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Facilities SUMMER 2019

& Destinations SUPERBOOK













New Perspective FRAME UP A

September 15, 1:15 pm


When Wade Marcus found out his next trade show was in Baltimore, his wife Sasha asked if she could come along. While he worked the expo floor, she explored the city’s unparalleled art scene—but saved one adventure for them to share together. On their last afternoon in Charm City, they toured a place that Sasha heard locals describe as out of the ordinary. But after getting a close look, they both realized it was really out of this world.





ongratulations to Michael Dominguez on his recent appointment as President and CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI). During his seven years as Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer for MGM Resorts International and his service as Vice President of Global Sales for Loews Hotels, Dominguez has been extremely active in meetings industry organizations. To give a few examples, he has chaired MPI’s International Board of Directors, co-chaired the Meetings Mean Business Coalition and served in taskforce roles for PCMA. At MGM Resorts, Dominguez has been at the forefront of wellness and technology in hotel meeting facilities. He was a spokesperson for MGM’s StayWell Meetings program and a proponent of high-tech meeting venues, with prime examples being Park MGM’s Madison Meeting Center and Ideation Studio (see the Las Vegas feature, p. 46). As both wellness and technology are central to optimizing meetings, it is encouraging to have Dominguez leading a company as impactful to the industry as ALHI, which represents more than 250 hotels, cruise ships and DMCs. Speaking of meeting technology, I am happy to offer our readers more insights from Neal Thompson, Senior Director, Strategic Technology at Maritz Travel. In his second contribution to F&D (page 112), Thompson further explores attendee-tracking tools, reviewing the latest developments in RFID and iBeacons, as well as the “new frontier” of biometrics such as facial recognition. There is a tension in the industry right now between the evolving means of collecting information on delegates and the trend toward protecting the privacy of attendee data, particularly EU attendee data under GDPR (see p. 111 for compliance tips from Global Meetings & Incentives President Eli Sananes). Fortunately, tech experts like Thompson are aware of how attendee-tracking tools tend to “outpace the legal constructs that will ultimately guide them.” As well educated as planners are these days, they become even more effective when partnering with highly knowledgeable suppliers such as Dominguez, Thompson and Sananes and their respective companies. Going beyond the role of vendors, such individuals are much needed touchstones in an industry whose technological and legal aspects remain in flux.

– George Seli Editorial Director, Facilities Media Group



In Brief................................................................................................................................. 4 Photoview Emerge 2019, RCMA Annual Meeting............................................................................... 20 Forum Kristen Adamo, President & CEO, Providence Warwick CVB............................................. 26 Perspectives 3 Ethical Questions for Planners, by Jamie B. Kervin....................................................... 108 Creating Experiences HCPs Desire at Medical Conventions, by Katie Koziol.................. 110 Show Your GDPR IQ, by Eli Sananes................................................................................ 111 Measure! Measure! Measure! by Neal Thompson............................................................ 112 F&D A-List Midwest Convention Center Executives.......................................................................... 116


Instructive F&B Challenges................................................................................................ 22 2019 Prime Site & Top Destination Awards....................................................................... 34 Destinations Baltimore, MD.................................................................................................................... 28 Las Vegas, NV.................................................................................................................... 46 Orlando, FL........................................................................................................................ 52 Seattle, WA........................................................................................................................ 56 Luzern, Switzerland........................................................................................................... 60 Lake Geneva, WI................................................................................................................ 64 Venue Reviews Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya........................................................................................... 66 Sites & Cities Profiles.................................................................................................. 68-107 Advertiser Index.............................................................................................................. 113


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


Volume 26 No. 2

Chief Operating Officer David Korn Associate Publisher Michael Caffin Editorial Director George Seli Contributing Editors Anthony Bilden Laura Janelle Downey Debi Lander Deborah Shapiro Creative Direction & Design Business Operations David Mermelstein © Copyright 2019 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 six times a year by Bedrock Communications, Inc., 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016. Telephone: (212) 5324150. Fax: (212) 213-6382. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Facilities, 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016. Printed in U.S.A. Cover ad space is available by contacting a Facilities advertising account executive at (212) 532-4150.

ON THE COVER An energetic, experienced destination marketing professional like Al Hutchinson is an ideal leader for Visit Baltimore given all the hospitality initiatives the city is currently pursuing. From a convention center expansion plan to a new Tourism Improvement District and PR campaign, Baltimore is set to both entice and accommodate new group clients and introduce them to the city’s charms. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

CREATING NOTEWORTHY EXPERIENCES At the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee

We invite you to our award-winning facility which includes a 353,143 square foot exhibit hall, the 18,000 square foot Davidson Ballroom and the 57,500 square foot Karl F. Dean Grand Ballroom. Our team treats each event as a new song, composing each one to be a chart topper! Learn more at



Jim Wood Meet AC

Amy Calvert Events Industry Council



Troy Anderson Visit Seattle

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Meet AC achieved another record year in 2018 for meetings and convention booking. The DMO booked a total of 238 meetings and conventions, representing 371,996 future hotel rooms nights for the city. The group tour market was part of the overall booking number, representing 44,452 hotel room nights. The number of future convention delegates to Atlantic City will reach over 547,862 with a projected economic impact of more than $349 million. According to Meet AC, planners are showing an increased level of confidence by signing multiyear agreements with the Atlantic City Convention Center. In addition, the sports segment has grown since the Atlantic City Sports Commission launched in 2015. “Meet AC has exceeded our room night goals for the fourth consecutive year, and 2019 should be no exception as we are well positioned to have another banner year in definite bookings,” said Jim Wood, President and CEO of Meet AC. CHICAGO, IL — PCMA named Carola van der Hoeff its 2019 Global Business Events Executive of the Year. Van der Hoeff, Chief Operating Officer and Congress Director at the International Pharmaceutical Federation, received the

Carola van der Hoeff accepts the Global Business Events Executive of the Year award from PCMA at the IMEX Gala Dinner in Frankfurt, Germany, on May 22

award during the IMEX Gala Dinner in Frankfurt, Germany, on May 22. “When I think of how the PCMA Global Business Events Executive of the Year recognizes and celebrates not only excellence as a professional, but also advancement and education of the industry, Carola’s dedication to improving global economic and social progress immediately comes to mind,” said Sherrif Karamat, CAE, President and CEO of PCMA. “Her work in the Netherlands and around the world personifies passion, dedication and vision.” CHICAGO, IL — PCMA introduced BEAM (Business Events Analytics/ Metrics) in May at IMEX in Frankfurt, Germany. Developed by PCMA in partnership with Infogroup of Dallas, TX, the new product provides market intelligence and data analytics for the business events industry. “This customized analytics engine is unique as it draws information from multiple data sources to provide the business events industry with exclusive insights and capabilities to explore data,”

said Robert Haas, PCMA’s Chief Administrative Officer, who is spearheading BEAM. Access to the data is granted on a 12-month rolling license. Destinations International is PCMA’s marketing partner for BEAM. SEATTLE, WA — Visit Seattle recently promoted Troy Anderson to Director of Sales. In his new role, Anderson will lead the Seattle-based contingent of Visit Seattle’s convention sales team. “Troy has been a successful National Account Director at Visit Seattle for more than six years,” said Visit Seattle Vice President, Convention Sales & Services Kelly Saling. “In that time, he has proved himself to be a true partner of the Seattle community, growing the West Coast market year-over-year, making incredible inroads with new clients and securing business for the convention center and our area hotels.” WASHINGTON, DC — The Events Industry Council (EIC) recently appointed Amy Calvert Chief Executive Officer after a global executive search process. Calvert brings more than 30 years of experience in hospitality Continued on page 6




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Continued from page 4

and destination marketing, including roles with the Long Beach Convention Bureau, Intercontinental Hotels Group and, most recently, Visit Baltimore, where she served as Senior Vice President of Convention Sales & Services. “Our search committee was seeking a leader who brings a proven track-record of business growth, collaboration and strategic global vision,” commented Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group, and Chair of the EIC search committee. “Amy’s dedication to advancing this industry and vision for EIC

were key factors in our decision.” WASHINGTON, DC — Destination DC Among the representatives at Destination DC’s annual Travel Rally, May 7, were Roger recently announced Dow (fourth from left), President and CEO, U.S. Travel Association, followed by Brian T. that Washington, Kenner, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development; Elliott L. Ferguson II, DC attracted a record President and CEO, Destination DC; Chris Thompson, President and CEO, Brand USA; 21.9 million domestic and Andrew F. Gelfuso, Vice President, TCMA and Director, World Trade Center visitors in 2018, the ninth consecutive year for tourism growth for the accounted for 39 percent our ‘Discover the Real DC District. “An additional 1.1 of visitors and 57 percent campaign,’ we continue to million domestic visitors to of spending. Meetings are show potential visitors that DC year-over-year is a big a robust contributor to the there’s so much more to deal for the city,” said Elliott see and do in Washington, influx of business travellers. L. Ferguson, II, President This year, the capital DC beyond the federal and CEO of Destination DC, government and build welcomes 20 citywide at the organization’s annual on our momentum that’s meetings, generating more Travel Rally on May 7. “As than 370,000 total room sustaining visitation to the we market the city through nights. city.” Business travelers

Downtown Views. Uptown Service. Centrally located in vibrant downtown Boise, the newly expanded Boise Centre has a variety of customizable meeting spaces, modern amenities, exceptional culinary services and a warm and hospitable staff ready to make your next meeting an unforgettable experience.


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Conceptual rendering by Populous. For illustrative purposes only.


Orange County Convention Center







340,000 square feet of new flexible space

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2 0 1 9

PRIME SITE AWARD* WINNERS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Albany Capital Center (Albany, NY) Albuquerque Convention Center (Albuquerque, NM) Branson Convention Center (Branson, MO) Broward County Convention Center (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Century Center (South Bend, IN) Cobo Center (Detroit, MI) Colorado Convention Center (Denver, CO) David L. Lawrence Convention Center (Pittsburgh, PA) DeVos Place (Grand Rapids, MI) Enercare Centre (Toronto, Ontario, CA) Greater Columbus Convention Center (Columbus, OH) Global Center for Health Innovation (Cleveland, OH) Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland (Cleveland, OH)

14. Jackson Convention Complex (Jackson, MS) 15. Irving Convention Center (Irving, TX) 16. Knoxville Convention Center (Knoxville, TN) 17. Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center (Long Beach, CA) 18. McCormick Place (Chicago, IL) 19. Meadowlands Exposition Center (Secaucus, NJ) 20. Mobile Convention Center (Mobile, AL) 21. Montego Bay Convention Centre (Montego Bay, Jamaica) 22. Moscone Center (San Francisco, CA) 23. NRG Center (Houston, TX) 24. Palm Springs Convention Center (Palm Springs, CA) 25. Pennsylvania Convention Center (Philadelphia, PA)

26. Reno-Sparks Convention Center (Reno, NV) 27. Rhode Island Convention Center (Providence, RI) 28. Salt Palace Convention Center (Salt Lake City, UT) 29. SeaGate Convention Centre (Toledo, OH) 30. Shreveport Convention Center (Shreveport, LA) 31. Tucson Convention Center (Tucson, AZ) 32. Wildwoods Convention Center (Wildwood, NJ)

*Facilities & Destinations Magazine’s PRIME SITE AWARDS are given annually to the top convention and exposition centers in North Americaand Worldwide Entertainment based on the votes of association and corporate professional planners of conventions, tradeshows, meetings, entertainment & special events.

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more storage space. The LEED-certified facility currently features 19 rooms with 65,000 sq. ft. of function space, complemented by more than 1,000 onsite, free parking spaces.

America’s Center Convention Complex, St. Louis, MO, is set to undertake a $175 million expansion

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — The $9.1 million restroom renovation project at the Spectra-managed Atlantic City Convention Center is expected to be complete in September. The project is a complete overhaul of the venue’s 32 restrooms, modernizing more than 20,000 sq. ft. of space and installing all-new wall tile, flooring, mirrors, toilets and lighting. The project supported the venue’s LEED Gold certification, which the convention center earned in April. “Achieving LEED certification is a market differentiator that will position the ACCC in a leading group of venues across the country that value sustainability and its positive impact on the visitor experience, environment and financial returns,” commented Jim Wood, President and CEO of Meet AC. 10

AUSTIN, TX — On May 23, the Austin City Council unanimously approved a broad resolution that included a $1.2 billion plan to expand the Austin Convention Center, allowing a financial feasibility assessment. The project may encounter a hurdle due to the efforts of Unconventional Austin, however. The recently formed political action committee is promoting a petition that would require voter approval in advance of any expansion or upgrades to the convention center costing more than $20 million. CINCINNATI, OH — The Sharonville Convention Center is expanding its exhibition space from 20,000 sq. ft. to 40,000 sq. ft. by 2021. The expansion will also add a ticket office, kitchen, additional bathrooms and

NEW YORK, NY — The Javits Center is undergoing a $1.5 billion expansion. By the first quarter of 2021, the convention center will offer the following additions to its existing facility: 93,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 113,000 sq. ft. of prefunction space, 107,000 sq.

ft. of meeting rooms, a 53,000-sq.-ft. special event space, 27 loading docks, a four-level marshaling facility, and 22,000 sq. ft. of new green roof space including a pavilion accommodating 1,500 guests. PASADENA, CA — The Pasadena Convention Center celebrated its 10year anniversary on May 9 by hosting an evening reception that included special guests Don Welsh, President & CEO of Destinations International, Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, Pasadena Center Operating Company board members, hotel partners and more. “The Pasadena Convention Center is a wonderful asset to the city of Pasadena. It has brought visitors from around the world to our city, from global leaders, renowned institutions to engaging consumer events,” said Michael Ross, CEO of the Pasadena Center Operating Company. “By providing one of the best meeting and event spaces in Southern California, Continued on page 12

The Javits Center’s green roof is growing by 22,000 sq. ft. as part of the facility’s $1.5 billion expansion project. A new rooftop pavilion will also be added. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK


Utilize the city’s 346,000 sq. ft. convention center, book 500 rooms on peak, and receive incentives up to:

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Continued from page 10

the Pasadena Convention Center has increased the city’s visitation, economy, hotel room night stays and employment.” Over the years, the state-of-the-art facility has hosted 4,700 events and 3.7 million attendees across a variety of industries, including entertainment, medical, space exploration and more. PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Meeting Professionals International Philadelphia Area Chapter (MPI PHL) recently named the Pennsylvania Convention Center its 2018 Venue of the Year, recognizing its

significant leadership and professional contributions to the meeting and events industry. “The Center is honored to be named Venue of the Year by MPI PHL,” said Gregory J. Fox, Esq., Chairman of the Board of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority. “Our team works diligently to continually improve and innovate to best serve our guests. We are thankful for this recognition and commend our team, who are key to our success.” In April 2019, the Center hosted MPI PHL’s Global Meetings Industry Day Philadelphia.

The Pasadena Convention Center celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a special evening reception at the convention center on May 9. (L-r): Don Welsh, President & CEO of Destinations International; Jeanne O’Grady Goldschmidt, Executive Director of the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau; Diane Philibosian, Pasadena Center Operating Company Board Chair; Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek; and Michael Ross, CEO of the Pasadena Center Operating Company

ST. LOUIS, MO — The approximately $175 million AC Next Gen Project will update and expand the America’s Center Convention Complex. The project will add 92,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 65,000-sq.-ft. multipurpose ballroom with 20,000 sq. ft. of prefunction space,

22,000 sq. ft. of support space, 26 new loading docks and an outdoor pavilion. The 12 existing loading docks will be renovated and the central Washington Avenue entrance will be refurbished, among other upgrades. The timeline for the project was not established at press time.

Every day we put out a 1 million square foot welcome mat. As home to more than 100 multi-ethnic neighborhoods, Philadelphia is a city bustling with diverse cultures, varied attractions and a heady mix of eclectic restaurants, music and museums. So it’s no wonder that, for 25 years, the Pennsylvania Convention Center has been making our customers feel right at home. Uniquely woven into the fabric of Philadelphia,our deep-rooted community, business and civic relationships help ensure we’re the ideal destination for your next convention, large meeting or small gathering.

CONTACT US TODAY. #GreatSpacePHL #PCC25 215-418-4750




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Wireless devices can connect simultaneously

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

Wired Internet Access

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

request a proposAL: Phone 512.404.4200 CHECK US AT:


The Hard Rock Barcelona, opening in early 2022, will be proximate to a waterfront complex


ANCHORAGE, AK — The Hilton Anchorage recently underwent a multimilliondollar renovation that included upgrades to the lobby, restaurants, guestrooms, fitness center and conference spaces. The hotel’s 606 fully renovated guestrooms now feature new furniture and a color palette that evokes Alaska’s wilderness and Northern Lights. The 23,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space was outfitted with new wall coverings, carpet, banquet chairs and tables. ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City has completed a $56 million upgrade to the 507 guestrooms and suites in its Coastal Tower. Guestrooms now offer 450 sq. ft. of space with design elements similar in aesthetics to the resort’s Bayview rooms. The rooms are also hardwired for business-minded travelers, with high-speed Internet access, accessible 14

charging stations and 55inch LG LED televisions. BARCELONA, SPAIN — The Hard Rock Barcelona is set to open in early 2022. The 504-room hotel will include seven meeting rooms and a ballroom totaling 21,530 sq. ft. of function space. Located by the Mediterranean, the resort will offer a rooftop terrace and bar, pool, two restaurants and signature Hard Rock amenities such as a Body Rock Fitness Centre and Rock Spa. The hotel will also offer direct subway and tram access to Barcelona city center and proximity to Parc del Fòrum, a waterfront complex that hosts concerts and festivals. BROOKLYN, NY — Opened in July, the 187-room Hotel Indigo Williamsburg Brooklyn, an IHG hotel, features ultracontemporary architecture and sleek interior design.

The property offers groups more than 10,000 sq. ft. of high-tech meeting space, comprised of a 6,630-sq.-ft. room and 480-sq.-ft. room. Planners can also take advantage of outdoor event space, including a rooftop pool deck, and an onsite event team. BELLEVUE, WA — A 251room InterContinental Hotel is scheduled to open near the Seattle metropolitan area in the fourth quarter of 2021. Featuring meeting space and a spa, the property will be part of a new mixeduse development called Avenue Bellevue, which will include retail space, luxury residences and a new restaurant from a three-star Michelin chef. HAMPTON, VA — The Hyatt Place Hampton Convention Center opened in March. Located just steps away from the Hampton Roads Convention

Center and the Hampton Coliseum, the 110-room hotel offers more than 2,300 sq. ft. of flexible, high-tech function space and free WiFi throughout. JAMAICA, NY — TWA Hotel at JFK opened on May 15. The LEED-certified property offers 512 “ultraquiet” guestrooms with views of JFK’s runways and the TWA Flight Center, 50,000 sq. ft. of function space, a rooftop infinity pool and observation deck, a 10,000-sq.-ft. fitness center, museum exhibitions on TWA and aviation history, and a variety of cafés and lounges. LANCASTER, PA — The Holiday Inn Lancaster, located two blocks from the Lancaster Convention Center, opened in April. The 216-room property offers 19,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a fullservice restaurant. Continued on page 16


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LONG BEACH, CA — The Westin Long Beach is undergoing a $23 million renovation, scheduled to be completed this summer. The project will refurbish the hotel’s lobby and 469 guestrooms, redesign the new-American restaurant Navy Proof Food & Spirits, and debut the coffee culture hub Bluestone Lane.

panoramic views, state-ofthe-art AV equipment and various room configuration options. The Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse is the hotel’s signature dining experience.

ST. LOUIS, MO — The Gateway City welcomed two new upscale hotels this spring: The city’s first Marriott Autograph Collection property, Hotel Saint Louis is housed in the Louis Sullivan-designed St. Louis Union Trust Company Building dating from 1893. The hotel offers 140 guestrooms and suites, 30 of which feature balconies, and over 8,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The Last The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center Hotel, housed in a opens this year in New Orleans historic building in the NEW ORLEANS, LA — The Garment District, features National WWII Museum a design that pays homage New Orleans debuts to The International Shoe The Higgins Hotel & Company. The 142-room Conference Center this hotel offers meeting space year. Named after Higgins for up to 200 guests, Industries boatbuilder including two ballrooms Andrew Higgins, the 230and five boardrooms. room hotel will feature an elegant 1940s-theme SALT LAKE CITY, UT — The and an 18,000-sq.-ft. Salt Lake City Convention conference center. Center Hotel is scheduled to break ground later this ROCHESTER, MN — The year and open in 2022. Hilton Rochester Mayo According to Salt Lake Clinic Area, located County Deputy Mayor Erin just blocks from Mayo Litvack, the 28-story hotel Clinic and Mayo Civic will house 700 guestrooms Convention Center, and about 62,000 sq. ft. opened in April. The 264of meeting space. The room hotel houses two proposed location is the ballrooms totaling 20,000 southeast plaza corner of sq. ft., complemented by the Salt Palace Convention 16 16

Sea Island Resort’s new Golf Performance Center offers the latest instructional technology as well as meeting spaces

Center. The hotel operator will be announced later this year. SEA ISLAND, GA — In March, Sea Island Resort unveiled the all-new, stateof-the-art Golf Performance Center at the Sea Island Golf Club. The 17,000-sq.-ft. facility features industryleading technology, six instruction and club fitting bays, a putting studio, a full-service golf club workshop, gym with locker rooms, spacious retail area and indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces. TYSONS, VA — The Omni Nashville Hotel has topped Cvent’s annual list of Top Meeting Hotels in the United States. The list was compiled by analyzing meeting and event booking activity through the Cvent Supplier Network. Rankings are based on group business performance according to various criteria, including total RFPs and conversion rate. “With three properties in the Top 10 from Nashville, we are proud to be leading the list and to

support Nashville’s position as a prime destination for meetings and events,” said Tod Roadarmel, Area Director of Sales & Marketing, Omni Nashville Hotel. Following the Omni Nashville, the Top 10 includes the following hotels: JW Marriott Austin, ARIA Resort & Casino, Fairmont Austin, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Renaissance Nashville Hotel, Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Hilton Austin, Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego and The Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood. WASHINGTON, DC — The Omni Shoreham Hotel completed an over $12 million renovation to its 834 guestrooms last winter. The redesign was inspired by the deco-era of the 1930s Shoreham Hotel and includes classic Washington visuals such as photography of landmark locations. Rooms also feature upgraded Wi-Fi and 49-inch TVs with the ability to cast from guests’ mobile devices.




