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IMEX AMERICA SPECIAL SECTION 26

Facilities FALL 2018

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

& Destinations

TM

FOR ASSOCIATION & CORPORATE MEETING PLANNERS & TRADESHOW PROFESSIONALS

PERFECTING THE ISLAND MEETING HAWAII CONVENTION CENTER CONNECTS GROUPS TO THE SPIRIT OF OAHU 14

18

7 TIPS FOR HOTEL

SOURCING IN A SELLER’S MARKET 60

5 STEPS TO REDUCE TERI ORTON

General Manager Hawaii Convention Center

FOOD WASTE AT MEETINGS 63

PHOENIX 22


$375 MILLION CONFERENCE CENTER OPENING 2020 IN LAS VEGAS


EDITOR’S NOTE

VOICING PLANNERS’ PREFERENCES TO VENUES

T

here are many key lines of communication that must be kept open in the meetings industry: meeting owner to planner, planner to attendees, planner to colleagues and planner to meeting venue. The last one is especially critical to ROI, as venues directly impact the attendee experience. The more responsive they are to a planner’s priorities for that experience, the more value they deliver on the investment. Thus, it is important that the open channel of communication from planners to venue partners — whether convention centers, hotels or conference centers — be constantly flowing with information. Customer advisory boards help in this regard, but planner surveys conducted by industry organizations offer more wide-ranging data on planners’ expectations and desires. Kudos to IACC for helping to pinpoint planner preferences with its Meeting Room of the Future study, including the recently released Latin America edition (see page 4 for a link to the report). The white paper includes detailed survey results on what planners in that region look for in broadband quality, lighting, layout flexibility, outdoor areas, culinary offerings and many other areas of venue design and service. Two columnists in this issue effectively demonstrate the value of robust communication with venue partners. Terri Woodin, CMP, Vice President of Marketing & Global Meeting Services at Meeting Sites Resource, discusses how information-sharing and collaboration is sometimes insufficient at the RFP stage, and offers a process to remedy this situation and pave the way for more successful deals (page 62). On the F&B front, Tracy Stuckrath, CMM, CSEP, Founder and President of Thrive! Meetings & Events, presents a variety of tips on reducing food waste, and they include keeping an open line of communication with the venue’s catering staff regarding that objective (page 63). Industry conferences are another great resource for meeting venue executives to glean the latest in planner preferences, and provide a forum for fruitful exchanges between the parties. IMEX America, a major platform for these opportunities, is the focal point of this issue. Learn more about many – George Seli of the exhibiting suppliers at this year’s show Editorial Director, Facilities Media Group (page 26). They will no doubt be just as eager to learn about what you look for in a meeting site. gseli@facilitiesonline.com

CONTENTS DEPARTMENTS

In Brief................................................................................................................. 4 Forum Doug McClaine, General Manager, Albany Capital Center................................ 12 Perspectives 7 Tips for Finding the Ideal Hotel in a Seller’s Market, by Jennifer Squeglia .... 60 Getting to “Yes” on Your RFP, by Terri Woodin................................................. 62 Food Waste: A Meetings Industry Issue, by Tracy Stuckrath.............................. 63

Features

Venue Review Hawaii Convention Center................................................................................. 14 Destinations Atlantic City....................................................................................................... 18 Phoenix.............................................................................................................. 22 IMEX America Special Section........................................................................... 26 Bahamas............................................................................................................ 28 Hokkaido, Japan................................................................................................ 30 Jerusalem........................................................................................................... 32 Maui................................................................................................................... 36 Nashville............................................................................................................ 38 Peru................................................................................................................... 40 Puerto Rico........................................................................................................ 42 Sites & Cities Directory...................................................................................... 44 Advertiser Index................................................................................................ 61 2

FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS FALL For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals

2018

Volume 25 No. 3

Chief Operating Officer David Korn Associate Publisher Michael Caffin Editorial Director George Seli Contributing Editors Anthony Bilden Sierra Brown Laura Janelle Downey Debi Lander Teresa Rodriguez Deborah Shapiro Creative Direction & Design Scott-Goodman Associates Circulation Coordinator Tessa Gallagher Editorial Assistant Gabriella Davino Business Operations Meir Nochlin © Copyright 2018 by Bedrock Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. Opinions expressed in by-lined articles and advertising copy are not necessarily those of the publisher. Advertisers are responsible for all costs, damages and claims regarding advertising insertions. Facilities & Destinations is published four times a year by Bedrock Communications, Inc., 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016. Telephone: (212) 532-4150. Fax: (212) 213-6382. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Facilities, 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016. Printed in U.S.A. Cover ad space is available by contacting a Facilities advertising account executive at (212) 532-4150.

ON THE COVER While the Hawaiian mindset is popularly described as “laidback,” that’s not the Hawaiian approach to business development. A case in point is the island’s convention industry, which is reaching new heights thanks to the very proactive teams at Meet Hawaii and the Hawaii Convention Center. They’re showing planners why Hawaii makes as much sense for conventions as it does for incentive and leisure travel. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


IN BRIEF

INDUSTRY PULSE

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Last month, Meet AC enhanced its virtual reality platform in partnership with YouVisit. Accessible from VR headsets, mobile devices and web browsers, YouVisit’s virtual experiences of Atlantic City include recreational activities and convention center facilities. The “Meet Atlantic City Experience” can be viewed at http://youvis.it/obnQgm. (See page 18 for more Atlantic City meeting news.) BETHESDA, MD — Marriott International recently announced that its loyalty programs — Marriott Rewards, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) — now operate under one set of unified benefits and one currency spanning the entire loyalty portfolio of 29 brands and more than 6,700 participating hotels in 130 countries and territories. According to Marriott, members are now able to seamlessly earn and redeem across the entire loyalty portfolio; achieve Elite status faster with new Elite tiers; combine their separate program accounts into one at Marriott.com or SPG.com; earn on average 20 percent more points per dollar spent; and book stays throughout the portfolio on Marriott.com, SPG.com, and the Marriott and SPG apps, or by contacting customer engagement centers. CHICAGO, IL — Last month, IACC released the inaugural Latin America edition of its “Meeting Room of 4

the Future” white paper, created in collaboration with IBTM Americas. Ninety-two percent of respondents in the region report that their current role involves more “experience creation” for delegates versus five years ago — compared to only 80 percent of respondents to the global survey in 2017. “It is clear from our Latin America report that experience creation is at the heart of delivering successful meetings in this region,” said IACC CEO Mark Cooper. “This is largely driven by advancements in technology and also in the way the younger generations are influencing the consumption of information as they look for a more personal experience.” Cooper added that “Access to outdoor spaces to run elements of the meeting, either breakouts, networking, team activities or dining, are more important in Latin American events.” A full copy of the report can be downloaded at www.iacconline.org/docs/IACC_LATAM_Meeting_Room_of_ the_Future.pdf. CHICAGO, IL — PCMA has entered into a twoyear partnership with the relaunched Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME), which will be held next year in Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 18-20. PCMA will collaborate with the AIME team to design, build and deliver key components of the education program on the first day of the event. The largest event of its kind

in the Asia-Pacific region, AIME brings together more than 4,000 suppliers and meeting and event planners in Melbourne. “With the changes happening in the region, it’s a timely opportunity for PCMA to join forces with AIME and help deepen delegates’ knowledge and help them deliver show-stopping business events,” says Antonio Codinach, Regional Business Director-APAC, PCMA-ICESAP. “We are looking forward to helping the attendees at AIME access our industry-leading educational program, which will drive their professional and personal development, and in effect drive economic and social prosperity.” SCOTTSDALE, AZ — HelmsBriscoe has appointed Carole McKellar as Vice President of the company’s EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) team. McKellar joined HelmsBriscoe in 2009 and previously worked as Managing Director for its Northern European team. She has more than 25 years of experience owning and running companies, in addition to organizing corporate, association, sporting and education events. SPOKANE, WA — After eight years as President and CEO of Visit Spokane, Cheryl Kilday has resigned from her position, effective Oct. 12, to take the position of CEO of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau. Visit Spokane Vice President of Strategic Development & Operations TJ Hake is serving as interim President and CEO during the search for Kilday’s replacement.

Mark Cooper IACC

Antonio Codinach PCMA-ICESAP

Carole McKellar HelmsBriscoe

Cheryl Kilday North Myrtle Beach CVB FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


SAY GOOD NIGHT. THEN GO HAVE ONE. If you step outside America’s Center and stroll down Washington Avenue, you’ll find no work and all play. With a diverse slate of restaurants and bars, boutique shops, and nightspots, you’ll have plenty of memories to share after your meeting. Turn your good meeting into a great adventure at explorestlouis.com/meet.


IN BRIEF

CONVENTION CENTER WATCH

Rendering of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Phase Two expansion

ATLANTA, GA — The Georgia World Congress Center’s (GWCC) first major expansion since 2002 broke ground this summer. The $55 million expansion will include a new 100,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall located between the convention center’s Buildings B and C. Part of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority’s 2020 Vision strategic plan, the expansion will create over one million sq. ft. of contiguous exhibition space at the GWCC. CHARLOTTE, NC — A $110 million expansion at the Charlotte Convention Center is scheduled to begin next spring. The project includes increased breakout space and a pedestrian bridge linking the new wing of the convention center to the 700plus room Westin Charlotte. Fifteen new breakout rooms will be added, totaling 26,000 sq. ft., along with 24,000 sq. ft. of prefunction space. Completion is expected in 2020. 6

LAS VEGAS, NV — On Sept. 11, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) Board of Directors approved the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) agreement for construction on the Las Vegas Convention Center District’s Phase Two expansion. The approval allows the project to break ground. Upon completion in 2021, the convention center will feature an additional 1.4 million sq. ft., including at least 600,000 sq. ft. of new exhibit space.

LEXINGTON, KY — In July, the City of Lexington broke ground on the expansion of the Lexington Convention Center. Scheduled for completion in late 2021, the $241 million project will add 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and a new ballroom. LOS ANGELES, CA — The Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) has become the first convention center in the United States to permanently install a 5G wireless network. 5G, the fifth generation of wireless Internet and voice services, moves data faster and is more responsive, greatly increasing wireless speeds and capacity to transform services such as AI, VR and video calling. The technology was deployed at the LACC in conjunction with the GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas, in Partnership with CTIA, held Sept. 12-14.

Brandon Barousse Centerplate Pasadena Convention Center

management, including positions with Sodexo, Sheraton La Jolla Hotel and Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills.

PASADENA, CA — The Pasadena Convention Center recently hired Brandon Barousse, CDM, as the new Executive Chef of Centerplate, the exclusive food and beverage provider within the Pasadena Convention Center and Civic Auditorium. Barousse brings more than 20 years of experience in food service

SACRAMENTO, CA — The Sacramento Convention Center launches a $240 million expansion and renovation in January, with completion scheduled for late 2020. The western half of the facility will be enhanced with 22,494 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, meeting rooms, a new kitchen and a new lobby with 55-ft. floorto-ceiling windows and auto showroom doors. The eastern side will be enhanced with new meeting rooms, a new lobby and renovations to the existing ballroom, pre-function and meeting space. A new 15,300-sq.-ft. outdoor activities plaza will also be built.

The Los Angeles Convention Center recently installed a 5G wireless network FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


A MODERN MEETING SPACE THAT ADAPTS TO YOUR BUSINESS.

With 500,000 square feet of modern, flexible exhibit space, 84 breakout rooms and a 60,000 square foot ballroom. Unlimited possibilities await at the Miami Beach Convention Center. New space. New possibilities. Now open.

Learn more at MiamiMeetings.com Meetings@MiamiMeetings.com I 800-933-8448 ext. 3071


IN BRIEF HOTEL HIGHLIGHTS

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is constructing a new 14-story tower catering to meeting groups. The project is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2020, with group bookings beginning March 1, 2021. The tower will be located next to the Swan Resort on the current site of the tennis courts. It will include 349 guestrooms; over 22,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including two ballrooms, 12 meeting rooms and a rooftop reception space; a landscaped 16,800-sq.-ft. elevated deck with a firepit and pool; a 90-seat restaurant and a 50-seat lounge; a health club and more. LAS VEGAS, NV — Park MGM debuted The Spa & Salon last month. The property will continue to evolve this year with the opening of NoMad Las Vegas, a nightlife experience developed by Los Angeles’s Houston Hospitality; a new restaurant by Roy Choi; and Eataly. MIAMI, FL — Turnberry

Isle Miami, formerly part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, will reopen as the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa this winter. The property will feature the new, 16-story Orchid Tower comprised of 325 guestrooms, bringing the hotel’s total inventory to 685 guestrooms and suites. Total function space spans 120,000+ sq. ft., including 39 event rooms and two grand ballrooms. ORLANDO, FL — DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld recently appointed Harold Bassler as its new General Manager. Bassler takes the helm as the 1,020-room property showcases its massive meeting space expansion and renovation, completed in May. The project added 40,000 sq. ft. of function space, bringing the total meeting space square footage to more than 100,000 sq. ft. Bassler brings a 30year background in management, most recently serving as the Regional Director of Operations and Area Gen-

Turnberry Isle Miami reopens under the JW Marriott flag this winter 8

The InterContinental San Diego debuted last month

opened following a 2.5-year, $20 million renovation. The 410-room hotel is located about 15 minutes from Walt Disney World Resort and 20 minutes from Universal Studios Orlando, and provides complimentary shuttle to Walt Disney World theme parks. Property highlights include a heated outdoor pool and lazy river.

Harold Bassler DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld

eral Manager for Crescent Hotels & Resorts. Among his industry achievements, Bassler was selected by Hilton Worldwide to join the elite group of general managers who comprise the Hilton Executive Roundtable. ORLANDO, FL — Last month, the Red Lion Hotel Lake Buena Vista South

SAN DIEGO, CA — The 400-room InterContinental San Diego opened last month. Overlooking the scenic San Diego bay front, the property offers 95,000 sq. ft. of function space, including 35,000 sq. ft. of flexible indoor space and 60,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space. The hotel is steps away from the Embarcadero, which docks the famed USS Midway. SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO — The Caribe Hilton reopens Dec. 21 following a $100 million renovation that includes its 652 guestrooms, 65,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, restaurants and lobby. The reopening will coincide with the hotel’s 70th anniversary. About 80 percent of the staff is returning to the historic property — Hilton’s first outside of the United States. See page 42 for more Puerto Rico meeting news.

FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


“TAKE OUR TECH FOR A SPIN” our tech stats

802.11 a/g/n/ac Wireless Network

2,500+ CAT 6 Copper UTP Ports

20,000

1,000+ Multi-mode and single-mode Fiber Optic ports

Wireless devices can connect simultaneously

SERVICES OFFERED The Austin Convention Center provides a full suite of services to you to ensure peak performance throughout your event. These services are in place to design an environment specifically scaled to your event needs. This customization includes: Wireless Internet Access

Wired Internet Access

Network Service & Support

Voice Service & Support

Network support Our team is ready to provide expert assistance to any networking needs you may have during your event. With constant network monitoring, we can quickly solve issues that come up, and proactively address areas of concern.

request a proposAL: Phone 512.404.4200 CHECK US AT:

www.austinconventioncenter.com


IN BRIEF

MEETING DEALS

CHICAGO, IL — Choose Chicago’s 2018 Great Meetings Promotion offers awards to planners booking a new meeting totaling 250 or more room nights through a Choose Chicago sales representative at a Choose Chicago partner hotel during a need-time in 2018, 2019, 2020 or 2021. Awards include 25,000 United MileagePlus Award

Miles, $500 AMEX gift card and $500 Lettuce Entertain You gift card. The meeting must be signed and contracted between July 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2018. Visit choosechicago.com/meeting-professionals/greatmeetings for details.

DALLAS, TX — In August, Omni Hotels & Resorts launched its Omni Select Planner program. Members can earn award and tier cred-

ATLANTIC CITY CONVENTION CENTER TOTAL MEETING SPACE: , SQ FT EXHIBIT HALLS:   WHICH RANGE FROM , TO , SQ FT MEETING ROOMS:  LOCATED WITHIN A FEW HOURS’ DRIVE OF NEARLY ONE THIRD OF THE NATION'S POPULATLON. CENT CENTRAL TO SHOPPING, ENTERTAINMENT AND  RESTAURANTS.

 CONVENTION BLVD. ATLANTIC CITY, NJ  .. MEETAC.COM

10

its immediately upon signing a group or catering booking. Planners earn one award credit per $1,000 and one tier credit per $10,000 booked. Twenty award credits can be redeemed for a free night at any of Omni’s luxury resorts and hotels across North America. Other benefits include locally inspired welcome amenities and experiences, flexible check-in and check-outs, shoe shines and pressings, complimentary water, WiFi and more. More information on the Select Planner program can be found at omnihotels.com/ selectplanner.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau’s “Brighter Meetings. Bigger Reward$ Program” offers planners booking 50-300 room nights a $3 cash rebate per room night paid, and planners booking 301+ room nights a $4 cash rebate per room night paid. Event must be contracted and mutually executed prior to Dec. 28, 2018. Offer applies to events in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, excluding Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, and Jan. 15 to April 30 in any given year. Qualifying events must utilize one or more hotels in Broward County with a minimum of 10 or more guestrooms per night. Contact Ed Simon, Sr. Vice President, Convention Sales

& Services, at esimon@ broward.org.

PALM SPRINGS, CA — The Greater Palm Springs CVB Convention Sales team is offering a Midweek Meetings promotion that provides savings to planners who have the ability to book meetings Sunday through Thursday. Rates are supplied individually by hotel partners and offers vary from season to season. Savings of up to $100 per room and discounts on meeting space and catering are available. Some properties offer reduced rates on extras such as audiovisual and spa treatments. More information can be found at visitgreaterpalmsprings. com/meetings/specialpromotions.

WASHINGTON, DC — The Dupont Circle Hotel’s Group Meeting Promotion lets planners save up to 10 percent off their Master Bill when they book before Dec. 31, 2018 for an event that takes place by Dec. 31, 2019. Percentage depends on the total value of the program. Planners can also receive an additional 1 percent off their Master Bill for groups booked for 2019. For details, email dupont_sales@doylecollection.com.

FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


FROM STEEL TO SUSTAINABLE Located in Downtown Pittsburgh, the LEEDÂŽ Platinum Certified David L. Lawrence Convention Center effectively blends unparalleled space, functionality, and flexibility to offer event producers, exhibitors, and visitors a location for an extraordinary event experience.

THE ALLIANCE DIFFERENCE The Pittsburgh Alliance is comprised of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, VisitPittsburgh, & major hotels in downtown. We are committed to understanding your organizational vision & mission and are ready to deliver an exceptional guest experience. Our customized approach focuses on your distinct needs, and promises to provide quality and cost savings at your next major event.

Contact Kelli Donahoe, CMP, Director of Sales & Marketing David L Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA (412) 325-6174 pittsburghcc.com


M FF OO RR UU M DOUG MCCLAINE

GE N E R A L M A N A G E R, A L BA N Y CA PITA L CEN TER

Q A

D

oug McClaine, Assistant General Manager at the Times Union Center, took on the additional role of General Manager of the Albany Capital Center when that facility opened in March 2017. Operated by SMG, the Albany Capital Center houses 22,500 sq. ft. of ballroom/ exhibit space, six meeting rooms spanning 9,200 sq. ft., and 13,500 sq. ft. of pre-function space. The prime meeting site in Albany, NY, the Capital Complex includes the new convention center along with the directly connected Times Union Center, Empire State Plaza Convention Center and The Egg performing arts center. McClaine describes the impact the Albany Capital Center has made on the local meetings industry, and its value proposition for groups.

