thrilled to be recognized by this eminent international organization for our achievement of excellence in special events,” says Lyons. “ISES award winners are known throughout the industry as ‘the best of the best’ so we are honored to be in such company.” NEW YORK, NY: LaGuardia Airport Redesign On July 27, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was joined by Vice President Joe Biden to announce a $4 billion overhaul of LaGuardia

Facilities & destinations 2015 summer

In Brief Destination watch

of Directors, noted that “The Center is continuing to see the benefits of new customerfriendly work rules, expanded exhibitor rights, and the hiring of SMG to manage the day-today operations of the Center.”

Diane B. Lyons, President, ACCENT on Arrangements Airport intended to improve efficiency and traffic flow. According to a release issued by New York State, “The airport will be transformed into a single, structurally unified main terminal with expanded transportation access, significantly increased taxiway space and best-in-class passenger amenities.” Construction on the project is expected to break ground in the first half of 2016. PHILADELPHIA, PA: LIGHTFAIR International Returns

John McNichol, President & CEO, PCCA The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) recently announced that LIGHTFAIR® International (LFI®), the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting tradeshow and conference, will be returning to Philadelphia in 2017. LFI last met at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in 2013, after first bringing its show to the city in 2011. According to the PHLCVB, the group’s decision to return “hinged on a number of factors, chief among them the ability to successfully work with the labor force at the Convention Center.” John McNichol, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority’s Board

Hotel watch NORTHEAST Boston, MA – The 1,054-room

Bazaar, by chef José Andrés, will reportedly be on premises. SOUTHEAST Daytona Beach, FL – The Westin Daytona Beach Resort & Spa will be Westin Hotels & Resorts’ first property in Daytona Beach when it opens next fall. The 200-room resort will offer 25,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor function space, a 5,000-sq.-ft. spa, 500 ft. of oceanfront beach and an Olympic-size outdoor pool. Decatur, AL – DoubleTree by Hilton Decatur Riverfront opened last month. Located 14 miles from Huntsville International Airport, the 165-room downtown hotel houses 8,901 sq. ft. of meeting space, including nine meeting rooms and a 4,300-sq.-ft. ballroom. Jackson, MS – The 205-room Westin Jackson opens in early 2017. The $60 million, newly constructed hotel will house 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Boston Park Plaza has completed the first two phases of a $100 million, property-wide renovation. Highlights include a new lobby, an additional 6,000 sq. ft. of meeting and prefunction space, a new high-end steakhouse and a new, 19,000-sq.-ft. fitness center. Set to begin Nov. 1, 2015 and slated for completion by June 2016, phase three will renovate all guestrooms, suites, bathrooms and corridors, and will be completed without disruption to guests, according to the hotel.

New York, NY – The 190-room SLS Park Ave, situated in Manhattan’s NoMad District, is set to open next summer. The

Facilities & destinations 2015 summer

Orlando, FL – Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is adding 400 new guestrooms by 2017. The expansion will consist of two additional towers that will be located at the south end of the property. Opened in March 2014, the resort currently offers 900 standard guestrooms and 900 family suites. MIDWEST Minneapolis, MN – The Sheraton Bloomington has completed a $15 million renovation that modernized all 282 guestrooms and added three meeting rooms, bringing the total meeting space to 17,000 sq. ft. Naperville, IL – Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago-Naperville opened this summer. The 168 all-suite hotel offers guests a central location within walking distance to 10 restaurants and a variety of shops. The hotel features more than 13,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and banquet space. SOUTHWEST Dallas, TX – The Adolphus, a Four Diamond property in the financial district, has completed a million-dollar renovation of its 24,000 sq. ft. of function space, including extensive enhancements to the Grand Ballroom and Century Ballroom. The 422-room property originally opened in 1912.

June McDougall, Managing Director, Boston Park Plaza

New York, NY – Opening in February 2016, the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel will be located on the corner of 35th Street and Fashion Avenue. The 348-room hotel will feature 4,500 sq. ft. of function space and an 8,000-sq.-ft. rooftop Irish pub.

Marriott’s Autograph Collection and offers 46,000 sq. ft. of function space, including a 6,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, event lawns and a courtyard.

Houston, TX – The Marriott Marquis Houston opens late next year in the heart of the downtown area. Connected via skybridge to the George R. Brown Convention Center, the property will offer 1,000 guest rooms and over 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including Houston’s largest ballroom. Other highlights include a Texas-shaped lazy river

Alyssa Logan, Senior Sales Manager, & Elizabeth Diaz, Director of Catering, Playa Largo Resort & Spa

Marriott Marquis Houston (rendering)

Key Largo, FL – Playa Largo Resort & Spa, a new build, is opening in December. The 144-room resort is part of 5

In Brief Hotel watch and infinity pool, special events pavilion, spa and fitness center, two-story sports bar and two specialty restaurants. WEST Sun Valley, ID – This summer,

renovated Lodge offers more spacious guestrooms — now 94, down from 148. In addition, the resort debuted its new, 20,000-sq.-ft. destination spa, The Sun Valley Spa, with 15 treatment rooms and a worldclass fitness center. Los Angeles, CA – The new $1.1 billion Wilshire Grand Center in the downtown area will be the tallest tower west of the Mississippi River at 1,100 ft. Wilshire Grand Center (rendering)

Tim Silva, VP/GM, Sun Valley Resort Sun Valley Resort reopened its historic Sun Valley Lodge. The


(73 stories) when completed in 2017. The building will include a 900-room InterContinental hotel. Dubai – The fivestar Langham Place Downtown Dubai is scheduled to open in 2018. Located in proximity to the Dubai World Trade Centre, the 167-room hotel will house over 4,300 sq. ft. of meeting space. Palm Beach, Aruba – The Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino opened this summer on a 15-acre beachfront property. Indoors, the 355-room hotel offers more than 15,000 sq. ft. of flexible function space, including a Grand Caribbean Ballroom accommodating more than 900 guests. Outdoors, approximately 24,000 sq. ft. of tropical landscape can accommodate up to 2,000 guests.

Kevin Edmunds, VP Meeting & Incentive Sales, Hard Rock All-Inclusive Collection Riviera Nayarit, Mexico – This fall, the 348-room Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta will debut the 12,900-sq.-ft. Sanctuary Convention Center. Adorned with a special collection of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, the facility will accommodate up to 1,500 guests and break out to four flexible separate sections.

Facilities & destinations 2015 summer

In Brief ARLINGTON, VA Hilton Crystal City at Washington Reagan National Airport (703) 418-6800

GATEWAY, CO Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa (303) 956-4897

NEW YORK, NY 70 Park Avenue Hotel and Convene (212) 973-2400

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa (904) 285-7777

WASHINGTON, DC DoubleTree by Hilton Largo – Washington DC (301) 773-0700

“Summer Sale on Winter” special allows planners that book their winter events by Sept. 30, 2015 to receive double Hilton Planner Points, overnight stay for the planner with breakfast and parking, weekend stay for two with breakfast and parking, two bottles of wine and an additional surprise gift.

Available through Dec. 31, 2015, offer includes special room rates at $200 or less, 20 percent off AV, choice of one Adventure Center activity or spa treatment per person (not including Gateway Canyons Air Tours or Driven Experiences). Minimum 10 rooms required, based on availability.

“Convene on Park Avenue” is an all-inclusive meetings package from 70 Park Avenue Hotel, a Kimpton Hotel, in partnership with Convene at 101 Park Avenue. The package includes overnight accommodations at 70 Park Avenue with automatic upgrade based on availability; welcome cocktails; all-day meeting room at Convene at 101 Park Avenue complete with breakfast, lunch and snacks, and all necessary AV and technology; and other extras. Rates begin at $329/ night per person. When booking a meeting to arrive in 2015 of up to 100 rooms peak night, planners earn a selection of perks: one complimentary room for every 35 actualized rooms; one upgrade at group rate for every 35 actualized rooms; complimentary Internet in meeting space for attendees based on peak actualized rooms; 10 percent off AV equipment; 10 percent off spa treatments; and 30 percent allowable attrition.

For smaller group meetings, the hotel offers the Meetings Simplified by DoubleTree by Hilton package from $159 per person, which includes the meeting room, basic meeting WiFi, meeting room supplies including a flipchart, markers, extension and power cord, and all day non-alcoholic beverage service. Event catering is also available to enhance any function.

Facilities & destinations 2015 summer


ATLANTIC CITY, NJ Resorts Casino Hotel (609) 340-7850

LAKE ARROWHEAD, CA Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa (909) 336-1511

NAPLES, FL LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort (866) 303-3961

QUEBEC, CANADA Quebec City Marriott Downtown (418) 694-4004

HOLLAND AMERICA (800) 445-3731

Resorts is offering all-inclusive, customized group packages starting at $199 per person per night. Packages include upgraded guestrooms, morning and afternoon coffee breaks, WiFi in meeting rooms and guestrooms, AV, parking, all taxes, gratuities, resort fees and meeting room rental, as well as three meals per day.

Among the resort’s three “Retreat to Serenity” deals is the“Complete Arrowhead Meeting” (Sunday-Thursday, $310 per person, per day; Friday-Saturday, $345 per person, per day). Includes daily room rate/ resort fee; meeting room; breakfast and lunch; AM and PM meeting breaks; reception in the evening and dinner. Hot Dates include: Oct. 25-29; Nov. 1-8; Nov. 15-22; Nov. 30-Dec. 6; and Dec. 9-15.

LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort recently completed a multi-million dollar meeting space makeover, and now invites groups to take advantage of the special “Meet at the Beach” group offer with rates starting at $179. When planners book 25 guestrooms, groups can choose five meeting perks out of 10 options, such as complimentary indoor function space, daily resort fee reduced to $15, and one complimentary upgrade to a one-bedroom Beachfront suite at group rate. Organizations that do business in downtown Quebec receive a special nightly rate starting at $119 per room includes king bed accommodations and high-speed Internet in room. Groups who contract 15 or more rooms can enjoy a welcome cocktail for each person staying at the hotel, a 3 percent reduction on the master account or 15,000 Marriott Points towards the event planner’s account. Further perks are offered for companies who book 25 or more rooms. This offer is valid for room blocks reserved by April 30, 2016. The cruise line’s new Incentive Choice program offers special group pricing with savings on suites, verandahs and staterooms; a beverage package that includes unlimited fountain drinks, Explorations Café coffees and a complimentary bottle of house wine with dinner each night; and other perks. Also included is a choice of one of the following options: one dinner in the Pinnacle Grill per guest, a 100-minute Internet package or a one-hour group cocktail party with hot hors d’oeuvres. 7

In Conversation With . . .

Susan Katz

Senior Vice President, Operations Professional Convention Management Association

Consummate Meeting Professional Seeks to Give Back to the Field By George Seli


n July, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) hired Susan Katz to the newly created position of Senior Vice President, Operations. A meetings and events industry veteran of 30 years, Katz most recently served as Director of Corporate Events & Travel for the True Value Company. Prior to joining True Value, she held executive positions with the National Safety Council and the American Dental Association. Katz has also sat on meeting industry advisory boards for numerous cities, including San Diego, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Orlando, Anaheim and Philadelphia, as well as the customer advisory board for InterContinental Hotel Group. According to Deborah Sexton, PCMA President and CEO, Katz is “a remarkable consensus builder. Her addition to the PCMA team helps ensure that we remain relevant with our audience and continue to ‘walk the talk’ of the meeting professional.” Katz has been highly active in PCMA throughout her career, serving on the PCMA Foundation Board and the PCMA Board of Directors, and serving as Chair of the Board of Directors in 2011. She was honored by PCMA with the Distinguished Meeting Professional Award at the 2009 Convening Leaders Annual Meeting.


an you share one of the highlights of your tenure with True Value Company?

ne of my highlights, and one of the greatest learning opportunities, was when the company did a complete review of the brand position in the market. As a member of the Marketing Leadership Team, I was able to hear from the ad agency the research that went into the process, and where and how they landed with the position that they presented. Then, working with my team and our event partners, we rebranded the True Value Show to connect with the newly created positioning statement. By giving all of our event partners the research behind the positioning and highlighting what we wanted our attendees to see, feel and do before, during and after the event, we were able to create a new experience that integrated the brand positioning in a way that represented where the brand was moving.


hy have you decided to make the move to PCMA at this point in your career?

he move to PCMA was a great opportunity to work with an organization that has been so instrumental in my success. With a background that included association, corporate and exhibition experience, I was excited about the opportunity to help others gain the knowledge and experience they need to further their career goals. Joining the talented team at PCMA was the best way I could use my previous experience to enhance the profession.