Highly-competitive Room and Meeting Cost Incentives

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IN BRIEF MEETING DEALS AUSTIN, TX — Through Aug. 31, the South Congress Hotel and Hotel Ella are offering the Summer Perks Promotion to incentivize large groups. Spend up to 5,000 and receive 5 percent off the master bill plus one perk. Spend $5,001-$10,000 and receive 10 percent off the master bill plus two perks. Spend $10,001+ and receive 15 percent off the master bill plus three perks. Planners may pick from the following perks: one VIP upgrade, 15 percent commission, AV for meeting space, Wi-Fi for meeting space, 10 percent off overnight valet, complimentary room drops, 10 percent off allday beverage service, room rental waived for one-hour happy hour reception, one VIP amenity for every 10 group rooms booked. For more information, visit meetings-events-details/ groups or corporate.

BOULDER, CO — The Boulder CVB Incentive Program offers approved organizations a monetary incentive to book meetings in the city. Meetings held between Oct. 1 and April 18

30 could qualify for a cash incentive to help offset meeting-related expenses, based on number of room nights. For more information, email GroupSales@

CANCUN, MEXICO — The Haven Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa is offering a 20 percent commission for meeting and incentive bookings made by Aug. 31, 2019 for travel between February 2019 and December 2021. Applicable for new group requests only. Minimum of 15 rooms per night to qualify. Promo code MM&IG19. For more information, contact groups@

CLEARWATER BEACH, FL — Groups who book a meeting at the Opal Sands Resort receive a $500 American Express gift card plus extra incentives including one complimentary guestroom per 50 actualized and complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access in meeting room and all guestrooms. For more information, visit

LOS ANGELES, CA — The Elan Hotel’s Parking Package, available to groups who book by Dec. 31, 2019, includes a 15 percent commission, valet parking, expanded Continental breakfast, free Wi-Fi and evening wine and cheese reception. Promo code ILR. To send an RFP, visit meetings.

SAVANNAH, GA — The Alida hotel offers the Pick Your Perks promotion to planners booking by Dec. 31, 2019 for events held by March 30, 2020. Pick one perk with 10-50 total room nights, two with 51-100 total room nights, and three with 101 total room nights or more. The perks: Double Marriott Reward Points, three upgrades at the group rate along with three welcome amenities, complimentary Internet access in meeting rooms for all guests, 5 percent rebate applied to the master account, 5 percent discount on AV through hotel provider. To submit an RFP, visit thealidahotel. com/meetings-rfp.

WAIKIKI, HI — The Laylow, Autograph Collection by Marriott is offering the Sweet Paradise Promotion. Book a group of 10 or more rooms for 2019 and receive 10 complimentary corner suite upgrades; double reward points; and $50 F&B credit per room, per stay. Blackout dates: Dec. 22, 2019– Jan. 2, 2020. For inquiries and bookings, contact Melissa Kalahiki, Senior Sales Manager, at (808) 628-3012 or mkalahiki@

WASHINGTON, DC — The Melrose Georgetown Hotel’s Meeting Offer lets planners have a choice of two to five perks based on total meeting value, ranging from $10,000 to $25,001+. Enhancements include Platinum Level guestroom and meeting space Wi-Fi, one room complimentary per 40 actualized, two upgrades to executive suites with VIP amenity, complimentary one-hour wine and cheese welcome reception, and 10 percent off audiovisual. In addition, groups that sign a two-year deal earn a $250 AMEX Gift Card. Group must book and meet by Sept. 30, 2019. For more information, visit meetings-events.



Welcome to a place where you can be part of something. Where a city and center are humming with energy. A place where you can actually feel good about a meeting. Where people go above and beyond for you because that’s what we do. Because here, you matter. What matters to you? Value? Service? Sustainability? A positive voice guiding you, every step of the way? We get it. We have reinvented this city and center for you. COBOCENTER.COM an

managed facility





What a pleasure it was to work with Lisa on our convention. She went above and beyond to make sure everything went smooth and all our needs were meant. Nothing was impossible. SHERRY DULEY SEIU DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES



The Religious Conference Management Association’s annual meeting was held in Greensboro, NC, Jan. 29-31

Greensboro’s Dudley High School Marching Band drum line performs

The Daystar Church Worship Team takes the stage

Bluegrass band ShadowGrass performs

Attendees pack school supplies for underresourced kids in local Greensboro schools

Attendees visit the West Market Street United Methodist Church in downtown Greensboro

An attendee participates in an interactive session held by WinstonSalem painter Kendall Doub during the opening reception at Greensboro Coliseum

Representatives from RCMA, Visit Phoenix and the Sherri Denese Jackson Foundation pose in front of the children’s “library” at the convention

RCMA Director of Conferences & Events Dean Jones conducts a raffle drawing during the EMERGE EXPO

Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant on stage with the RCMA Board of Directors



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Instructive F&B Challenges Longtime planner looks back on the hurdles, pitfalls and positive takeaways


By George Seli

quality, or just awful,” she explains. “And sometimes it’s not the most cost-effective option. I was recently planning a conference in Malaga, Spain, and ran the numbers between DDR and à la carte, and it would be half the cost à la carte.” Another kind of cost-saving attempt — under-ordering for convention delegates — may also end up compromising the experience. Association clients have asked Olson to serve food only for one-third or half the group on the exhibit floor. “That was a mistake. The next time they rolled out a break buffet, people literally left the stands and chased the buffets down the aisles while they were being put in place,” she relates. “Now I will never under-order intentionally to save Louise Olson, CMP money. I will tell my clients to eliminate President, Zest Events food instead.” (On the other end of the spectrum, overestimating F&B pickup can hurt the bottom line: “I’m seldom brave enough to cut COST-SAVING EFFORTS down the guarantee to the point it should be,” she relates. “I Food is an important part of all programs, and attempting get bullied into ordering closer to the actual headcount than to save money on that key component may compromise the I want to — but there is always a 10 percent to 20 percent attendee experience. Thus, the possible outcomes to costfallout from my final numbers.”) saving measures must be carefully considered. For example, Thus, when reducing cost is the driving factor, it can utilizing the venue’s DDR (day delegate rate) might reduce costs, but Olson points out that it may not support a planner’s negatively impact the program. “I advise my clients to redesign or eliminate something to save money, instead F&B objectives. “Many times I’m ordering DDR and I don’t of insisting we go with the cheapest option,” she says. In have much control over menu choices. Depending on the country, the DDR food can be over the top in quantity and Continued on page 24 s any experienced planner knows, executing food and beverage functions doesn’t always go smoothly. But the good news is that for any glitch, there is almost always a takeaway that can inform future planning. Louise Olson, CMP, President of Austin, TX-based Zest Events, is certainly an experienced planner, with an over 25-year background in the corporate and association sectors. She has also developed and taught meeting planning courses for UL LLC, Motorola and Kraft Foods, among other organizations. Over her long career, she has encountered her share of F&B challenges, many of which have arisen overseas. In what follows, Olson discusses some of those difficulties, which can more favorably be viewed as learning opportunities.



Continued from page 22

addition, it’s important to set the F&B expectations for the attendees. “Tell them in advance how much food they will get (light buffet, standup lunch, plated dinner, etc.) and what is ‘on their own.’” The most sensible way to keep F&B costs within budget and maintain the quality is to work directly with the chef on a personalized menu. “I will look at the menus provided to me, and then create my own menus based on the profile of my group and our budget. The best thing to do, if possible, is to sit down with the chef and CSM and negotiate and plan together, rather than do everything through emails,” Olson advises. “Negotiations always go better in person, and you will have more clarity and understanding on what they can do best — and not insist on food they don’t recommend. Beware the taste test,” she adds, “because food can be marvelous when prepared for one person, and a disaster when plated up for a large group.”

other countries. “It might also help to remind them that they are experiencing the culture through the food of that country,” Olson adds, “so ‘when in Rome … ’.” In contrast to these examples of inflexibility, “Asia is more versatile in offering both Western and Asian foods,” she says. “The Marriott in Hanoi was amazing in the selection of different types of food — Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, Italian, American — for breakfast buffet as well as on their lunch buffets.”


Convention centers, hotels and caterers have certainly become more adept at accommodating special dietary requests over the years. For example, “vegetarian meals in the U.S. have improved over last 15 to 20 years,” Olson observes. But there is always room for a little education on dietary needs. She provides an illustrative anecdote: “I was in a large Chicago hotel and every vegetarian meal included CHEF FLEXIBILITY zucchini or pasta in some form. Since most of her client events are And one of my Indian guests held outside of the United States, “ he best thing to do, if shouted at me, ‘We are grass eaters Olson has accumulated many — what is this food?’ I insisted on observations on the practices of possible, is to sit down seeing the chef, who came to see chefs in other countries. Some are with the chef and CSM and me at my post in the hall outside flexible in the kind of cuisine they the meeting room. I gave him can offer groups, others not so negotiate and plan together, some Indian recipes. He wasn’t much. French chefs tend to fall in rather than do everything happy. I wasn’t kidding.” the latter category. “I’ve been workGuests themselves sometimes ing training meetings in France for through emails.” need to be properly informed on 10 years, and it’s always challengthe culinary offerings in order ing. The groups are multicultural to make their decisions. “Most and the food is all ‘French.’ It’s of my challenges are around almost impossible to get the chefs giving each attendee something they can or will eat,” she to create food that is simpler and more palatable to people says. “Once in a farmhouse winery in Bordeaux, one guest just coming off very long flights,” she explains. “In fact, it’s insisted she would not eat veal, and in this case there was meat and potatoes mostly; you cannot get a pasta dish to only enough for each person who ordered it. But when it give variety to two weeks of French food. The best I can do is give attendees a free night to eat out on their own in Paris came out and someone explained to her that veal in France was humanely raised — well, let’s just say I enjoyed a very or Bordeaux at an Asian or Italian or Moroccan restaurant — but I cannot get a French chef at a hotel or caterer to cook boring vegetarian meal that night.” any way but French.” Once, she even brought an American Ironically, the attendee who makes a special meal cookbook to Paris for her DMC to give the caterers ideas request sometimes doesn’t follow through once the meal is on how to cook for Americans. “She wasn’t amused,” Olson available. “My pet peeve is ordering very expensive Halal or notes. Similarly, culinary traditions in Italy can be very gluten-free meals and no one picks them up,” Olson relates. entrenched and it may be difficult for a planner to go “Even when I hunt them down and tell them we have the against the grain. “In Italy and Spain, it’s just about imposmeal, they say, ‘Oh, thanks. I can eat off this buffet.’ Or if we sible to get the hotel to take the wine off the lunch buffet are in a city, I will lose a large number at lunch who will run — but I keep trying and sometimes I win and can get a few out to eat if they have time at an ethnic restaurant.” dollars discounted from the meal.” Despite all these challenges, “we all seem to gain weight The takeaway here is simply to be prepared, and prepare at each program, so I must be doing something right,” she your attendees, for any limitations in the catering style of quips.




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By George Seli


ince April 25, Kristen Adamo has served as the new leader of the Providence Warwick CVB. Prior to that promotion, she held the position of Vice President of Marketing and Communications for 12 years, and served as Director of Marketing and Communications for her first two years with the organization. That long-term familiarity with the CVB, combined with her background as a native of the area, reduced the learning curve in taking on the position formerly held by Martha Sheridan, Adamo notes. In the following discussion, she highlights some of the new developments in Providence and Warwick that favor groups, as well as her current projects at the CVB.


Congratulations on your promotion. You’ve noted that you learned a lot from Martha over the years. What do you consider her main accomplishment as President of the bureau?


She was ahead of the curve in terms of realizing how important the sports market is to Rhode Island, and so she was instrumental in the creation of the Rhode Island Sports Commission. And sports now accounts for over a third of our business, so I give her a lot of credit for that.


Are you excited about any challenges you’ll be facing as President and CEO?

services department. We’re home to seven colleges and universities as well as top corporations like Hasbro and CBS, so we’re looking at how to aggregate that intellectual capital and make it a service to our planners. I come out of higher ed, and it’s a very common practice in higher ed to develop a speaker directory, so I thought it was applicable in this context as well.


How has your meeting business been trending recently?



Our market is red hot right now in terms of hotel development: two properties just opened, and another six are slated. And the airport has grown considerably in the last couple years, in terms of adding direct flights and international flights. [Capitalizing on that enhanced infrastructure] is a challenge and an opportunity, and I really look forward to it.


Can you highlight a new initiative at the bureau that may interest planners?

We’re working with the local business community to develop a speaker directory so that when meeting planners are looking for someone to serve on a panel or deliver a keynote, we can help facilitate that through our 26

Last year was the best we’ve seen in terms of occupancy, at least during my stay with the bureau. This year has been a little bit quieter, but still strong, and we’re looking good for ’20 and ’21. There’s one [new client] we’re really excited about, the American Homebrewers Association, which brought in around 3,000 attendees. It really speaks to us as a culinary destination. After the conference, many of them extended their stay and saw a lot of Rhode Island. The beauty of being in the smallest state is that you can pack a lot in when you come to Providence.


Apart from the new hotels and flights, what developments do you consider most advantageous to incoming groups?


The Rhode Island Convention Center has been really smart about the way that they’re utilizing their space. They have put in new meeting rooms that allow us to have more breakout space. That’s something that will help us sell our product a bit better. We also have the new Wexford Innovation Center that has tech startups, so we’re going to be looking at those sorts of meeting groups. And we have a vegan food hall called Plant City that opened in June. It’s a really forward-thinking option, and those kinds FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

of meal options are becoming more important for meeting delegates.


How far is Plant City from the convention center?

It’s about a 10-minute walk. We also have an awardwinning Little Italy, and it’s a five-minute walk to the center. Everything is so compact and walkable, and it’s really easy for people to find anything they need right outside the center. That doesn’t translate on paper as well as it does physically. So I really urge planners to come on site visits and walk the city.



Could you recommend a classic Providence experience for groups?

Our signature event is WaterFire. Providence is formed on three rivers that cut through the city, and WaterFire is a series of bonfires that seem to float on the water with music. It’s a multisensory experience. There are two ways groups can experience it: You can luck out and have an event while we’re having the WaterFire; they typically take place on weekends, May through November. Or planners can actually sponsor a full or partial WaterFire. Groups really love that because it’s something you can only find in Providence. CCPR_Facilities & Destinations 2019_HP.pdf 2 5/28/19



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Charm City is poised to take its meetings business to the next level By George Seli


hen Al Hutchinson became President and CEO of Visit Baltimore in November 2016, one of his main goals was to help the city realize its full potential as a meeting destination. All the assets were in place: a formidable convention center supported by Hilton, Hyatt and Sheraton hotels, vibrant neighborhoods, world-class museums, a waterfront teeming with diversions and a rich sports culture centered around M&T Bank Stadium and Camden Yards. Yet Hutchinson, a 25-year hospitality industry veteran, also saw room for improvement on the destination marketing side. “As a DMO, we were underfunded, so in early 2017 we started having a conversation with our hotel industry and political leadership about the possibility of creating a TID [Tourism Improvement District], a model that has been very successful for a number of cities,” he explains. That conversation bore fruit in May of this year, when Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young signed the Baltimore Tourism Improvement District ordinance into law. The BTID will ultimately increase marketing funds by about $7 million. “That’s a really big move for the city of Baltimore 28

and our tourism industry,” Hutchinson says. “This new revenue stream will go directly to Visit Baltimore, and it will be primarily used for new sales and marketing initiatives that we can’t do today. From a sales standpoint, we’re going to be looking at increasing our footprint in the international market and maybe create some partnerships with BWI Airport to drive new carriers into the market.” One of the results of the boost in sales and marketing funding will surely be a continued upswing in convention business. Baltimore welcomes 28 citywide conventions this year, and the CVB projects 36 in the next fiscal year. The city is particularly well positioned to serve three vertical markets in the meetings industry: healthcare, education and, more recently, high tech. As to the first, “we’re top of the list for medical providers around the country, when you think of Johns Hopkins Medicine as well as University of Maryland Medical Center. So we have a lot of thought leadership in the healthcare industry,” Hutchinson says. “The other vertical that’s been very significant here is the education association market. We have about seven highered institutions here, and we partner with those institutions to drive that market to Baltimore. We also feel that the FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK


e’re excited about [the Baltimore Convention Center expansion]; we think we have a huge opportunity to make this happen.”

— Al Hutchinson, President and CEO, Visit Baltimore

technology vertical is one of our new growth opportunities. Our community has a lot of Millennials that are very tech savvy and own startup companies. So we want to partner with those new technology leaders and attract more technology conferences to Baltimore.” These institutions and companies present planners with many possibilities for sourcing keynote speakers within healthcare, higher education and technology, and the CVB can certainly facilitate those connections.


Baltimore will not only have more promotional resources thanks to the BTID, but it will also have more to promote with the eventual expansion of the Baltimore Convention Center. Currently, the facility houses 300,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, about 85,000 sq. ft. of meeting space across 50 meeting rooms, and a 36,672-sq.-ft. ballroom. The Maryland Stadium Authority is leading the initiative to expand the exhibit space to 500,000 sq. ft. and add a connected, 500-room hotel. A second feasibility study is being conducted this summer. “We’re working very closely with the Stadium Authority as well as with the state and city leadership to determine the exact timeline,” Hutchinson says. “We’re excited about it; we think we have a huge opportunity to make this happen.” The project will be informed by input from the city’s convention clientele, in order to ensure their needs are met by the expansion as well as the renovation of the existing building. “We want to have more conversations with our customers because at the end of the day we think it’s important for them to see themselves in this new building FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

and feel like they’re a part of the design work,” he adds. One aspect of the convention center that groups appreciate is its connectivity to three upscale hotels: The 757-room Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor, 488-room Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor and 338-room Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel. The first two properties have recently completed renovations. The Hilton’s $13 million renovation included its meeting space, public areas and guestrooms, while the Hyatt invested $20 million into a guestroom makeover. In addition, the 750-room Baltimore Marriott Waterfront and 586-room Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel have completed multimillion-dollar guestroom renovations. The Hilton and Marriott properties have the most meeting space among Baltimore’s hotels, offering 110,000 sq. ft. and 50,527 sq. ft., respectively. Baltimore also has 1,100 guestrooms coming online over the next 12 months, including the 156-room Canopy Baltimore | Harbor Point. Occupying the top four floors of the 12-story Wills Street Wharf office building, the Canopy by Hilton property will features an outdoor terrace with panoramic views of the Inner Harbor.


The best way to appreciate the virtues of Baltimore is of course to visit. But for those groups that haven’t met in the city, the CVB and its new creative and PR partners are crafting vivid messaging designed to tell the destination’s unique story. Rolling out in early 2020, the new campaign will include a redesigned Visit Baltimore website. “This is an exciting 29

Whether catching a game at Camden Yards (above) or exploring the National Aquarium (right), attendees are sure to make memories during their free time. initiative that’s being led by our Chief Marketing Officer,” Hutchinson says. “We want to do it in a way that revives civic pride for our residents but also sends a national message to our leisure and business travelers about the beauty of Baltimore.” Hutchinson highlights numerous features of the city that will be woven into the rebranding: neighborhoods that entice the modern traveler looking for authentic local experiences; a startup business culture driven by Millennials; a thriving

craft beer and rye whiskey industry; and an African American community that is integral to Baltimore’s history and growth. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum tells the story of African American Marylanders using documents, artworks and photographs dating from 1784 up to the present day. The museum is one of the finest institutions of its kind in the country and offers several rentable spaces for group gatherings. The Baltimore Museum of Art also offers rentable spaces, including the neoclassical Majestic

UNIQUELY BALTIMORE The following seven sites exemplify “only in Baltimore” historic experiences that planners can offer their attendees, either via an offsite event or as a recommendation for their free time. STAR-SPANGLED BANNER FLAG HOUSE

Built in 1793, the Flag House became the home and business place of Mary Pickersgill in 1806. Pickersgill sewed the flag that was installed at Fort McHenry in 1813. Francis Scott Key saw the flag from aboard a British vessel during the Battle of Baltimore and was inspired to write the words that became our National Anthem. The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Association established a museum at the home in 1927.


Designated a National Monument and Historic Shrine, Fort McHenry defended the Baltimore harbor during the War of 1812. The Fort is open to the public year round and offers visitor programs.


Decommissioned in 1955 after 100 years of service, the USS Constellation is the only surviving ship from the Civil War era. A National Historic Landmark, the vessel is docked in the Inner Harbor. Of particular note is the ship’s role 30

in ending foreign slave trade. By 1807, the importation of slaves was outlawed, although slavery remained legal. The USS Constellation enforced the law by capturing slave ships off the coast of Africa — a total of three ships carrying 705 Africans, including 199 women and children.


Recognized as the birthplace of American railroading, the museum’s 40-acre campus was the site where construction of the B&O Railroad began in 1829. A National Historic Landmark and Affiliate of the Smithsonian Museum, the B&O Railroad Museum displays artifacts related to early American railroading, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region. The collection includes nearly 200 pieces of locomotives and rolling stock, countless small artifacts from the industry and plenty of scale models. Planners can rent the Museum’s signature building, the 1884 Baldwin Roundhouse, for up to 2,800 attendees. Other options include the 12,000-sq.-ft. pavilion and the 1948 “Royal Blue” Observation Lounge Car, which accommodates up to 35 guests. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

Federal Hill (above) is among the city’s many charming historic neighborhoods. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum (right) is devoted to the history of African American Marylanders. Fox Court, Antioch Court and 363-capacity Meyerhoff Auditorium. The Walters Art Museum, which houses a culturally diverse collection, is another option for groups looking to gather in stately surroundings. Offsite experiences go well beyond museums, of course. Planners can arrange a private tour of the world-class National Aquarium, or sightseeing outings to historic neighborhoods such as Federal Hill, Bolton Hill and Fells Point. The iconic


Built from 1806-1821 and restored in 2006, the Baltimore Basilica is the first great metropolitan cathedral constructed in the United States after the adoption of the Constitution. Sitting on a hill overlooking the Inner Harbor, the neoclassical structure was designed to reflect the architecture of the new federal city in Washington. Reportedly, John Carroll, the country’s first bishop, had wanted a style that was considered “American” in contrast to the popular Gothic Revival architecture.


George Herman “Babe” Ruth was born Feb. 6, 1895, at 216 Emory Street. The Baltimore row house, now a museum dedicated to Ruth’s legacy, lies three blocks west of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Fully restored in 2015, the museum is available for rental, accommodating 125 guests in its exhibit rooms and courtyard.