Q A

H ow has the city’s meetings business been trending since the debut of the Albany Capital Center?

What were some of the selling points that drew NYSUT from Buffalo to Albany? The flexibility in the spaces, including the Empire State Plaza Convention Center and The Egg. Each space is pretty unique. The multipurpose room in the Capital Center is a wide-open space, 26,000 sq. ft., and there is nothing in there. So you can bring in your AV and set up the room any way you want. At the Empire State Plaza, they have a built-in stage and all the AV, so it’s really about how much you want to tailor your event to that space. And even though V EN T HO UGH IT ’ S T HR EE it’s three different facilities [the D IFFER ENT FA CILIT IES Albany Capital Center, Empire State Plaza Convention Center [ CO M P R ISING T HE CA P ITA L and The Egg], we only have one CO M P LEX ] , WE O NLY HAV E O NE event manager and a shared service program between the EV ENT M A NA GER A ND A SHA R ED facilities. It’s a one-stop shop for SER V ICE P R O GR A M BET WEEN T HE the meeting planner. In addition, FA CILIT IES. IT ’ S A O NE-ST O P SHO P the facilities are connected by a covered walkway, so we don’t FO R T HE M EET ING P LA NNER . have to worry about rain when moving people back and forth.

E

The Albany Capital Center gave us additional meeting space to be able to host some of our larger state conferences. Albany lost a lot of business because the business outgrew the city. By adding the Capital Center to the complex, now we have over 159,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. It is a multipurpose facility. In our opening year we did 139 events: nine were conventions and about half were conventions/meetings.

Q A

Are you on track to outperform 2017 in terms of the number of conventions and meetings?

Right now we’re at about 90 — 10 conventions, 80 meetings. We have 201 events booked so far for 2018. We’d like to see 320 events annually, with two to three conventions a month, and then we’ll put the short-term business around that. New York State associations seem to be our biggest users right now; obviously it fits with being the state capital. But we are doing some marketing to the Northeast to try to gather some of that [out of state] business.

Q

In May, the Capital Complex secured a five-year contract with the New York State United Teachers’ (NYSUT) annual conference beginning in spring 2019. The event will utilize 1,900 hotel rooms. Would this be the Albany Capital Center’s biggest convention booked thus far?

A

In terms of number of attendees, this is by far our biggest one. We’re planning that pretty actively right now and using the complex to the best of our ability. 12

Q A

Could you elaborate on the customizable tech features of the Albany Capital Center?

We have a very sophisticated WiFi system where we can dial down bandwidth to a specific user or to a specific group. Our ceiling is all LED so you can put logos up there and use custom colors to brand your event. The color-changing LEDs go through the walkway, so by the time attendees park their car and walk to the facility, they’re already seeing NYSUT blue or Red Cross red, for example. And our digital screens are all carrying that message right from the parking garage as well. Every meeting planner has really made [his or her] own signature event here.

Q A

How would you describe your role in ensuring great customer service?

What I think is important for all of my staff is that they enjoy what they’re doing, because that attitude reflects to the visitor. If you don’t like what you do, it’s hard to put an act on. My role is to create a positive environment for the staff, so they’re happy coming to work and can greet everyone with a smile. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


If you’re looking to host a corporate event, tradeshow, or even a volleyball tournament, the Connecticut Convention Center has more than 540,000 square feet of endlessly functional and customizable space for you. Overlooking the Connecticut River at the midway point between New York City and Boston, the Connecticut Convention Center is a prime location for whatever you’re planning. We don’t just meet expectations, we defy them.

Spectacular downtown riverfront location

20 minutes from the airport to downtown

23 million people within 2 1/2 hours

540,000 sq. ft. convention facility, including 140,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, divisible into two halls

860.249.6000 • www.ctconventions.com • 100 Columbus Blvd., Hartford, Conn. 06103


VENUE REVIEW

HAWAII CONVENTION CAPITALIZIN G O N IT S G E OG RA P H Y, C U LT U R E A N D L E A D E R SH I P

H

awaii has always had little difficulty attracting leisure and incentive travelers, given its idyllic natural environs and high-end resorts. But the islands’ meetings infrastructure also includes a sophisticated convention facility, whose dynamic manager is part of the reason that market segment continues to flourish. Teri Orton joined the Hawaii Convention Center (HCC) as General Manager in 2014 when AEG Facilities was awarded the management contract. Since then, she has further established herself as a leader in Hawaii’s hospitality industry. In January, the Women in Lodging & Tourism – Hawaii Chapter, an affiliate of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, honored Orton as 2018 Woman of the Year. From the perspective of the convention planner, Orton deserves kudos for her hands-on customer service approach. “I always make sure to attend the precon, and I assure the meeting planner that everyone that sits around the table is here as their support team to make sure they have a successful meeting,” she explains. “I give them my business card with my cell phone on it so they know they can call me any time throughout their event. I’m always accessible, and

14

By George Seli

I believe that good business comes from good relationships. Also, a little different than most venues, we assign [the client] an event manager and a catering manager, and those two managers stay with the event planner from start to finish.” Prior to joining AEG, Orton was an executive with Outrigger Hotels & Resorts in Honolulu, and she continues to stay abreast of trends in the leisure market. “We’ve been having some banner years here in Waikiki, the leisure market is really strong,” she notes. “It does prove to be a little more challenging bringing groups here to Hawaii when the leisure market is so strong because [the hotels are] running at such high occupancy, but we manage to work through some of the challenges.” Orton adds that the HCC has done especially well in drawing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) convention groups, such as the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, The Electrochemical Society and IEEE Microwave Theory & Technique Society.

BOOSTING INTERNATIONAL ATTENDANCE

Convention groups seeking robust attendance from the west coast of the United States are well positioned in Hawaii. This FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


CENTER spring, Hawaiian Airlines added to that accessibility with new daily nonstop flights between Long Beach, CA, and Honolulu. The route complements Hawaiian Airlines’ current daily flights from Los Angeles International Airport. Hawaii is also well situated to draw delegates from AsiaPacific, and the HCC has hosted conventions with strong attendance from that region, such as the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society 2018 Annual Meeting and PRiME 2016. “Several of the new meetings that have come to Hawaii were a little reluctant because we’re on an island, but they were so pleased with the results of the attendance from Asia,” Orton notes. One example is the ARVO Annual Meeting, held this spring at the HCC. Based in Rockville, MD, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Inc. was anticipating an attendance of 5,000 to 6,000, “but it ended up being twice that amount,” Orton reports. The 1.1 million-sq.-ft. HCC comfortably accommodated the increased attendance with its wide variety of function spaces, including the 200,000-sq.ft. Kamehameha Exhibit Hall, 35,000-sq.-ft. Kalakaua Ballroom, registration lobby, 47 meeting rooms, two tiered seating theaters and 2.5-acre rooftop events garden. Lancey FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

O

UR BUILD ING R EA LLY D O ES P LAY INT O T HE HAWAI I AN CULT UR E A ND T HE SENSE O F P LA CE. … P EO P LE C AN SHA R E T HEIR ID EA S A ND BE P R O D UCT IV E IN A V ERY C ALM A ND BEA UT IFUL SET T ING. ”

—Teri Orton, General Manager, Hawaii Convention Center

Cowan, Chief Meetings Officer for ARVO, commends the HCC’s adaptability to her meeting’s space needs: “One of the most important things for us is the flexibility of the meeting space, to be able to make rooms larger or smaller. The rooms are configured with multiple airwalls, so you can have three small spaces or one larger space.” She adds that “One of my favorite things about the Center is the wayfinding is very simple; the rooms are consecutively named. Everyone found where they needed to go.”

DESIGNED TO EXPRESS HAWAII

In March, the HCC stepped up its navigability with the launch of a new interactive map and virtual tour platform from Denver, CO-based Concept3D. Accessible on the HCC website, the 3D map allows guests and planners to digitally explore the entire HCC. When experiencing the facility virtually, but especially onsite, guests will notice a design that “brings the outdoors inside,” as Orton puts it. “Our building really does play into the Hawaiian culture and the sense of place. All of the windows open up to the mountains. We have a great area on our center concourse that opens up to a canal, and there’s a grand staircase that goes right down to that 15


The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s 2018 Annual Meeting took advantage of the convention center’s flexible function spaces canal. We have atriums and water features in our building. It really does create a nurturing environment that encourages networking, where people can share their ideas and be productive in a very calm and beautiful setting.” Planners can also choose to express the Hawaiian culture via the F&B experience. “We are in a melting pot in the middle of the Pacific and touched by so many cuisines — Chinese, Japanese, Filipino — and our [newly hired executive chef Kevin Nakata] incorporates all of that into the dishes that he prepares for our clients,” says Orton. An example of a client that enjoyed that culinary experience is the IEEE Microwave Theory & Technique Society, which held its 2017 International Microwave Symposium at the HCC. Wayne Shiroma, PhD, General Chair of the Society, observes that “there’s that blend of East meets West in the food and beverage that really appeals to our attendees. I got a lot of compliments that I don’t deserve, but rather the Hawaii Convention Center deserves, on the quality of the food and beverage.” Using locally sourced ingredients in order to deliver that quality is a priority, as the local community is thereby supported, Orton adds. The HCC is located in downtown Honolulu, accessible to museums, shopping and over 100 dining options. About a 15-minute walk away lies Waikiki, where groups can lodge at the 1,508-room Sheraton Waikiki (offering 35,806 sq. ft. of function space) and/or the 2,860-room Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Resort (over 150,000 sq. ft. of indoor/ outdoor meeting space). The latter property recently merged its sales team with that of the Hilton Waikoloa Village, affording planners a one-stop shop for both hotels. Another nearby option is the Ala Moana Hotel, attached to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. The property houses over 1,000 guestrooms providing panoramic views of the Honolulu 16

cityscape, mountains and the Pacific Ocean, as well as 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. “The majority of the properties on Waikiki have gone through major renovations,” Orton notes. “It’s not the same product from 10 years ago.” A recent example is the $115 million transformation of the Pacific Beach Hotel into the all-new, 839-room ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach.

THE AEG ADVANTAGE

While the Hawaii Convention Center sits on an island, Orton and her staff do not work in isolation. They are part of a wide network of AEG Facilities-managed convention centers, which is an invaluable resource on best practices for facility operation and customer service. “What convinced me to take this position was that I had the network and support of AEG,” Orton says. “Meeting planners can be assured that the convention center is managed by a company that is part of a larger network with world-class arenas, stadiums and convention centers spanning across five continents. They provide a plethora of resources for their property managers, including a creative team, a sustainability team and so on.” Recently, AEG Facilities appointed Lee Conching as Vice President of Meet Hawai‘i Citywide Sales. Conching had held the position of Director of Sales at the HCC since 2004, and will continue to work closely with Orton, who describes him as “the pillar of our sales team for many years.” The Hawaii Convention Center itself may be described as the pillar of the state’s meetings industry, and it continues to ensure that leisure and incentive travelers are not the only guests of the capital city’s resorts. More and more U.S. and international convention groups are appreciating the combination of a state-of-the-art center in a tropical getaway. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


COUNTDOWN TO OUR BIGGEST SHOW EVER Just weeks away, but growing by the minute. We’re still adding exhibitors—so many, that this IMEX America will expand into yet another hall. Even more space to explore and network. Powerful pre-scheduled appointments. An innovative twist on tech. Exciting launches and research. This is the can’t-miss show for discovering new US and international suppliers in the incentive travel, meetings and events industry, and they want to introduce their offerings and trends to you. Read our Rise of Midsize Cities industry report? You’ll meet them at the show too! No time to spare—register now for FREE at imexamerica.com

#IMEX18


DESTINATION

ATLANTIC CITY NEW VP AT ME E T A C H A S S E E N T H E CI TY DEVELO P IN TO T H E ME E TING S P OWERHOUSE IT IS TOD AY By Anthony Bilden

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ack in March, Meet AC, the sales and marketing organization supporting the Atlantic City Convention Center, lost a key player in the city’s meetings industry with the retirement of Vice President of Sales Gary Musich. With a 25-year background in promoting Atlantic City as a convention destination, Musich is certainly missed by his colleagues. Fortunately, his replacement also brings decades of experience in the local hospitality industry. Newly promoted Vice President of Sales Sandy Harvey entered the industry in 1983 as the Manager of Hotel Sales at the Sands Hotel & Casino and began at the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority in 1995. She worked closely with Musich at the CVA, and subsequently at Meet AC when it was formed in 2014. “Gary was instrumental in bringing the two organizations together, the convention center and the CVB team; he created a synergy where the client felt that we were one organization. To me it was one of his biggest achievements,” Harvey explains. “He also helped grow the market for Atlantic City and allowed us the opportunity to continue to work not only with our hotel properties, but also with the convention center along with all of our other partners in the destination. And, of course, he was instrumental in putting together Meet AC.” During her many years with the CVA and Meet AC, Harvey has seen a significant increase in the city’s ability 18

to attract national associations and major tradeshows such as the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) and Emerald Exposition’s Pizza & Pasta Expo. Part of the reason for the more robust meetings business is the development of Atlantic City’s infrastructure, including hotels and recreational venues. “New attractions, new room product, new meeting space and absolutely our incentive program that we’ve instituted once we became Meet AC” have helped the organization to reach and exceed its sales goals, she explains. “We’ve started an incentive program that allows us to attract the major shows, whereas in the past we weren’t able to offer those kinds of funds.”

NAEC REAPS THE ATLANTIC CITY ADVANTAGE

Facilitating a great experience for groups, not just drawing them to the city, is another priority for Meet AC, which prides itself on making that experience “seamless for the customer,” Harvey says. The NAEC has recently benefitted from that service. According to NAEC Executive Director Teresa S. Witham, Meet AC goes the extra mile by sending a representative to the convention that precedes the Atlantic City installment, in order to be more prepared to host the event. The NAEC’s 69th Annual Convention & 2018 Exposition took place at the Atlantic City Convention FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


The Ocean Resort Casino (left) and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City (above) both opened this year. (Upper right): Steel Pier’s Observation Wheel, which debuted last December. Center last month and will be returning for two future meetings. About 1,900 attendees lodged at the 502-room Sheraton Atlantic City, located across from the convention center, as well as the 1,146-room Caesars Atlantic City and 1,251-room Bally’s Atlantic City (transportation from the latter two properties to the convention center was facilitated by jitney service). “Whenever we’re in Atlantic City we’re on an upswing [in attendance],” Witham remarks. “We have a heavy concentration of members and nonmembers in the Northeast, so it’s pretty much a perfect-world scenario for us.” Contributing to that ideal experience was the convention center staff. “The management is phenomenal, and secondly I would say that the catering at the Atlantic City Convention Center is superior to many and probably most of the convention centers we use,” Witham ways. “We actually had our dinner there this year and that’s a repeat. Normally we try to avoid dinners in convention centers, but they did such a phenomenal job last year that we decided we’re going to have it there again.” The Atlantic City Convention Center offers 500,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, five exhibit halls and 45 meeting rooms. The facility opened in May of 1997 and “she’s held up well for 21 years, but it’s time to do some upgrades,” Harvey notes. “We’ve completed our LED lighting, and we’re about to start a brand-new bathroom renovation. We’re also looking at a complete master plan as we go forward to redo some of the meeting space, in one of the ballrooms in particular. Those upgrades have helped not FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

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UR ECO T O UR ISM CO NT INUES T O FLO UR ISH. P EO P LE A R E P LEA SA NT LY SUR P R ISED WHEN WE SAY, ‘ O H, Y O U CA N D O A LIT T LE BIR D WAT CHING O R GO FISHING. ’ ”

—Sandy Harvey, Vice President of Sales, Meet AC

only to keep our annual customers happy, but also to entice some new shows into the convention center.”

HOTEL DEVELOPMENTS

Atlantic City has a combined guestroom inventory of more than 17,000. Harrah’s Resort contributes over 2,500 rooms to that inventory, and they’re all directly accessible to Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center. Opened in September 2015, the facility houses two 50,000-sq.-ft., highly divisible ballrooms. “Harrah’s has done a fantastic job in attracting organizations, including pharma and financial groups,” Harvey comments. “I think the same will hold true with the new properties opening, such as the Ocean Resort.” Partnered with Hyatt, Ocean Resort Casino (formerly Revel) opened on June 28. The 1,399-room property offers groups 160,000 sq. ft. of indoor/outdoor function space. Highlights include celebrity chef restaurants, Topgolf overlooking the Atlantic, and Exhale Fitness Spa. Another major hotel under new ownership is the Taj Mahal, which is now the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City following a $500 million property-wide renovation. The 2,010-room property houses 150,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, complemented by more than 20 concept-based restaurants and two entertainment venues — Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena and Sound Waves. Featuring a stellar lineup of nationally touring acts, the new Hard Rock property is a great choice for groups who want to have live entertainment close at hand. 19


The National Association of Elevator Contractors typically enjoys increased attendance at the Atlantic City Convention Center The Chelsea Hotel, bringing the Tropicana’s total room inventory to 2,730.

