Facilities & Destinations - Spring 2018

Page 1

Facilities 2018 ELITE Awards 60


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

& Destinations





2018 PRISM Hotel Awards 17



Steps to Launching a Virtual Meeting 58

California 20

Florida 28

Aruba 38

Danielle Puceta

Vice President, Digital Office Freeman

The Great Florida Venue D A Y T O N A


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

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



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


Volume 25 No. 1

Chief Operating Officer David Korn


any organizations that hold offsite meetings have longstanding, valuable partnerships with third-party planners, who often serve as a conduit to the best hotels for their clients’ events. Unfortunately, the relationship between those third parties and certain hoteliers has come under strain this year with Marriott’s decision to cut commissions on North American group hotel bookings from the industry standard 10 percent to 7 percent. The cut went into effect on March 31. The move apparently prompted Hilton to make the same cut, effective Oct. 1. The hoteliers insist that the initiative is not just about increasing profit margins for hotel owners. The resultant savings will enable them to make property and service investments that will ultimately improve the onsite experience for group clients. That remains to be seen. But there is also a potential downside to this development for the end user: Many third parties are likely to raise their fees to compensate for the lost commission revenue, if they cannot drum up other revenue streams. While in-house planners are used to dealing with rising room rates and airfares, few went into 2018 expecting a rate increase from their external planning partners. Resourcefulness in the face of rising costs is, of course, part of the planner’s trade. In this issue, we revisit two familiar cost-saving strategies: selecting value-added mid-tier cities, and shifting to virtual or hybrid meetings. Cate Banfield, Senior Director, Solution Design & Strategy with BCD Meetings and Events, discusses the many advantages of thinking outside the first-tier box (page 55). And Doug McLain, Vice President, Sales, Southeast for INXPO, advises planners on how to get a virtual meeting up and running (page 58). For internal corporate meetings, hybrid or fully virtual meetings can save significant travel and lodging costs. For client-facing events or association meetings, adding a virtual component allows one’s content to “cast a wider net,” in McLain’s words. Assuming third parties’ fees do escalate, the value of those relationships may well outweigh the added cost to maintain them. Sourcing companies have close ties with some of the finest hotels in the country, and are often able to obtain concessions that may offset higher fees for the end user. Speaking of top-tier hotels in the meetings industry, we’re proud to honor many of them as winners of this year’s PRISM Awards (page 17). Marriott and Hilton are embroiled in some controversy with the commission-cutting move, but it’s uncontroversial that quite a few of their properties deserve recognition from our readers. – George Seli

Editorial Director, Facilities Media Group gseli@facilitiesonline.com


Associate Publisher Michael Caffin Editorial Director George Seli Contributing Editors Anthony Bilden Debi Lander 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. 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 Photoview PCMA Convening Leaders 2018........................................................................ 12 Forum John Ehlenfeldt, Executive Vice President, Sales & Administration, Visit Huntington Beach...................................................................................... 53 Perspectives Creating an Ideal First Meal, by Frank Abbinanti............................................... 54 Rethinking Sourcing: David vs. Goliath, by Cate Banfield.................................. 55 Cast a Wider Net With Your Content, by Doug McClain.................................... 58


Planner Roundtable: Tradeshow Floor Trends.................................................... 13 2018 PRISM Awards........................................................................................... 17 2018 ELITE Awards............................................................................................ 60 Destinations California........................................................................................................... 20 Florida............................................................................................................... 28 Sandpearl Resort............................................................................................... 36 Aruba................................................................................................................. 38 Sites & Cities Directory...................................................................................... 41 Advertiser Index................................................................................................ 41 2

ON THE COVER Fostering engagement on the exhibition floor is critical to the success of any tradeshow, and it’s not just up to the exhibitors to keep delegates on the floor. Show organizers play a vital role in creating an immersive environment that is easy to navigate, facilitates networking and supports the event’s brand. This issue’s cover story showcases the best practices of Freeman, The Expo Group and GES — each a trendsetter in exhibit floor design. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING


Unconventional Meets


As event technology gets better, so do we. Benefit from one of the most technologically advanced convention centers with a network capable of hosting more than 15,000 simultaneous connections, redundant Cisco core network components, high-density WIFI and state-of-the-art audio, video and lighting. Oh...and don’t forget our holographic tour guide, Jennifer!

Contact us at meetings@clevcc.com to discover how our unconventional technology features are compatible with your event.

Find us at: www.clevelandconventions.com | www.theglobalcenter.com

In Brief


Tonya Almond PCMA

Bob Priest-Heck Freeman

Darren Temple MPI


CHICAGO, IL — PCMA recently appointed Tonya Almond as its Vice President of Knowledge and Experience Design. Almond will lead the events and education teams and report to Joyce Winnecke, PCMA’s Chief Content Officer. Almond has served on the Greater Midwest Chapter Board and more recently on the PCMA Board of Directors. Since 2014, she has served on several of PCMA’s committees, including the Annual Meeting Program Committee, the Nominating Committee, Annual Giving Taskforce and the Foundation Dinner Taskforce (now Visionary Awards). Almond has more than 22 years of experience leading meetings, sponsorships and education. She joins PCMA from her position as Vice President of Meetings and Continuing Education at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Prior to that role, she was Director, Meetings and Events Services at the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. DALLAS, TX — On March 29, Freeman named Bob Priest-Heck as its new CEO. Priest-Heck joined Freeman in 2011 with the acquisition of Wheelhouse Solutions. He has spent the past 25 years leading global technology brands and experiential marketing agencies — including Immersa Marketing and MediaLive International Inc. “We are focused on

building our clients’ brands and helping them succeed in a dynamic environment by creating meaningful brand experiences that help build relationships and drive clear and measurable outcomes,” said Joe Popolo, CEO of The Freeman Company, the newly created parent company that encompasses Freeman, Encore Event Technologies and Alford Media. “Bob is no stranger to this, having previously served as the president of Freeman. He has a history of driving success for our company and our clients, and his commitment to innovation and vision for our future will help keep us at the forefront of the brand experience conversation for years to come. In addition to his CEO role at Freeman, Bob will serve as President and Chief Operating Officer of The Freeman Company.” In related news, Freeman introduced Blueprint last month. The web-based floor plan management system creates and stores digital floor plans directly in the cloud and features an intuitive interface. For Freeman’s perspective on tradeshow floor trends, see page 13.

onsite. According to MPI, each WEC Village will bring to life a different theme: Experiential Design, Innovation, Leadership and Social. “We are very proud of how successful WEC has been the past few years. This year, we decided to take a page out of our own playbook and take a big risk by changing the overall look, feel and experience of WEC18,” says Darren Temple, Chief Operations Officer of MPI. The Indiana Convention Center is the perfect venue for us to try our new concept of villages and open space learning.” MIAMI, FL — Landry & Kling Global Cruise Events recently announced that President and Co-founder Josephine Kling is stepping down as President effective April 27. Launched 35 years ago, the company has been a major force in the development of the corporate events sector of the cruise business. CEO and Founder Joyce Landry will serve as President and CEO of the expanding company.

NAPLES, FL — Last month, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida DALLAS, TX — A redesigned set another tourism record in 2017 by welcoming the World Education Congress highest number of visitors takes place June 2-5 at in any year in the state’s the Indiana Convention history with 116.5 million Center. MPI’s signature visitors, according to VISIT event will include several new features, including pep FLORIDA. This represents a rallies to kick off and wrap 3.6 percent increase over the up each day, an open-floor, 112.4 million visitors in 2016. fluid layout with four conThe record was set despite nected WEC Villages, more losing 1.8 million visitors due innovative technology, and to Hurricane Irma, according WEC Experience Coaches to a report commissioned to help attendees plan their by VISIT FLORIDA. See the experience prior to the event Florida feature on page 30 and to assist with exploration for related meeting news. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

SoCal’s Newest Event Space

The Cove

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At the forefront of experiential trends, Long Beach’s latest evolution is a 40,000 sq. ft. mezzanine of “wow”, accommodating anywhere from 100 to 5,500 guests. Introducing The Cove, an expandable outdoor street enclave that morphs into a high-octane atmosphere and embraces the food truck culture. With permanent LED stage lighting, colorful murals by renowned artists, stylish furniture and much more, this turnkey space can save you up to $100,000 in rental costs. Designed to create connections that promote a sense of community — conversation hubs that encourage networking, cool visual surroundings for selfies, stage-acoustic music and table games — there’s no limit to the fun, and imagination. Our new event spaces nominated in the top 3 in the nation; winner of the 2017 “Best in the West” Stella Award, and our unique SoCal vibe, all make your next event unconventionally unforgettable.

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In Brief


BOSTON, MA — The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority has committed up to $2.2 million to study the possibility of expanding the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The Authority has contracted architectural firm Populous to draft a campus master plan and to study the best way to utilize 30 undeveloped acres behind the convention center. MINNEAPOLIS, MN — The City of Minneapolis is set to invest $2.7 million in remodeling the bathrooms in the Minneapolis Convention Center. Twenty-nine

bathrooms, approximately 20 years old, will be renovated and made more water and energy efficient. PUEBLO, CO — Work continues on the $24 million first phase of the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo expansion, with

completion expected in early 2019. The project includes the addition of a 20,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall and an 18,000-sq.-ft. PBR Sports Performance Institute onto the Pueblo Convention Center, as well as the construction of a 500-space parking garage (connected via skybridge) and the Gateway Plaza outdoor event area. The Spectra-managed Pueblo Convention Center currently houses over 21,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Rendering of the expanded Pueblo Convention Center

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WEST PALM BEACH, FL — Palm Beach County will be investing $1.9 million to transform about 8,500 sq. ft. in front of the Palm Beach County Convention Center, near the entrance off Okeechobee Boulevard. The area will become a landscaped courtyard, complete with sculptures and lighting elements, suitable for outdoor events. Los Angeles-based artist and architect Susan Narduli and international firm Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design will be part of the design team. For more meeting news from Palm Beach County, see page 34.

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In Brief

HOTEL HIGHLIGHTS BEHTHLEHEM, PA — Las Vegas Sands Corp. has agreed to sell the Sands Bethlehem property in Pennsylvania to Wind Creek Hospitality, an affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, for $1.3 billion. The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory review and other customary closing conditions. DALLAS, TX — Columbia Sussex, one of the nation’s largest franchisers of Marriott hotels, has purchased the 528-room InterContinental Dallas Hotel and is rebranding it to the Renaissance Dallas Addison. Located in the heart of the Dallas Metroplex, the property offers more than 100,000 sq. ft. of total meeting space. DES MOINES, IA — The newly built Hilton Des Moines Downtown opened on March 21. The 330-room property is the only hotel directly connected to the Iowa Events Center, and houses its own 14,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. That includes a 10,000-sq.-ft. ballroom that opens into an outdoor terrace. The design provides natural light in every meeting room. A tech-centric property, the Hilton Des Moines Downtown offers digital check-in, USB ports throughout its lobby, a tech lounge, and meeting space features such as touch-screen navigation signage, smart window lighting and Click Share technology in boardrooms. 8

A rotating art exhibit in the lobby, provided by the local Moberg Gallery, showcases local and regional artists. GRAPEVINE, TX — The Gaylord Texan Resort opens its new Vineyard Tower in May. The $120 million project adds 303 guestrooms to the resort’s current 1,511-room inventory, increasing the total number of guestrooms to 1,814. The

the EDITION brand in Las Vegas and mark The Strip’s first JW Marriott. Anticipated to open in late 2020, the hotel will offer nearly 4,000 rooms and suites and over 500,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. LAS VEGAS, NV — Business magnate Richard Branson has purchased the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and will convert the 1,500-room

four professional bowling lanes. NASHVILLE, TN — Margaritaville Nashville Hotel is slated to open in summer 2019. The 217-room property will be located near Music City Center and popular attractions such as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Bridgestone Arena and Honky Tonk Highway. More than 10,000

The Gaylord Texan is opening a new guestroom tower in May

tower also includes 86,000 sq. ft. of carpeted meeting space, bringing Gaylord Texan’s total meeting space to approximately 490,000 sq. ft. The tower’s event space includes 30,000 sq. ft. of carpeted breakout space and the 30,000-sq.-ft. Tate Ballroom on the second floor. LAS VEGAS, NV — Marriott International, Inc. and global development firm Witkoff recently announced a plan to open a new resort at 2755 Las Vegas Boulevard South, the former Fontainebleau property. To be named The Drew Las Vegas, the resort casino will debut

property to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Renovations will continue through the end of 2019, at which point the property will be rebranded. LOUISVILLE, KY — The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Omni Louisville Hotel was held on March 6. The 612-room property offers 70,000 sq. ft. of flexible function space, and is located near the Kentucky International Convention Center. Property highlights include an urban market, Bob’s Steak & Chop House, a Mokara signature spa, and Pin + Proof, a speakeasy with

sq. ft. of function space will be available. OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Hyatt Place Oklahoma City/Bricktown opened last month. The city’s first Hyatt Place offers 134 guestrooms and more than 1,800 sq. ft. of meeting space. SEATTLE, WA — Pioneer Square is now home to a new Embassy Suites hotel. The 282-suite Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square features the 7,433-sq.-ft. King Street Ballroom, a health club, indoor pool and other amenities.



details, visit fairmont.com/ chicago/promotions/bloom.

CHICAGO, IL — Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park recently unveiled its renovated 687 guestrooms and suites, and is offering the Drink in the View group promotion to mark the occasion. Groups that contract $5,000 in guestrooms or catering revenue receive a complimentary hospitality suite with bar. Offer valid for new business booked by Dec. 31, 2018 and actualized by March 31, 2019. For

FONTANA, WI — The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa is offering a $500 Cruise Credit to new group bookings scheduled for April or May 2018. The resort has teamed up with Geneva Lake Cruise Lines to offer a variety of boats and customizable experiences both on the lake and throughout the resort. The Cruise Credit is

Facilities Guestrooms of the Future 11


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



& Destinations




Chattanooga 14

Monterey, Mexico 16

South Korea 19


22 Venue Reviews:

The ART, Denver, CO 24

Keystone Resort Cliff House, Maine 27

Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, Mexico


equal to $10 per room per night up to $500. For more information, visit theabbeyresort.com/meetings or call (800) 709-1323.

LAS VEGAS, NV — In February, Delano Las Vegas introduced an all-inclusive package for incentive groups. For groups of 10 rooms or more, MGM Resorts’ first all-inclusive group package allows incentive attendees to enjoy the amenities and services at Delano as well as Mandalay Bay, utilizing one master account. The package includes suite accommodations and breakfast, lunch and dinner options by award-winning chefs, as well as themed group dinner events with decor. Visit delanolasvegas. com/en/meetings-groups/ delano-meetings.html to request more information.

Sherrif Karamat, CAE Chief Executive Officer Professional Convention Management Association


F&D DIGITAL This spring, Facilities & Destinations launched a biannual digital publication as a supplement to our quarterly print magazine. The meetings industry is fast paced, and these new issues will help you stay current on everything from facility renovations to the latest planning strategies. Read the 2018 Winter/Spring F&D Digital issue on www.facilitiesonline.com 10

LITCHFIELD, AZ — The Wigwam introduces its Make Your Meeting Matter promotion, offering perks

for meeting planners, including 12 percent commission on select “Hot Dates” in 2018, as well as 10 percent commission on F&B spend for new bookings through the year ahead. Meetings must be booked by May 31 to receive a choice of meeting enhancements. Groups that books over 500 room nights can add two free domestic coach airfares (up to a max of $1,000) to be used in conjunction with the booking, along with a choice of four enhancements. For a list of enhancements and other details, visit wigwamarizona.com/ phoenix-meetings-offers.

MAUI, HAWAII — Grand Wailea Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort is offering the 2018 Grand Credit: 10 percent room credit to master account. Choose up to three of the following concessions: 10 percent Spa Grande discount, one pass to experience the spa’s Healing Waters for Maui, triple Honors Points, 30 percent discount on Cabanas and Casabellas, daily continental breakfast in staff office, discounts on published banquet menu pricing. Offer applies to contracts signed by June 30 and meetings actualized by Dec. 19. Visit grandwailea.com for details.


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!