Facilities & destinations 2015 Summer

“PCMA’s goal to


ow have you benefitted as a planner from your participation in PCMA over the years?


Roosevelt Row Arts District

keep the senior planner educated and aware of emerging trends in the industry fits in perfectly with my career experience.”

irst and foremost is the education that allowed me to think differently about my role as a planner. Thinking about what we do from a strategic view was critical to my success. I have been able to discuss how our events impact the strategy and goals of the organizations, not just about how to set rooms. While the logistics are important, I learned to ask and provide input on the bigger picture. Second, the network of people I developed through my involvement in PCMA is diverse and vast. I know I can call on numerous contacts and friends I have met through PCMA and discuss challenges and get feedback on a wide array of topics. Third is the development of leadership skills. Starting with my active participation in my local chapter, working with committees, all the way up to the Chairman’s role at PCMA, each step was an education on how to lead, motivate and influence. All of these skills translate not only into our work environment as planners, but to our personal lives as well.


hat impact are you hoping to make on PCMA? What kinds of enhanced education, research or product offerings do you feel members most desire or could benefit from? t is my hope to help continue to up the ante on our educational offerings by bringing my perspective on what senior leaders need to know to provide additional value to their organizations. PCMA’s goal to keep the senior planner educated and aware of emerging trends in the industry fits in perfectly with my career experience. We need to always stay one step ahead so we can provide the best and most meaningful educational experiences for our members. Also, that knowledge needs to be aligned to the needs of each of the members we serve. For example, what does the corporate planner need to know vs. the association planner? What’s in the forefront of medical association educational program needs? How are the needs for convention centers changing based on the future of exhibitions and the expectations of the next generations of attendees? Each of these areas presents an educational opportunity that PCMA can fulfill. I hope to bring my senior-level knowledge of the industry and my contacts to help produce programs that meet all of these needs.


ou have served on customer advisory boards for several cities, both first and second tier. Have you noted any overall trends in what cities are trying to do in order to attract conventions?


he common denominator of all the advisory boards I have sat on is the desire to understand their current and potential customer. We in the meetings industry are not a “one size fits all” group. Knowing what’s going on from the customer view and staying flexible in order to meet the needs of diverse customers is critical. Having said that, there are common denominators. We are all looking for more technology — cities and centers are working to stay ahead of the curve on that. We are all looking for more engagement with our attendees. Exactly what that means may be different to each group, but each destination needs to showcase what they offer that meets the needs of each potential customer, whether it’s providing connections to the local community or a CSR program that matches the profile of the group.

Facilities & destinations 2015 Summer

10-MINUTE WALK At the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix, your aendees are minutes away from one of USA Today’s “10 Best: City Arts Districts around the USA.” So book today and watch your event take a big step in the right direction.


800-282-4842 | 9


Atlantic City

Atlantic City has plans to expand its famed Boardwalk

Home to a brand-new conference center, the resort city continues its winning streak in the meetings industry By George Seli


ocated within easy driving distance of a third of the population of the United States, Atlantic City’s meetings infrastructure includes more than 15,000 hotel rooms, 800,000 sq. ft. of conference space and 500,000 sq. ft. of Convention Center exhibit space. As such, the city is a viable choice for many groups, including the New Jersey Apartment Association (NJAA), which has held its Conference & Expo in Atlantic City for the past 26 years, and recently rebooked for the next three years. While Atlantic City might be considered a natural site choice for this state association, the NJAA has members in several Northeast cities as well as Virginia and Texas, and other meeting sites have occasionally been proposed over the years, says Nichole F. LoPresti, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs & Special Events, NJAA. “We made a conscious decision as a New Jersey association that we wanted to make a long-term commitment to Atlantic City and help bolster its turnaround and development,” she explains. “We wanted to show that we’re just as committed as our state and local officials are in making sure that the dollars and cents stay in the state.” Several indicators show that the seaside resort city’s economic turnaround is indeed happening. While the media has made much of the city’s struggling gaming industry, recent reports show an upswing in that sector. According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the industry posted an $81.3 million operating profit across the city’s eight casinos for the first quarter of this year, which is a 109 percent increase compared to $38.8 million a year ago. Hotel occupancy is also on the rise, climbing 10

nearly three percentage points in the first quarter to 72.8 percent. And the meetings sector performed well: Meet AC’s sales team brought 30 conventions and meetings to the Atlantic City Convention Center and another 19 to the city’s hotel properties, an increase of more than 25 percent from the first quarter of 2014. The 49 events brought nearly 265,000 delegates to the city, a 38.3 percent increase over the same quarter in 2014. LoPresti speaks highly of the Meet AC team, led by James Wood, appointed CEO in April of 2014. Many new NJAA staff members coordinated the last Conference & Expo, and Meet AC helped acclimate them to the site. “I was kind of nervous thinking that half of our staff hasn’t actually been to our own show,” LoPresti recalls. “But the support we got from Meet AC and the folks at the Convention Center was phenomenal. They did everything they could do to help us make this a smooth and wonderful transition.” For example, Meet AC conducted a walkthrough of the Convention Center with NJAA staff and vendors servicing the event. “And they were more than James Wood, CEO of Meet AC happy to help me cut costs Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer

“Caesars Entertainment welcomes over 16,000 meetings every year, and now our customers have an extra home on the East Coast to host their conferences” with Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center.” —Steve van der Molen, Vice President Meetings Operations, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City and come up with new and innovative ways of doing things,” she adds. “It was nice to know that the person you were working with was trying to help you put on the best show that you could with your budget in mind; they weren’t trying to upsell.” LoPresti notes that the Convention Center assisted in getting quotes from several shuttle companies. On a broader scale, Meet AC “helped us [obtain] savings by booking multiple years out.” Several other convention groups have been pleased enough with Meet AC and the Atlantic City Convention Center to contract for multiple years. AnimeNEXT Convention, for example, has signed a five-year contract, and will meet in the city for the first time in 2016. “The convention industry has a tremendous impact on Atlantic City’s economy, as evidenced by the vast impact the 15,000 AnimeNEXT attendees will have on our local hotels, restaurants, retail outlets and casinos each year,” says Wood. In addition, the Police Security Expo, which will draw more than 6,500 attendees, has signed a three-year contract extension.

Karen Totaro General Manager Atlantic City Convention Center

IAVM’s current Chair of the Board Karen Totaro has served as the General Manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center for nearly two years. Previously, she was Assistant General Manager at the Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, OH. The career move to Atlantic City was a smooth transition for several reasons, she recalls. Both are Spectra-managed venues, and Spectra “does a fantastic job of preparing their leaders for the next steps in their career path,” she says. In addition, “passion for what I do really made it easy to welcome the excitement of a new venue and the unlimited possibilities.” What operational improvements have you initiated at the ACCC? Since I have been here we have taken several key exhibitor services in-house in order to establish service excellence in booth cleaning, porter service and aisle carpet cleaning, as well as increase our revenue. Finally, we have emphasized training and investing in our employees, which reflects in our rising customer service scores. Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer

Harrah’s new Waterfront Conference Center

Part of what makes the experience at the Convention Center a crowd pleaser is the food service. Like Las Vegas, Atlantic City is known for its lavish buffets as well as celebrity chef restaurants, and the Convention Center staff delivers on both quantity and quality of food, LoPresti observes. “The amount of food that the Convention Center gives you per head is very good, and we got very high marks on sandwiches for the boxed lunch,” she relates. “They worked with us to customize the menu, providing some higher-end type of bread for our folks and [accommodating] dietary needs. We have a lot of folks who like to have kosher food, and the Convention Center worked with us on bringing in a kosher vendor [Yussi’s, Lakewood, NJ].”


Atlantic City recently received a major sign of approval from the meetings industry when Meeting Professionals International (MPI) selected it as the destination for the 2016 World Education Congress (WEC), June 11-14. “This is a strategic direction for Meet AC and for Atlantic City as we continue to diversify our mix

What has the rebranding of Global Spectrum, Ovations and Paciolan as Spectra meant for the ACCC and its clients? The rebranding has been such a wonderful competitive edge for us here at the ACCC as we actually have two of the three Spectra divisions already in play covering Venue Management and Food Services & Hospitality. It truly is an advantage to bundle our services. . . . One brand equates to a seamless and efficient approach in the way we do business at Spectra, which is so necessary in today’s market. The ACCC regularly invests in upgrades to stay technologically current. Can you share any recent projects? We are thrilled to have had our three-month technology upgrade completed this summer. We have partnered with Smart City and have spent close to a million dollars in capital funds toward investing in the technology infrastructure throughout. The goal has been to ensure the venue provides quality and depth to our offerings, be it Internet access, Wi-Fi or telephone services with our now-robust system. What are the long-term goals for the facility? The CRDA [Casino Reinvestment Development Authority] has approved capital dollars for the ACCC to be utilized this year for the development of a “MasterPlan.” . . . The idea is to get input through forums from our staff, the sales team at Meet AC and through our clients so we can ensure the right prioritization of the special projects that will put the ACCC front and center in the industry. When the MasterPlan is complete, we will have a clear five-year capital investment strategy outlined, prioritized and ready for approval and implementation. 11

Meet AC “were more than happy to help me cut costs and come up with new and innovative ways of doing things.” — Nichole F. LoPresti, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs & Special Events, NJAA

The New Jersey Apartment Association has convened in Atlantic City for 26 years.

of business,” Wood notes. “Showcasing Atlantic City to over 1,000 meeting planners and over 2,000 total attendees will definitely help us grow the meetings and conventions market.” While the city will be well-trodden ground for many planners in attendance, the host facility — Harrah’s Atlantic City’s Waterfront Conference Center — will be a fresh experience for the MPI group. The largest hotel-conference center complex from Baltimore to Boston, the Waterfront Conference Center welcomed its first client on Sept. 11. The new facility houses two, stacked 50,000-sq.-ft. ballrooms, each of which can be divided into 30 breakout rooms. Complementing the facility are nearly 2,600 guestrooms at Harrah’s and the hotel’s existing meeting space of almost 20,000 sq. ft., plus a 1,200-capacity theater. The Conference Center is adjacent to the Waterfront Conference Tower, with over 900 guestrooms. “Caesars Entertainment welcomes over 16,000 meetings every year, and now our customers have an extra home on the East Coast to host their conferences,” says Steve van der Molen, Vice President Meetings Operations, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City. Apart from its extensive meeting space, LEED certification and state-of-the-art technology, the Conference Center is quite visually appealing. “The architect did a fantastic job mixing contemporary architecture with some elements of the region. The space has many windows, providing natural light and views of the Absecon Bay,” he adds. But most importantly, clients will benefit from “an all-inclusive resort that offers retail, shopping, entertainment and the pool, where they can host receptions. So everything is ‘under one roof,’” says van der Molen.