NONGAMING ENTERTAINMENT

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OR MA L LY W E TRY T O AV O I D DINNER S IN C ON V E N T I O N CENTERS, BUT [THE ATLANTIC CITY CO N V E NTION C ENTE R] D I D S U CH A PHE NOME NA L J OB L AS T Y E AR THAT W E DE C IDED WE ’ RE GO I N G TO HAV E IT THE R E A GA I N .” —Teresa S. Witham, Executive Director, National Association of Elevator Contractors

Several other hotel improvement projects have been finalized in recent years: Resorts Casino Hotel’s 15,000-sq.-ft. conference center opened in 2015, followed by the renovation of all Ocean Tower guestrooms The reopening of the 852-room Showboat Hotel in 2016, followed by the recent debut of the 2,380-capacity Bourbon Room Claridge Hotel added 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space in 2016, bringing its total to 100,000 sq. ft. At the end of 2016, the historic property debuted VUE, billed as the city’s first and only rooftop bar. Borgata Hotel & Casino introduced its 18,000-sq.-ft. Central Conference Center last year, following an investment of $50 million in launching venues such as an outdoor pool, nightclub and beer garden. Multimillion-dollar upgrades at the Tropicana Casino & Resort include everything from Boardwalk façade enhancements to the new AtlantiCare LifeCenter (a cutting-edge gym facility) to 500 newly renovated rooms in the Havana Tower. In addition, Tropicana has purchased

• • • • •

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Each of Atlantic City’s hotels is a trove of special event venues, from theaters to nightclubs to pool areas. Witham found a venue with a built-in theme — Wild Wild West at Bally’s — for NAEC’s “kickoff” celebration leading up to the association’s 70th anniversary. For last year’s convention in Atlantic City, the group’s after-party was held at Bass Pro Shops. “It was phenomenal,” Witham recalls. “They put a tent off to the side for food and we had a little band. People could get on the boat, and even do the archery. It was so unique and fun, and they did a great job with the food.” During their free time, meeting attendees may also wish to explore the new establishments on Tennessee Avenue, including MADE Atlantic City Chocolate Bar and the Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall that opens later this year. Or they can stroll through Tanger Outlets The Walk and explore over 100 tax-free retail stores. But the quintessential Atlantic City stroll is down the famed Boardwalk. It’s a nostalgic experience, yet there are new highlights, such as The Biergarten AC. For dramatic new views of Atlantic City, guests can take a ride on Steel Pier’s 227-ft.-high Observation Wheel, opened last December. A 350-ft.-high vertical Polercoaster debuts next year. In the midst of all these developments and the glitz of casino entertainment, what is perhaps Atlantic City’s greatest natural asset might be overlooked: the Atlantic Ocean. “I think sometimes we take it for granted because we see it everyday,” says Harvey. “We did a Back Bay cruise this past weekend as part of one of our fam trips, and people were blown away that they could be out there fishing or on a chartered boat. Our ecotourism continues to flourish. People are pleasantly surprised when we say, ‘Oh, you can do a little bird watching or go fishing.’ I think another lessexplored area is our fantastic golf; there are over 25 courses within 30 minutes of Atlantic City.” These close-to-nature experiences can afford groups a pleasant escape from the action at the resorts. But ultimately, that energy is a big part of the city’s draw, and it’s on the rise. “We’re seeing the revitalization of our destination,” Harvey says, “and you can feel the energy when you come to Atlantic City.” FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


IONS

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DES S & TI

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BALLOT

Fill Out Form & Mail, Email or Fax Your Vote: Facilities & Destinations 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016 Fax: (212) 213-6382 • Email: ballots@facilitiesonline.com

AWARDS Meeting Hotel Executive of the Year

CVB Executive of the Year

1. Name:_____________________________________________

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Company: _________________________________________

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Convention Center Executive of the Year

Nominated By: Name, Title: __________________________________________

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FAC I L I T I E S & D E S T I N AT I O N S

PRISM PRIME SITE MEETING H OT E L AWA R D W I N N E R S 2018

2019 Prime Site Meeting Hotel Awards Ballot

VOTE for the top hotels, resorts and conference centers your group has used for its meetings in the last three years. Please base your vote(s) on the following criteria: • Attractiveness and functionality • Technological capabilities • Quality of staff and conference planner • Teambuilding • Food & beverage/catering • Lighting • Acoustics • Climate control • Proximity to airport & other transportation • Onsite or offsite lodging • Other support services • Front-desk operations • Setups and breakdowns • Room décor • Quality/size of ballroom • Special packages • Spa • Nearby attractions FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

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

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Your name and title _____________________________________ Organization ___________________________________________ Phone _________________________________________________ Email __________________________________________________ Additional comments ___________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ May we contact you? Yes___ No___ Fill Out Form & Mail, Email or Fax Your Vote: Facilities & Destinations 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016 Fax: (212) 213-6382 Email: ballots@facilitiesonline.com

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DESTINATION

PHOENIX A BURG E ON IN G KN O W L E D G E EC O N O M Y I S AM O N G T H E R EASO N S FOR TH E C IT Y ’S S UC C ESS I N T H E M E E T I N G S M AR K E T By George Seli

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ike many a large metropolis, downtown Phoenix is replete with diversions for the attendee with a little free time to spare. Recreational assets include sports arenas, live music, museums, theaters, art galleries and over 100 restaurants. But the business and educational infrastructure of Phoenix’s downtown seems to be gathering more attention among convention groups these days. The city’s developing tech and healthcare industries, along with several major educational institutions located downtown, present fruitful collaboration opportunities for many incoming groups. “We are positioning downtown Phoenix as a leader in the ‘knowledge economy,’” says Lorne Edwards, Vice President of Sales & Services at Visit Phoenix. “With downtown assets such as the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, Arizona State University schools, the relocation of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, along with more and more innovative companies branding into the downtown area, we see an incredible opportunity to attract large conventions looking to be a part of a community that’s growing rapidly.” The downtown’s growth was front and center when Phoenix hosted the CyberMed Summit in partnership with Association Forum. “Eight C-level decision makers representing a cross section of Chicago-based healthcare, medical and scientific trade associations attended,” Edwards 22

relates. “Not only did the attendees participate in discussion on the impact of technology and big data, but they were also able to see how far downtown Phoenix has come. With last year’s success in mind, we are working to make this event happen again in spring 2019.” A variety of local healthcare organizations, such as Banner Health, Dignity Health and Mayo Clinic, will participate. Edwards was recently promoted to his current position, having joined Visit Phoenix five years ago as Director of Sales after a 16-year career at Hyatt Hotels Corporation. For most of that time, the city’s meetings business has been on an unprecedented upswing. “We have experienced record years four years in a row as a market,” he observes. “Local hotels have reached historical highs in both rate and occupancy. The meetings and conventions segment is very healthy in our market, and we have reason to be optimistic about the future outlook of the convention industry across the destination.” Helping to raise the city’s profile in the events industry is its selection as host for both the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four in 2023 and 2024, respectively. “Having hosted these marquee events in recent years, and again being selected to host them in the future, says a lot about our appeal as a meeting and event destination,” Edwards notes. “This has given our entire market a significant boost in capturing not only more conventions, but from more diverse FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


The Phoenix Convention Center has dedicated stops on the Metro Light Rail (below)

View of downtown Phoenix from South Mountain Park and Preserve

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OR E A ND MOR E I N N O VAT I V E C OMPA NIE S [A R E ] B RAN D I N G INTO THE DOW NTOWN A RE A . W E SE E A N INC R EDIB L E O PP OR TUNITY TO AT T RACT L A RGE CO N V E NTIONS L OOKI N G T O B E A PAR T OF A C OMMUNI T Y T H AT ’ S GRO W I N G RA P I D LY.”

—Lorne Edwards, Vice President of Sales & Services, Visit Phoenix

business segments.” The Super Bowl and NCAA events certainly help to raise awareness of Phoenix among convention attendees, especially the sports fans. But what most captures the attention of meeting planners are the economic and logistical advantages of the city. The summer rates for venues and accommodations are relatively low, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport “continually ranks as one of the most affordable airports in the U.S.,” according to Edwards. On the logistical side, the airport’s five-mile FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

distance from the downtown, together with the city’s walkability, are major plusses. “The Phoenix Convention Center, Talking Stick Resort Arena and Chase Field are all located in the center of our downtown, just minutes to more than 3,200 committable guestrooms and over 200 restaurants and venues,” he says. “If our attendees want to venture out, they can hop on the light rail and access Mesa, Tempe and North Phoenix.”

CONVENTION CENTER AND HOTEL PACKAGE

The Phoenix Convention Center comprises North, West and South buildings. The North Building features 635,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space, including a street-level ballroom, 11 exhibit halls and 56 meeting rooms. A glassencased sky bridge links the North Building to the West Building, a LEED-certified facility offering 157,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space. Function spaces include a ballroom with 30-ft. ceilings and telescopic seating, 32 flexible meeting rooms, an adjoining performance center and a dedicated Executive Conference Level with a 192-seat lecture hall. The South Building houses 23 function rooms, all of which have benefitted from a recent $18.5 million refurbishment. 23


property is the 183-room Mountain Shadows, which features 12,500 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space and 25,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space. A highlight of Mountain Shadows is Hearth ’61, led by Chef Charles Wiley, who has been named “One of the Best Hotel Chefs of America” by the James Beard Foundation and Chef Honoree of the Scottsdale Hall of Fame. A traditional Mexican rodeo at Corona Ranch awaits groups just south of downtown Phoenix Major investments have also been made into renovating many of the Phoenix area’s upscale resorts, including the following: The Hermosa Inn completed a $5.5 million-dollar renovation and expansion in February 2017. The project added 10 deluxe hideaway casitas and renovated 12 historic rancho casitas, among other enhancements. The AAA Four Diamond boutique hotel offers a total of 29,000 sq. ft. of indoor function space. This June, the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa introduced the 15,000-sq.-ft. Paradise Ballroom. The Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel completed a $13 million renovation in October 2017. The Phoenician’s multiyear renovation began in summer 2016 and the final phase will be completed in the first quarter of next year. Already-completed projects include the redesign of all guestrooms and casitas, expansion of the Phoenician Pools, redesign of the main lobby, introduction of two new restaurants, and more. Upcoming enhancements include redesigns of the Phoenician Golf Course, Clubhouse and J&G Steakhouse. Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort completed a $4 million renovation in April 2018. The project refreshed all 12 Spa Casitas and 12 Spa Suites, as well as refurbished and expanded the Sanctuary Spa.

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In addition, several hotels have opened in the past two years, including the 105-room FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel and 210-room Hampton Inn, both within one mile of the convention center. Other newcomers include the 136-room Cambria Hotel Phoenix Chandler – Fashion Center, 130-room Cambria Hotel North Scottsdale Desert Ridge, 148-room AC Hotel Phoenix Biltmore and 185-room Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa. The latter offers 10,000 sq. ft. and 36,000 sq. ft. of flexible indoor and outdoor event space, respectively. Another intriguing new 24

RICH OFFSITE POSSIBILITIES

In downtown Phoenix, attendees can explore CityScape, a two-block concentration of restaurants, bars and fashion shops. On the cultural side, the city is home to institutions such as the Phoenix Art Museum and Musical Instrument Museum, as well as art walks and films on Roosevelt Row. Fitness-oriented groups may consider a bike tour of the downtown, which Visit Phoenix once coordinated for a group of potential clients. “Meeting and event planners in town for a buyer’s education trip were treated to an immersive Phoenix experience in 48 hours. Our team secured over a dozen grid bikes and took them on a bike tour of downtown that might only be seen from the point of view of a local,” Edwards relates. “The group stopped along the route to check out the numerous murals by local artists, enjoyed mini tastings at restaurants, along with stops along the way for Arizona beer samplings. This potential attendee experience was aptly titled ‘Bikes, Bites & Brew – Downtown Phoenix.’” Edwards also describes what is perhaps an even more adventurous offsite activity. “Last year, Visit Phoenix hosted a group who was looking for that authentic Phoenix experience, and we introduced Corona Ranch to them for a cultural experience that they might not find anywhere else,” he says. “The group was bussed just 10 minutes south of downtown Phoenix, and greeted with margaritas and mariachi before getting to enjoy the Charreada (traditional Mexican rodeo).” Arranging these memorable experiences is among the CVB’s services, and tailoring those services to the client is the overarching principle. Promotional service is one example. “Our services team offers marketing assistance to meeting planners to target groups’ interests or needs. We do this through one-on-one meetings, print, video and customized marketing offerings per group,” Edwards explains. “We also offer custom amenities for groups after talking with clients to find out what items really means a lot to their team when they are away from home for several days. We find that personal relationships with our clients is often what sets us apart.” FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


2018

T

PREEMINENT MEETINGS INDUSTRY SHOW OFFERS PLANNERS MORE INSPIRATION EACH YEAR

his year’s edition of IMEX America boasts over Zone. On the socializing and networking side, attendees are 180 learning sessions designed to both inform and welcomed to the IMEX Run, a Women in Events Happy inspire your work as an event planner. From the Hour at the Event Tech Tribe booth, and the MPI Foundation standpoint of education, the show prides itself on Rendezvous late on Wednesday. The proceedings wrap thought leadership, and a standout example is its up on Thursday with the show’s final keynote, “Emotions Inspiration Hub. Sessions take place throughout and Technology: An Exploration of Audience Connection,” the show at the hub, organized into 10 subject tracks includpresented by new IMEX partner C2 International. ing business skills, sustainSpeaking of technology, ability, marketing and social attendees may wish to manage media, trends and research, their exhibitor appointments, and creative learning. Engaglocate booths and receive show ing topics this year include the updates via the new IMEX use of social media as a crisis America app (download by management tool (presented by searching for “EventReference” in davies + dixon) and removing the Apple App Store or Google self-doubt as a woman in the Play and choosing events code meetings industry (presented “IA18”). The app is an ideal tool by Bold Life & Biz). given the breadth of the show, More inspiration comes from where over 3,300 destinations, the IMEX Live Zone and the venues and suppliers from 130Legacy Wall. The Live Zone is plus countries will be exhibiting. IMEX America’s Inspiration Hub a trove of ideas for interactive Among the new and expanded attendee experiences that will spark their creativity, from exhibitors are Meet New York, Malta Tourism Authority, puppetry to digital caricaturing. The Legacy Wall, located Nobu Hotels, Visit Dallas, Pacifica Hotels, Detroit Metro on the show floor, brings to life the success stories of over 60 Convention & Visitors Bureau, Croatian National Tourist exhibitors, attendees, partners and IMEX staff. Board, Mexico, Royal Caribbean International and From Tuesday, Oct. 16 through Thursday, Oct. 18, IMEX Bermuda Tourism Authority. keeps up a brisk pace of inspirational, educational and F&D, an IMEX Official Media Partner, brings you networking activities. Highlights on Tuesday include Kelly a sampling of destinations exhibiting at the show in the McDonald’s MPI opening day keynote on leadership and following pages. We hope that the growing meeting diversity, as well as the EIC Hall of Leaders and Pacesetter industries of destinations as diverse as Maui, Jerusalem and Awards Celebration that evening. Wednesday’s offerings Peru inspire some of your future site choices. But most of include the IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum and all, we hope your experience at this year’s IMEX America is Faculty Engagement Program and the always-popular Tech productive and rewarding.

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©

WELCOME TO IMEX AMERICA 2018 IMEX AMERICA has arrived and Las Vegas is looking forward to another exciting and action-packed year. There is never a shortage of things to do or see in the destination, and IMEX is the perfect time to showcase all of the new offerings and experiences. One of the most significant developments taking shape in Las Vegas is the evolution of our city as a major player in the world of sports. This year, IMEX America comes at the perfect time to catch a Vegas Golden Knights hockey game. The energy around T-Mobile Arena when the team hits the ice truly echoes the energy of our city. In addition to the incredible roster of special events taking place in the destination, Las Vegas is now home to the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces and the United Soccer League’s Las Vegas Lights, and the NFL’s Raider franchise is also preparing to come to southern Nevada. It’s a great time to be a sports fan in Las Vegas. True to our reputation, our partners are always adding new experiences including shows, restaurants, shopping venues, attractions and more. The great news is, Las Vegas is a 24-hour town so there will be plenty of things to do and see after meetings wrap up for the day. In the meetings world, Las Vegas continues to prove its strength after hosting a record-breaking 6.6 million business travelers in 2017 and being named North America’s No. 1 tradeshow destination for the 24th consecutive year. All of this success has sparked billions of dollars in investment throughout the destination to support the high demand for bringing events to Las Vegas. Since IMEX America 2017, ARIA Resort & Casino unveiled an additional 200,000 sq. ft. of technology-focused, flexible meeting space highlighted by stunning indoor/open-air verandas and spectacular views of The Park and T-Mobile Arena. Caesars Entertainment broke ground on its $375 million, 550,000-sq.-ft. conference center named Caesars Forum this summer. The venue is scheduled to open in 2020. Construction of the Las Vegas Convention Center District is also moving forward at an exciting pace. The expansion phase of the project will add 1.4 million sq. ft. to the current convention center facility, including at least 600,000 sq. ft. of new, leasable exhibit space. The expansion is slated for completion in time to welcome CES in 2021. Another important development is also taking shape at Wynn Las Vegas. Scheduled for a 2020 opening, this new 280,000-sq.-ft. complex is described as an oasis in the desert on repurposed land that was previously the Wynn golf course. The Waldorf Astoria also made its Las Vegas debut recently after assuming operations of the Mandarin Oriental, adding even more options for guests seeking a luxury experience. We are grateful for our relationship with IMEX and hope you’ll take the time to explore the destination and speak with our partners to discover what Las Vegas has to offer for future events. Here’s to another wonderful show! —Cathy Tull, Chief Marketing Officer, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority

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THE BAHAMAS O PEN E D T H I S YE A R , B AH A M A R EX E M P L I F I ES T H E L U X U R I O U S SI D E O F T H E I SL AN D S By Laura Janelle Downey

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n April, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism reported that nearly 600,000 people visited the Bahamas in just the first four months of this year. It’s easy to see why tourists flock to this destination: The country offers pristine beaches, great food and serene weather with temperatures in the high 70s to 80s for at least 300 days of the year. For the same reasons, North American meeting and incentive groups have headed to the archipelago, which consists of 700-plus islands. Attendees can fly to Nassau, the capital city, in under two hours from Miami International Airport and about two hours from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The easily accessible destination affords planners convenience as well, with local DMCs offering an array of offsite activities for guests. For years, it seemed like the only spacious ocean-side lodging option available to travelers was the massive Atlantis resort, located 15 minutes from Nassau. Built in the late ‘90s, the property became a one-stop shop for conferences with its 50,000-sq.-ft. ballrooms, teambuilding retreats and more. Then, a little over two decades later, enters the multibillion-dollar resort, Baha Mar. Comprised of three hotels — Rosewood Baha Mar, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and SLS Baha Mar (an sbe brand) — the complex boasts something for everyone with its Jack Nicklausdesigned golf course, racquet club, flagship ESPA spa and 40-plus restaurants. Groups have 200,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor convention space at their disposal. Although each Baha Mar hotel stands out on its own, those who prefer a luxurious yet playful setting turn to the 299-room SLS

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Baha Mar, which offers more than 12,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor function space.

SLS BAHA MAR HOSTS POLYCON18

Events and marketing company Untraceable Inc. organized a three-day conference at the SLS Baha Mar for POLYCON18, a event dedicated to crypto-securities tokens. According to Tracy Lerparulo, CEO of Untraceable, her company was in need of an outdoor venue that could comfortably hold a cocktail hour and dinner party for 350 guests. They chose the 5,000-sq.-ft. Bungalow Pool. “We needed an outdoor space that would accommodate our capacity, could be flexible with furniture rearrangement, and had spaces available for multiple bars and suitable areas for a screen or multiple screens if needed,” Lerparulo says. “This venue stood out from other venues we could have went with because it contained a large pool down the center of the space. We were able to completely reserve and section off our party. It had a spectacular view of the hotel, it was easy to locate and convenient to get to for the majority of our guests, and it contained uniform cabanas on each side of the venue that allowed us to set up various food spaces.” In an effort to make this night under the stars shine bright, the staff at SLS worked seamlessly to ensure the meeting planners at Untraceable, Inc. had everything they needed. “The team at SLS Baha Mar, specifically [Director of Events, Catering and Conference Services] Robin Ewing, was extremely helpful, accommodating and went above and beyond to make our vision become a reality,” Lerparulo says. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


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“ HE TE A M AT S LS B A H A M A R, S P EC IF IC A L LY [ D I RE CT O R O F EV E NTS , C ATE R ING AN D CO NF E R E NC E S ER V I CE S ] R O BIN EW ING , WA S E X T RE M E LY HE L P F UL , A C C OMM O D AT I N G AN D WE NT A BOV E A ND B E Y O N D T O M A KE OUR V IS ION B E CO M E A RE A L I T Y.” —Tracy Lerparulo, CEO, Untraceable, Inc.

“SLS Baha Mar brought in the AV necessary for our screen, presentations and speakers. They rearranged and set up the furniture layout extremely quickly for our party and they arranged the security at the entrance of our event to keep it private. Robin did an outstanding job coordinating the catering and food stations, and provided us successful recommendations for food options for the amount of people we had in attendance.”