Be the first to register your interest in joining us as at imexamerica.com



CONVENING LEADERS 2018 PCMA’s Convening Leaders took place Jan. 7-10 at Music City Center in Nashville, TN


Barry Moskowitz, Vice President, Convention Sales, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

Greg O’Dell, President & CEO, and Chinyere Hubbard, Vice President of Communications/ Marketing, EventsDC

Doug Bennett, Senior Vice President of Convention Development, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Chris Verros, President & CEO, Centerplate

Teri Orton, General Manager, Hawaii Convention Center

Junior Tauvaa, Senior Vice President, Sales and Services, Visit Anaheim

Michael W. Ross, CEO, Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau, Convention Center and Civic Auditorium

Brandon Peacy, Public Information and Marketing Coordinator, Austin Convention Center

Kelli Donahoe, Director of Sales and Marketing, David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and Karl Pietrzak, VP of Convention Sales, VisitPittsburgh FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING


ON THE AGENDA: TRADESHOW FLOOR TRENDS These immersive environments are evolving into much more than a “box” for exhibitors Ken Dec, EVP, Marketing and Client Strategies, The Expo Group Dana Freker Doody, VP, Communications and Public Relations, The Expo Group Meaghan Girouard, Designer, The Expo Group Clay Lovelace, VP of Design and Creative Services, GES Danielle Puceta, Vice President, Digital Office, Freeman


By George Seli

here are many aspects to creating a compelling small that create truly compelling experiences for exhibitors, experience for delegates on the show floor — the attendees, sponsors, speakers and members. The National kind that encourages them to spend more time Retail Federation is one such group, which completely in that key area. Who better to expound on the upended their Shop.org event from the floor layout to the latest approaches to show floor design than the branding scheme to the actual programming. Girl Scouts of suppliers to some of the biggest, most successful America is another that heard the call for change and tradeshows in the world? In the following discussion, created meaningful spaces where scouts and adult leaders representatives could interact with from The Expo materials, ideas and Group, Freeman each other in the ive stream key sessions onto and GES overview midst of the tradedevelopments in show environment. screens in viewing areas in your areas such as networking space. Viewing content layout, networking Lovelace: Our together in a relaxing environment spaces, branding, clients do go to technology and can act as a conversation starter and corporate events, sustainability. which have a differhelp to encourage actual networking.” ent look and feel in Their insights can —Danielle Puceta help organizers how they engage take their show attendees, and I floor experience to believe our clients the next level. want to bring that into the exhibition. I think that’s influencing a lot of the change. With all the exhibitors in the hall, it’s a CHANGING FOR THE BETTER little hard to create that intimacy, but that is the direction exhibiDoody: “We want to reinvent our show.” That is a common tions are heading. refrain for our own clients and ones coming to us for help as they strategically determine the best course of action for the Doody: Change involves risk, and organizations must set for future of their tradeshows and events. We have been workthemselves the threshold at which they are willing to risk ing with organizers for years to make changes both big and resources. A good rule of thumb is to have 30 percent of your




Augmented reality “adds a digital experience layer to the physical experience in ways that are engaging, empathetic, educational and entertaining.”

—Ken Dec

show in beta testing change mode all the time, a rotating 30 percent. So take what works and keep it, reject what doesn’t work and try something else. This applies to gamification, event activations, technology tools, education on the show floor, marketing programs and more. Projects need the proper time to stick, which is most often more than one show cycle. The Expo Group created our new tech tool at ShowOptimizer.com to help organizers measure their risk willingness and learn real-time how much The Expo Group is willing to co-invest in their success. SHOW FLOOR LAYOUT Lovelace: We sit down with our clients and “experience map” the show floor. We keep our aisles and cross aisles, but we may put a hub in the center and create a circle around it and then radial out to the different Connect Zones [networking spaces]

across the floor. With many shows, you walk into the hall and the big exhibitors are, boom, right there. So we may also create a transition space from the public space into the hall, and open that front up [so attendees] can take it all in, look around and say, “Wow, this is nice.” In the back of the hall, what has now become very popular is a hub that brings all the association’s show resources into one place, like their bookstore, resource center or membership lounge. It becomes brand centric and focused. Our customers are driving traffic to the back by putting key association areas in the back of the hall.

NETWORKING LOUNGES Lovelace: We’re currently working with a medical client whose tradeshow has a lot of booths, and there is no place for the eye to land that was grand, other than wayfinding signs. So we put what we call Connect Zones around the floor, and it really is a place that kind of breaks through the visual chaos of the show and lands [the eye] back on the [association] brand. This particular client has a lot of poster sessions, so they pick the best posters and highlight them in these Connect Zones. Each Connect Zone addressed a specific part of the conference, e.g., oncology. And if I was of that medical focus I could go there and meet people of like mind and create connections. Doody: Spaces and activities that encourage both structured networking and unstructured networking will play a vital role in

ESCAPE THE ORDINARY Grand Wayne Center is more than an event facility — it’s an experience, carefully crafted to simplify every event planner’s To-Do list with: • Luxurious, carpeted meeting and expo spaces • On-site AV, catering, and event management • Free high performance WiFi for up to 5,000 users • Fort Wayne, Indiana’s friendly, bustling downtown amenities

STATS: • 225,000 sf of divisible, carpeted, fully equipped event spaces • 4500 theatre • 3100 banquet • 2880 classroom • 18 meeting rooms • 500 attached guest rooms and covered parking • Free WiFi and Room set • Complimentary event hosting and Guest experience enhancements.

Marcy McKinley Director of Sales

Kim Kelso Event Manager

14GWCC-Fac&Dest HalfPgH.indd


Jeremy Bugge A/V Technician

Marissa Best Guest Experience Manager

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“A good rule of thumb

is to have 30 percent of your show in beta testing change mode all the time, a rotating 30 percent.”


—Dana Freker Doody

the future of tradeshows. “I don’t want to be sold to” is a common attendee, perhaps human, complaint, especially from Millennials and those in Gen Z. The trick is to build a tradition of these gathering spaces so attendees know where to meet, and so exhibitors and sponsors can send the right personnel to the event, the kind of personnel who understand how to build relationships in these spaces, rather than attempting to close deals in a booth. It’s a different kind of selling paradigm. Girouard: Community spaces are very alluring to Millennials. Though they are very comfortable with social media and technology, they still look for opportunities to network and engage face-to-face with experts in their field. Creating engaging activations within community spaces thus makes a lasting impression from the overall experience, which gives Millennials that personal sense of community so important to them. Puceta: Show organizers should make sure that their attendees stay connected to the event while they connect with one another in networking spaces. We encourage the use of technology to create an “on live” experience. Although attendees may have stepped away from the sessions to recharge themselves and their devices, they don’t have to disconnect from the event content. Technology can be used to live stream key sessions onto screens in viewing areas in your networking space. Viewing content together in a relaxing environment can act as a conversation starter and help to encourage actual networking. For instance, at this year’s PCMA Convening Leaders conference in Nashville, Freeman created a technologybased lounge area called “The Mix.” It featured an impressive large screen display surrounded by ample seating. The twist was that attendees could use headsets or their own mobile device to tune into the content that was being displayed on the various screens. It put the control of what information they consumed back in their hands while also allowing them to relax and connect with colleagues. VISUAL IMPACT AND WAYFINDING Girouard: Our creative team focuses on hierarchical design and seamless branding when creating a compelling look and feel. Consistent branding and colors used throughout an event’s physical and technological spaces — meaning the general session room presentations and the registration counters — all lead to strong brand-building for any organization. The younger generations

of Madison’s professional playground. Looking to add anticipation and excitement to your next event? Meet in the heart of the capital city in Wisconsinʼs most iconic setting, steps away from fine dining and entertainment. Only at Monona Terrace. Visit MononaTerrace.com.


©2018 Monona Terrace

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especially are affected by branding schemes that seem inconsistent; they are more likely to perceive a brand as inauthentic when this occurs. .

“I find that bold, simple and

Lovelace: Smartphones now have apps that help guide attendees through the show floor, and color-coding helps with [wayfinding] if the show is divided up into categories. Tradeshows can get pretty overwhelming, especially for someone new, and you want to make sure you maximize attendees’ time. So wayfinding and color coding is definitely part of our design methodology. [Overall] I find that bold, simple and on-brand [designs] are the most effective. I see that we’re moving away from overly complicated architecture as a style.

—Clay Lovelace

NEW FRONTIERS IN EVENT TECHNOLOGY Dec: The biggest advancements in event technology are its use to make human interaction and understanding even more powerful. This is happening, and very quickly, in two areas: bots and AR/VR/MR [augmented, virtual and mixed reality, respectively]. The use of chatbots to answer, via highly responsive text, the 60-90 questions common to most events enables organizers to focus on the more value-added and complex needs of attendees, exhibitors and sponsors. Bots also “learn,” so they can improve their own interactions with humans during the event and future events. The cost of AR/VR/MR (especially AR) experiences continues to drop, and so their use to enhance or “transport” attendees to places, ideas and even cultures otherwise unreachable on a show floor are taking off. This is particularly true of AR, which adds a digital experience layer to the physical experience in ways that are engaging, empathetic, educational and entertaining.

on-brand [show floor visual elements] are the most effective. I see that we’re moving away from overly complicated architecture as a style.”

of your show are penetrated more. Many of our clients are using tracking solutions, whether it be RFID, beacons, or smartphone monitoring. But when you get the information you have to know what to do with it. It’s not enough to just show them that we had a lot of people [in a certain area], but you have to review the data for context and provide a key takeaway. I’ve found that our ethnoMetrics group provides the analytical power so our clients know exactly how to use the data and they don’t have to hunt through it on their own. Using a tracking solution is an investment, so you have to be clear on what you want out of that investment and pick the appropriate solution.

SUSTAINABILITY Lovelace: The clients that are committed to making their show as sustainable as possible look to GES to provide the most sustainable items available, such as recyclable carpet, recyclable panels, graphic substrates for entrance unit aisles, sustainable inks, flooring and so on. I recently worked on a show where I brought in some potted trees to create more of a park feel, and after the show we donated them to a school. As part of our APEX/ASTM Level 2 certification, community involvement and donating items that can be repurposed is very important to us. I also think that keeping the design simple [helps with sustainability] — keeping away ommunity spaces [on the tradeshow from all the plexiglass and all that architecture that is reminiscent of floor] are very alluring to Millennials. the ‘90s. And instead of having a Though they are very comfortable with unique design one year and then social media and technology, they still look throwing everything away, let’s build these and use them over four for opportunities to network and engage or five years.


face-to-face with experts in their field.” —Meaghan Girouard

TRAFFIC FLOW METRICS Doody: Measurement programs we have helped lead with clients have yielded data used to design better flow and spaces for their events. By understanding where people are going throughout an event, The Expo Group team and our clients have been able to reinforce decisions or help reframe a program that has become part of the status quo, but in reality needs to be changed. Lovelace: Everybody is interested in the traffic flow, what parts 16

FUTURE OF THE FLOOR Doody: Buyers and sellers will continue to come together, but it’s on the event architect, the show organizer, to create compelling environments where humans can interact they way they want to interact and advance their causes and businesses. Lovelace: I think you’ll find more of the exhibit floor being a place that brings value to the attendee, not just a giant box full of exhibitors. Which isn’t a bad thing, but you can do more to bring people onto the show floor and create connections that help drive the entire industry to be more successful. That’s what our association clients want to do. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING




ongratulations to our 2018 F&D Prime Site Meeting (PRISM) Hotel Award winners. Our readers selected 70 properties, both domestic and international, as exceptional site choices for corporate and association meetings. The latest research from STR shows that the U.S. hotel industry achieved record-breaking performance in the first quarter of 2018. Compared to the first quarter of 2017, occupancy rose 0.9 percent to 61.6 percent, average daily rate increased 2.5 percent to $127.37 and revenue per available room rose 3.5 percent to $78.46. These are the highest levels for the three metrics STR has ever benchmarked for a first quarter. STR also reported that while both supply and demand reached record levels, demand grew at a much higher rate (+3 percent vs. +2 percent). The statistics reflect a strong seller’s market, and many of this year’s PRISM Award winners are located in destinations where demand is strong. But these properties do not rest on their laurels when it comes to group service. Indeed, the nominations from our readership show that they deliver optimum service, along with the finest in meeting facilities and amenities.



and • Attractiveness functionality capabilities • Technological of staff • Quality and convention

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

services Food & beverage/catering Lighting Acoustics Climate control Proximity to airport and other transportation Guestroom amenities Front-desk operations Setups and breakdowns Room décor Quality/size of ballroom Special packages Spa Nearby attractions

Look for ballots for the 2019 PRISM Hotel Awards in upcoming issues. Winners will be announced in the 2019 Spring issue. 17



United States & Puerto Rico Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Reno, NV Beau Rivage, Biloxi, MS Bellagio, Las Vegas The Borgata, Atlantic City The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs Caesars Atlantic City Caesars Palace Las Vegas Caribe Royale, Orlando Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, Galena, IL Eden Roc Miami Beach Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT Galt Hotel & Suites, Louisville, KY Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Hotel, National Harbor, MD Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center, Nashville Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Kissimmee, FL Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, TX Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, WI Grand Hyatt Denver Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City Hilton Americas-Houston Hilton Anatole, Dallas Hilton Atlanta Hilton Austin Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hilton New York Hilton West Palm Beach Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Los Angeles Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago Hyatt Regency Orlando 18

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch JW Marriott Austin JW Marriott Indianapolis Keystone Resort & Conference Center, Keystone, CO The Langham, Boston Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas Marriott Marquis Houston MGM Grand Las Vegas Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center, Galveston, TX New York Marriott Marquis Omni Dallas Hotel Omni Nashville Hotel The Otesaga Resort Hotel, Cooperstown, NY Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, IL The Phoenician Resort, Scottsdale, AZ Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando Saddlebrook Resort & Spa, Tampa, FL Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center Sheraton Puerto Rico & Casino, San Juan The Venetian/The Palazzo, Las Vegas Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, Orlando Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, FL Westin Copley Place, Boston Westin Kansas City at Crown Center Complex Westin Michigan Avenue, Chicago Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta Wynn + Encore Las Vegas INTERNATIONAL The Balmorral, Edinburgh, Scotland Camino Real Polanco Mexico, Mexico City Fairmont St. Andrews, Scotland Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, Vancouver Hyatt Regency Toronto Iberostar Cancun Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort, Los Cabos FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING



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 resort’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 HeavenlyŽ 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.

Award-Winning Dining

1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd. Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32830 800.524.4939 | 407.934.4290 swandolphinmeetings.com

All-New Guest Rooms And Suites

Impressive Meeting Venues



New and improved venues are designed to keep planners California dreamin’


By George Seli

he Golden State is, in many respects, a trove of golden opportunities for meeting and incentive groups, particularly when it comes to offsite recreation. Wine tastings in Napa Valley, live entertainment in Los Angeles, Disneyland adventures in Anaheim and exploring the San Diego Zoo are just a few of the distinctive experiences that can impart California flair to a meeting agenda. Visit California (visitcalifornia.com) is a great resource on what’s trending in the state from a tourist perspective, and can give planners new ideas on everything from districts to recommend for attendees’ free time to appealing restaurants for dine-arounds. Indeed, California’s tourism industry moves at a fast pace, and that includes its meetings industry. Many groups will benefit from convention center improvement projects throughout the state. The Anaheim Convention Center recently debuted an expansion, while the Sacramento Convention Center is planning a renovation and expansion. Renovations have recently been completed at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center and Monterey Conference Center, and upgrades are ongoing at the San Diego Convention Center.


All of these projects, along with plenty of hotel renovations, ensure that the onsite experience delivers as much ROI to meeting stakeholders as California’s recreational side.


Anaheim made headlines in the meetings world last September with the unveiling of a major expansion to its convention center. ACC North represents the center’s largest expansion since 2000 and makes it the 11th largest convention center in the country at 1.8 million sq. ft. That includes more than one million sq. ft. of exhibit space, 352,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space and 99 meeting rooms. ACC North itself comprises 200,000 sq. ft. of meeting space on two levels, with 100,000 Continued on page 22

The recently expanded Anaheim Convention Center


DISCOVERY AROUND EVERY CORNER Pasadena delivers the convenience of a big city with a charming neighborhood feel. A short drive from all the major Los Angeles airports, Pasadena offers a historic, walkable downtown, a stateof-the-art 130,000 square foot convention center, and 2,500 hotel rooms and unique venues. Pasadena is a city teeming with unexpected experiences just waiting to be discovered.