While Harrah’s Atlantic City has been taking the spotlight with its new Conference Center, there are several other developments of note among local hotels. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa Borgata is investing $14 million in additions, including Borgata Festival Park (an outdoor concert venue) and a state-of-the-art nightclub scheduled to open at the end of this year. Borgata has also invested $50 million in redesigning its 1,566 Classic guestrooms and hotel corridors, and the room improvements continue this year with $6 million dedicated to restyle 39 Opus suites and two 5,000-sq.-ft. Residence suites. The NJAA utilized the hotel’s 800-room Water Club this year. “Our attendees loved it,” says LoPresti. “They said they almost felt like they were at a resort. The guestrooms are off the casino floor, and you have your own gym, spa and the Sunroom Lounge, as well as a lot of high-end shops and stores. The Borgata is also a great location for our people because there are numerous restaurants with every price point represented.” The 2,000-room Borgata offers 70,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Caesars Atlantic City Hotel and Casino The Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, a 250-seat restaurant offering an authentic English pub experience, recently opened at Caesars. The hotel offers 1,144 guestrooms and 24,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. 12

Resorts Casino Hotel In June, Resorts Casino Hotel debuted an additional 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including 11 new conference rooms, as part of a $9.4 million expansion plan. The 942-room hotel now offers 64,000 sq. ft. of function space consisting of 27 rooms accommodating up to 1,350 attendees. Tropicana Atlantic City Tropicana’s $50 million renovation includes upgrades to its North Tower hotel rooms, a completely renovated casino including the new 10 North Lounge, an all-new AtlantiCare LifeCenter Fitness center and the Tropicana Multimedia Light and Sound Show. The 2,129-room Tropicana houses 122,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.



Atlantic City is known the world over for its Boardwalk, and the city is capitalizing on that tourism asset with plans to expand the Boardwalk beyond its present five-mile length. Several other projects demonstrate the city’s diversity of nongaming recreation.

1 2

The former Atlantic Club Casino will be converted into a family-focused entertainment complex with an 81,000-sq.-ft. waterpark and about 800 hotel rooms.

Gardner’s Basin, located in the marina district, is being transformed into a world-class working harbor/tourism destination with additional restaurants, shops and entertainment venues.


The Playground, formerly known as The Pier Shops at Caesars, is the newest addition to Atlantic City and will continue expanding. It includes high-end retail shops, eight live entertainment clubs and restaurants, a bowling alley, swimming pool and a sports bar.


Steel Pier is undergoing a $100 million, three-phase makeover and will be open year-round. The second phase includes plans for a new museum, retail entertainment space and a 200-ft. high Ferris wheel. The third phase revamps the Marine Ballroom as a 2,000-seat concert venue.


Tanger Outlets The Walk, featuring over 100 tax-free retail stores, includes Bass Pro Shops’ Outdoor World as of April.

With such a variety of recreational venues complementing the top-notch concerts and sporting events at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City caters to families as much as gaming aficionados. Planners are seeing evidence of that: “We let our folks have our room rate for a couple of days after the event,” says LoPresti, “and many attendees brought down their loved ones to stay longer and enjoy the city.” Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer

Please consider the following criteria when voting: TM Attractiveness & Functionality of Meeting Venue SizeB&al Quality l o tof 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

Facilities & Destinations

Awards of Excellence

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 Name of&Nominee______________________________________________ Dining Entertainment Options Lodging Quality _______________________________________________________________ Accessibility to Airport Check want to nominate Ease Award of TravelYou within Destination

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

Facilities & Destinations

152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016 Fax: (212) 213-6382; Email: ballots@facilitiesonline.com Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer



San Jose


t could be said that San Jose is moving at the “speed of data” with its rapidly developing population and downtown area. Planners who have not visited the city in a few years will likely be surprised at all the new high-rise condos, complemented by restaurants and nightlife establishments. And the city is ready to welcome meeting attendees to sample its latest offerings. “We recently opened San Pedro Square Market, which is a food-stall concept venue that has over 25 different vendors selling everything from street tacos to wood-fire pizzas to craft beer and cocktails,” notes Ben Roschke, Director of Business Development at Team San Jose. Roschke also highlights the new 18,000-seat Avaya Stadium, home to soccer matches and international sporting events. Corporate groups have rented suites at the state of-the-art stadium, which opened in March. Both corporate and association meetings business is keeping pace with San Jose’s growing infrastructure. “Silicon Valley is definitely in a boom period right now, and with that we’ve seen tremendous growth in our meetings business, particularly our corporate market,” says Roschke. “We have groups booked out through 2022 and beyond, and we’ve seen them willing to book 14

further out.” On the association front, he reports that several new clients have booked San Jose due in part to the $130 million renovation and expansion of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Completed in the fall of 2013, the project added 169,957 sq. ft. of new space that includes 27,834 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space and a 31,194-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom. Groups who were specifically interested in the new space include the Society for Information Display, which hosted Display Week in June, and AVS International’s International Symposium & Exhibition, scheduled for October. Apigee, a digital business company, is a new corporate client that will be meeting in San Jose next month, holding its welcome reception at the City National Civic. “At the end of the day, high-tech meetings are really our bread and butter, including tradeshows, sales kickoffs and user groups,” says Roschke. Tangentially related to the tech sector and its “geek” culture, he quips, are events like FanimeCon, which the Convention Center has hosted since 2004, and Stan Lee and Steve Wozniak’s Silicon Valley Comic Con, debuting in March 2016. Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer

Convention Center expansion yields new meetings business, but the Silicon Valley capital is not resting on its laurels By George Seli


While the stakeholders in the city are all “very pleased with the results we’ve been getting” in new group bookings thanks to the Convention Center expansion, Team San Jose has plans to please them even more, Roschke says. “We would like to see our national association market continue to grow and diversify a little bit.” Ramping up international meetings business is another frontier. “We currently have not drawn 100 percent international groups,” he says. But we have seen some of the corporate partners and national association tradeshows drawing international attendees. So the upcoming launch of British Airways direct to London is going to help with that. And this past June we launched San Jose direct to Beijing [Hainan Airlines], so we now have direct transpacific flights to both Tokyo and Beijing.” British Airways service between London Heathrow International Airport and Mineta San Jose International Airport, which begins May 2016, marks the first-ever nonstop transatlantic service between the United Kingdom and Silicon Valley. On the domestic front, Southwest Airlines launched a daily flight to Dallas (Love Field) in April, and Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer

Team San Jose’s “vertically integrated model was built around the idea of having an entire destination operate like a big-box hotel.” — Ben Roschke, Director of Business Development, Team San Jose 15

Laura Chmielewski, Team San Jose’s new VP for Marketing and Communications

benefit from the national media attention. The city has been confirmed as the host communiLaura Chmielewski ty for the NFC champion, who will be utilizing part of the Convention Center, Roschke notes. “will lead our B-to-C And the SAP Center, an indoor arena near efforts, and right now downtown San Jose, has been named as the for the media day, which will be nationally is focused very heavily site televised for the first time. San Jose’s paron the Super Bowl ticipation in this top-tier sporting event will “raise the media profile and general awareness experience.” of the destination, and more and more what — Ben Roschke, Director of Business we hear from planners that we’re working with Development, Team San Jose is that destination appeal is a major component into the decision to book and also the decision to attend,” says Roschke. “So the more positive coverage of all the wonderful things to do in the city, the easier it is for us to try to sell a convention into the space.”

Alaska Airlines will add nonstop service to Eugene, OR in November. Greater air accessibility will no doubt contribute to more robust meetings business, but so will San Jose’s recently becoming a strategic partner of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). In addition, Team San Jose hired Laura Chmielewski as its new Vice President for Marketing and Communications in June. Chmielewski joins Team San Jose after serving as Director of Marketing and Communications at The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel (Lee County, FL), and Deputy Director at Chicago Office of Tourism. “She will lead our B-to-C efforts, and right now is focused very heavily on the Super Bowl experience,” Roschke says.


John Todd

San Jose’s new 18,000-seat Avaya Stadium

The NFL’s championship game will take place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Feb. 7, 2016, and San Jose stands to 16


Team San Jose makes it easier for planners by not only serving as the CVB for the city, but also as the manager of the San Jose Convention Center and Arts and Entertainment venues including the California Theatre, the Center for the Performing Arts, Montgomery Theater, Parkside Hall, City National Civic and South Hall. “For a citywide piece of business, it is a differentiator for us,” Roschke asserts. “Our sales managers are authorized to negotiate everything from helping with hotel packages to booking Convention Center space. That vertically integrated model was built around the idea of having an entire destination operate like a big-box hotel. We try to make it as simple as possible for planners to work with us.”


While the structure of Team San Jose greatly facilitates the planning of citywide meetings, San Jose’s high-tech infrastructure Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer


A premier health and wellness center located in a 100-yearold building, ThirdSpace Fitness features two 6,000-sq.-ft. levels with structural brick interiors, reclaimed wood and architectural steel. It accommodates groups of 40-150 guests for special events.

The 3,036-capacity City National Civic (above), available for rental, and Nemea Greek Tavern (top), one of the city’s most popular restaurants catering to meeting groups.

gives groups one of the best, if not the best, Wi-Fi experiences in the country. Wickedly Fast Free Wi-Fi is available from the moment delegates arrive at the Mineta San Jose International Airport, and can be utilized throughout the downtown and within the Convention Center. The system allows thousands of attendees to stream simultaneously without interruption or congestion. The technological sophistication is even more evident within the San Jose Convention Center, where setting up webcasting, cyber cafes, satellite transmissions and videostreaming are all second nature to the tech support staff. Apart from Wickedly Fast Free Wi-Fi, the facility’s Tech Services offers groups two paid options: White Glove Service, providing custom wired and wireless configurations, and Bring Your Own Geek, described as providing the “ultimate in flexibility” for groups with their own technical staff who need to build a private network and extend their company network. Further cementing the city’s status as the Silicon Valley capital is the Tech Museum of Innovation, a 132,000-sq.-ft. showcase of cutting-edge technology that includes the largest IMAX dome screen in the West. Rentals are available for groups of up to 2,500. The backdrop of interactive exhibits is likely to inspire groups and naturally fits with any event whose theme is centered on innovation. While tech groups remain the city’s “bread and butter,” as Roschke says, meeting groups in all sectors can surely find added value in today’s San Jose, from the expanded Convention Center to new airlift to an ever-growing portfolio of restaurants and entertainment venues. Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer

The GlassHouse

Featuring the largest outdoor patio in downtown San Jose, The GlassHouse (pictured above) has a 12,000-sq.-ft. open floor plan that accommodates groups of 50 to 1,200 guests.

RockBar Theater

A new live entertainment theater that caters to events for up to 2,000 guests.

The Continental

Located one block from the San Jose Convention Center in the artsy SoFA District, The Continental is ideal for entertaining clients or socializing with colleagues. The venue showcases live bands and serves craft cocktails and beers, small plates and fondues.

San Jose Marriott

The San Jose Marriott’s $10.5 million renovation, set to be completed in mid-October, will include the lobby and the hotel’s 510 rooms and suites, each of which now has its own dedicated router that enables guests to operate six mobile devices simultaneously with 1,000 Mb upload and download capability. Last fall, the Marriott renovated its 21,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and revitalized Michael Mina’s Arcadia Steakhouse and Tanq Bar. 17

Like seeing the city’s beautifully illuminated bridges for the first time, our meeting in Little Rock will never be forgotten. The elegant reception hosted within the Clinton Library’s inspiring spaces. Exchanging smiles and greetings while the River Rail Trolley carried us to an evening’s diversion. Filling the Statehouse Convention Center with applause. Our meeting here felt different — and such a pleasant surprise. All centered around the personal attention and charming hospitality of Little Rock.