Opened on Oct. 25, 1870, Pimlico Race Course is the second oldest racetrack in the nation behind Saratoga in upstate New York. Home to Preakness Stakes, the historic course has hosted generations of Baltimoreans who have cheered legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Sir Barton, Seabiscuit, Secretariat and Cigar. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

Oriole Park at Camden Yards, with its retro design featuring a brick façade, is a great offsite option that has been utilized by many groups. “Planners love that venue,” Hutchinson affirms, “not just as sports fans but also because of its architecture.” Basketball fans can look forward to CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) tournaments in the city. In January, the organization selected Baltimore as the official site of the 2021-2023 CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament, which has been held in Charlotte for the past 13 years. Bowie State University will be the host institution. While delegates may not make it to a sporting event, they’ll almost certainly have time to sample Baltimore’s robust dining scene, which includes a variety of restaurants suited to group dinners. Examples include The Alexander Brown Restaurant, Phillips Seafood and Blackwall Hitch in the Inner Harbor; Blue Agave Restaurant and Hersh’s in Federal Hill; Bygone at the top of the Four Seasons Hotel and Apropoe’s at the Marriott Waterfront; and Ciao Bella and La Scala in Little Italy.


The Visit Baltimore staff is an invaluable resource in navigating all these offsite possibilities, and they do more than simply provide a planner information and referrals. Hutchinson, who has had a long and successful career in destination marketing, knows what it means to go the extra mile for clients. “We want to come at it more from a consultant perspective,” he says. “We gather what the needs are from the group, what they are looking to do, and we make it more than a heads-in-beds conversation. And if they want to provide [attendees] some giveback opportunities, there are a number of organizations here in Baltimore that we can connect our convention planners to. That’s something that’s been very successful for us.” Hutchinson and his staff convey a strong conviction in the city they promote. Baltimore can “charm” any group, especially once they step outside the convention center to explore its neighborhoods. “We want groups to get the true feeling of this community and the passion of the people here, so we want to take them out to our great neighborhoods,” Hutchinson says. “We’re one of these communities that once you see it, you fall in love with it.” 31


s ! t a r Cong

SPECTRA'S PRIME SITE WINNERS Atlantic City Convention Center Atlantic City, NJ Conference & Events Center Niagara Falls Niagara Falls, NY Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center Corpus Christi, TX Duke Energy Convention Center Cincinnati, OH Durham Convention Center Durham, NC Iowa Events Center Des Moines, IA Kansas Expocentre Topeka, KS Miami Beach Convention Center Miami Beach, FL Overland Park Convention Center Overland, KS Owensboro Convention Center Owensboro, KY Palm Beach County Convention Center West Palm Beach, FL Pueblo Convention Center Pueblo, CO Greater Richmond Convention Center Richmond, VA Saint Charles Convention Center St. Charles, MO Santa Clara Convention Center Santa Clara, CA Utah Valley Convention Center Provo, UT

We lcome




Explore Over 40 Venues To Find The Perfect Fit For Your Event.






ongratulations to this year’s Awards of Excellence winners, including 89 Prime Site Award-winning convention centers and 51 Top Destination Award-winning DMOs across the United States, Caribbean and Canada. The recognition means that, from a client perspective, these venues and organizations are standouts in the highly competitive meetings market.


Each year, F&D readers make nominations for the Awards of Excellence based on numerous key criteria, such as convenient air accessibility, a state-of-the-art convention center, a diverse and convenient hotel package, and a CVB versed in group service. All of our Top Destination Award winners are enjoying healthy visitation numbers, including group business, and some are even celebrating record-setting numbers for 2018. Examples include Meet AC and Destination DC; see pages 4 and 6, respectively, for details on their achievements and tourism goals for the future. A forwardthinking attitude also characterizes our Prime Site Award winners, who consistently seek to enhance their facilities. A few examples:

• The Atlantic City Convention Center is

undergoing a $9.1 million restroom renovation (see page 10).

• The Austin City Council has approved a resolution that includes a $1.2 billion plan to expand the Austin Convention Center (see page 10). • Visit Baltimore and the Maryland Stadium Authority are pursuing a major exhibit space expansion for the Baltimore Convention Center, as well as a new headquarters hotel (see the cover story on page 28). • The Las Vegas Convention

Center is in the midst of a $935 million expansion. Separately, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority recently approved the development of a new people mover servicing the convention center (see the Las Vegas feature on page 46).

• The Orange County Convention Center has embarked on a $605 million campus improvement plan (see the Orlando feature on page 52). Ballots for the Awards of Excellence are available in F&D’s quarterly print magazine, biannual digital magazine and at The Prime Site Award is given out to convention centers, and the Top Destination Award to CVBs and other DMOs. We look forward to recognizing more cities and facilities that both excel and improve. Submit your nominees for the 2020 Awards of Excellence today (ballot page 94). Continued on page 38




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Atlantic City Convention Center

Providence/Warwick CVB, RI Visit Pittsburgh, PA



PRIME SITE AWARD WINNERS Albany Capital Center, Albany, NY Atlantic City Convention Center, NJ Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, MA Conference & Events Center Niagara Falls, NY Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center, NY The Javits Center, New York, NY Meadowlands Exposition Center, Secaucus, NJ Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, RI Wildwoods Convention Center, Wildwood, NJ TOP DESTINATION AWARD WINNERS Greater Boston CVB, MA Greater Hartford CVB, CT Meet AC/Atlantic City CVA, NJ Philadelphia CVB, PA

PRIME SITE AWARD WINNERS Baltimore Convention Center, MD Greater Richmond Convention Center, VA Roland E. Powell Convention Center, Ocean City, MD Virginia Beach Convention Center, VA Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC

Visit Baltimore

TOP DESTINATION AWARD WINNERS Events D.C., Washington, DC Ocean City CVB, MD Visit Baltimore, MD Visit Norfolk, VA Virginia Beach CVB, VA


PRIME SITE AWARD WINNERS Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center, Birmingham, AL Continued on page 40




2 019 FAC IL IT I E S & DE ST I N AT I O N S AWARD S O F E X C E L L E N C E Continued from page 38

Orange County Convention Center

New Orleans CVB, LA Visit Jackson, MS Visit Knoxville, TN Visit Orlando, FL Visit Savannah, GA


The Classic Center, Athens, GA Durham Convention Center, NC Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, FL Jackson Convention Complex, MS Knoxville Convention Center, TN Miami Beach Convention Center, FL Mobile Convention Center, AL Music City Center, Nashville, TN New Orleans Morial Convention Center, LA Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, FL Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL Owensboro Convention Center, KY Palm Beach County Convention Center, West Palm Beach, FL Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, GA Shreveport Convention Center, LA TOP DESTINATION AWARD WINNERS Birmingham CVB, AL Greensboro CVB, NC Little Rock CVB, AR Louisville CVB, KY Greater Miami CVB, FL 40

PRIME SITE AWARD WINNERS Branson Convention Center, MO Bridge View Center, Ottumwa, IA Century Center, South Bend, IN Cobo Center, Detroit, MI DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, MI Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, OH Grand Wayne Convention Center, Fort Wayne, IN

Duke Energy Convention Center

Greater Columbus Convention Center, OH Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland/Global Center for Health Innovation, OH Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, IN Iowa Events Center, Des Moines, IA Kansas City Convention Center, MO Continued on page 42


Birmingham appeals to


Whether your post-meeting activity is playing a round of golf on a Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, taking to the hills of Ruffner Mountain, or catching the rhythm at any one of our music venues, you’ll find that what happens after the meeting is every bit as kicking as what happens during it.





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Kansas Expocentre, Topeka, KS McCormick Place, Chicago, IL Monona Terrace Convention Center, Madison, WI Overland Park Convention Center, KS Saint Charles Convention Center, MO SeaGate Convention Centre, Toledo, OH Sioux Falls Convention Center, SD Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee, WI TOP DESTINATION AWARD WINNERS Akron/Summit CVB, OH Destination Cleveland, OH Experience Columbus, OH Explore St. Louis, MO Greater Des Moines CVB, IA Visit Detroit/Metro Detroit CVB, MI Visit Indy, Indianapolis, IN Visit Milwaukee, WI Visit Omaha, NE Visit Wichita, KS


PRIME SITE AWARD WINNERS Albuquerque Convention Center, NM Anaheim Convention Center, CA Austin Convention Center, TX Boise Centre, ID Colorado Convention Center, 42

Denver, CO Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center, Corpus Christi, TX Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, TX Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, HI Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX Irving Convention Center, TX Las Cruces Convention Center, NM Las Vegas Convention Center, NV Long Beach Convention &

Sacramento Convention Center

Entertainment Center, CA Los Angeles Convention Center, CA Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA NRG Center, Houston, TX Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR Palm Springs Convention Center, CA Phoenix Convention Center, AZ Pueblo Convention Center, Pueblo, CO Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Reno, NV Sacramento Convention Center, CA

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Visit Spokane

Visit Denver, CO Visit Maui, HI Visit Phoenix, AZ Visit Salt Lake, UT Visit Seattle, WA Visit Spokane, WA


Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, UT San Diego Convention Center, CA Sands Expo Center, Las Vegas, NV Santa Clara Convention Center, CA Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, AZ Utah Valley Convention Center, Provo, UT TOP DESTINATION AWARD WINNERS Boise CVB, ID Colorado Springs CVB, CO Greater Houston CVB, TX Irving CVB, TX Las Vegas CVA, NV Long Beach CVB, CA Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, CA Meet Hawaii, HI Oklahoma City CVB, OK Pasadena CVB, CA Sacramento CVB, CA San Antonio CVB, TX Visit Anaheim/Anaheim/Orange County VCB, CA Visit Austin, TX


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Montego Bay Convention Centre


PRIME SITE AWARD WINNERS Enercare Centre, Toronto, Ontario Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Ontario Palais des congres de Montreal, Quebec Quebec City Convention Centre, Quebec



The new Miami Beach Convention Center is designed to dazzle and impress. It features 500,000 square feet of modern, flexible exhibit space, 84 breakout meeting rooms and five new ballrooms. Enjoy a sunset view from a 20,000-square-foot space, or host an event in a 60,000-square-foot grand ballroom with a private entrance. With white glove service, plentiful rooftop parking and our own chef de cuisine, we are ready to welcome you. New space. New possibilities. Now open.

Learn more at: Or call us at 786-276-2600

Making It Better To Be There Since 1929.™



Multiple new facilities prove this desert metropolis is a fertile environment for meetings


By George Seli

mong Las Vegas’ many longstanding convention clients, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) holds a special place, and that’s not only because it hosts the city’s most well-attended convention. Back in 2010, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and the CTA entered into a special partnership, agreeing to designate the Las Vegas Convention Center as an official World Trade Center site. The CTA joined the World Trade Centers Association, and the LVCVA became the official representative of the site, which includes a 3.2 million-sq.-ft. convention center and 150,000-plus guestrooms. Access to the WTC brand reinvigorated the promotion of the CTA’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which has been held in the city since 1978. “We continuously work with the LVCVA to promote both Las Vegas and CES to our international business audience, and our partnership with Las Vegas and designation as the World Trade Center Las Vegas helps attract that audience to the city for CES and throughout the year,” affirms Laurie Lutz, Vice President, CES Operations, CES. The attendance “remains strong year over year,” she adds. “We had 175,000plus industry professionals attend CES 2019, with more than 61,000 being international attendees from over 150 countries.” The breadth of the World Trade Center site is key to maximizing the attendance at many other shows, including



he wireless and cellular service in the LVCC is excellent and has greatly improved with the infrastructure investment made over the past few years.”—Laurie Lutz, Vice President, CES Operations, Consumer Electronics Show

the NAB Show, which had 91,500 registrants this year. “We believe holding the show in Las Vegas is critical to delivering the largest possible audience for our show,” says Chris Brown, Executive Vice President, Conventions and Business Operations, National Association of Broadcasters. But maximizing attendance is not just about the quantity of convention space and guestrooms; the city also has the ancillary features that can take the experience for delegates to the next level. “All the amenities, the facilities and the entertainment options provide a variety of opportunities for FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

The Las Vegas Convention Center expansion (left) will add 1.4 million sq. ft. to the facility. Transportation between the Center, downtown Las Vegas and the airport will eventually be facilitated by a state-ofthe-art people mover (below) designed by Elon Musk’s The Boring Company.

[attendees] to do business in unique ways,” Brown adds. “The ability to combine business with pleasure is a real positive. It’s an exciting place, and that excitement helps us create and build excitement for our show.” Helping to ramp up that excitement is the NAB’s partnership with the LVCVA, which offers two distinct promotional services: a broadcast text messaging service and telemarketing. “We employed the text messaging service to target specific segments of our audience prospect universe,” Brown explains. “For example, we used it to reach out to alumni, or past registrants, who had not registered three or four weeks out from the show. We did this for several target groups and the response was extremely high — much better than many of the promotional tactics we employ.”


The LVCVA has also partnered with its clients on a major enhancement to its meetings infrastructure. The Las Vegas Convention Center is currently in the midst of the second phase of its $935 million expansion, which will add 1.4 million sq. ft., including 600,000 sq. ft. of new exhibit space, an outdoor plaza and a grand atrium. The third and final phase, with completion projected for 2023, will be a renovation of the existing 3.2 million-sq.-ft. facility, updating the design to match the new facility. CES will be the first client to utilize the expansion when it debuts in 2021, and the planning team will see the results of its feedback on the project. “The CES team has participated in ongoing focus groups where we were able to see different ideas and concepts for the expansion,” Lutz relates. “For us, flexible use of space was important to see, and of course, infrastructure that can support and enhance the exciting technology innovations to come. … We’re busy planning how we’ll utilize additional square footage as new exhibit and meeting space, which is much-needed space for our continued growth.” The LVCVA also sought input from NAB. “We were included with a group of other major show organizers in a series of input meetings,” says Brown, “and then beyond that they have worked hard to keep us closely looped in on how things have been progressing. In the end, I do think this process has provided the LVCVA, the architects and FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

others involved a good sense of where they should focus their attention. … What has been planned will address many of the current challenges and the need to update the existing facilities. We are particularly excited about connecting the lobby across all the existing buildings so that it promotes a more logical and consistent traffic flow. And we are also really looking forward to gaining access to additional meeting space in the new building.” As to the existing LVCC, there is much to appreciate. “The wireless and cellular service in the LVCC is excellent and has greatly improved with the infrastructure investment made over the past few years,” Lutz notes. “This is imperative in pushing content to our attendees — everything from can’t-miss conference session details to security alerts. CES attendees are also happy with the newly introduced food outlets, including the healthy grab-and-go menu options.” Brown commends the LVCC on its efficient logistics: “It is possible to move a lot of freight in and out of the building efficiently. That is critical for a large show like ours.” Transportation logistics around the LVCC will make a quantum leap with a new state-of-the-art people mover. The LVCVA Board of Directors recently approved a recommendation to select Elon Musk’s The Boring Company (TBC) to design, construct and operate the system for the LVCC. A loop of underground express-route tunnels will carry passengers in autonomous electric vehicles at high speeds between the Downtown, LVCC, the Las Vegas Boulevard Resort Corridor, McCarran International Airport and other sites. 47


he ability to combine business with pleasure is a real positive. [Las Vegas] is an exciting place, and that excitement helps us create and build excitement for our show.”

—Chris Brown, Executive Vice President, Conventions and Business Operations, National Association of Broadcasters


In addition to a major convention center expansion, Las Vegas is bringing its exposition clients a new downtown facility. The $90 million, 315,000-sq.-ft. Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas opens June 2020. The venue will feature 194,785 gross sq. ft. of exhibit space, divisible into two halls: North with 97,684 gross sq. ft. and South with 97,101 gross sq. ft. A total of 1,000 booths can be accommodated in The Expo, which also includes an expansive lobby area, registration area, onsite shuttle bus depot, attached parking garage and two permanent “grab and go” food service areas. “With the addition of this new facility, Las Vegas now offers the exhibition industry a total of 4,214,047 gross sq. ft. of exhibit hall space at four facilities — the Las Vegas Convention Center, Sands Expo, Mandalay Bay and The Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas,” said Mayor Carolyn Goodman in a statement. The LVCC expansion and new Expo facility, coupled with major new meeting space offerings from MGM Resorts and Caesars, will surely draw even greater numbers of convention delegates to the city in the coming years. Helping to ease the congestion is the new pedestrian bridge over Las Vegas Boulevard, opened in July 2019. The $16.9 bridge is situated between Park MGM and the Showcase Mall, located in front of the MGM Grand. The overpass will be especially useful when patrons leave events at T-Mobile Arena, according to Clark County officials.

city’s meetings industry, a position bolstered by the recently completed expansion of the MGM Grand Conference Center. Opened in December 2018, the additional 250,000 sq. ft. of space brought the hotel’s total meeting space to 850,000 sq. ft. Just prior to the debut of the new space, Park MGM opened its 77,000-sq.-ft. meeting space expansion and introduced the Ideation Studio, a high-touch, high-tech meeting venue. Both the Ideation Studio and the hotel’s new Madison Meeting Center became IACC members last year, a sure sign that they offer groups a sophisticated conference center environment (for more details on the Park MGM, read the feature in the F&D 2019 Spring issue, p. 47). The centerpiece of MGM Resorts’ meetings product is the two million-sq.-ft. Mandalay Bay Convention Center, part of the 3,211-room Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. During their free time, delegates have a wide variety of diversions to choose from onsite, from the Shark Reef Aquarium to award-winning restaurants to performances at the Mandalay Events Center. Upgrades to the 12,000-seat Events Center were completed in April, including new LED lighting system, scoreboards and ribbon displays; improved seats; remodeled elevator cabins; updated color palette; refurbished VIP suites; and new F&B outlets. Speaking of new eateries, Bellagio recently opened Sadelle’s, New York City’s popular vintage-style restaurant and bakery. Set in a 10,000-sq.-ft. space overlooking the Bellagio Conservatory, Sadelle’s joins an impressive dining roster that includes Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s PRIME Steakhouse, Le Cirque, Michael Mina, Spago and many others.


Caesars is certainly doing its part to further develop the city’s meetings industry by constructing CAESARS FORUM (look for a feature in the F&D Fall issue), which will connect to the LINQ Promenade via a pedestrian bridge. Next spring, the much-publicized Kind Heaven will debut at the LINQ. Created by Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell, film producer Cary Granat and special effects pioneer Ed Jones, Kind Heaven will showcase Southeast Asian culture via “Hollywood-style storytelling” in a high-tech, multisensory environment. As an example of cutting-edge technology, the $100 million Kind Heaven will include


Operator and part owner of T-Mobile Arena, MGM Resorts is among the leaders in Las Vegas entertainment. But the company is also a frontrunner in the

Park MGM’s Madison Meeting Center affords views of T-Mobile Arena 48


Beer Park, a rooftop bar and grill at Paris Las Vegas, has plenty of views to complement its brews, from the Bellagio fountains to entertainment on 42 screens

graphic entertainment and seamless F&B purchasing with a wearable payment device. While not a high-tech venue, the new Vanderpump Cocktail Garden at Caesars Palace is still quite captivating, set in a garden oasis. Introduced in April, the 150-capacity venue was designed by television star and restaurateur Lisa Vanderpump. Full and partial buyouts are available. Another fine option for informal group gatherings is BEER PARK, a rooftop bar and grill at Paris Las Vegas. A 10,000-sq.-ft. venue with a capacity of 550, BEER PARK features 42 screens and overlooks the Las Vegas Strip and Bellagio fountains. Attendees will enjoy a tailgate atmosphere with an outdoor smoker and grill, onsite betting and more than 100 beers, including 36 on tap. Paris Las Vegas celebrated its 20th anniversary on Feb. 27 with the debut of a new light show at its Eiffel Tower. The resort is also maintaining its quality after two decades with a guestroom renovation completed in two phases: 1,300 rooms in 2016, and the remaining 1,600 rooms this May. Meeting participants can also experience the new, 25,000-sq.-ft., French-inspired Voie Spa & Salon.


Keeping pace with Las Vegas’ ambitious meeting space expansions is its guestroom inventory. The city will offer 1,074 new hotel rooms this year, and another 1,969 in 2020. A variety of small properties (approximately 100 guestrooms) have opened this year, including TownePlace Suites City Center, Fairfield Inn & Suites Airport South and TownePlace Suites Airport South, with the Fairfield Inn by Marriott and Residence Inn Las Vegas South/Henderson coming online soon. Larger hotels will debut in 2020, including a 150-room Hampton Inn & Suites, 406-room AC Hotel by Marriott (with 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) and the 777-room Circa Resort & Casino (part of Fremont Street Experience). Looking further into the future, the 720-suite Majestic Hotel is projected to open in time for CES 2023. Located on Convention Center and Debbie Reynolds drives, the Majestic will be a non-gaming hotel with a spa and 10 floors of convention space. Major renovation and expansion projects outside the MGM and Caesars portfolios include the following: Palms Casino Resort has completed a $620 million renovation that redesigned its 1,365 guestrooms, as well as introduced new restaurants, a new nightclub and even a mini art museum.


• The South Point Hotel & Casino is renovating its guestrooms through September 2020. • SLS Las Vegas is completing a $100 million guestroom and casino remodel this year. • The Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is •

opening a 495-room tower in mid-2020, adding to the property’s existing inventory of 629 guestrooms. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas joins Curio Collection by Hilton in 2020, following extensive renovations. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will include more than 1,500 guestrooms and over 110,000 sq. ft. of function space.