Continued from page 20

sq. ft. of column-free space on the top level. A 10,000-sq.-ft. balcony overlooks Katella Avenue and Disneyland Resort. ACC North is connected by a climate-controlled pedestrian bridge to the rest of the convention center. The larger groups that the expanded Anaheim Convention Center attracts will also have expanded lodging options to consider. Breaking ground in September, the 613room Westin Anaheim Resort will feature three restaurants, a rooftop lounge overlooking Disneyland’s nightly fireworks, a resort-style pool and a marketplace. The hotel will also be well stocked in meeting space: 42,000 sq. ft. across 11 rooms, including a 16,000-sq.-ft. grand ballroom. The property is set to open in 2019. Disneyland Resort is planning a new hotel, the fourth in the resort and first new build in nearly 20 years. The 700-room, AAA Four Diamond hotel will be located at the north end of the Downtown Disney parking lot. Construction begins this year with a slated 2021 opening. Groups interested in a Disney experience may also consider Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which completed a remodel of its guestrooms, pool area, concierge-level Craftsman Club and lobby furniture late last year. Smaller hotel developments in Anaheim include the 178-room Hampton Inn & Suites Anaheim Resort and Convention Center, scheduled to open this summer; a 174room Element by Westin, opening this summer; and a 352room Cambria Hotel & Suites hotel that opens in November.


The centerpiece of Long Beach’s meetings industry is the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, offering more than 400,000 sq. ft. of function space. A recent $60 million modernization of the facility has enhanced the Center’s lobbies and hallways to create mini meeting spots and networking pods for attendees. An especially popular facility is the Pacific Ballroom at Long Beach Arena, which saw maximum event usage last year. The turnkey venue offers 45,000 sq. ft. of floor space and built-in professional LEDs, stage lighting and sound system. Other intriguing venues include the new Terrace Plaza, with programmable “dancing waters” fountains, and The Cove, opened last summer. Bedecked with LED lights and aquatic decorative elements, The Cove accommodates from 500 to 5,000 guests. For the full aquatic experience, planners can consider booking the Aquarium of the Pacific, available for corporate

events. The aquarium’s new gallery, Pacific Visions, will debut this year. The 29,000-sq.-ft., two-story venue will include an immersive theater, special exhibition and art gallery space. Other points of interest in the city include The Queen Mary, The Pike Outlets, Shoreline Village, Museum of Latin American Art and Long Beach Museum of Art. The city offers over 4,500 hotel rooms, with 3,000 within walking distance of Convention Center. In November, a new, dual property by Hilton opened: The 143-room Hampton Inn Long Beach Airport and 98-room Homewood Suites Long Beach Airport.


Rendering of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, opening in 2021 California is known for healthy living and environmental values, and one of its major convention centers, the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC), is doing its part to maintain the quality of the environment. Currently, the LACC implements more than 30 sustainable practices and procedures. In line with the green effort, the AEG Facilities-managed venue introduced a 9,500-sq.-ft. rooftop garden in January. The space features various citrus trees, herbs and vegetables, providing ingredients for the LACC’s in-house caterer, Levy Restaurants. Levy “works seamlessly with the convention center,” remarks Judy Larson, Director of Meetings & Exhibits with the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, which held its International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare – 18th Annual Meeting at the LACC. “Our large events are the exhibit hall lunches and the opening party — all were successfully handled by Levy Restaurants.” The service made a great first impression on the group, as it was the Society’s first time meeting in Los Angeles. The total number of registered attendees and exhibitors Continued on page 24





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

“Our large events are the exhibit hall lunches and the opening party — all were successfully handled by Levy Restaurants. They work seamlessly with [the Los Angeles Convention Center].” —Judy Larson, Director of Meetings & Exhibits, Society for Simulation in Healthcare Continued from page 22

was 3,676. “While we continue to grow every year, this was our largest attendance to date and largest Expo Hall in history,” says Larson. The Society partnered with 11 hotels, the headquarters property being the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE. The 805-room property, host to celebrities attending the city’s renowned award shows, houses over 77,000 sq. ft. of function space. Larson describes the LACC as “well laid out and easy to navigate, with clear, bold signage” and commends the staff’s “teamwork spirit.” “From the first planning meetings, the event staff and catering staff, together with technology — Wi-Fi, electrical —were on board,” she says. “They heard our objectives and offered suggestions on how to achieve them. The staff was among the best I’ve worked with in my career. We also received incredible support from the LA Tourism Director of Client Services — from site visits, to agendas, to website support. Onsite, our Director of Client Services stopped in frequently to see how the meeting was going.” The success of the convention resulted in the Society’s rebooking Los Angeles for 2022, Larson adds. Several hotel projects are adding to the city’s viability for groups, including the following:

• The 394-room Fairmont Century Plaza is scheduled to open next year in Century City. The • 889-room InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown •

opened last summer with nearly 100,000 sq. ft. of function space. The property is part of the Wilshire Grand Center, the new tallest building in Los Angeles. The 241-room NoMad Los Angeles opened in January 2018. The hotel features 10,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor function space.

Los Angeles offers meeting attendees a wealth of freetime diversions that includes culture, art, sports and dining experiences — and there are always new points of interest. Attendees who are fans of George Lucas will be able to experience his personal art collection at The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, opening in 2021. The $1 billion museum, located in Downtown’s Exposition Park, will house 10,000 paintings and illustrations, including works by Rockwell, N.C. 24

Wyeth and R. Crumb, along with Hollywood memorabilia from films such as Star Wars and The Ten Commandments. Sports fans will be able to enjoy MLS action in the heart of Los Angeles when the 22,000-seat, open-air Banc of California Stadium, the future home of LA Football Club, opens on April 29. Located downtown, the stadium is the centerpiece of a $350 million sports complex that includes a rooftop deck and a nightclub.


Located on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on California’s Central Coast, Monterey has been a haven for artists since the 19th century and is home to the renowned Monterey Jazz Festival. Monterey is also a draw for tourists thanks to attractions such as Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row and the Monterey Aquarium. The city’s draw as a meeting destination is largely based on the Monterey Conference Center along with the connected 319-room Monterey Marriott and adjacent 379-room Portola Hotel & Spa. The conference center completed a $60 million renovation in January and now offers more than 41,000 sq. ft. of meetEvent space at the Monterey Aquarium

“When you’re on a strict budget and can only spend so much, the money goes farther in Monterey.” —Patricia F. Zollman, CMP, CMM, HMCC, Senior Director Global Accounts, HelmsBriscoe

ing space, including a 19,150-sq.-ft. exhibit hall. Patricia F. Zollman, CMP, CMM, HMCC, Senior Director Global Accounts with HelmsBriscoe, brought in two clients for back-to-back programs at the renovated Monterey Conference Center — 800 nursing professionals and 1,500 attorneys, respectively. “They’ve got a lot more breakouts now with the new space configuration of the conference center,” Zollman observes. “So between the conference center and the two [accompanyFACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

ing] hotels, they’ve got a lot more viability for those clients that need that space, especially biotech clients that take a lot of breakout rooms.” Zollman’s clients used the Marriott, Portola and the nearby 105-room Hotel Pacific. “One of the things is they love doing receptions in the [10th floor] Ferrantes Bay View room that’s part of the Marriott hotel, because it’s got such beautiful views of the city and the water,” Zollman notes. In the past, her clients have staged beach parties to complement their events, as the beach is just a block and a half from the conference center. “A lot of the attorneys went down to the wharf during their hour and a half [break] because there are so many interesting restaurants and the views are gorgeous,” she adds. Apart from the group of hotels surrounding the Monterey Conference Center, there are several other intriguing properties in the city, including the recently reopened Ventana Big Sur. Marking the North American launch of Alila Hotels & Resorts, Ventana Big Sur offers 12,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor function space. Other new developments include multimillion-dollar renovations of Sanctuary Beach Resort and Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa on Cannery Row. What is more, Monterey is among California’s more affordable meeting destinations. “When you’re on a strict budget and can only spend so much, the money goes farther in Monterey,” says Zollman, whose state associations clients are on tight budgets. Looking ahead, she will be bringing a small group of hospital CEOs to the Portola hotel in the fall, utilizing Monterey Conference Center for a luncheon and tradeshow. The flexibility of Monterey’s meetings infrastructure, combined with its reasonable pricing and bayside charm, is a prime example of the value that can be found outside of California’s first-tier destinations.

Center. The LEED Gold-certified facility features 80,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a 55,000-sq.-ft. Exhibition Hall, 25,000-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom and 28,000-sq.-ft. Conference Center. Additionally, the 3,000-seat Pasadena Civic Auditorium is available for general sessions and special events. Pasadena is also raising its profile in the meetings industry thanks to several multimillion-dollar hotel renovations completed last year. Among the projects were the 311-room Sheraton Pasadena’s $20 million guestroom, lobby and meeting space renovation; the 296-room Hilton Pasadena’s $25 million guestroom, lobby, bar and meeting space renovation; and the 350-room Westin Pasadena’s $11 million guestroom renovation. In addition, a new 186-room Hyatt Place is set to open in Pasadena’s most popular retail and entertainment center, The Paseo, by year’s end. Recreational highlights in Pasadena include shopping along South Lake Avenue, galleries and specialty shops in the Playhouse District and the 19th century structures and quaint alleyways in Old Pasadena. The iconic Tower Bridge across the Sacramento River



Another example is Pasadena, internationally known for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl Game. In May, the city hosted the overall finish of the 2017 Amgen Tour of California, which was viewed by a global audience of 16.6 million in over 200 countries worldwide. Pasadena has also hosted 22 tapings of America’s Got Talent, the 44th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards and most recently the 49th NAACP Image Awards. Such events effectively promote Pasadena to a national and international audience, and can certainly benefit the drawing power of meetings at the Pasadena Convention

Old Pasadena makes for a picturesque stroll during attendees’ free time FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING


Many planners are finding meeting in Sacramento a “capital” idea. Last year saw 551 different conventions, tour groups and sporting events bringing $167 million in economic impact to the city. Among the major annual events are SacAnime and the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. The heart of the city’s convention industry is the Sacramento Convention Center Complex, which includes the 2,398-seat Community Center Theater, 3,849-seat Memorial Auditorium and Sacramento Convention Center. The latter offers over 137,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 31 meeting rooms, including a 24,000-sq.-ft. ballroom. More than 1,200 hotel rooms are within walking distance of the complex. It is expected that a new, 350-room hotel will be added to the lodging portfolio in the next few years. The project will be pursued in tandem with the city’s plan to expand and renovate the convention center. The $125 million first phase comprises a 205,000-sq.-ft. building with additional exhibit and meeting space, a new kitchen and a new west lobby. Also part of the plan is a new event plaza between the Convention 25

Center and the Community Center Theatre, and a renovation of the theater itself. The projected timeline for construction is January 2019 to December 2020. A major highlight of meeting in Sacramento is the sporting events and concerts delegates can attend at the Golden 1 Center, which opened in 2016. Theater fans will be pleased with the The Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for the Arts, which opened in late January. The 45,000-sq.ft. venue, both architecturally and technologically impressive, is the new home of Sacramento’s popular B Street Theatre.


Home to the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND California Resort, San Diego appeals strongly to the leisure travel market. But the city is also quite intent on continuing to draw major convention business, and maintaining the San Diego Convention Center’s state-of-the-art status is key to that objective. The Center is in the final stages of the largest series of upgrades in the building’s history. Completed elements include an LED lighting retrofit, ceiling replacements on the mezzanine and upper levels, restroom upgrades and, most recently, the $16.7 million renovation of the 90,000-sq.-ft. Sails Pavilion — including LED colored lights that illuminate the newly renovated iconic fabric roof. An elevator modernization continues through April 2019. In addition to the Sails Pavilion, the San Diego Convention Center houses 525,701 gross sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space on Ground Level and 72 meeting/banquet rooms totaling 204,114 sq. ft. of space, including two Ballrooms, totaling 80,706 sq. ft. In addition, attendees can utilize 184,500 sq. ft. of landscaped terrace levels with panoramic bay views. Several new offsite venues in the city may be of interest to planners, including The Glamisphere in the hip neighborhood of North Park. The open-air, flexible space is equipped with high-tech features for business meetings such as two 4k UHD 55-inch flat-screen TVs, wireless microphones, HDMI input and cable and USB for laptops, power outlets at every table, hi-speed Wi-Fi, outdoor speakers and more. Punch Bowl Social is opening a 24,000-sq.-ft. restaurant, bar and entertainment venue in the Makers Quarter development this spring. The concept combines social gaming (e.g., virtual reality games) with a focus on innovative dining and craft beverage offerings. The menu has been created by


The San Diego Convention Center


James Beard Award-winning chef and Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson. Early next year, The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center is expected to open in San Diego’s north coastal region of La Jolla. The Conrad will feature a 500-seat concert hall, along with a 1,600-sq.-ft. flexible-use space, reception room and large central courtyard. New hotels in the city include the 240-room Carté Hotel & Suites San Diego, expected to open this June in the downtown; and the 400-room InterContinental San Diego, opening in September on the former Lane Field baseball park. In addition, the 114-room Bristol Hotel, located downtown, has undergone a $7 million, multi-stage renovation that celebrates the 1960s. Moscone Center


One of the advantages of meeting in a first-tier city is the wealth of quality dining options. San Francisco has always been a frontrunner in this area, competing with New York City. But according to the 2018 Michelin ratings, the City by the Bay has surpassed the City That Never Sleeps in number of threestar restaurants, making it home to more three-star restaurants than any U.S. city. San Francisco and the Bay Area has seven eateries with the three-star rating (Benu, Coi, The French Laundry, Manresa, Quince, The Restaurant at Meadowood and Saison), compared to five three-star restaurants in New York and the region. A total of 55 restaurants throughout the city, Bay Area and Wine Country have received a Michelin star. Groups convening at Moscone Center are well positioned to explore many of these fine restaurants, perhaps for offsite client meetings. Renowned in the convention industry, Moscone Center houses over 700,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, up to 106 meeting rooms, and nearly 123,000 sq. ft. of prefunction lobbies. Moscone South’s Halls A, B and C can combine into a single exhibit space measuring 260,560 sq. ft. Given the size of groups that meet at Moscone Center, more lodging options are always welcome. Last summer, the 221-room Hotel Zoe came on line following a $16 million transformation of The Tuscan Inn. In 2020/2021, the 171room Waldorf Astoria San Francisco opens on Mission Street. Next summer will see the debut of the 351-room Grand Hyatt at San Francisco International Airport, offering 15,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, a selection FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

San Jose of full-service and casual restaurants, a Grand Club lounge and an extensive fitness center. The hotel is being designed Influencer to achieve a four-star designation and LEED Gold Continued fromboth previous page certification. In addition, major renovations were completed is to influence the executive to agree Union to change lastYour yearobjective at the 1,919-room Hilton San Francisco the location for the upcoming meeting. Before you meet, you’ll Square and the 533-room Hotel Nikko San Francisco. consider what you know about the exec’s priorities, preferences and

vested interests. You’ll make an educated guess about his or her needs might be relevant to the meeting venue and how you SAN that JOSE might respond to them. identifyofa few influence that Last October saw the You’ll completion a $22 milliontactics renovation should be useful under the circumstances. In this situation, you may at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Upgrades want to use Inquire and Listen to gain or confirm information and wereand made to thetolighting and audiovisual infraTell Negotiate help youcapabilities create a good agreement. Of course, structure thetoexhibit halls, including the installation of ayou you will be in alert any information or feedback that would lead to modify your approach. new 4K lighting chip developed specifically for the venue, as

was a custom Meyer Sound configuration. Show producers

Once you are with the executive, your meeting might develop now have full automated, remote control over the system, something like this: down to individual lightsthat and houses You: I need to let you know thespeakers. hotel you The preferCenter has raised its 43 meeting and about 214,760 ft. offor exhibit space.(Tell) prices androoms is not going to be within oursq. budget the meeting. Exec: That’s bad news. I’ve stocked already committed to specific amenities The downtown is well with meeting hotels accessible as of the plan. center, Can’t you negotiate better dealFairmont with them?San to part the convention including thea 805-room You: They are quite busy, so they weren’t interested in negotiating. Jose, 506-room San Jose Marriott and 353-room Hilton San What are the most important amenities, from your point of view? Jose. The Fairmont recently unveiled renovated guestrooms (Inquire) in theThe South Tower, asto well enhancements to its so 67,000 Exec: venue needs be as away from distractions, not insq. ft. aofcity. It should have pool, golf course, high-end dining, great meeting space. A anewcomer to the hotel scene will be a 173climate, and bothHotel. indoorThe andproperty outdoor meeting spaces. room Kimpton is expected to open in mid You: So you’re looking for a place where you can keep the group focused, 2021 as part of the new Museum Place development, located present, and enjoying themselves — do I have that right? (Listen) one block from But the it convention Exec: Of course. needs to becenter. in a place that won’t disappoint Museum Place also will consist of a 54,000-sq.-ft. my top sales folks.

expansion to the Tech Museum of Innovation, a popular

You: If I can provide an alternative that meets your criteria for a luxury location, activities and spaces, would you be open to considering it? (Negotiate) Exec: If you can find something that good for less, I’ll be surprised, but I’m willing to look at it. So it looks as if you’re on your way to an agreement. By inquiring and listening, you not only obtained useful information, but also created a clear set of criteria that you can use to support the option have identified. By The telling andMuseum’s then negotiating, option for you offsite group events. Tech highly you have established clarity about the issues and a pathway to a configurable floor plan encompasses 130,000 sq. ft. of space. solution. making the venue as easily adaptable for small group dinners No influence approach will work every time, but behavioral skills, flexibility, and the willingness to prepare will as for empathy, large corporate receptions. The Hackworth IMAX help youTheater succeedis more often. and The goal is to develop Dome rentable, planners can nowlong-term, inquire collaborative influence relationships, which ultimately facilitate about hosting a teambuilding or training event at the Bowers your work as a planner.