Junction Bridge > To see more, go to LittleRockMeetings.com PHOTO: PAUL BARROW


Facilities & destinations 2015 summer

Mid-Market Review Mid-market cities on the move with ambitious convention center projects By Anthony Bilden


s Director, Strategic Account Management for Experient, a division of Maritz Travel Company, James Wallace, CMP, has worked with hundreds of clients since he started with the company in 1998, helping them to source the ideal destinations for their meetings. While first-tier cities have always been prominent in the meetings industry, Wallace has observed mid-market cities increasingly coming to the fore. “Many second-tier cities have done a lot to enhance themselves over the years to make it more attractive to bring groups to the city, offering more restaurants, more shopping, more hotels that can house the larger groups, and bigger convention centers,” he says.

“Second-tier cities have done a lot to enhance themselves over the years to make it more attractive to bring groups to the city.”

—James Wallace, CMP, Director, Strategic Account Management, Experient

A prime example is Columbus, OH, which has commenced a $125 million renovation and expansion of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, scheduled to be completed in July 2017 (page 24). Another key to improving the city’s meetings product was building the Hilton Columbus Downtown, connected via skybridge to the Convention Center. Opened in 2012, the property is “another full-service hotel complementing the Hyatt Regency Columbus,” Wallace says. And contra the perception that mid-tier cities are low on recreational options for attendees, Columbus offers the Short North Arts District in easy access to the Convention Center. Wallace recently assisted the American Academy of Audiology in booking Columbus for its 2019 convention, which will draw about 5,000 attendees. “They wanted a good value and a great product, and I recommended they give Columbus a look,” he relates. “We did a site visit with the CVB and they liked what they saw.” Sweet Adelines International liked what they saw in another vibrant mid-market city, Spokane, WA, which completed a $55 million expansion of its Convention Center last winter (page 36).

“The quality of [Spokane] itself is marvelous with the restaurants in walking distance” of the convention center. —Judy Galloway, Events Coordinator, Sweet Adelines International

Facilities & destinations 2015 summer

Connected to the facility is the 2,700-seat INB Performing Arts Center, which typically accommodates Sweet Adelines’ contest. Judy Galloway, Events Coordinator for Region 13 (Northwest) of the Tulsa, OK-based women’s singing organization, comments, “The PAC is a gorgeous opera house with wonderful acoustics and a wonderful crew. On those rare years when the PAC has not been available for our contests, the same fantastic crew converts a plain ballroom space [at the Convention Center] into ‘the next best thing’ for a Sweet Adelines contest, with a special large stage, lighting, sound, etc.” The approximately 1,000-person group also enjoys dine-arounds in the local area. “The quality of the town itself is marvelous with the restaurants in walking distance,” says Galloway. Spokane also offers a familiar advantage of mid-market cities: cost-effectiveness. In that respect, Spokane outdoes Seattle, the other convenient option for Sweet Adelines in the region, Galloway notes. “I feel the pricing of the Spokane Convention Center is very good,” she says. The major improvement projects at Spokane’s and Columbus’s convention centers reveal how serious these cities are about drawing more meetings business. In addition, Hartford, CT is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Connecticut Convention Center this year with a renovation in the fall (page 26), and the Rochester Riverside Convention Center has recently upgraded its Internet connectivity to meet the technical requirements of clients (page 32). But drawing a group with an attractive convention center is only part of the effort to maximize the economic boost for the city. Attendees also have to be incentivized to take full advantage of local establishments during their free time, and to that end, Visit Savannah (page 34) launched its “Show Us Your Badge” program this March. Participating businesses display a “Show Us Your Badge” sticker in their storefronts and are included

“With more large conventions coming to Savannah, meeting planners are looking for promotions and perks . . . for their attendees.” —Joseph Marinelli, President, Visit Savannah on promotional materials that are distributed to conventioneers, who can then use their event badges to receive discounts at these establishments. “With more large conventions coming to Savannah, meeting planners are looking for promotions and perks like this for their attendees,” says Joseph Marinelli, Visit Savannah President. “We believe that if we can convert more conventiongoers into shoppers and diners, we increase the likelihood of those folks making return visits in the future.” Sometimes, a little incentive is needed to get attendees to see just how much midmarket cities like Savannah have to offer. 19



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 high-tech capabilities help create the perfect technology partner for the annual SXSW international convention. It offers a variety of in-house services including complimentary wireless Internet access, redundant high-speed Internet II access, plug-and-play capabilities and an onsite technical staff to help with networking needs.

500 E. Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78701 • (512) 404-4200; Fax: (512) 404-4220 austinconventioncenter.com 20

Facilities & destinations 2015 summer

247,052 square feet of column-free space

Cutting edge technology Customized network solutions Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout

When you book your next meeting at the Austin Convention Center, the movers and shakers are already here. With six entertainment districts and a safe and walkable downtown, it’s easy to enjoy our famous live music. And with more than 250 venues, honky-tonks and dance halls, everybody leaves with their toes tapping.

[512] 404-4200 www.austinconventioncenter.com

More than 250 live music venues nightly

Awarded LEEDÂŽ Gold Certification First convention center in TX

Colorado Springs

An Inspired Rocky Mountain Meeting


he challenge of picking the perfect event destination, activities and venues can be overwhelming. Colorado Springs, CO, creates meeting perfection with unrivaled scenic backdrops during breaks, refreshing mountain air before or after the keynote presentation and more than 55 attractions and activities to discover pre- or post-conference. The award-winning staff can help provide a smooth, turnkey execution. Colorado Springs is easily accessible. Located just 11 miles from downtown, the Colorado Springs Airport has nonstop and one-stop service options from domestic and international destinations worldwide. The region is also a short and scenic 70-mile drive south of the Denver International Airport. Home to the U.S. Olympic Committee, Olympic Training Center, U.S. Air Force Academy and ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Colorado Springs is the ideal location for exceptional performance, creating a higher ground for attendees to refresh, discover and network. The magnificent views and a 6,035-ft. elevation might also have something to do with it. Recreation is as easily found as the endless blue skies and days of sunshine. Set against the Rocky Mountains, the city is protected from harsh weather. This means mild winters and a comfortable, year-round climate. It’s not rare to see light jackets in the summer and shorts in the winter. Horseback riding in North Cheyenne Cañon, open-air jeep tours, or hiking popular trails like Seven Bridges, Palmer Loop and the Manitou Incline are all opportunities to connect with the prominent splendor of the area. Take advantage of unique teambuilding activities like Glen Eyrie Castle’s ropes course, racing around the track with the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving at Pikes Peak International Raceway, Segway tours across the Royal Gorge Bridge or battling the rapids of the nearby Arkansas River. Itinerary building is a cinch with so many things to see and do. If satisfying your taste buds is on the agenda, grab some authentic Colorado cuisine with a walking food and history tour of Downtown or delicious buffalo burger. Sample the sudsy concoctions at one of the local microbreweries like Great Storm Brewing or Pikes Peak Brewery. Unique shopping and dining abound in the historic and charming shopping districts of Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs.

As you’re seeking the perfect property for overnight stays, breakout sessions or an offsite reception, the region has exclusive options. Lodging ranges from popular brands like Hilton, Marriott and Wyndham to truly Colorado choices like Gold King Mountain Inn or Woodland Country Lodge. Home to 14,500 guestrooms, the area can certainly accommodate. Gems such as Ghost Town Museum, Patty Jewett Clubhouse, Norris-Penrose Event Center and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo all showcase some of the region’s 450,000+ sq. ft. of flexible meeting space.

515 South Cascade Avenue, Suite 1300 Colorado Springs, CO 80903 (800) 888-4748, ext. 132 (719) 685-7632 visitcos.com

The destination is an economical choice, and the CVB is your single resource for peace of mind. Whether it’s customized site visits, building suggested itineraries or distributing RFPs, they are here for you. Elevate your opportunities and start planning your next event in this unrivaled mountain metropolis at VisitCOS.com/meet. 22 Facilities & destinations 2015 summer

EXPLORE COLORADO SPRINGS SUBMIT AN RFP AT: VisitCOS.com/meet or Call 800.888.4748 x 132



days of blue sky per year

turns on the highway to the

14,115 ft. summit of Pikes Peak

11 miles

from COS Airport to downtown

great restaurants



Garden of the Gods Park rank on TripAdvisor®


spires on the USAFA Cadet Chapel

5,000 rooms at full-service hotels


nonstop routes to the Colorado Springs Airport


coaches & athletes at the US Olympic Training Center Seattle Salt Lake City San Francisco Los Angeles Phoenix-Mesa

USOC Las Vegas Houston Denver Chicago Dallas Atlanta


attraction tours perfect for groups

130 mph – your top speed at Bondurant pro driving school

400,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space



where you rank in importance with our professional and helpful destination experts – contact us today!


low lodging tax on great room rates


Jamie Pham


xcitement is building at the SMG-managed Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) as the $125 million expansion and renovation has begun. The project, which began in late August, will be completed in July 2017 and propel one of the busiest convention centers in North America to even greater heights. The expansion component will include the addition of more than 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space involving two levels of the facility near the north entrance, increasing the total number of meeting rooms in the venue from 65 to 75. Nearly 37,000 sq. ft. of new exhibit space will bring the grand total to 373,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space. The total will be 447,000 sq. ft. when 74,000-sq.-ft. Battelle Grand, the largest multipurpose ballroom in Ohio and the crown jewel of the convention center, is included. As part of the exhibit hall enhancements, there will be second-level show offices to enable show managers to have a bird’seye view of the tradeshow floor. The facility renovation will propel the property from 1.7 million to 1.8 million sq. ft. and achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. New meeting and public space upgrades include enhancements in lighting, finishes, carpeting, ceilings, wall coverings, restrooms, furniture, signage, technology, sound systems and dining experiences. Centerplate, the facility’s exclusive caterer, will provide elevated dining experiences throughout the building, including a café featuring local cuisine of national renown. The Food Court & Shops merchants on the south side of the facility will inhabit a redesigned destination with areas to dine, relax with an espresso and plug in technologically. The GCCC is also establishing a freestanding room dedicated to nursing mothers. Additional concierge stations blending informational, technological and mobility device services will be developed and serve guests within a single location. In addition, the facility exterior will be enhanced by the creation of event plazas and green spaces. The 800-space, eight-story Goodale Garage is currently under construction. Set to open in early 2016, the garage will be connected to the 24

north entrance of the facility by enclosed walkway, providing guests of the convention center and GCCC partners in the Short North Arts District with an added parking amenity. When the garage is finished, the GCCC will have nearly 4,000 parking spaces. Both the new $18 million garage and the renovated convention center will be complemented by 150 installations of public art created by local artists, ranging from local school children to established professionals, offering an appealing and memorable environment for guests. Though a major expansion and renovation project is now under way, what remains the same is the facility’s strategic location that is within one day’s drive or a one-hour flight of the majority of the nation’s population. Located only 10 minutes from Port Columbus International Airport, the Greater Columbus Convention Center is nestled in a vibrant entertainment area, including the Arena District and Short North Arts District. Connected to five hotels — Hilton, Hyatt, The Lofts, Crowne Plaza and Drury Inn — by covered walkway, the GCCC is owned and developed by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority and is one of the premier venues in the SMG management portfolio of properties. Event planners are particularly pleased with the flexible, linear space the facility has to offer, coupled with the friendly and knowledgeable staff. The majority of GCCC associates are Certified Tourism Ambassadors and members of the largest CTA chapter charted by the Tourism Ambassador Institute.

