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Facilities Guestrooms of the Future 11

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



& Destinations




Chattanooga 14

Monterrey, Mexico 16

South Korea 19

Toronto 22

Venue Reviews 24

Sherrif Karamat, CAE Chief Executive Officer Professional Convention Management Association


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For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals




Volume 25 No. 1 Chief Operating Officer David Korn


e are pleased to bring you the first issue of Facilities & Destinations designed for digital distribution. As Sherrif Karamat, PCMA’s new CEO, remarks in our exclusive interview with him (page 12), the distribution of news in the meetings industry and other sectors has become widespread and instantaneous, reaching the consumer from multiple digital sources. Accordingly, one of PCMA’s roles is to synthesize that data for the benefit of its membership. For the benefit of our readers, the biannual F&D Digital magazine will supplement our quarterly print magazine by synthesizing even more developments in the fast-paced meetings world. This inaugural edition is rich in destination coverage, exploring some potential site choices that are perhaps less traditional than those featured in our print issues. Chattanooga, TN, Monterrey, Mexico and South Korea offer intriguing cultural experiences for meeting groups, supported by solid MICE infrastructures. Unique to our digital magazines will be a Venue Review section, focusing on specific hotels and resorts. This issue showcases two very different hotels in Colorado: Denver’s aptly named The ART hotel and the renowned Keystone Resort. In addition, our longtime contributor Debi Lander brings you a comprehensive report on The Cliff House, a quintessential Maine hotel that has undergone a major transformation. With the change in leadership at PCMA and new initiatives in store for members, exciting times are ahead for the professional meeting planner. The expansion of F&D’s digital content will further support the positioning of planners as “business event strategists,” by consistently providing them the information they need to make strategic decisions about meeting design and execution.

Associate Publisher Michael Caffin Editorial Director George Seli Contributing Editors Debi Lander Joshua Mermelstein GiAnna Wyatt Creative Direction & Design Scott-Goodman Associates Circulation Coordinator Aryeh Korn Editorial Assistant Gabriella Davino Business Operations Nadia Derelieva © 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.

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

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.


In Brief.....................................................................................................4 Forum Sherrif Karamat, CEO, PCMA.................................................................12

ON THE COVER & Destinations Sherrif Karamat, EMPOWERING PCMA’s new THE BUSINESS EVENT STRATEGIST CEO, addresses delegates from the main stage at 2018 PCMA Convening Leaders, held in Nashville. Karamat notes that this year the convention drew its highest international attendance ever, with more than 40 countries represented. It’s a clear sign of PCMA’s globalization, and continuing that expansion is among Karamat’s goals.

Facilities Guestrooms of the Future 11

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






Guestrooms of the Future: “Smart” Lodgings by Hilton and Marriott...11


Chattanooga 14

Monterey, Mexico

Destinations Chattanooga, TN...................................................................................14 Monterrey, Mexico.................................................................................16 South Korea...........................................................................................19 Toronto..................................................................................................22 Venue Review The ART, Denver, CO.............................................................................24 Keystone Resort, Keystone, CO.............................................................24 The Cliff House, Maine...........................................................................27 Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya...............................................................29 Advertiser Index....................................................................................18 2


South Korea 19


22 Venue Reviews:

The ART, Denver, CO 24

Keystone Resort Cliff House, Maine 27

Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, Mexico


Sherrif Karamat, CAE Chief Executive Officer Professional Convention Management Association


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Scott Graf BCD Meetings & Events

Paul Van Deventer MPI

Butch Spyridon Nashville CVC


CHICAGO, IL — In December, BCD Meetings & Events (BCD M&E) signed an agreement to acquire Grass Roots Meetings & Events from Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc. A division of Grass Roots Group Holdings, Ltd., Grass Roots Meetings & Events manages over £150m of meeting spend, drives compliance within organizations and focuses on improving the performance of meetings and events programs. The company operates meetings and events services from key locations in the U.K. (Fleet and London), New York, Dusseldorf, Zurich and Singapore. “We have been strategically investing to grow our global presence and service offering over the last three years,” said Scott Graf, BCD M&E Global President. “This acquisition is about strengthening local Event operations, offering new venue sourcing technology and expanding our delegate management solution.”

program for non-traditional students. Scheduled to launch in 2019, the master’s degree program will incorporate experiential learning, simulations and industry partner mentoring, and will be delivered online with meetups on the SDSU campus to accommodate work schedules of students. It will be taught by faculty who have worked in the meeting and event industry, and feature guest lecturers from the industry as well. “We are thrilled about this opportunity to co-create unique and rigorous educational programming with the globally recognized L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at SDSU,” said Paul Van Deventer, President and CEO of MPI. “MPI continuously strives to bring more visibility and credibility to the meeting and event industry, and the new master’s degree and academic certificate programs are stellar examples of how we fulfill our mission.”

DALLAS, TX — Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University (SDSU) are collaborating to create the first graduate-level degree program offered in the United States focused on meeting and event management for mid- and senior-level professionals. In addition, they plan to develop a related academic certificate

LAS VEGAS, NV — Las Vegas has been named the World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination for 2017, marking the fifth consecutive year the destination has been recognized in this category by the World Travel Awards. “It is an incredible honor for Las Vegas to be recognized once again as the World’s Leading Meetings and Conference Destination by the World Travel Awards and fellow travel professionals,” said Cathy

Tull, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “Throughout the destination, our resort partners are continually investing in expanding meetings offerings, and we look forward to even more exciting developments in the years to come.” In 2016, the destination welcomed a record-breaking 42.9 million visitors, including an all-time high of 6.3 million business travelers. Nearly 22,000 meetings and conventions take place in Las Vegas annually, and many of those events will benefit from an expanded and renovated Las Vegas Convention Center. For details on the project, see the Las Vegas feature in the F&D 2017 SuperBook, page 56. NASHVILLE, TN — Music City, the site of PCMA Convening Leaders 2018, saw a record 14.5 million visitors in 2017, a 4.6 percent increase from 2016’s record 13.9 million visitors, according to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. “Our visitor numbers were surprisingly stronger than the 2 percent to 3 percent growth we had initially forecasted,” said Butch Spyridon, President and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. “Our appeal as a global leisure and meetings destination continues at a high level.” In 2017, Cvent ranked Nashville seventh among the Top 50 meeting destinations in the United States.


Location. Location. Location.

If you’re looking for a unique location for your next meeting, conference or special event, then we invite you to discover Boise Centre. Boise Centre is Idaho’s premier convention facility and features: • An ideal location in downtown Boise, just 7 minutes from the airport, and surrounded by restaurants, shops, hotels, culture and entertainment • 86,000 sq. ft. of flexible/customizable event space • A newly completed expansion with 8 additional meeting rooms and ballroom • Exceptional culinary services and a diverse menu with many locally sourced ingredients • The meeting space, atmosphere and professional event staff to deliver unforgettable experiences

Visit boisecentre.com to view interactive floor plans or to submit an event inquiry.

Like seeing the city’s beautifully illuminated bridges for the first time, our meeting in Little Rock was unforgettable. Attending an elegant opening reception in the Clinton Presidential Center. Riding the METRO Streetcar to explore the breweries, clubs and restaurants in the River Market. Filling the Statehouse Convention Center with applause. Our meeting here felt different – and such a pleasant surprise. All centered around the personal attention and charming hospitality of Little Rock. “TOP TEN U.S. BEST VALUE DESTINATIONS” TRIVAGO.COM, 2015 – 2017




< River Lights in the Rock To see more, go to LittleRock.com





Who’s News LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — The National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) Board of Directors has voted Ed DiAntonio, CMP, President-Elect for the 2018-2010 term. DiAntonio serves as Director of Catering and Event Management for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. DiAntonio, a Certified Professional Catering Executive, served on the national board of directors as Treasurer during the 2016–2017 term.

He is a past president of the NACE Orlando Chapter and in 2008 was selected as NACE’s National Caterer of the Year.

LAS VEGAS, NV — Steve Hill, formerly Executive Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, is the new President and COO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The appointment completes a corporate restructuring of the CVA that also includes the promotion of Cathy Tull to Chief Marketing Officer and Ed Finger to Chief Financial Officer.

NEW ORLEANS, LA — The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority recently named Michael J. Sawaya as President and General Manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and Executive Vice President of the Authority. He succeeds Robert L. Johnson, who retired on Sept. 25 after 10 years of service. Sawaya, a 40-year veteran of the hospitality industry, comes to New Orleans from San Antonio, TX, where he served as Executive DirecMILWAUKEE, WI — Last month, the Wisconsin Center District (WCD) Board of Directors named Marty Brooks as the new CEO for the WCD, effective Jan. 22, 2018. Brooks comes to his new position from Explore St. Louis, where he has served since December 2012 as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the America’s Center complex, which includes the Cervantes Convention Center.

Looking Ahead

tor of the Convention and Sports Facilities Department for the City of San Antonio. Sawaya recently directed the $325 million expansion of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2017-2018 WINTER / SPRING Issue

Featuring: ELITE Award and PRISM Hotel Award winners Our annual Planner Roundtable, featuring perspectives from high-level planners on a hot topic in the industry F&D Forums: In-depth Q&As with industry leaders on the move Tips from the pros on incentive planning, meeting technology and more





All-New Walt Disney World Dolphin Lobby

The Walt Disney World Dolphin lobby has undergone a $12 million re-design, the final stage of a $150 million renovation project, the largest makeover in the resortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history. It has completely transformed into a sleek, contemporary space featuring new food and beverage options and offer an inviting area for guests to relax or network. A recipient of the prestigious Meetings & Conventions Hall of Fame Award, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is a nationally respected and recognized leader in the convention resort arena. The resort offers more than 331,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, 86 meeting rooms, and 2,270 guest rooms and suites which feature the Westin HeavenlyÂŽ Bed. Attendees can also relax in the luxurious Mandara Spa, indulge in one of our 17 world-class restaurants and lounges or enjoy our unique Disney Differences.

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All-New Guest Rooms And Suites

Impressive Meeting Venues

In Brief


It is adjacent to the newly renovated Portola Hotel & Spa and connected to the Monterey Marriott. In an effort to achieve LEED-NC Platinum designation, the conference center will also be adding solar panels to the building. “What better way to kick off a new year than by welcoming visitors to the new Monterey Conference Center and our destination,” says Tammy Blount, President and CEO of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

throughout its campus by converting outdated lighting to energy-efficient LED light technology. The new lighting was installed in several areas of the campus, including meeting rooms, loading docks, stairwells, the food court, garages, production kitchens and its grand Atrium. “Providing a positive guest experience and maximizing our sustainability efforts are among our top priorities,” said Phoenix Convention Center Director John Chan. “The recent

The Phoenix Convention Center recently installed LED lighting Pure Detroit, new at the Cobo Center DETROIT, MI — Pure Detroit, offering Detroit-centric products, is a new retail store on the first floor of the Cobo Center. “A Pure Detroit Shop on the Cobo Center concourse, open for all events, will connect visitors from all over the world to the culture and hospitality of Detroit,” said Claude Molinari, General Manager of the Cobo Center. “It is another big step in making our customers feel that Cobo is ‘Centered Around You,’ and immersing them in our mission to deliver outstanding event experiences.” The Cobo Center store opened in time for the 2018 North American International Auto Show, Jan. 13-28. LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Convention Center and the Orange County Water District are among the 13 recipients of the Governor’s Environmental Leadership Award, California’s highest environmental honor. The District was cited for its educational programs 8

that inform the public about recycled water and its benefits, while the Convention Center was lauded for a sustainability program that has reduced waste, conserved water and cut its carbon footprint, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency. MONTEREY, CA — The Monterey Conference Center opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 31 following a $60 million renovation. The modernized facility offers more than 40,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space.

“We see the facility as a regional hub of innovation that will capitalize on our destination’s natural allure and, together, help drive new thinking for group attendees.” PHOENIX, AZ — In December, the Phoenix Convention Center, a LEED-silver certified green building, completed several upgrades

conversion of our lighting fixtures to LED supports our focus on energy efficiency by extending the lifecycle of equipment and minimizing the hours spent on maintenance.” Chan added that the center participates in the City of Phoenix Public Works department’s initiative to increase its waste diversion rate by 40 percent by 2020.

Rendering of the modernized Monterey Conference Center


In Brief


The Albany Marriott celebrated its grand re-opening on Jan. 18 with a ribbon cutting followed by a cocktail reception and tours of the newly renovated hotel for guests. Attendees included Colonie Chamber President Tom Nolte, Capital Region Chamber CEO Mark Eagan, Sen. Neil Breslin, Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, and Albany Marriott General Manager Todd Reichelt. ALBANY, NY — The Albany Marriott has completed a $15 million renovation. The two-phase project began in October 2016 and fully renovated the hotel’s 360 guestrooms. New technology includes an in-room entertainment system featuring Netflix, the latest Wi-Fi technology, mobile check-in and state-of-the-art reader board displays. Public areas were also renovated, including the Great Room, bar area, lobby, common areas, corridors and 16,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

elevated pool deck and bar with views into the Battery Atlanta, and a reception area on the pool deck for 150 people. ATLANTA, GA —The Whitley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, situated in Atlanta’s urban chic Buckhead neighborhood, opened in December. A rebranding of the iconic The Ritz Carlton, Buckhead, the 507-room property introduces a newly

ATLANTA, GA — The Omni Hotel At The Battery Atlanta opened on Jan. 3 as a cornerstone of the mixeduse community adjacent to SunTrust Park, future home of the Atlanta Braves. The 264-room property offers more than 20,000 sq. ft. of function space. Highlights include a Southern-inspired signature restaurant, an FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING

renovated restaurant, bar and Legacy Ballroom that includes 14-foot ceilings, crystal chandeliers, a wall of windows and private alfresco terrace. Future enhancements include a guestroom renovation and a refresh of public spaces. The property houses more than 30,000 sq. ft. of versatile function space. BOSTON, MA — The historic Ames Boston Hotel, a member of the Curio Collection by Hilton and of Gemstone Collection by BENCHMARK, recently received the coveted “Conversion of the Year” award from Hilton. Last year, the hotel completed a $6 million renovation, which included a redesign of the hotel’s public spaces, including the Lobby, whose tiled mosaic arched ceiling was preserved, and The Library, which serves as a new communal workspace for guests. With the addition of the Ames and Oliver & Oakes meeting rooms and their pre-function vestibule, Ames Boston Hotel now offers 1,700 sq. ft. of new private event space. CLEVELAND, OH — The Four Points Cleveland Airport, the brand’s first hotel in Cleveland, recently opened following a renovation. The

147-room property features 6,500 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space. Amenities include full-service dining, an indoor heated pool, a 24-hour fitness center and fast and free WiFi throughout the hotel. COLOGNE, GERMANY — Europe’s largest Holiday Inn Express recently opened in Cologne, marking IHG’s sixth opening in Germany in 2017. The 323-room Holiday Inn Express Cologne – City Centre brings the company’s number of hotels across Germany to 72. DENTON, TX — The 318room Embassy Suites by Hilton Denton Convention Center Hotel opened on Dec. 28. A LEED Gold-certified property, the Embassy Suites is located in the upand-coming Rayzor Ranch District. The 70,000-sq.-ft. convention center can be divided into 22 separate meeting rooms. Outdoor space includes an 8,000-sq.ft. event lawn and 3,000-sq.-ft. rooftop patio. FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — The Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach celebrated its grand opening with a ribboncutting ceremony on Dec. 14. The 290-all suite property, located between Sunrise and Las Olas Boulevard, offers Continued on next page

The new Omni Hotel At The Battery Atlanta 9

In Brief

HOTEL HIGHLIGHTS Continued from previous page

10,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space and 10,000 sq. ft. of oceanfront outdoor space, in addition to a sixth-floor Sky Deck. HAINAN ISLAND, CHINA — The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company recently opened its first golf resort in China. The 175-room, 16-suite RitzCarlton, Haikou is located on Hainan Island, often called the Hawaii of China,

and offers access to the 350-acre Blackstone Course that weaves its way around the world-renowned Mission Hills Golf Club. The property houses over 37,000 sq. ft. of function space. LOUISVILLE, KY — Aloft Louisville East, the brand’s second Aloft in Louisville, recently opened. Aloft Louisville East features 126 spacious loft-style rooms


and more than 3,500 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space. MADRID, SPAIN — The new Hyatt Centric Gran Via Madrid offers 159 rooms near the famous El Retiro Park, Prado museum, Royal Palace and many boutique shops. The hotel’s 2,120 sq. ft. of function space affords views over Gran Via. PALM HARBOR, FL — In November, Innisbrook, a Salamander Resort completed the renovation of the putting surface on all 18 greens on its popular North Course, one of four championship layouts at the Tampa

Hyatt Centric in Madrid Bay-area resort. The greens were planted with TifEagle Bermuda Grass, also utilized for Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course.

savings off the master bill. See cheyennemountain. com/meetings/offers for details.

beachcancunresort.com/ Grand-Experience/. CANCUN, MEXICO — The Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun is offering the Grand Experience package, which includes: champagne breakfast at Viña del Mar restaurant; lunch at Isla Contoy, Pool & Beach or Coral Café; International Open Bar during all meal consumptions at private events, restaurants and bars; two 30-minute coffee breaks; one-hour of water sports per suite at Marina Coral Beach; and more. Special concessions such as complimentary Wi-Fi, fitness center access and suite upgrades are also available. The Grand Experience option is available year-round. For details, visit www.coral10

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — To commemorate Cheyenne Mountain Colorado Springs, A Dolce Resort joining the distinctive Dolce Hotels and Resorts portfolio, the resort launched a 20/20 guest package that includes a one-night stay with the option to add a second night for $20 and a gourmet Dolce Chocolate turndown. The package starts at $179 a night and is valid through March 2018. A second offer, valid through the same time period, includes 10 percent

INDIAN WELLS, CA — Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, which recently completed a multimillion dollar renovation, is offering groups a Meet & Earn package. Groups booking by March 2018 will have the choice of three perks including a complimentary two-hour Miramonte Margarita reception, complimentary meeting room Wi-Fi, room upgrades, or a $30 per room, per night resort credit. Stay must take place over the following dates: March 1-6, 14-21, 27-31, April 1-12, 18-30. For details, email miramontesales@miramonteresort.com.

ORLANDO, FL — The recently renovated Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is offering the following value-added concessions for meetings booked and consumed through Dec. 31, 2019: complimentary one-hour hosted welcome reception; 50 percent discount on meeting room Internet; double SPG Pro Starpoints, up to 100,000 per qualifying event; complimentary Disney character appearance. Not valid for previously contracted business. For more information on this offer as well as a special promotion for pharma groups, visit swandolphinmeetings. com/special-offers.


Guestrooms of the Future

Hilton and Marriott develop “smart” lodgings


By George Seli

t the heart of meeting technology lie various familiar kinds of tools, from conference apps to registration software to the AV systems in meeting rooms. But attendees’ broader hospitality experience can also be enhanced by technology, and the guestroom tech features that Hilton and Marriott are developing will especially benefit the busy meeting participant. The aim is to create a “smart” guestroom that communicates with guests’ smartphones. These “guestrooms of the future” will eventually An example of Marriott’s Internet of Things hotel room complement avant-garde meeting “We’re proud to be innovating with industry-leading space, e.g., the “meeting room of the future” being studied by partners to get closer to revolutionizing the guest experience, IACC (see iacconline.org/iacc-meeting-room-of-the-future). along with hotel operations and even hotel construction,” said Hilton’s new Connected Room is a case in point. Using Karim Khalifa, Senior Vice President, Global Design, Marriott their mobile devices equipped with the Hilton Honors International. “Together with Samsung and Legrand, we are app, guests will be able to control the temperature, lighting, well on our way to creating the hotel room of the future.” TV, window coverings and more. They will also be able to One of Marriott’s primary meeting personalize their room experience by loading hotels in Florida, the Orlando World streaming media to in-room TVs, use voice Center Marriott, recently introduced commands to control their room or access Using their mobile an app that enhances convenience their content, and upload their own artwork devices equipped with beyond the guestroom. The “World and photos to display in their room. the Hilton Honors app, Finder” smartphone app, developed “At Hilton, almost all digital products are in partnership with hospitality born out of necessity and shortcomings in the guests will be able to technology company MeetingPlay, marketplace — and Connected Room is no control the temperature, utilizes iBeacon technology and exception,” said Joshua Sloser, Senior Vice lighting, TV, window 3-D mapping to provide resort-wide President of Digital Product, Hilton. “The wayfinding. Once guests download technology we put in hotel rooms has to be coverings and more. the free app, available in both Apple intuitive, simple and quick to pick up because and Google Play stores for iOSguests typically spend a limited amount and Android-based smartphones, they can pinpoint their of time in their rooms and we want them to spend that time exact location on property receive step-by-step directions to enjoying the experience instead of adapting to new technology.” guestrooms, meeting spaces, the nearest restrooms and other Also allowing guests to control their room experience via facilities. The app also supplies information on the property’s app or voice is Marriott’s Internet of Things (IoT) hotel room, dining outlets, entertainment and recreational offerings, developed in partnership with Samsung and Legrand. For including hours of operation, menus and more. example, a guest can ask a virtual assistant for a wake-up alarm, “The app provides a virtual concierge in our guests’ pockets, request additional housekeeping services, and start the shower which aligns perfectly with our goal of providing top-notch at the desired temperature stored in the guest’s customer profile. services and interactive experiences for our group and leisure Marriott’s IoT Guestroom Lab is exploring the uses of IoT, a guests alike,” commented Gary Dybul, Director of Sales and collection of physical devices (e.g., guestroom appliances) that Marketing at Orlando World Center Marriott. can share data amongst themselves and the user. 11 FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING


By George Seli fter Convening Leaders concluded in Nashville last A month, PCMA President and CEO Deborah Sexton “passed the torch” to then-COO Sherrif Karamat. Sexton,

an esteemed leader in the meetings industry, had worked with Karamat on various initiatives since he joined PCMA in 2003 as Vice President of Sales. Their projects focused on developing and implementing PCMA’s new vision: driving global economic and social transformation through business events. Karamat also oversaw PCMA’s partnership, business services, membership, business development and technology teams, and was instrumental in streamlining the association’s media, content and channels under one organization. He led PCMA on a major data intelligence program, and played a key role in the recent acquisition of the Incentive Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP). As the association’s new CEO, Karamat will continue to further PCMA’s growth on various fronts, from globalization to education. Serving as the new President of PCMA’s Education Foundation, Karamat advocates planner education that goes well beyond logistical topics, and is a lifelong learner himself. In addition to obtaining Bachelor of Administrative Studies and Master of Business Administration degrees, he has completed various postgraduate certificate programs at Wharton School of Business; Kellogg School of Business; University of Chicago; Harvard Business and Law School; and most recently, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he focused on Data Intelligence and Big Data. Prior to joining PCMA, Karamat was the Vice President of Business Sales and Services for Tourism Toronto. He has served on various boards and is currently a Director on the Destinations International Board of Trustees.


Congratulations on your new position. What are some of your initial priorities?

We have quite a few initial priorities. The focus is how we deliver on the vision that PCMA laid out to transform itself completely into a global organization. At the core of that vision is becoming truly an audience-centric organization. You drill that down a little bit further, and [we need to become] a data-centric organization, so that we can become audience centric. The team is moving toward acquiring better skills at data acquisition, so that we can 12

better listen to and serve our members and non-members. We’re looking at how our members’ roles are evolving, what associations and corporations’ challenges are, and how business events can help them solve some of the challenges.


hat were some of the highlights of your work with Deborah?

e worked closely together on quite a few things. We led the acquisition of what is now called the Digital Events Institute. We felt that whatever education was needed, digital extensions of meetings were not just nice to have, but something that’s a reality in the world that we live in. So we put an emphasis on digital education. But overall, the focus was on raising the bar on the level of education, so that meeting professionals were being recognized for the work that they were doing. We felt for years that meeting professionals, whom we called business event strategists, were only being recognized for logistics, but they wore so many other hats. And we no longer wanted to talk about it; we wanted to do something about it. [Being a business event strategist] means numerous things, everything from how you engage audiences, to how you design events for a desired outcome, to how you market an event, to how you change and develop new revenue streams, to leadership. At the same time, we were coming to the realization that the role planners play is one thing, but next is the impact of that role. Business events are catalysts for startups in this country and around the world; they are catalysts for economic prosperity. Business events weren’t being looked at under that lens, and we wanted to put the spotlight on what they truly do.


ow will the higher-level education in business events be pursued going forward?

e launched a pilot called the Business Event Bootcamp, and that’s something we’re still doing. Over the years we have partnered with top-20 business schools around the U.S. and around the world to bring business-level education to the event industry. And we are in the process of launching a pilot program based on a business event strategist concept. We’re going to test modules over the coming year.


ill the business event strategist program be tied to a new certification? FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING

to information. So our role now is to make sure that we are able to synthesize that information so that people can have it in digestible pieces and make sense of our world, which is changing fairly quickly with the digitization of our economy.


ow would you describe PCMA’s approach to globalization?

t our very core is education and knowledge exchange, and we don’t believe that knowledge is limited by borders. However, everyone ltimately, it may, but we want to has limited amounts of make sure that we are giving people ver the years we have resources, so we have to access to the education. For those that want partnered with top-20 business be very prudent in how we certification we will move to that end, but approach the marketplace. we want to provide that level of education schools around the U.S. and When we went through starting now. our visioning exercise, we around the world to bring looked at the world in three hat new membership programs business-level education to the regions, without necessarily will you be working on? ignoring anybody: Asiaevent industry. And we are in oming up is a new program that we Pacific, EMEA [Europe, launched at Convening Leaders called the process of launching a pilot Middle East and Africa] Ascent, which is focused on diversity and and the Americas. The program based on a business inclusion. It’s something we’ve always talked primary focus was the about, but we want to walk the walk and event strategist concept.” U.S., Canada and Mexico, make sure everyone is included at PCMA. where we actually have We’ve also had a program called 20 in chapters. As far as our their Twenties for five years, we’re investing even more in growth strategy, we never look to acquire anybody, but we it. The PCMA Education Foundation is strongly behind the weren’t going to [turn down] opportunities. So when ICESAP program; they had 104 scholarships at Convening Leaders. came along, it really aligned with us in distance learning, And we plan on doing more of that so we can get younger accreditation and certification in a region that our visioning people involved in our industry that are going to be the exercise had said we needed to be in much more deeply. pipeline to the future. And last but not least, you will see a program rolled out in the months ahead that really engages hat is the state of international participation in our former leaders so their contributions can be even more Convening Leaders? recognized. We will also have them serve in more of a t Convening Leaders in Nashville, we had our highest mentorship role to our young people that are entering this international attendance ever; over 40 countries [were industry. They’ve got so much wisdom and knowledge, and represented]. Our membership is at an all-time high, and the we have to make sure we tap into that. non-member engagement that we’ve got is also growing very rapidly. Of course, when we acquired ICESAP we acquired a CMA is a valuable information resource for its lot of new members as well. So the content is designed not members on the business events industry. How have just for us at home, but for anyone who wants to participate. you seen the delivery of that information evolve? [Overall] Convening Leaders has grown tremendously. When bout 20 years ago, the Internet was still very young, and I started at PCMA, it had about 2,500 participants; today how we communicated was very traditional, one or two it’s at about 4,700 participants. With an event that grows mediums. And today you don’t have to wait for the news; your like that, you want to make sure you’re taking care of all the friends from some other part of the world or city in the U.S. participants. So we are looking at Convening Leaders again would tell you exactly what happened instantaneously. We to make sure we’re not missing an opportunity to engage are communicating differently, and we’ve got more access people in the way that they want. 13 FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING







Chattanooga Scenic, historic and meetings-ready


By Joshua Mermelstein

crossroads in the South, halfway between Nashville and Atlanta, Chattanooga lies at the perfect junction for a corporate retreat or convention, sitting at the intersection of three major Interstates, I-24, I-75 and I-59. Recessed into the Appalachian Mountains, and situated on the banks of the Tennessee River, Chattanooga also has a panorama of beauty. The city was a strategic stronghold during the Civil War. Grant made a name for himself with his maneuvers in Chattanooga, and Sherman advanced through Chattanooga on his march to the sea. And although the city has grown at a fast pace over the last 20 years, it has maintained its southern spirit and hospitality. The downtown area features world-class art, shopping, nightlife and dining. With the recently resurrected Riverwalk spanning 13 paved miles, Chattanooga’s accessibility and beauty have grown together. The free electric shuttle that connects Chattanooga’s two banks also connects the Chattanooga Convention Center to over 2,000 hotel rooms, makes planning a meeting logistically easy and cost effective. And the city’s moniker “The Gig City,” is not for naught, as over 150,000 businesses and homes, including the hotels and the convention center, have Wi-Fi speeds of up to one gigabit per second. 14

Chattanooga’s convention center offers groups 100,000 sq. ft. of column-free exhibit space all on one floor and 19,000 sq. ft. of divisible ballroom space. Certified by Tennessee’s Green Hospitality Program, the center makes use of natural light and boasts in-house farm-to-table service that provides fresh ingredients. Even the center’s coffee is locally grown. And the city-operated electric shuttle provides yet another environmentally conscious choice for groups. The University of Tennessee has partnered with the Chattanooga Convention Center for an annual state conference that is traditionally held in Nashville. “We were not able to secure the state rate in Nashville, so we had to consider other options. We looked at many cities and found that Chattanooga was a great location for pricing, activities and convenience for our attendees,” says Kristie Wright, MS, CGMP, Program Administrator for the University of Tennessee Center for Literacy, Education & Employment. Wright adds that the convention center’s layout made it easy for the 400 attendees to get around between sessions. All of the major hotels are proximate to the convention center, including the 343-room Chattanooga Marriott Downtown (attached to the convention center; 10,212 sq. ft. of function space) and the four-star, 199-room Chattanoogan Hotel (25,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor function space). FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING

In fact, as F&D staff toured the Chattanoogan, we were met with the unique mixture of quaint charm and state-of-the-art luxury that is to be found in much of the city. Chattanooga’s lodging options are expanding. A 261room Westin opened in October as part of an $88 million project that will feature the high-end restaurant Shula’s Steak House, cobblestone streets for pedestrians, festival and event space, and much more. The hotel offers 6,800 sq. ft. of function space. In 2018, a variety of smaller properties will debut, including brands such as Hampton Inn, Hilton Tru and SpringHill Suites by Marriott. Wright found the CVB, Meet Chattanooga, to be very accommodating, providing “coupon books, city guides, etc., that we stuffed into conference bags. They also gave mini moonpies that were a major hit!” While there were no arranged group activities for the University’s annual state conference, “on our registration website we provided a tab with links to the many, many things to do in Chattanooga.” Indeed, Chattanooga is far from a “strictly business” destination for meeting groups. Attendees can visit the city’s unique and treasured attractions, including the Bluff View Art District and the Tennessee Aquarium. The latter offers two buildings for rental by groups of 20 to 2,000: The River Journey and the Ocean Journey. The Aquarium’s 385-capacity IMAX 3D Theater together FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING

After meeting at the Chattanooga Convention Center (top), attendees can enjoy a stroll by the riverfront along with locals . with the Great Hall is ideal for a presentation or keynote address. A new and intriguing offsite venue is the Songbirds Guitar Museum, which features a rotating collection of more than 500 rare vintage instruments, including some of the most exclusive guitars in the world. The museum can be booked for special events. Also available to groups is the River Gorge Explorer, a 70-passenger catamaran that affords panoramic views of the Tennessee River Gorge and Chattanooga Riverfront. Groups who enjoy the outdoors during their free time can also visit Miller Park, located in the downtown Innovation District. The park is undergoing an $8.5 million renovation through July — just another example of Chattanooga’s commitment to remaining one of the most charming small cities in the South. 15


Monterrey, Mexico

Evolving into a first-class meetings destination By GiAnna Wyatt


he emerging city of Monterrey is the capital of the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Set against a mountainous backdrop, Monterrey boasts new infrastructure, modern hotels and a futuristic events center, Pabellon M. Yet the city is also known for its working-class culture and iron and steel industry. While the works have been shut down for decades, Monterrey has embraced that industrious history and blended it with 30,000 incoming businesses, including banking, telecomm and retail. Monterrey’s industrial past is exemplified by one of the city’s biggest attractions, The Horno Tres, also known as The Blast Furnace No. 3. The furnace was a large part of the steel production, and its building was declared a national monument. Today, the building functions as an interactive science center and technology museum, celebrating steel. Groups can dine in a sky-high restaurant called El Lingote, overlooking the beautiful park at the foot of the museum. It’s those kinds of experiences that have made Monterrey extremely popular with tourists and meeting groups. An average of 6.8 million visitors a year enjoy the city’s impressive architecture and award-winning cuisine. Points of cultural interest include Macoplaza, featuring


celebratory statues of Spanish conquistadors; Monterrey Cathedral; The Mexican History Museum; The Monterrey Contemporary Art Museum; and the former palace of the governor. There are over 100 hotels and 11,800 guestrooms within the destination. For years, the Cintermex, accommodating 18,900, and the Convex Center, accommodating 3,000, have been the go-to venues for large groups. The latter facility, Monterrey’s convention center, houses 100,000 sq. ft. of total function space including 55,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 31 meeting rooms. Last year, the Pabellon M opened in the city center, presenting a new opportunity for groups in Monterrey. Pavilion M offers over two million sq. ft. of mixed space with an avant-garde design. There are a total of eight meeting rooms and three ballrooms with four breakout spaces. The massive campus includes the auditorium, which hosts up to 4,266 people. The egg-shaped structure is unique to the city, with a 52-story tower designed by architect Agustin Landa Vertiz. “Pabellon M was inspired by the area’s history with [materials] like glass, concrete and steel,” says Martha Pelayo, part of the commercial development team for FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING

Pabellon M in the city center presents a new opportunity for groups with over two million sq. ft. of mixed space and an avant-garde design.

Pabellon M. “Since the architect is from Monterrey, he wanted to pay tribute to a city that meant so much to him and is celebrating the new evolutions and changes.” Pelayo adds that the venue is known for hosting pharmaceutical, education and technology groups. The campus includes the new Fiesta Americana Monterrey Pabellón. The hotel features 11 floors of guestrooms that offer spectacular views of the city, in addition to a roof garden with a pool, massage rooms and a gym. Other features include comfy common areas, event rooms and the 1596 Restaurant, where guests can dine on the outdoor terrace. The eatery is named after the year of the foundation of Monterrey. There are four meeting rooms; the largest is 62 sq. ft. Other hotels in the area include the 180-room Grand Fiesta Americana Monterrey Valle. The property is part of the luxurious new Trebol Park business complex in San Pedro Garcia, N.L. It occupies the first of more than 20 buildings in the exclusive Valle Oriente district. The guestrooms overlook the mountains and have modern amenities catering to business travelers. The hotel offers groups a 3,230-sq.-ft. ballroom, divisible into three sections, accommodating up to 250 guests. A new boutique hotel of note is the Live Aqua Urban Resort Monterrey, located in the heart of the city’s financial center. At 74 guestrooms and 4,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, the hotel is ideal for small groups looking for a distinctive lodging experience. The hotel’s sophisticated public spaces are a departure FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING

from Mexico’s trademark meeting hotel due to the robust art program and unusual touches that keep the curiosity flowing, such as stacks of vintage suitcases on the perimeter of the lobby. The hotel’s courtyard features multistory murals with Spanish quotes by famous artists and innovators including rapper Tupac Shakur. Other visual highlights include the moving waves of fabric hanging from the ceiling as one enters from the car park. Guestrooms feature floor-to-ceiling views of the Sierra Madre mountains from all angles, including the plunge tub. The rooms are targeted toward the young, hip traveler with large abstract paintings behind the headboard. The space is techy, with outlets, lamps and switches in every cranny. Nicely greeted with an aromatherapy kit, one finds it easy to relax here. To continue the relaxation, the hotel’s Urban Day Spa by Aqua includes a visually appealing water feature, a variety of treatments, an exclusive hydrotherapy circuit with both wet and dry saunas, a Jacuzzi and Swiss with pressure showers. Guests can also choose from a menu of nine massages, as well as facials and aromatherapy. The onsite restaurant, Zoi, serves traditional Mexican dishes with a contemporary twist and influences from cultures around the world. Set on the 18th floor of the property, the eatery is dimly lit, designed with earth tones and numerous pieces of art and bougainvillea. The ambiance is complemented by mountain views. After visiting the city, groups can coordinate a drive with a local DMC to head out of the city center to some nearby Continued on next page


Continued from previous page

The stylish lobby and fitness center at the Live Aqua Urban Resort Monterrey.

waterfalls, including the Cascade Cola de Caballo. The waterfall is reached through wheelchair-accessible walking trails that are suitable for all fitness levels. Cascade Cola de Caballo is located in Villa de Santiago, 28 miles southeast of Monterrey. Afterwards, attendees can shop for local artistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; wares in the village.

Advertiser Index Austin Convention Center.............................................. C2

Boise Centre......................................................................5

Caesars Entertainment.....................................................3

IMEX America................................................................ C4

Little Rock CVB..................................................................5

Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.......................1

Walt Disney Resort Swan and Dolphin............................7 18


The iconic Gwangandaegyo Bridge (aka Diamond Bridge) in Busan


SOUTH KOREA A rising force in the global meetings market


outh Korea was in the spotlight of the sporting world this February with the 2018 Winter Olympics taking place in PyeongChang, a city in the mountainous, forested Gangwon Province. The Olympics effectively promoted the destination within the international tourism and meetings markets. Yet South Korea has been quite popular on that front for the last few years. In 2016, the nation welcomed a record 17 million international visitors, including the 25,000 international attendees of the Rotary International Seoul Convention, held at the Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX) from May 28-June 1. With a total attendance of 50,000 Rotarians, the convention included a 3K Peace Walk through downtown Seoul along with tours of South Korea’s capital and beyond. Thanks to major convention clients like Rotary International and a variety of meeting and incentive groups, South Korea is becoming a MICE hotbed. The most recent International Meetings Statistics Report released by the Union of International Associations (UIA) reveals that Korea hosted 997 meetings in 2016, an 11.89 percent increase over the previous year. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING

Seoul, as well as rising destinations such as Busan and Jeju, all saw a rise in group business. “The UIA’s latest findings are a strong reflection of Korea’s broad growth, not only across the country’s meetings section, but across the country itself,” said Korea MICE Bureau Executive Director Kapsoo Kim. “Established event destinations like Seoul are continuing to show their prowess, while an increasing number of regional capitals are giving global meeting planners an increasing variety of options, and so boosting Korea’s appeal for congresses.”


The bustling capital of South Korea is home to a multitude of historical landmarks as well as five-star hotels to serve as a group’s home base. One example is the Four Seasons Hotel Seoul, the brand’s first in the country. Opened in October 2015, the hotel offers 317 luxurious guestrooms, a stunning ballroom and a rooftop garden terrace. South Korea’s tallest building, the new 1,819-ft. Lotte World Tower, is home to the 235-room Signiel Hotel. The luxurious property’s 300capacity Grand Ballroom is billed as the world’s highest hotel banquet hall, located on the 76th floor. 19

Seoul, South Korea’s capital, is a modern metropolis ensconced in nature For more intimate gatherings, we suggest the Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul. The all-suite hotel’s 50 accommodations have beautiful views of the city, and its rooftop bar/restaurant is perfect for hosting a cocktail party. The Crystal Ballroom on the first floor is decorated with 20,000 pieces of Swarovski crystal and accommodates 300 guests. For those seeking a larger venue for meetings and conferences, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is a unique venue that is home to Seoul Fashion Week. Designed by famous female architect Zaha Hadid, the DDP was selected as one of the “Top 52 Places to Visit in 2015” by The New York Times. The venue has numerous facilities to host events of various sizes, including an Exhibition Hall. Event planners can be assured that there are plenty of group activities in Seoul, including visiting popular attractions such the Myeong-dong shopping district, Hanok village and the Gyeongbokgung Palace. At the DMZ (Demilitarized) Zone, attendees can get a glimpse of North Korea.


The largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, Jeju Island saw a surge in Chinese tourism in 2016 and has become one of the most popular destinations in Korea outside of Seoul. A major new lodging option will be available for both tourists and meeting attendees with the development of the 1,600-room Grand Hyatt Jeju, announced last fall. The property will be Hyatt’s sixth in the country Grand Hyatt Jeju will offer nearly 13,000 sq. ft. of meeting 20

space, 11 food and beverage outlets, indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center and two spas (Western and Korean) with a total of eight treatment rooms.


Incheon is the second-largest port city in South Korea and is less than an hour away from the capital city of Seoul. Attendees can fly directly into Incheon International Airport from major U.S. cities. Last April, Paradise City opened in the international business complex of Incheon International Airport on Yeongjeongdo Island. Paradise City is comprised of a 711room hotel, casino and 1,820-capacity Grand Ballroom, and will be complemented by a plaza, spa, club, performance hall and more in 2018. For conventions and tradeshows, the Songdo Convensia is the ideal venue, as it houses over 580,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space. Located 15 minutes from the airport, the convention center features five spacious floors that can host more than 2,000 attendees, and accommodates 450 exhibition booths. All meeting rooms are equipped with WiFi, voice-operated cameras and LCD projectors. There are six upscale hotels within walking distance from the convention center, including the Sheraton Grand Incheon Hotel, which opened in 2008. It is the first non-smoking, LEED-certified in South Korea and has 321 guestrooms. The hotel also features 18,300 sq. ft. of meeting space, including 10 meeting rooms, a banquet hall, outdoor event space and a large pool. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING

The COEX Convention & Exhibition Center, located in Seoul, won the “Outstanding Venue Award” at the 2017 AFECA (Asian Federation of Exhibition & Convention Associations) Awards

Group activities include a visit to Songdo Central Park, which was modeled after New York City’s Central Park, and a visit to the largest Chinatown in the country.


Busan is the second-largest city in South Korea and the world’s fifth busiest seaport by cargo tonnage. The city is 205 miles away from Seoul, which equates to a five-hour drive or a 2.5-hour ride by KTX Express. Served by Gimhae International Airport, the city is home to Korea’s largest beach and longest river. It is also home to the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO), which houses over 500,500 sq. ft. of exhibition space, 53 meeting rooms and a stunning 4,002seat auditorium. BEXCO also offers event planners exclusive access to two offsite venues: the Nurimaru APEC House (accommodates 150 attendees) and the Matrix Yacht (accommodates 70). There are approximately 102 restaurants five minutes away from the convention zone, and five five-star hotel properties within 10 minutes, including the Westin Chosun, Busan, which also does the catering for BEXCO and APEC House. Group activities include a visit to the beautiful beaches, a cruise with views of the Gwangandaegyo (Diamond Bridge) and a visit to the world’s largest department store, Shinsegae Centrum City.


Changwon is considered to be a business-focused city, with many of the major Korean businesses headquartered here, including LG and Samsung. The city is very close to Busan and Gimhae International Airport. The Changwon Exhibition Convention Center (CECO), FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING

built in 2005, has the distinction of being the first convention center in the country. It features two exhibition halls, three conference rooms and an outdoor plaza spanning over 60,240 sq. ft. CECO is connected to a five-star hotel property (Pullman Ambassador Changwon), multiplex theaters, a food court, a shopping mall and much more. Within 10 minutes of CECO there are over 1,000 hotel rooms, making the city ideal for a large convention. Active attendees can enjoy river rafting, paragliding and making kimchi (a traditional fermented Korean side dish). The city is also home to the Changwon International Shooting Range, the largest shooting range in the country.


Daegu is the third-largest metropolitan area in Korea, with over 2.5 million residents. Groups can fly into the Daegu International Airport or take a short 2.5-hour train ride from Seoul on the KTX Express. Daegu is considered to be the hottest city in the country (temperature wise) and is focused on being environmentally friendly. The city is home to the first and only convention center that uses renewable energy. The Daegu Exhibition & Convention Center (EXCO) saves over $60,000 a year on electricity by using renewable energy installations throughout the facility. Planners have plenty of venue options in this impressive center, which includes a fifth-floor Sky Garden and a VIP Room that contains a Korean-style garden. EXCO also has an auditorium that can accommodate 1,500 attendees. Group activities in Daegu include a kimchi-making class, face-mask creation class and a visit to the Seomun Market, which was one of the three main markets during the Joseon Dynasty. Overall, South Korea has 11 convention centers located across the country that are capable of handling events of all sizes. The Korea MICE Bureau (www.koreaconvention. org) can assist with all aspects of planning, including site inspections, marketing and communications. 21



A progressive metropolis that is still a friendly port city at heart


By Joshua Mermelstein

My stay started at the 541-room oronto might be Delta Hotels Toronto, located near described as a big city the growing financial district and with a small city at its overlooking the CN Tower, Rogers core. As one of the largest Centre and the bay. The Delta offers cities in North America, it groups 14 meeting rooms and over has the downtown, public 22,000 sq. ft. of event space, and is transportation and sprawling skyline connected to the Metro Toronto that you might expect. Toronto’s name, Convention Centre. Home to more however, comes from its proximity to Lake Ontario, and Toronto does Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has colorful than 600 events a year, the Centre houses seven exhibition halls (442,000 not let you forget its beginnings as a aquatic sights to behold sq. ft.), 77 meeting rooms (129,900 sq. modest port city. The bay adds a sense ft.), two ballrooms (78,000 sq. ft.) and a 1,232-seat theater. of natural beauty missing in some great cities. A uniquely I met with Rob Livingston, the Centre’s Senior Sales clean city, Toronto is a joy to explore by foot. And perhaps Manager, US Associations & Corporate Market, for a tour of most importantly, the people are friendly and welcoming, the facility. He was quick to point out the onsite tech team contributing to the laid-back Canadian charm even amongst that was wiring the space for an upcoming convention. With the hustle and bustle. in-house tech options, a gourmet chef and state-of-the-art As more and more people decide on Toronto as a place kitchen, and multipurpose space galore, the Centre can to live and work, the population continues to swell. Fifty percent of residents were born outside of the city, resulting in create a customized experience from top to bottom. And the Centre is within walking distance of countless diversions in an international vibe. The immigrant history is maintained downtown Toronto, from shopping to a Blue Jays game. through Toronto’s historical districts, and exploring them is Tourism Toronto then took me on a tour of Chinatown, one of many compelling free-time options for convention a must-see for visitors. A historical district that has moved attendees. The city is home to three major sports teams, a around yet retained its character, Chinatown combines a thriving nightlife, numerous microbreweries and Ripley’s distinctly urban atmosphere, the friendliness and calm of a Aquarium of Canada.



suburb, and a collegiate ambiance — given its location near the University of Toronto. I finished my trip at the Enercare Centre (formerly the Direct Energy Centre), where I met Laura Purdy, Director of Sales and Marketing, and Arlene Campell, General Manager. Enercare Centre is Canada’s largest exhibition and convention space, with over one million sq. ft. of multipurpose convention space. Located at Exhibition Place, and sharing a 192-acre campus with a hotel and an ice rink, the Enercare Centre is equipped for any occasion. Its accessibility and flexibility makes it obvious why the Centre was chosen to host many of the events at the 2015 Pan-American Games. Enercare Centre has all the amenities of a state-of-theart convention center, including audiovisual capabilities and catering service. However, I was most impressed by Enercare’s green initiatives. At the forefront of advances in green technology, Enercare Centre has managed to incorporate energy efficiency into much if its operations. Purdy and Campbell made sure to point out Enercare’s geothermal plant, which saves 110,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, and over 15,000 cubic meters of natural gas. This project functions year round, and is a sight to see. A LEED Gold-certified facility, Enercare Centre also features a waste-diversion project and a wind turbine. Exhibition Place’s only hotel is the new Hotel X Toronto, located across from the Enercare Centre. The LEED-certified lakefront resort offers 404 guestrooms, 25,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, a garden setting and numerous recreational activities such as golf, tennis, spa FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING

Rob Livingston, Senior Sales Manager at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (above) and swimming in indoor and outdoor pools. TEN X TORONTO, an affiliated athletic club, opens in February. In other hotel news, the 419-room Delta Hotels Toronto Airport & Conference Centre opened its doors on June 28, 2017. Formerly the International Plaza Hotel, this newly renovated property offers 31 meeting rooms and 60,010 sq. ft. of total meeting space. Property highlights include a spa, fitness center, pool and the Ginko Japanese Restaurant. Getting around the city is even easier for attendees with the Toronto Transit Commission’s opening of the TorontoYork Spadina Subway Extension last year. The $3.18 billion line crosses the municipal boundary between the City of Toronto and York Region. Among the six new stations is Pioneer Village, accessible to Black Creek Pioneer Village. This authentically recreated 1860s Ontario country village includes more than 40 restored homes, shops, public and farm buildings, interpreters and artisans in period dress. Banquet rooms for groups of 58-200 are available, as is onsite catering and event planning and support. For attendees that only know metro Toronto, the Village is a true escape into the region’s rural past. 23

Attendees can enjoy inspiring views between sessions at Keystone Lodge & Spa


COLORADO Two meeting hotels that showcase the state’s natural and artistic wonders


By Gabriella Davino

olorado offers groups one lation by artist Leo Villareal. Aside from of the most memorable such exquisite pieces, the hotel offers encounters with the many “ARTful” amenities and activities to American West, yet help guests kickstart their day in a posithat experience can be tive way. The ART Run, for example, is a remarkably varied. From three-mile journey among the many public natural wonders such as the Garden artworks in the heart of Denver’s thriving of the Gods in Colorado Springs to Museum District. (Although it is called a top-tier entertainment at Red Rocks “run,” guests are welcome to complete it Amphitheatre just 10 miles west of at their own pace.) Another option is the Denver, the state caters to attendees with ART Ride, where guests can ride through diverse recreational tastes. On the lodging the city’s cultural scene on bikes painted Keystone Conference Center side, two hotels exemplify the artistic and by local student artists from Denver’s natural sides of Colorado, respectively: Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design. the ART hotel in the Mile-High City Museum District (aka The ART also offers “Vinyasa & Mimosas,” where meeting downtown Denver) and Keystone Resort, situated 9,173 feet attendees looking to recharge can begin their mornings on above sea level in the Rocky Mountains. the FIRE Terrace every other Saturday, June 11-September. This wellness program includes a complimentary yoga class taught by Core Power Yoga instructors. The uniqueness of THE ART this class is that the poses are inspired by the ART hotel’s Located a 40 minute-drive from Denver International collection of over 50 artworks. After the relaxing vinyasa Airport, the 165-room ART hotel offers captivating pieces class, guests can mingle on the terrace and enjoy $10 of contemporary art woven throughout the property. Upon bottomless mimosas. arrival, participants will experience a large-scale light instal24


Denver’s ART hotel lives up to its name, from a distinctive exterior to the artworks that grace the lobby (right).

After working up an appetite from their active morning, guests can dine at FIRE, the hotel’s premier restaurant. The venue includes the FIRE Terrace and Lounge, which offers creativity through innovative artist-inspired libations and an avant-garde design. FIRE can accommodate large groups in a private dining area surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows with a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. For a happy hour drink or small plates, groups can try El Five, nestled high above the LoHi area of downtown Denver. It offers dishes from all Mediterranean regions, beautiful murals and Middle Eastern script on the walls, as well as panoramic views of the downtown Denver skyline. Italian food enthusiasts can opt for Il Posto. Milanese Chef/Owner Andrea Frizzi prepares dishes inspired from Northern Italy in an open-air kitchen. While these free-time options make the ART hotel a great incentive destination, the property provides for conference needs as well. Over 5,000 sq. ft. of function space is available, including a reception area with an outdoor terrace that offers many unique ART breakout opportunities. Led by Denver artists, these workshops focus on a variety of art mediums including drawing, spray painting and airbrushing. The ART also offers private tours where guests can explore a “who’s who” of modern art throughout the hotel’s lobby, hallways, meeting spaces and guestrooms. There is also “Connect with ART,” a two- to three-hour teambuilding program where attendees collaborate on an art project.


Keystone Resort welcomes groups to both the great outdoors (right) and the great indoors (Conference Center boardroom, above).

One of the country’s great mountain retreats, Keystone Resort is located just a little over an hour’s drive from downtown Denver in Summit County. From hiking to mountaintop yoga, FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING


the resort gives guests a full, authentic experience of the Colorado Rockies. Keystone Resort’s primary hotel is the 152-room Keystone Lodge & Spa with 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. There are also 650 vacation rentals, including the River Run Village, located at the base of Dercum Mountain. The village is adjacent to the Snake River, known as a fishing hotspot. One of Keystone’s accommodations, The Inn, will be rebranded to Hyatt Place Keystone in early winter 2017. This will mark the first significant hotel brand in Keystone, as well as the first Hyatt in the Colorado Rockies. Keystone Resort is also home to the largest conference center in the Rocky Mountains. Located minutes away from River Run Village via free shuttle ride, the Conference Center offers meeting planners a unique experience in the mountains. Revamped in 2000, the facility accommodates up to 4,000 attendees and includes an outdoor tradeshow space with scenic views of the great outdoors. The center features state-of-the-art presentation equipment, in-house AV experts and ground-level loading areas for easy access to set up and

tear down exhibits and displays. Customization is key at the Keystone Conference Center, and that is reflected in the F&B. For example, Executive Pastry Chef Ned Archibald and his team can create everything from chocolate monuments to personalized figurines. Among the most memorable dining experiences at Keystone is the Wagon Ride Dinner, an authentic homestead barbecue meal served among the mountains while guests enjoy live guitar music. Apart from Western cuisine, Colorado is known for craft beer, and Keystone’s 9280’ Tap House offers a wide variety of brews to pair with an array of healthy appetizers and hearty entrees. Groups can also take a scenic gondola ride to The Overlook at The Summit House and enjoy lunch 11,640 feet above sea level. Private dining for large groups is available at Ski Tip Lodge, voted one of the Top 100 Restaurants in America by OpenTable. Built in the 1800s and once home of Keystone’s founding family, the rustic Ski Tip Lodge offers a four-course menu that includes soups, a variety of surf ‘n’ turf, and flavorful desserts prepared by Chef Ned himself.

Tom Kelsey

Director of Resort Sales, Keystone Resort


eystone Resort includes the largest conference center in the Rockies, but that’s only part of its appeal. Director of Resort Sales Tom Kelsey provides insight on other features that have made the property a standout in Colorado’s meetings industry.

What is the nature of Keystone’s group clientele? The majority of our groups are large repeat groups who look forward to working with our team and experiencing Keystone year after year. Some of our groups have been coming to Keystone for more than 20 years. It is really a joy to see our banquet staff interact with group leaders just like they are old friends. Quite often we start our pre-conference meetings with a catch up of what our clients and staff have been doing over the past year. What aspects do you believe set the convention center apart from other meeting facilities in the area? The Keystone Conference Center is the largest meetings facility in the Rocky Mountains. Not only can we meet group needs in the traditional sense with 60,000 sq. ft. of flexible space under one roof, but we can also host other activities for groups, including water events at Keystone Lake and festival-style events around the lake or in the River Run pedestrian village. The Conference Center can accommodate complex programs needing flexible meeting space, and there are alternative venues such as golf courses


and stables. There are also fantastic and convenient lodging options within a short walk or shuttle ride from the Conference Center. Can planners look forward to any renovations or upgrades to the facility in the near future? Keystone continues to maintain our facilities with a fresh, new look in our lobby at the Keystone Conference Center. From a lodging perspective, the Inn at Keystone (a favorite for group guests) will officially undergo a rebranding and become reflagged as Hyatt Place Keystone. Before the 2017/2018 winter season begins, the property-wide renovation will include a full interior makeover of all 103 guestrooms as well as substantial enhancements to common areas, all with a modern, rustic design aesthetic. Among the changes, guests of the hotel will be able to enjoy a new fitness center, an alternative grab-andgo dining option, new outdoor communal spaces and a more functional main lobby with an open floor plan. What is an example of a group activity that a client staged on Keystone grounds? In a recent group event, Keystone’s outdoor plaza was used as an exhibit hall for a software company event where teachers could experience new products. This group also rented out the entire adventure center, allowing guests to go between the exhibit hall and fun on-lake activities or mountain biking. Additionally, the group brought in mobile stages and had well-known artists perform, as well as floated its mascot on the lake and encouraged participants to use a canoe, paddleboat or stand-up paddleboard to reach the mascot for a one-of-a-kind photo. —G.D.



The Cliff House

A total transformation of a Maine landmark By Debi Lander


inspired luxury spa and wellness center ocky coastlines, towering opened in fall 2016. lighthouses and lobster Work has focused on Since then, work has focused on dinners evoke Maine, creating a top-of-the-line meetings arena an appealing place for a creating a top-of-thethat allows for flexible event spaces within widespread audience. The line meetings arena the new Cliffside Atlantic Ballroom and Cliff House, a coastal resort that allows for flexible 11 naturally lit meeting rooms (many with located in Southern Maine between ocean views). The resort currently offers Ogunquit and York, lies about 90 minutes event spaces within 132 guestrooms and suites, as well as the north of Boston or a 40-minute drive from the new Cliffside revamped 25,000-sq.-ft. event space. Cliff Portland. The rugged beauty of the OgunAtlantic Ballrooom. House completed the second phase of the quit coast offers a blend of Down East total transformation last autumn, bringing charm and quiet reflection. Undoubtedly, a the room count to 232 and adding an meeting at Cliff House will capture the best adults-only pool. of New England. I began my preview entering a registration lobby that The historic resort, opened in 1872 by the Weare family, gave a sense of sophistication and calmness. The space is located at the edge of iconic Bald Cliff, a rocky bluff 160 ft. could grace the pages of Architectural Digest, offering a high. The property prospered through the Roaring Twenties. distinctively nautical twist. The welcome I experienced It served as a radar station during WWII, and then struggled would please the most discerning incentive travel winner. after the war when it operated as a motor lodge. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been The upper lobby felt open and airy, with several inviting renovated many times, and is currently completing a major conversational areas around fireplaces adding warmth. renovation across 70 oceanfront acres The floor space extends beyond the registration desk and Cliff House temporarily closed at the end of the overlooks the grand foyer with its stunning two-story glass 2015 season for a facelift and debuted new coastal-chic wall. Eye-popping views of Bald Cliff and the mesmerizing guestrooms and suites in August 2016, garnering rave surf immediately drew me in. reviews from returning guests and local travelers. Its nature-



During their free time, meeting attendees can sample the fare at Nubb’s Lobster Shack (above), perhaps after working up an appetite by cliff climbing (left). “The meeting spaces were designed so no guest ever has to pass a meeting venue,” says Sales Director John Bradford. The main ballroom/meetings complex rests on the highest level in the middle of the two guest wings (the current and new wing are still under construction). The lower level services both leisure guests and meeting attendees with an indoor pool and Nubb’s restaurant — a lobster roll haven. An infinity-edge swimming pool, an extra-large hot tub and the lounging and sunning area offer compelling views of the Atlantic. The resort presents a range of dining options including The Tiller, the signature fine-dining restaurant, affording panoramic views of the cliff and surf. I ordered my breakfasts and two evening dinners off the menu, finding exceptional food preparation and friendly, efficient, but low-key staff. During break time a group of meeting attendees entered the Tiller Bar and ordered drinks from a menu offering regional beers and craft cocktails. Nubb’s, a quintessential Maine lobster shack, offers a casual dining option. Planners can reserve space for their group or plan a traditional lobster bake, the distinctive coastal Maine event, arranged in one of the banqueting areas. All guestrooms feature private terraces, plush beds, Maine Cuddledown comforters, evening turndown service, fresh Maine artisan coffee at a station on each floor, and a choice of daily newspapers. Exercise buffs will appreciate 24-hour access to the extensive fitness center. You’ll hear no complaints about the free Wi-Fi throughout the resort, daily self-parking, and beautifully manicured grounds. For winter days or cool nights, guests can take a dip in the indoor pool or bravely slip into the year-round outdoor heated hot tub. I was told the hot tub is especially popular during snowstorms. Three fire pits warm evening chats and double for a smores-making event. 28

The Cliff House staff has created a number of teambuilding activities: Competing Photo Scavenger Hunt teams scour the property, hunting for designated locations to snap pictures. The hunt is guaranteed to produce hilarious and memorable photos for a slideshow. Team Boat Building turns your group into master boat builders. Teams compete to build a sea-worthy boat and then test it to see if it can keep them afloat. The Arctic Mini Survival Challenge tests creative insights and the ability to communicate as imaginary explorers. Each team constructs a mini survival shelter for a leader who has frostbitten hands and followers who are snow-blind. Who can survive? Guests will also enjoy the nearby towns of Ogunquit and Perkins Cove, a spot that must have inspired Murder She Wrote’s Cabot Cove. Attendees choose between lazing on three miles of beaches, strolling or jogging the famed Marginal Walk, visiting a museum, art galleries, shopping and dining. Planners can also arrange golf, biking or hiking outings close by. Cliff House partners with the best local adventure outfitters to allow guests to experience sailing the Maine coastline, kayaking in the Atlantic Ocean, casting a fishing line or riding on horseback. A scenic lobstering cruise is the quintessential activity of a meeting in Maine. Guests learn all about lobstering techniques and laws on a traditional lobster boat. After pulling the traps, participants enjoy a cruise of nearby landmarks, including a view of Bald Head Cliff and the resort from the water, Nubble Lighthouse, Walker’s Point and Boon Island Light. In sum, Cliff House is more than a place to have extraordinary Maine meetings. It’s a place to create powerful, shared memories, nurture relationships and build strong teams in the midst of the natural beauty of the state’s rugged coastline.

• • •



Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

Among the best of all the all-inclusive resorts in the region


By Gabriella Davino

exico’s Riviera Maya, aside from its breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea, is known for all-inclusive resorts, such as the renowned Hard Rock Hotel. Located only a one hour away from Cancun International Airport, the family-friendly resort offers an array of activities for all ages, but also has an adultsonly section that is suitable for meeting attendees. For the planner, the property’s all-inclusive cost structure provides a unique opportunity to create an entire program at a flat rate that never skimps on first-class treatment; even meetings and setups are included. The 1,264-guestroom resort includes Deluxe Rooms, Rock Suites and the celebrity-branded Rock Star Suite. Legendary singer Brett Michaels has the largest in the Hard Rock International collection, designed by himself, at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. The main property includes 687 guestrooms, while Heaven at Riviera Maya, the adults-only section, offers 577 rooms. Guestrooms are equipped with a balcony or terrace, as well as a hydro spa tub, hammocks and much more. The Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya offers groups a total of 91,556 sq. ft. of function space, including Epic at 32,275 sq. ft. and three divisible ballrooms, the largest spanning 24,602 sq. ft. With outdoor function space, a business center, audiovisual capabilities and wireless Internet, the resort is a fit for a variety of meetings. A conference services manager is on hand to assist the planner. Along with the beautiful accommodations and function spaces, attendees can enjoy a variety of activities such as golf, paddle boarding, kayaking, tennis and rock climbing. Highlights include the 18-hole Robert von Hagge signature golf course, two swimming pools, a yoga temple, Body Rock FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 WINTER / SPRING

Fitness Center and a private beach in a protected cove. Upon arrival, hotel staff offer to drive guests wherever they need to go on complimentary golf carts. The newest addition to Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya is Woodward. For the meeting attendee bringing family along, this venue is a great opportunity to inspire, mentor and nurture children through amazing activities. While at Woodward, children are empowered to thrive via creative expression in technology, music and sports, such as skateboarding, BMX, snowboarding and parkour (militarystyle obstacle course training). Woodward Riviera Maya features more than 20,000 air-conditioned sq. ft. of state-ofthe-art equipment. This includes launch ramps into a foam pit, a parkour zone, trampolines, complete indoor concrete skate park and a pump track. The most exciting part of Riviera Maya’s new addition is the Woodward Wrecktangle ninja obstacle course. Challenges such as “Rope Swing to Cargo Crawl” and “Rotating Rings” test one’s athleticism. After working up an appetite from all the activities this all-inclusive escape has to offer, guest can choose from nine world-class restaurants, as well as eight bars and lounges. The resort offers a wide array of cuisines such as Mexican, Brazilian and Asian. Representing Mexican cuisine, Frida has an exquisite menu with diverse tacos and guacamoles. Carnivores can delight in Toro steakhouse, but vegetarians need not fret, as there are other great non-meat options on the menu. For the meeting attendee, Heaven at Riviera Maya offers an adults-only enclave equipped with a Rock Spa, which includes 75 treatment rooms, hydrotherapy rooms, and a Temazcal Hut. A beauty salon, fitness center, four pools and a nightclub are also part of Heaven. It’s an ideal way to enjoy the best of the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, and the Caribbean seaside. 29

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97% BUSINESS LEADERS find that meetings deliver a return on investment

A majority say in-person meetings improve a team’s:




According to a survey published by the Meetings Mean When measuring professional executives it meetings is Businessdevelopment, Coalition, executives believe believe in-person According to a survey published by the Meetings Mean important to participateare in:important to their businesses, beneficial to operations Business Coalition, executives believe meetings and critical to career development. Asin-person a result, corporate are important to their businesses, beneficial to operations leaders are making in-person meetings a financial priority and critical to career development. As a result, corporate and report increasing investment in face-to-face meetings. leaders are making in-person meetings a financial priority and report increasing investment in face-to-face meetings.

A majority of executives say in-person meetings improve their ability to:

Face-to-Face Industry Continuing Education Meetings Conferences and Training A majority of executives say in-person meetings improve their ability to: (95%) (86%) (93%)

99% Close Deals (93%) Close Deals BELIEVE (93%) THAT


Network (90%) Network (90%)

find that meetings IN-PERSON

97% MEETINGS 97% SUCCEED 81% 81%


Develop Grow Their plan to invest at least as much thisLine year Professionally Bottom in face-to-face meetings, conferences Develop (88%) Grow Their (86%) andProfessionally other events as they did last Bottom year. Line (88%) (86%) A majority say in-person meetings expect to aspend more on improve team’s: face-to-face interactions. A majority say in-person meetings improve a team’s: ENGAGEMENT (94%)


deliver a return on investment find that meetings HAVE HELPED THEM deliver a return on report they have investment attended an in-person ENGAGEMENT (94%) COLLABORATION (91%) meeting, conference or report they have event thatan would not attended in-person APCO Insight conducted this survey amongCOLLABORATION 150 senior executives in mid-sized to large (91%) PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (88%) have yielded the same meeting, companies fromconference October 6-16, or 2015 on behalf of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition. success as would one a wide event that notvariety of industries and company departments, including Participants represent conducted viathe video PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT financial services, healthcare, retail, manufacturing and hospitality. (88%) have yielded same consulting, PRODUCTIVITY (84%) or telephone. success as one conducted via video PRODUCTIVITY (84%) or telephone.

Meetings Mean Business is a nationalprofessional communications and advocacy campaign to highlight executives believe it is When measuring development, the incredible value that business meetings, travel and events bring to the U.S. economy. important to participate in: Learn more at MeetingsMeanBusiness.com Download our app for iPhone and Android. When measuring professional development, executives believe it is @MeetingsMeanBiz important to participate in:

SHALL WE MAKE IT A DATE? We love that your enthusiasm and ambition just keep soaring. That’s why our team is prepping now to kick our eighth show—and your success—up yet another notch. Keep on revolutionizing. Before you know it, October will be here, and we’ll see each other again!

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Facilities & Destinations Winter/Spring 2018  

F&D⁴ (Facilities & Destinations: Designed for Digital Distribution) Inaugural issue. Features: *Interview with PCMA's CEO Sherrif Karama...

Facilities & Destinations Winter/Spring 2018  

F&D⁴ (Facilities & Destinations: Designed for Digital Distribution) Inaugural issue. Features: *Interview with PCMA's CEO Sherrif Karama...