Institute, a professional learning center. Jose has CEO always been among B.San Kim Barnes, of Barnes & ContiCalifornia’s Associates,most Inc., has accessible second-tier cities, given the of the over 30 years of experience in leadershipproximity and organization development, working globally organizations in manylocated Norman Y. Mineta San Jose with International Airport, She is theofauthor of Exercising Influence: 3.9industries. miles northwest the convention center. ThisMaking June, San Things Happen at Work, Home, andwhen In Your Jose becomes even moreataccessible theCommunity, Silicon Valley Third Edition (Wiley, 2015) and many other books and articles. Extension project brings Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) For more information on the course, Exercising Influence: Building service to the city. Phase I consists of the 10-mile, two-station Relationships and Getting Results, go to www.barnesconti.com. The Influence Reference AppII, can be downloaded the iOS in Berryessa Extension. Phase scheduled to be from completed Appwill Store or Google Play.subway tunnel through downtown 2026, add a five-mile San Jose, ending in Santa Clara near the Caltrain station.



Facilities & Destinations 2017 superbook 27

Facilities & Destinations SuperBook Advertiser Index


FLORIDA A rising tide of second-tier developments broadens the appeal of the Sunshine State


By Anthony Bilden

f all the cities in the Sunshine State, Orlando tends to get the lion’s share of attention in the meetings industry. That’s to be expected, given that it is home to the nation’s second-largest convention center, a massive portfolio of convention hotels and world-renowned theme parks. But further down south, Fort Lauderdale and Miami are gaining ground in the meetings market with convention center improvement plans and projects, as well numerous hotel upgrades that will benefit groups. Even so, the savvy planner knows there is plenty of value to be found in the state beyond Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Mid-tier convention centers in Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Palm Beach and Tampa are all tied to vibrant cultural and entertainment opportunities for attendees. Following is an overview of the diverse ways groups can convene in a state whose balmy, scenic destinations can make any meeting feel like an incentive.

as the 744-room Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort (60,000 sq. ft. of function space) and the recently opened, 200-room Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach (20,000 sq. ft.). During their free time, delegates can take a short walk to the beach or the Ocean Walk Village Shoppes. Groups who are perhaps more adventurous may wish to explore historical sites in the area, such as the Bulow Plantation Ruins and Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts. Founded in 1821, the former “Bulow Ville” plantation was destroyed in the Seminole Indian War. The park includes sugar mill ruins, nature trails, picnic facilities and an open-air museum. The Pioneer Settlement features 18 historical structures and thousands of artifacts representing the lifestyle of Florida’s early settlers. Continued on page 30 The new Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach


Motorsports fans naturally gravitate to Daytona, site of the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s most prestigious race. But meeting attendees are equally at home in this Atlantic Coast town thanks to the Ocean Center. Within its 205,000 sq. ft. of overall function space, the Ocean Center offers a 93,028-sq.ft. exhibit hall, 32,000 sq. ft. of meeting space (including 32 breakout rooms) and an 11,904-sq.-ft. banquet hall. There are over 12,000 guestrooms in the area, including standouts such 28



Valencia Ballroom

Destination Lounge

Tangerine Ballroom

Since opening our doors, we have exceeded expectations at The Center of Hospitality. Now more than ever, we understand the need for unique, multipurpose meeting spaces for our clients and guests. Our strategic vision has paved the way for new meeting rooms, beautiful new ballrooms and outdoor spaces, which are all open and ready for booking. 800-345-9845


OrangeCounty ConventionCenter



Continued from page 28

The Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center


The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB’s official site is sunny. org, and the future of the city’s meetings business indeed looks sunny, with several infrastructural improvements on the horizon. Last October, the Broward County Commission approved conceptual plans for the Broward County Convention Center Expansion and Headquarters Hotel Projects. The centerpiece of a $550+ million Convention Center district enhancement, the projects will add an 400,000+ sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor space at the convention center, as well as an 800-room, Four Diamond-rated headquarters hotel (expected to be an Omni) that includes more than 73,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. “Our plan for the next few years is to solidify our group business in light of an anticipated convention center expansion, making sure we are delivering an exceptional experience while we expand,” notes Ed Simon, Senior Vice President of Convention Sales and Services. “In addition, we are looking at higher-rated business given the quality of our hotel product and destination that is enjoying a transformation in terms of quality attractions, hotels, airport expansion and dining.” Simon elaborates on the sectors of the meetings business that have been prominent in Fort Lauderdale. “Pharma has always been a strong factor. … The same is true for sports groups and association business,” he says. “In the last year or so, tech and medical have become top performers for us as well. We have become a tech hub in South Florida, and that is attracting these groups. We’ve always attracted a diversity of industries, and as the economy improves we are seeing a return of many traditional industries for meetings and conventions.” Returning groups will have several new and renovated properties at their disposal. The recently opened Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach features 290 all-suite accommodations, 10,000 sq. ft. of function space, a 4,000-sq.ft. ocean view spa and fitness center, and an elevated ocean-facing Sky Deck oasis. Other new properties include the 150-room TRYP by Wyndham Maritime Hotel and a 150-room Four Seasons opening next year. The Diplomat 30

“Our plan for the next few years is to solidify our group business in light of an anticipated convention center expansion, making sure we are delivering an exceptional experience while we expand.” —Ed Simon, Senior Vice President of Convention Sales and Services, Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB Beach Resort has undergone a $100 million transformation; Le Meridien Dania Beach at Fort Lauderdale Airport is undergoing a $30 million renovation; and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood is adding a $1.8 billion, guitar-shaped tower with 800 rooms to its current 500 guestrooms. The latter project, scheduled to be completed by late 2019, will also add dining and entertainment venues and 50,000 sq. ft. of function space. For planners brainstorming offsite events in Fort Lauderdale, Simon shares a few ideas, including visits to the Everglades, FATVillage (the downtown arts district) and the Museum of Discovery and Science. Outings on “some of the most beautiful yachts in the world” are another intriguing possibility for groups, he adds. On top of the convention center and hotel upgrades, air transportation to the city is improving. “Our airport is expanding and attracting more airlines, especially in the budget category,” he notes. The Fort LauderdaleHollywood International Airport opened Concourse A in Terminal 1 with a Customs Inspection Facility for five international gates, part of the second phase of a $450 million expansion and modernization project. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

The St. John’s River in Jacksonville


Situated on the banks of the St. John’s River, Jacksonville has a vibrant cultural side that may pleasantly surprise attendees. The spring brings two nationally renowned festivals to the city: Springing the Blues in April and the Jacksonville Jazz Festival in May. Year-round diversion is available at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. In addition, the city is home to major museums such as the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens and historical highlights such as the Kingsley Plantation. Speaking of history, the SMG-managed Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center is set in a historic railroad station with stately architecture. Groups can utilize 78,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, divisible into two separate halls with 33-ft. ceilings. The exhibit space is complemented by 22 meeting rooms and an ornate Grand Lobby with 75-ft. ceilings. Also boasting impressive meeting facilities is the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront. The 951-room property houses 116,000 sq. ft. of function space that includes a 28,000-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom, 41 meeting rooms and 1,120 sq. ft. of outdoor river decks. Planners who have worked with Visit Jacksonville in the past will note the recent retirement of 48-year tourism industry veteran, President and CEO Paul Astleford. He joined the CVB in 2013, and during his tenure visitor spending rose from $2 billion to $3.2 billion in 2015, and has continued to increase since then. One of the CVB’s latest initiatives to support the tourist experience is its first destination mobile app, developed in partnership with intoGo. The app offers users lists of events, attractions and businesses to discover in Jacksonville, and personalizes recommendations based on the users’ preferences and the distance from their location.

business” since Hurricane Irma struck in September. The 125-mile-long island chain has shown its resilience by continuing to develop new and enhanced lodging facilities and attractions. On the hotel front, the first all-inclusive resort in the Keys, the Bungalows Key Largo, is scheduled to open in July. The 135-unit property offers 4,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor function space, two in-ground pools, five indoor and outdoor restaurants, 1,000 ft. of shoreline and three piers to accommodate boats up to 40-ft. long. The Gates Hotel Key West and 24° North Hotel have unveiled Sunset Green, a new 12,105-sq.-ft., multipurpose event lawn shared by these award-winning boutique hotels. Sunset Green, Key West’s newest event venue, accommodates up to 1,200 guests and provides comfortable seating such as Adirondack chairs or hammocks. Anchored on one end of the lawn, The Gates’ signature food truck, The Blind Pig, serves a tapas-style selection of “conch fusion.” The public beach is behind the 24° North pool and accessible from the lawn. On the attraction side, Key West has debuted the new, $4 million Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater. The 500-seat venue is located near the entrance to Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. In addition, Calypso Sailing, a Key Largo-based luxury charter sailing operator, has launched a new custom-built flagship catamaran — the Lady Susan. The 58-ft. vessel is available for private charters from Key Largo to Key West. For literary fans, the Keys’ top attraction is clearly the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, built in 1851 and serving as the famous author’s home since 1931. The house is available for hosting corporate events.


A great Floridian destination for incentive trips in particular, the Keys are “back in FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

Snorkeling is among the most memorable experiences in Key Largo 31

Miami is set to draw more groups with an enhanced convention center

Miami Beach Hotel Highlights


Construction projects are so common in Miami that Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO William Talbert III has taken to wearing a hard hat at industry events. Among the high-profile projects is the Miami Beach Convention Center’s $620 million renovation and expansion, scheduled to be completed in September. The improved, LEED-certified facility will include nearly 500,000 sq. ft. of renovated exhibit space, a new 60,000-sq.-ft. grand ballroom, additional meeting rooms and a 20,000-sq.-ft. glass rooftop ballroom. Complementing the enhanced convention center are several infrastructural improvements, such as the Miami– Orlando Brightline. The high-speed rail train already connects Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and makes its way into Miami this year. Also expected for completion this year is Royal Caribbean’s sleek new cruise terminal in PortMiami, which will be home to its flagship vessel, Symphony of the Seas. A major cultural development is the new, 37,500-sq.ft. home of the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, which opened on Dec. 1 in the Design District. Displaying a striking exterior, the building is Spanish architectural firm Aranguren + Gallegos Arquitectos’ first U.S. project. International influence is also seen in the development of the Miami Beach’s mid-beach section, where Faena Group, an Argentinian hotelier, has carved out its own district. The firm has refurbished old beachfront hotels and structures along Collins Avenue. The result is the six-block Faena District, which includes the 169-room Faena Hotel Miami Beach, the 50-room Casa Faena hotel, three condominium buildings, a cultural center and a retail complex. The Faena Forum, part of the Faena Hotel Miami Beach, offers 43,000 sq. ft. of flexible event space, including five meeting rooms, a 2,900-sq.-ft. amphitheater and two Assembly Halls. On the other side of Biscayne Bay sits the newly upgraded Hilton Miami Downtown. The property’s $35 million facelift has given a new look to its 527 guestrooms, whose floor-to-ceiling windows afford stunning views of Miami’s skyline, CruisePort and bay. The Hilton’s 47,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, directly accessible from both 32

Nobu Hotel Eden Roc: Sixteen years and counting in Miami, Nobu Restaurant has become the hottest place to dine in Miami Beach. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa continues to bring the latest trends in Japanese fusion cuisine to life with an extensive menu of inventive dishes and bold libations. Located along Collins Avenue facing both the Atlantic and the Bay, Nobu Hotel and Eden Roc Miami Beach create a dynamic convergence of modern and classic architecture and design. Nobu offers 206 guestrooms and suites, designed by David Rockwell, not to mention a welcome drink upon arrival and dedicated 24-hour service. This luxurious resort houses 70,000 sq. ft. of stylish indoor and outdoor function space, complemented by a 20,000-sq.-ft. spa with 18 treatment rooms to help attendees re-energize during their free time. The Gates Hotel South Beach – A DoubleTree by Hilton: Situated along Collins Avenue is The Gates Hotel, just a five-minute walk to the beach. The completely restructured 235-room boutique property offers guests an authentic and unconventional experience. The Gates Hotel offers three modern meeting rooms, the largest being 1,339 sq. ft., plus an outdoor pool deck area that may be furnished with fixed seating or specialty tables. The onsite meetings rooms are conveniently located right above the hotel lobby, on the Mezzanine Level, in proximity to all hotel amenities. The Gates Hotel is near the newly renovated Bass art museum in the Art Deco District. —Gabriella Davino FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

the street level and guestrooms, provides a great setting for multiday events. Also updated are the lobby area and pool deck, which has great vistas of the surrounding Performing Arts district. The Hilton has multiple onsite dining options as well, should guests choose to stay in. Its Brisas Bistro, the main venue for sit-down dining, has a small private dining area for meetings. The renovated lobby includes a new Starbucks that serves guests all morning, and then converts into a bar during the evening hours. The Hilton is conveniently located next to the MetroMover, Miami’s free light rail. Within minutes, hotel guests can be at multiple points of interest throughout the city, including museums, parks and sports and entertainment venues. Furthermore, planners looking to stage events for larger groups might note that the Hilton can partner with two adjacent properties — a Marriott and DoubleTree — both of which can be accessed via a walking bridge. Also of note is the coming expansion and renovation of Turnberry Isle. The property is adding the 323-room Orchid Tower and will be rebranded as a JW Marriott. The resort offers groups the 40,000-sq.-ft. Conference Center and Magnolia Courtyard. Two 18-hole golf courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. are onsite. The Orange County Convention Center

The Dolphin Resort recently debuted a fully renovated lobby

The post-event attendee survey ratings on the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin “before [the renovation] were good, but this past year they surpassed what I expected them to say. They said the venue itself made them feel they were important just because of the quality of the hotel.” —Sue Adams, Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Global Sales, Hach


According to Visit Orlando, 69 million people visited Orlando last year, making the city the most visited in the United States. And convention business is a significant part of the economic boost that tourism delivers to Orlando. The approximately 1.4 million delegates that meet each year at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) have an annual economic impact of about $2.4 billion to the area. This March, the OCCC entered into partnerships with the Orlando Economic Development Commission and World Trade Center Orlando to support the convention center’s business and economic development goals. Universal Orlando Resort always has new enticements for visitors, doing its part for the tourism economy. New theme park offerings include Fast & Furious — Supercharged, a ride based on the blockbuster film series, and a nighttime lagoon show at Universal Studios Florida. On the hotel front, Universal welcomes a new value property to its portfolio this summer, the 600-room Aventura Hotel. Walt Disney World Resort debuts Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this summer. But the Disney FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

developments that are really catching the attention of planners are at the theme park’s affiliated hotels. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, the largest of the park’s six convention hotels, is adding a new 15-story tower with 500 guestrooms. Scheduled for completion in 2019, the project will also add an event lawn, boardroom and two multipurpose meeting rooms to the resort’s current 220,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. A major project recently wrapped up at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. Last September, the resort completed a $150 million, three-year transformation that included guestrooms, meeting space and lobby. All 2,270 guestrooms were completely transformed to a new look reflecting the resort’s water-themed architecture, and tech upgrades were made that included more outlets and USB ports. The Dolphin Resort has a new lobby with a grand chandelier, as well as a new 150-capacity bar, Phins. The Swan and Dolphin’s 331,000 sq. ft. of meeting space has been entirely updated. New technology includes electronic reader boards throughout the meeting space and the latest in highdensity Wi-Fi. A new 2,800-sq.-ft. meeting and event space, Lake View, looks out onto the resort’s private lake. A client that has experienced the Swan and Dolphin “before and after” the renovation is Hach, a Loveland, CO33




based water-analysis company. Hach has held its annual sales meeting at the One of the country’s most acclaimed spas is found at the Swan on three occasions, most recently in Boca Raton Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort January. The event’s 250-300 attendees fly in from various locations across North America as well as Europe. “It was really nice because we were able to see pre and post” transformation, says Sue Adams, Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Global Sales. “At the end of the meeting we send out a survey to all of the participants. And the ratings [on the property] before [the renovation] were good, but this past year they surpassed what I expected them to say. They said the venue itself made them feel they were important just because of the quality of the hotel. They had very high ratings on the transformation that they did.” Apart from the physical features of the property, Hach’s sales meeting has benefited from the staff’s “phenomenal service,” she notes. Adams gives several examples of how the staff has gone the extra mile: “During our awards ceremony one year, I decided to take it upon myself Boca Raton Mandarin Oriental will feature 65,000 sq. ft. to decorate the space for 300 people. I was behind, and they of luxury lifestyle retail and meeting space that includes a knew I was behind, though I didn’t tell them. And without 4,500-sq.-ft. ballroom and a variety of adaptable conference being asked, the director of event management showed up rooms. In Palm Beach Gardens, PGA National Resort & with my catering manager to help me, putting linens on the Spa has completed renovations of its spa, Palmer Course and table” and so on. “This past year, one of my assistants was Sports and Racquet Club. The 339-room resort offers more sick and they would bring her home remedies, like teas that than 40,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. they made specifically for her symptoms,” Adams adds. The The Palm Beach County Convention Center has also Swan and Dolphin’s event design services are also of note. In been upgrading. Additions include new LED lights in the planning the latest outdoor welcome reception, “I contacted Exhibit Hall, a flat lot for exhibit move-in and oversized the hotel catering manager and said that my idea this year is truck parking, as well as an eight-story connected parking to do a tailgate party and have the game on TV so they can garage for ample attendee parking. The Convention Center watch it and still have the time to network,” Adams explains. is directly connected to the 400-room Hilton West Palm “I said, ‘I don’t do football, so I need your help to make this Beach, which offers more than 24,000 sq. ft. of function a true tailgate party,’ and he just came up with tons of ideas. space, including the 13,350-sq.-ft. Oceana Ballroom. Those This past year was the most fun by far that they’ve had at the welcome reception. It set the tone for the rest of the meeting.” facilities complement the Center’s 100,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, a 22,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 21,000 sq. ft. of flexible breakout space, divisible into 19 rooms. Discover The Palm Beaches THE PALM BEACHES can coordinate dine-arounds for groups at nearby CityPlace, Stretching 47 miles from Boca Raton to Jupiter, The Palm an outdoor shopping plaza, and in Downtown West Palm Beaches beckon groups with world-class luxury shopping, Beach on Clematis Street. 125 miles of waterways, more than 150 artificial reefs, 160 golf courses, award-winning restaurants and more than 200 art and culture organizations. These impressive numbers help to PARADISE COAST Florida’s Paradise Coast — Naples, Marco Island and the explain the performance of the area’s tourism industry. Late western portion of the Everglades — beckons groups with last year, Jorge Pesquera, President and CEO for Discover more than 30 miles of soft, white sand beaches and a thriving The Palm Beaches, noted that “The Palm Beaches saw arts, culture and dining scene. The Paradise Coast also boasts dramatic occupancy increases year-over-year for the month a fine collection of resorts that have rebounded from the of October, even while our room inventory increased. While being sensitive to the areas that were negatively impacted by impact of Hurricane Irma last summer. The storm’s highest winds in Florida were recorded in Naples. Following are some Hurricane Irma, we do want to celebrate that so far this year, of the major renovations that have made the area’s resorts all our hotel performance metrics show positive growth.” better than ever. Downtown Boca Raton’s guestroom inventory will grow The JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort’s $320 when a new luxury property opens in 2020. The 118-room


The historic Naples Pier on the Gulf of Mexico million renovation continues through this summer. The resort’s existing 716 guestrooms have been renovated, and new function space opened in March. Work is nearing completion on the new adults-only, 94-room Lanai Tower, which will include a chef-driven restaurant, rooftop lounge, new meeting space, a new pool deck and a virtual entertainment center. Lanai Tower will house the 30,000-sq.-ft. Calusa Grand Ballroom overlooking the Gulf of Mexico with 24-ft. ceilings and five outdoor terraces. The tower will also include the 17,000-sq.-ft. Banyan Ballroom on the first floor with 22-ft. ceilings and breakout space on the second floor. LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort reopened after an $8 million renovation that includes luxurious new guestrooms in the Gulf Tower, a reinvigorated lobby, and a new look for award-winning signature restaurant, BALEEN. The 189-room LaPlaya offers more than 8,000 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space and nearly 4,000 sq. ft. of outdoor function space. Following a three-and-a-half-month closure due to Hurricane Irma, Naples Grande Beach Resort reopened on Dec. 15. The property has undergone a multimilliondollar refresh that included its 474 guestrooms, public spaces, pools and lush outdoor landscaping. Groups have 83,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor function space at their disposal. The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club has completed a total redesign of its historic golf course. The redesign was done with input from golf icon and acclaimed course designer Jack Nicklaus in collaboration with noted course architect John Sanford. The $9 million project follows $50 million in renovations at the resort over the last few years. The AAA Four-Diamond property offers 319 guestrooms and over 34,000 sq. ft. of function space FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

One of the state’s most culturally rich cities, Tampa is home to the Florida Aquarium, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa Bay History Center and major live entertainment venues including Amalie Arena and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Here, attendees can enjoy diverse experiences such as salsa dancing in Ybor City, dining at the famed Bern’s Steak House and unwinding at Curtis Dixon Waterfront Park. The focal point of the city’s meetings industry is the Tampa Convention Center, which houses 200,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 36,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 39 additional meeting rooms. The Center is surrounded by a walkable hotel package include more than 3,000 rooms in a variety of price points. A veritable hotel renaissance is under way in Tampa, with new brands, new builds, reflaggings and renovations in the works. New properties include the 175-room AC by Marriott in the upscale West Shore District; the 276-room Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas Tampa in the Rocky Point area west of Tampa International Airport; the 325-room Westshore Grand (formerly the InterContinental); and the Westin Tampa Waterside (a $20 million reinvention of the Westin Harbour Island). Renovations include the 699 guestrooms at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina (over 43,000 sq. ft. of meeting space), as well as the guestrooms, pool area and lobby at the 277-room Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk (over 12,000 sq. ft.). A major new build on the horizon is the 519-room JW Marriott Tampa, bringing 126,000 sq. ft. of meeting space to the city when it debuts in 2020. It’s just one more reason for planners to consider booking the home of the Buccaneers. David Korn contributed to this article.

A scenic waterfront awaits attendees at the Tampa Convention Center 35


The Sandpearl Shines for Meetings


By Debi Lander

famous quote about fashion holds that “You can’t ever go wrong with pearls.” The Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, FL, proves that adage. Meeting planners will not go wrong choosing this hotel. A member of Preferred Hotel & Resorts, the Sandpearl holds both the AAA Four Diamond Award and Florida’s first Silver LEED certification. Add in the newly renovated meeting space and you’ve got a jewel. Appropriately, the Sandpearl shimmers upon the supersoft, white sugar sands of Clearwater Beach on the Gulf Coast, just minutes from Tampa and St Petersburg and their airports. These vibrant cities mix major cultural options, such as the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Pete, with Tampa’s professional sporting events. The resort’s 253 spacious guestrooms and suites incorporate a subtle, warm-toned tropical theme. Guests will enjoy the latest high-tech comforts (flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi), in-room refrigerators, and balcony views of the city, Mandalay Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. And there are other comforts onsite, such as the freeform pool surrounded by lush gardens and greenery, and the 12,000-sq.-ft. luxury spa


Caretta on the Gulf offers a formal dining experience inside as well as bay-front tables with sea breezes. Groups of up to 35 may reserve the private dining room. The resort does not have a kosher kitchen, but will work with local vendors to provide kosher meals for pre-planned events. The relaxed Old-Florida style sets the tone at Tate’s Island Grill. The eatery borders the beach and temperaturecontrolled pool. Waiters deliver food and beverages to guests’ beach chairs or pool loungers. 36

When the sun goes down, the night heats up. The beachside fire pit, surrounded by Adirondack chairs, is the primo place to sit, discuss the day or indulge in after-dinner drinks or s’mores.


The Sandpearl offers 25,000 sq. ft. of freshly renovated function space including new carpeting, curtains and light fixtures. Staff professionals will customize every detail, including AV enhancements. The Hunter Ballroom works for groups of up to 600. It spans 5,234 sq. ft. under a 15-ft. coffered ceiling. The space divides into three equally sized rooms, and offers a registration and pre-function area of 2,388 sq. ft. The 325-capacity Harbor Ballroom is distinguished by its picturesque views. Two balconies overlook the resort and Pier 60. The room’s 3,423 sq. ft. can also be divided into thirds, and is supported by a pre-function area of 2,942 sq. ft. The smallest ballroom, the Cove, holds up to 110 guests within 1,032 sq. ft. and features a wall of windows overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Relish the Florida weather and earn rave reviews with events staged on the beachside Gulf Lawn (6,750 sq. ft. for up to 600 attendees). The smaller Pool Lawn (2,112 sq. ft.) sits at the base of the cascading waterfall and the pool. It’s ideal for cocktail parties for up to 125 guests.


The management team is focused on MICE groups. They reinvented the list of teambuilding activities with meaningful, state-of-the-art new programs. These join the already popular group outings, both in-house and off-premises. Following are a few examples. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING


Cooking classes: With the flare of a Food Network pro, Executive Chef Steve Jordan shows off his dynamic personality during the organic food and wine tasting class. Chef Jordan takes students through the preparation of a four-course meal, divulging professional secrets and explaining the hows and whys of food selection and techniques. Each course is pared with organic wines. Mock Iron Chef competition: The action of this fast-paced experience plays out in a ballroom set up with cooking and prep stations. Groups must recreate the recipe first demonstrated by one of the Sandpearl chefs. Judges rank the dishes on teamwork, taste, creativity and marketing presentation. Art party: Teams of two to three attendees assemble a set of pre-color coded canvases, brushes and paints. Groups paint their pieces and then assemble the set to create one beautiful painting. Canvases will be touched up and then can be hung back in company offices or donated to a hospital. Feed the children: This hands-on activity gives groups a way to make a tangible difference in the fight against global hunger. Groups work together to create healthy meals packaged for hungry children.

In-House Tours

Art tours: Guided group tours of the Sandpearl’s impressive art

collection offer insight into works by renowned Florida artists Christopher Still and Mark Pulliam. LEED tours: Energy-conscious planners and attendees will love a behind-the-scenes tour of the LEED-rated facility.


Clearwater Marine Aquarium Behind-the-Scenes Tour: Groups can go behind the scenes at the renowned Aquarium and learn how Winter, a rescued dolphin, became the star of the movie Dolphin Tale. Intercoastal Waterway Tours: Attendees can hop aboard a two-hour, narrated Sea Life Safari along the Intracoastal Waterway. Dolphins, seabirds and other marine life highlight the ride to a small shell island. Kayaking or Stand-Up Paddleboarding: Excursions take guests through the local estuary ecosystems of Pinellas County while learning about the wildlife and environment of Florida’s Gulf Coast from an expert guide. Craft Beer Trail: Beer lovers can get VIP chauffeur service along the St. Pete/Clearwater Craft Beer Trail. Champagne by Air: An aerial sightseeing tour from Tampa Bay Aviation takes off from Clearwater Airpark. A certified pilot will buzz participants up and down the coast over such sights as the Sponge Docks of Tarpon Springs, Honeymoon Island and the Skyway Bridge, spanning Tampa Bay.



Please consider the following criteria when voting: • Attractiveness & Functionality of Meeting Venue • Size & Quality of Meeting Space • Technological Capabilities • Quality of Staff • Food & Beverage Options • Lighting, Acoustics, & Internet Access • Other Meeting/Event Support Services • Amenities • Recreational Activities • Dining & Entertainment Options • Lodging Quality • Accessibility to Airport • Ease of Travel within Destination 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 FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

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One Happy Island makes for happy meeting and incentive participants By Debi Lander


ruba’s gorgeous high-rise resorts and white sand beaches lure approximately 1.5 million visitors to the island each year. In the 1950s, tourism sparked development of a two-mile stretch of the southern coast called Palm Beach. The 101-year-old California Lighthouse (above, left) Today, Palm Beach reigns with top-echelon and the idyllic pool at the Aruba Marriott. luxury resorts. Aruba, nicknamed One Happy Island, spans just 19.6 miles in length and six miles across. Since the island room renovations was completed in December 2017.” The lies 15 miles north of Venezuela, its southern Caribbean eight-story complex now includes 411 oversized rooms and 23 waters fall just south of the hurricane belt. That’s great suites. Each room comes with a 100-sq.-ft. balcony, a perfect news for meeting planners, especially after recent storms spot for a morning cup of coffee. devastated to so many properties. As an added bonus, the The palm-studded grounds of the Aruba Marriott meander island maintains approximately the same temperature past koi-filled streams and waterfalls, the ideal backdrop for year round: 80s in the day, 70s at night. High season runs tropical-themed functions. Consider offering your attendees December through mid-April. Surprisingly, the sunny climate the Paladar experience: a Cuban-inspired beach cookout with is dry, diminishing the threat of plan-disrupting storms. whitewashed picnic tables, hanging lanterns, twinkling lights The Aruba Marriott, on Palm Beach, welcomes groups and grilled food. The resort employs a dedicated catering from 10-800 to its 10,450 sq. ft. of indoor space, including team for all functions, as well as an in-house audiovisual an 8,000-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom and five separate outdoor team. A group can also go off-property for a reception at the areas. The Grand Ballroom accommodates 800 persons Ayo Rock Formations. for receptions or 530 for banquets, plus 350 more if using Multiple onsite restaurants include LaVista, an oceanoutdoor space. A boardroom and the dividable 1,564-sq.-ft. view outdoor and indoor dining space. Sumptuous breakfast, Amsterdam Ballroom are also available. lunch and dinner buffets offer a variety of choices including According to Carolina Voullieme, Director of Sales live cooking stations at each meal. On Monday and Thursday, & Marketing, “A $50 million renovation begun in 2008 the restaurant features a photo-worthy Caribbean Carnival renewed our state-of-the-art property. The final phase of Show. The restaurant Atardi pops up on the beach around 38


Aruba’s beaches are among the most picturesque in the Caribbean

The recently renovated Aruba Marriott is home to the island’s largest casino. Stellaris Casino offers over 150,000 sq. ft. of gaming space. cocktail hour. This romantic no-shoes dining location can accommodate smaller groups. Diners bask in the sunset, listen to the sounds of the ocean and feast on succulent seafood directly on the beach. For attendees who prefer beef, there is the on-property Ruth Chris Steakhouse. For sports fans, Champions Sports Bar and Grill offers 33 highdefinition flat-screen televisions. The Aruba Marriott is also home to the island’s largest casino. Standing adjacent to the main hotel lobby, Stellaris Casino offers over 15,000 sq. ft. of gaming space. High rollers to casual gamers play at over 500 slots and 32 gaming tables.


Of course, attendees come to play and relax in paradise, as well as attend meetings. At the Aruba Marriott, they can unwind on chaise lounges or cabanas around the adultsonly pool or the private beach. In addition, watersports like boating, sailing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, diving and fishing are among the diversions along Palm Beach. The Marriott team will help a planner design programs to fit specific group needs.

Aruba’s most striking views. Mother Nature shows off her power with thunderous crashing waves and her softer touch in dreamy receding water trails against the rocky shoreline. Guided tours usually stop amid the sand dunes by the California Lighthouse. The charming white lighthouse, renovated in 2016 for its 100th birthday, now beckons climbers to its crown. Participants continue along the rutty coastal road passing a magnificent golf course, a few tiny fishing shacks and onto the rugged shores. They may stop at the old Bushiribana gold mines and the once famous, coral limestone natural bridge that sadly collapsed in 2005. Parts of the natural wonder remain. Here, “selfies” seem mandatory. The Chapel of Alto Vista became the island’s first Roman Catholic Church in 1750 and was reconstructed in 1953. Arubans consider the stucco church a special place for peace and contemplation.

The Natural Pool

Arikok National Park, a desert-like nature preserve, protects the unique features of Aruba’s geography. Upon entering The Natural Pool at Arikok National Park

Jeep Tours To get a local’s perspective and feel the true nature of the island, attendees need to explore more than the resort property. Refreshingly, the windward side of Aruba bears little resemblance to Palm Beach. Jeep tours along the northerly coast ramble through arid hills, immense cactus fields and some of FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING


Oranjestad or the Ostrich Farm on the the Park, visitors notice the landscape northside. changing from hills with cacti to barren Planners may Aruba has no shortage of shopping stone fields and limestone bluffs. opportunities, especially near the Cruise A drive to the Natural Pool (within the consider arranging a Terminal. Be sure to avoid a shopping park) ranks as an unforgettable adventure trip to the Butterfly excursion when more than two cruise even though participants are simply Farm in Oranjestad or ships are in the harbor. passengers. The driver maneuvers offIf your group is lucky enough to road over stretches of some of the ruttiest the Ostrich Farm on hold a meeting on the Happy Island, and rockiest pathways imaginable. Hold the northside of the they’re sure to leave content. U.S. on tight for a spine jolting descent. (FYI – island. citizens clear U.S. immigration and Those with back issues or joint problems customs in Aruba, making for even should avoid this tour.) happier stateside returns. A panoramic overlook becomes the stopping point, and those who summon the courage can climb down 80plus steps to the Natural Pool. The small pool rests within HELPFUL TRAVEL TIPS a unique lava rock formation that protects swimmers Visitors may use American dollars, but change from the rough sea. A dip makes the excursion worth the comes in the official currency, the Aruban florin. time and energy involved, but be extra cautious of sharp, slippery rocks. Papiamento, the local language, mixes Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, French, English and African, Other Outings but Dutch remains the official language. Unmixed Suggested shorter outings include a visit to the Aruba Aloe English is also spoken. Museum and Factory in Hato. Visitors see fields of aloe and Direct flights to Aruba originate from Miami, a learn how it is “fileted” or cut and processed into gels and mere 2.5-hour flight, New York City at 4.5 hours, and lotions. Aloe became Aruba’s first cash crop and continues Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale to be a major export and cosmetics power. Planners may and Houston. also consider arranging a trip to the Butterfly Farm in

• • •

Looking Ahead Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2018 SuperBook Featuring: The annual Prime Site and Top Destination Awards A spotlight on Mohegan Sun’s new meeting facilities, including an interview with Vice President of Convention Sales John Washko F&D Forums: In-depth Q&As with industry leaders on the move The latest meeting industry updates from Orlando and Las Vegas, plus coverage of upscale resorts in Georgia Planning tips from the pros F&D A-List: Profiles of northeast convention center executives

• • • • • • 40


Sites & Cities Directory OHIO

Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau

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

Austin Convention Center

500 E. 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

Greater Akron – where metropolitan amenities meet breathtaking natural vistas just steps away in Ohio’s only national park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The John S. Knight Center is located in the heart of downtown Akron and boasts a team with more than 270 years of combined experience. Features include: in-house culinary department; 30,000-sq.-ft. exhibition hall; 12,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 17,000 sq. ft. of additional breakout rooms; and a 3,000-sq.-ft. two-story glass rotunda with spiral staircase. 5,500+ guestrooms county-wide. Let’s start planning! PAGE 7

A LEED® Gold certified, technologically advanced convention center located near downtown’s famous entertainment districts. Multi-level facility spans six city blocks; features 369,132 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibit space, including five column-free, contiguous exhibit halls (247,052 sq. ft. of total exhibit space), seven ballrooms (40,510 sq. ft. is largest) and 54 meeting rooms. Complimentary high-speed, high-density wireless services throughout; onsite engineers; proven ability to handle 7,000 simultaneous connections. Pre-function spaces offer downtown views. Pedestrian PAGE walkway connects third and fourth levels. Close to 9,000 downtown hotel rooms. C2


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

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 6


Cox Convention Center

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


Grand Wayne Convention Center 120 West Jefferson Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46802 (260) 426-4100; Fax: (260) 420-9080 grandwayne.com Director of Sales & Marketing: Marcy McKinley

Beyond Convention. Beyond Expectation™


Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland and Global Center for Health Innovation 1 St. Clair Avenue NE, Cleveland, OH 44114 (216) 920-1600; Fax: (216) 920-1451 clevelandconventions.com theglobalcenter.com NEW YORK

Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center 123 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14604 (585) 232-7200; Fax: (585) 232-1510 rrcc.com Director of Sales: Kris Hughes

Spanning more than one million sq. ft. and four city blocks, this complex is located at the heart of downtown Oklahoma City, a city both accommodating and affordable. Multipurpose venue hosts everything from intimate meetings to major conventions, tradeshows, concerts and sporting events. 27 meeting rooms; 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 100,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall; 15,000-seat arena. Free WiFi available; Internet access speeds up to one Gb; 1,400 of Oklahoma City’s 15,000+ hotel rooms are across the street. From arts and adventure to cowboy culture and family fun, Oklahoma City PAGE offers an eclectic mix of heritage and hotspots. 9 Why Fort Wayne, Indiana? Affordable and accessible — events save nearly 15 percent more in expenses across the board than other major cities, and Fort Wayne is within 500 miles of half the U.S. population. Hospitality abounds in restaurants, pubs, lodgings, shops and entertainment venues. In the heart of it all is the Grand Wayne Convention Center, housing 225,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 50,000-sq.-ft. Convention Hall and 18 meeting rooms. The center offers in-house AV technicians and in-house gourmet catering for up to 3,100 banquet guests. New carpeting in the Convention Hall and Anthony Wayne PAGE Ballroom; new free, high-performance WiFi for up to 5,000 simultaneous users. 14 The Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland and Global Center for Health Innovation connects meeting planners to 390,000 total sq. ft. of prime space, including a 225,000-sq.ft. exhibit hall. Connected to the 600-room Hilton Cleveland Downtown, within walking distance of an additional 5,000 hotel rooms, and just 15 miles from Cleveland Hopkins Airport, the campus is a convenient meetings destination. The center houses an 88,500-sq.ft. exhibit hall, a 32,200-sq.-ft. ballroom and 34 meeting rooms. Tech features include a Cisco Core Network, videoconferencing and streaming, touch-screen controls in PAGE rooms, and a high-tech conference center. 3 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. Over 1,100 hotel rooms, with 800 directly connected by an enclosed skyway. Surrounded by entertainment districts with restaurants, pubs, theaters and more. Rochester offers planners a compact convention district, and New York State’s only one-stop convention facility. PAGE C3


Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau

101 S. Spring Street, 4th Floor, Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 376-4781; (800) 844-4781 LittleRockMeetings.com Vice President Sales & Services: Alan Sims Meetings are better with a Southern accent


As the state capital, Little Rock is renowned for its hospitality, culture and charm. There are approximately 9,500 rooms in the greater Little Rock metropolitan area. Major local attractions include the William J. Clinton Presidential Center & Park, Arkansas Arts Center, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Old State House Museum, and Heifer International and Heifer Village. The Statehouse Convention Center offers 82,892 sq. ft. total exhibit space; 16 meeting rooms. The 418-room Little Rock Marriott is physically connected to the Convention Center. Additionally, Arkansas’s premier performing arts facility, the Robinson Center, completed a $70 million PAGE re-imagining and expansion in November 2016. 56 41


Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau

301 E. Ocean Blvd., Suite 1900, Long Beach, CA 90802 (562) 436-3645 visitlongbeach.com President & CEO: Steve Goodling


Monona Terrace Convention Center

One John Nolen Drive, Madison, WI 53703 (608) 261-4000; Fax: (608) 261-4049 mononaterrace.com Sales/Event Services Manager: Laura MacIsaac, CMP Where Business and Inspiration Meet FLORIDA

Ocean Center Convention Center 101 North Atlantic Avenue Daytona Beach, FL 32118 (386) 254-4522; Fax: (386) 254-4512 oceancenter.com Director of Sales: Lori Hunter The Great Florida Venue! FLORIDA

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

Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau

300 East Green Street, Pasadena, CA 91101 (800) 307-7977; Fax: (626) 795-9656 PasadenaMeetings.com Executive Director: Jeanne O’Grady Goldschmidt ARIZONA

Phoenix Convention Center & Venues 100 North Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 (602) 262-6225; Fax: (800) 282-4842 phoenixconventioncenter.com Deputy Director: Jerry Harper Commitment to Excellence CALIFORNIA

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


Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

1500 Epcot Resorts Boulevard Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 (800) 524-4939; (407) 934-4290 SwanDolphinMeetings.com Director of Sales and Marketing: Gino Marasco


The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, with over 400,000 sq. ft. of modern, flexible exhibit and meeting space, is located in the center of the downtown waterfront with sweeping harbor views. Groups have 4,500 hotel rooms at their disposal, 3,000 within walking distance of the Convention Center. With more than 11 miles of sandy beachfront, inland waterways and bays, Long Beach is a watersport paradise. Attractions include The Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, The Pike Outlets, Shoreline Village, Whale Watching and Harbor Tours, Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach Museum of Art, PAGE Belmont Shore, Retro Row, and downtown dining and nightlife. 5 Located in the heart of Madison’s vibrant downtown on the shore of Lake Monona, this Frank Lloyd Wright-designed, spectacular five-level structure features public promenades, meeting rooms with striking lake views, extensive rooftop gardens and the attached 240-room Hilton Madison (1,000+ rooms within walking distance); 250,000 sq. ft., including 85,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibit space; 23 meeting rooms; 40,000-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall; 5,540-sq.-ft., 315seat lecture hall; 14,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 68,000 sq. ft. of rooftop gardens available for events. Wireless access throughout – Internet 2 access; business center, gift shop, art/exhibit PAGE area and expansive areas for registration/information needs. 15 With sweeping architecture, dramatic pre-event areas and captivating art galleries, the Ocean Center Convention Center in Daytona Beach goes far beyond the average venue to offer an engaging experience that is both local and unique. The facility offers 200,000 sq. ft. of flexible space, including a 93,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, 42,000-sq.-ft. arena, 14,000-sq.ft. ballroom and 32 meeting rooms. Impressive catered functions are a specialty, and qualifying clients can also take advantage of complimentary site visits and possible financial assistance. Upscale hotels and group-friendly restaurants are adjacent and a 10-minute PAGE drive away. Daytona Beach International Airport is serviced by major airlines. 1 The second-largest convention center in the nation, the award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is known as “The Center of Hospitality,” where it’s all about your experience. Come experience seven million total sq. ft. of meeting space, including 2.1 million sq. ft. of total exhibition space, 74 meeting rooms/235 breakout meeting rooms, the 48,961-sq.-ft. Tangerine Ballroom, the newly renovated 62,182-sq.-ft. Valencia Ballroom and the state-of-the-art networking Destination Lounge. Additionally, the OCCC boasts a 2,643-seat theater and a 160-seat lecture hall. Directly connected by pedestrian PAGE bridge to 5,000 luxury guestrooms. 29 Pasadena offers groups year-long warm weather, five-star accommodations, endless shopping and entertainment options, and more restaurants per capita than New York City. There are over 2,500 guestrooms citywide, more than 1,200 of which are within walking distance of the Pasadena Convention Center. The expanded Pasadena Convention Center features a 55,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall (expandable to 80,000 sq. ft.), a newly restored 17,000-sq.-ft. historic exhibit hall, 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 29 meeting rooms, 3,000-seat Civic Auditorium and a 22,000-sq.-ft. outdoor plaza. Major local attractions include the Historic Rose Bowl PAGE Stadium, Pasadena Playhouse, Norton Simon Museum and Pacific Asia Museum. 21 The award-winning Phoenix Convention Center & Venues (PCC&V) is within walking distance of shopping, entertainment, sports and theater venues, and is just four miles from Sky Harbor International Airport. There are more than 3,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the center and more that 6,000 hotel rooms located along the Metro Light Rail System. Named one of the top-10 convention center facilities in the country, PCC&V offers more than 900,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space, including a 312,500-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall and a 46,000-sq.-ft. ballroom — all complemented by the 2,312-seat PAGE Symphony Hall and the 1,364-seat historic Orpheum Theatre. C4 Small-town friendly with big-city amenities, Sacramento hosts over six million visitors annually. Located in the heart of downtown, the Sacramento Convention Center features 31 meeting rooms; two 10,000-sq.-ft. registration/pre-function areas; Exhibit Hall – 134,000 sq. ft. contiguous space/divisible into five separate areas; 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom (1,500 banquet-style/2,500 theater style), divisible into 10 meeting rooms. Activity Building is a fully carpeted, 11,200-sq.-ft. facility with 12 meeting rooms, connected by concourse to the exhibit hall. 4,000-seat Memorial Auditorium; 2,452-seat Community Center Theater. 2,000 hotels within walking distance; PAGE 10,000 citywide. Classique Catering; Starbucks. 23 Situated in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin houses 2,270 guestrooms and suites with the finest amenities. Recently, the hotel completed a $150 million renovation of all guestrooms, meeting and public spaces. Groups have over 331,000 sq. ft. of meeting and function space including 86 meeting rooms, 110,500 sq. ft. of contiguous convention/exhibit space, outdoor areas and two business centers. There are 17 world-class restaurants and lounges onsite including Todd English’s bluezoo, the famed Il Mulino New York Trattoria and Shula’s Steak House. Unique PAGE Disney benefits make the hotel the perfect location for a meeting or event. 19 FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING


Austin Convention Center


winner of the Prime Site Award every year since 1995, the Austin Convention Center has emerged as a leader in the convention and meeting industry. The Center offers 369,132 sq. ft. of exhibit and meeting space, including five column-free exhibit halls accommodating 1,289 10 ft.-by-10 ft. exhibit booths. Seven ballrooms ranging from 3,896 to 40,510 sq. ft. and 54 meeting rooms and show offices totaling over 58,000 sq. ft. complete the four-story convention center. Ample parking is provided in two parking garages with a total of 1,700 spaces. In January 2017, the Austin Convention Center hosted what is arguably the premier event in the meetings industry, PCMA’s Convening Leaders.


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. It offers a variety of inhouse services including complimentary wireless Internet access, redundant highspeed Internet II access, plug-and-play capabilities, and an onsite technical staff to help with networking needs.


Austin offers more than 33,000 hotel rooms, with 9,000 located downtown, including the 800-room Hilton Austin adjacent to the convention center. Additional nearby hotels include: Four Seasons Hotel Austin, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott,

Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown, Radisson Hotel & Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown, Driskill Hotel, Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel, the new W Austin, Hyatt Place Downtown Austin, the 1,012-room JW Marriott and the Westin Austin Downtown. The Fairmont Austin opened this year.


After conventions and meetings wrap-up each night, attendees can enjoy Austin’s entertainment districts — Second Street, the Warehouse District and 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 is home to nearly 250 venues that echo with the sound of country, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, jazz and Tejano.


During the day, attendees can enjoy the capital city’s many historical attractions, including the State Capitol, the LBJ Presidential Library, the Texas State History Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art. 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: Spans six city blocks 369,132 sq. ft. of exhibit and meeting space Exhibit Space: 247,052 contiguous sq. ft., column free Ballrooms: 40,510 sq. ft. level 4; 23,418 sq. ft. level 1 Meeting Space: 54 meeting rooms totaling over 58,000 sq. ft. Technology: Gigabit-rated facility, wireless Internet access, plug-andplay capabilities


Hotels: 9,000 downtown hotel rooms; adjacent 800-room Hilton Austin 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




Boise Centre


eeting planners have much to celebrate in Boise — Idaho’s growing capital city. Boise Centre, Idaho’s premier convention 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

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COX Convention Center


klahoma City is investing $250 million in a new downtown convention center of approximately 470,000 sq. ft. (with about 235,000 sq. ft. of sellable space), replacing the Cox Convention Center by the end of the decade. The new facility is a continuation of the city’s resurgence that includes the nearby Bricktown entertainment district, home to canal-side restaurants, clubs and attractions. In addition, the expanding Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River provides exciting activities for attendees and their families. Since 1993, Oklahoma City has seen more than $5 billion of public and private investment in quality-oflife projects and improvements throughout the city. The Cox Convention Center houses 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 21 meeting rooms and a 15,000seat arena, all connected by a skybridge to the 258-room Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel (66,000 sq. ft. of meeting space). The downtown area is only about 20 minutes from Will Rogers Airport, a streamlined facility that is easy to get in and out of. Oklahoma City offers 1,600 convention center district hotel rooms (16,000 overall), affordable rates, a hospitable atmosphere and cultural highlights such as the Exhibit C art gallery, displaying the works of Chickasaw artists. Other cultural highlights include the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Just west of the Cox Convention Center is the Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

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

1 Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 (405) 602-8500; Fax: (405) 602-8505 coxconventioncenter.com 45


Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center


ochester is the northern gateway to the magnificent Finger Lakes region, with its rolling hills, lush valleys and 11 namesake lakes. It is also a region famous for its more than 100 vineyards, excellent wines and numerous “wine trails.” With the New York Wine and Culinary Center in nearby Canandaigua, the wineries and farmer’s markets of the Finger Lakes region offer delegates meeting in Rochester wonderful day-trip options for pre- or post-conference enjoyment. Conveniently located in the heart of the city is the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center, with a scenic setting on the Genesee River, featuring outdoor patios and balconies. The facility offers 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibition space featuring 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 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 cafes, 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 300+ concerts with 1,500+ artists, as well as the Fringe Festival, a unique 10-day event celebrating the arts with 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 Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Integrated Photonics. The Floreano Center itself gets high marks for handling


all types of technology needs. The facility has a dedicated Internet 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 and is burstable from 200 MB to 1 GB. 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. There is the 460-room Rochester Riverside Hotel, a 106-room Hilton Garden Inn, a 217-room Holiday Inn and a 338room Hyatt Regency, which recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation. Delegates also enjoy the convenience of walking between hotels and the Floreano Center in minutes using the enclosed skywalk system or the riverside walkway. Rochester offers groups a compact convention district.

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




Grand Wayne Convention Center

monona terrace Convention Center


here’s something about Fort Wayne, Indiana. Aside from its honest Hoosier hospitality and amazing affordability, Fort Wayne’s enterprising, entertaining spirit delights visitors and businesses. As Indiana’s second-largest city, this is a startup kind of town. Fresh ideas and friendly faces create a diverse urban vibe that thrives on the belief that everything’s possible here. In the heart of it all is Grand Wayne Convention Center, the Midwest’s premier event facility. With its enhanced technology, creativity and reputation for customer experience, Grand Wayne Center boasts an 80 percent rebooking rate. A team of seasoned sales professionals and event managers help planners navigate their best options from floor plans to food plates. In-house AV experts create virtually any special effect from simple to spectacular. And Grand Wayne Center’s own Guest Experience Team provides complimentary add-on services to enhance every guest’s experience. Grand Wayne Center’s 225,000 sq. ft. of meeting spaces is maintained by a 24-hour, on-staff engineering crew. All meeting spaces are fully carpeted, luxuriously finished, climate controlled and powered to make each event its most creative and comfortable. Prefunction areas are complimentary with reserved rooms and offer sleek architectural details, abundant natural light, and additional gathering spaces to continue conversations or take a moment to reconnect. Intuitive floor plans, free high-performance WiFi, free downloadable Guest Experience App, and award-winning event hosts help attendees feel and stay connected within the Center and with Fort Wayne’s welcoming downtown establishments. Most noticeable is Grand Wayne Center’s level of experience and foresight. With 18 meeting spaces ranging from a luxuriously appointed boardroom to a 50,000-sq.-ft., carpeted Convention and Expo Hall, event planners are encouraged to imagine the possibilities in every detail. The 12,000-sq.-ft. gourmet kitchen and professional catering staff easily accommodate any dietary wish for up to 3,100 guests in a single banquet setting or multiple, simultaneous functions day and night. Additionally, the Center easily accommodates 4,500 theater-style and 2,900 classroom-style configurations. By design, Grand Wayne Center is connected to 500 fullservice guestrooms with covered garage parking, with additional downtown guestrooms coming in the near future. Overall, Fort Wayne offers 5,000 guestrooms to accommodate larger groups and citywide events. Fort Wayne is located within an easy day’s drive of at least one-third of the U.S. population, and Fort Wayne International Airport is mere minutes away from the downtown and Grand Wayne Convention Center.

120 West Jefferson Boulevard, Fort Wayne, IN 46802 (260) 426-4100 • grandwayne.com FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

Madison, Wisconsin: An Inspiring Place for Smart Meetings.


adison combines exceptional facilities with the intellectual and emotional capital needed for meeting success. Home to the renowned University of Wisconsin–Madison, the vision of Frank Lloyd Wright, the insight of Aldo Leopold and a majestic Capitol built upon an isthmus alive with cultural arts, engaging intellectual pursuits and a wealth of recreational opportunities, Madison is the place for smart meetings. Monona Terrace®, a crown jewel of Madison’s isthmus, earned the prestigious Gold Level LEED status. In 2007, Monona Terrace became the first convention center in the nation to be LEED-EBcertified at the Silver Level by the U.S. Green Building Council. The additional certification at the Gold Level affirms the facility’s commitment to the environment. The facility actively uses sustainable practices such as purchasing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. Monona Terrace is a symbol of sustainability for the community and an inspiration to all those who choose to visit the city.


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


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

One John Nolen Drive, Madison, WI 53703 (608) 261-4000 • mononaterrace.com 47


Orange County Convention Center EXPERIENCE THE NEW ORANGE


he award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), located in the heart of the Convention Center District and only 15 minutes from the Orlando International Airport, provides a multitude of event options in two beautiful buildings — the West and North/South. The OCCC is finding new ways to showcase the leadership and quality of service that has made the destination one of the most popular in the world, not only for tourism but also for meetings and conventions. Exhibitors, attendees and meeting planners alike acclaim the attention to detail provided by the OCCC, with a variety of facilities and services including over seven million sq. ft. of combined meeting space, sophisticated amenities and world-class onsite providers. The OCCC is consistently rated a top-tier convention center with incredible spaces, including the multipurpose Tangerine Ballroom, the newly remodeled Valencia Ballroom, the state-of-the-art Destination Lounge for networking, the Sunburst signature meeting room with outdoor terrace, and the Honeybell and Hamlin boardrooms.


West Hall F was transformed into a 48,961-sq.-ft. multipurpose exhibit space and ballroom. Features include decorative large scale wall panels, an LED color-changing translucent ceiling and bamboo door surrounds and ceiling elements — all combining to create a stunning space. The versatility is endless. Guests can use the carpeted ballroom for exhibits, small and large formal functions and general sessions.

West Concourse – 9800 International Drive; South Concourse – 9899 International Drive; North Concourse – 9400 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32819 (407) 685-9800, (800) 345-9845 • occc.net 48


•• • •

48,961 sq. ft. Thatch panel walls lit from above Wave-like translucent Lucite panels suspended from ceiling, backlit with color-changing lights Upgraded power capability


The OCCC’s West Concourse boasts 1.1 million sq. ft. of exhibition space, all on one level, supported by 97 covered loading docks. This beautiful facility includes a total of 49 meeting rooms/141 breakouts, the 2,643-seat Chapin Theater, 160-seat lecture hall, 62,182-sq.-ft. multipurpose Valencia Room, a fullservice restaurant, four food courts, one business center and 1,450 onsite parking spaces. The North/South concourses are connected by the Oversight Bridge and provide a total 950,282 sq. ft. of exhibition space, including two 92,000-sq.-ft. acoustically engineered general assembly areas. With its distinctive architecture and tropical ambiance, this facility includes 25 meeting rooms/94 breakout rooms, two full service restaurants, four food courts, two business centers and 76 covered loading docks.


The OCCC offers first-rate assistance through partnerships with the following providers: Centerplate — Catering and Specialty Services Smart City — Internet, Telecommunications and Digital Advertising FedEx Office — Business Centers and Mobility Solutions LMG — Audiovisual Services Bags — Remote Skycap, Valet, Bag and Coat Check SeaWorld® Orlando — Unique and innovative opportunity for offsite meetings and entertainment Universal Orlando® Resort — Unique and innovative opportunity for offsite meetings and entertainment FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING


Ocean Center Convention Center


f you are looking for a Florida venue, Daytona Beach has you covered. The Ocean Center Convention Center is at the forefront of today’s meeting locations. With sweeping architecture, dramatic pre-event areas, captivating permanent and rotating art galleries, the Ocean Center is your perfect venue. A dynamite location situated in the core area of Daytona Beach, the Ocean Center promises spectacular sunrises, beautiful beaches and plentiful dining and entertainment options. The Atlantic Ocean is only steps away and is the site of first-class accommodations. Ocean Walk Shoppes are adjacent and offer an abundance of dining and entertainment options such as Sloppy Joe’s, Johnny Rockets, Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company and many other choices. The area is easily accessible and is serviced by Daytona Beach International Airport, located only minutes away with airlift provided by JetBlue, Delta and American Airlines. Daytona Beach lies at the crossroads of Central Florida, with easy access to Interstates 4 and 95. It is also 60 minutes from Orlando. The Ocean Center’s 200,000 sq. ft. of space provides flexibility and adjustability. The center offers a 93,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, a 42,000-sq.-ft. arena, a 14,000-sq.-ft. ballroom that seats 900, and 32 meeting rooms. The center is known for its knowledgeable staff with many years of hospitality service, and one-on-one event planning assistance from that staff. Qualifying clients can also take advantage of complimentary site visits and possible financial assistance. Creating successful events is a specialty. An outstanding catering staff delivers delectable menus, themed events and eye-appealing presentations.

There are beach bonus days for first-time clients during the months of September through December. On certain dates, the Ocean Center is able to give bonuses like a choice of a refreshment break, free Wi-Fi, move-in or move-out, 15 percent catering discount or breakout rooms. Offer available only on certain dates and for first-time clients. Subject to availability and change. Not available with other discounts or offers. Offer available for rental of exhibit hall and/or arena only. Minimum of 350 room nights on peak. Allow the Ocean Center to host your next meeting. Its unique architectural style, mouth-watering cuisine and superior service will ensure your next meeting will be a resounding success.


• •• •• •• •• ••

Complimentary site visits and possible financial assistance available to qualifying clients. Over 200,000 sq. ft. of space 93,000-sq.-ft. Exhibit Hall 42,000-sq.-ft. Arena 14,000-sq.-ft. Ballroom, seats 900 32 meeting rooms with over 32,000 sq. ft. of space Executive Suite Outstanding catering Personalized event planning 400 ft. from the Atlantic Ocean and spectacular beaches Year-round warm weather and over 300 days of sunshine

And remember, when the meeting breaks the ocean awaits.

101 North Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, FL 32118 • (386) 254-4522; Fax: (386) 254-4512 • oceancenter.com FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING



Phoenix Convention Center & Venues


ocated in the fifth largest city in the United States, the award-winning Phoenix Convention Center is in the heart of Downtown Phoenix, just four miles from Sky Harbor International Airport. The center is within walking distance of major convention hotels, shopping, entertainment, sports and theater venues, and has its own dedicated stop on the Metro Light Rail line.


From national conventions to more niche events, the Phoenix Convention Center can accommodate it. The flexible meeting and event venue includes a 312,500-sq.ft. main exhibit hall and a 46,000-sq.-ft. ballroom — not to mention 99 meeting rooms, 61 loading docks and exhibit halls with pre-scored floors. All in all, the Phoenix Convention Center has more than 900,000 sq. ft. of dynamic space to handle any event with ease.



With more than 325 days of sunshine a year, the weather accommodates indoor and outdoor activities year-round. Recognized in the top 10 destinations on Cvent’s list of Top 50 U.S. Meeting Destinations, the Phoenix Convention Center is also the recipient of the Southwest Alliance for Excellence service excellence award. Phoenix was also rated as one of the top 10 Large Convention Cities in the U.S. by MeetingSource.com. There are so many things to do, and with an average temperature of 72 degrees, it’s easy to see why Phoenix is an ideal destination for your next event.

Need something to better fit the arts? The Phoenix Convention Center is complemented by the 2,312-seat Symphony Hall and the 1,364-seat historic Orpheum Theatre. Both venues are located close by, right in beautiful downtown Phoenix. Sports fans will love how close the center is to Chase Field, home of the MLB Arizona Diamondbacks, and Talking Stick Resort Arena, home to the NBA Phoenix Suns, WNBA Phoenix Mercury and AFL Arizona Rattlers. And, with over 150 restaurants in downtown Phoenix, there are many choices to satisfy any taste.

The Phoenix Convention Center staff and event managers are here to make your event special. Individually assigned event managers will attend to your every need to ensure the success of your meeting. The Innovation Kitchen allows you to connect with the chef to create unique menu options that will take your meeting to the next level.


100 North Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 • (602) 262-6225; (800) 282-4842 phoenixconventioncenter.com 50



Sacramento Convention Center


acramento is America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital and the only star on the map of California. With a character all its own, California’s State Capital fuses together urban farms, farm-to-fork dining, a hip and modern central city historic landmarks and natural beauty to create an exciting and down-to-earth meeting experience for any size group.

Several other properties can be found within a few blocks of the Center, including the Marriott Residence Inn at Capitol Park, Holiday Inn at Capitol Park, Best Western Sutter House, Holiday Inn Express, Clarion, Embassy Suites Waterfront and Kimpton Sawyer Hotel.


With over 600 events and approximately one million visitors annually, Sacramento offers something for everyone. The city is strategically located in Northern California — 90 minutes northeast of San Francisco. It offers a wealth of cultural activities, professional sports and a wide range of family attractions. Take time to walk in the city and stroll through Capitol Park. Visit the many shops, relax on a riverboat or water taxi, and don’t forget to experience Old Sacramento where wooden boardwalks, cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages will transport you back in time.

Located in the State Capital of California, the Sacramento Convention Center is just 20 minutes from the Sacramento International Airport, and located in the heart of downtown. The Sacramento Convention Center offers over 134,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit hall space on one floor, and another 61,000 sq. ft. of additional meeting space with 31 meeting rooms on three levels. A 2,400-seat Community Center Theater and 4,000-seat Memorial Auditorium are close by. All three facilities are within walking distance to major downtown hotels, shops and restaurants. For those driving into town, a Convention Center parking garage is located just two short blocks to the main entrance of the Center.


Within walking distance of the Convention Center (or a short shuttle ride away) are more than 2,000 rooms and a dozen hotel properties. Only a pedestrian walkway separates the Sheraton Grand and the Hyatt Regency from the entrance to the Center.



Award-winning Classique Catering is the celebrated caterer at the Convention Center and manages the onsite Starbucks coffeehouse. Classique Catering is a division of Centerplate and pride themselves on excellent service and quality product. For more information, call (916) 808-5291 or visit sacramentoconventioncenter.com.

1030 15th Street, Ste. 100, Sacramento, CA 95814 • (916) 808-5291• sacramentoconventioncenter.com FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING



Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin



n 2017, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort underwent a comprehensive renovation of the Walt Disney World Dolphin lobby. This $12 million redesign was the final stage of the largest makeover in the resort’s history. The new lobby has been completely transformed into a sleek contemporary space, and features new dining and beverage options as well as more space for attendees to socialize. “This lobby marked the final piece of an exciting transformation for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort,” said General Manager Fred Sawyers. “This space is designed specifically to cater to today’s guests and offers an inviting place where they can come together to relax, network and grab something to eat or drink.” The centerpiece of the new lobby is a dazzling custom crystal chandelier that sparkles above the fountain. Other new features include an exciting new geometric ceiling, increased lighting, all-new contemporary décor and furnishings, with more than double the amount of seating. The lobby redesign is the final stage of a total $150 million project that also includes the transformation of all 2,270 guestrooms, along with upgrades to the hotel’s meeting space. The renovated guestrooms feature all of the latest technology, including large HD TVs, and all-new upgraded furniture centered on the famous Westin Heavenly Bed®. The design continues into a completely new bathroom, featuring residential style vanities and a backlit mirror on iridescent glass tiles. A recipient of many prestigious meeting and other awards, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort 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 breakout rooms and 2,270 guestrooms and suites. When it comes to the business of meetings, the award-winning team is highly regarded for their ability to exceed expectations. Meetings are supported by an award-winning banquet, catering and culinary team that delivers customized solutions with a passion for each customer. Whether your event is in the ballroom, on the beach, on the causeway or in one of the signature restaurants, the creative opportunities abound. For the adventurous, nothing beats a private event in the theme parks to add that magical touch while supporting the meeting theme. The resort is recognized as a top “foodie” destination in Orlando, featuring 16 world-class restaurants and lounges, including celebrity Chef Todd English’s bluezoo, Il Mulino New York Trattoria, and Shula’s Steak House, which serves the best beef money can buy. The resort is situated in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort, within footsteps of both Epcot®, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Boardwalk. Complimentary transportation is provided throughout the resort and guests enjoy the Extra Magic Hours Benefit and FASTPASS+ access. On property, guests can enjoy one of the resort’s five pools, two health clubs, tennis courts or indulge at the luxurious Balinese-inspired Mandara Spa. Contact: Gino Marasco, Director of Sales and Marketing; (800) 524-4939 or (407) 934-4290; meetings@swandolphin.com

1500 Epcot Resorts Boulevard • Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 • (800) 524-4939; (407) 934-4290 SwanDolphinMeetings.com 52



By Anthony Bilden ocated about a 25-minute drive from L Anaheim, CA, is Huntington Beach, aka Surf City USA. It’s now easier for groups

to meet in this classic beach town with the HB Collection. The hotels in the collection include the 517-room Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa (110,000 sq. ft. of function space); the recently renovated and expanded 437-room Waterfront Beach Resort, A Hilton Hotel (over 47,000 sq. ft. of function space); the 250-room Paséa Hotel & Spa (over 34,000 sq. ft. of function space); and the 158-room Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel (10,000 sq. ft. of function space). Visit Huntington Beach’s John Ehlenfeldt discusses the HB Collection and other assets that are drawing groups to this welcoming beach community.


How is Huntington Beach’s meetings business trending as far as performance this year and future bookings? For 2018, Huntington Beach is trending toward a 15 percent increase in overall meetings business to our destination. Several factors are assisting with these results. We grew our Group Sales team with the additional of a new team member, our hotel inventory in Huntington Beach has increased by 25 percent in the past two years, and new and fresh creative from our marketing department was launched. Future bookings are looking strong, with a trend from meeting planners to still only confirm programs up to 24 months in advance.


What is the level of repeat business from groups?

Huntington Beach is fortunate to have about 20 percent of its confirmed programs return for at least two to three years. This is in part due to the improving and new options available to attendees — restaurants, shopping, hotel and meeting space renovations.


What is your business plan for developing the city’s meetings business over the next five years or so?

Visit Huntington Beach launched the HB Collection this past year: 1,400 group hotel rooms with 185,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, all within a half-mile walkable footprint that includes new restaurants and retail stores. [Editor’s note: FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

Many of the new dining and shopping options are located in Pacific City.] All our meeting hotels are oceanfront and steps from the sand.


What services to planners do you believe set Visit Huntington Beach apart from many other CVBs? Visit Huntington Beach provides a customized and tailored, personal approach to each of our services we provide meeting planners. We take the time to understand the goals and objectives of the group’s meeting, the demographics and attendee profile as well as uncover necessities in the planning process the meeting planner may not have considered or looked at. Our one-stop-shop approach showcases that Huntington Beach wants their business and is willing to earn it.


Which offsite venues or activities would you recommend to planners seeking to express the local culture through their event? Each of our oceanfront resorts can implement customized beach receptions and events for groups at the hotels. The planning process is streamlined to include obtaining the necessary permits and rentals to enhance the overall experience. Huntington Beach also offers many unique venues and spaces that take full advantage of our local culture. From events at SeaLegs on the Beach to functions at the International Surfing Museum to trendy food and beverage tours for specific groups, the possibilities are plentiful.


What are some virtues of Huntington Beach as a meeting destination that many planners may not be aware of? Our oceanfront resorts sit on 10 miles of uninterrupted coastline — that means no structures or homes built on the beach to obstruct their guests’ views. We are the only Southern California destination to be able to claim that. Also, our unique walkable footprint between our meeting hotels, restaurants and shopping with proximity to our iconic pier, coupled with the largest ballroom on the ocean in Orange County [20,000 sq. ft., at the Hyatt Regency], make Huntington Beach the ideal fit for many programs that are looking for larger space. 53

CREATING AN IDEAL FIRST MEAL Why elevating breakfast at meetings means big business, and how to do it


By Frank Abbinanti

rowing up in a small Sicilian town, breakfast was naturally close to my heart. There’s nothing quite like a homemade warm chocolate croissant and a local espresso to start the day. The simplicity and authenticity energizes you for the day, and finding a way to replicate that feeling for others is a big reason I got into hospitality. A fulfilling first meal is also a key part of the dining service at meetings and tradeshows. Breakfast is the busiest dining time at convention centers, and cookie-cutter breakfasts will only get you so far. Have you ever seen a guest react to a supremely cheesy omelet or a perfectly flaky pastry? That experience will stand out days and weeks after an event, keep guests happy — and, importantly, coming back. Following are five ways convention centers can enhance their breakfast service. Meeting planners, especially those who serve on customer advisory boards, can encourage their venue partners to take up these initiatives.


Empower chefs and culinary teams to get creative This industry often runs on regimented guidelines and clientdriven solutions. But encouraging chefs to think outside the box and follow their inspiration could yield something extraordinary. For example, let chefs add their own take to an event’s breakfast menu, beyond a base menu, while under the guideline that it has to be made fresh that morning.


Bring baking in-house From what we’ve seen over the years, we expect about 80 percent of convention center guests try a baked good while at a venue. So it’s important to make sure they enjoy that experience. Baking in-house requires dedicated pastry teams and chefs to arrive earlier each morning. But the results are worth it: perfectly doughy donuts, flaky croissants, delectable danishes, amazing muffins — you name it. Baking from scratch can also save on food costs, allowing venues to buy in bulk.


Make sustainability and local sourcing part of the experience Ingredients make the meal, and when those ingredients are sourced locally and produced in a sustainable way, everyone 54

wins. Venues spend less by creating partnerships with seasonal producers, organizers can tout waste-eliminating initiatives and guests experience fresh flavors. Huntington Convention Center and Georgia World Congress Center have great sustainability initiatives, including urban gardens and farms yielding honey, eggs and herbs that feed into breakfast menus.


Go bold with coffee selection No single food or beverage item sells more than coffee, especially during breakfast. Guests need to refuel in the morning, and there’s no reason that has to mean stopping at a coffee shop on the way in. Venues can create a unique coffee identity to draw more guests in and enhance the perception of convention center coffee. Via partnerships with favorite local coffee houses, convention centers can make proprietary brews available at their venue. In Atlanta, for example, Georgia World Congress Center serves an exclusive Jittery Joe’s blend only available at the venue.


Bring the city onto the menu Guests are more adventurous when it comes to food than ever before. And with a little menu ingenuity, venues can tap into local tastes to expand what people purchase at a convention center. Seasonal cranberry muffins might appeal to those at a sales conference in Boston. Mango pastries could tempt taste buds at an association meeting in Hawaii. Local flavors can be the door to the destination. Food and beverage play key roles in delivering an excellent guest experience, and that starts with the first meal of the day. Transforming the traditional continental breakfast into a bigger culinary initiative with innovative ideas and fresh flavors can make breakfast time a standout experience for everyone involved. Frank Abbinanti is Vice President of Culinary for Levy Convention Centers, where he leads the culinary vision for 22 venues across the United States. Having grown up in a family of restaurateurs in Italy, Abbinanti began developing his talents at the age of 10. Since then, he has brought his international culinary experience to the foodservice industry. Prior to Levy, he held positions with Sheraton International, Hilton Hotels and Walt Disney World Company. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING

RETHINKING SOURCING: DAVID VS. GOLIATH Why smaller cities can outperform their first-tier counterparts as meeting hosts


By Cate Banfield

ompression is the meeting in first-tier cities, second- and third-tier cities word of the day often act as regional hubs for large airlines. As such, they when it comes to offer good flight availability and fares that are often very sourcing. With hotel reasonable. Many midsized cities are also close to large demand on the rise company headquarters. Choose a destination close to the and an increased region where many of the attendees are traveling from to desire for highly personalized events, decrease the amount of flights needed, thus lowering costs. stakeholders are starting to see the Or select a location near key regional locations to allow more need to think “outside of the box” office attendees to participate if the event permits. This can in order to deliver impactful and provide an opportunity for a broader audience from your customized events within budget. This is where second- and organization or client base to hear your message and take third-tier markets become a major asset. part in your event, in many cases But why? increasing brand awareness and In short, big city fatigue. loyalty. In addition, it’s a terrific Why be a small fish in a big pond opportunity for local employees to avings in logistics when you can own the whole thing? network with regional colleagues and air to lesser-known Programs that might be one of a few in a face to face. Alternatively, host your first-tier market may dominate a smaller event in a suburban area, which can destinations can be city. Imagine the impact of taking over a often be less expensive and offer reinvested in more robust city, branding it out and connecting with more event space, and bring them mobile app features, attendees the moment they arrive. downtown for dinner or special Cities with lower demand also give thought-leading speakers, event for a taste of the city. organizations increased flexibility when and enhanced event design Value for the dollar planning a program. These cities really and architecture. While budgets are getting want business, and they will do what it smaller and in some cases events takes to bring you to their destination. are being consolidated, expectations Because of this, convention and visitor around the meeting experience are bureaus are huge assets when sourcing rising. Personalization and unique local experiences are top a smaller city. They can help with signage and branding trends these days, and your audience wants to feel like your throughout the entire city, assist a program financially if event content meets their needs. And because hotels, offsite the size and demographic meet their criteria, and help with venues and other items are often less expensive, planners convention center arrangements. have more money to invest in unique touches that increase The key is to reimagine how a program can look in a smaller the impact of a meeting and provide for a more personalized city that is full of potential. Cities like Austin and Nashville attendee journey. For example, savings in logistics and air to started as lower-tier destinations and their popularity has lesser-known destinations can be reinvested in more robust grown exponentially due to the abundance of local, authentic mobile app features, thought-leading speakers, enhanced experiences, explosive hotel growth and easy airlift — creating a perfect storm of opportunity for planners and companies to host event design and architecture, and more robust creative strategies to drive engagement without compromising your a program guaranteed to shine. program budget. Following are three other reasons to seek out that “smaller pond.” Risk management Crisis management is something that all planners Accessibility and event owners need to have top of mind — it’s an Although accessibility is touted as a major advantage of






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unfortunate reality in today’s world. Security is at the forefront of any event plan, and not just in the physical sense but also across digital spaces, with cyber hacking and data breaches becoming more prevalent. Smaller cities can at least help mitigate some threats from a physical point of view. In many cases, event security personnel can customize venue security plans to meet the specific needs of an event. Additionally, a smaller city’s venues are typically within walking distance to each other, saving on transportation cost and reducing security and safety concerns. PLAN AHEAD The seller’s market has extended well beyond the first tier; Austin and Nashville, for example, are highly sought-after second-tier cities. Thus, sourcing needs to start earlier than ever to secure desirable locations, even if one is not targeting the big cities. Luckily for so many of us in this industry, the power and importance of face-to-face events is being recognized by the C-suite as one of their most powerful marketing strategies.

Knowing events are part of your long-term strategy means there may be an opportunity to lock in dates and rates. Multiyear contracts are often very appealing and can save tens of thousands in exchange for the commitment with a certain destination or within a hotel brand across multiple cities. It’s not for the faint of heart though, and unless your organization can make that commitment for multiple years in advance, you may be leery of cancellation penalties in case the scope changes. Cate Banfield is Senior Director, Solution Design & Strategy with BCD Meetings and Events. With over 20 years of experience in the events industry within both agency and global corporate companies, Banfield leads the Solution Design team at BCD Meetings and Events in Chicago and is responsible for collaborating across internal departments and resources to develop innovative, integrated strategies and solutions to support the growth and expansion of the company’s events business.

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




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CAST A WIDER NET WITH YOUR CONTENT 4 steps to launching a virtual extension to a meeting By Doug McLain


for as long as you desire. he biggest and most Comprehensive analytic data. One of the most profitable events in advantageous aspects of virtual events is the depth and the world all have one breadth of statistics you can gather by measuring and thing in common. tracking participant activity using engagement tools such The Super Bowl, as participant polling, Q&A, document downloads and World Cup, TED viewing preferences. Conferences and many others have Drive attendance to your physical event. Providing a all grown their expansive following taste of the buzz and excitement around your live event by sharing their content beyond the through a virtual extension acts as an advertisement to physical audience. These events draw more physical attendees. Events that have a virtual extend their reach to national and even global audiences extension see a 30 percent increase in physical event through content syndication to television, social channels attendance the following year. and the Internet. With the technology accessible today, Here’s how you can lay the the same TV-style broadcasting achieved groundwork for a virtual extension: by the largest events in the world is se your online events available as a vehicle for your meetings, Identify your target audience. conferences and conventions. Cuttingto generate interest Ensure you understand the exact edge advancements in video, audio and in your physical events audience that you would want integrated communication technologies, and create FOMO to reach: employees, suppliers, such as webcasts, online events and company stakeholders, members or livestreaming, have made it possible to (fear of missing out) with non-members. This will influence do much more online. Media include keynote highlights. your decision regarding the format Facebook, YouTube, company websites of your event and the promotion and even OTT (over-the-top) devices for the introduction of an online such as Roku, which reaches 28 million home platform. Use your online events to generate interest in TV viewers across the United States. your physical events and create FOMO (fear of missing So, what are the real benefits of content syndication to a out) with keynote highlights. People are more likely to virtual audience? believe things they’ve experienced, so why not make an online event part of your promotional strategy? Cost-effective. Cost per acquisition of a virtual viewer is lower than that of your physical attendee, and the virtual Decide on a format. Before you choose a platform event offers additional monetization opportunities for for your online event, you need to decide on the sponsorship or attendee packages. basics. Is this going to be an online event with the Global reach. Virtual extensions allow for people across the globe to attend the same event regardless of time zone recorded content from the event or a live hybrid event where the content will be shared live at the same time or travel restrictions. This benefit could create efficiencies as the physical event? Define your goals for the event in in the resources required to reach your dispersed order to facilitate communication, whether exclusively to audience. your membership or to both membership and an external Unlimited attendance. While your physical event has space constraints, a virtual event allows you to host as many audience for new membership acquisition. For existing membership, you can monetize the content (pay per participants as you would like concurrently. view) or share selected content openly to help promote On-demand access. Capturing your live content and the amazing content available for an attendee coming to making it available online extends the life of your content, view it all. And be sure to decide on what kind of budget making it accessible and potentially “revenue generating”

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you can allocate up front so that you can support your objectives.


Get the right staff members on board. Getting the right people involved from the start will make a huge difference. If your company is going online with events for the first time, assign resources to those on your team who can handle the project management, event configuration and promotion for your event. If you do not have the resources, choose an online event specialist company that offers the full white-glove services that can help you end to end. A successful online event will require some of the same skills that you employ for your physical events, and you need to account for the time and personnel resources or rely on an online events company to do it for you.


Choose your platform. You will need to choose an online event platform that provides you with the technology needed to achieve your goals. A great platform will come with excellent services delivered around the entire process. It’s important to partner with an online events partner who will support you, your sponsors and your attendees during the live event. Also look for scalable technology that is feature-rich and supports full integration with your existing presentation methods (fully virtual, hybrid livestreaming or pre-recorded held simu-live).

In Summary A successful event takes careful planning and practice. There is a learning curve with online and hybrid events, just as there is for physical events. Your first event will be more challenging to plan than subsequent events, and each event will be a learning experience. The analytics data that your platform provides will help you prove the ROI on the event and improve your future presentations. Your online event partner should be an experienced, dedicated company that provides, of course, the best technology. But, just as important, your partner should provide you with guidance on best practices to leverage the technology for your audience, your objectives and your organization’s ROI. Doug McLain is Vice President, Sales, Southeast for INXPO (inxpo.com), a leading provider of online events, hybrid and live streaming solutions for the events industry. He is a seasoned meetings and events professional with more than 30 years of experience in the events space, including sales leadership positions with Hyatt and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. Prior to joining INXPO, he served as Senior Vice President of the Palm Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, Discover The Palm Beaches.

ADVERTISER INDEX Akron/Summit CVB................................................................................................................................................................................................7 Austin Convention Center............................................................................................................................................................................... C2 Boise Centre.............................................................................................................................................................................................................6 Cox Convention Center.......................................................................................................................................................................................9 Grand Wayne Convention Center................................................................................................................................................................. 14 Huntington Convention Center.........................................................................................................................................................................3 IMEX............................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 11 Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.......................................................................................................... C3 Little Rock CVB..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 56 Long Beach CVB......................................................................................................................................................................................................5 Monona Terrace Convention Center............................................................................................................................................................ 15 Ocean Center Convention Center...................................................................................................................................................................1 Orange County Convention Center............................................................................................................................................................. 29 Pasadena CVB........................................................................................................................................................................................................ 21 Phoenix Convention Center........................................................................................................................................................................... C3 Sacramento Convention Center.................................................................................................................................................................... 23 SMT expo..................................................................................................................................................................................................................57 Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort............................................................................................................................................... 19 FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2018 SPRING













e are pleased to announce the convention center executives who received the Facilities & Destinations 2018 ELITE Award, an accolade that recognizes professionals making a difference in the meetings and events industry. Nominated by readers via a ballot appearing in F&D issues and on Facilitiesonline.com, these leaders have made their facilities into strong economic engines for their communities. They keep their buildings ahead of the curve, while maintaining fruitful relationships with local DMOs, hoteliers, civic organizations and businesses. They have a long track record of career successes, stay active in industry associations and, most importantly to F&D readers, ensure their staffs excel in customer service. We encourage our readers, who themselves are respected in the meetings industry, to continue selecting professionals deserving of this recognition. Nominations for next year’s ELITE Awards can be made via the ballot in this issue (page 44). RIC BOOTH



































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