400 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43215 (614) 827-2500 columbusconventions.com

Facilities & destinations 2015 summer


Facilities & Destinations’

E l i te A w ar d s A meeting industry professional’s job is multifaceted. To truly shine, it takes a broad skill set, the kind of network that only comes with many years of experience, and oftentimes industry-specific advanced education. CVB executives must thoroughly know their cities and the latest marketing techniques, while convention center and hotel executives must work to maintain industryleading products and convey their value proposition to meeting planners. On top of these “musts,” some professionals even find time to contribute to their field by participating in

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

NOMINATION FORM CVB Executive of the Year

Nominated By:

1. Name:_____________________________________________

Name, Title:___________________________________________



2. Name:_____________________________________________




Convention Center Executive of the Year

May we contact you?  Yes____ No____

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

Meeting Hotel Executive of the Year 1. Name:_____________________________________________ Company:__________________________________________ 2. Name:_____________________________________________ Company:__________________________________________ Facilities & destinations 2015 summer

Please Fill Out Form & Mail Your Vote To:

Facilities & Destinations ELITE Awards

152 Madison Avenue, Suite #802 New York, NY 10016 Or Fax to: (212) 213-6382 Or email ballots@facilitiesonline.com 25



he Connecticut Convention Center is the Northeast’s most ideal location for tradeshows, conventions, business meetings or any occasion demanding a dramatic riverfront setting. Overlooking the Connecticut River, the Center is situated in the heart of downtown Hartford’s Front Street District — rapidly expanding with new restaurants and entertainment. In addition to sweeping views of the river, a 110-ft. glass atrium dramatically rises 10 stories above a historic and tree-lined riverfront esplanade. The Center’s award-winning event planning and in-house catering team combine with spectacular function space to make every event unforgettable. Every facet of hosting an event has been taken into consideration — from state-of-the-art audiovisual, to flexible spaces and abundant pre-function areas, to ample onsite sheltered parking. Plus, the attached AAA Four Diamond, 409room Hartford Marriott Downtown, with 13,500 sq. ft. of additional meeting space, ensures all of a planner’s event needs are met. This year marks the Connecticut Convention Center’s 10th anniversary. To celebrate a decade of exceptional events, the facility is getting a new look this winter. With all new carpet and furnishings, the staff is excited for the next 10 years of exceeding clients’ expectations. Meeting Space Limitlessly functional and endlessly customizable, the 540,000-sq.-ft. Convention Center is the largest convention facility between New York and Boston. The Center combines ample meeting space — including 140,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space (divisible into two halls), a 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom (divisible into three rooms), 25,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space and two executive boardrooms — with visually stunning touches, creating the ideal backdrop for any event. Accommodations With first-rate accommodations at numerous hotels (up to 1,600 hotel rooms within Hartford and 6,500 rooms within a 15-mile 26

radius) and unparalleled service, Hartford truly has it! The city offers a variety of full-service hotel brands including the Hartford Marriott Downtown, the Radisson Hotel Hartford, the Hilton Hartford, Homewood Suites, Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn. Airport and Transportation The newly expanded Bradley International Airport is only 15 miles from Hartford and serves 300 national and international flights daily, including direct flights to Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas. The Bradley Flyer provides a convenient, economical mode of transportation between Bradley International Airport and the Capitol City. Once in the city, the free Dash Shuttle is the most convenient way to experience downtown. In addition, the Connecticut Convention Center features exceptional highway access at the crossroads of New England, where interstates 84 and 91 meet. Dining and F&B The Connecticut Convention Center provides its own exclusive, in-house catering services — something very few convention centers can offer groups directly. The staff works with clients to coordinate memorable food and beverage experiences with high-profile corporate events, conventions, or ethnic and themed events. Across from the Convention Center: New Front Street District • Spotlight Theatres • Infinity Music Hall • The Capital Grille • Ted’s Montana Grill • Nixs Hartford • Bear’s Smokehouse • Arch Street Tavern Center NUMBER OF MEETING ROOMS: 19

100 Columbus Boulevard Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 249-6000 ctconventions.com

Facilities & destinations 2015 summer

Discover a Decade’s Worth of Reasons To Book Hartford

EXPANSIVE, SOPHISTICATED AND THOUGHTFULLY DESIGNED Limitlessly functional and endlessly customizable, the 540,000 square foot Connecticut Convention Center is the largest convention facility between New York and Boston. Combining ample meeting space with visually stunning touches, the Center is the ideal backdrop for any event. To celebrate a decade of exceptional events, the Center is getting a new look this winter! With all new carpet and furnishings, we are excited for the next 10 years of exceeding your expectations.

Make your next event exceptional. Call 860.249.6000 or visit ctconventions.com



klahoma City is investing $250 million in a new downtown convention center of approximately 470,000 sq. ft. (with about 235,000 sq. ft. of sellable space), replacing the Cox Convention Center by the end of the decade. The new facility is a continuation of the city’s resurgence that includes the nearby Bricktown entertainment district, home to canal-side restaurants, clubs and attractions. In addition, the expanding Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River provides exciting activities for attendees and their families. Since 1993, Oklahoma City has seen more than $5 billion of public and private investment in quality-oflife projects and improvements throughout the city. 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.


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 summer

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



ittsburgh might be the greenest, hippest and friendliest city you haven’t been to — yet.

Green is the theme of Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center. A Gold and Platinum LEED-certified building, the Convention Center is an architectural gem prized for the comfort it provides and the ample natural light that pours in, along with its many other environmentally sound physical and operational features. Inhabitants enjoy breathtaking surroundings, including views of the Allegheny River, through walls of windows and from open terraces. Or they can step into the rooftop garden to be surrounded by greenery in the form of native plants. The surrounding landscape can be explored up close by those who venture outdoors, and the adventure begins mere steps from the Convention Center. Visitors can walk alongside a stunning, cascading waterfall to the riverfront trail, where a walk or run along the water can reenergize the body and mind. Cycling enthusiasts can rent a bicycle from a kiosk directly outside the Convention Center and ride along the riverfront trail or the bike-friendly streets in town. Multiple nearby bridges span the Allegheny River and lead to the North Shore, where kayak rentals are available in season. Although always stunning, the iconic Pittsburgh skyline and unique mix of classic and modern architecture is particularly impressive when viewed from the water. Because the Convention Center is located in the compact and walkable downtown (which comprises only 30 blocks), sports venues, theaters, galleries, shops and restaurants are also just steps away. Nearby upscale hotels, all within walking distance, include the 616-room Westin Convention Center Hotel, the 596-room Omni William Penn Hotel, the 333-room DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh Downtown, the 402-room Pittsburgh Marriott City Center, the 300-room Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, the 712room Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh and the 399-room Sheraton Station Square Hotel. 30

The Convention Center’s features make it a favorite in the secondtier market. The building offers 313,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 31,610-sq.-ft. ballroom and 53 meeting rooms, including two lecture halls. The award-winning Convention Center staff and VisitPittsburgh client services staff provide the outstanding and friendly customer service befitting such a spectacular setting. More than a meeting destination, Pittsburgh is a happening destination. Much of the recent buzz in the popular press reveals just how hip the city is, and how remarkably it has transformed. For example, a Condé Nast contributor wrote, “The furnaces are long gone, but this city’s on fire.” In addition, the Chicago Tribune said, “Steeped in spirit and flavor, Pittsburgh can lay claim to being one of the nation’s most underrated cities, with a beauty as breathtaking as it is obvious.” Esquire magazine stated, “Pittsburgh is definitely a must-see,” and the Huffington Post called Pittsburgh “the coolest American city you haven’t been to.” Mighty. Beautiful. Vibrant. The perfect setting for a powerful event.

1000 Fort Duquesne Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA (412) 325-6174 pittsburghcc.com Facilities & destinations 2015 summer

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




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 requirements its customers have. This service is available wireless throughout the facility and is scalable from 50 MB, burstable to 200 MB. 32

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 Facilities & destinations 2015 summer

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


Savannah Meetings Boost Attendance


eet in Savannah for a one-of-a-kind experience that mixes historic architecture, cultural attractions, coastal cuisine and scenic beauty with successful conventions, meetings and special events. Savannah’s eclectic sophistication will enthrall your attendees, and 22 park-like, moss-draped squares placed throughout the historic downtown will make them feel relaxed and focused. Elegant accommodations within blocks of abundant meeting venues make gatherings in Savannah a step above the rest. Select Savannah as your host city and your event attendance is sure to increase. The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, situated on the Savannah River, offers a modern, spacious venue for your next meeting, convention or special event. With a total of 330,000 sq. ft., the facility offers 100,000 sq. ft. of prime exhibit space and 50,000 sq. ft. of flexible space. Up to 21 breakout rooms are in the space, including 13 meeting rooms, four executive boardrooms, a 25,000-sq.ft. grand ballroom and a state-of-the-art auditorium. A 45 ft.-by-30 ft. hanger door allows large equipment and aviation-oriented tradeshows to be displayed in the center’s exhibit hall. Additional meeting facilities located throughout downtown Savannah include the Coastal Georgia Center and the Savannah Civic Center. There are a variety of convention hotels throughout Savannah including The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa (403 rooms), Savannah Marriott Riverfront (383 rooms), Hyatt Regency Savannah (347 rooms) and the Hilton Savannah Desoto (246 rooms). Nearly 5,000 rooms are available at various hotels in the Historic Meetings District and more than 15,000 total hotel rooms in the greater Savannah area. All hotels and meeting spaces in the Historic Meetings District are located within walking distance to numerous high-style boutiques, galleries, restaurants and more. Located just 15 minutes from downtown, the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is one of the busiest in the Southeast.

With more than 45 daily nonstop flights via Allegiant, American, Delta, JetBlue, Silver, Sun Country, United and US Airways from Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas/ Ft. Worth, Houston, Minneapolis, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and more, it’s easier to get to the city than ever before. The low-cost CAT shuttle and DOT shuttle are available for quicker travel, including a direct route from the airport to downtown. Once you’re here, there are several ways to get around, with many visitors preferring to explore pedestrian-friendly Savannah by foot. With more than 45 cultural attractions, Savannah draws meeting attendees craving a diverse experience. Trolley, Segway and walking tours covering history, hauntings, architecture and food will fill down time with excitement and entertainment. Meeting attendees also are sure to enjoy Savannah’s palate-pleasing, coastal cuisine and farm-to-table fare served at restaurants throughout the city. As your host city, Savannah will work closely with the local hospitality industry and business community to meet and exceed your requirements. Southern hospitality combined with the array of services found in Savannah will help you create an expertly executed event for any size group. To plan your meeting in Savannah today, contact Jeff Hewitt at (912) 644-6416 or at JHewitt@VisitSavannah.com.

101 East Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401 • (877) SAVANNAH; (912) 644-6424 • savannahmeetings.com; savannahvisit.com 34

Facilities & destinations 2015 summer



he city’s everything you want a city to be. The region is among the most beautiful in the nation. Meeting groups are invited to come and enjoy the sunny side of Washington . . . in the state’s second-biggest city, Spokane. And right now, it’s one of the best times ever to check out Spokane. The city is booming, with more dining, more shopping, a bigger, better Spokane Convention Center and a downtown hotel inventory that just took a huge step forward. The new, 716-room Davenport Grand Hotel is set to open this month and will be the second hotel connected to the downtown convention center. The Davenport Grand — a Marriott Autograph hotel — joins the DoubleTree by Hilton Spokane City Center for a total of 1,100 connected rooms. This brings the total room count to 3,200 within just eight blocks of the convention center. More on that “Double B” (Bigger! Better!) convention center in a moment . . . The downtown core has been transforming for the better over the past few years, with a dining scene that’s gained national acclaim. Like any “culinary destination” worth the description, Spokane’s is populated by chefs who seem to outdo each other each day — at breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are plenty of sips to be had, too, with The Cork District’s 21 wine tasting rooms and the Inland Northwest Ale Trail’s 27 craft breweries. If shopping is the name of your game, you’ll feel right at home in Spokane. In the downtown core you’ll find a mix of local shops, chic boutiques, the top national chains, vintage home décor and a huge indoor mall — River Park Square — all within walking distance. Speaking of walking, it’s so easy to unwind after a day of meetings by checking out the 100-acre Riverfront Park. Since its

creation as the site of Expo ’74, Spokane’s beautiful backyard has become the go-to place for a taste of the region’s natural splendor. As if the outdoor ice skating rink and the historic carrousel weren’t enough, the majestic Spokane River runs through the heart of the park. When you check out the Spokane Falls, it’ll be easy to see why a USA Today poll named Spokane as the second-best Riverfront City in America. Take it all in from above by boarding the Spokane Falls SkyRide, a gondola journey named one of the 15-best in the world by Condé Nast. By the way, the park is about to get a $64 million facelift — another reason to visit. As for the convention center, the open house recently took place after the completion of a $55 million expansion project. Now the center offers more than 120,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 40 meeting rooms, three ballrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook — and open up to — the Spokane River and Riverfront Park. If the downtown is the crown jewel, the crown itself is the region’s stunning natural beauty, which provides countless ways to enjoy yourself. With 76 lakes, dozens of parks, 30-plus golf courses (some rated the best in the nation), you will see what all the fuss is about. The arts and entertainment scene has something for everyone: art galleries scattered throughout the city, travelling Broadway shows, an acclaimed symphony, a vibrant local theater scene. The list does go on. Because in Spokane, there is so much to do, and so many ways to do it.