Las Vegas is recently gaining traction as a sports destination, thanks to the construction of major new sports venues. The 10,000-seat Las Vegas Ballpark opened in April in Downtown Summerlin, and July 2020 will see the debut of the $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat Las Vegas Stadium, set to become the home of the Las Vegas Raiders. However, the bread and butter of the city’s entertainment industry remains its dazzling shows, and a new collaboration by Las Vegas Sands Corp. and The Madison Square Garden Company will provide a cutting-edge venue for these performances. Expected to open in 2021, the 18,000-seat MSG Sphere at The Venetian will be a unique, spherical performance venue with “next level” AV. “With the MSG attraction coming on line soon — and just around the corner from the LVCC — and a venue like the [HyperX] Esports Arena at Luxor, there are great options that tie directly into the work being done in our industry,” Brown observes. “In fact, live production is very much at the core of what our show is all about, and Las Vegas is certainly an incredible hub of live stage production. So we do see lots of opportunity to incorporate the city into various aspects of our event.” Other groups will also find today’s Las Vegas a trove of opportunities for program design, given the wealth of new hotels, restaurants and entertainment facilities. With so many delegates being repeat visitors to this leading convention destination, new venues help to raise interest and enhance the attendee experience. And the major new meeting spaces will not only enhance the experience, but also the growth of many shows — resulting in many first-time visitors to this oasis for meetings and entertainment. 49


The brand’s flagship Las Vegas hotel is still growing its meetings business, 53 years after opening


By Anthony Bilden

he Roman tradition of meeting venues began with the ancient curia, or senate houses. Caesars Palace, which harkens back to that time, hosts a great variety of meetings within its stately function spaces. Opened in August of 1966, the hotel has a long history of its own, and has been welcoming groups for over half a century. The Trauma and Critical Care Foundation, for example, has held its annual conference at Caesars since the property debuted. And yet the hotel’s meetings business still has not plateaued. “Our group business is up 13 percent over the prior year,” reports Don Ross, Vice President of Catering, Conventions & Events. Well removed from the casino area, Caesars Palace’s meeting spaces include the pillarless Octavius and Forum Ballrooms, each about 51,000 sq. ft.; the 36,260-sq.-ft. Augustus Ballroom; the 28,592-sq.-ft. Palace Ballroom; and numerous smaller meeting rooms for a grand total of 300,000 sq. ft. A similar amount of overall function space will be available at CAESARS FORUM, opening next year. Ross discusses some of the factors planners are considering when deciding which venue to book for a large group. “Some groups want to stay at Caesars Palace because of the marquee value, as it is an iconic brand, but


some are choosing to go over to the FORUM because of the flexibility of the space,” he explains. “Our largest ballrooms are 50,000 sq. ft., whereas at the FORUM it’s 110,000 sq. ft. So at the FORUM we can do a group of 5,000-10,000 people. At Caesars Palace, any group bigger than 4,000 that needs a general session is hard for us to accommodate. At the FORUM, [groups of that size] can take over the entire complex and be on one level, all together. Also, Caesars Palace has about 4,000 guestrooms and we can’t give them all to one customer, whereas at the FORUM you can get more than 4,000 rooms” at Harrah’s Las Vegas and The LINQ Hotel and Casino. The 3,960 guestrooms at Caesars Palace, divided among five towers, offer groups significant variety and levels of luxury. The most opulent are the 13 villas on the 29th floor of the Palace Tower, ranging in size from 2,750 sq. ft. to 4,085 sq. ft. “The premier suites in that tower have been very popular with our customers,” Ross notes. “Being attached to the meeting space certainly is a big advantage that we have at the Palace Tower; attendees just come right down the elevators. And when we’re hosting groups that have exhibits and use suites for customer meetings, it’s really a plus. For example, when we host the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

Caesars Palace offers pristine ballrooms and prefunction spaces that evoke the majesty of ancient Rome


ur CSMs are not just taking orders; they’re really diving in and asking questions about what the customer wants to accomplish and then offering all kinds of creative ideas.”

—Don Ross, Vice President of Catering, Conventions & Events, Caesars Palace

America Annual Convention & Exposition, some of the customers will set up their sales room in a suite. Or when we host CinemaCon [the National Association of Theatre Owners’ convention], the studios and executives use some of our large-format suites.” Venue options at Caesars Palace go beyond the ballrooms, conference rooms and suites. For example, planners can design a compelling outdoor function at the Garden of the Gods, whose five acres include eight swimming pools and classically inspired landscaping, statues and fountains. Very large groups can consider booking the 4,300-seat Colosseum, which features one of the world’s largest LED screens. “We recently had a group that held their general session in the Colosseum,” says Ross. “They had some major talent come in, and that was because of partnering with our entertainment department and convention services managers.” The Colosseum is a regular stop for top-tier FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

entertainers such as Mariah Carey, Rod Stewart, Celine Dion, Sting, Jerry Seinfeld and many others. “When you have a group that’s buying out a Christina Aguilera or J.Lo concert and having a ‘taste of Caesars’ reception prior, you can’t duplicate that in many places,” notes Ross. Caesars Palace’s restaurant portfolio also presents possibilities for informal group gatherings, and many of the establishments have celebrity chef appeal (e.g., Restaurant Guy Savoy, Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill and Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill). With the diversity in venues at Caesars Palace beyond the formal meeting rooms, planners have the means to design an event that incorporates a variety of settings. The convention services team is a great help in navigating these options and creating a customized program. “Our CSMs are not just taking orders; they’re really diving in and asking questions about what the customer wants to accomplish and then offering all kinds of creative ideas,” Ross says. “Utilizing all of our assets, whether it be the Garden of the Gods, the Colosseum, our restaurants and even our nightclubs, we can offer the customer a unique experience within one building or in several of our buildings.” That kind of meetings prowess will surely keep Caesars Palace at the forefront of Las Vegas’ convention industry for perhaps another 50 years and beyond. 51



Hogsmeade, part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Securing a leading position in the meetings industry with major investments


By Debi Lander

rlando, FL, is celebrating. On May 9, 2019, tourism officials announced a record-setting 75 million annual visitors to the city in 2018, a 4.2 percent increase from the previous year. “It was another record-breaking year for Orlando with both domestic and international visitation,” said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. “We saw strong gains from all of our core countries, particularly from Latin America. This success is a testament to the special appeal of our destination that continues to grow and evolve, as well as our strong commitment to strategic marketing initiatives.” On top of being America’s most-visited destination, Orlando ranked as Cvent’s No. 1 meeting destination in the world three years in a row. Yet the city isn’t sitting on its laurels. Things are about to get even better thanks to massive expansions, enhancements and innovations at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando International Airport and local convention hotels. “As we continue to expand and upgrade, there will be even more options for groups of every size and vastly improved connectivity to and around our convention venues,” said Aguel.


Here’s a look at what Orlando is doing to entice meetings to the city: The second largest convention center in the country is expanding — again! The Orange County Convention Center is in the midst of a $605 million campus improvement plan that will bring significant expansion, including additional meeting spaces and an 80,000-sq.-ft. ballroom with a grand entrance to the North-South building along Convention Way. The new, 200,000-sq.-ft. Multipurpose Venue will be a flexible, divisible, column-free space with a combination of retractable and floor seating to accommodate between 18,000-20,000 guests. This project will also incorporate enclosed connectivity between the North and South concourses. The expansion further increases the center’s seven million sq. ft. of total function space. Airport extraordinaire: Orlando International Airport welcomes more than 150 daily nonstop flights from cities around the world, and a new South Terminal to be completed in 2021 will add 19 more gates. Lots of competition means some of the lowest average airfares among the top 50 U.S. airports. Continued on page 54 FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

EXPERIENCE MORE ORANGE PROJECTED 2023! Multipurpose Venue • • • •

200,000 sf column-free space Contiguous to existing exhibit floor Accommodates 18,000 - 20,000 (seated) Enclosed Connection to North Level 3

Convention Way Grand Concourse • Ballroom (80,000 sf) • Meeting Rooms (60,000 sf) • New Entrance Plaza

Orlando ‘s

Orange County Convention Center

After celebrating a milestone anniversary and the recent completion of a $187 million Capital Improvement Program, the Orange County Convention Center sets its sights on even MORE change and growth. With the planned North-South Building Improvements, Convention Way Grand Concourse and Multipurpose Venue, the Center of Hospitality will maintain its competitive edge as well as position itself to remain the No. 1 meetings destination in the country. To follow our progress, visit


The Orlando Convention Center has launched a $605 million campus improvement plan

Continued from page 52

Hundreds of hotels: Orlando is home to more than 150 meetings hotels. The city’s hotel inventory has been expanding every year; currently, it offers more than 122,000 rooms at over 450 hotels — 7,300 of which are within a one-mile radius of the convention center. By the end of 2019, that number will reach 128,600. There are new properties at every price point, offering more options for groups of any size and budget. (See sidebar, p. 55, for details on some of the major properties.) Distinctive dining: Arguably, Disney’s early devotion to food service started Orlando on the quest toward becoming a foodie-centric city. The city offers five popular dining and entertainment complexes around the convention center (Disney Springs,Universal CityWalk, Icon Park, Pointe Orlando and Restaurant Row), plus every type of food experience imaginable. To give just one example, Ravello at the Four Seasons Walt Disney World Resort offers a cooking class in a private room that includes an interactive demonstration kitchen. The professional atmosphere makes participants feel like they’re on the set of the Food Network. Immersive experiences: As these experiences become a meetings staple, planners can count on Orlando’s resources to create customized activities. A few examples: At Universal Orlando Resort, meetings can be kicked off with the help of a larger-than-life character from The Transformers movie; at SeaWorld Orlando, groups can go behind the scenes and watch veterinarians nurse rescued sea cows back to health or have an arctic encounter with a penguin; Diagon Alley in Hogsmeade (part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando) transports guests from their everyday lives into a world of fantasy; and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, an immersive coaster ride at Universal Studios, just opened in June 2019. 54

The Paddlefish Restaurant in Disney Springs doubles as a special event venue aboard a luxurious steamboat

Entertainment extravaganza: Orlando delivers an endless variety of entertainment options, both in its large-scale theme parks and smaller venues. The city houses more than 100 unique sites and experiences, including Walt Disney World Resort (four parks), Universal Orlando Resort (three parks) and SeaWorld Orlando. One buzzed-about place about to make its debut is Dezerland Action Park, a 250,000-sq.-ft. experience that boasts dynamic displays of Hollywood cars, Batmobiles, Vespa scooters, and military and micro cars. Game on! Beyond the theme parks, Orlando is home to three professional major-league teams: Orlando Magic (NBA), FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

The Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center in downtown Orlando more than 100 hitting bays offer advanced technology to track the accuracy and distance of players’ shots. Arts anyone? The city boasts more than 25 museums and performing arts centers, including the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, which offers private venues for groups in downtown Orlando. Professional partners: Meeting planners have exclusive access to the dedicated Destination Services Team of Visit Orlando. All team members are Certified Meeting Professionals who understand planners’ needs. No meeting is too small or too big to get personalized attention from these professionals. Visit for planning assisOrlando City Lions (MLS) and the Orlando Pride (NWSL). tance. In addition, the event teams at both Walt Disney World Also, the city is the new home to the USTA National Campus Resort ( and Universal and NFL Pro Bowl. Golfers are flocking to Topgolf, located Orlando Resort ( can be with walking distance from the convention center, where invaluable assets.


Following are select property updates from Orlando’s inventory of over 150 hotels The Four Seasons brand is transformation of the Dolphin’s always a cut above and prides lobby and a makeover of itself on exceptional service. the resort’s 332,000 sq. ft. of The 443-room luxury Orlando meeting space. There are property, the largest Four Seasons 17 restaurants and lounges resort in North America, is no onsite, including Todd exception. They have earned English’s bluezoo, Shula’s Central Florida’s only AAA Five Steak House and Il Mulino Diamond luxury resort award. The New York Trattoria. Exclusive stunning gated property offers Disney benefits include extra 66,587 sq. ft. of meeting space with Magic Hours, onsite character Four Seasons Resort Orlando at an outdoor banquet capacity of dining, advance tee times on Walt Disney World Resort 900. Your sports enthusiasts will four Disney golf courses and enjoy the Tranquilo Golf Club’s Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole complimentary transportation to Disney World theme championship course on the property and a new 16-acre parks and attractions. practice facility. The five-acre private waterpark and kids’ camp (free to guests) are attractive for attendees travelling Parrothead alert! Opened in February 2019, the with families. The resort also offers Disney connectivity and Margaritaville Resort Orlando offers 40,000 sq. ft. characters. Dining venues include Capa, a rooftop restaurant of technology-forward spaces perfect for meetings, with views of the Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks, conventions and corporate retreats. Ravello for Italian fare and PB&G for poolside dining. Having completed a significant expansion, DoubleTree The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld now has 100,000 sq. ft. Resort recently completed a $140 million renovation of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including a new, project, including a redesign of all 2,267 guestrooms, 20,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and outdoor event venue. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK




The Pacific Northwest’s dynamo continues to reinvent By Lester Goodman



Construction is on one block from the

existing WSCC facility. The Summit will more than double the capacity of the existing WSCC. It will feature elegant outdoor environments and beautiful program spaces with up to 255,000 sq. ft. of heavyload exhibition space on two levels, 120,000 sq. ft. of meeting rooms, a full-service kitchen and 60,000 sq. ft. of ballrooms. Each component of the building embraces natural light, and major spaces are connected vertically by two large atriums. A glass-enclosed stair “hillclimb” has views of Puget Sound, and the openair terraces on all levels, designed to accommodate a variety of events, look out to iconic views of downtown Seattle.



• 408,490 sq. ft. of rentable space sq. ft. of heavy-load exhibit • 149,200 space with direct drive-in access

sq. ft. carpeted and acoustically • 99,250 treated Flex Hall

• 59 meeting rooms totaling 102,040 sq. ft. sq. ft. column-free and divisible • 58,000 ballroom with a soaring 55-ft. custom ceiling made from locally sourced recycled wood



eattle may well have bragging rights to the most active cranes in any U.S. city. Downtown developers are constantly rethinking and rebuilding, living up to the city’s reputation for mixing edginess and stature. Located just 14 miles, a 23-minute ride, from SeaTac International Airport, the downtown area is accessible and easy to navigate. Incoming meeting groups will experience a sophisticated combination of timeless quality, environmental grandeur and forward-thinking architecture and entrepreneurship. Older pillars of the economy such as Boeing sit comfortably with newer siblings Microsoft and Amazon as well as a host of startups. Inclusiveness and diversity are in the air.



eattle is an everevolving city, one of impressive openings, exciting updates and dynamic growth. In the last year we celebrated the opening of the Hyatt Regency Seattle, renovations at the Sheraton Grand Seattle and The Space Needle, the opening of The Spheres at Amazon and we broke ground on the WSCC’s additional facility, the Summit.”

—Kelly Saling, Vice President of Sales and Services, Visit Seattle


For nearly 30 years, the Washington State Convention

Center, whose main building is known as the Arch, has been the Northwest’s premier meetings and events facility. It welcomes thousands of visitors from around the globe each year, offering award-winning catering and a comprehensive range of services for event planners, exhibitors and guests.

located in downtown Seattle • Centrally • 413,160 sq. ft. of rentable space sq. ft. of heavy-load exhibit space with direct drive-in access • 236,700 sq. ft. of column-free space for sessions of up to 8,000 participants • 70,000 • Three loading docks with 23 covered bays • Two 20,000-lb. freight elevators building environments • LEED-certified spaces accommodate multiple room configurations • Meeting menu planning • Tailored convention center to be awarded Best Catered On-Premise Event by the National • Only Association of Catering Executives • Sustainable food practices and compostable serviceware


Just steps away from the Washington State Convention Center is the 1,236-room Sheraton Grand Seattle, which recently completed an extensive transformation. The project has allowed the hotel to receive the brand’s esteemed Grand designation. The Sheraton combines impressive meeting capacities with innovative event cuisine. There are 46 total function rooms, offering flexible use of 75,000 sq. ft. of overall meeting space. The largest capacity single space, at 18,300 sq. ft., accommodates 2,000 participants. The 450-room Fairmont Olympic Hotel has been Seattle’s most celebrated social address since opening in 1924. The hotel spans an entire city block and was revitalized and reopened in 1982. The Olympic Hotel was built as a unique private and public partnership and has been a source of community pride and host to the city’s most glamorous events for more than 90 years. The property offers 28,000 sq. ft. of The Sheraton function space. Grand Seattle As the only over-water hotel in Seattle, The Edgewater, A Noble House Hotel, exudes authentic Pacific Northwest décor with unobstructed views overlooking the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains. Guests can enjoy a high-end dining experience at Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge and delve into the property’s rich history of having hosted famous musicians, including The Beatles and KISS, over the past five decades. The Edgewater boasts 223 guestrooms and three luxury suites, including The Beatles Suite, where the iconic “fishing out the window” photo of the band was captured. Continued on page 59 57



The reimagined and renovated Space Needle offers two levels of spectacular views and event space



View From the Top The Space Needle’s iconic upper viewing deck sits 520 feet above Seattle. The old safety caging has been removed and replaced with 11-ft.-tall, open-air glass panels and tilted glass benches called Skyrisers. With nothing but seamless glass between visitors and panoramic views of the Pacific Northwest, attendees can now sit back on the Skyrisers and experience the intense feeling of floating above the Seattle skyline. Glass Oculus Stairs descend to the Loupe, newly reinvented as a fully functioning revolving event space featuring the world’s first and only revolving glass floor, known as The Loupe. Glass Gardens For over-the-top events, the Space Needle partners with Chihuly Garden and Glass, pairing the reality of breathtaking views and the colorful fantasy of Chihuly Garden and Glass down on the ground. The 100-ft.-long installation inside of the Glasshouse event space is one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures. The facility has been awarded LEED Silver certification. 58


he Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass celebrate the best of Seattle. From hosting a stunning reception on the world’s first revolving glass floor to dancing the night away beneath one of artist Dale Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures, both renowned attractions offer one-of-akind event experiences that cannot be found anywhere else.”

—Kathy Gerke Director of Sales and Events, Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass



blocks north of the existing Washington State Convention Center and adjacent to the Summit addition. The property offers more than 103,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and ballroom space.

The hotel features 1,260 guestrooms with floorto-ceiling windows and a collection of blackand-white photography, shot by six Seattle-based photographers, highlighting the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest region. Other highlights include a StayFit® Fitness Center, outfitted with Peloton bikes and other Technogym equipment, and a club lounge with firepits and wrap-around patio that provides stellar views of downtown Seattle. The Hyatt also prioritizes sustainability, and is targeting LEED Gold Certification this year. Consistent with the Pacific Northwest theme throughout the property, meeting and event spaces are named after bodies of water located throughout Washington state:

• The Columbia and Regency Ballrooms each offer 19,000+ sq. ft. of space with 24- and 30-ft.-high ceilings, respectively

• Elwha Ballroom: 7,200 sq. ft. Continued from page 57


Amazon’s The Spheres is a collaborative workspace on the grounds of Amazon headquarters in downtown Seattle. It displays over 40,000 different plants from around the world, multiple water features, paludariums (aquariums that incorporate terrestrial plants as well as aquatic plants), and more. To provide a preview of The Spheres, the structure also includes a visitor center on the bottom level called The Understory where visitors can experience a fully immersive look at what The Spheres have to offer. Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the United States. Overlooking Elliott Bay and Puget Sound, the market is a bustling neighborhood comprised of hundreds of farmers, craftspeople, small businesses and residents. Visitors can enjoy a host FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK


eing the Pacific Northwest’s largest hotel, it was very important for us to ensure we folded in the region’s culture throughout the property, from the floorto-ceiling windows that showcase the natural light, to the local artwork that is prominently displayed inside the hotel.”

—Danielle Boyles, Director of Sales and Marketing, Hyatt Regency Seattle


Andare, a fast-casual Italian-style trattoria, which features a variety of homemade pasta dishes, salads and pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven Daniel’s Broiler, an upscale and locally renowned steakhouse owned by Schwartz Bros. Restaurants, which features USDA Prime steaks, seafood, an extensive wine list and a vast collection of whiskeys, as well as a piano bar The Market, a 24-hour premium grab-and-go retail space with café seating, where guests can purchase freshly prepared hot and cold food and beverages

• Quinault Ballroom: 3,400 sq. ft. Executive Boardroom, featuring a private balcony • Deschutes that can accommodate 24 people

• Eight pre-function spaces, each ranging from 4,292 to 7,022 sq. ft. additional 46 meeting rooms, ranging from 600 to 1,900 sq. ft., • An all feature floor-to-ceiling windows of casual and fine dining restaurants, cafés, intimate bistros, bakeries and take-out counters serving quick bites. In addition, Pike Place Market is home to a Crafts Market that represents a number of dynamic local and regional craftspeople. Established in 2000 by the late Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, as the Experience Music Project, The Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP, is located on the campus of Seattle Center adjacent to the Space Needle and the Seattle Center Monorail, which runs through the building. MoPOP is home to an exciting collection of pop culture exhibitions, many of them interactive. The impressive structure was designed by internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry and it resembles many of his other works in its sheet-metal construction. The name of the museum’s central Sky Church is an homage to Jimi Hendrix. 59


A characterful city that delivers alpine meetings at their finest


entral Switzerland’s largest city lies at the foothills of the Swiss Alps where the River Reuss spills into Lake Luzern (interchangeably spelled “Lucerne”). Seamlessly reachable via rail in about an hour from Zurich Airport (see our feature on Zurich in the 2017 Summer/Fall issue), Luzern blends modern style and conveniences with old-world charm. According to Sergio Roth, head of the Lucerne Convention Bureau, the city’s motto — “The City. The Lake. The Mountains.” — represents the experiences available to meeting groups. From the metropolis, groups can easily access the natural environs that have made the city a popular destination since the late 19th century. The centrally located Bahnhof Luzern (Luzern train station), a modern transportation hub that includes trains, buses and ferries, is also home to a shopping mall. Contiguous to the station is the KKL (Culture and Convention Center Luzern), which is also reachable without stepping outside should attendees so choose. The KKL is an architectural marvel designed by awardwinning French architect Jean Nouvel, whose recent works include the much-celebrated Louvre Abu Dhabi. Divided into three structures sharing an extended roof that serves as a canopy over an outdoor plaza, the KKL is a one-stop shop for MICE functions and other events. Its central Lucerne Hall houses an exhibition hall and auditorium; its Congress Centre has multiple floors of customizable meeting and event spaces, dining facilities and the city’s art museum; and its Concert Hall is said to have some of the finest acoustics in the world. Each of the KKL’s three structures can host a variety of functions. While plenary sessions can be held in the auditorium (capacity 270) or larger concert hall (capacity 60

1,840), social functions and exhibitions can be staged in Lucerne Hall. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide natural light into Lucerne Hall and can be opened to expand the venue. Capacity can be extended further by utilizing the spacious Lucerne Terrace, a popular venue unto itself with stunning views of the lake and city. The terrace can accommodate an additional 800 guests. It is said that when Nouvel designed the KKL, he spent time at the Montana Art Deco Hotel Luzern for planning and inspiration. The historic 61-room hotel, completed in 1910, is reachable from street level via a private funicular tram (reportedly the shortest in Switzerland) and rests upon a hillside above the city looking down upon Lake Luzern, with the Alps providing a picturesque backdrop. Almost all the Montana’s meeting and event spaces afford views FACILITIES & DESTNATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

Lake Luzern, the Montana Art Deco Hotel Luzern (below), and the old city of Luzern at night (right) of breathtaking scenery. On the event side, the Scala Restaurant and Terrace can accommodate functions of up to 150 people, while the largest of its meeting rooms can comfortably hold 60 guests. Other notable spaces include the Montana’s Beach Club, a sanded outdoor terrace space; the jazz-themed Louis Bar, named for Louis Armstrong and host to a multitude of jazz performances (the Bar also houses a telescope to peer out into the Alps or the endless night skies); and the Hemingway Rum Lounge, a tribute to the famous author, who mentioned the property in a short story. The lounge boasts more than 60 varieties of rum from Central and South America. The Kitchen Club, ideal for incentive groups, gives guests an opportunity to dine within the hotel kitchen, watching and learning how the chefs prepare their meals. The hotel, its restaurants and bars have received an array of awards and accolades from Swiss rating agencies. One of the nearby mountains that can be seen through the Louis Bar’s telescope is Bürgenstock, home to a cliff-side resort that overlooks Lake Luzern — said to provide views beyond Zurich on a clear day. While the mountaintop resort has roots as far back as 1873, its historic 110-room Palace Hotel dates to 1903 and is accompanied by several newer structures since completing a renewal of the grounds. As part of the project — in which its new Qatari-based ownership group expended over a half billion dollars — two new luxury properties were added, including the signature 102-room Bürgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa and the Waldhotel, a 137room medical wellness resort. Two of the hotels — the four-star Palace Hotel and five-star FACILITIES & DESTNATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