SLS Baha Mar. (Above): The picturesque Twin Brothers Seafood & Steakhouse in Nassau

F&B AND ENTERTAINMENT VENUES

The SLS brand stays true to its “Style, Luxury, Service” motto. There’s an air of glamour at this tropical sanctuary, which is evident upon arrival. At the signature lobby bar, Monkey Bar, guests can savor cocktails such as the popular ruminfused Dark & Stormy Little Sky while viewing the intriguing portrait lineup of monkeys dressed up in everything from suits to sunglasses on the nearby wall. More diversion awaits at Privilege, the hotel’s upscale party pool. Those who prefer a calmer scene can grab a chaise lounge at the Bungalow Pool Bar & Grill. SLS Baha Mar includes Bond, a 10,000-sq.ft. nightclub, and three sbe restaurants plus Bungalow Pool Bar & Grill. Each eatery represents a different flavor profile. The Mediterraneaninspired menu at Cleo by chef Danny Elmaleh serves up popular starters such as hummus with tahini and brussels sprouts sprinkled with almonds, capers, parsley, and red wine vinaigrette. Choose from saffron rice, steak kebab and more for the main dishes. In the Italian tradition, James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz dishes out everything from corn agnolotti to a pan-roasted snapper with whipped potato at Fi’lia. Another popular place is Katsuya. The in-crowd comes here for chef Katsuya Uechi’s creamy rock shrimp tempura, baked crab hand roll and other tasty options. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

For more casual dining, guests turn to the Bungalow Pool Bar & Grill for everything from French fries to piña coladas. These laidback experiences can certainly ease the tension of a meeting schedule, and put attendees in touch with the spirit of the Bahamas. 29


HOKKAIDO J APAN ’ S N ORTH E RN MO S T IS L AN D H AS M U C H T O EN T I C E M I C E G R O U P S By Debi Lander

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olcanic mountains, lakes and valleys cover Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan where Sapporo, the largest city, reigns as the capital. Many recall it as the site of the 1972 Winter Olympics. For meeting and incentive attendees who prize outdoor activities, Hokkaido offers everything from hiking, mountain biking and rafting to bird watching and spring baths. New Chitose Airport outside of Sapporo is accessible from all of Japan’s major airports. Attendees can also use Japan Rail Pass to take the bullet train to Hokkaido from Tokyo. However they get to Hokkaido, they will have a variety of unique experiences to choose from.

SAPPORO

The Sapporo Convention Center can handle large events in its 28,000-sq.-ft. main hall, which accommodates 2,500 attendees theater style. It also houses a 700-capacity conference hall, 600-capacity mid-sized hall and 193-capacity small hall, along with 15 other meeting rooms. The Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo is an accessible, upscale lodging option for delegates convening at the convention Center, and has its own banquet rooms. The Sapporo Beer Garden and Museum makes an ideal venue for group dinners featuring the local specialty: a Genghis Khan meal or Mongolian BBQ. The menu includes mutton and vegetables grilled by diners on a burner in the middle of the table. Add the famous Sapporo beer, and a lively atmosphere fires the night. Another attraction is the Sapporo Winter Festival. Internationally renowned for imaginative ice sculptures, the festival annually attracts over two million people. 30

Mount Yotei, in Shikotsu-Toya National Park

OTARU

The prosperous herring fisheries in Otaru created a family fortune for father and son Tomekichi and Masakichi Aoyama. With a crew of 40, they began to build a grand villa in 1917. The palace took six years to complete. Old Aoyama Villa, a cultural property, now welcomes visitors, and offers an adjoining building for meetings and authentic Japanesestyle meals.

YOCHI

The popularity of Japanese whisky has lately been soaring in the spirits world. The Nikka Distillery in Yochi produces Japanese Whisky and offers tours. The factory founder went to Scotland to study in 1918, returned with a Scottish wife, and became known as the Father of Japanese Whisky. The buildings look more like those in the hills of Scotland than what you’d expect to see in Japan. Tours are given only in Japanese, but self-guiding pamphlets are available in many languages. Tours include the tasting of three varieties.

NISEKO

The Niseko Ski Resort, known as the St. Moritz of Japan, is an up-and-coming destination for international groups. An alpine village rests at the bottom of several ski hills. A gondola entrance lies just steps from the Hilton Nikeso Village lobby, making it extremely convenient for guests. According to aficionados, the snow is a “feather-like powder and excellent for skiing.” Americans, especially ski clubs, are discovering the site’s blanketing of 580 inches a year, which leaves it with twice as much powder as most resorts in North America. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido (Below): The Nikka Distillery in Yochi

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HE P OP UL A R ITY O F J A PAN E S E W HIS KY HA S L AT E LY B E E N S O ARI N G IN THE S P IR ITS W O RL D . T H E N I K K A D I S TIL L E R Y IN Y OC H I P RO D U CE S J APA NES E W HIS KY AN D O F F E RS T O U RS .

ONSEN BATHING

Meeting attendees may wish to experience the traditional custom of Japanese hot mineral springs baths, or onsen bathing, even if they feel a bit self-conscious. The single-sex hot springs are beautifully illuminated and discreetly landscaped with trees and bushes. Many baths lie scattered throughout Hokkaido, but the Hilton Niseko contains an outstanding in-house option to complement its fabulous meeting rooms. My guide explained that I’d find a yukata, or lightweight robe, for the onsen in my room. Bathers wear it to the locker room and must shower and thoroughly cleanse before entering the baths.

TOYA

For top-tier meetings, planners may consider the Windsor Hotel TOYA Resort & Spa, site of the G8 Summit in 2008. The luxurious resort (located 500 miles north of Tokyo), FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

sits atop a hill providing 360-degree views of Lake Toya. Lofty ceilings and a golden ambiance create a lobby perfect for chatting over drinks. Japanese cuisine is featured in the Arashiyama Kitcho restaurant and French cuisine in Michael Bra’s first restaurant outside of France. Surrounded by an 18-hole golf course, the lodge is handy during warm weather and becomes a Snow Village for skiers and snowboarders in the winter. Tennis courts, a spa and hot springs are available onsite. For more information on Hokkaido, visit the Japan National Tourism Organization website: www.japan.travel/ en/destinations/hokkaido/hokkaido. 31


GETTING EVENTS ON TRACK IN

JERUSALEM

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AN ENHA N C E D RA IL S Y S T E M M A K ES T H E C I T Y EVEN M O R E VI AB L E FO R IN TE R N AT I O N AL M E E T I N G S

ing Solomon is said to have coined the proverb, “There is no new thing under the sun,” and in a city rich with history that dates back 4,000 years, finding something new might be challenging. While the biblical quote from Ecclesiastes clearly has a deeper meaning, modern Jerusalem is giving meeting planners something new to get excited about in the ancient city. One of its oldest businesses has been tourism, which dates back millennia. The Bible itself, followed by thousands of years of literature, speaks of pilgrims headed to the city’s sacred sites. Ilanit Melchior, Director of Tourism for the Jerusalem Convention and Visitors Bureau (JCVB), joked, “Until recently, the attitude of tourism officials in Jerusalem was not to worry, that God would send the tourists.” But that attitude changed a few years ago, when in 2015, the JCVB was created to promote the city as a destination for conferences and exhibitions. Narrow roads with names like Jaffa Street or Gaza Road were the main thoroughfares for intercity travel by horse, camel or donkey for hundreds of years. This decade has seen massive improvements to Jerusalem’s infrastructure, including a light rail line that has eased access throughout the city. Israel’s capital will soon be even more accessible with

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a direct rail line from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport to Jerusalem’s city center that is estimated to cut the trip to about 20 minutes. The light rail has a stop that will connect to the intercity train, situated directly across the street from the modern central bus station — a hub for shopping, dining and intercity transportation within Israel. The same central stop is home to Binyanei HaUma – International Convention Center Jerusalem (ICC). The ICC, a member of ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) and AIPC, is Jerusalem’s address for larger meetings and exhibitions. With over 320,000 sq. ft. of function space, its main exhibition hall has hosted major tradeshows and expos. Its central auditorium seats over 3,100 delegates and is ideal for keynote addresses or lectures, as well as concerts and theatrical performances. Of note, former U.S. President Barack Obama addressed Israeli students from the stage of the ICC during his visit to Israel in 2013. Crowne Plaza Jerusalem is steps away from the ICC and serves as a “headquarters” hotel. The 397-room property has generous amounts of flexible indoor and outdoor event space. The Grand Ballroom spans over 6,900 sq. ft., and opens to a spacious patio. Also within walking distance of the ICC is the 298-room Jerusalem Gate Hotel, whose largest ballroom, FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


Jerusalem’s International Convention Center. (Below): The Holyland model of ancient Jerusalem at the Israel Museum, a unique setting for offsite events

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Aderet Hall, extends onto an outdoor balcony with pleasant views of Jerusalem’s hills. It should be noted that while Jerusalem does have a winter season when it rains and might even snow, the city benefits from the balmy Mediterranean weather most of the year. Thus, outdoor events are commonplace, especially in the evening hours when the cooler climates afforded by its mountain location set in. Both properties are located near the city’s transit hub, and the Jerusalem Gate is contiguous with the Center One shopping mall. As noted, the city’s light rail significantly improves access to the hotel inventory for groups, putting properties within minutes of the ICC. One stop from the ICC is the 606-room Ramada Jerusalem, the city’s largest hotel. The Ramada’s Grand Ballroom has close to 11,000 sq. ft. of flexible function space, and its lawns and poolside space present additional opportunities for a diverse range of events. Jerusalem’s Israel Museum, situated on a sprawling campus near the Knesset — Israel’s parliament — is a short distance from the ICC. The museum, known as the home to the Dead Sea Scrolls, is a repository of art and treasures from the Jewish world and Israel, as well as collections from FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

SR A EL’ S CA P ITA L WILL SO O N BE EV EN M O R E A CCESSIBLE WIT H A D IR ECT R A IL LINE FR O M T EL AV IV’S BEN GUR IO N INT ER NAT IO NAL A IR P O R T T O JER USA LEM ’ S CIT Y CENT ER T HAT IS EST IM AT ED T O CUT T HE T RI P T O A BO UT 20 M INUT ES

around the world. Its lecture halls and auditoriums, not to mention its spacious gardens and exhibition galleries, make ideal settings for group gatherings.

THE OLD CITY

In the opposite direction on the light rail, new meets old, as one commutes toward the historic Old City. Ancient maps depict Jerusalem as the center of the world, the point of convergence of the three continents of the Old World. Of major importance to all Abrahamic faiths, Jerusalem’s Old City has been the site of religious pilgrimages for thousands of years. While the city is ancient, it is within these walls that the faiths coexist: Christians visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and walk the stations of the Cross; Muslims pray at a site where the Prophet Mohammed is said to have ascended to Heaven; and Jews worship at the wall of the site of King Solomon’s, and later, Herod’s rebuilt temple. Outside of the city walls — which are not ancient but were 33


(Above): The King David Hotel, with the Jerusalem International YMCA in the foreground. (Top): The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem’s four-story atrium fortified during medieval times by Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent — there was little settlement until the 19th century. In areas west of the city walls (along Jaffa Street, where the light rail stops), as well as near King David Street, there is a series of hotels with meeting spaces that are ideal for religious event planners seeking proximity to the holy sites. The properties are also ideal for congress organizers, whose delegates can easily reach the ICC via the light rail, cab or public transportation. The King David Hotel has been synonymous with luxury and the address for countless foreign dignitaries visiting Israel since its construction in 1931. The hotel’s 233 rooms include spacious suites that overlook the Old City walls and Jaffa Gate. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, the property includes a stately ballroom and other public areas that create a unique setting for group events. Across the street, built shortly after the King David Hotel, is the Jerusalem International YMCA. The center’s design elements incorporate artistry from the city’s three major faiths, and its architect, Arthur Loomis Harmon, designed New York’s Empire State Building. Aside from serving as the site of a health center that to this day welcomes all Jerusalemites — from Orthodox Jewish men with yarmulkes to Arab women with hijabs — its function spaces are in demand. Of note is its 600-seat auditorium, ideal for keynote addresses, but also commonly sought after for concerts due 34

to its extraordinary acoustics. Also notable are the YMCA’s lawns and gardens, where wedding and general photo shoots are commonly seen, as well as the 56-room Three Arches Hotel, located onsite. Jerusalem’s luxurious Palace Hotel was built in 1929, but closed its doors and became British government offices during the 1930s. Seven decades later, the historic façade was kept, but the entire structure was redesigned from the ground up to create the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. The modern 226-room property opened in 2014 and has 12 spacious ballrooms — each named for one of the 12 tribes of Israel, with the largest being approximately 9,600 sq. ft. — and generous amounts of prefunction space. Two additional luxury properties, the 194-room Mamilla Hotel and 384-room David Citadel Hotel, are adjacent to an upscale open-air mall that incorporates shops into original late 19th/early 20th century architecture with direct access to the Old City’s Jaffa Gate. Both properties are newly constructed and contain meeting space. In and around Jerusalem’s Old City, The Tower of David, Davidson Center at the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, and City of David are three sites rich with history dating back hundreds to thousands of years. Each site can host outdoor events and give attendees a taste of what has made the city a focal point to people of all faiths over the centuries. Zedekiah’s Cave is located in a large cave under the Old City’s Muslim Quarter. Believed to be the quarry from which Herod obtained stones for his building campaigns, the cavernous site is used for receptions and concerts. Aish, located within the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, is a modern hall with indoor and outdoor space overlooking the Temple Mount and Western Wall Plaza. The venue’s meeting spaces includes a theater-style auditorium and banquet hall.

FIRST STATION

During centuries of the Ottomans’ dominance over the region, Jerusalem became a stop on the rail line that transported goods and passengers across their empire. While the train line and stop at Jerusalem’s first train station ceased operations during the latter half of the 1990s, the historical 19th century structures, rail yard and surrounding area have been refurbished, creating the aptly titled First Station. The area includes an open-air mall and plaza with shops and restaurants, as well as an over 19,000-sq.-ft. exhibition space in a structure called the First Hangar. The newly built, 243-room Orient Jerusalem is located directly across the road from the station. The modern hotel is anchored in history, with two repurposed late 19th century Templar structures near the entrance. Groups have the 4,265-sq.-ft. Banqueting and Conference Center at their disposal, as well as rooftop poolside space overlooking Mount Zion and Jerusalem’s Old City. One of the tour guides during our visit described a miracle in ancient Jerusalem’s Temple Courtyard: Despite the limited space, it seemingly expanded to comfortably contain the masses of pilgrims during their thrice-yearly visits. Unfortunately, this article cannot contain all there is to write about Jerusalem and its venues. We recommend communicating with the Jerusalem CVB or visiting jerusalemcvb.com for additional information. —David Korn FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


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Ka’anapali Beach, considered one of Maui’s signature beaches

MAUI

A STATE OF MIN D C ON D UC IV E T O M EET I N G S

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hile singer/songwriter LAHAINA Billy Joel sings of Headed north from the “ A U I B R INGS O UT GR EAT CR EAT IV IT Y IN being in a “New York aquarium one will pass the State of Mind,” Maui AT T E N D EES WHO WO R K WHILE FEELING T HAT city of Lahaina, once a capital has a state of mind of Hawaii. A town where T H E Y ARE P LAY ING. ” all its own. Respect whalers and sailors once —Angela Vento, for the island’s history, culture and docked, today’s Lahaina is General Manager, Wailea Beach Resort heritage as well as nature is imbued mostly known for its shops, throughout island life and incorrestaurants and waterfront porated into many daily activities. activities. Maui’s west coast is Groups visiting the island are bound a birthing ground for whales, to hear the saying “Maui no ka ‘oi” (Maui is best). It may seem and the waters off Lahaina’s coast are home to the Hawaiian somewhat boastful, but after experiencing Maui, attendees Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. may be inclined to agree. Minutes from Lahaina is the Ka’anapali Beach Resort area. Four islands make up Maui, with the island of Maui The first resort headed north along Ka’anapali’s three-mile itself being the main population center. Much of the island strip of beachfront is the 806-room Hyatt Regency Maui. The is protected, from the east coast’s Hana Forest Reserve resort has over 100,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor function and Haleakala National Park to the West Maui Forest space. Its largest space, the 17,000-sq.-ft. Monarchy Ballroom, Reserve on the other side of the island. The west coast offers natural lighting and an adjacent pre-function space that is where much of the island’s tourism is focused. Upon has an open-air corridor providing ocean breezes. Equipped landing, travelers can ascend northward to a peninsula of with AV technology, the Halona Kai is a 9,650-sq.-ft. terrace sorts that some say is shaped like a head, or southward to that overlooks the ocean coastline below. more recently developed areas. There is no wrong direction The 508-room Sheraton Maui Resort, located on the — although if headed north, it is advised to proceed with other end of Ka’anapali, is one of the forbearers of the caution if taking the scenic but rugged and at times island’s resorts. Over the years, the property has developed dangerous Highway 30. a keen respect for the island’s heritage and traditions; it Midway between the northern and southern west coast even provides an onsite cultural advisor. Yet the hotel areas is the Maui Ocean Center, the aquarium of Hawaii. management is also forward-thinking, and the property was With a mission to protect and advocate for Hawaii’s marine readying for a $26.5 million facelift of its guestrooms and life, the aquarium is home to one of the largest collections suites during our visit. The Sheraton Maui houses impressive of live Pacific corals in the world. The aquarium’s central function spaces indoors and out; its 12,000 sq. ft. Ocean Lawn, location makes it ideal for hosting events after closing hours. for example, is the largest outdoor event space in Ka’anapali. Outdoor spaces include patios with pools that house local Another noteworthy event space is the over 6,500-sq.-ft. Maui marine life overlooking Ma’alaea Bay. A favorite indoor Ballroom, which can accommodate more than 600 people. function, says the Maui Ocean Center’s Ann Pascua, is Headed further northward, groups might consider a the “Shark Tank Dinner,” where diners can peer into the walk along the Kapalua Coastal Trail, located within the 750,000-gallon Open Ocean exhibit in which varieties of oceanside resort area that was once home to a pineapple sharks and other local sea life are housed for study. plantation. A hike provides a combination of mesmerizing 36

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FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


scenes, including white-sand beaches and ancient lava flows whose rocks have been shaped by millennia of crashing waves. While manmade, a number of resorts are sure to impress onlookers and guests even more so. Two of the resorts within Kapalua include the Montage, a residentialstyle property with 50 units that would be ideal for upscale meeting and incentive groups, and the 463-room RitzCarlton Kapalua. The Ritz-Carlton recently concluded a multimillion-dollar renovation that included its guestrooms and suites, lobby and what is being billed as a pool experience. The resort’s 40,000 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space includes an over 15,000-sq.-ft. ballroom. Outdoor function space spans over 173,000 sq. ft. and includes lawns, terraces, a theater area and the open-air, 19,000-sq.-ft. Aloha Garden Pavilion. Like the Sheraton Maui, the Ritz-Carlton provides an onsite cultural advisor who gives guests a sense of the island’s history and traditions. In addition, Deanna Miller, Communications Manager at the property, relayed that many groups show interest in the brand’s “Give Back Getaways” and other programming supporting local ecological efforts and communities.