801 W. Riverside Avenue, Suite 301, Spokane, WA 99201 • (800) 662-0084; (509) 624-1341 • visitspokane.com 36

Facilities & destinations 2015 summer

Sites & Cities Directory Meet AC/Atlantic City Convention Center.......................................38 Austin Convention Center........................................................................38 Baltimore Convention Center.................................................................38 Century Center South Bend....................................................................38 Colorado Springs CVB...............................................................................38 Greater Columbus Convention Center..............................................38 Connecticut Convention Center.......................................................... 40 Cox Convention Center........................................................................... 40 David L. Lawrence Convention Center.............................................. 40 Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center....................... 40

New Jersey

Atlantic City Convention Center 1 Convention Boulevard, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 (609) 449-7136; (888) 222-3683 Fax: (609) 345-3685 www.atlanticcitynj.com • meetinac.com Vice President, Convention Sales: Gary Musich Your Northeast Business Address


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


Baltimore Convention Center

1 West Pratt Street Baltimore, MD 21201 (410) 649-7000; Fax: (410) 649-7008 www.bccenter.org Director of Sales and Marketing: Stacey Knoppel The Center of It All

Phoenix Convention Center & Venues.............................................. 40 Montego Bay Convention Centre........................................................ 40 Meet Puerto Rico........................................................................................ 40 Puerto Rico Convention Center............................................................42 Visit Orlando..................................................................................................42 Visit Savannah................................................................................................42 Visit Spokane..................................................................................................42 Spokane Convention Center...................................................................42 Springfield, IL CVB......................................................................................42 Team San Jose...............................................................................................42 San Jose Convention Center..................................................................42 Virginia Beach CVB.....................................................................................42

A year-round destination with all the amenities you expect from a premier resort: 20,000 first-class hotel rooms (8,000 committable), top entertainment, golf, shopping, worldclass dining and 11 casinos. The Atlantic City Convention Center is a bright, modern facility accommodating meetings and expos of all sizes, four contiguous exhibit halls (486,600 sq. ft.); 32,000 sq. ft. of pre-function space; 109,100 total sq. ft. meeting space; 45 meeting rooms including a 29,400-sq.-ft. ballroom; free WiFi; voice/data communications; green facility – single-roof solar systems, and aggressive recycling and PAGE C2 energy-savings programs. 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 21 views. New walkway connects 3rd and 4th levels. Near 6,000 downtown hotel rooms. The Baltimore Convention Center offers 300,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibition space, approximately 85,000 sq. ft. of meeting space (50 rooms) and a multifunctional 36,672-sq.-ft. ballroom. The BCC is committed to waste reduction and diversion, energy conservation, water quality and consumption, and air quality. Its 27,000-sq.-ft. outdoor terrace, complete with a working herb garden, is suitable for receptions. Partners include Centerplate (catering), Projection Presentation (audiovisual), MC Dean, Inc. (telecommunications) and Edlen (utility services). PAGE 39

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 Century Center South Bend DoubleTree by Hilton, renovated in 2013. The Century Center features over 75,000 sq. ft. of 120 South St. Joseph Street, South Bend, IN 46601 convention space, including a 25,000-sq.-ft. Convention Hall that can be split into two smaller (574) 235-9711 www.centurycenter.org halls, 41,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 700-seat theater, 16,640-sq.-ft. ballroom and 18 meeting Director of Sales & Marketing: Crista Tompson The Baltimore Convention Center . rooms. .. The 12,000-sq.-ft. Discovery Ballroom can be separated into two equal halls. Free basic Unique Architecture. Exceptional Experiences. “The Center Of It All” WiFi available. Main entrance renovated in 2013, lighting retrofit completed in 2013 and PAGE carpet replacement completed in 2014. 44 Indiana


Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau 515 South Cascade Avenue, Suite 1300, Colorado Springs, CO 80903 (800) 888-4748, ext. 132; (719) 685-7632 www.visitcos.com Director of Convention Sales: Kathy Reak Elevate Your Opportunities OHIO

Greater Columbus Convention Center

400 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43215 (614) 827-2500; (800) 626-0241; Fax: (614) 827-2659 www.columbusconventions.com Senior Director of Sales: Sherry Chambers, CMP, CTA


Choose Colorado Springs as your meeting location and enlist the help of the award-winning staff of the Colorado Springs CVB to ease the planning process. They offer an extensive range of complimentary services. Whether it’s customized site visits, teambuilding ideas or distributing RFPs, they are here for you. Start planning your next event in this unrivaled mountain metropolis. Colorado Springs offers 14,000 guestrooms, 5,000 convention guestrooms and 400,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space. PAGE 23

The SMG-managed Greater Columbus Convention Center is located within a day’s drive and hour’s flight of the majority of the nation’s population. The GCCC houses four contiguous exhibit halls (336,000 sq. ft. contiguous, 410,000 sq. ft. within facility), 65 meeting rooms and three ballrooms, including the 74,000-sq.-ft. Battelle Grand, the largest multipurpose ballroom in Ohio. Connected by enclosed walkway to five hotels; about 26,000 hotel rooms citywide; dozens of restaurants, bars, theaters, galleries, sports and concert venues in walking distance. A $125 million expansion and renovation has begun and will conclude in 2017, adding nearly 37,000 sq. PAGE ft. of exhibit space and 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. 18 Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer

Destination maryland

Baltimore Convention Center


ake a look at the Baltimore Convention Center — the premier location in the Mid-Atlantic region for organizations wishing to host conventions, meetings, banquets and other activities. With 300,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibition space, approximately 85,000 sq. ft. of meeting space (50 rooms) and a multifunctional 36,672-sq.-ft. ballroom, the Center is able to host a variety of events, large and small. The Baltimore Convention Center is committed to building, implementing and expanding on an innovative environmental management system that sustains the needs of the Center’s daily operations; meets the standards of the City of Baltimore’s sustainability efforts; and serves to educate and benefit staff, industry partners and clientele on the importance of the reduction of its carbon footprint. The cornerstones of the Center’s environmental policy are: Waste Reduction and Diversion, Energy Conservation, Water Quality and Consumption, and Air Quality. The Center also places emphasis on responsible procurement processes, continuing education and involvement with the community. Discover the Center’s 27,000-sq.-ft. outdoor terrace, complete with a working herb garden and green roof canopy made of drought-resistant, native vegetation. The terrace also doubles as a space for receptions or networking with colleagues. Experience the perfect combination of advanced technologies and professional services, each successfully executed and delivered by the Center’s dedicated team, including its partners: Centerplate (catering), Projection Presentation (audio-visual), MC Dean, Inc. (telecommunications) and Edlen (utility services). The Center brings together all of the essential elements needed to execute a successful event.


1 West Pratt Street Baltimore, MD 21201 (410) 649-7000 www.bccenter.org

The Baltimore Convention Center . . . “The Center Of It All”

Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer



Connecticut Convention Center

100 Columbus Boulevard Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 249-6000; Fax: (860) 249-6161 www.ctconventions.com Director of Sales & Marketing: Michelle Hughes The Spotlight’s On The NEW Connecticut Convention Center oklahoma

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!” ARIZONA

Phoenix Convention Center & Venues

100 North Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 (602) 262-6225; (800) 282-4842 www.PhoenixConventionCenter.com Director of Sales: Debbi Foshee A Whole New Angle on Meetings and Events jamaica

Montego Bay Convention Centre Rose Hall, 18 Queens Drive Montego Bay, St. James, Jamaica, West Indies

(876) 622-9330; Fax: (876) 622-9360

www.mobaycentre.com Senior Sales and Marketing Manager: Michelle Parkes A World Class Convention Centre in the Heart of Jamaica 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

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Convention Center

100 Convention Boulevard San Juan, PR (800) 875-4765; (773) 654-1758; Fax: (787) 725-2133 www.prconvention.com Senior Director of Sales: Rosa M. Luke


The views are stunning, the space is immense, and the ease of booking an event is superior. 205,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibit space, dramatic riverfront setting, accessible to 23+ million people within a 2-1/2 hour drive; 19 meeting rooms; 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 180,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space/140,000-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall; 3,200-seat ballroom; attached to 409-room Marriott Hotel; 700 rooms (downtown); 6,500 rooms (within 30 miles). Attractions: The Old State House; Wadsworth Atheneum; Mystic Seaport & Marinelife Aquarium; Foxwoods Resort PAGE Casino; Mohegan Sun Resort; Essex Valley Railroad. 27 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. 29 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 31

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. 33 The award-winning Phoenix Convention Center is within walking distance of shopping, entertainment, sports and theater venues, and just 15 minutes from Sky Harbor International Airport. More than 2,500 guestrooms are within walking distance of the facility, including 1,000 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown and more than 1,200 at the newly renovated Hyatt Regency. The PCC boasts nearly 900,000 sq. ft. of function space, including 312,500 sq. ft. of continuous exhibition hall space, three ballrooms (46,000, 45,000 and 28,000 sq. ft.), and a 21,000-sq.-ft. PAGE Executive Conference Center. 9 A beautiful, lively island, Montego Bay offers a memorable experience for meeting attendees; excellent hotels, inns and guest houses; and great golf, music and a vibrant culture. With an oceanfront location and breathtaking views, the state-of-the-art Montego Bay Convention Centre features 132,000 sq. ft. of meeting, exhibition, ballroom, and plenary space, including: 56,788 sq. ft. of dedicated exhibition space; 18,845-sq.-ft. ballroom; nine meeting rooms; 6,000-seat theater; a large, full-service kitchen within the facility; and 4,000 nearby PAGE hotel rooms. C3 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 1 House San Juan, is expected to open in the first quarter of 2016. The Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport is just 13 minutes from the Puerto Rico Convention Center, which is surrounded by 1,887 guestrooms within a three-mile radius, and the attractions of Old San Juan. PRCC features 600,000 sq. ft. of total space and can accommodate groups of up to 10,000. Signature wave-like roofline and a 13-story glass curtain offer spectacular views of the San Juan Bay and area beaches. Offers 152,700 sq. ft. of exhibition space, a 39,500-sq.-ft. ballroom, and 36,200 sq. ft. of additional meeting space, including 15 separate meeting rooms on two levels, divisible into 28 breakout rooms. The PRCC has unveiled a new solar PAGE energy array that is one of the largest green initiatives of its kind on the island. 1 Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer

Destination Arizona

Phoenix Convention Center & Venues


onvening in America’s sixth-largest city packs more value than ever. Located in the center of a vibrant walkable downtown, the Phoenix Convention Center & Venues is mere steps from a variety of urban eateries, live music, professional sports, art museums and more. In fact, USA Today recently named downtown’s Roosevelt Row one of the 10 Best City Arts Districts in America. So whether your group is 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 a 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 had 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, 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 that 6,000 hotel rooms located along the Metro Light Rail System. With more than 325 days of sunshine a year, the weather is almost always permitting. In a 2014 survey of show managers, Phoenix ranked the second most popular destination for tradeshows and events in the country. There are so many things to do, and with an average temperature of 72 degrees, it’s easy to see why Phoenix is an ideal destination for 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 Summer