Bürgenstock Hotel — are connected by a spacious foyer, which makes the conference and event facilities easily accessible to guests in either hotel. The largest space, the Lakeview Ballroom, is located within the Bürgenstock Hotel and spans more than 58,000 sq. ft. The space can be extended further onto a terrace area and/or into the ballroom’s foyer. There are numerous conference rooms within the Palace with flexible space, allowing for breakout sessions. In addition, the Salle Palace offers more than 18,000 sq. ft. of upgraded function space with historic elements including chandeliers and art from the original property. (The Palace Hotel reopens in the summer of 2020 with 145 guestrooms and meeting facilities for up to 310 attendees.) Beyond the hotels’ cliff-side view is a lush valley with farms and small villages from which the hotels procure fresh produce and dairy products for their catering and restaurants. That valley and the nearby mountains also encapsulate many of the experiences that planners would expect when bringing guests to Switzerland. Innumerable lookouts afford panoramic Alpine views, including outdoor terraces, restaurants, meeting and event spaces, as well as guestrooms. And the resorts provide experiential and recreational activities onsite (year-round tennis, seasonal golf and ice skating) and nearby via the B-Outdoors tours and activities group. In-house experts can recommend activities for groups, such as hiking or biking through the nearby mountains, rafting, canoeing, rock climbing and even more extreme activities. Over the years, the Palace and Bürgenstock hotels have 61

transportation are also on display. One of the boring devices used to create the recently completed Gotthard tunnel is outside of the complex, accompanied by a hands-on exhibition detailing the challenges faced when digging so deep beneath the earth. Expanding knowledge being the core mission of every museum, the Swiss Museum of Transport was built with conference facilities to facilitate that goal. Its main indoor conference space, the Coronado conference room, accommodates up to 600 attendees. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide natural light, and the foyer can expand available space even further when its terraces are utilized. Like most facilities in Europe, the venue contains an enclave for simultaneous translation to be administered. Three additional classroom spaces, KKL (Culture and Convention Center Luzern) each named for vintage aircraft, are available for breakout sessions. Planners can be creative, utilizing the museum halls as well as its central outdoor he Culture and Convention Center Luzern is space — the Arena — to stage events. The Arena, a large outdoor courtyard, houses former Swiss an architectural marvel designed by awardAir jets and has a collection of road signs from winning French architect Jean Nouvel throughout Switzerland, making a unique setting for a broad range of MICE events, from exhibitions to concerts to social hosted numerous celebrities and functions. Indoors, the dignitaries. Audrey Hepburn’s halls contain a variety marriage was held in a nearby of spaces ranging from chapel, and her relationship to the about 29,000 sq. ft. to area is celebrated in the hotels’ 64,000 sq. ft. While its 69-seat theater. The cinema, which Rail Transport Hall is the regularly shows new releases, lets largest space, the Aviation viewers relax in oversized leather and Space Travel Hall’s seats that contain space for food ceilings may be of interest and drink as well as USB ports when rigging is desired. to charge electronics during the Tangentially related to feature. Of course, groups can also transport, ensuring a utilize the space for presentations. regular flow of chocolate Another movie screen great into and out of Switzerland for launches or presentations can is important on a global The Swiss Museum of Transport is home to educational be found in the Verkehrshaus scale. To that end, Lindt, a exhibits as well as meeting facilities der Schweiz, the Swiss Museum Swiss chocolatier formally of Transport’s 398-seat IMAX founded in 1845, maintains theater. Situated on Lake Luzern minutes outside of the city an exhibition about chocolate production along with a shop center, the museum is reachable via bus and ferry. Ample that handcrafts confectionaries onsite. parking allows ground transportation from cities throughout In addition to being the year Lindt founded its chocolate the region, and groups in Zurich, which is less than an hour factory, 1845 saw the opening of the Schweizerhof Luzern. away, might consider holding an event at the museum. The 101-room luxury property not only has a central location, Vintage automobiles, trolleys and trains, planes as well footsteps from the waterfront and old city of Luzern, but a as a submarine and satellites are on display, many with guest list that has included scores of historically important interactive exhibits allowing visitors of all ages to gain figures. Playing off the expression, “if these walls could talk,” knowledge and appreciation about each mode of transport. each room at the hotel tells the story of a celebrated guest. Be it landing a jet, understanding complexities of aircraft The property’s distinguished architecture, marble-floored control, or directing a helicopter landing, all exhibits are public areas and high-ceilinged ballroom spaces with presented in a fun and educational way that will leave intricate artwork convey a sense of regality, enhancing the an impression on guests. Feats of engineering enabling attendee experience. —David Korn




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Summer escape for Chicagoans promises a relaxing meeting experience By Debi Lander


nce known as Maunk-suck (“Big Foot,” a local Potawatomi chief), this lakeside destination was later named Geneva after the quiet town of Geneva, NY. Early surveyor and settler John Brink named the Wisconsin city for its resemblance to his hometown’s Seneca Lake. To avoid confusion with the nearby town of Geneva, IL, it was later dubbed Lake Geneva. Lake Geneva grew as a resort for Chicago’s wealthy when businessmen started coming to hunt and fish, drawn to the fresh air, clear lake and scenic vistas. The Midwest’s great moguls, like Wrigley, Kellogg, Maytag and beer baron Conrad Seipp, built opulent summer homes. A rail line opened in 1871 brought more people to the area, and earned Lake Geneva the nickname “The Newport of the West.” The area oddly benefited from the Great The Abbey Resort affords groups access to a marina on a scenic lake Chicago Fire of Oct. 8, 1871. Many families escaped the burning city on the train bound for the lake. Many stayed through the winter of 1871-’72, waiting for city homes to be rebuilt. While life in the your conference with social media posts to invited guests. “Get out of the city!” urges Susan Smolarket, Group big city slowly resumed, the Chicagoans’ love for summering in Lake Geneva grew stronger. Even today, about 80 percent of Sales Manager for VISIT Lake Geneva. “Meet in a relaxing destination with unique venues that will make your the summer residents here have roots in Chicago. conference an experience, and your attendees will feel like The old-fashioned main street city of Lake Geneva lies 80 minutes from Chicago, and 45 minutes from Milwaukee. Boutique they have been on vacation. VISIT Lake Geneva will help you source your conference to be the best fit for your group.” shops, restaurants, coffee shops and bars do a brisk business. Fall foliage, Oktoberfest, a winter ice sculpture extravaganza, and, of course, ice fishing keep the pace going year-round. For meeting MEETING SITES planners, Lake Geneva provides an exciting opportunity to plan Abbey Resort and Avani Spa sits next to a large marina an upscale Midwest event in a relaxing, resort-like setting instead on a picturesque lake that entices with lake views and easy of battling the noise and bustle of a big city. access to cruise/boating adventures. A massive wooden Aframe dominates the lodging site. The Abbey’s 90 acres allow plenty of room for outdoor teambuilding events, disk golf VISIT LAKE GENEVA and bonfires. The VISIT Lake Geneva sales team offers complimentary The 10,010-sq.-ft. Harbor Ballroom can seat 1,100 theaterservices to help with planning and follow-up for your event. style. Additional venues include the 630-capacity West Shore They will begin by sending your RFP to all venues that fit your Pavilion, 350-capacity Wisconsin Ballroom, the 250-capacity program needs. They review the RFPs and return them to you Sandbar and the 200-capacity Shore Room. The lawn area in one package, giving you cost, availability information and includes a massive permanent tent that works well for guestroom rates at a glance. The process remains confidential banquets three seasons of the year. until you make your decision and contact the chosen venue. Grand Geneva Resort and Spa, an AAA Four Diamond The team will also assist in setting up site visits and preluxury resort, is aptly named. The rambling property covers and post-convention activity planning. They will even promote 64


built-in whiteboard, game table and lounge furniture able to accommodate up to 30-60 attendees. Lake Lawn Resort also features extensive outdoor space and a full culinary and catering team. The Ridge Hotel rests on 90 acres above the secluded Lake Como shoreline, about 10 minutes from downtown Lake Geneva. The grounds overlook the famed Geneva National Golf Club with 54 holes designed by Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino. The 146-room hotel underwent a multimillion-dollar redesign in 2016. A sleek, businesslike property, The Ridge offers 10,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space with a dedicated onsite meeting coordinator. In total, the Aspen Ballroom can seat 350 theater-style and is divisible into four spaces. The Adler Ballroom can handle 180 theaterstyle and is divisible by three. An outdoor veranda makes a stunning setting for cocktail parties or alfresco dining, and the second-floor The Victorian-style Black Pointe estate is an intriguing choice for group tours Fireside Room is also an inviting space. The Oak Board Room can seat 14. over 1,300 acres and offers everything a planner could want. Bella Vista Suites specializes in small to medium You’ll find 609 guestrooms, a ski hill, 36 holes of golf, an groups of up to 200. The 39-room boutique hotel’s largest adventure center and multiple dining options. There’s even event space, Vista Del Lago, spans 3,078 sq. ft. and affords an onsite airport and runway. panoramic views. The dock and lakefront location enchant, Planners can work with 62,000 sq. ft. of indoor meeting especially during warm weather. space, including 35 meeting rooms, and 15,000 sq. ft. of outdoor event space. The Lodge main level and Conference ACTIVITIES Center offers a Grand Ballroom that accommodates Lake Geneva Cruise Line: No trip to the region is complete 1,100 guests, the 650-capacity Maple Lawn Ballroom, without a guided cruise showcasing the personalities behind the 215-capacity Linwood Ballroom and four different the spectacular mansions. Their stories sound like they were boardrooms each seating 16. The Lodge upper level presents lifted from the show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. If your the Evergreen Ballroom with theater seating for 800 and attendees are a more active group, they may prefer walking a four large conference/breakout rooms. The Lodge lower portion of the 21-mile Lake Path with a guide. level contains the Loarmoor Room with space for 480. The Black Point Estate was built in the high Victorian style separate Forum Convention Center offers 13,770 sq. ft. in 1887-’88 for Seipp. The property stayed in the family until accommodating 100 8 ft.-by-10 ft. booths. 2005, when it was gifted to the State. Guided group tours Baker House and Maxwell Mansion are two historic arrive by boat or motorcoach and spend about an hour at the properties in downtown Lake Geneva perfect for an executive fascinating property. retreat or incentive meeting. They offer 30 boutique hotel rooms, Lake Geneva Canopy Tours offers year-round, sky-high fire-lit parlors, posh dining spaces as well as event space for up outdoor adventures on eight ziplines, five sky bridges, and to 150 guests in either indoor or outdoor venues. The properties four spiral staircases built into the trees. Their High Ropes and gardens feel magical, flaunting Gilded Age glamour. The Course is ideal for teambuilding sessions. Maxwell House even sports a basement Speakeasy Lounge. Lake Geneva Fishing Guide Service: Anglers will get If your group stays elsewhere, you can still plan a private the fishing trip of a lifetime as professional guides lead champagne brunch, tea or dinner at one of the homes. expeditions on the crystal clear water in Lake Geneva or Lake Lawn Resort is a place where generations have returned surrounding lakes. to vacation in rustic style lodging overlooking two miles of Lake Geneva School of Cooking offers a delicious, lake shoreline. The facility is also home to gorgeous gardens, hands-on corporate teambuilding event for up to 32 guests. manicured lawns and a marina. Management has continued to Lake Geneva Balloon Company: Dawn or dusk hot-air update, renovate and expand over the resort’s 140-year history. balloon rides offer up to 10 participants a bird’s-eye view of Lobbies include exposed beams, vaulted ceilings, stone fireplaces the scenic landscape. and plenty of windows. The 271 guest suites encourage relaxing Golf: Lake Geneva is home to the Geneva National Golf stays; each has at least one patio, often with lake views. Club, Grand Geneva Resort, Abbey Springs, Big Foot Sports The conference center spans 32,000 sq. ft. across 22 Club, Evergreen Country Club, Hawk’s View Golf Club and meeting rooms and accommodates groups of up to 500. Majestic Oaks. The Chicago Room is a casual, brainstorming space with FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK




From the guest rooms to the event spaces, a dynamic experience awaits groups at this allinclusive resort By Laura Janelle Downey


ocated just south of Cancun, Mexico, is Riviera Maya, an area along the Caribbean coastline known for its beautiful beaches and picture-perfect teal and turquoise waters. Year-round sunny weather and an average temperature of 82 degrees make the destination a hotspot for tourists as well as groups. From Cancun International Airport, it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to reach one of the area’s top all-inclusive resorts, the rock-themed wonderland known as Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. Offering more than 87,000 sq. ft. of space within its Convention Center, the resort can accommodate groups large and small. Spaces include the 24,602-sq.-ft. Decca Ballroom, 9,044-sq.-ft. Verve Ballroom, 6,035-sq.-ft. Fania Ballroom and the 32,275-sq.-ft. Epic. The 1,264 guestrooms (577 adults-only) exemplify the Hard Rock brand’s signature in-room experience. From delivering its Rock Om Yoga kit to guests’ door to the Sound of Your Stay program, which allows guests to reserve a Fender guitar, Nixon headphones, and a Fender Mustang floor amplifier, the options for in-room fun abound. Just as important as the guest experience is the planner experience, and the resort’s convention services team has earned accolades from planners. “The Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya staff always caters to every request necessary to make an event happen,” says Kip Lambert, Chief Culture Officer/ Brand Ambassador for Destinations, Inc., a travel and media services company. “You rarely ever hear ‘no’ from them — that word isn’t even in their vocabulary. They always come back with a number of creative options and great alternatives that happen to work.” He adds, “Another great part of having events at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya are the affordable costs. We have never 66


e have never experienced sticker shock when customizing venues, as the team works hard to present ideas that are very affordable.”

—Kip Lambert, Chief Culture Officer/ Brand Ambassador, Destinations, Inc.

experienced sticker shock when customizing venues, as the team works hard to present ideas that are very affordable.” Selecting the right location is key for meeting planners. And once a seaside sparkler like Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya is found, it’s truly music to everyone’s ears. “What we love about the property’s outdoor space is the accessibility from people’s rooms,” Lambert says. “Additionally, the outdoor spaces paint an incredible picture, making them the perfect backdrop for any extra lighting or décor that can be easily added.” Just as impressive as the vistas is the resort’s culinary diversity. Examples include The Market (international buffet), Frida (Mexican), Ipanema (Brazilian) and Zen (Asian). A group taking advantage of the all-inclusive pricing by staying onsite for F&B will thus enjoy a variety of cuisines as part of the package. There are also compelling reasons to venture offsite, such as the Riviera Cancun Golf Club, Playa del Carmen, Xcaret Park and the Mayan ruins of Tulum. The Hard Rock Hotel is an ideal vantage point for groups to get the full Riviera Maya experience. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK








he Albany Capital Center is a beautiful glass structure offering 28,000 sq. ft. of ballroom/exhibit space, 9,200 sq. ft. of meeting space and 12,000 sq. ft. of prefunction space. The ACC provides the most state-of-the-art technology and Internet capabilities. Located in the heart of historic downtown Albany, the ACC offers visitors the ease of walkability to many downtown offerings such as world-class cuisine, entertainment, professional services and historic attractions. The new 80,000-sq.-ft. convention center is located just steps away from the New York State Capitol and has direct connections, via a climate-controlled walkway, to the Empire State Plaza, The Egg and the Times Union Center. With the ACC as its centerpiece, these spaces make up the Capital Complex, the largest meeting space in Upstate New York at 159,000 sq. ft. Proudly managed by SMG, the Albany Capital Center provides the capital city with a contemporary meeting, ballroom and exhibit venue. The new facility will, at a single 53,000-sq.-ft. location, accommodate meetings, banquets and exhibitions simultaneously on two levels, ensuring the best visitor and exhibitor experience. With wall-to-wall carpeting, LED lighting, digital signage and offering what is the fastest high-speed FREE Wi-Fi in the area, the ACC will impress. Events are expertly accommodated by “Mazzone Hospitality,” the exclusive in-house caterer which operates out of a 3,000-sq.-ft. kitchen. The ACC kitchen is state of the art, capable of preparing multiple-course meals for up to 5,000 guests in an evening. The ACC has 130 parking spaces available within three

underground levels right below the building. In addition, the ACC parking garage will be connected to the Times Union Center parking garage, which has a total of 950 spaces. With the entire Capital Region as the Albany Capital Center’s playground, attendees can experience Albany and so much more. They can explore the historic downtown of Albany and Saratoga, cruise along the beautiful Hudson River, watch in amazement as world-class thoroughbreds take to the oldest race track in the country, or try their luck at area casinos. Delegates can experience highclass entertainment, diverse nightlife and shopping all within a short walk or quick drive. Guests can also enjoy exquisite cuisine with some of the best chefs in the world and sample local spirits and craft beverages. The Capital Region has something for everyone.

55 Eagle Street, Albany, NY 12207 • (518) 487-2155 •






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

downtown, and an innovative food scene. With easy access from the airport and a free downtown circulator shuttle, Hartford is easy to get to and around, leaving you with more time to meet, explore and connect. Combining ample meeting space with visually stunning touches and unparalleled service, the Connecticut Convention Center is the premier meeting destination in the Northeast. Getting from work to play has never been easier when firstclass entertainment and restaurants are just steps from your meeting. Enjoy tantalizing bites at over 40 independent restaurants, and see a show at one of the nation’s leading resident theaters, the Hartford Stage. Sports fans can catch Hartford Yard Goats baseball at the 6,000-seat Dunkin’ Donuts Park, pulse-pounding action at a Hartford Wolf Pack hockey game, or UCONN basketball and hockey at the XL Center. Or better yet, do it all. In Hartford we don’t just meet expectations, we defy them.


• Downtown Hotel Rooms: 1,600 • Attached Hotel: Hartford Marriott (AAA Four-Diamond with 409 rooms) • Convention Center: 540,000 Sq. Ft. Facility • Nearest Airport: Bradley International (15 miles from downtown) • Downtown Transportation: Free Hartford Dash • Convention District: Front Street (directly across the street from the Center) “The Connecticut Convention Center and Front Street have proven over the years to be the crown jewels of Hartford by boasting excellent meeting facilities, a diverse cross-section of restaurants, entertainment venues and relaxing nightlife.” – Africka Hinds, Conference Chairman Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

100 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT 06103 • (860) 249-6000 • FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK


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

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

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





125,000 sq-ft Expo Center / 20,000 sq-ft Ballroom / 15 Meeting Rooms


38,000 sq-ft Uncas Ballroom / 20 Meeting Rooms


1,600 Guest Rooms / 275,000 sq ft of Indoor Meeting Space 10,000-Seat Arena / 2 Night Clubs / Over 40 Restaurants & Lounges Over 30 Retail Shops / 18-Hole Championship Golf Course / 2 Mandara Spas





655 West 34th Street (Eleventh Ave.) New York, NY 10001-1188 Sales and Marketing | 212.216.2335

Exhibit space (gsf)

Meeting Rooms

Total meeting space (gsf)




MANHATTAN’S WEST SIDE IS THE NEW HEART OF NEW YORK CITY. AND THE JAVITS CENTER IS IN THE CENTER OF IT ALL. With a historic expansion project underway and the rapid redevelopment of Manhattan’s West Side, there has never been a better time to visit the Javits Center. Our exciting transformation is evident everywhere—inside and out— and we’ve become an industry leader in security, sustainability and technology, hosting events of all shapes and sizes. From corporate galas to international conventions, the Javits Center has become New York’s prime venue for the architectural, fashion, medical and technology industries among many more. We’re only steps from the High Line, the 7 Line, Hudson River Park and Hudson Yards, an unprecedented residential and commercial development that will soon feature the very best in shopping and cultural attractions. And with an all-new public transportation hub–the Hudson Yards/34th Street subway station–just across the street, travel has never been easier, including to and from LGA and JFK Airports. The Javits Center connects you with all parts of the city, including Times Square and Grand Central Terminal, where you’ll experience a diverse array of entertainment, fashion, nightlife, dining, shopping, media and financial services.




/ The Crystal Palace (65,000 gsf) / River Pavilion (45,000 gsf) / Special Events Hall (30,000 gsf) / On-site kitchens equipped to prepare up to 10,000 meals simultaneously

FLOOR PLANS Exhibit Halls in Meeting Room Format

AN INDUSTRY LEADER The Javits Center’s renowned structure combines soaring steel and glass, cutting-edge technology and efficient services to make the iconic facility one of the most desired event venues in the United States. Our expert team works closely with event producers to take advantage of the building’s amazing flexibility, which includes floorto-ceiling acoustical dividing walls that can create up to 10 individual halls and accommodate 150 to 3,000 attendees. Supported by a state-of-theart infrastructure, our various meeting spaces, such as the 15-story Crystal Palace and the River Pavilion, offer stunning views that have served as backdrops for more than 175 events a year.

Sq. Ft.



Meeting Rooms

Tradeshow Capacity

Banquet Capacity

Theater Capacity



355’ x 175’
















260’ x 176’








240’ x 69’







Meeting Rooms

Tradeshow Capacity

Banquet Capacity

Theater Capacity

*Carpeted Halls

Exhibit Halls — Level 1 Sq. Ft.



TECHNOLOGY One of the most advanced technology systems of any event venue in the United States, including: a high-density, high-speed wireless infrastructure fed by two separate and dual homed 10 Gbps internet circuits, wired gigabit connectivity, hundreds of access points serving up to 70,000 wireless devices at one time and expert technology support.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES More than 5,000 skilled professionals, ranging from convention service managers to construction experts make every event a success by raising service standards to a new level. Also available are 50 covered loading docks, six drive-in ramps, free high-speed WiFi Internet access and HD TV screens for exhibitors and advertisers.



355’x 175’








456’ x 180’








456’ x 178’








155’ x 205’








268’ x 176’






*Column spacing in halls 45’ apart (except 1D) *Ceiling height—19’7” at lowest point (sprinkler). At border of 1B/1C, height is 16’10” **Ceiling height—variable of 18’ (floor to soffit). 9’ under balconies, 21’6” elsewhere.