The Sheraton Maui is well stocked in indoor and outdoor event spaces

WAILEA

To the south, the peak of Haleakala, the volcano that formed most of Maui, slopes downward to the ocean. Along the coast is Wailea, a mixed-use residential and resort area formed around what was once a fishing village. The name translates to the “waters of Lea” (the Hawaiian goddess of canoebuilders) and reflects the communal life of the past. Wailea’s beachfront is home to an all-star lineup of properties that includes the 395-room Four Seasons Maui, which offers more than 30,000 sq. ft. of event space on its luxurious grounds, and the Fairmont Kea Lani. The Fairmont offers 37 secluded villas segregated from the general property’s 413 suites, and has 42,000 sq. ft. of function space. Attendees may wish to visit the 776-room Waldorf Astoria branded Grand Wailea even if they are not staying on site. The property’s design elements reflect the Japanese heritage of its original developer, and its art collection includes museum-worthy paintings and sculptures. Function space at the property is plentiful, and includes the 26,700-sq.-ft. Haleakala Ballroom among 22 indoor meeting and banquet spaces. Outdoor spaces include terraces, beachfront lawns, gardens and a reflecting pool that presents an elegant setting for events. While the Grand Wailea has a lazy river, the nearby 547room Marriott-branded Wailea Beach Resort takes onsite water activities to a new level — five-and-a-half stories to be precise. The resort’s NALU Adventure Pool (NALU) contains four water slides, including the longest waterslide of any resort in Hawaii — featuring a five-and-a-half story drop. The Wailea Beach Resort offers 72,000 sq. ft. of outdoor function space and 30,000 sq. ft. indoors. In addition to terraces and a lawn overlooking the ocean, a 16,000-sq.-ft. rooftop area provides views of the grounds and ocean in a more private setting. The largest ballroom spans over 18,000 sq. ft., with pre-function space and terraces that expand the contiguous space by an additional 10,000 sq. ft. The $120 million upgrades to the Wailea Beach Resort FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, is known for its Japanese design elements include the NALU, room enhancements, new dining concepts and an open-air arrival lounge. General Manager Angela Vento describes her property as one with “approachable luxury” for planners. “Maui continues to become more accessible due to increased air routes and affordability of flights,” Vento adds. Incentive groups and leisure travelers create a demand during the winter months of the first quarter, but value periods on the island exist, such as May, early June, September and the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This planning tip was echoed by the Sheraton’s Director of Marketing, Mike Masterson, who notes that the “second and fourth quarters provide good opportunities” to visit. Vento contrasts Maui, and Hawaii as a whole, to foreign destinations that one might travel similar distances to reach. Attendees do not require passports or visas to reach Hawaii, and “business and logistical details are handled the same way [as on the mainland],” making it easier on the planner. From an attendee experience perspective, Vento recommends planners consider meeting in Maui since it “brings out great creativity in attendees who work while feeling that they are playing.” Without a doubt, stress-free environments are sure to improve one’s state of mind and well-being, and it is likely that sense of relaxation that leads many to conclude that indeed, Maui no ka ‘oi. —David Korn 37


PHOTOS COURTESY OF NASHVILLE CONVENTION & VISITORS CORPORATION.”

NASHVILLE

MU S IC CIT Y ’S G ROW T H IS IN ST R U M E N TA L T O I T S M EET I N G S B U SI N ES S

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hile the railroad may no longer frequent Nashville’s historic Gulch District (“the Gulch”), which once saw over 100 trains arriving and departing daily, growth in the city continues full steam ahead. Cranes are present throughout Nashville, and the blocks surrounding Bridgestone Arena and Music City Center (MCC) perennially see hundreds of hotel rooms coming online. Hilton Hotels President and CEO Christopher J. Nassetta alluded to this growth in addressing audiences at PCMA’s Convening Leaders educational conference, held this past January at the MCC. In jest, Nassetta said that upon arriving, he had mixed feelings: While happy for Nashville’s growth, he was upset that he was greeted by the construction of a new competitor-branded hotel. Described by the Nashville daily newspaper The Tennessean as once being a “ramshackle collection of unremarkable squat buildings,” the Gulch is where Mackenzie Colt embarked upon a new business of manufacturing confectionaries — chocolates, pies and other sweets — after concluding a successful career as a country music entertainer. At Convening Leaders, Colt relayed her personal recollections of the area’s transformation to us, explaining that the Gulch started becoming more residential with increased foot traffic during the day, with locals inquiring at the factory door if they could buy Colt’s products. This eventually led to her opening a storefront shop, which in turn drove even more traffic to the neighborhood. Since then, multiple restaurants and clubs have paved the way for hotels and businesses to breathe new life into the area. During 38

PCMA, we noted that the Gulch was a favorite area for hosting private events for planners and potential customers.

MUSIC CITY CENTER

At the heart of Nashville’s downtown resurgence is the 2.1 million-sq.-ft. MCC. The artfully crafted facility is a far cry from the steel and concrete structures of the past, and has been instrumental in attracting major conventions to the city. Architecturally, the building is a work to behold, as well as a model facility for other developers to check out before constructing or refurbishing their own buildings. Indeed, while attending the inaugural ceremonies celebrating Louisville’s reopening of the Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC), we spoke with Charles Starks, President & CEO of MCC, and asked what his connection was to this potential competitor. Starks noted that he and his architectural team were consulted by KICC, and he was happy to offer helpful information. The MCC definitely set the bar high for convention center design. A glass façade looks out at the city’s skyline, providing natural lighting on multiple levels to the exhibition space and its wide hallways that double as prefunction areas. Outdoor spaces include function areas with fire elements for evening events and terraces that extend indoor event space. Sustainability was also incorporated: Rainwater runoff from the guitar-shaped roof is utilized within the plumbing systems, and rooftop gardens and beehives provide F&B manager Centerplate fresh produce, herbs and honey. Butch Spyridon, President and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation (Visit Music City), notes that within a half mile of the MCC (which includes FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


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UT CH SP Y R ID O N, P R ESID ENT A ND CEO O F T HE NA SHV ILLE CO NV ENT IO N & V ISIT O R S CO R P O R ATI ON, NO T ES T HAT WIT HIN A HA LF M ILE O F M USIC CIT Y C ENTER, HO T EL-R O O M INV ENT O R Y WO ULD R EA CH 1 0 , 0 0 0 .

Recent figures from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development estimate that 2017 direct visitor spending was about $6.5 billion. New resident influx is another source of growth. Nashville is expected to have a million new residents by 2040, which has motivated local referendums to make infrastructural improvements to support the population increase. Noteworthy developments on the business front include the following: New York-based global investment management firm investment Alliance Bernstein announced it is bringing over a thousand front-office jobs to Music City from the Big Apple. Nashville was awarded a Major League Soccer franchise, and has been selected to host the NFL Draft. British Airways recently commenced non-stop service between London and Nashville.

• • • (Above): Gold records at the Country Music Hall of Fame (Top): The architecturally striking Music City Center

the Gulch), hotel-room inventory would reach 10,000. Over 10 percent of those rooms are found in two nearby “headquarters hotels.” The first anchor property, the Omni Nashville, features over 800 guestrooms. We were impressed with the property’s city-themed artwork and design, in addition to its in-house dining establishments that can be reserved for events. The Omni Nashville houses over 80,000 sq. ft. of event space. The 33-story glass luxury tower, which Nassetta was referring to earlier, is the 533-room JW Marriott Nashville. Opened in July, the JW Marriott has a rooftop pool, over 50,000 sq. ft. of indoor event space and a 13,000-sq.-ft. outdoor event lawn. Entertainment for attendees is close by at Bridgestone Arena and the city’s famed Honky Tonk Highway, where various bars with stages (some with rooftop areas) pump live music into the streets from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily. (For insights into the entertainment programming at Bridgestone Arena, read the interview with David Kells, the arena’s Senior VP of Booking, on page 14 of the Facilities & Event Management 2016 SuperBook, accessible at facilitiesonline.com/archives)

ECONOMIC UPSWING

After the healthcare sector, Spyridon notes that tourism, both leisure and business, is Tennessee’s next major economic sector, and it plays an important role in Nashville’s growth. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

HOTEL UPDATES

Last summer saw the opening of the Kimpton Aertson. The 180-room hotel is set in a central yet serene location less than two miles from downtown Nashville. It is situated near Centennial Park, home to a full-scale replica of the Parthenon (which recalls the days when Nashville was known as the Athens of the South), as well as local hospitals and the Vanderbilt University campuses. The guestroom design both cleverly and seamlessly incorporates a Nashville theme with hints of Cornelius Vanderbilt’s legacy (Aertson was the original family name of the Vanderbilts, later modified to represent the Dutch town of de Bilt, from which they hailed). In total, the property has over 10,000 sq. ft. of flexible function space between its eighth- and 17th-floor venues, but its signature space is the 4,500-sq.-ft. Woodlea room, whose indoor and outdoor rooftop space offers panoramic views of Nashville’s skyline and the Vanderbilt campus. In contrast to this boutique property is the 2,800-room Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, whose motto “Everything in One Place” sums up the experience. The resort houses 757,478 sq. ft. of function space, including 85 event rooms and a maximum of 106 breakout rooms. Later this year, the property will open Soundwaves, which it bills as a four-acre, three-level upscale indoor/ outdoor waterpark with dedicated recreation zones for adults, young children and families. The new waterpark, combined with Nashville’s business growth, music-themed attractions and year-round sports and recreational opportunities, will make the destination a prime site for the foreseeable future. —David Korn 39


PERU

N EW REGION AL BURE A US FOS TER IN CENT IV E G ROW T H I N RU RAL COMMUN IT IE S By Sierra Brown (Right, above): Cathedral Basilica of Lima in the Plaza Mayo. (Right): Traditional Andean music can be incorporated into a meeting program

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obust, immersive incentive experiences await North American planners looking to develop programs in Peru. Nestled between the borders of Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile along the Pacific coast of South America, Peru has emerged as a country with an infrastructure built for the future that is able to leverage its interblended past to create a one-of-a-kind experience. Newly formed government and international partnerships are aiding in the curation of programs that are equally beneficial to visitors and Peruvians — especially those from rural communities. The programs seek not only to foster economic opportunities, but also to prompt cultural exchange and understanding. “Certainly Machu Picchu and Lima remain top draws for North American planners exploring Peru, but right now we’re seeing an opportunity to leverage tourism for equitable growth in new regions, and in rural communities of the country,” says Elva Yanez, Meeting Tourism Advisor at PROMPERÚ, the country’s official DMO. “We’ve always been embracive of our diverse communities and want to foster growth beyond major cities and attractions.” Peru is the third-largest country in South America and one of the 20 largest countries in the world. The capital city of Lima is also one of the safest in South America, which is great news for inbound groups. According to MINCETUR, the Ministry of Foreign Commerce and Tourism, professional meetings generate more than $5.4 million annually in Peru. And the market is growing, notes Yanez. “The boom in MICE

40

opportunities in Peru follows in line with our strong national security and stable economy, along with softer elements, such as rich gastronomic culture.” While most current MICE business is centered near Lima, Cusco — the gateway to Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley — has been recognized as an area with high potential because of several new developments including a forthcoming international airport, new hotels, and a wide range of activities, such as hiking and watersports. An innovative program, funded by the European Union, is linking rural communities in the Sacred Valley with the meetings industry, helping to develop their economies and reduce poverty. PROMPERÚ is helping with this effort, marketing the country for conventions as well as providing support to regional bureaus in the process of organizing and building. Recent conventions include the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session and the 33rd PanAmerican Congress of Ophthalmology. One of those newly formed regional bureaus is called Land of the Yachaqs. It consists of eight communities located along the Sacred Valley. During the past three years, FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


T

“ HE BO O M IN M ICE O P P O R T UNITI ES IN P ER U FO LLO WS IN LINE WIT H O UR ST R O NG NAT IO NA L SECUR IT Y AND STA BLE ECO NO M Y, A LO NG WIT H SOFTER ELEM ENT S, SUCH A S R ICH GA ST R ONOMI C CULT UR E. ”

— Elva Yanez, Meeting Tourism Advisor, PROMPERÚ

(Left, above): Plaza San Martín. (Left below): Urubamba, a small town about an hour from Cusco

CULTURAL TRAVEL’S IMPACT ON MICE

CODESPA, an international organization whose mission is to empower the underprivileged through economic development, has worked with these communities to create and deliver a tourism product. Seeing that the meetings market could become a space for cultural exchange and economic empowerment, CODESPA has worked with community representatives to develop an innovative range of products and native cultural services meeting the standards required by the MICE market. CODESPA provides training and has helped to develop a strategy to incorporate rural entrepreneurs in the tourism value chain. In doing so, the program has strengthened ancient cultures, while leading to job creation, the empowerment of women and economic improvement. The Land of the Yachaqs now has several offerings in the areas of food, performing arts and crafts for the MICE market. “It should be noted that while there was a process of adaptation to meet MICE standards, care has been taken to ensure that authenticity was not lost, and that the cultural values of the native populations are respected,” says Pilar Montesinos, Partner of The Land of the Yachaqs. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

The growing interest in culinary experiences underpins the development of Peru’s rural MICE projects. More and more, Peru-bound groups looking for a truly authentic experience — not one packaged for tourists — will find that easily available. For example, Andean breakfasts, lunches and coffee breaks during a meeting include items prepared using ancient methods and indigenous products. Alpaca meat skewers or quinoa croquettes are examples of dishes one might find on a menu. An interest in arts and crafts has also influenced the development of MICE experiences. Events in Peru can be opened to the sounds of the pututero, an Andean wind instrument made from sea conch. Also offered are storytelling sessions, along with dance and musical performances. Attendees can also explore the region’s unique textile arts: Textile souvenirs are available for the MICE market, as are decorative ceramics and pottery, and carved stone items. Land of the Yachaqs is also developing pre- and posttours, day trips and hikes that provide attendees with greater insight into these ancient cultures and their traditions, foods, artistry and relationship to nature.

EASE OF GETTING THERE

North American planners interested in organizing events further afield in Peru will find easy access to the rest of the country via regular flights to Lima. The city features multiple flights from the United States via LATAM Airlines. Additional information on Peru and its emerging regions can be found at peru.travel/en-us/. Also see F&D’s previous articles on Peru in the 2016-2017 Winter issue (page 51) and the 2017 SuperBook (page 62); both issues can be accessed at facilitiesonline.com/archive. 41


PUERTO RICO

THE IS LAND’S H OS P ITA L ITY IN D U ST R Y H AS EN T E R E D A POST-MA RIA RE N A IS S A N C E By Teresa Rodriguez

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t was in 1493 that Christopher Columbus landed his boats on the lush shores of Puerto Rico. Originally, he named the island John the Baptist, but soon gold was discovered in the river on the island and it was renamed “Rich Port,” aka Puerto Rico. The island’s history is one of glorious conquests and an expanding cultural diversity, with the influx of non-Hispanic peoples since the 19th century. But all that was overshadowed when Hurricane Maria lashed down on the tiny island, almost destroying it. A year has passed since that natural disaster. During that time, Puerto Ricans have taken a serious look at their infrastructure and committed to improving their systems, which is great news for meeting planners. Promises that have been made at a local level include the improvement of the electricity grid, which was in disrepair before the hurricane. The hurricane has effectively forced the island to make significant improvements that are in line with the quality expected in the United States. Maria was a dramatic eyeopener for the island’s hospitality industry, which is now — more than ever — committed to excellent service for meeting groups. (See our interview with Brad Dean, President of the newly formed Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization, in the 2018 F&D SuperBook.) One of the advantages of this Caribbean destination is that it’s a territory of the United States. That means that many of the services offered in the United States are available in Puerto Rico, and visitors from the mainland do not need to have passports. Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport is located about 10 miles from San Juan, and only a 15-minute

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car ride to the Puerto Rico Convention Center. The airport has over 2,000 weekly flights from around the world, so getting to Puerto Rico is very simple.

AN IDEAL DESTINATION FOR CSR

There are still areas of Puerto Rico that are suffering from the destructive hurricane. Deborah Sexton, past President and CEO of PCMA, is a big proponent of combining meetings in Puerto Rico with corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. “If you and your company are interested, this is the perfect place to come and help support businesses in the rural areas,” she says. One popular CSR program takes participants to a coffee farm in the rolling hills of the island. Each person is encouraged to plant a coffee plant. More than a century ago, Puerto Rico produced some of the finest coffee in the world. Since the hurricane, Puerto Ricans are going back to their roots, and one of their deep agricultural roots is the production of specialty coffees. Puerto Rico is open for business. Here is a list of some of the top venues and facilities in the area.

PUERTO RICO CONVENTION CENTER

The tropical-themed, $415 million state-of-the-art convention center is the largest in the region and the most technologically advanced in the Caribbean. It is located in the center of the bustling town of San Juan, near historic Old San Juan and popular beach areas including Condado, Santurce and Miramar. The facility houses more than FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


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“ F Y O U A ND Y O UR CO M PA NY A R E INT ER EST ED , T HIS IS T HE P ER FECT P LA CE T O CO M E A ND HELP SUP P O R T BUSINESSES IN T HE R UR A L A R EA S. ”

—Deborah Sexton, former President and CEO, PCMA

Casa Bacardi distillation plant offers groups tours and special event spaces 600,000 total sq. ft. of meeting space with 15 meeting rooms that can be reconfigured into 28 breakouts rooms.

HOTEL AND RESORTS

Puerto Rico offers a unique collection of hotels and resorts for any size of convention or meeting. Each property has an individual theme and ambiance, so the options for planners are very impressive. Following is a selection of the island’s resorts (see page 8 for news on the Caribe Hilton).

BEACH PROPERTIES

La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort Newly renovated property with a modern vibe and a few different outdoor pool areas. Guestrooms: 483 Meeting rooms: 12 Largest meeting room: 8,500 sq. ft. Total meeting space: 30,000 sq. ft. San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino A full-service resort hotel along Condado Beach, this property is an ideal location for meetings that include spouses and families. Guestrooms: 404 Meeting rooms: 14 Largest meeting room: 7,000 sq. ft. Total meeting space: 10,000 sq. ft. InterContinental San Juan A nice mix of Caribbean warmth and InterContinental sophistication. Guestrooms: 398 Meeting rooms: 19 Largest meeting room: 6,042 sq. ft. Total meeting space: 30,000 sq. ft. Condado Vanderbilt Hotel A local icon and luxury hotel. Built in 1919 by the Vanderbilts, this hotel is world class. Guestrooms: 319 FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

Meeting rooms: 8 Largest meeting room: 8,100 sq. ft. Total meeting space: 25,000 sq. ft. Serafina Beach Hotel San Juan’s newest lifestyle-boutique hotel features a fun and intimate environment. Guestrooms: 96 Meeting rooms: 3 Largest meeting room: 2,184 sq. ft. Total meeting space: 2,472 sq. ft.

OLD SAN JUAN PROPERTIES

Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel This hotel boasts quaint terraced views of charming Old San Juan with the international standard of the Sheraton brand. Guestrooms: 240 Meeting rooms: 12 Largest meeting room: 2,695 sq. ft. Total meeting space: 9,000 sq. ft. Hotel El Convento A beautifully restored, 300-year-old convent in Old San Juan transformed into a five-star hotel with a rooftop pool. Guestrooms: 79 Meeting rooms: 5 Largest meeting room: 1,794 sq. ft. Total meeting space: 6,000 sq. ft.

CULTURAL AND HISTORIC VENUES

Following is just a sampling of the island’s trove of cultural attractions that planners may consider for group outings. The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico The museum’s 130,000 sq. ft. of beautifully appointed space is ideal for galas, parties and speaking engagements. The theater in the museum is equipped with the latest audiovisual equipment and seats 400 people. Hacienda Siesta Alegre This privately owned home is the perfect setting for events that require style, beauty and panache. Located around an hour from San Juan, this venue is a stunning example of Puerto Rico’s opulent past. Casa Bacardi The historic distillation plant has a gorgeous open-air pavilion that is perfect for intimate dinners. Planners can treat guests to a tour of the facilities first, and end the evening with a dramatic celebration overlooking the historic buildings and waterfront. 43


TEXAS

AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER

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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 374,278 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 43,400 sq. ft. in size, and 54 meeting rooms and show offices, totaling over 63,000 sq. ft., complete the four-story convention center. Ample parking is provided in two parking garages with a total capacity of 1,700 spaces. TECHNOLOGICAL FEATURES 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 to create the perfect Technology Partner for the annual SXSW international multimedia festival. The facility 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. HOTELS Austin offers more than 36,000 hotel rooms, with 10,000 located downtown, including the 800-room Hilton Austin adjacent to the Austin Convention Center and connected by the new Hilton Overhead Walkway (opening fall 2018). Additional nearby hotels include: Four Seasons Hotel Austin, JW Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott,

Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown, Radisson Hotel & Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown, Driskill Hotel, Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel, W Austin, Hyatt Place Downtown Austin, Westin Austin Downtown and the Fairmont Austin. North America’s largest Fairmont property, the Fairmont Austin is connected directly to the Austin Convention Center via the Fairmont Canopy Walk. AUSTIN BY NIGHT After conventions and meetings wrap up each night, attendees may choose to enjoy Austin’s entertainment districts — Second Street, the Warehouse District, Rainey Street and world-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, one can find live music playing in nearly 250 different venues. AUSTIN BY DAY During the day, visitors can enjoy the capital city’s 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 they 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.

LOCATED IN THE HEART OF THE CAPITAL CITY’S DOWNTOWN, THE LEED® GOLD CERTIFIED CONVENTION CENTER SPANS SIX CITY BLOCKS

Fast Facts: Facility

Location: Downtown Austin Total Area: Six city blocks 374,278 sq. ft. of exhibit and meeting space Exhibit Space: 247,052 contiguous sq. ft., column free Ballrooms: 43,400 sq. ft. level 4; 23,418 sq. ft. level 1 Meeting Space: 54 meeting rooms totaling over 63,000 sq. ft. Technology: Gigabit-rated facility, wireless Internet access, plug-andplay capabilities

Austin

Hotels: 10,000 downtown hotel rooms; connected to Hilton Austin and Fairmont Austin via Hilton Overhead Walkway and Fairmont Canopy Walk, respectively Airport: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, eight miles from facility Nearby Attractions: State Capitol, Sixth Street Entertainment District, Warehouse Entertainment District, University of Texas, LBJ Presidential Library, more than 20 museums including The Texas State History Museum, dozens of art galleries and historical attractions, Lady Bird Lake

Contact Information

Mark Tester, Director of Austin Convention Center Department Paul Barnes, ACCD Deputy Director/ Chief Operating Officer Amy Harris, Director of Sales

500 E. Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78701 • (512) 404-4200; Fax: (512) 404-4220 conventionsales@austintexas.gov • austinconventioncenter.com 44

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IDAHO

BOISE CENTRE eeting planners have much to celebrate in Boise — Idaho’s growing capital city. Boise Centre, Idaho’s premier convenM tion center, recently completed a $47.5 million expansion and

now offers planners more than 80,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and event spaces. Three new hotels recently opened near the convention center to accommodate an increasing number of visitors. Getting to Boise is a breeze with nonstop air service from 20 major cities in the United States. MEETING AND EVENT SPACE Located just seven minutes from the airport is Boise Centre, Idaho’s largest convention and event venue. A much anticipated convention center expansion opened in summer 2017 and includes nine new meeting rooms and a new ballroom with a spacious glass-enclosed lobby overlooking the city’s focal point, The Grove Plaza and fountain. In total, Boise Centre offers 31 versatile meeting rooms and event spaces all with a modern and contemporary design. Many rooms feature natural daylight with views of the nearby Boise Foothills or downtown skyline. At Boise Centre logistics are the staff’s specialty. The professional event team is highly experienced in hosting a variety of events from 20 to 1,500 guests. The convention center has built a reputation for providing exceptional culinary services with fresh, locally inspired menus, the latest in technology and audiovisual services, and the highest levels of guest service. HOTELS Boise has a wide variety of hotels ranging from luxury to modern and boutique. Three new hotels have opened within walking distance to Boise Centre, increasing the total number of hotel rooms in the down-

town to 1,200. Thousands more hotel rooms are available within a short distance of downtown. COMPACT, WALKABLE DOWNTOWN Surrounding Boise Centre is a compact, walkable downtown filled with cultural attractions, hotels, entertainment venues, more than 100 shops, 80 restaurants, and a number of microbreweries. Boise is also home to a lively nightlife scene, giving the city a fun and hip vibe. Historic and cultural food tours, wine tasting, free outdoor concerts and farmer’s markets are just a few of the city’s highlights. Visit the interactive floor plans at boisecentre.com or contact Cliff Clinger, Director of Marketing and Sales, at (208) 489-3680 or cclinger@boisecentre.com.

450 West Front St., Boise, ID 83702 • (208) 336-8900 • boisecentre.com Looking for a unique venue offering choices and flexibility? We invite you to discover Idaho’s premier convention facility. • Situated in downtown Boise, just 7 minutes from the airport

We Deliver Unconventional Experiences.

• Surrounded by restaurants, shops, hotels, culture and entertainment • Newly expanded 86,000 sq. ft. of customizable event space • Exceptional culinary services and a diverse menu with many locally sourced ingredients • The meeting space, atmosphere and professional event staff to deliver unconventional experiences Visit boisecentre.com to view interactive floor plans or to submit an event inquiry. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

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CONNECTICUT

CONNECTICUT CONVENTION CENTER

D EF Y E XP E C TAT ION S

Hartford’s convenient location will attract a record number of attendees, and the revitalized downtown will create an experience they’ll never forget. some time in Hartford and you’ll find a surprise around every corner: the expansive Connecticut Convention Center Sandpend connected Hartford Marriott, a vibrant redeveloped down-

town, and an innovative food scene. With easy access from the airport and a free downtown circulator shuttle, Hartford is easy to get to and around, leaving you with more time to meet, explore and connect. At the center of it all is the Connecticut Convention Center. Combining ample meeting space with visually stunning touches and unparalleled service, the Center is the premier meeting destination in the Northeast. Getting from work to play has never been easier when first-class entertainment and restaurants are just steps from your meeting. Enjoy tantalizing bites at over 40 independent restaurants, see a show at one of the nation’s leading resident theaters, the Hartford Stage, or catch the pulse-pounding action of the Hartford Wolf Pack hockey team at the XL Center. Or better yet, do it all.

• Convention Center: 540,000-sq.-ft. facility • Nearest Airport: Bradley International (15 miles from downtown) • Airport Transportation: Bradley Flyer ($1.75 each way) • Downtown Transportation: Free Hartford Dash • Convention District: Front Street (directly across the street from the Center)

In Hartford we don’t just meet expectations, we defy them.

“The Connecticut Convention Center and Front Street have proven over the years to be the crown jewels of Hartford by boasting excellent meeting facilities, a diverse cross-section of restaurants, entertainment venues and relaxing nightlife.” – Africka Hinds, 2016 Conference Chairman Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

QUICK FACTS

New in Hartford

• Downtown Hotel Rooms: 1,600 • Attached Hotel: Hartford Marriott (AAA Four-Diamond with 409 rooms)

• The new 6,000-seat Dunkin’ Donuts Park is home to the Hartford Yard Goats Minor League Baseball team. It’s a great option for an offsite reception or teambuilding activity.

100 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT 06103 • (860) 249-6000 • ctconventions.com 46

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PENNSYLVANIA

STEEL TO SUSTAINABLE Located in Downtown Pittsburgh, the LEED Platinum Certified David L. Lawrence Convention Center effectively blends unparalleled space, functionality, and flexibility to offer event producers, exhibitors, and visitors a location for an extraordinary event experience.

THE ART & DISCIPLINE OF SUSTAINABILITY. The Convention Center is 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. Our guests 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, there kayak rentals are available in season. Visitors can try a growler of the Convention Center’s very own Rooftop Hops, a signature brew made possible through a partnership with the North County Brewing Company. Although always stunning, the iconic Pittsburgh skyline and unique mix of classic and modern architecture is particularly impressive when viewed from the water. THE ALLIANCE DIFFERENCE…The Pittsburgh Alliance is comprised of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, VISITPittsburgh, and major hotels downtown. The Alliance is committed to understanding your organizational vision and mission, and is ready to deliver exceptional guest experiences. The customized approach focuses on your distinct needs, and promises to provide quality cost savings at your next major event.

Nearby upscale hotels, all within walking distance, include the 616room 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 712-room Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh and the 399-room Sheraton Station Square Hotel. The FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

Convention Center’s features make it a favorite in the second-tier 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 Visit Pittsburgh 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 Conde 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.”

TO BOOK YOUR NEXT EVENT, PLEASE CONTACT Kelli Donahoe, CMP, Director of Sales & Marketing (412) 325—6174 kdonahoe@pittsburghcc.com

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MISSOURI

Explore St. Louis

I

n the heart of a revitalized downtown, a vibrant new hospitality

that is just steps from the America’s Center Convention Complex.

district continues to grow. With world-class hotels, restaurants,

The museum is an interactive treasure trove of sights and sounds

museums and entertainment venues, you’ll find that St. Louis is a

saluting the country’s indigenous music with numerous galleries

great choice for your next meeting or event. St. Louis is an acces-

and an intimate performance space for concerts to provide

sible and affordable destination that will keep delegates enter-

entertainment for meeting groups and special events. A 2,500-sq.-

tained with magnificent theater, live music, sports and more that

ft. private room offers flexible space for receptions or dining.

are all within reach. St. Louis is a foodie’s delight, with an endless array of diverse dining Located in the heart of downtown, the America’s Center conven-

options along Washington Avenue. Attendees will enjoy Peruvian,

tion complex provides more than 502,000 sq. ft. of continuous

Italian, French, Mediterranean and more cuisine varieties from

exhibit space with 80 versatile meeting rooms, the 1,400-seat

around the world, all within walking distance of the America’s Center.

Ferrara Theatre and the 67,000-seat Dome at America’s Center, providing planners with unparalleled flexibility and accessibility.

Arch 2018 World Premiere Program After five years in the making, St. Louis’ Gateway Arch has been

With some of the most premier hotel brands in the industry, includ-

completely transformed with biking and running trails, space for

ing Marriott, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Hilton, Westin and Hyatt,

outdoor concerts and indoor events, and a new state-of-the-art

there are more than 7,000 available guestrooms in downtown St.

museum commemorating the westward expansion of the United

Louis and more than 38,000 rooms in the metropolitan area. If you

States. Through the Arch 2018 World Premiere program, plan-

are looking for that ideal single hotel or need 4,500 rooms peak for

ners and their attendees can benefit from VIP experiences at the

your citywide event, St. Louis can accommodate you.

Gateway Arch, as well as a series of incentives from hotels and event venues, and the America’s Center Convention Complex.

St. Louis is filled with unique offsite venues to meet the needs of

To learn more about the program, visit www.explorestlouis.com/

your group. One must-see venue is the National Blues Museum

bookstl.

701 Convention Plaza, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63101 • (800) 916-8938 • explorestlouis.com 48

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FLORIDA BCCC-Facil&Dest-ADVERTORIAL.qxp_Layout 1 5/24/18 12:16 PM Page 1

GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE CVB/ BROWARD COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER

5 Ways to Make Your Meeting

a Destination Experience As the meetings and conventions industry continues to flourish and evolve, event planners are seeking new ideas and capitalizing on current trends to make their events truly stand out. When creating a holistic guest experience becomes the ultimate goal, how can meeting planners keep up and elevate their events to new heights? These tips and tricks can help make your next meeting a true destination experience.

1Immerse yourself in the location

In an age when both work and play are must-haves in the meetings and conventions industry, more and more event professionals are finding it hard to resist meeting locations that offer the whole package. Some may opt for the glam and lights of Sin City while others may go for theme parks in Orlando, but few attendees can resist the call of tropical, beachy paradises such as Greater Fort Lauderdale. The Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention offers far more than just meeting space-- it presents an unparalleled destination experience. Surrounded by a convention center district with exceptional restaurants, shopping, arts and cultural attractions, pristine beaches, and hotels for every taste and budget, this South Florida venue represents an ideal meeting location. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) helps guests make the most of the destination’s offerings from before they arrive until departure, providing tools to book exciting excursions, reserve tables at award-winning restaurants, and redeem special offers from local businesses, in addition to an onsite concierge for recommendations and assistance.

2 Arrive by land, sea or air

It’s no secret that transportation can make or break your event experience. Events need to be not only educational and economical, but also highly accessible. A venue reachable by more than one form of transportation offers added value that attendees will surely appreciate. In South Florida, the Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center is accessible via all forms of transportation, from boats and cruise ships to planes, trains and automobiles. Located just three miles from Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood International Airport, visitors can touch down in Fort Lauderdale and arrive at the venue within minutes. Fort Lauderdale’s Sun Trolley allows guests to conveniently experience the convention center’s entertainment district, while water taxis offer access via the city’s scenic waterways. Other alternative modes of transportation serve as fun, unique ways to see the city. Bikes, Segways and rickshaws can give attendees the full experience of meeting in paradise. Guests can further explore South Florida with the new Brightline express train, which offers riders premium travel from downtown Fort Lauderdale to Miami or Palm Beach and soon, all the way to Orlando. And with the FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

Convention Center adjacent to Port Everglades, a major cruising hub, attendees can end their meeting with a bang by setting sail for a week of leisure!

3 Meet outside the box

The days of traditional banquet rounds and “rubber chicken” dinners are long gone. Nowadays, the industry is exhibiting more creative dining concepts and novel, interactive details. Kitchens are providing a variety of on-trend catering such as farm-to-table cuisine with menus that are artistic and imaginative. Guests are often invited to enjoy samplings of innovative food and beverage creations in more personal settings. Other ideas include event sets and décor that are more evocative of night clubs than formal sit-down dinners, traditional ballrooms transformed into vibrant productions, and unique site features such as fountains and atriums serving as backdrops for one-of-a-kind cocktail receptions or networking events.

4 Gauge your success

The guest experience is the very crux of an event. The ultimate goal is to create a lasting impression and memorable experience for attendees. But how do you measure experience? Through engagement! Whether it’s social media or a dedicated meeting app, visitors should be encouraged to use digital tools to document their experience in real time. Ideas include an official event hashtag, photo contests and more. The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB inspires guest engagement through a variety of touchpoints including social media, targeted promotions and soon, a new app. Many other destinations are following suit with interactive digital platforms tailored to guest preferences.

5 Make them feel at home

In large venues and exhibit halls, the intimacy of an event and connection among attendees can sometimes become lost. Providing the highest level of service and communication is a great way to make guests feel at home. For example, the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB promotes SUNsational Service®, offering tools and specialized training to hospitality professionals to ensure excellence. The human element is often the most appreciated and impactful for meeting planners and attendees alike. Individuals who provide SUNsational Service go above and beyond to ensure that guests have the best experience possible, contributing to Greater Fort Lauderdale’s success and popularity all year long. These are just a few ideas to help you enhance the guest experience, attract new attendees, and make your next meeting truly unforgettable. If you’re eager to learn more about hosting events at the Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center, visit FTLauderdaleCC.com or call 954.765.5900.

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NEW YORK

JOSEPH A. FLOREANO ROCHESTER RIVERSIDE CONVENTION CENTER

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ochester is the northern gateway to the magnificent Finger Lakes region, with its rolling hills, lush valleys and 11 namesake lakes. It is also a region famous for its more than 100 vineyards, excellent wines and numerous “wine trails.” With the New York Kitchen in nearby Canandaigua, NY, 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. 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 and featuring outdoor patios and balconies. The facility offers 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibition space, including a 50,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, 10,000-sq.-ft. elegant ballroom, plus 22 meeting rooms of various sizes. The Greater Rochester International Airport — with more than 54 flights daily — is just a 10-minute drive from the Floreano Center’s front door. Complimentary airport transportation is provided by all major hotels. Several entertainment districts surround the Floreano Center with restaurants and cafés, coffeehouses, pubs, dance clubs, music halls, theaters and more. Rochester boasts numerous museums, including the George Eastman Museum, the Susan B. Anthony House and the acclaimed Strong National Museum of Play. Rochester is also proud to be home to the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, a nine-day event featuring more than 300 concerts with over 1,500 artists, as well as the Fringe Festival, a unique 10-day event celebrating the arts with more than 500 performances all over downtown Rochester. Rochester is a community known around the world for its high-tech expertise, which has led to the city being selected as the location for the AIM Photonics Test, Assembly and Packaging Facility. The Floreano Center itself gets high marks for handling all types of technology needs. The facility has a dedicated Internet

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connection over fiber optics to meet all of the growing number of technical requirements its customers have. This service, which is self-operated, is available wireless throughout the facility with bandwidth of 400mb (up/down) and bursts to 600mb if needed. The Floreano Center features an in-house food and beverage operation, which includes an Executive Pastry Chef. In addition, the Riverside Productions and Riverside Catering divisions can even provide services to groups utilizing offsite locations throughout the region. Basically, the Floreano 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 Floreano Center to create a compact convention district in the center of downtown Rochester. There is the 460room Rochester Riverside Hotel, a 106-room Hilton Garden Inn, a 217-room Holiday Inn and a 338-room Hyatt Regency that recently completed a multimillion-dollar renovation. Delegates also enjoy the convenience of walking between hotels and the Floreano Center in minutes using the enclosed skywalk system or the scenic riverside walkway. Rochester offers groups a compact convention district.

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

FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


WHATEVER YOUR NEEDS, WE HAVE THE ANSWER

• 100,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and exhibit space • In-house catering, production and AV services • Directly connected by enclosed skybridge to 800 hotel rooms

585.232.7200 • www.rrcc.com Rochester, New York


OHIO

GREATER COLUMBUS CONVENTION CENTER

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he award-winning SMG-managed Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) continues to receive accolades for the $140 million renovation and expansion completed in 2017 and resulting amenities created. One of the busiest convention centers in North America, the GCCC measures 1.8 million sq. ft. and features 373,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space. Nine additional meeting rooms with outside-facing windows were added, increasing the total to 75 meeting rooms. Three ballrooms totaling 114,000 sq. ft. offer colorful LED ceiling fin lights that can project a variety of color combinations and effects to personalize the experience. In addition to the 74,000-sq.-ft. Battelle Grand — the largest multipurpose ballroom in Ohio — the ballrooms include the 15,000-sq.-ft. Short North and the 25,000-sq.-ft. Union Station featuring upscale carpeting, wall coverings and finishes, and retractable walls to divide the rooms into sections. Upper-level show offices enable show managers to enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the tradeshow floor below while enjoying a private space above the exhibit halls for meetings and entertaining. Node walls in the main concourse can be programmed to display colorful lighting of the event planner’s choice. The South Café & Marketplace offers a spacious destination to explore shops, quick-service restaurants, a florist, barber and hairstylists, shoe shiner, and Segway tours, as well as watch televised programs, recharge mobile devices and relax in a variety of seating configurations. Friday Fun in the South Café & Marketplace brings weekly entertainment during lunchtime. Service partners located on Level 1 include Mills James, the production services company, and Fern, the general services provider. The Columbus2GO app helps guide guests to these amenities. Levy, the facility’s exclusive caterer, operates Discovery Café, composed of the Homegrown Market, Columbus Grille, Crimson Cup and the CBUS Tap Room. Discovery Café features the Smartfarm, which provides 2.5 tons of herbs and vegetables annually for culinary use. Chefs can grow plantings to meet specific event needs of customers. Live at Lunch! is a musical series highlighting local entertainers on the first Thursday of every month. The GCCC operates more than 4,000 total parking spaces in five locations, with the Ohio Center Garage to add

650 spaces upon completion. The GCCC is the first convention center to display real-time parking availability in the parking section of its mobile-friendly website. The parking garages and convention center include artwork from the largest contemporary collection of central Ohio art, including the interactive sculpture “As We Are” by Matthew Mohr. Guests step into the photo booth within the sculpture and emerge to see their 14-ft. portrait displayed in 850,000 LED ribbon lights, which would be the proportional size of the head of a person 94 ft. tall. The sculpture has become a popular destination for selfie photos! The GCCC established a freestanding room dedicated to nursing mothers and reserved parking for them and for veterans. Two Guest Services Centers provide a variety of services, including mobility scooters, photo copies and South Café & Marketplace Cash gift certificates. Arnold Plaza includes a statue of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, co-founder of the GCCC’s largest annual event, the Arnold Sports Festival. Arnold Plaza accommodates a tent for outdoor gatherings. Event planners are enthused by the flexible, linear space the facility offers, along with the city’s largest contingent of friendly and knowledgeable staff of Certified Tourism Ambassadors assisting guests throughout their stay. A survey platform enables GCCC staff to respond to guest feedback as it is received. Strategically located within a one-day drive or 90-minute flight of the majority of the nation’s population and 10 minutes from John Glenn Columbus International Airport, the GCCC is nestled within a vibrant entertainment area, including the Arena District and Short North Arts District. Connected to five hotels by enclosed walkway, the GCCC is owned and developed by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority (FCCFA). The GCCC is looking forward to the expansion of the connected Hilton Columbus Downtown to 1,002 rooms and the arrival of additional hotels in its thriving city.

400 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43215 • (800) 626-0241 • columbusconventions.com 52

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FLORIDA

GREATER MIAMI CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

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vibrant and dynamic global hub, Miami offers a stunning array of creative venue options for even the largest meeting needs, including the new Miami Beach Convention Center coming in 2018. Located in the heart of South Beach, the new Miami Beach Convention Center, coming September 2018, will be a bright, glass-encased facility as innovative and tech-rich as it is beautiful. In addition to the 500,000 sq. ft. of versatile exhibition space and more than 180,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, the new Miami Beach Convention Center also will include a 60,000-sq.-ft. grand ballroom, a 20,000-sq.-ft. junior ballroom and 84 breakout rooms. The space will feature a terrace where attendees can step out, mingle and soak up the city’s signature sunshine and ocean breeze. The new Miami Beach Convention Center is also environmentally friendly and LEED Silver certified.

WHAT’S NEW

Along with the new Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami continues to reinvent itself with new hotels, meeting spaces and enhanced infrastructure. Some of the recent additions to the city include:

• Brickell City Centre

Spanning 9.1 acres, Brickell City Centre includes a 352-room hotel, an open-air shopping center, two luxury condo towers, two office buildings and an entertainment center.

• Brightline

The new express train service will provide intercity travel in Florida. In May, Brightline began service connecting Miami,

Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with service between Miami and Orlando to follow soon.

• Frost Science Museum

The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science opened its doors to the public in May 2017 at its new home in downtown Miami’s Museum Park. The 250,000-sq.-ft. facility combines a planetarium, aquarium and science museum on one campus.

ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES

Along with its world-famous weather and beaches, the city also offers nearly endless possibilities for entertainment and exploration. From unique hotel and dining experiences to culturally diverse neighborhoods and a thriving arts scene, Miami seamlessly blends the benefits of a sophisticated international destination with the natural beauty of the tropics. And it’s easy to get to, with Miami International Airport (MIA) offering more than 400 flights from around the globe daily and serving more airlines than any other airport in the United States. These are just a few of the memorable and magical highlights awaiting any meeting planner thinking of Miami. Visit MiamiMeetings.com to learn more.

CITYWIDE FACTS & FEATURES Guestrooms: 55,394 Hotels/Resorts: 426 Meeting Space: 1.2 million sq. ft.

CONVENTION CENTER

Located in the heart of South Beach, the new Miami Beach Convention Center will open in 2018. This innovative and techrich facility will feature 500,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space.

Contact: Barry Moskowitz, Vice President, Sales (305) 539-3042 • Fax: (305) 530-4276 • barry@gmcvb.com • MiamiMeetings.com 54

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ARIZONA

PHOENIX CONVENTION CENTER & VENUES

WELCOME TO PHOENIX THE FUTURE OF HOSPITALITY DESIGNED FOR TOMORROW

The Phoenix Convention Center offers a stable of benefits that are unmatched anywhere else in the country. A stunning combination of beauty, practicality and sustainability adorns downtown Phoenix, putting Arizona on the radar for events on both the local and national level.

EVENTS ON A SPECTACULAR SCALE

With nearly 900,000 sq. ft. of event space and a dazzling array of architectural features and public art installations, Phoenix Convention Center venues provide a breathtaking backdrop for your event. The Phoenix Convention Center’s size, versatility and location have earned it the privilege of hosting Super Bowl LVII Fan Events in 2023 and NCAA Final Four Fan Fest in 2024. The Phoenix Convention Center also provides event planners with access to the 2,321-seat Symphony Hall and the historic 1364-seat Orpheum Theatre.

CERTIFIABLY GREEN

The Phoenix Convention Center holds itself to the highest standard of sustainability. Through thoughtful, green thinking and design, it has become a premier meeting and event space that will withstand the environmental tests of the future. The Phoenix Convention Center’s efforts have earned it a LEED Silver Certification granted by the U.S. Green Building Council.

A CULTURE OF FINE CUISINE

In partnership with the world-class chefs and staff at Aventura Catering, event planners have access to a selection of menus that merges the essence of this dynamic city with cutting-edge world cuisine.

DISCOVER THE HEART OF PHOENIX

Located in the booming heart of nation’s fifth-largest city, the Phoenix Convention Center is surrounded by premier convention hotels, nightlife, restaurants, shopping, professional sports venues, art and cultural museums, as well as theater and entertainment venues, all within walking distance. The Phoenix Convention Center is the hub of what’s happening in the city, and it’s less than five minutes from freeways in all directions and only 10 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Contact the Phoenix Convention Center today to learn more about the Southwest’s premier event space at (800) 282-4842, or visit phoenixconventioncenter.com.

100 North Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 • (602) 262-6225; (800) 282-4842 • PhoenixConventionCenter.com FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

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GEORGIA

VISIT SAVANNAH

Bring Your Convention Attendees to a Bucket List Destination

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ith ample meeting venues of all sizes in a city steeped in history, and with an amazing food culture and charming places to stay, you’ll please your convention crowd by making Savannah the spot for your next meeting. Savannah’s unique venues are ready to accommodate events of all sizes. The Savannah Convention Center is situated on the Savannah River and offers fantastic waterfront views as well as plenty of space, including a 100,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, a 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, a 376-seat auditorium and 21 customizable breakout rooms. When combined with other facilities like the Savannah Civic Center and the Coastal Georgia Center, as well as all of Savannah’s restaurants and offsite offerings, the whole city is your group’s playground. All of the venues and meeting spaces, from the riverside terraces to the rooftop ballrooms, feature the technology you need to have a remarkable event. There are a variety of convention hotels throughout the city, including The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa (403 rooms), Savannah Marriott Riverfront (383 rooms), Hyatt Regency Savannah (347 rooms) and The DeSoto Hotel (246 rooms). Nearly 5,000 rooms are available at various hotels in the Historic District, and there are more than 15,000 total hotel rooms in the greater Savannah area. All hotels and meeting spaces in the Historic District are located within walking distance of numerous boutiques, galleries, restaurants and more. Savannah’s many award-winning restaurants are ready to host your networking breakfast events, executive lunches and reward dinners in style. This city is famous for its unique coastal cuisine, with restaurants serving fresh crab legs and oysters as well as peel-and-eat shrimp and succulent lobster tails. Whatever your group is craving, these places have you

covered, with restaurants specializing in everything from traditional Southern favorites to some of the finest international cuisine available. Many restaurants can also accommodate large groups: The Olde Pink House can seat up to 400, and Moon River Brewing Company has enough room for largescale events as well as live entertainment. No matter where you’re coming from or how you arrive, you and your guests will find it’s easy to get to Savannah. The Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is located only 15 miles from the city center and is served by many major airlines, including Delta, Jet Blue, United Airlines and Air Canada. Frontier Airlines recently introduced new routes from Denver and Philadelphia. And if your guests are traveling from South Florida, they can hop on one of American Airlines’ new daily flights from Miami. The city is also easily accessible via major highways like Interstates 95 and 16, and has direct daily rail connections to New York and Miami. Once you and your attendees arrive, you’ll find that Savannah is easy to navigate on foot and with local transportation. Of course, the Visit Savannah team is also happy to help arrange bus and car transfers to restaurants and offsite activities for you. Start planning your meeting today and VisitSavannah.com! Meetings Contact: Jeff Hewitt, Senior VP of Sales & Services, JHewitt@VisitSavannah.com, (912) 644-6416

101 East Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401 • (877) SAVANNAH; (912) 644-6424 • savannahmeetings.com; savannahvisit.com 56

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100,000 square feet of exhibit space in one of america’s bucket list cities. watch your attendance grow.

VISITSAVANNAH.COM

THIS ISN’T ORDINARY. THIS IS SAVANNAH.

V I E W F R O M T H E S AVA N N A H C O N V E N T I O N C E N T E R


SITES & CITIES DIRECTORY NEW JERSEY

Atlantic City Convention Center 1 Convention Boulevard, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 (844) 855-6338 (MEET); Fax: (609) 345-3685 meetac.com President and CEO: Jim Wood Your Northeast Business Address

TEXAS

Austin Convention Center

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

IDAHO

Boise Centre

850 West Front St., Boise, ID 83702 (208) 336-8900; Fax: (208) 336-8803 boisecentre.com Director of Marketing and Sales: Cliff Clinger

Atlantic City is a hidden gem along the New Jersey shoreline, offering visitors much more than a seaside destination. Atlantic City is made up of more than 15,500 first-class hotel rooms that will suit the perfect accommodations for your attendees’ complete comfort and relaxation. The Atlantic City Convention Center is located within a few hours’ drive of nearly one third of the nation’s population and 20 percent of the country’s business addresses. The Atlantic City Convention Center provides 600,000 contiguous sq. ft. of exhibit space, as well as 45 meeting rooms, ample pre-function space and all the amenities you PAGE would expect. 10 A LEED® Gold-certified, technologically advanced convention center located near downtown’s famous entertainment districts. Multi-level facility spans six city blocks; features 374,278 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibit space, including five column-free, contiguous exhibit halls (247,052 sq. ft. of total exhibit space), seven ballrooms (the largest is 43,400 sq. ft.) and 54 meeting rooms. Complimentary high-speed, high-density wireless services throughout; onsite engineers; proven ability to handle 7,000 simultaneous connections. Pre-function spaces offer downtown views. Hilton Austin and Fairmont Austin connected to convention center PAGE via pedestrian walkways. Close to 10,000 downtown hotel rooms. 9 Come experience the newly expanded Boise Centre, offering 86,000 sq. ft. of highly flexible meeting/event spaces. The facility houses 31 highly flexible meeting/event spaces all with a modern, contemporary design and the latest in technology; largest room is 24,426 sq. ft. Full-service catering services; professional event services team to assist with every detail. Located seven minutes from the airport in downtown Boise with multiple hotels within walking distance. A compact, walkable downtown surrounds Boise Centre with over 100 restaurants, shops, microbreweries and activities. PAGE 45

NEVADA

Caesars Forum

Las Vegas, NV 89109 (855) 633-8238 CaesarsForum.com Vice President of Sales: Lisa Messina

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut Convention Center

100 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT 06103 (860) 249-6000; Fax: (860) 249-6161 ctconventions.com Director of Sales & Marketing: Michele Hughes Defying Expectations

PENNSYLVANIA

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

1000 Ft. Duquesne Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (412) 325-6174; Fax: (412) 565-6104 pittsburghcc.com From Steel to Sustainable

MISSOURI

Explore St. Louis

America’s Center Convention Complex, 701 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101 (314) 421-1023; (800) 916-8938 explorestlouis.com President: Kathleen Ratcliffe

OHIO

Greater Columbus Convention Center

400 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43215 (614) 827-2500; (800) 626-0241; Fax: (614) 827-2659 columbusconventions.com Director of Sales: Anna Nash, CTA

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CAESARS FORUM will feature more than 300,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, including two 110,000-sq.-ft. ballrooms, two 40,000-sq.-ft. ballrooms and six 1,250-sq.-ft. boardrooms. The conference center can host meetings for more than 10,000 attendees and will offer the latest in technology, a modern design, natural light and a neutral pallet. The conference center will also feature FORUM PLAZA, a 100,000-sq.-ft. dedicated outdoor plaza. In line with the Caesars’ environmental initiatives, the conference center will be LEED Silver certified. CAESARS FORUM will have direct access to the 5,000 rooms at both LINQ and PAGE Harrah’s hotels through the FORUM Sky Bridge. 1

$375 MILLION CONFERENCE CENTER OPENING 2020 IN LAS VEGAS

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 ½-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. 1,600 rooms (downtown); 6,500 rooms (within 30 miles). Attractions: Front Street District, Dunkin’ Donuts Park, Connecticut Science Center, The Old State House, Wadsworth Atheneum, Mark Twain House, Bushnell Park, PAGE New England Air Museum. 13

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: Recently refreshed CISCO infrastructure supporting complimentary WiFi for attendees and a full catalog of exhibitor products and services from high-density wireless buyouts to customizable PAGE live streaming options. 11 With world-class hotels, restaurants, museums and entertainment venues, you’ll find that St. Louis is a great choice for your next meeting or event. St. Louis is an accessible and affordable destination that will keep delegates entertained with magnificent theater, live music, sports and more that are all within reach. The America’s Center Convention Complex offers 502,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 80 meeting rooms, a 28,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, the St. Louis Executive Conference Center and the 67,000-seat Dome at America’s Center. There are more than 38,000 hotel rooms in metropolitan St. Louis. Downtown St. Louis has 7,000 hotel PAGE rooms, with more than 1,750 of those rooms within steps of America’s Center. 5 The city’s largest contingent of Certified Tourism Ambassadors welcomes guests to the SMG-managed facility, featuring 373,000 contiguous sq. ft. of exhibit space, 75 meeting rooms, three ballrooms totaling 114,000 sq. ft. and the largest contemporary collection of central Ohio art. Located near John Glenn Columbus International Airport, across the street from entertainment districts and within a 90-minute flight or a day’s drive of the majority of the nation’s population, the GCCC is connected to five hotels and more than 4,000 parking spaces. Construction of the 650-space Ohio Center Garage will PAGE begin in October 2018. 53 FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


CC-Facil&Dest-ADVERTORIAL.qxp_Layout 1 5/24/18 12:16 PM Page 1

The 600,000-sq.-ft., SMG-managed Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center offers exceptional service, state-of the-art technology and catering by Savor in a LEED Gold-certified facility located just five minutes from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. Function space consists of four exhibit halls, two ballrooms and 31 meeting rooms that can be configured in a variety of ways. A 2,500-space parking garage is connected to the Center via two enclosed, air-conditioned skywalks. The convention center partners with six nearby upscale hotels providing 2,700 guestrooms.

FLORIDA

Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward 5 Ways to Make Your Meeting County Convention Center

a Destination Experience

950 Eisenhower Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 (954) 765-5900 ftlauderdalecc.com

As the meetings and conventions industry continues to flourish and evolve, event planners are seeking new ideas and capitalizing on current trends to FLORIDA make their events truly stand out. When creating a holistic guest experience becomes the ultimate goal, how can meeting planners keep up and elevate their events to new heights? These tips and tricks can help make your next meeting a true destination experience.

Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

Convention Center adjacent to Port Everglades, a major cruising hub, attendees can end their meeting with a bang by setting sail for a week of leisure!

701 Brickell Avenue, Ste. 2700, Miami, FL 33131

The days of traditional banquet rounds and “rubber chicken” dinners are long gone. Nowadays, the industry is exhibiting more creative dining concepts and novel, interactive details. Kitchens are providing a variety of on-trend catering such as farm-to-table cuisine with menus that are artistic and imaginative. Guests are often invited to enjoy samplings of innovative food and beverage creations in more personal settings. Other ideas include event sets and décor that are more evocative of night clubs than formal sit-down dinners, traditional ballrooms transformed into vibrant productions, and unique site features such as fountains and atriums serving as backdrops for one-of-a-kind cocktail receptions or networking events.

Its “Where Business and Aloha Meet” — and in a winning way. Located just eight miles from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, the 1.1 million-sq.-ft. Hawaii Convention Center The guest experience is the very crux provides organizations from around the globe with a setting that is distinctly Hawaii in of an event. The ultimate goal is to create a style while being spacious, modern and flexible. Facilities include a 200,000-sq.-ft. exhibit lasting impression and memorable experience for attendees. But how do you measure hall, 35,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 47 meeting rooms, the 459-seat Lili’u Theater and the 322experience? Through engagement! Whether seat Emalani Theater. Full facility and high-density WiFi 802.11 a/g/n/ac network; free it’s social media or a dedicated meeting app, visitors should be encouraged to use digitallight-use WiFi in all public spaces; temporary LAN/WAN/VPN networks. More than tools to document their experience in real PAGE 28,000 overnight rooms sit within a 1.5-mile radius of the center. C2 time. Ideas include an official event hashtag,

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Hawaii Convention Center

2

Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Arrive by land, sea Convention or air Riverside Center It’s no secret that transportation can make or break

123 East Main Rochester, your event experience. Events need Street, to be not only educational NY 14604 (585) Fax: (585) and economical, but 232-7200; also highly accessible. A venue232-1510 reachable by more thanrrcc.com one form of transportation offers added value that attendees will surely appreciate. In South the Director of Sales: KrisFlorida, Hughes Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center is accessible via all forms of transportation, from boats and cruise ships to planes, trains and automobiles. Located just three miles from Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood International Airport, visitors can touch down in Fort Lauderdale and arrive at the venue NEW JERSEY within minutes. Fort Lauderdale’s Sun Trolley allows guests to conveniently experience the convention center’s entertainment district, while water taxis offer access via the city’s scenic waterways. Other alternative modes of 2314 Ave., City, 08401 transportation serve Pacific as fun, unique ways Atlantic to see the city. Bikes,NJ Segways and rickshaws can(844) give attendees the full experienceFax: of meeting in paradise. 855-6338 (MEET); (609) 345-6704 Guests can further explore South Florida with the new Brightline express meetac.com train, which offers riders premium travel from downtown Fort Lauderdale to and CEO: Jim Wood Miami or PalmPresident Beach and soon, all the way to Orlando. And with the

Meet AC

Your Northeast Business Address

Greater Miami is a vibrant area whose renowned neighborhoods include South Beach, Coconut Grove and Little Havana. Among the area’s major attractions are American Airlines Arena, Pérez Art Museum, MiMo in North Beach, Bal Harbour and two national parks: Biscayne National Preserve and Everglades National Park. There are a total of 50,134 hotel rooms, and the Miami Worldcenter will add an 1,800-room Marriott Marquis when it opens in 2020. The Convention Center currently offers 500,000 sq. ft. of total exhibit space and 81 meeting rooms. The Greater Miami CVB offers groups banners, airport signs, destiPAGE nation, material, registration personnel services, website, promotions and more. 7

3 Meet outside the box

1Immerse yourself in the location

In an age when539-3042 both work and play are must-haves in (305) the meetings MiamiMeetings.com and conventions industry, more and more event professionals are finding it hard to resist meeting locations Moskowitz, Vice President, Sales that offer theBarry whole package. Some may opt for the glam and barry@gmcvb.com lights of Sin City while others may go for theme parks in Orlando, but few attendees can resist the call of tropical, beachy paradises such as Greater Fort Lauderdale. HAWAII The Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention offers far more than just meeting space-- it presents an unparalleled destination experience. Surrounded by a convention center 1801 Kalãkaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815 district with exceptional restaurants, (808) 943-3500; Fax: (808) 943-3099 shopping, arts and cultural attractions, hawaiiconvention.com pristine beaches, and hotels for every taste and info@hccaeg.com budget, this South Florida venue represents an ideal meetingWhere location. The Greater Fortand Aloha Meet Business Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) helps guests make the most of the destination’s offerings from before they arrive until departure, providing tools to book exciting excursions, reserve tables atNEW award-winning restaurants, and redeem YORK special offers from local businesses, in addition to an onsite concierge for recommendations and assistance.

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Gauge your success

photo contests and more. The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB inspires guest engagement through a variety of touchpoints including social media, targeted promotions and soon, a new app. Many other destinations are following suit with interactive digital platforms tailored to guest preferences.

The Floreano Center is conveniently located in upstate New York, in the heart of downtown Rochester. 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibition space features a 50,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, 10,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 22 meeting rooms of various sizes, in-house food service, themed décor and floral services, as well as dedicated wireless Internet connection over fiber optics. Make them feel at home In large venues and exhibit halls, the intimacy of anOver 1,100 hotel rooms, with 800 directly connected by an enclosed skyway. Surrounded by event and connection among attendees can sometimes entertainment districts with restaurants, pubs, theaters and more. Rochester offers planners a become lost. Providing the highest level of service and communication is a great way to make guests feel at home. For example, thecompact convention district, and New York State’s only one-stop convention facility. PAGE

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Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB promotes SUNsational Service®, offering tools and specialized training to hospitality professionals to ensure excellence. The human element is often the most appreciated and impactful for meeting planners and attendees alike. Individuals who provide SUNsational Service go above and beyond to ensure that guests have the best experience possible, contributing to Greater Fort Lauderdale’s success and popularity all year long.

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Atlantic City is a hidden gem along the New Jersey shoreline, offering visitors much more than a seaside destination. Atlantic City is made up of more than 15,500 first-class hotel rooms that will suit the perfect accommodations for your attendees’ complete comfort and These are just a few ideas to help you enhance the guest experience, attract relaxation. The Atlantic City Convention Center is located within a few hours’ drive of nearly new attendees, and make your next meeting truly unforgettable. If you’re eager to learn more about hosting events at the Greater Fort Lauderdale /one third of the nation’s population and 20 percent of the country’s business addresses. Broward County Convention Center, visit FTLauderdaleCC.com or call The Atlantic City Convention Center provides 600,000 contiguous sq. ft. of exhibit space, 954.765.5900. as well as 45 meeting rooms, ample pre-function space and all the amenities you PAGE 3 would expect.

LOUISIANA

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center 900 Convention Center Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 19107 (504) 582-3023; Fax: (504) 582-3032 mccno.com Director of Sales: Elaine Williams, CMP ARIZONA

Phoenix Convention Center & Venues

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

Visit Savannah

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

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is located in the Warehouse/Arts District, in walking distance to 20,000 hotel rooms and the historic French Quarter. The Center houses 1.1 million sq. ft. of exhibit space; a 60,300 sq. ft. divisible, column-free ballroom; 140 meeting rooms; a 4,000-seat theater; and a 1-gigabit per-second fiber-optic Internet backbone that is 100-percent redundant. Plans are currently underway for a new $65 million linear park that will update the urban environment with a tree-lined pedestrian plaza, outdoor event space and fountains. Plans also call for a multi-modal transportation hub where shuttles will collect and attendees will PAGE experience a grand new covered entrance with a series of moving sidewalks. 25 Designed for the future of event hosting, the award-winning Phoenix Convention Center offers a stunning combination of beauty, practicality and sustainability to event planners. Its impressive stable of benefits earned the privilege of hosting Super Bowl LVII Fan Events in 2023 and NCAA Final Four Fan Fest in 2024. Surrounded by premier convention hotels, nightlife, restaurants, shopping, professional sports venues, art and cultural museums as well as theater and entertainment venues all within walking distance, the Phoenix Convention Center is the hub of what’s happening in the city. And with over 900,000 sq. ft. of customizable event PAGE space, it is designed to handle events of any size. C4 Savannah, Georgia’s oldest city, charms visitors with its 22 historic squares, canopy of live oaks veiled in Spanish moss, ornate historic homes and leisurely pace of life. The city has the capacity to accommodate large groups in its meeting facilities, the largest being the Savannah 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 and growing. PAGE 57

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7 TIPS FOR FINDING

THE IDEAL HOTEL IN A SELLER’S MARKET By Jennifer Squeglia, CMP

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inding the hotel that serves as the best setting for your important program in today’s seller’s market is more challenging than ever. Keen preparation and using your best resources are critical for your continued success. I have found the following best practices to be especially important.

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Do your homework. With so much information at your fingertips, make sure you read the reviews and know the rates the hotel is offering online, so you’re armed with knowledge for the negotiation. Also get feedback from planner colleagues who have used the property recently. Be sure to ask about renovation schedules and updates before, during and/or after your program dates. Read your industry magazines!

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N S U RE Y O U R CLIENT S UND ER STA ND T HAT T HEY

Assess the airlift/transfer time window. To avoid the seller’s market in firsttier cities, planners sometimes look to lower-tier cities or suburban hotels outside first-tier cities. However, the ease of getting to such sites must be assessed in light of the length of the program. Participants may be willing to travel further if the event is more than two to three nights. For a brief program, that time window of getting there (and going home) should be shorter. I work with a client who does a large-scale, 24-hour meeting (starting with lunch on one day and ending with lunch on the next day) and brokers fly in from all over the country. About two thirds of the guests came in the night before, but one third came in just for one night. Making sure the airport has great lift and nonstop options, and is within a 30-minute ground transfer to the hotel, were important factors when we looked at NEED destinations.

Educate your clients about T O A CT Q U ICKLY: T HE D AY S O F HO T ELS HO LD ING the seller’s market. Be as detailed as Ensure they understand why possible with your S PACE O N M U LT IP LE D AT ES IND EFINIT ELY A R E GO NE. hotel charges have escalated in RFP and prioritize your this stage of the market, and that concessions “wish list.” they need to act quickly: The days of hotels holding space on It is important to share as much information with the hotel multiple dates indefinitely are gone. There is another piece of in the RFP stage as you’re comfortable with, including business right behind yours ready to fill those dates, so acting where the meeting has taken place in the past, the room swiftly and keeping the decision on track is critical. pickup history, the room rate budget range, the legal and addendum language that the client requires in the Be flexible on dates if possible. contract, and what concessions are most important to you The more flexibility you can offer the hotel on your and your client. The more information you arm your hotel preferred dates, the better. Especially in this market, going sales contact with, the more data the representative has to to a hotel with multiple date options is ideal when trying to present to the revenue team. [Editor’s note: On this point, negotiate the best value for your program. Of course, this is see Terri Woodin’s article on page 62.] In this market, it is easier said than done given not only the packed calendars important to show your hotel partners how profitable and of executives, but also the challenge of getting all of them to valuable your business is, and the above information really align to more than one date window. helps to make that case.

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Maintain open communication lines with your hotel sales rep. Stay in touch with your hotel sales contacts and be available for their questions. Even if a decision hasn’t been made, it is important to keep the representatives updated on the decisionmaking process; don’t go radio silent. You cannot be successful without them and they’ll work harder on your behalf if you show respect. I recently was working with a hotel partner for a 2019 program for one of my clients, and we were trying to work on the rate and concession package. By letting my sales contact know that I’d be willing to increase the F&B minimum substantially from what she initially proposed (knowing my client would meet it), she was able to go back to her revenue management team and present me with a much more favorable package.

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Work with your global sales partners. In this market, the value of your global hotel contacts can’t be overstated. They know what your company is spending

THE #1 NEWS & INFORMATION SOURCE FOR ASSOCIATION & CORPORATE MEETING PLANNERS & TRADESHOW PROFESSIONALS

overall and have a good understanding of your history and the value of your business. Their partnership positively influences their properties and gives you credibility with the individual sales contacts. They are your best advocates during the site search and ensuing negotiations. Jennifer C. Squeglia, CMP, is Principal of her event-planning company, RLC Events, Inc. Since its founding more than 11 years ago, Warwick, RI-based RLC Events has partnered with clients from a variety of industries, including defense, healthcare, financial services and insurance. Squeglia previously served as Director of Meetings & Client Events for Fidelity Brokerage Company, and prior to that as an Event Manager for John Hancock. Her career started in the hospitality industry working at luxury resorts in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Savannah, GA, and Martha’s Vineyard.

ADVERTISER INDEX

Atlantic City Convention Center ...............................................10 Austin Convention Center..............................................................9 Boise Centre ..................................................................................... 45 Caesars Entertainment .....................................................................1 Connecticut Convention Center ................................................13 David L. Lawrence Convention Center .....................................11 Explore St. Louis .................................................................................5 Greater Columbus Convention Center ..................................53 Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center ........................................................................ C3 Greater Miami CVB ........................................................................... 7 Hawaii Convention Center ......................................................... C2 IMEX America .....................................................................................17 Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Convention Center ...........................................................................51 Meet AC .................................................................................................3 New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center ..........................................................................25

FACILITIESONLINE.COM FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL

Phoenix Convention Center ...................................................... C4 Visit Savannah ....................................................................................57 61


GETTING TO “YES” ON YOUR RFP Both planners and hoteliers must exercise communication and creativity By Terri Woodin, CMP

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n my daily work with suppliers and enduser planners as a third-party meeting planner, I very often find a lack of mutual understanding. With a 30year background on the hotel side and six years as a planner, I decided to do an experiment to see what results could be achieved by breaking the transactional RFP cycle. The goal was to get to “yes” on more RFPs.

THE ISSUE

Given the lack of availability and high room rates, planners are doing “high level” searches with limited information in the RFP and sending to numerous properties to determine if there is availability so they can advise stakeholders of which destinations might be an option. The problem is that the hotel declines their RFP, citing “no rooms or space available,” because revenue management says there is not enough information in the RFP to be able to bid. The planner accepts that there is no availability and does not ask why (e.g., due to a citywide, guestrooms-to-meeting space ratio, arrival/departure pattern, compression in the hotel, or definite business on the books). The planner then proceeds to advise their stakeholder that there is no availability. Door closed.

THE EXPERIMENT

In working with a hotel on an RFP, I learned the sales manager just moved from a regional sales office to on-property, and with little training or guidance she followed very specific steps when an RFP came in. I asked her if it would be OK to try something that would not get her in trouble for breaking procedure, but if done right, could increase her close ratio. She said yes. So I requested that for the next 30 days when she receives a “high level” RFP with basically dates and a skeleton of space needs, she is to assume the planner knows how to put together a more detailed RFP. She then advises the planner on the RFP, instead of taking it to the revenue management meeting just to be 62

P

LA NNER S A R E D O ING “HIGH LEV EL” SEA R CHES WI TH LIM IT ED INFO R M AT IO N IN T HE R FP. T HE P R O BLEM I S T HAT T HE HO T EL D ECLINES T HEIR R FP BECA USE R EV ENUE M A NA GEM ENT SAY S T HER E IS NO T ENO UGH INFO R M AT ION IN T HE R FP T O BE A BLE T O BID . turned down due to insufficient information. Break the cycle. Don’t miss out on potential business because of transactional revenue management procedures driving the process. In the experiment, I requested the sales manager contact the planner and acknowledge that the planner is doing a “high level” search. She would then inform the planner that there looks to be availability and rates are about the mid$200s. “Once you have additional information,” the sales manager would say, “please circle back around and I would be happy to provide a detailed proposal.” Door left open. The planner will circle back to the supplier that provides direction as to how to get to “yes” on the RFP. Along the way, the planner will learn how the hotel evaluates his or her business. Indeed, the communication will provide a learning experience for both sides, and ultimately a win-win. I received a phone call from the sales manager just two weeks later, and she was very pleased to report that five out of the next six RFPs she received she contracted because she left the door open. Sure enough, when the planners called her back with more information, she then took it to revenue management and received what she could bid following the hotel’s process at the appropriate time, and closed the deals.

THE SOLUTION PLANNERS

Here are some of the criteria hotels use to evaluate your business. These variables influence pricing and availability, and addressing them can help get a “yes” on your RFP. Transient demand Arrival/departure pattern (flexibility) Guestrooms-to-meeting space ratio Group food & beverage spend Sleeping room spend

•• •• •

Continued on page 64

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FOOD WASTE: A MEETINGS INDUSTRY ISSUE 5 steps planners can take to reduce food waste at their events By Tracy Stuckrath, CMM, CSEP

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ntil the last few years, we did not think much about the food we were serving or even the amount of food left over from our events. Now reducing food waste is one of the hottest — and in my opinion — important trends in our industry that we can work together to prevent. Each year in the United States alone, 30 percent to 40 percent of food — 63 million tons — produced in the nation is wasted. According to the Events Industry Council’s 2018 Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy study, meeting planners in the United States spend nearly $48 billion on food and beverage each year. Add to that figure the indirect spending by participants on F&B, and the amount spent jumps to $64 billion. That is a lot of food, and $19 billion to $25 billion worth of it is wasted. So what can you, and we as an industry, do to reduce the amount of food wasted at events? Before we get to the steps, let’s define food waste. Food waste, in simple terms, is the discarding or losing of potentially usable food. In event terms, that means food prepared but not served, or food served but not eaten. Wasted food can also include food scraps from production (potato and carrot peels, celery butts, beet tops) that can be used to make soup stocks, juices, etc.

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Audit your food and beverage. The initial step in reducing food waste at your events is to audit your F&B spend, usage and waste. How many meals did you guarantee versus how many were actually served? How much food went uneaten off the buffets? How much food was prepared but not served (remained in the kitchen)? How many meals were ordered but not requested or picked up? Think specialty meals (kosher, halal, gluten-free, etc.) and/or boxed lunches. What foods were left over after each meal function (e.g., foods that attendees did not like)?

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A NISH BUFFE TS , WHICH R EQ UI RE M O R E FO O D T O SE RVE. IF BUFFET S A R E A MUST, O NLY R EFR ESH WHEN A STAT IO N IS EM P T Y AND USE SM A LLER P LATES S O AT T END EES CA N’ T TAK E A S M UCH FO O D .

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Design a food rescue plan. How are you going to work to reduce the amount of food wasted at your event? This initiative starts with your RFP and contract, and requires knowing your F&B history and understanding to whom you can donate leftover meals (see Food Donation section below). Talk to your catering partners on how they manage waste within their kitchen, what organizations they’ve worked with in the past to donate leftover items, and what food is in season to reduce spillage and spoilage before it gets to the plate.

3

Communicate your plans. Your food waste reduction plan needs to be communicated to all event stakeholders, from the management team to sponsors, exhibitors, catering partners and your attendees. It is imperative that everyone understands your goals and efforts being made, and how they can help you reach those goals.

4

Design the menu to minimize waste. Start by consulting with your chefs. They are the best resource for determining what’s in season, as well as what is being ordered by other groups in house that can be bulk ordered. Using predesigned catering menus reduces customization that can produce extra waste. Banish buffets, which require more food to Continued on page 64

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GETTING TO “YES” ON YOUR RFP Continued from page 62

•• •• •• •• •

Seasonality — demand over your dates History Lead time Value of total account business Repeat business potential Multiyear contracts Incremental/ancillary revenue Risk (contract clauses) Other groups contracted over same dates

Assess your leverage by understanding average industry profit margins and how your RFP contributes. Rooms — 77 percent Group F&B — 38 percent F&B outlets — 19 percent Recreation/spa — 15 percent Retail/miscellaneous departments — 15 percent

•• •• •

SUPPLIERS

Here is how you administer the revenue management process to change your level of involvement from reacting to becoming an advisor.

Specify why you declined. Why is there no availability? Cite, e.g., the concurrence of a citywide with the RFP’s meeting dates, definite business on the books, rooms-to-

• •

space ratio, arrival/departure pattern, etc. Be a trusted advisor and offer specific solutions: For example, advise on what they have to change to get a “yes” on their requested dates, rather than just asking if they have alternate dates. Think outside the box and get creative. Be transparent. If you replied “yes” to the RFP but changed some of the specifications, be an advisor rather than saying you can do it when you really can’t. Don’t let the client find out you can’t after you have been shortlisted and they ask you to map the space flow. Explain what you changed in your response (e.g., the exact number of breakouts, setup or teardown times, etc.)

CONCLUSION

When hoteliers move away from transactional RFP responses and advise potential clients on how to design an RFP that represents value to both parties, business happens. A hospitality and meetings industry veteran, Terri Woodin, CMP, currently serves as Vice President of Marketing & Global Meeting Services at Meeting Sites Resource. Woodin also serves on industry advisory boards including MPI and The School of try Council of Colorado Annual Leadership Award.

FOOD WASTE: A MEETINGS INDUSTRY ISSUE Continued from page 63

serve. If buffets are a must, only refresh when a station is empty and use smaller plates so attendees can’t take as much food. They can always go back for more if they are still hungry.

5

Review your guarantees. This is imperative for meal functions where attendance is essentially required. If you’re expecting 400 people at your event, will that many truly show up? Most events have a 20 percent no-show rate and/or late stragglers, so only set/plan for 80 percent of your expected attendance. Work with your hotels to monitor the group’s arrival and departure patterns to account for late arrivals and early departures. If attendance is not required at meal functions, ask your participants which meal functions they plan on attending. Additionally, consider the setting of your event. Are there multiple food outlets nearby for attendees to go to instead of your event, or is your event secluded? This could really impact your numbers.

FOOD DONATIONS

Managing food waste at your event can not only help reduce waste, but it can also provide meals to those in need, support the local community and potentially save you money. Note that the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act was passed in 1996 to protect all F&B donors from liability in case the 64

product later causes harm to the recipient — except in cases of gross negligence where the donator knew that the food was likely harmful. Check local ordinances and regulations on donations. The following organizations can assist in the donation process: Rock and Wrap It Up! (rockandwrapitup.org), an antipoverty, anti-hunger think tank that serves over 40,000 agencies in North America with a mission to connect those with excess food with those in need. Whole Earth Calculator (rockandwrapitup.org/whole-earthcalculator-2/) will help you convert pounds of food donated into meals served and carbon footprint reduced. Feeding America (feedingamerica.org) is a nationwide network of member food banks that engage our country in the fight to end hunger Tracy Stuckrath, CMM, CSEP, is Founder and President of Thrive! Meetings & Events (thrivemeetings.com). An award-winning meeting industry consultant, Stuckrath has had a 27-year event-planning career. She currently includes comprehensive, inclusive menu planning among her services. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 FALL


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D E S I G N E D FO R TOMO R R OW Containing nearly 900,000 sq.ft. of meeting space, a stunning combination of beauty, practicality and sustainability adorns downtown Phoenix. From every brick, beam and architectural wonder to our expert event-planning staff and world-class caterers, the Phoenix Convention Center is built to host the meetings and events of the future. Experience that future for yourself. Visit PhoenixConventionCenter.com | 800.282.4842

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