Visit Orlando

6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Suite 400, Orlando, FL 32821 (407) 541-4270; Fax: (407) 370-5014 OrlandoMeeting.com Senior Vice President Convention Sales & Services: Fred Shea


Visit Savannah

101 East Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401 (877) SAVANNAH; (912) 644-6424; Fax: (912) 644-6499 www.SavannahMeetings.com www.VisitSavannah.com VP Business Development & Services: Jeff Hewitt


Visit Spokane

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


Spokane Convention Center

334 West Spokane Falls Boulevard, Spokane, WA 99201 (509) 279-7000; Fax: (509) 279-7050 www.spokanecenter.com Sales Manager: Kay Riplinger


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


San Jose Convention Center

150 West San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95113 (800) SAN-JOSE sanjosemeetings.com Director of Sales: Mark McMinn Innovation Starts Here


Virginia Beach CVB

2101 Parks Avenue, Suite 500, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 (757) 385-4700; (800) 700-7702; Fax: (757) 437-4747 www.VisitVirginiaBeach.com/meetings


Orlando offers more than 100 attractions, from unique outdoor experiences such as hot air ballooning, ziplining, and exotic race-car driving to its world-renowned theme parks including Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios Florida and SeaWorld Orlando. The city also boasts the second-largest convention center in the United States, offering 2.1 million sq. ft. of state-ofthe-art meeting space and more than 116,000 hotel rooms in 450 hotels and resorts across the destination. The Convention Center is connected by covered walkway bridges to four first-class convention hotels including the Hyatt Regency Orlando, Hilton Orlando, Rosen Center, and Rosen Plaza and a total of 16,668 sleeping rooms within a two-mile radius. Welcome to Savannah, est. 1733, waiting to charm you with tree-filled squares and perfectly preserved historic buildings. Savannah has the capacity to accommodate large groups in its convention, exhibit and meeting facilities, the largest being the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. Total event space: 330,000 sq. ft.; exhibit space: 100,000 sq. ft.; ballroom: 25,000 sq. ft.; pre-function space: 6,600 sq. ft.; meetings rooms: 13; 14,000 hotel rooms citywide. PAGE 35

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! 37 The Spokane Convention Center campus sits along the banks of the Spokane River and affords views of the 100-acre Riverfront Park and direct access to the Centennial Trail. The Center completed its $55 million expansion project last December and now offers more than 120,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 40 meeting rooms, three ballrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows. The Silver LEED-certified facility also houses the 270-seat Conference Theatre and is adjacent to the INB Performing Arts Center, which has a 2,700-seat auditorium. The Spokane Convention Center’s Roof Deck is ideal for a PAGE stand-up reception for 500 attendees. 37 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 6 Springfield’s historic district. It offers 40,000 sq. ft. of column-free exhibit space. Why do 98 percent of convention planners and tradeshow executives declare that San Jose is great for meetings and tradeshows? Three words: Ease of booking! Unlike other destinations, San Jose has a unique model where with one phone call a planner can be connected and check availability for the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and over 8,000 hotel rooms — 850 rooms are connected to the convention center and another 2,000+ within a block. On top of the stellar hotel package, San Jose’s compact, campus-like downtown allows conventions to truly own the city. San Jose can be booked with the ease of a big-box hotel property — PAGE C4 saving event planners time, energy and resources. The San Jose McEnery Convention Center recently debuted its $130 million makeover and an additional 169,957 sq. ft. of flexible ballroom and meeting space with a hip, modern design and state-of-the-art technology – bringing the new grand total to 550,000 sq. ft. of flexible space, including a 143,000-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall, a 35,194-sq.-ft. ballroom and 43 meeting rooms. The Convention Center’s revamped lobby features sit steps where convention attendees can plug in and network between sessions; a new networking lounge; more breakout rooms; and PAGE additional flexible meeting spaces. Free WiFi is now available throughout the Center. C4 Recognized for its great value and commitment to hospitality, Virginia Beach is centrally located on the East Coast, just 20 minutes from Norfolk International Airport and Amtrak, with more than 10,000 hotel rooms citywide and 7,000 rooms within three miles of the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Planners have endless options for fresh seafood and dining, downtown shopping, entertainment and unique offsite venues including Oceanfront, Chesapeake Bay and Town Center areas of the destination. The LEED-certified Virginia Beach Convention Center features a 150,000-sq.-ft., column-free exhibit hall, 31,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 29,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and over 2,200 free parking spaces. Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer

Destination PUErto Rico

Meet Puerto Rico


ith more than 1.3 million sq. ft. of meeting space and over 14,500 guestrooms throughout the island, a world-class convention center and an increasing range of accommodation options, Puerto Rico continues its emergence as one of the most sought-after meeting destinations, offering delegates a distinctive and memorable experience. With recent additions to air service, renovated hotel and resort properties, and the opening of new properties, Puerto Rico is an attractive option for meeting and convention groups. 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. “Puerto Rico is once again becoming a popular global brand — known for its culture and authentic experiences as well being a technologically savvy destination,” said Milton Segarra, President & CEO, Meet Puerto Rico. “And we have learned that experiential travel is still important to groups and that brand identity is critical to the meeting planner’s perceptions about the value and experience of the destination. So, we are continuing to reinforce that improved branding and use it as a platform to help secure large convention center and citywide groups. ” Meet Puerto Rico began the new fiscal year (FY) 2015-16 on strong footing with more 54 new bookings confirmed for September through December 2015. Also, the Brand Sales team has been focusing efforts on soliciting new accounts for the destination, conducting sales calls and appointments with key clients and generating leads for the destination. Groups range from multinational companies to medical, educational conferences and sporting events, among others. Recent and upcoming groups include: Latin American Business Council (CEAL), August 2015; Helms Briscoe Eastern Regional Conference, October 2015; Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) CEO Forum, February 2016;

Experient Top Producers Meeting, May 2016; HPN Global Top Producers Meeting, May 2016; and the Latin American & Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA), May 2016. NEW PROPERTIES, RENOVATIONS AND UPGRADES Several hotels and other tourism entities have completed or are undergoing major renovations that total a more than $100 million investment, including the following: • The $29.7 million Hyatt Place San Juan is being developed in the Puerto Rico Convention District, adjacent to the recently opened Hyatt House San Juan. The 149-room hotel is expected to open in the first quarter of 2016. • Embassy Suites Dorado del Mar Beach Resort, located about 25 miles west from San Juan and the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, recently announced the completion of the second phase of a multimillion-dollar renovation, including a full overhaul of all suites and introduction of the new Grand Hall, which has about 9,000 sq. ft. of space for meetings, conventions, gala events and more. The Grand Hall, the largest space of its kind in the area, can accommodate up to up to 800 guests for banquets and 72 exhibitors. With the addition of the Grand Hall, Embassy Suites Dorado del Mar Beach Resort now boasts more than 22,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. • The Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, managed by Aerostar Airport Holdings, has had $750 million in improvements over the last two years that have resulted in a more modern look and feel. Aerostar plans to invest another $200 million in improvements. Furthermore, new airlines are offering service from Puerto Rico, such as Air Europa, Volaris and Sun Country. Norwegian Air starts service in November 2015. “Puerto Rico continues to position itself as an ideal destination for meetings and conventions, offering a state-of-the-art convention center, a wide variety of hotels, strong infrastructure and unique attractions, with the added advantage that we are on a tropical island in the Caribbean,” said Segarra.

Ochoa Building, 500 Tanca Street, Ste. 402, San Juan, PR 00901 (800) 875-4765; (787) 725-2110; Fax: (787) 725-2133 • meetpuertorico.com Facilities & Destinations 2015 Summer


Century Center Convention Center Unique Architecture. Exceptional Experiences.


ď §


75,000 Square Feet of Flexible and Unique Meeting Spaces

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




Ways to Bring More Value to Your Events

Even in a seller’s market, ROI can be improved By Jennifer C. Squeglia, CMP


et’s face the fact — it’s a seller’s market right now and, as always, cost savings are paramount. With these current market conditions, however, the emphasis should be more on adding value to your events by tapping into your expertise and that of the great collaborators who surround you while you plan. Here are six ways to ensure your events maximize return on investment (ROI).

important partners are my hotel partners and my planner peers. Being respectful of and comfortable with your hotel partners is paramount in site selection and contract negotiation. It is important for both sides of this relationship to be honest and transparent and speak frankly about the program and piece of business. The electronic RFP process sometimes works very well for site selection, but my Listen to Your personal preference is sending Stakeholders/Business the RFP to my supplier partners Partners: Never be afraid to ask in the industry. As planners — questions, and be sure to listen carefully regardless of how busy we get to the answers. As planners, it’s easy to — we need to stay connected with ask a question and then think ahead to our hotel partners and provide the next steps or next question, missing them updates on our research. valuable pearls of information. Be sure Pick up the phone when to find out what is most important to you need to have a tough them — especially when it comes to cost. What are conversation on rate or ick up the phone they willing to skip, and what is non-negotiable? concessions; it is easy and How do they want their attendees to think and feel when you need to have time efficient to email, after the event? For example, one of the companies but you need to know a tough conversation on I work with puts a good deal of their budget when it is time to have a toward speakers and entertainment, but are not as rate or concessions; it is discussion. Connecting concerned about suites and upgraded hotel rooms. easy and time efficient with planner peers is also critical for obtaining to email, but you need to Flexibility in Dates and Location: great ideas, sharing event Being able to send out an RFP with multiple know when it is time to experiences (good and date and location options provides the hotelier with bad), and talking through have a discussion.” more ability to provide you with better value dates. Of challenging situations. course, this is easier said than done. Oftentimes, we When possible, attend are given specific date windows based on executive networking events and calendars and need to work around holidays, school vacation maintain those critical relationships. Meeting someone face weeks, industry events (either the host organization’s or a to face enhances the rapport and trust. Once, I was working competitor’s) and so forth. If you are provided with flexibility, with a hotelier to place a program and was having challenges work closely with your hotel partners to find the best value and getting what I deemed appropriate meeting space for the fit for both of you. In addition, working with your global hotel client. She and I happened to meet in person at an industry partners and companies such as ALHI and Preferred Hotels event and were able to work things out. We went to contract can help you find desirable locations that would be appealing shortly thereafter. for your program.