Exhibit Halls — Level 3 Sq. Ft.

Our service partners include Centerplate, Starbucks, FedEx Office, American Express OPEN Business Lounge, Taste NY, SuperShuttle/Golden Touch, Chase ATM and Hudson. On-site restaurants include three permanent and several mobile food outlets.



Meeting Rooms

Tradeshow Capacity

Banquet Capacity

Theater Capacity



456’ x 274’








456’ x 371’








240’ x 69’








456’ x 286’






Column spacing in all Halls 90’ apart (except 3D, which has no columns). *Ceiling height—33’ to space frame. Floor to space frame height is 28’ at 90’ x 90’ bay borders.

Exhibit Halls — Level 4

A COMMUNITY PARTNER Our nearly 7-acre green roof has become the signature feature of our award-winning sustainability program, illustrating our strong connection to the community and our mission to support all of our neighbors – those with wings and those without. Installed as part of a recent renovation, the green roof serves as a wildlife habitat, absorbs up to 7 million gallons of storm water a year and helps to reduce heat gain in and around the building. Throughout the year, we provide roof tours to local students and stress the importance of sustainable building.

Sq. Ft.



Banquet Capacity

Reception Capacity






River Pavilion




East 271’ x 75’


West 269’ x 84’


74’9” x 74’9”




Registration Area (65,000 sq. ft.), accented with terrazzo floors Note: Floor dimensions may vary at the widest points





E X P E R I E N C E AT L A N T I C C I T Y City is a hidden gem along the New Jersey shoreline, offering visitors much more than a seaside destination. Atlantic ACitytlantic offers ‘round-the-clock fun and excitement after the work

and meetings are through. Year-round, day or night, whatever you are looking for in a destination, Atlantic City’s got it. Atlantic City features miles of scenic beach and Boardwalk that your group can enjoy at any time of the year. They can take a stroll on the famous historic Boardwalk, bask in the glowing sun or take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean. Millions of visitors stroll, ride a bicycle or tour the Boardwalk on the famous rolling chairs. While in town, delegates can try their luck on the table games or slot machines at any of the city’s eight casinos. Atlantic City is made up of over 17,500 first-class hotel rooms that will provide the perfect accommodations for your attendees’ complete comfort and relaxation. The city also offers casino resorts with full resort amenities that range from an adult to a familyfriendly atmosphere. The hotel and casino properties consist of meeting facilities and a surplus of unique event venues. The Atlantic City Convention Center provides over 500,000 contiguous sq. ft. of exhibit space, as well as 45 meeting rooms, ample pre-function space and all the amenities you would expect. Convention delegates can unwind and dine with plentiful dining options, all customized to fit their taste buds, from brand-name eateries to celebrity chef restaurants. The Entertainment Capital of the Jersey Shore will have them laughing and singing all night long. Shopaholics can shop ‘til they drop at the city’s tax-free outlet shopping, Tanger Outlets The Walk, with over 100 retail stores that won’t disappoint with incredible deals, just steps from the convention center. Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, formerly known as Atlantic City Convention Hall, is Atlantic City’s first convention center and an iconic landmark to Atlantic City that was built in 1929. Home of the Miss America Pageant, it played host to the city’s growing convention industry. Boardwalk Hall has hosted an amazing list of dazzling entertainers and knockout sporting events throughout its 85-year history. When in town for a convention, make it a point to tour the pipe organ in historic Boardwalk Hall that is a national landmark built in the late 1920s.

Atlantic City is 60 miles from Philadelphia, 125 miles from New York, and 175 miles from Washington, DC. Any way you look at it, Atlantic City guarantees fast-paced excitement and nonstop, year-round activities. Meet AC will be happy to help you locate the right space, assist with attendance building and housing, provide temporary staff, and help with all the details, including spouse activities, transportation service, media and much more.

1 Convention Boulevard, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 • (609) 449-2028 • 74







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he SMG-managed Meadowlands Exposition Center at Harmon Meadow is proud to be the premier New Jersey convention center that meeting planners and tradeshow producers prefer. Since opening its doors in 1990, the MEC has consistently exceeded the expectations of planners, exhibitors and attendees. The MEC is • Five miles from Manhattan; • Accessible to all major interstate arteries, including the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway; • Minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport and Teterboro Jetport; and • Serviced by New York/New Jersey Transit, with bus stops located at the front entrance of the facility. Groups have at their disposal 61,000 sq. ft. of obstruction-free, dedicated convention space with 20-ft.-high ceilings; fully carpeted seminar rooms with airwalls that can be utilized individually or opened to one large room; and two drive-in doors (14 ft. by 16 ft.) with four loading docks at street level. Full and half-hall rates are available. Meadowlands Exposition Center staff will work with each group to address their individual needs and budget in relation to calendar and availability of dates and space. Professional event coordinators will guide the show manager through the entire event. The in-house decorator has its office in the

Convention Center and maintains a full warehouse on the premises, guaranteeing exhibitors a full range of decorating services. In addition, the in-house caterer provides world-class food service for 50 to 5,000 attendees. The Meadowlands Exposition Center operates three concession stands that offer a wide variety of options. Located only minutes to Manhattan and Newark Liberty International Airport in Northern New Jersey, the Meadowlands Exposition Center at Harmon Meadow establishes a spacious campuslike environment for visitors with the best amenities: hotels, dining, shopping and entertainment — all within walking distance of each other. There are six national hotel chains within walking distance, with rates that average 30 percent lower than New York City. Major retailers and a variety of restaurants provide an ideal location to relax or conduct business. Take in a movie at Kerasotes ShowPlace 14 Theatres and dinner at a nearby restaurant or work out in LA Fitness Signature Club (Full Service Fitness Club). Incoming groups will enjoy easy access from the New Jersey Turnpike and Route 3, plus multiple transportation options and free parking right outside the Center’s door. So come on in and look around and find out more about the MEC’s upcoming events. And when you’re ready to book your next event, call (201) 330-7773 and the staff will be happy to assist you in planning your most successful event ever.

355 Plaza Drive, Secaucus, NJ 07094 • (201) 330-7773; Fax: (201) 330-1172 • 76



• 61,000 sq. ft. of obstruction-free Exhibit Space, large multi-purpose Lobby and flexible Meeting Rooms • Just five miles from Midtown Manhattan • Cost Effective Alternative to NYC • Dedicated, Professional Staff of Event Coordinators • Minutes away from Newark International Airport • Surrounded by Hotels, Restaurants & Shopping all within walking distance • Free Parking and Public Transportation right outside our door

The Meadowlands Exposition Center offers one of the most complete and convenient facility packages in the northeast region. By offering the drawing power of the Metropolitan area, your event, exhibitors and attendees can all take advantage by booking your event at an affordable price.

Planning an Event? Let us know how we can help!

355 Plaza Drive Secaucus NJ 07094 • 201.330.7773 •


ROLAND E. POWELL CONVENTION CENTER E VE RY T H I NG ’ S B E T T E R AT TH E B EA C H ! specially when that beach is in Ocean City, ENumber Maryland. Ocean City is “The East Coast’s One Family Resort,” with waves of activities and events. With 10 miles of white sand and waves, a three-mile boardwalk, nightlife, 17 championship golf courses, restaurants, shopping and more, there’s no end to the fun when the meetings are over.

In addition to the city’s great beach, the Ocean City Convention Center keeps getting better. The new state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center can seat 1,200 attendees for keynote addresses or general sessions. In addition to the performing arts center, the Roland E. Powell Convention Center has over 214,000 sq. ft. of space, which includes a 45,000-sq.-ft., column-free exhibit hall, a 20,000-sq.ft. bayfront ballroom, and 22 meeting rooms. Ocean City can accommodate many different events, including conventions, meetings, tradeshows and athletic events. The center also features onsite food and beverage service along with full-service catering by Centerplate, a veteran convention staff, free Wi-Fi service throughout the center, and free parking for more than 1,000 cars and buses. Ocean City offers business travelers a choice of accommodations, including 9,500 hotel rooms and more than 29,000 rentable condos; of these, 4,850 are year-round committable rooms.

4001 Coastal Highway Ocean City, MD 21842 (800) 626-2326

Every season offers a reason to make your next meeting a vacation. So plan your next convention in Ocean City, where you’ll find everything you want — whether you’re in meetings or on the beach. For more information, contact the Ocean City Convention Center’s sales team at (410) 289-2800 or (800) OC-OCEAN or visit




WE MAKE IT EASY TO WORK HARD. The Roland E. Powell Convention Center has been designed from the ground up to provide a seamless environment for any event. With 1,200 on-site parking spaces and additional parking lots for crowds of all sizes spread over 214,000 square feet, it’s the perfect venue for all of your needs.

Main Exhibit Hall – 45,500+ sq. ft. of column-free, flexible halls Bayfront Ballroom –19,126 sq. ft. • Exhibit Hall –14,000 sq. ft. of flexible space • 21 meeting rooms • Brand-new Performing Arts Center–1,200 seats with state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment, box office, concession area, and spacious dressing rooms • •

Plus, we are less than three hours from Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia and 30 minutes from the Salisbury-Ocean City: Wicomico Regional Airport (SBY).




78 OCO-2016-21777 Facilities_and_Destinations_7x4.75.indd




Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex


he Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex is Alabama’s foremost convention, meeting and entertainment center. Events and meetings of all types can be accommodated in its Arena, Concert Hall, Theater, Exhibition Halls and Ballroom. The complex embraces a beautiful central piazza used for outdoor events. The Exhibition Halls cover 220,000+ sq. ft. for major tradeshows and exhibitions. For smaller shows, this space can be divided into seven different configurations. The Complex offers full catering service for any size group, ranging from casual box lunches to elaborate cocktail receptions and formal dinners. With the new Uptown Entertainment District, the complex also includes six restaurants with cuisines ranging from fine dining to Southern cooking, plus a premium coffee shop with full-service bar. Two skywalks and an interior corridor stretching over 1,000 ft. connect the BJCC Exhibition Halls, Meeting Rooms and Arena with the adjacent 757-room Sheraton Birmingham Hotel. Connected to the Sheraton via skywalk is the all-new Westin Birmingham Hotel with an additional 294 rooms, bringing total onsite accommodations to 1,051 rooms.

The BJCC offers videoconferencing, satellite, teleconferencing, in-house Ethernet for event use, microwave and satellite connectivity, wireless access to an exhibitor network and a fully staffed, broadcastquality studio with pre- and post-production capabilities. Total Exhibition Space = 220,000+ sq. ft. with 20 ft.-30ft. ceilings Number of Meeting Rooms = 90 • Largest Ballroom = 25,000 sq. ft. • Banquet Seating Capacity • 8,800 seats Event Space • 2,800-seat Concert Hall • 1,000-seat Theater; 276-seat Forum Theater • 18,000-seat Arena

2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North, Birmingham, AL 35203 • (205) 458-8400 • FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK



s ! t a r Cong



Atlantic City Convention Cente Atlantic City, NJ

Conference & Events Center Niagar Niagara Falls, NY

Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center Corpus Christi, TX

Duke Energy Convention Cente Cincinnati, OH Durham Convention Center Durham, NC Iowa Events Center Des Moines, IA Kansas Expocentre Topeka, KS

Miami Beach Convention Cente Miami Beach, FL


35,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting spaceOverland Park Convention Cen Overland, KS Connected full service hotel Owensboro Convention Center Delectable cuisine offers flexibility and creativity Owensboro, KY Located in a vibrant downtown and entertainment Palmdistrict Beach County Convention C West Palm Beach, FL Easily accessible via I-85 Convention Center 14 miles from Raleigh-Durham InternationalPueblo Airport Pueblo, CO

Greater Richmond Convention C Richmond, VA

301 West Morgan Street, Durham, NC 27701 Saint Charles Convention Cente 919.956.9404• St. Charles, MO 80 80


Are you looking for a fresh, fun and unique getaway for your next meeting? Well, look no further than Jackson, Mississippi, The City With Soul.


Arthur r. Outlaw mobile covention center

Located on the banks of the Mobile River The Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center anchors lively downtown Mobile, Alabama, a city that offers world class accommodations, retail shops, restaurants, museums, parks and art galleries. Within walking distance are six hotels that offer over 1,100 sleeping rooms, including the 2018 Marriott Franchise Hotel of the Year- Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel, which is connected to the Convention Center via skywalk. The 317,000 sq. ft. Center takes full advantage of an exclusive waterfront setting with outdoor terraces on three sides of the venue. While the expansive windows, more than 45,000 sq. ft. of exterior glass, provide magnificent views of the historic Mobile River from three levels. The Mobile Convention Center staff has a track record of success and will provide assistance to groups with everything needed to customize events, including pre-planning, attendance builders, housing, publicity, registration, spouse/youth activities and more. Our goal is to provide you with excellent service from beginning to end, allowing you to experience your event while we handle the details.




One S. Water Street, Mobile Alabama 36602 | 251.208.2100 | 82





ew Orleans is an award-winning city steeped in culture, culinary excellence and centuries-old architecture, and its meeting facilities are no exception. Events held in New Orleans are unlike any other, and the city’s exquisite and unique venues as well as unmatched Southern hospitality are just a few of the reasons. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is the sixth largest and one of the most technologically advanced convention facilities in the country. With over 1.1 million sq. ft. of prime contiguous exhibit space, 140 meetings rooms, two multipurpose ballrooms and a 4,000-seat divisible performing arts theater, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has been tested by the most demanding clients from all event segments. The Great Hall boasts 60,000 column-free sq. ft., with 25,000 sq. ft. of pre-function space and interior and exterior balconies served by a large outdoor pedestrian plaza and grand entrance. State-of-the-art lighting systems feature energy efficient lighting that can create nearly endless color combinations to transform any event. The grand entrance is overlooked by a high-definition video display board promoting the event. Plans for the exciting transformation of Convention Center Boulevard in New Orleans, which will connect the bustling Warehouse/Arts District with the historic French Quarter and dramatically transform the guest experience at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, are becoming a reality. A new $65 million linear park will update the urban environment with a tree-lined pedestrian plaza, bike lanes, covered porches, outdoor event spaces, water features, green walls, water walls, public art and shaded sitting areas for visitors. Two key components of the transformation are a transportation center where shuttles will more efficiently move attendees to and from the Center, and improvements to several roads and intersections on shuttle routes within the Warehouse District. More than 1,400 restaurants in the city mean that delegates never have to travel far for a good meal. With Centerplate, MCCNO’s culinary partner, they don’t even have to leave the show floor. Centerplate is committed to providing the essence of the New Orleans food experience through three onsite restaurants featuring live local music and menus of iconic Louisiana dishes by award-winning chef Donald Link.

After business ends, the Center is just a stone’s throw from the newly renovated Outlet Collection at the Riverwalk, the historic Warehouse District and French Quarter, and the National World War II Museum. As a consistent Top 10 host of the largest number of conventions and tradeshows annually, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is an expert in hosting groups of all sizes and industries. The Crescent City, The Big Easy, a sportsman’s paradise — whatever you call New Orleans, call it your next meeting destination. Food & Beverage Services One of New Orleans’ most enticing attributes is its unique dining experiences, and the Center lives up to that expectation through its food and beverage partner Centerplate, providing a wide range of culinary options to satisfy the most discerning customers. In addition to the customary service on the exhibit floor, several exclusive dining options are available, including the breathtakingly elegant Ma Maison. Business Center Located in Lobby F, the UPS Store at the Convention Center is selfservice or full-service, depending on the customer’s needs. Remote business centers can be set up at event registration areas. Hours are tailored to meet the needs of show managers and attendees. A wide range of supplies and services including shipping, high-volume copying, faxing, badge chains, etc., are available.

900 Convention Center Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 19107 • (504) 582-3023 FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK




EXPERIENCE THE NEW ORANGE The world-class Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) provides a multitude of event options in two beautiful buildings — the West and North/South. After more than 35 years in business, the Center of Hospitality continues to find 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 conventions and tradeshows. Exhibitors, attendees and meeting professionals 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, such as the multipurpose Tangerine Ballroom, the Valencia Ballroom, the network space in the Destination Lounge, the Sunburst signature meeting room with outdoor terrace, along with the Honeybell and Hamlin boardrooms.

West Concourse – 9800 International Drive South Concourse – 9899 International Drive North Concourse – 9400 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32819 (407) 685-9800, (800) 345-9845 • FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

FACILITY FEATURES 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 full-service restaurant, four food courts, one business center and 1,450 onsite parking spaces. The North/South building is connected by the Oversight Bridge and provides 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. ONSITE SERVICE PARTNERS The OCCC offers first-rate assistance through its 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 85

Let’S StArt PLAnning John S. Knight Center | AKron, oh

15 Minutes Away From CAK

Staff Is 87% Friendlier Than The Other Guys

8 Out Of 10 Visitors Rate Food “Excellent”

30 Minutes Away From CLE

(the other 2 think it’s “Really Good”)

John S. Knight Center

123,000 Square Feet For Convening, Collaborating, Dining and Even Dancing. 279 Combined Years Of Employee Service

29 Steps To Some Scrumptious Scones

Whether it’s a one-night event or week-long conference, our professional staff at the John S. Knight Center is here to ensure a top-notch experience both inside and out. Call 330.374.8900, 800.245.4254 or visit for information and to reserve your space. DOWNTOWN AkrON, OH





Anchoring the downtown South Bend convention district is Century Center an award winning convention center featuring over 75,000 square feet of adaptive, beautiful, meeting spaces. Surrounded by three hotels with over 600 rooms and amazing waterfront views. 120 South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. | South Bend, IN | 46601 Phone (574) 235-9711


Fax (574) 235-9185





COBO CENTER Centered around you. THE NEW COBO CENTER The $279 Million Renovation was completed in 2015 and brings many head-turning additions:

723,000 sq. ft. of Exhibit Space. More robust technology, with Free WiFi and enough connectivity for 30,000 simultaneous users.

The new 40,000 sq. ft. Grand Riverview Ballroom with floor Spectacular Outdoor to ceiling views of the Video Walls – 3X as large Detroit River and over 200,000 sq. ft. of flex space. as billboards. An Outdoor Event Plaza facing the downtown skyline, connected to a terrace overlooking the river.

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

managed facility

Cobo-2017-Advertorial-F+D.indd 1


1. Cobo Center Entrance and Outdoor Video Board 2. South Atrium Renovation 3. Outdoor Video Walls 4. Shinola City Clock



An In-house Broadcast Studio with a soundstage and satellite uplink to distribute your meeting content to stakeholders.





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

Retail is popping, including the first Midwest Boutique for John Varvatos just a few blocks away and Shinola and Filson in Midtown, just a short ride up the soon to open M-1 RAIL Streetcar. (2017)

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

4/5/17 1:38 PM





ost of the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition, the SMGmanaged Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) continues to receive multiple accolades for the $140 million renovation and expansion completed in 2017 and resulting amenities created. One of the busiest convention centers in North America, the GCCC measures 1.8 million sq. ft. and features 373,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space. The venue has 75 meeting rooms, including nine with natural light. Three ballrooms totaling 114,000 sq. ft. offer colorful LED ceiling fin lights that can project a variety of color combinations and effects to customize the experience. In addition to the 74,000-sq.-ft. Battelle Grand — the largest multipurpose ballroom in Ohio — the ballrooms include the 15,000-sq.-ft. Short North and the 25,000-sq.ft. Union Station featuring upscale carpeting, wall coverings and finishes, and retractable walls to divide the rooms into sections. Upper-level show offices enable show managers to enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the tradeshow floor while enjoying a private space above the exhibit halls for meetings and entertaining. Node walls in the main concourse can be programmed to display colorful lighting of the event planner’s choice. The South Café & Marketplace offers a visitor center, shops, quick-service restaurants, florist, barber and beauty boutique, shoe shiner, Segway tours and a chance to watch televised programs, recharge mobile devices and relax among a variety of seating configurations. Service partners located on Level 1 include Mills James, the production services company; and Fern, the general services provider. The Columbus Buki app helps guide guests to GCCC and local amenities. Levy, the facility’s exclusive food-service provider, operates Discovery Café, composed of the Homegrown Market, Columbus Grille, Crimson Cup and the CBUS Tap Room. Discovery Café features the Smartfarm, which provides 2.5 tons of herbs and vegetables annually for culinary use that can be grown in advance to meet specific event needs. Live at Lunch!, a musical series, highlights local entertainers on the first Thursday of every month.

The GCCC operates more than 4,000 total parking spaces in five locations, with the Ohio Center Garage to add 650 spaces upon completion in 2020. The GCCC is the first convention center to display real-time parking availability in the parking section of its mobile-friendly website. The parking garages and convention center include artwork from the largest contemporary collection of central Ohio art, including the interactive sculpture As We Are by Matthew Mohr. Guests step into the photo booth within the sculpture and emerge to see their 14-foot portrait displayed in 850,000 LED ribbon lights, which would be the proportional size of the head of a person 94 ft. tall. The sculpture is a popular destination for art lovers and selfie photos. The GCCC offers a freestanding room dedicated to nursing mothers and reserved parking for them and for veterans. Two Guest Services Centers provide a variety of services, including mobility scooters, photo copies and South Café & Marketplace Cash gift certificates. Arnold Plaza includes a statue of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, co-founder of the GCCC’s largest annual event, the Arnold Sports Festival. The Plaza also accommodates a tent for outdoor gatherings. Event planners are enthused by the flexible, linear space the facility offers, along with the city’s largest contingent of friendly and knowledgeable staff of Certified Tourism Ambassadors assisting guests throughout their stay. A survey platform enables GCCC staff to respond to guest feedback as it is received. Strategically located within a one-day drive or 90-minute flight of nearly half of the nation’s population and 10 minutes from John Glenn Columbus International Airport, the GCCC is in a vibrant entertainment area featuring the Arena District and Short North Arts District. Connected to multiple hotels by enclosed walkway, the GCCC is owned and developed by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority. The expansion of the Hilton Columbus Downtown will increase the hotel’s occupancy to 1,000 rooms and will be joined by additional new, nearby hotels in this thriving city.

400 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43215 • (800) 626-0241 • 90


g n i v i r h


• Host of 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition • 90-minute flight or one day’s drive from nearly half of U.S. population • Connected by enclosed walkway to 5 hotels and 4,000 parking spaces • Walk to nearby Arena District and Short North Arts District • 373,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space • 75 meeting rooms • 3 ballrooms with 114,000 sq. ft. combined • Catering by Levy with indoor Smartfarm producing 2½ tons of vegetables and herbs annuall • Largest contemporary collection of central Ohio art featuring “As We Are” 14-foot interactive sculpture • 15 casual food & beverage outlets from coffee shops to a tap room, plus service providers including barber & beauty boutique and Segway tours • City’s largest contingent of Certified Tourism Ambassadors

400 North High Street I Columbus, OH I 43215 614.827.2500 I


NEW! 50,000 sq. ft. ballroom

The most connected convention package in the country is getting a boost with the addition of the state’s largest ballroom to complement the existing 566,600 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space in the Indiana Convention Center. Learn more at




IOWA EVENTS CENTER @iaeventscenter


Iowa Events Center


5 1 5 . 5 6 4 . 8 0 0 0 i o w a e v e n t s c e n t e r. c o m 7 3 0 3 r d St r e e t , D e s M o i n e s , I A 5 0 3 0 9



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: 94

Awards of Excellence Ballot

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Top Destination

Your Name & Title____________________________________________________ Organization_________________________________________________________ Phone________________________________________________________________ Email________________________________________________________________ Name of Nominee____________________________________________________ Check Award You want to nominate the above for: Prime Site

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Your Name & Title____________________________________________________ Organization_________________________________________________________ Phone________________________________________________________________ Email________________________________________________________________ FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK




A city that entertains.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed this Madison, Wisconsin: An Inspiring Place for Smart Meetings.

building to be different. Its views, its

adison combines exceptional facilities with the intellectual and emotional capital needed for meeting success. Home to the M 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.

curves, its location. Every feature was chosen with one purpose: to inspire. It’s a space that encourages team building by day, in a location that fosters team bonding by night. Visit


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.

Convention Facilities

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 •



©2019 Monona Terrace

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3/5/19 10:59 AM


Explore St. Louis


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

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

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

The museum is an interactive treasure trove of sights and sounds

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

saluting the country’s indigenous music with numerous galleries

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

and an intimate performance space for concerts to provide

sible and affordable destination that will keep delegates enter-

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

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

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

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

options along Washington Avenue. Attendees will enjoy Peruvian,

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

Italian, French, Mediterranean and more cuisine varieties from

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

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

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

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

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

completely transformed with biking and running trails, space for

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

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

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

museum commemorating the westward expansion of the United

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

States. Through the Arch 2018 World Premiere program, planners

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

and their attendees can benefit from VIP experiences at the

your citywide event, St. Louis can accommodate you.

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

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

To learn more about the program, visit

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


701 Convention Plaza, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63101 • (800) 916-8938 • 96




Hospitality Meet the St. Charles Convention Center. Our award-winning facility boasts 154,000 sq ft of flexible space, customized in-house catering, and a dedicated staff that treats you like family. Why St. Charles? Conveniently located 15 minutes from the Lambert-St. Louis International airport, minutes from Historic Downtown St. Charles, and walking distance from the Streets of St. Charles dining and entertainment district, St. Charles has something for everyone.

Let’s Start Planning.


One Convention Center Plaza | St. Charles, Missouri | 636.669.3000 |




he Austin Convention Center, a LEED® Gold-certified building, has emerged as a leader in the convention and meeting industry. A premier facility located in the heart of the capital city’s downtown business district, the Center spans six city blocks with 374,278 sq. ft. of exhibit and meeting space. The five column-free exhibit halls total 247,052 sq. ft. and accommodate 1,289 10 ft.-by-10 ft. exhibit booths. Two ballrooms ranging up to 43,400 sq. ft. in size and 54 meeting rooms and show offices totaling over 63,000 sq. ft. complete the four-story convention center. Ample parking is provided in two parking garages with a total capacity of 1,700 spaces. TECHNOLOGICAL FEATURES Rated one of the most technologically advanced convention centers in the country, this gigabit-rated facility moves voice, video and data at over one billion bits per second. The Center’s high-tech capabilities help to create the perfect Technology Partner for the annual SXSW international multimedia festival. It offers a variety of in-house services including complimentary Wireless Internet access, redundant high-speed Internet II access, plugand-play capabilities, and an onsite technical staff to help with networking needs. HOTELS Austin offers more than 36,000 hotel rooms, with 11,000 located downtown, including the 800-room Hilton Austin adjacent to the Austin Convention Center and connected by the new Hilton Overhead Walkway (opened fall 2018). Additional nearby hotels include: Four Seasons Hotel Austin, JW Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Down-

town, Radisson Hotel & Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown, Driskill Hotel, Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel, W Austin, Hyatt Place Downtown Austin, Westin Austin Downtown and the Fairmont Austin. North America’s largest Fairmont property, the Fairmont Austin is connected directly to the Austin Convention Center via the Fairmont Canopy Walk. AUSTIN BY NIGHT After conventions and meetings wrap up each night, attendees may choose to enjoy Austin’s entertainment districts — Second Street, the Warehouse District, Rainey Street and worldfamous Sixth Street. The Austin Convention Center is just down the street from the city’s vibrant nightlife, where visitors can also enjoy everything from fine dining in four-star restaurants to down-home barbecue and authentic Tex-Mex. As the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin echoes with the sound of country, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, jazz and Tejano. On any given evening, one can find live music playing in nearly 250 different venues. AUSTIN BY DAY During the day, visitors can enjoy the capital city’s many historical attractions, including the State Capitol, the LBJ Presidential Library, the Texas State History Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, and many more museums and art galleries. Or, one 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.

Fast Facts: Facility

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


Hotels: 11,000 downtown hotel rooms; connected to Hilton Austin and Fairmont Austin via Hilton Overhead Walkway and Fairmont Canopy Walk, respectively Airport: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, eight miles from facility Nearby Attractions: State Capitol, Sixth Street Entertainment District, Warehouse Entertainment District, University of Texas, LBJ Presidential Library, more than 20 museums including The Texas State History Museum, dozens of art galleries and historical attractions, Lady Bird Lake

Contact Information

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

500 E. Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78701 • (512) 404-4200; Fax: (512) 404-4220 • 98



BOISE CENTRE Discover Boise This city on the rise offers meeting planners the perfect combination of urban lifestyle and outdoor adventure. In fact, USA Today recently named Boise the “Best-kept secret in the Pacific Northwest.” With nonstop air service from 20 major cities in the United States, getting to Boise is a breeze, and the airport is just seven minutes from the downtown convention center. Newly Expanded Convention Center Boise Centre, Idaho’s premier convention center, recently completed a $47.5 million expansion and now offers 31 flexible meeting rooms and 86,000 sq. ft. of event space, complete with the latest in technology, to accommodate groups from 20 to 2,000. Locally inspired menu selections are proudly prepared by Boise Centre’s experienced inhouse culinary team. Boise Centre’s professional event team is highly experienced in hosting a variety of events, from conventions and tradeshows to corporate meetings and special events. Best of all, the convention center is in the middle of a vibrant downtown surrounded by hotels, restaurants and nightlife. Growing Number of Hotels As the convention center has grown, so has the number of hotels to accommodate an increasing number of visitors. In the past two years, four new hotels have opened within walking distance of Boise Centre. From upscale boutique to all suite and Four Diamond properties, planners now have 1,200 hotel rooms within a few blocks. Thousands more hotel rooms


are within a short shuttle ride from the convention center. Thriving City Boise’s compact, energetic and walkable downtown invites visitors to discover oneof-a-kind eateries, more than 100 shops, live music venues and a growing number of breweries and wine-tasting rooms within a 10-block radius. The city’s 8th Street is a lively hub of activity, with outdoor dining options, nightlife and a weekly farmer’s market (seasonal) all centered here. In the summer months, free outdoor concerts are held weekly on The Grove Plaza adjacent to Boise Centre. The historic Basque Block offers a museum and cultural center, restaurants and annual festival held in late July. Numerous art galleries, opera, philharmonic orchestra and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival outdoor amphitheater add to Boise’s urban appeal. Just four blocks from downtown is the Boise Greenbelt, a 25-mile walking and biking path that follows the Boise River through the city. The nearby Boise Foothills boast hundreds of miles of hiking trails with options for all abilities. Golf, skiing, whitewater rafting and wineries are all available within an hour.

Facility Location: Downtown Boise Total Sq. Ft.: 86,000 Meeting Space: 31 meeting rooms including an Executive Boardroom with videoconferencing Largest Room: 24,426 sq. ft., seats 2,400 Technology: Complimentary shared Wi-Fi throughout with dedicated Internet bandwidth up to 500 mbps available to purchase and plug-and-play capabilities Boise Hotels: 1,200 downtown hotel rooms and thousands more within a short shuttle ride Airport: Boise Airport, seven minutes from facility Nearby Attractions: State Capitol, Historic Basque Block, Boise State University, over 100 shops, 80 restaurants and 20 breweries, live music venues, 25-mile Boise Greenbelt walking and biking path along the Boise River, many museums, whitewater rafting, hiking and golf close by Contact Information Ali Ribordy, Director of Sales (208) 489-3608;

850 West Front St., Boise, ID 83702 • (208) 336-8900; Fax: (208) 336-8803 • FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK





here’s no question that Hawai‘i is a beautiful place to hold a meeting. It’s a vibrant business destination with exceptional meeting venues — the crown jewel of which is the Hawai‘i Convention Center (HCC). The HCC is a spectacular, open-air structure that combines the latest in cutting-edge technology with an authentic Hawai‘i ambience. Satisfaction ratings from meeting planners are consistently above 95 percent. The HCC’s event venues include: • The 200,000-sq.-ft. Kamehameha Exhibit Hall and 35,000-sq.-ft. Kalakaua Ballroom, both divisible into thirds • 47 meeting rooms, many with shaded lanai (verandas) or direct courtyard access • Two tiered-seating theaters for up to 329 and 467 people • A 2.5-acre rooftop events garden, accommodating 1,000-person banquets or 2,500-person receptions overlooking the city. Here are additional reasons why you should consider the Hawai‘i Convention Center for your next meeting:


HCC is located in the heart of cosmopolitan Honolulu, surrounded by museums, cultural centers and more than 100 diverse dine-around options.


There are more than 30,000 overnight rooms in Waikiki, just steps from its picture-perfect and iconic crescentshaped beach. Of these rooms, 28,000 are within a 1.5-mile radius of the HCC.


Getting people and materials to Hawai‘i is easier than you might think. Nearly every major U.S. carrier and 19 international carriers provide year-round scheduled nonstop service to Hawai‘i from 49 gateway cities across North America and Asia-Pacific, making it easy to connect here from just about anywhere in the world.


The inspiring atmosphere of Hawai‘i and the HCC itself provides a nurturing setting and environment that encourages networking and allows delegates to be open and receptive to the sharing of new ideas and concepts.


The highly experienced and knowledgeable HCC Team is ready to help develop a detailed proposal for your event, coordinate site visits, provide promotional materials, and arrange onsite support services for both planners and attendees. Book now at (808) 943-3500 or

1801 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815 • (808) 943-3500 • 100




LONG BEACH — California Fresh, Urban Coast

Long Beach is an innovative leader in creating “a new essence of meeting style” with its $50 million renovation of the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center. Using many of the concepts pioneered by the revolutionary TED conference, which Long Beach hosted for five years, the city created an open, collaborative and comfortable, all-inclusive environment where people can easily connect. A campus atmosphere in downtown Long Beach encourages the development and sharing of ideas. This campus includes newly renovated hotels just steps from the convention center and the surrounding waterfront entertainment district, which includes shopping venues, entertainment and nightlife. More than 125 quality restaurants, many with spectacular oceanfront views, are within a compact, very walkable eight-block area surrounding the Convention Center. rates Long Beach among its top “Most Walkable Cities in America.” Spacious palm-lined pedestrian promenades and bike paths are well-lit at night with colorful LED light displays. The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, with more than 400,000 sq. ft. of modern, versatile exhibit and meeting space, is located in the center of the downtown waterfront with sweeping harbor views and is designed to give guests a warm, stylish and welcoming social experience offering flexible and multiple event options. Recent renovations and upgrades at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center bring new and versatile special event options such as Bogart & Co. (a sophisticated and stylish space to relax and recharge), plus outdoor tropical plazas and patios, highlighting the best in innovative “plein air” event space decor. The newly revamped Pacific Lounge includes chic pod seating with customized lighting.

The Pacific Room, one of the region’s premier venues, revolutionized the platform design for event spaces. The “loft-style” ballroom utilizes the 45,000-sq.-ft. floor space of the Long Beach Arena. This completely customizable event space uses a floating tension grid ceiling and moveable, floor-to-ceiling curtain walls to create the perfect environment for any group. The adaptable, electronic walls are able to accommodate groups of all types, from an intimate gathering to a grand and lavish 5,500-person reception. A built-in, $1.6 million state-of-the-art sound, light and video system is included in the rental of the Pacific Room, providing substantial cost savings. The Pacific Room’s catchphrase is “Your Canvas! Your Show!” Long Beach is LA’s “Urban Waterfront Playground,” located in the center of Southern California. All of the attractions of Los Angeles and Orange County are just minutes from the downtown waterfront. But Long Beach has its own world-class attractions: The Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Pike Outlets at Rainbow Harbor, Shoreline Village, harbor cruises, whale watching tours, every type of boating and on-the-water activity imaginable, plus four distinctive museums and two historic ranchos. Getting to Long Beach is a breeze thanks to the newly modernized Long Beach Airport, which offers a resort feel while welcoming daily nationwide commercial flights. A 2013 renovation and major building project created a modern gateway to better accommodate the airport’s three million annual passengers, who can enjoy a relaxed, resort-like atmosphere as they walk through an open courtyard with fire pits, lounge-style seating, a wine bar and a garden walkway with California native vegetation. A new Food Marché provides travelers a taste of Long Beach, offering local eateries at street prices. Guests can order and have meals delivered gate-side through the iPad Bar. Long Beach is guaranteed to please visitors looking for those special experiences that create lasting memories.

301 E. Ocean Blvd., Suite 1900, Long Beach, CA 90802 • (562) 436-3645 • FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK





Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) attracts millions annually and is renowned internationally as a prime Tsiteheofforvisitors conventions, tradeshows and exhibitions. The AEG

Facilities-managed venue offers clients multi-functional event space, advanced technological functionality and first-class service. “Our commitment to excellence is evident by the services we provide and the caliber of events we help our clients produce. Events hosted at the LACC can expect elevated service standards coupled with a stellar location in the heart of the entertainment capital of the world,” commented Ellen Schwartz, General Manager of the LACC.

Multi-Function Event Space

With over 860,000 sq. ft. of flexible space, the LACC is the ideal backdrop to host incredible events; the Center offers 720,000 sq. ft. of exhibit hall space, 64 column-free meeting rooms totaling 147,000 sq. ft., and a newly renovated 299-seat theater. The Center regularly hosts more than 300 events annually, ranging from the LA Auto Show to E3 to Anime Expo to USGBC’s Greenbuild to medical conventions and professional examinations. In order to enhance facility functionality and aesthetics, AEG Facilities and the Department of Convention and Tourism Development actively collaborate to complete Capital Improvement Projects (CIPs) and Alteration & Improvement Projects.

Environmental Initiatives

The LACC strives to reduce its environmental impact while providing a positive experience to clients and guests. As of 2015, the LACC is proud to be the first convention center of its size in the United States to achieve LEED – EBOM Gold recertification. The venue has continually grown sustainable practices and procedures, obtaining an impressive 70 percent average waste diversion rate per year. The Center works to educate clients, guests and staff about environmental issues and encourages them to engage in sustainable practices. The LACC regularly participates in largescale, global environmental events such as America Recycles Day,

Clean Air Day, Earth Hour and Earth Day. “The LACC is committed to taking advantage of its position in the community to raise awareness of environmental issues and inspire others to take action. We invest heavily in sustainable products, technology and practices to reduce negative environmental impact,” added Schwartz.

First-Class Service

The LACC team specializes in creating successful events that exceed clients’ expectations. In order to achieve this, the facility partners with industry experts to provide clients and guests with superior services. Taste of L.A. by Levy Restaurants is the LACC’s signature and exclusive dining experience. Taste of L.A. is committed to sourcing local products, using the freshest ingredients available, and preparing exquisite meals to deliver heartfelt joy to guests. Offering concessions, catering, portable options, food truck alleys, exhibit booth service, customized staff meal options and so much more, Taste of L.A. delivers excellent food inspired by the City of Angels. Smart City is the exclusive, in-house telecommunications provider and offers clients and attendees unparalleled expertise and service. The LACC also offers a full-service business center operated by Los Angeles-based Image Quest Plus.


Experience the L.A. Difference. Discover the allure of cosmopolitan L.A., where culture, history and innovation fuse to provide clients and guests with an unparalleled experience. Conveniently located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Convention Center is minutes from airports such as LAX and Bob Hope Airport, and is easily accessible by car and public transportation. The Center is also only a short walk away from many downtown L.A. hotels. A perfect blend of historical charm and modernity, this desirable location offers first-class accommodations and attractions, complete with endless dining, shopping, hotel and entertainment options. Contact the LACC team today to learn how they can bring your event vision to life.

1201 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015 • (213) 741-1151 • 102



REIMAGINED & EXCEPTIONAL More than a remodel, we’re transforming what it means to stay in Pasadena.

2.5k guest rooms


square feet of meeting and event space

$150m invested

Come Curious.

To book, visit




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


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


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


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


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

100 North Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 • (602) 262-6225; (800) 282-4842 • 104



extraordinary SERVICE


The Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center

Owned by Port Corpus Christi and professionally managed by Spectra Food Services & Hospitality.

Located on the Port of Corpus Christi, The Ortiz International Center celebrates a proud shipping heritage as it embraces its new role as a strikingly modern meeting and Event Center. From conferences, business meetings, trade shows, fundraisers, private parties, and of course weddings, we can accommodate it all. Our on-site full service catering offers endless options and a custom menu, that is sure to impress you and your guests. Only Ocean Friendly Venue in the State of Texas to be certified by the Surfrider Foundation for our green initiatives. As a plastic free facility, we offer canned sodas and Boxed Water with absolutely no single use plastic bottles, and of course NO PLASTIC STRAWS OR STIR STICKS!



402 Harbor Drive Corpus Christi, Texas 78401 | | 361-879-0125




ocated in San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital city, the Puerto Rico Convention Center Pedro Rosselló is the largest and most technologically advanced meeting facility in the Caribbean. The winner of 12 Prime Site Awards offers 600,000 sq. ft. of beautiful and flexible event space, which makes it the ideal meeting place for entrepreneurs, business and public organizations from around the world. The state-of-the-art facility includes a 152,700-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, divisible into three sections, the largest one being 72,000 sq. ft.; a total of 39,551 sq. ft. of ballroom area; 30 meeting rooms; and an outdoor terrace that can service small meetings or large conventions with modern technology, accommodations and transportation. TECHNOLOGICAL FEATURES PSAV is the leading provider of audiovisual and event technology support for Puerto Rico Convention Center. It serves as the preferred provider of Internet and telecommunications services (including high speed, wireless Internet access to thousands of devices and dedicated bandwidth), multiple display screens, sophisticated lighting services, and audio and digital recording systems. HOTELS Puerto Rico offers more than 150 hotels. Over 700 hotel rooms are within the Convention District. The 503-room Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino is just steps away from the Center and is one of the many hotels in the Metropolitan San Juan area that offers high-end services to delegates. The Hyatt Place, San Juan offers 149 rooms and Hyatt House, San Juan offers 126 rooms, all within the Convention District area. SAN JUAN DISTRICT’S CURRENT EXPERIENCES The Puerto Rico Convention Center is just steps away from a rich array of cultural attractions, historic treasures and architectural masterpieces, some of which date back centuries to when the city was a Spanish military stronghold. But it’s not just the city’s rich history that attracts visitors. San Juan is also home to numerous fine dining and casual restaurants offering a variety of cuisine from around the globe, a lively nightlife scene, shops and attractions. SAN JUAN DISTRICT’S UPCOMING EXPERIENCES In the Winter of 2020, the PRCC & Convention Center District will be home to a new attraction, El Distrito San Juan!, where business meets fun. The project consists of a performance venue for 6,000 patrons and more than 80,000 sq. ft. of other entertainment spaces, as well as a 175-room Aloft hotel. The hotel will integrate perfectly with the entertainment spaces and offers guests a unique urban hotel experience, adjacent to the bustling Time Square-esque atmosphere of the complex. With its fresh design, the proposed Aloft hotel offers quiet relaxation spaces and a rooftop swimming pool overlooking the Convention Center building and district grounds.


Motto: Do Meetings. Do Conventions. Do Connections. Do it at the Puerto Rico Convention Center. Do Your Thing Location: Convention Center District, Puerto Rico Total Area: 600k sq. ft. of exhibit and meeting space Exhibit Space: 153k sq. ft. Ballrooms: Ballroom AB, 39,551 sq. ft.; Ballroom A, 25,563 sq. ft.; Ballroom B, 14,000 sq. ft. Meeting Space: 30 meeting rooms totaling over 23,000 sq. ft. Theater Seating in Exhibit Hall (number of seats): Seating capacities up to over 16,000 people Technology: In-house PSAV team, high-speed Internet access, display multiple screens, lighting services, audio system and digital recording system SAN JUAN

The Airport: The city of San Juan has two airports, Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Domestic Airport, which is four minutes away from the PRCC, and Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), which is 15 minutes away from the District. Transportation: Getting around the Island is a breeze. Rental car agencies can be found near the airport and hotels. Taxi service and Uber are efficient ways to see the island’s numerous districts. Entry Requirements/Currency/Language: As a U.S. Commonwealth, no passports or visas are required for U.S. citizens. Foreign visitors should have valid passports and visas as required. Puerto Rico also uses U.S. currency, phone and mail services, and both English and Spanish are official languages. RECENT RENOVATIONS AT THE PRCC Major carpet renovation project and changes in the building’s color palette highlight the Caribbean atmosphere. Recent investments in these and other renovations totaling $5.7 million also include repairs to the emblematic outdoor terrace and the acquisition of modern furniture. These renovations are expected to be complete in fall 2019. RECENT MAJOR EVENTS AT PRCC Caribbean Hotel Tourism Association (CHTA) Marketplace, an 800-delegate convention; ICANN 2018, a 2,000-delegate international group; Puerto Rico Comic Con with over 40,000 in attendance during three-day event; the T-Mobile Winners Circle event with over 1,500 attendees; and the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography with participants from over 50 countries. Contact Information: Jorge L. Pérez, General Manager Margaret Colón, Sales & Marketing Director:

1000 Convention Boulevard, San Juan, PR 00907 • (787) 641-7722 • FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK


3 ETHICAL QUESTIONS FOR PLANNERS Even for experienced meeting planners, it’s not easy to resolve the gray areas By Jamie B. Kervin


s Senior Account Manager with a nonprofit ministry that assists other Christian ministries with their conference planning, I realize that advising my clients on ethical matters may seem unnecessary. Isn’t it black and white? Aren’t right and wrong clearly distinguished? However, in an industry where free travel, gifts and perks from suppliers are the norm, there are gray areas. It is getting harder and harder to make ethical decisions in the midst of this barrage of offers.


Do you legitimately have a potential piece of business for that city? That’s the question you should be asking. If your conference has never been held outside of the Southeastern United States and you have never considered moving it outside of that area until you received an invitation for an allexpense-paid FAM trip for you and a guest to the West Coast that includes a free day of sightseeing and a concert, then the right thing is to say, “No, thank you.” It’s so easy to rationalize in these types of scenarios, e.g.: “Well, how do I know that it’s not an option unless I go and visit?” Do your homework on the city before deciding to attend the trip, and consider questions such as the following: Is the city large enough to accommodate the meeting? Is airlift sufficient and feasible? What types of rates do the hotels typically offer over your conference’s general timeframe?


We actually distribute a document to our clients on how


to best handle a site visit. For a new planner who has been tasked with planning a conference for the first time, we find the pointers to be very helpful. But even a more experienced planner can get caught in the gray area of perks sometimes. In the case of a site visit, an RFP has already been distributed and the city or hotel is already strongly being considered. Consider the following guidelines:

• • • • •

Never site a hotel just because they’re offering you a free room. If the city or hotel has paid for your transportation, you should spend the supplier’s money as you would your own. Don’t book a first-class ticket. Conduct a site visit as quickly as possible, seeing as much as you can in as few days as possible. A site visit is a business trip and shouldn’t be turned into a vacation with complimentary spa services and afternoons at the pool. Inevitably, you’ll have meals with your hosts. Be grateful and show your appreciation by not ordering the most expensive thing on the menu.


This is probably the most common question we get asked. Personally, our ministry doesn’t accept any points. As a nonprofit intermediary that serves other nonprofit ministries, we pass along any points we may be offered onto our clients. Of course, that leaves it in their court to decide what to do with them. The key question to ask yourself in this scenario is, “Is it disclosed?” Is it explicitly spelled out in the contract who will be receiving the points? As a planner, make sure you’re having a conversation with your supervisors on how to best handle the points. We have many clients who put all of their points on one account and then use them for business travel. We also have clients who personally accept the points — with full permission from their supervisors — to use for their personal travel. Disclosure is the key to making this work for everyone.


If there’s one takeaway, this would be it. Within the confines of boundaries and rules, there is freedom. If your ministry FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

or nonprofit doesn’t have a written policy on the ethical issues discussed above, take the initiative and write one. Bring it to your decision-makers for discussion. Once it is in place, enjoy the freedom of your job within those guidelines. Those of us who love to travel and plan for our organizations should take advantage of opportunities, where appropriate, and dream of how to create life-changing events for our attendees. So many of us in the religious market operate on small budgets driven by donors. Honor your donors by making good decisions for God’s glory and your good. Since 2006, Jamie Kervin has served as Senior Account Manager for Arrowhead Conferences & Events, a ministry that provides Christian meeting planning services. She is currently working with a variety of para-church and denominational ministries on their citywide conventions, board meetings, arena events, tradeshows and conferences. Kervin previously served as Senior Sales Manager with Hilton Hotels, Event Coordinator for the Committee on Discipleship Ministries (formerly Christian Education and Publications) of the Presbyterian Church in America, and public relations professional for a high-tech PR firm.




America Special Section with coverage • IMEX of this year’s show and features on several exhibiting destinations

annual Mid-Market Review, profiling some • The of the country’s best second-tier meeting sites in-depth look at CAESARS FORUM, • An opening next year latest meeting industry news from • The Atlantic City, Arizona and Hawaii from planning pros on sourcing and • Tips contracting vendors

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CREATING EXPERIENCES HCPS DESIRE AT MEDICAL CONVENTIONS Findings from a new study will be instrumental to planners’ efforts By Katie Koziol


s medical meetings specialists, Ashfield Meetings & Events has published two independent studies on the motivations of healthcare professionals (HCPs) to attend medical meetings: The Future of Meetings (2016) and The Science of Healthcare Professional Meetings (2018). Our white papers unequivocally identified that faceto-face meetings and events form a major part of HCPs’ continuing medical education, and what was abundantly clear was that national and international congresses are of significant importance. But why is this? What is it that makes congresses such a valuable education channel to time-restricted physicians? As a business that provides congress support services for many of the world’s leading healthcare organizations, we were keen to discover how HCPs themselves would like to see congresses evolve to better meet their needs. So, this year, we set out to explore medical congresses, looking at the reasons these events are so valuable to physicians in a study titled The Science of Healthcare Congresses.* Our unique survey of over 200 HCPs from both Europe and the United States, and across a range of therapy areas, highlights HCP preferences and perceptions of medical congresses, including their decision-making regarding attendance, how they value this type of activity, how they apportion their time onsite and engage with the healthcare industry, and their post-congress evaluation. Not only have we learned much about how healthcare professionals view the whole congress experience as part of their medical learning journey, but we’ve also identified key components that may help shape healthcare companies’ congress strategies and influence meeting planners’ best practices in the future.


A thirst for new data through a multitude of channels A congress provides the healthcare industry with a unique opportunity, in that thousands of healthcare professionals descend on a single location for a short but focused period of time. These HCPs have a thirst to consume new data, to expand their knowledge and learn about the latest products. HCPs assess their personal education and knowledge gaps, linking these to the congress’s scientific content when making the decision to attend (72 percent cited this), and they measure this value against the necessary time spent away from their office. Yet 75 percent of physicians indicated that while they’re onsite, the most significant challenge is the inability to attend all the sessions they desire. A solution to this problem is the provision of on-demand content, and 85 percent of our audience had “sometimes” accessed this content. HCPs are seeking access to scientific content through a range of multimedia channels, such as web-based applications, podcasts and even traditional USBs and printed handouts. HCPs’ expectations of healthcare companies An encouraging finding for healthcare companies was that 98 percent of HCPs see the role of the industry as an important one. Physicians rely on healthcare companies to provide information on the latest products and medical advances in their therapy area (listed as the top two most important factors). Relating to this survey result, it was particularly interesting to note just how much the HCPs value the exhibit hall. Ninetyone percent said it was an important part of their congress experience, ranking it as the most effective element of a congress for networking. Forty-two percent indicated that being able to visit all the exhibition booths is one of the top-three onsite challenges. And when visiting a booth, HCPs are keen to engage with key opinion leaders (KOLs) and medical science liaisons (MSLs) in order to better meet their educational needs. Eighty-eight percent of physicians advised that they would question why a leading healthcare company might not have a presence in the exhibit hall, seemingly affirming healthcare companies’ often cited “fear of missing out” reason for attending. A tailored experience When asked what could improve their onsite experience, 64 Continued on page 113



SHOW YOUR GDPR IQ 5 best practices to keep your organization compliant By Eli Sananes


he European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been law since 2016, but the sweeping legislation grew its teeth in May 2018, when enforcement began. And those teeth are quite sharp. Noncompliance with the law, which governs how EU citizens’ data can be used and shared, can bring steep fines to companies, including up to 4 percent of their total global revenue. Thus, it is more critical than ever for meeting planners to have tight controls around their programs and related data. GDPR makes its scope very clear: It applies to the processing of EU citizens’ personal data, regardless of whether the processing takes place in the EU or not. A request for consent must be given in an easily accessible form, with the purpose for data processing attached to that request. While GDPR’s impact from a planning perspective is somewhat minimal, the greatest impact, in my opinion, occurs during the registration and housing stages of the planning process. It is critical to use clear and unambiguous language during the registration process, ensuring individuals understand how their information will be utilized, and to give them the opportunity to opt in or out. Furthermore, it’s vital that the data shared with other vendors, such as hotels, ground transportation companies and DMCs, is also used only for the purposes of the meeting, and not for marketing or other unsolicited purposes. Planners even need to be vigilant when using data provided prior to GDPR taking effect, such as when they use attendee information from older meetings. Under the regulations, they must inform anyone if there is any incorrect data recorded, and they also must purge the data if it had been acquired without proper consent.



Technology Make sure you have the right event management technology in place in order to adhere to the new FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

regulations. My company, Global Meetings & Incentives, licenses Cvent, which is really at the forefront of GDPR best practice resources when it comes to mobile apps, attendee management and onsite registration. In addition, tech companies like Cvent and Aventri conduct outside audits to ensure GDPR compliance.


Education Continue to seek additional certifications and accreditations that are important to your stakeholders. Meeting industry organizations such as MPI are building GDPR content into their educational offerings.


Consent is Key Make sure you are complying with GDPR mandate of positive opt-in, and maintain evidence of consent, along with ease of withdrawal.


Privacy by Design Clearly define the business purpose for capturing, processing and storing attendee information for each event. Have an ironclad approach to data collection, storage and access that ensures security and data privacy are maintained.


Data Minimization Only collect data needed for the specific event. Make sure the data collected is adequate, relevant and limited. When the program concludes, delete it. Implementing these best practices stands to become even more critical in the near future. GDPR has brought data privacy issues to the forefront, and that is influencing legislation beyond the EU. Several U.S. states — California, Washington, New Mexico and Massachusetts, to name a few — have been moving on data privacy legislation that bears some resemblance to GDPR, and there has been talk of federal data privacy protections in the United States as well. Even so, meeting planners should not look on the regulation as a negative or a burden. Rather, they should see it as an opportunity to show the value of their role and strategic meeting management. Eli Sananes is President of Boca Raton, FL-based Global Meetings & Incentives (GMI). He brings over 20 years of industry experience to GMI, a leading meeting logistics provider with emphasis on the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. 111

MEASURE! MEASURE! MEASURE! An update on attendee tracking technologies By Neal Thompson


n the past couple of years, the types of technologies for measuring attendee behavior onsite have evolved significantly. In addition, the best practices for leveraging the resulting data have evolved. Let’s start with a brief history of the options and an update on their current positioning in the market.


Fundamental to understanding the landscape of technologies is the concept of active versus passive scanning. In active scanning, the attendee engages in the scanning process. The classic example is lead retrieval, where the attendee presents his or her badge to an exhibitor for scanning. This contrasts with passive scanning methods where the attendee is scanned without any interaction. An example of this is walking over a radio frequency identification (RFID) mat when attending the general session. Both are useful, depending on the use case and business results. It is also not uncommon to use a combination of methods in larger events to support various scanning scenarios.


iBeacons are Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices that when placed throughout a venue, can either read a tag placed on the badge or interact with a mobile app. For example, by using BLE badges, you can measure traffic flow on the exhibit floor. If using a mobile app, you can present information on the mobile app that is contextual to the user’s location, such as a sponsorship offer. iBeacons are completely passive. In other words, they do not allow for active scanning and cannot be used for access control to a session, for example. However, they are very valuable for monitoring traffic in a large exhibit hall or other location as the beacons are relatively inexpensive, small and easily deployed. When using iBeacons for creating mobile app behaviors, such as offers, push notifications, etc., we have found this technology to be much less reliable. A lot of things must go right. First, the mobile app needs to be running, BLE needs to be turned on, and given the plethora of devices, a reliable 112

connection between the app and the BLE system must occur. We find only a small amount of success using this technology. However, we are constantly evaluating new iBeacon technology.


RFID has become the workhorse of the industry. Costs have gone down, equipment options have increased, and both active and passive scanning are enabled. Using handheld devices or kiosks provides access control, while mats and overhead installations provide passive scanning. In addition, there are now a number of plug-and-play micro devices that connect to inexpensive handhelds, allowing vendors to create custom solutions. In most cases, the scanning is very fast and accurate.


Marketing organizations recognize the importance of focusing on the use and adoption of increasingly sophisticated marketing automation tools. These tools are now comprehensive rule-based communication engines connecting to popular CRM applications. By posting the scanning data to these tools, the entire attendee journey can be mapped against purchased products, by decision-making ranking of the customer, and even against other attendee journeys from the same customer organization. This enables real-time marketing during the event, cross-pollination opportunities, as well as the visibility of onsite attendee journeys to account teams. For example, if a customer with a high volume of spend is identified as attending a session or demo of a product the individual currently does not own, an executive briefing can be immediately scheduled, and pipeline movement can occur onsite. Additionally, mass customized messaging, session suggestions, product demos and one-on-one meetings can all be driven by attendee behavior, so the result is a more purposeful attendee journey with ROI measured at the individual level.


Several new biometric measurements are starting to show promise as the new frontier for attendee tracking. Currently, these are wearable technologies and facial recognition. Wearable technologies operate in a very similar manner to the fitness wearables common in the marketplace. They are designed to collect biometric data and then translate this data into engagement scoring for the attendees. While an interesting concept, currently the technology is bulky and requires the FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

attendees to wear a separate device. As of publication, I am not aware of any event measurement company creating a device app to run on common wearable platforms, which would break down the model’s barriers of cost and distribution/collection. A second approach, which shows more promise, is facial recognition. While these services are being used today to provide facial recognition check-in, the same cloud services enable the submission of photos and even streaming video, returning detailed emotional scoring and engagement data from the facial expressions. Early prototypes and research conducted at Maritz show that this approach is very promising, especially when combined with self-reporting survey data. With all biometric data collection, legal and privacy concerns need to be considered. Currently, laws differ by municipality, state, etc., and are trending toward increasing the ability for attendees to have their data removed (e.g., the General Data Protection Regulation) and to have anonymous methods in how data is aggregated, as well as the storage of data for shorter periods of time. As with most new technologies, the advancement and capabilities often outpace the legal constructs

MEDICAL CONVENTIONS Continued from page 110

percent of HCPs said they seek an invitation to attend sessions that address their personal medical questions. Fifty percent of physicians are looking for program recommendations that will broaden their knowledge and understanding. This personalized experience, with more targeted medical education opportunities and engagements, could make a real, positive impact on an HCP’s overall congress experience.


These are just some of the key findings of The Science of Healthcare Congresses that are set to help medical meeting planners in the future. The full data suggests the importance of a defined congress strategy and program of activities that delivers high-quality, customer-centric medical education. Delivering a congress strategy that puts the physician at its core can only benefit the healthcare professional, healthcare companies and their medical meeting planners, and ultimately and most importantly, the lives of patients. Katie Koziol is Client Relationship Director for Ashfield Meetings & Events. Part of UDG Healthcare plc, Ashfield is a full-service global event management company specializing in serving the healthcare sector. Koziol has been in the pharmaceutical meeting planning industry for over 16 years. Her background consists of managing global programs, including congresses, advisory boards and sales meeting, providing her a solid foundation in cultivating strategic partnerships across key clients and operations teams. *To download The Science of Healthcare Congresses, visit FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 SUPERBOOK

that will ultimately guide them. However, the promise of richer, more actionable data will drive this technology in certain event types, such as employee meetings, where privacy concerns are lessened. Ultimately, event owners will need to figure out how to provide incentives to attendees where opting in provides value, such as rankings of the most engaging content. Neal Thompson is the Sr. Director, Strategic Technology at Maritz Travel. He joined Maritz in 1993 and was the business architect for all client-facing technologies. Today, he provides a strategic leadership role at Maritz Travel, responsible for bringing emerging technologies to market. He combines his technical depth of knowledge with his experience leading client projects while focusing on the attendee experience. Thompson has an undergraduate degree in Communications and a master’s degree in Human Computer Communication, the study of physical interactions and psychological behavior between people and technology.

ADVERTISER INDEX Akron/Summit CVB............................................................................................................ 86 Albany Capital Center......................................................................................................... 68 Atlantic City Convention Center........................................................................................ 27 Austin Convention Center................................................................................................. 13 Boise Centre.......................................................................................................................... 6 Caesars Entertainment........................................................................................................C4 Century Center.................................................................................................................... 87 Cobo Center........................................................................................................................ 19 Connecticut Convention Center........................................................................................ 25 David L. Lawrence Convention Center.............................................................................. 70 Duke Energy Convention Center....................................................................................... 36 Durham Convention Center............................................................................................... 80 Events DC............................................................................................................................. 39 Explore St. Louis..................................................................................................................C3 Greater Birmingham CVB................................................................................................... 41 Greater Columbus Convention Center.............................................................................. 91 Greater Richmond Convention Center............................................................................ 109 Hawaii Convention Center.................................................................................................. 21 Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland................................................................... 89 IMEX..................................................................................................................................... 63 Indiana Convention Center................................................................................................ 92 Iowa Events Center.............................................................................................................. 94 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.................................................................................... 72 Kansas Expocentre ............................................................................................................. 93 Long Beach CVB.................................................................................................................. 43 Los Angeles Convention Center........................................................................................ 35 Meadowlands Expo Center................................................................................................ 77 Meet AC............................................................................................................................... 17 Miami Beach Convention Center....................................................................................... 45 Mobile Convention Center................................................................................................. 82 Mohegan Sun....................................................................................................................... 71 Monona Terrace Convention Center................................................................................. 95 Montego Bay Convention Center...................................................................................... 67 Music City Center.................................................................................................................. 3 New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.......................................................... 23 Orange County Convention Center................................................................................... 53 Owensboro Convention Center......................................................................................... 84 Pasadena CVB.................................................................................................................... 103 Pennsylvania Convention Center....................................................................................... 12 Phoenix Convention Center...............................................................................................C4 Puerto Rico Convention Center......................................................................................... 15 Roland Powell Convention Center/Ocean City CVB........................................................ 78 Saint Charles Convention Center....................................................................................... 97 Shreveport Convention Center........................................................................................ 109 SMG........................................................................................................................................ 8 Solomon Ortiz Convention Center.................................................................................. 105 Spectra................................................................................................................................. 32 Utah Valley Convention Center........................................................................................ 106 Visit Baltimore......................................................................................................................C2 Visit Indy............................................................................................................................... 93 Visit Jackson......................................................................................................................... 81 Visit Omaha.......................................................................................................................... 11 Visit Orlando.......................................................................................................................... 7 Visit Seattle............................................................................................................................. 5 Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort ................................................................ 115 Wildwoods Convention Center.......................................................................................... 75




he Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is continuing to make improvements to its facilities and guest amenities. Currently, the Walt Disney World Swan is receiving a complete makeover of its lobby and public spaces as well as adding a new grab-n-go style coffee shop and a newly renovated gift/sundry store. New furniture and décor makes the public spaces more inviting and allows attendees improved networking with clients and colleagues. The completion in 2017 of the brand-new Walt Disney World Dolphin lobby competently transformed the space into a sleek contemporary area that 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 offer 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 and all-new contemporary décor and furnishings, with more than double the amount of seating. The lobby redesign is the final stage of a $150 million project that also included 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 the 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 333,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, 87 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 18 world-class restaurants and lounges including the famed 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 and 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;

1500 Epcot Resorts Boulevard • Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 • (800) 524-4939; (407) 934-4290 114




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 333,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, 87 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 18 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

All-New Guest Rooms And Suites

Impressive Meeting Venues


General Manager Duke Energy Convention Center Cincinnati, OH ince joining Duke Energy Convention Center in 2006, Ric Booth has helped create a new culture of service and worked with local hospitality partners to reestablish Cincinnati in the regional and national convention market. He oversaw the initial transition to Global Spectrum (now Spectra) management and hosted the grand reopening of the Center after a major renovation and expansion.



President & CEO Lansing Entertainment & Public Facilities Authority Lansing, MI cott Keith leads the LEPFA, which manages the Lansing Center, a 300,000-sq.-ft. convention center. Keith has worked in the management, construction, consultation and operation of sports and entertainment facilities for over 20 years at various locations throughout the United States. He holds certifications facility management from IAVM and executive leadership from Cornell University.




arty Brooks began in his current position in January 2018, bringing a wealth of experience in managing both convention centers and sports and entertainment facilities. Prior to his appointment at Wisconsin Center, Brooks had served as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of America’s Center Complex in St. Louis, MO, since December 2012.





Executive Director Kansas City Convention Center Kansas City, MO or 14 years, Oscar C. McGaskey, Jr. has overseen Kansas City’s Convention and Entertainment Facilities, which include the Convention Center, Conference Center, Municipal Auditorium and American Royal Center. He is responsible for a $41 million departmental budget and 100 full-time employees. He has also been directly responsible for over $300 million in new construction and renovation projects.


CLAUDE MOLINARI General Manager Cobo Center Detroit, MI


MG promoted Claude Molinari to General Manager of Cobo Center in 2016. He is currently a board member of the Detroit CVB and has served in the industry since 1992. During his tenure at Cobo Center, he orchestrated bringing labor brokering, parking, housekeeping and security services in house, and was awarded the largest naming rights contract ever for a convention center.



CEO Wisconsin Center District Milwaukee, WI

GREGG MCMANNERS Executive Director Monona Terrace Madison, WI


or the past 16 years, Gregg McManners, CFE, has led the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, a LEED-awarded facility designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. His experience includes serving on the IAVM Board of Directors and serving as IAVM’s representative to the National Fire Protection Association. In 2018, IAVM honored him with a President’s Chair Citation for his contributions to the industry.


General Manager Greater Columbus Convention Center Columbus, OH 20-year SMG veteran, Page became General Manager of the Greater Columbus Convention Center in 2013. He most recently guided the facility through its award-winning 22-month, $140 million expansion and renovation and the construction of the $18 million Goodale Garage. He leads a staff composed of the city’s large contingent of Certified Tourism Ambassadors.


General Manager Peoria Civic Center Peoria, IL


n June 2018, Rik Edgar began leading the Peoria Civic Center, a multipurpose venue that includes 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 27,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 16 meeting rooms. Edgar is the former Executive Director at VenuWorks of Racine, WI. In that role, he partnered with the Racine Downtown Design Review Committee to revitalize the Racine Civic Centre facilities.


General Manager Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland Global Center for Health Innovation on King was appointed to his current role two years ago, after having served as the General Manager of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas for six years. Under King’s leadership, SMG was awarded a five-year management contract extension by the Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Development Corporation in January 2019.



General Manager Overland Park Convention Center Overland Park, KS n 2010, Brett C. Mitchell returned as General Manager for the Overland Park Convention Center. Previously, he held the position of Vice President of Convention Center Operations & Regional Vice President for Spectra Venue Management. In that role, he directly managed operations totaling more $75 million in revenue and was instrumental in a dramatic expansion of Spectra’s convention center portfolio.



Executive Director Grand Wayne Convention Center Fort Wayne, IN art Shaw is a graduate of Ohio University and a 22-year veteran of the venue management industry. He has senior management experience at arenas, convention centers, amphitheaters and a performing arts center. Under Shaw’s leadership, the team at the Grand Wayne Center continues to impact the community by attracting both regional and national conventions.



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