Leverage Relationships: It is no secret that

our industry is relationship driven. For me, the most

Facilities & destinations 2015 Summer


Prioritize Concessions: It is easy to provide a

long list of concessions on the RFP. When working on site selection for a program, one of my global partners asked 45

me to pick the top five, which allowed me to really evaluate what was most important for my client, the program, and what concessions would bring the most value to the table. For most of my business partners, I find that room upgrades, complimentary Internet access and waived or discounted resort fees rise to the top of the list.

possible. After I go through a publication, particularly a trade magazine, I always feel more on top of what is going on. f you can capitalize It reaffirms that I need to keep up with on venues that have all of the latest developments and trends including hotel openings and existing décor, then you renovations, cool food and beverage can keep your costs ideas, technology, décor, speakers, costmore reasonable.” saving ideas and entertainment. I also find that meetings industry blogs and weekly publication emails offer concise Use of Existing Décor: and helpful updates. Webinars are another great way to stay Many hotels and restaurants are in settings that on top of the latest industry trends and information, and many automatically bring ambiance and local flavor to your are offered at no charge or minimal cost. event. If you can capitalize on venues that have existing décor, then you can keep your costs more reasonable. When Jennifer C. Squeglia, CMP, is Principal of her eventworking with a group in Las Vegas, we used a nightclub planning company, RLC Events, Inc. Since its founding for our evening event for about 350 attendees. Because the eight years ago, RLC Events has partnered with nightclub already had a fun atmosphere, we were able to clients from a variety of industries, including defense, add some impactful branding elements (gobo projection healthcare, financial services and insurance. Squeglia on a waterfall, throw pillows, table and floor clings) at previously served as Director of Meetings & Client Events reasonable pricing. The nightclub also had some robust for Fidelity Brokerage Company, and prior to that as production elements that helped keep our entertainment an Event Manager for John Hancock. Her career started rider costs a bit more reasonable as well. in the hospitality industry working at luxury resorts in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, St. John in Staying on Top of Trends: In the corner of my the US Virgin Islands, Savannah, GA and Martha’s office are stacks of magazines that tend to pile up when Vineyard. I’m busy. I bring them with me on planes and read whenever





Facilities & destinations 2015 Summer

Facilities & Destinations SuperBook Advertiser Index

Value Destinations

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

Greenville is home to TD Convention Center, offering 280,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 60,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Unique event venues include the BMW Performance Center, Peace Center and Heritage Green. What’s New: Over $30 million in renovations were completed last year at the Hyatt Regency Greenville. New hotels include Aloft Greenville Downtown (opening December 2015) and Home2 Suites by Hilton Greenville Airport (opened in August 2015).

Hampton, VA

Hampton Roads Convention Center welcomes groups with 344,000 sq. ft. of versatile convention and exhibit space and a grand ballroom with banquet seating for more than 2,000. What’s New: The Virginia Air & Space Center opened two new exhibits in July 2015: the Solarium and Engineer it! (for children). New restaurants include The Point at Phoebus with a farm-to-table menu, and Old Point Comfort Marina’s new seafood restaurant, The Deadrise.

Natchez, MS

The “Jewel of the Mississippi” is the river’s oldest continuous settlement, turning 300 in 2016. The Natchez Convention Center, housing 32,000 sq. ft. of state-of-theart meeting space, is adjacent to the 119-room Natchez Grand Hotel. What’s New: Hotel VUE, formerly VUE Hotel & Restaurant, is being renovated. Charboneau Rum Distillery opened next to King’s Tavern and Natchez Brewing Company. Natchez National Historical Park’s upgraded Fort Rosalie opens next August.

Springfield, MA

Springfield is home to the MassMutual Center, offering a 40,000-sq.-ft. exhibition hall, 15,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 24,500 sq. ft. of meeting space. What’s New: The MassMutual Center is receiving a $3.2 million technology upgrade. A world-class casino and entertainment complex opens in downtown Springfield in 2018; the development includes a 250-room hotel and 15 shops and restaurants. Blackjack Steakhouse recently opened near the Basketball Hall of Fame, in the Little Italy section.

www.visitgreenvillesc.com Joe Kramer, VP, Sales (800) 351-7180; jkramer@ visitgreenvillesc.com


www.visithampton.com Michelle Hergenrother, Senior Group Sales Manager (757) 728-5337; michelle@ hamptoncvb.com

visitnatchez.org Lynsey Smith, Director of Sales (800) 647-6724; lynsey@ visitnatchez.org

www.valleyvisitor.com Alicia Szenda, Director of Sales (413) 755-1346; alicia@ valleyvisitor.com

Bismarck-Mandan, ND The expanded Bismarck Event Center houses 200,000 sq. ft. of function space, www.discoverbismarckmandan.com Lori Yantzer, Director of Sales (800) 767-3555; lori@discoverbismarckmandan.com

including a 100,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, arena seating up to 10,000 and 20 breakout rooms. The Center is next door to the region’s largest mall and in walking distance to 800 hotel rooms. What’s New: The North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum has undergone a $52 million expansion and now offers 39,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space.

Chicago Northwest, IL

The sophisticated Chicago Northwest region is located minutes from Downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport. The 500-room Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center features a 100,000-sq.-ft. convention center, complemented by more than 62 hotels. Arlington International Racetrack is among the attractions. What’s New: Sonesta ES Suites completed a full renovation in June 2015. New offsite venues include Level 257, Grillhouse by David Burke, Pearl Banquets & Conference Center and Topgolf.

Columbia, MO

Located halfway between Saint Louis and Kansas City, Columbia is home to more than 3,700 hotel rooms, over 200 restaurants, scenic parks and the 18,612-sq.-ft. Columbia Expo Center. What’s New: The new Holiday Inn Express & Suites at Stadium & Highway 63 has an attached restaurant and conference space. Additionally, the LEEDcertified Broadway Columbia – a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel (3,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) opened in the downtown area.

Dublin, OH

The City of Dublin, known for its Irish heritage, is preparing for the new Bridge Street District. Located along the Scioto River, the destination will feature numerous shops, restaurants, entertainment, and potentially a new hotel and conference center. What’s New: The Crowne Plaza Dublin completed a $7 million renovation, and the Residence Inn Dublin opened in June. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium debuted its newest event space, the 7,000-sq.-ft. Africa Events Center, last summer.

LafayetteWest Lafayette

Lafayette-West Lafayette is home to Purdue University’s scenic campus and its Big Ten spectator sports. With 27 hotels, the cities offer groups diverse lodging options as well as museums, art galleries and culinary highlights such as the Parkside Seafood House and Wildcat Creek Winery. What’s New: The Courtyard by Marriott is adding a conference center with a capacity of 300 people. Marriott TownePlace Suites is currently undergoing a $600,000 renovation.


chicagonorthwest.com Heather Larson, Director of Destination Sales (800) 847-4849; hlarson@ chicagonorthwest.com

www.visitcolumbiamo.com Andrea Jira, Convention Sales Manager (573) 875-1231, ext. 5575; AQJira@ GoColumbiaMO.com

www.IrishisanAttitude.com Amanda Mikkelson, Group Sales Manager (800) 245-8387; amikkelson@ irishisanattitude.com

www.HomeOfPurdue.com Ashley Gregory, Group Tours and Meetings Manager (800) 872-6648; agregory@ HomeOfPurdue.com Facilities & destinations 2015 Summer


Value Destinations Lincoln, NE

Lincoln offers a diversity of meeting venues, from Lincoln Station Great Hall to Lodge at Wilderness Ridge to the Embassy Suites Lincoln, with 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Cultural venues are equally diverse, e.g., the Lied Center for the Performing Arts, Great Plains Art Museum, Nebraska History Museum and International Quilt Study Center & Museum. What’s New: The Lancaster Event Center recently expanded and is able to house 1,000 10 ft.-by-10 ft. booths.

Springfield, IL

Illinois’ capital is the home of Abraham Lincoln and a stop along historic Route 66. The city has 3,991 hotel rooms and 47 attractions and museums. Renovated in 2014, the Prairie Capital Convention Center contains 44,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 21,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. What’s New: The Hilton Springfield, adjacent to the Convention Center, will become a Wyndham City Centre by next summer. The Crowne Plaza Springfield is being renovated.

Stillwater, OK

Home to OSU, Stillwater is considered “America’s Friendliest College Town” as half its population is students. Stillwater is also known for its live music scene and is the birthplace of Red Dirt music, an eclectic genre and style. What’s New: The 69room Atherton Hotel, dubbed the “Waldorf of the West” when it opened in 1950, is undergoing a major renovation expected to be completed this winter. Additionally, MoJo’s Rock’n’Bowl Grill recently opened.

Wichita, KS

Wichita boasts more than 1,000 restaurants, 33 museums, 22 attractions, 22 live theaters and eight shopping districts. Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center offers more than 200,000 sq. ft. of function space, connected to the 303-room Hyatt Regency Wichita. What’s New: Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport opened a new terminal in June. Hotels opening next year include the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Wichita Airport and Home2 Suites by Hilton.

El Paso, TX

This culturally vibrant West Texas city, home to the 133,000-sq.-ft. El Paso Convention Center, is using its $500 million quality of life bond to improve its public venues and open areas. Additionally, a competitive swimming pool and sports complex will be built. What’s New: The Hotel Indigo will open this fall, and an Aloft Hotel is scheduled for November 2016. Both properties are in walking distance of the Convention Center.

Las Cruces, NM

Las Cruces offers more than 3,000 hotel rooms and 128,000 sq. ft. of meeting space to accommodate groups of up to 1,400 attendees. The LEED-certified Las Cruces Convention Center houses over 30,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Points of interest include White Sands National Monument and Rio Grand Theatre.What’s New: The Las Cruces Sun–News recently reported that a Convention Center expansion is being considered by city councilors.

Tacoma, WA

The Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center, located 10 miles south of Sea-Tac International Airport, houses over 118,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Surrounding the Center are 1,900 committable sleeping rooms. The city is known for the Museum of Glass, LeMay – America’s Car Museum, Tacoma Art Museum and the Washington State History Museum. What’s New: The Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau was recently renamed Travel Tacoma + Pierce County.


www.lincoln.org Derek Feyerherm, Director of Sales & Operations (402) 434-5344; dfeyerherm@ lincoln.org

www.visitspringfieldillinois.com Gina Gemberling, Executive Director (217) 789-2360 x 5522, gina.gemberling@springfield.il.us

www.visitstillwater.org Nicole Rathbun, Sales and Services Director nicole@visitstillwater.org

www.visitwichita.com Maureen Hofrenning, Vice President of Sales (316) 265-2800; mhofrenning@ visitwichita.com


www.visitelpaso.com Brooke Underwood, Director of Convention Sales (915) 534-0692; bunderwood@ destinationelpaso.com

www.lascrucescvb.org Albert Herrera, Convention Sales (575) 541-2387; alherrera@ las-cruces.org

primary.tacoma.simpleviewcms.com Chelene Potvin-Bird, Vice President of Sales + Servicing (253) 830-6615; chelene@traveltacoma.com

Advertiser Index

Austin Convention Center.......................................................................................................21 Baltimore Convention Center................................................................................................39 Century Center South Bend...................................................................................................44 Colorado Springs CVB...............................................................................................................23 Greater Columbus Convention Center...........................................................................18 Connecticut Convention Center..........................................................................................27 Cox Convention Center............................................................................................................29 David L. Lawrence Convention Center............................................................................31 Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center....................................................33 48


Little Rock CVB..............................................................................................................................18 Phoenix Convention Center & Venues.............................................................................9 Meet AC..............................................................................................................................................C2 Meet Puerto Rico...........................................................................................................................1 Montego Bay Convention Centre........................................................................................C3 Visit Savannah..................................................................................................................................35 Visit Spokane....................................................................................................................................37 Spectra.................................................................................................................................................3 Springfield, IL CVB........................................................................................................................6 Team San Jose.................................................................................................................................C4 Facilities & destinations 2015 Summer

The Best Is HERE Everyone wants to be the next Silicon Valley, but no one can

Purpose built for speed and powered by multi-gigabit internet

re p l a c e t h e o r i g i n a l . A s t h e C a p i ta l of S i l i c o n Va l l e y,

connectivity, designed to support multiple devices per attendee

San Jose now offers Wickedly Fast Free Wi-Fi beginning at the

allowing thousands of attendees to stream simultaneously

Mineta San Jose International Airport, within Downtown and

without interruption. Get your group’s Geek on with the nation’s

throughout the Convention Center with technology born HERE.

best FREE Wi-Fi experience and no fine print. Really. It’s HERE.

Meet HERE. Book a meeting today! sanjose.org 800.SAN.JOSE

Profile for Facilities Media Group

2015 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review  

F&D's Mid-Market review, providing an examination of value-driven second and third-tier destinations, columns from industry leaders, a conve...

2015 Facilities & Destinations Mid-Market Review  

F&D's Mid-Market review, providing an examination of value-driven second and third-tier destinations, columns from industry leaders, a conve...

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded