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Incentives

E XP ER IE N CE AT LANT IC C IT Y’S

Highly-competitive Room and Meeting Cost Incentives

Special Midweek Bonus Incentive Programs

Meet AC Booking & Professional Planning Support

2019-2021 New Group or Convention Bookings

Contact us to learn more about Meet AC’s attractive Convention Center and city-wide incentive plans! Call 1-844-855-6338 or visit meetac.com today!


NEW NAME. NEW HEIGHTS. Ours is a story of a city and a center coming together to transform a destination. It is about the success of a public-private partnership. From the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority Board who graciously gave their time for 10 years — to the management company, SMG, who invested in our infrastructure to make it stand proud. It’s about you the customer and those who served on our committees sharing what was needed and standing by us when we were on the right track. It’s about battling back to become one of the Top 10 convention centers in the country.   Today, we are excited to start a whole new story, and take us to new heights. This is as much a thank you as it is an appeal. We hope you will take a look at our city and our center and reach for your own new heights with us.

With our Thanks, TCF Center Detroit Formerly Cobo Center


EDITOR’S NOTE

MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE ENVIRONMENT

T

he values conveyed by the organizations and facilities that host meetings can influence thousands of people, from attendees to facility staff to third parties. Fortunately for future generations, environmental stewardship remains high on the priority list for many meeting organizers, convention centers and hoteliers. Several frontrunners in the green meetings space are featured in this issue of F&D, and we hope the coverage influences more planners and facility operators to “go green.” The Hawaii Convention Center, the focus of our cover story, launched its environmental conservation program last November to mark its 20th anniversary. Entitled Ho‘omaluō, which means “to conserve; to use or manage wisely,” the program includes practices that earned the center the first LEED v.4 O+M: Existing Buildings Gold Certification in the United States. In a very different environment on the opposite end of the country, the Atlantic City Convention Center achieved LEED Gold certification this year, in part due to the water conservation features of its newly renovated restrooms (see page 26). Jim Wood, President and CEO of Meet AC, noted that “The certification will be an important talking point when vying for new business at the convention center.” While a lack of robust green features is rarely a deal-breaker for site-sourcing planners, a facility’s sustainability efforts are increasingly a “talking point,” as Wood puts it. The green side of the industry will certainly be talked about at this year’s IMEX America, where IMEX COO Nalan Emre will be part of a panel entitled “Greening the Events Industry: Sustainability Superheroes Assemble!” IMEX itself is another green movement leader featured in this issue. The organization is promoting environmental stewardship not only via education, but also through its own practices. As IMEX CEO Carina Bauer explains, the show outperformed itself in waste diversion last year and has implemented a Sustainable Exhibiting Pledge to motivate its exhibitors to support the zero-waste initiative (see page 24). Whether or not you aspire to be a “sustainability superhero,” IMEX America brings you a great deal of educational value and opens up a world of site selection possibilities. Our IMEX America Special Section provides a closer look at six IMEX exhibitors, covering a revitalized Puerto Rico, a major new meeting facility from Caesars Entertainment, a new Walt Disney World hotel tower and more. To those readers who are attending, we wish you a productive show and look forward to connecting.

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

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

2019

Volume 26 No. 3

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 AR 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 quarterly by Bedrock Communications, Inc., 55 East 59th Street, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10022. Telephone: (212) 532-4150. Fax: (435) 578-8193. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to. PO Box 1807, New York, NY 10150 Cover ad space is available by contacting a Facilities advertising account executive at (212) 532-4150.

CONTENTS DEPARTMENTS

In Brief................................................................................................................................. 4 Forum Lorne Edwards, SVP of Sales & Services, Visit Phoenix..................................................... 16 Perspectives The “Unsung Hero” of Event Design, by Monika Adelmann and Courtney Miller............. 56 Four Reasons to Go Hybrid, by Leslie Wingler.................................................................. 57 Conventions in Hindsight, by Kari Messenger................................................................... 59

Features

Hawaii Convention Center................................................................................................. 18 IMEX America Special Section........................................................................................... 22 Atlantic City....................................................................................................................... 26 Caesars Forum................................................................................................................... 29 Denver............................................................................................................................... 31 Disney Meetings................................................................................................................ 33 Fort Lauderdale................................................................................................................. 35 Puerto Rico........................................................................................................................ 37 Sites & Cities Profiles.................................................................................................... 40-55 Advertiser Index................................................................................................................ 58

2

ON THE COVER Beckoning meeting groups to a mecca for nature lovers, the Hawaii Convention Center (HCC) is in touch with both its scenic environs and the needs of conventioneers. This year, the HCC earned IAVM’s prestigious Venue Excellence Award, due in part to outstanding customer service. Learn about the new enhancements keeping the HCC ahead of the curve, and get an insider’s perspective from one of its major medical clients. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL


IN BRIEF IN BRIEF

INDUSTRY PULSE

ALEXANDRIA, VA — The Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) recognized Chele Clark, CGMP, as the Sam Gilmer Planner of the Year and Bobbi Barkley, CMP, CGMP, CFMP, as the Sam Gilmer Supplier of the Year at its 2019 National Education Conference. The Sam Gilmer Award celebrates excellence in government meeting planning and the advancement of education and professionalism across the industry. Clark is currently serving as SGMP’s Gilmer Institute of Learning Trustee for scholarships and certification and works at the Colorado Department of Law, Attorney General’s Office in Denver. Barkley is Senior Sales Manager for the Double Tree by Hilton Seattle Airport and Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center. In addition, Michelle Fink, CGMP, and Tecumseh Deloney, CGMP, CMP, were both presented the 2019 President’s Award by SGMP National President Michelle Milligan, CGMP. DALLAS, TX — This June, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reported that the B2B exhibition industry’s direct, indirect and induced contribution to U.S. GDP in 2018 was about $97 billion. “I am very pleased to learn that the U.S. exhibitions industry continued its growth in 2018. The $97 billion represents an increase of 4.3 percent over 2017,” commented CEIR Chairperson of the board and Promotional Products Association 4

International Executive Vice President Robert McLean, CPA, CAE. “This growth is an indicator of the power of face-to-face meetings as an important sales and marketing tool.” ORLANDO, FL — The Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA) saw a significant increase in attendance at its InfoComm 2019 over last year. Held at the Orange County Convention Center from June 12-14, this year’s tradeshow welcomed 44,129 registered guests, an increase from the 42,811 last year. First-time guests comprised 37 percent of attendees, and 18 percent traveled from 117 countries outside the United States. “The feedback from exhibitors has been outstanding. Many told us they had exceeded past records for booth visitors by early on the second day, an indication of very engaged attendees,” said AVIXA Senior Vice President of Exhibitions Rochelle Richardson. InfoComm is contracted to return to the Orange County Convention Center every other year through 2025.

decades with Hyatt. During his tenure, he served as General Manager at hotels and resorts across the country, including Hyatt Regency Miami, Hyatt Regency Hill Country, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville and, most recently, Hyatt Regency at Los Angeles International Airport. SPOKANE, WA — Tracey Brouillette is the newly appointed Director of National Accounts at Visit Spokane. Prior to joining the DMO, she was the Assistant Director of Sales with the Hilton San Diego Sales Complex. “Tracey is a wonderful addition to the team,” said Ruth Fitzgerald, Visit Spokane Director of Sales. “Her industry knowledge will be key to bringing more meetings and conventions to greater Spokane.” In addition to her extensive sales background, Brouillette is a member of PCMA and a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley.

ORLANDO, FL — Mike Waterman, formerly Visit Houston CEO, has been named Chief Sales Officer for Visit Orlando, reporting directly to CEO George Aguel.

TYSONS, VA — Cvent has acquired San Francisco, CAbased DoubleDutch, a leader in the mobile event app industry. “We are extremely excited to add DoubleDutch to the Cvent family,” said Reggie Aggarwal, CEO and founder of Cvent. “By adding DoubleDutch’s industry expertise to Cvent, we accelerate our investment in mobile event technology. We are also proud to welcome the talented DoubleDutch team to our more than 4,000 Cventers worldwide. Together, we will continue to drive innovation in how attendees engage at events.”

PITTSBURGH, PA — The Omni William Penn Hotel recently appointed Gino Caliendo to the position of General Manager. Caliendo joins the hotel following two

WASHINGTON, DC — Craig T. Davis, CDME, President & CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH, was named 2019-2020 Chairman of Destinations International at

the annual DI conference held in St. Louis, MO, July 23-25. A DI member since 2000, Davis has worked in the hospitality industry for more than three decades, including seven years in his current position. He identified three areas of focus for his tenure as chairman: education, international membership and diversity.

SGMP National President Michelle Milligan (right) presents the Sam Gilmer Planner of the Year Award to Chele Clark

Gino Caliendo, Omni William Penn Hotel

Tracy Brouillette, Visit Spokane

Craig T. Davis, VisitPITTSBURGH

FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL


IN BRIEF CONVENTION CENTER WATCH MIAMI BEACH, FL — Following the 2018 opening of the expanded Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC), the facility has unveiled the 60,000-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom, one of the largest in the region, and the 20,000-sq.ft. Sunset Vista ballroom. Divisible into halves or thirds, the Grand Ballroom is complemented by 18,000 sq. ft. of naturally lit prefunction space. Aptly named, Sunset Vista on the fourth floor affords panoramic views of the Miami Beach skyline. NASHVILLE, TN — Music City Center generated over $439 million in direct economic impact during the fiscal year ending in June 2019. “This year marks a milestone in our six-year history with the greatest direct economic impact to date,” said Charles Starks, President/CEO of Music City Center. “With groups contracted through 2033, we have a strong

customer base to thank as we look forward to another successful year.” For fiscal year 2019, 258 events have been hosted with an attendance of 495,934 and a direct economic impact of $439,712,745, which is an increase of over $90,000,000 compared to fiscal year 2018. NEW YORK, NY — The New York Convention Center Operating Corporation (NYCCOC), Levy Convention Centers and CxRA recently launched a new hospitality brand at the Javits Center called Cultivated. The brand will enhance the hospitality experience at the Javits Center with elements rooted in the Empire State. These include more New York ingredients and producers, as well as unique dining presentations, products sourced onsite and signature high-end catering. All event managers, exhibitors and attendees at

the Javits Center will now be served by the Cultivated team, including the creation of new menus, a new microsite dedicated to advanced and onsite catering services, and a new leadership team with decades of hospitality experience at convention centers across the United States. “We are thrilled to announce the launch of this new hospitality brand,

Oklahoma City’s MAPS 3 Convention Center was recently topped out

Cultivated, which illustrates our strong connection to New York and our mission to host unique events and experiences that support our economy and foster the sharing of ideas that move this city, this state and this world forward,” said Alan Steel, President and CEO of NYCCOC.

The Miami Beach Convention Center’s new Grand Ballroom set up for a gala 6

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The MAPS 3 Convention Center was ceremonially “topped out” on Aug. 1, an important milestone on the way to its scheduled opening in late 2020. “Now that the frame is complete, we’re excited to move into the next phase of construction with the inside of the convention center,” said Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors

Bureau President Mike Carrier. Complemented by a new Omni hotel that will open concurrently, the convention center will include a 200,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall on the ground floor, about 45,000 sq. ft. of meeting spaces throughout, and a 30,000-sq.-ft. ballroom on the fourth level, paired with 10,000 sq. ft. of pre-function space and a 4,000-sq.-ft. balcony. PHILADELPHIA, PA — Pennsylvania Convention Center leaders and their show floor trade partners recently signed a labor agreement extension that builds on the competitive work rules and expanded exhibitor rights that were first put in place in a groundbreaking agreement that was approved in May 2014. The expanded exhibitor rights within the Customer Satisfaction Agreement Continued on page 8

FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL


EXPANDING IN 2023

ENHANCING AMAZING

Orange County Convention Center

WHEN YOUR CONVENTION CENTER IS ALREADY ONE OF THE BEST, HOW DO YOU MAKE IT EVEN BETTER? YOU EXPAND. +

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Learn more at OrlandoMeeting.com


IN BRIEF IN BRIEF

CONVENTION CENTER WATCH

(CSA) went into effect Aug. 1, 2019. The CSA now empowers exhibitors to erect and tear down their own exhibit booths regardless of booth size. The agreement also continues the Center’s distinctive practice of only assessing overtime charges for trade labor after eight hours of work on weekdays, regardless of start time. The extension of the CSA was signed by Laborers’ International Local 332, IATSE Local 8 (stagehands), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 and Iron Workers Local 405. “As a result of the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s strong partnership with trade labor, our facility will have the most progressive exhibi-

tor rights of any major urban convention center in the Northeast,” asserted Gregory J. Fox, Esq., chair of the Center’s Board of Directors. The agreement will be in place until May 2029. PHOENIX, AZ — This summer, the Phoenix Convention Center opened Canyon on Third, an 80,000-sq.-ft. outdoor event space located on Third Street, between Washington and Monroe streets. Flanked by the North and West buildings, the venue is within walking distance to downtown Phoenix’s restaurants, shopping and sports facilities. (See page 16 for an interview with the President of Visit Phoenix.)

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Continued from page 6

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Canyon on Third, the Phoenix Convention Center’s new outdoor event space

{MADISON, WI}

blog.mononaterrace.com ©2019 Monona Terrace

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FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL 20264_MT-HappyPlace-Facilities-and-Destinations-3.5x10.indd 1

7/17/19 11:33 AM


“TAKE OUR TECH FOR A SPIN” our tech stats

802.11 a/g/n/ac Wireless Network

2,500+ CAT 6 Copper UTP Ports

20,000

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

Wireless devices can connect simultaneously

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

Wired Internet Access

Network Service & Support

Voice Service & Support

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

request a proposAL: Phone 512.404.4200 CHECK US AT:

www.austinconventioncenter.com


IN BRIEF IN BRIEF

HOTEL HIGHLIGHTS

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — The Mountain Clubhouse at The Broadmoor has been remodeled and is ready to host banquets of up to 100 guests inside, and up to 200 guests in the expanded outdoor area. The Mountain Clubhouse is also an ideal basecamp for groups who want to experience falconry, mountain biking, teambuilding activities and other outdoor adventures provided by The Broadmoor Outfitters. LAHAINA, HI — The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa will undergo a

multimillion-dollar, Kaanapali Beach-inspired guestroom renovation beginning this fall, with completion expected by the end of 2020. During the renovation, the resort will also implement a new system allowing guests to receive their room keys on their mobile devices. LAS VEGAS, NV — Las Vegas’ first Delta Hotels by Marriott, which will be located at 3883 West Flamingo Road, broke ground on June 26. Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, CAI Investments

Founder Christopher Beavor, and executives from Marriott International and Crescent Hotels & Resorts participated in the ceremony. The 284-room property will offer groups 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and proximity to the Las Vegas Strip. Expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2021, the hotel is part of CAI Investments’ 8.6-acre mixed-use development that includes 27,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space. MACAO — The Venetian Macao and The Parisian Macao recently became InterContinental Alliance Resorts. In addition, The Londoner Hotel in Macao will join the alliance when it opens in 2020. IHG and The Venetian Resort Las Vegas also announced the long-term extension of their alliance. The partnership extends through 2027 at all five properties. Guests across these properties will be able to earn IHG Rewards Club points and redeem them for stays at more than 5,600 IHG hotels worldwide.

MCLEAN, VA — Curio Collection by Hilton is introducing five new hotels this year in the western United States: The Chrysalis Inn & Spa Bellingham, opened in April in the state of Washington; Hotel Andaluz Albuquerque, opened in May in New Mexico; Carté Hotel San Diego Downtown, opened in August in California; Hoodoo Moab, opened in August in Utah; and Cliffrose Springdale, opening in September in Utah. NEW YORK, NY — In June, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park debuted a new social dining venue, Contour, and added wellness and fitness areas. The hotel has also recently redesigned its Club Lounge, La Prairie Spa, and guestrooms and suites. ORLANDO, FL — This year, the Orlando World Center Marriott has completed redesigns and renovations of several of its spaces, including the Palms Ballroom, lobby and sushi Continued on page 12

CAI Investments Founder Christopher Beavor at the groundbreaking of Delta Hotels by Marriott’s first Las Vegas property, June 26

The Venetian Macao, now a member of InterContinental Alliance Resorts 10

FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL


The Great Florida Venue D A Y T O N A

B E A C H

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

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


IN BRIEF IN BRIEF

Dot with an “Ask the Princess” menu to answer guests’ most frequently asked questions). The Princess Pool is also being redesigned. Completion of these projects is expected in September.

HOTEL HIGHLIGHTS

Continued from page 10

bar, and the stockroom, which is now a speakeasy accommodating up to 45 guests. In addition, six all-new breakout rooms are now available. PORTLAND, OR — Projected to open in early 2023, The Ritz-Carlton, Portland will offer 251 guestrooms and over 13,000 sq. ft. of function space. The hotel will be part of a new, 35-story, mixed-use tower. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year. SAN FRANCISCO, CA — A new Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel, The Clancy, is scheduled to

open in January in South of Market (SoMa) district. The property is a rebranding and renovation of the Courtyard San Francisco Downtown. The 410-room Clancy will house 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. SCOTTSDALE, AZ — The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is renovating 458 of its guestrooms and 20 suites; all other guestrooms and suites have been renovated over the past few years. According to the resort, the new guestroom design features a “tranquil desert décor with clean, modern lines and furnishings” and new guestroom technology is also being added (e.g., an Echo

LOOKING AHEAD 2019-2020 WINTER ISSUE To subscribe, visit facilitiesonline.com/subscribe

12

TUCSON, AZ — Part of the Graduate Hotels collection, the 164-room Graduate Tucson is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020. Located near the University of Arizona,

the hotel will offer 4,840 sq. ft. of function space as well as a rooftop pool and bar. VIRGINIA BEACH, VA — The Hyatt Place Virginia Beach Town Center opened in June. The 127-room hotel offers more than 2,400 sq. ft. of flexible, high-tech function space and amenities such as property-wide free WiFi, the Coffee to Cocktails Bar and a 24-hour gym.

The Orlando World Center Marriott’s recently renovated lobby bar

FEATURING: • The annual Mid-Market Review, profiling some of America’s overachieving second-tier cities • The PRISM Hotel Awards, recognizing the top meeting hotels and resorts based on reader nominations • Planner Roundtable: Veteran planners weigh in on a hot topic in the field • Coverage of IAEE Expo! Expo! 2019 • F&D Forums: in-depth Q&As with industry leaders on the move • Tips from the pros on negotiating contracts and implementing meeting tech tools • The latest meeting news from San Francisco, Ohio, Texas and the Caribbean

FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL


AFTER A GOOD MEETING, A GREAT NIGHT’S NEVER FAR AWAY Step outside America’s Center to discover a city begging to be explored. Grab a slice at Pi Pizza, ride the bull at Ballpark Village, or catch a live show at the National Blues Museum. Take a break and find fun right around the corner. Turn your good meeting into a great adventure at explorestlouis.com/meet.


IN BRIEF MEETING DEALS

ALEXANDRIA, VA — The Alexandrian, an Autograph Collection hotel, is offering ALX Extra Perks for small to midsized groups meeting between Dec. 6, 2019 and March 9, 2020. Perks include a 3 percent rebate on guestrooms, 15 percent AV discount, 10 percent off standard banquet menu prices, Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points and more. For details, visit thealexandrian. com/meetings-events/ promotions.

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is offering the Ultimate Meetings Package for large group bookings. Meetings booked by Dec. 31, 2019 that exceed 1,300 hotel room nights on a master account will receive: complimentary in-room Internet, complimentary use of fitness center, four Piatto suites at group rate, 10 Fiore suites at group rate, early check-in, late checkout, 10 percent rebate off catering charges to master, 10 percent off 14

AV price list, two roundtrip limo airport transfers from Philadelphia or Newark, one two-bedroom Presidential suite with butler service at group rate, 10 percent rebate to master account spend value over and above $400,000, and a $2,500 dining credit. Event contract must include F&B and in-house AV purchases that exceed $500,000. Contact Bernie Sefcik, Director of Hotel Sales, at (609) 317-7522 or bernardsefcik@ theborgata.com. (For details on Borgata’s meetings business and facilities, see page 28.)

BOSTON, MA — The Langham Boston reopens next spring following the complete transformation of its 312 guestrooms, 13,000 sq. ft. of function space and two dining venues. The hotel’s Group Offer applies to bookings placed from now through June 30, 2020, for events held between July 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021 (subject to hotel availability; blackout dates apply). The offer includes two of the following enhancements for qualified events with 20-39 guestrooms per night, and four enhancements for qualified events with 40 or more guestrooms per night: waived cancellation terms (applicable to event cancelling at least

90 days prior to arrival); no attrition rate charges (applicable to guestrooms releasing at least 30 days prior to arrival); complimentary Internet access for all guestrooms; one complimentary room per 40 paying rooms; one complimentary room upgrade to a suite per 40 paying rooms per night; $100 spa credit for the planner or a VIP; one round-trip airport transfer for planner or a VIP. Contact the sales and catering team at (617) 451-1900 or tlbos.sales@ langhamhotels.com.

KAUAI, HAWAII — Kauai Beach Resort’s Ocean of Possibilities Perks Program offers qualifying groups 15 percent commission plus choice of complimentary perks. Meeting must be booked by Oct. 31, 2019. One perk for groups of 10-20, two for groups of 21-40, and three for groups of over 41 attendees. Perks include complimentary suite, complimentary welcome Mai Tai, reduced resort fee, complimentary continental breakfast, complimentary lei greeting, and one per 25 comp room. Contact Troy Richardson at (808) 246-5576 or TroyR@ kauaibeachresortandspa. com.

ORLANDO, FL — Universal Orlando Resort Meetings & Events’ Universe of Perks offer provides meeting planners with three free incentives when they book Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando Resort. The contract must be signed by Dec. 31, 2019 and the meeting actualized in May or SeptemberDecember, 2019 through 2024. Incentive options include: applying hotel F&B minimum to a catered event at select venues in Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure or Universal CityWalk; a 3 percent rebate on rooms revenue or a 4 percent rebate when booking multiple years of the same size and value; 10 percent off of the hotel published catering menus; one complimentary hotel room when booking 40 guestrooms; basic WiFi in the meeting rooms, free of charge; double Loews MVP points; and a complimentary one-hour cocktail reception at the hotel. For more information, visit https://blog. universalorlando.com/ trade/a-universe-of-perks.

FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL


MEET AT

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

2.5k guest rooms

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To book, visit PasadenaMeetings.com


FFORUM ORUM LORNE EDWARDS

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES & SERVICES, VISIT PHOENIX

BY ANTHONY BILDEN

L

orne Edwards was promoted to his current position in January 2017, after having served as Director of Sales for five years. Prior to joining Visit Phoenix, Edwards spent 16 years in sales and marketing roles with Hyatt Hotels Corporation. While Phoenix boasts healthy hotel development and even a new outdoor event venue at the Phoenix Convention Center (see page 8), there is much more to this “young, ever-changing city,” as he describes it. “New elements such as our first downtown grocery store, opening in late September, are bringing in more residents and creating a more vibrant and livable atmosphere.” For incoming groups, new restaurants and existing CSR and teambuilding opportunities make for a holistic meeting experience beyond hotel and convention center walls. Q. Has the downtown reached its full potential, or are there further enhancements in the pipeline?

A. With so many changes on the horizon for downtown, every year is going to be bigger and more exciting than the next for meeting groups. There are currently multiple downtown hotels undergoing renovations, new hotels coming into the market (which will bring us to nearly 4,000 rooms by 2020), new restaurant concepts, and Block 23, which will feature the first downtown grocery store and an arena renovation. Each year brings a new opportunity to make Downtown Phoenix bigger, better and more relevant than the year prior. Q. Looking to the future, how is the city’s meetings business trending? A. T  he eight-year pace for convention center and hotel/ resort bookings are both over 100 percent. Our citywide and hotel/resort sales teams have continued to surpass annual goals. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019, our Citywide sales team booked a record 307,000 convention delegates for future years. Q.What key partnerships does Visit Phoenix maintain that facilitate your clients’ events? A. T  he Visit Phoenix team has incredible partnerships with the Phoenix Convention Center and the downtown hotels. It is an easy experience for our clients to work with our CVB because of the tight-knit connections. It allows teams to work together to complete the vision of any convention or meeting to the fullest extent. No matter how big or small a group or task is, Visit Phoenix and all of the partners are ready to take it on and create that memorable experience. 16

“Organizations such as Feed My Starving Children, United Methodist Outreach Ministries and Keep Phoenix Beautiful work with groups and volunteers to tackle some of the biggest challenges the world faces.” Q. Can you provide examples of CSR activities that have been popular with groups? A. T  here are several CSR activities that significantly stand out to us in the Greater Phoenix community. Organizations such as Feed My Starving Children, United Methodist Outreach Ministries and Keep Phoenix Beautiful work with groups and volunteers to tackle some of the biggest challenges the world faces, such as hunger, relief for transients, enhancing the impoverished neighborhoods, and building a robust sustainability program to create the most impactful philanthropic efforts. Q. Which offsite venues would you recommend to planners seeking to express the local culture through their event? A. Several offsite venues speak to our local culture and are something we pride ourselves in delivering to visitors. There are places like Corona Ranch that offer a taste of true Southwestern flair with rodeos and unique teambuilding events, and The Duce, which encompasses a menu made from scratch using only fresh, local and organic ingredients, all created in a 1968 streamline trailer. Phoenix is also home to Heard Museum and is one of the best places to experience the numerous cultures and art of American Indians of the Southwest. Q. Which features of Phoenix’s hospitality infrastructure would you like to bring to planners’ attention? A. S  ky Harbor is extremely accessible to the Downtown Phoenix area. Additionally, it is extremely affordable and easy to transport to and from. From a meetings perspective, Phoenix has the opportunity to compete for large-scale meetings and conventions with the state-ofthe-art Phoenix Convention Center (PCC) as well as our surrounding downtown hotels. Furthermore, the nearby Phoenix Biomedical Campus can be an extension of the PCC for medical groups. In addition, downtown Phoenix is continually welcoming new bars and restaurants that are adding vibrancy and a true sense of walkability within the downtown area, elevating the overall experience. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL


Boise’s Best. At its Centre. Centrally located in the heart of vibrant downtown Boise, the newly expanded Boise Centre has a variety of customizable meeting spaces, modern amenities, exceptional culinary services and a friendly and dedicated staff ready to make your next event an unforgettable experience. Explore Idaho’s premier convention center for yourself.

• Centralized, downtown location • Only seven minutes from Boise airport • Over 20 direct flights from major U.S. cities • Surrounded by more than 100 restaurants and breweries • Over 1,200 hotel rooms within walking distance • Close to outdoor recreation, including the Boise Greenbelt

LEARN MORE: boisecentre.com


VENUE REVIEW

Rooftop event at the Hawaii Convention Center

HAWAII CONVENTION 2019 IAVM VENUE EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNER INTRODUCES A VARIETY OF NEW AMENITIES

G

eographically speaking, the Hawaii Convention Center (HCC) may well be the ideal site choice in the United States for conventions aiming to cater to members in the Asia-Pacific region. An organization that recently began taking advantage of this accessibility is the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), which had been meeting in Florida until 2012 and then in various mainland North American cities. “ARVO has a large membership base in Asia, and this group had been disadvantaged related to the location of the meeting always being in Florida. So Hawaii made sense both as an appealing destination to all of our members and as a good option for our members in Asia,” explains Lancey Cowan, JD, CAE, Chief Meetings Officer. ARVO first held its Annual Meeting at the HCC in 2018, drawing over 11,000 delegates. The first ARVO International meeting — branded ARVO Pacific Rim — will be held at the facility in October 2020. “We chose Hawaii [a second time] because of the success of our 2018 Annual Meeting there and the good attendance from Asia, in addition to the ease of executing a meeting at the Center,” Cowan says. That prowess in customer service garnered major

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industry recognition this summer when the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) named the HCC its 2019 Venue Excellence Award winner. The award was presented on July 24 at VenueConnect to Teri Orton, General Manager of the HCC, managed by AEG Facilities. “This award honors the work of our entire team for providing world-renowned service and aloha to each of our guests,” Orton said. “During the past year, we were proud to welcome a variety of major conferences and international sports tournaments, and develop new and engaging community events, such as Sunset Mele and Night Market,” she added. “We also rolled out numerous amenities to provide additional convenience, as well as launched our Ho’omaluō environmental conservation program, which includes our Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.”

THE LATEST ENHANCEMENTS

Among the new amenities, features and venues recently introduced at the HCC are the following: 1801 Café + Bar in the main lobby, offering fresh-made snacks, lunch items, beverages and local treats and gift items

FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL


CENTER By George Seli

• A n easily accessible business center on the third floor • 1 2 luxurious massage chairs • A Mamava nursing pod to provide a secure, comfortable and private lactation space for mothers • T wo secure charging station locker bays located at key points throughout the building • C ontemporary furniture with large, plush cushions throughout public spaces • A n online interactive map and 3D floor plans that allow planners and guests to view and tour services and spaces • C omplimentary light-use Wi-Fi in all public spaces • A floral arrangement and plant rental program • D igital signage in high-traffic locations for easy exhibit or

event promotion This year, numerous medical conventions with international attendance have enjoyed these new amenities, including the International Stroke Conference in February, which drew registrants from 50 countries; the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s 50th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in March, which welcomed attendees from more than 40 countries; the American Roentgen Ray Society’s annual meeting in May, which drew nearly 2,500 participants from

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“We chose Hawaii because of the success of our 2018 Annual Meeting there and the good attendance from Asia, in addition to the ease of executing a meeting at the Center.” —Lancey Cowan, JD, CAE, Chief Meetings Officer, ARVO 32 countries; and the 15th International Congress of Toxicology, the first ICT meeting held in the United States in nearly 25 years. ARVO Pacific Rim registrants, who will number about 1,000, can look forward to the variety of enhancements at the HCC. The association already has a favorable impression of the facility’s design. “The building itself with its indoor/outdoor setup is unique,” says Cowan. “We have attendees from all over the world with different preferences related to the temperature in the building. The climate-controlled meeting rooms suited the needs of some attendees, while others really enjoyed the opportunity to sit in the common areas where it was warmer. The opportunity to experience so much natural light during a meeting is also unique.” In terms of amenities, Cowan commends the HCC’s Wi-Fi coverage. “We often say our members are happy if they have ‘Wi-Fi, coffee and a place to sit down.’ The HCC met the mark on all of these and our attendees had a wonderful experience. The availability of water bottle fillers was something that some may consider small, but that had a great impact on our meeting. Our members are very health conscious and appreciated having this option. Also, having two permanent auditorium sets was something unique that we appreciated.”

KEY SUPPORTING PLAYERS

The food and beverage service, which Cowan describes as 19


ARVO attendees enjoy traditional Hawaiian entertainment

SCENIC SETTINGS FOR ATTENDEES

HCC General Manager Teri Orton (left) and Director of Operations Mari Tait receive the IAVM 2019 Venue Excellence Award

“excellent,” is led by newly appointed Executive Chef Hans Lentz. An award-winning chef with nearly three decades of experience in culinary management, Lentz most recently served as Executive Chef at Jumeriah Hotels & Resorts in Dubai. He previously served as the Executive Chef of the Hilton Waikoloa Village, and as Executive Chef at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, both on the Island of Hawaii. Lentz leads the Center’s culinary program under AEG partner Levy Convention Centers. Another partner in the planning process at the HCC is the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB). Their dynamic staff “assisted us with sourcing all aspects of the meeting from finding the hotels that we needed to sourcing DMC services for entertainment and other needs,” Cowan says. She relates an example of that assistance: “We ended up sourcing supplies while on our planning site visit and needed a storage unit for these items — they assisted us in finding this and other similar needs.” The HCC also helped iron out the details of the ARVO Annual Meeting: “We purchased lei for our Board and VIPs, and were able to do this through the Center, which made offering this local touch very easy for us.” The HVCB also helps connect planners to the ideal resort(s) for their meeting. And there is a vast selection, with more than 30,000 overnight rooms in Waikiki, 28,000 of which lie in a 1.5-mile radius of the HCC. “We had large blocks at all of the major hotels in the destination — Hilton Hawaiian Village, Sheraton Waikiki, Royal Hawaiian, Ala Moana, Prince Waikiki, Marriott Waikiki and more,” Cowan says. “The variety of price point options in Honolulu is excellent and we were able to arrange tiered rates at most properties based on room type and view. This was very helpful to our planning. For our International meeting, we are initially planning to utilize a resort option (Hilton Hawaiian Village), a convention option (Ala Moana) and a business traveler option (Prince), and will add additional properties (or rooms at these properties) as needed.” 20

A major lodging option for convention groups, the 2,860room Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort offers over 150,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including the 2,600-capacity Mid-Pacific Conference Center. The ARVO Annual Meeting took advantage of the Great Lawn, Waikiki’s largest private oceanfront grass lawn. Affording views of the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, the venue accommodates up to 1,600 guests for a banquet or luau and 2,000 for a reception. “The only event we did away from the Convention Center was our Foundation Gala, which took place on the Great Lawn,” Cowan says. “Attendees were being seated at sunset and it was a great event showcasing the beauty of Hawaii; we had keiki hula dancers and other local entertainment.” All of the ARVO attendees enjoyed an “event with a view” at the HCC’s Rooftop Garden, where the social event for the overall membership took place. “We used a luau theme and had hula lessons and Hawaiian arts and crafts for attendees to participate in,” she describes. With large windows displaying mountain vistas and a center concourse that opens up to a canal, the HCC is certainly immersed in its natural environment. A rooftop event such as ARVO’s not only connects attendees to that amazing scenery, but also to Hawaii’s timeless culture.

FACILIT Y FAST FACT S

• Located eight miles from the Daniel K. Inouye • • • • •

International Airport (HNL) on Honolulu’s Kalakaua Avenue, home to shopping, dining and entertainment venues. 200,000-sq.-ft. Kamehameha Exhibit Hall and 35,000-sq.-ft. Kalakaua Ballroom, both divisible into thirds 47 meeting rooms, many with shaded verandas or direct courtyard access 35,000-sq.-ft. registration lobby Two tiered-seating theaters for up to 329 and 467 attendees, respectively 2.5-acre rooftop events garden, accommodating 1,000-person banquets or 2,500-person receptions overlooking the city

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Plan your 2020 vision. Our pulses are racing already. We’re thrilled because in September 2020, IMEX America returns to Sands Expo for the milestone 10th edition of our ever-evolving industry showcase. Save the dates now, so we can share this incredible chance to blaze new trails, create and deepen bonds, and savor all of our successes.

Register your interest at imexamerica.com

The heartbeat of the global business events community


IMEX Group CEO Shares Some of This Year’s Highlights and Plans for Upcoming Shows

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elcoming roughly 3,500 suppliers and 4,000 qualified buyers this year, the largest meetings industry tradeshow in the United States continues to grow. But it’s not only sheer size that attracts industry professionals to IMEX America, it’s the robust connectivity among participants. “An unrelenting focus on allowing attendees and exhibitors to do business together easily, quickly and efficiently underpins the whole show,” says Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group. “For example, last year 74,000 business appointments between buyers and suppliers took place at IMEX America. That represents a huge, potential deal pipeline from just three days of business on the show floor. Add a commitment to yearon-year creative experiences, innovation, sustainability and four days of education at ‘no charge,’ and I believe this is why the show keeps growing and why more new companies join us every year.” Among the more than 20 new exhibitors this year are Tourism Trinidad, Visit Spokane, Visit San Antonio, Destination Cleveland and Rocco Forte Hotels. And over 30 current exhibitors have expanded their presence at the show, including Live National Special Events, Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau, Discover The Palm Beaches and the Canadian Tourism Commission. Planners can expect even more exhibitors and colleagues at future installments of IMEX America, as the show’s leadership is still very growth minded. “North America is an enormous market and we know we’ve only just scratched the surface in the last 10 years,” says Bauer. “There are many thousands of planners in various different pockets such as live event agencies, corporations and associations plus thousands more exhibitors who are yet to realize what IMEX has to offer.”

Apart from the business value of buyer-supplier connections, IMEX is a wellspring of new ideas in meeting planning given the immense variety of sessions and presenters. The show aims to inspire attendees to come up with new ideas of their own with several elements that fall under this year’s Talking Point of Imagination. One example is the Discovery Zone, showcasing trendsetting ideas in the meetings industry from fields such as artificial intelligence and hologram technology. Another example is the Imagination Wall, which shares “hero and ‘shero’ stories. These are all people who asked ‘what if …’ and went on to change the world,” Bauer explains. “When it comes to inspiring more imaginative events, our new industry white paper, researched and produced by EventMB. com and supported by PSAV, will be invaluable. The EventMB team will be running several sessions on Smart Monday (Sept. 9) and throughout the show to share its findings, and we’re designing it as a really practical toolkit for planners, packed with ideas they can implement tomorrow, next week or next year. It will use real-life event case studies and examples to prove that asking ‘what if …’ and following through with measurable action really is possible. Corporate planners will be particularly interested to learn how some big brands are changing up their meeting and events models.” Among the broad spectrum of topics covered at more than 180 education events at IMEX America, Bauer cites risk management and risk aversion as “perennial hot topics. They never go away, and why would they? One example of a fantastic, extremely high value workshop is ‘What Kind of Leader Are You Under Maximum Pressure?’ led by Edouard Getaz of InsideRisk LLC. It’s a workshop I’ve done myself Continued on page 24

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g n i v i hr

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• 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 annually • 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 www.columbusconventlons.com


“An unrelenting focus on allowing attendees and exhibitors to do business together easily, quickly and efficiently underpins the whole show.” —Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group

Continued from page 22

and we’re amazingly lucky to be offering it to some Smart Monday attendees free of charge. It will take participants through a real-life hostage negotiation and challenge their powers of critical thinking, leadership and authentic trust.” Diversity and inclusion are also hot topics in the meetings industry these days. According to Bauer, “improving inclusivity and diversity is about recognizing that the world — and our industry — is a better place when there is better representation of all kinds of people. This isn’t a zero-sum game where one side wins and the other loses. This is about embracing and accessing talent wherever you see it.” She Means Business, which celebrates the role of women in business and the meetings industry, ran successfully for two years at IMEX Frankfurt and is now debuting at IMEX America. “This will be a catalyst for all sorts of inclusivity debates,” Bauer says. “Opening speaker Mara Harvey, Senior Manager at UBS Switzerland AG, is a total powerhouse.” Association planners in particular will appreciate the ongoing Association Leadership Forum. “Each year, ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership puts together a thought-provoking executive learning experience for senior-level leaders in the association community,” says Bauer. “It’s demanding. It’s rigorous. It’s challenging and there is unrestricted peer learning too. In the past two years we’ve done a lot of work to make sure the material and the topics are detailed and up to the minute, and that every year we introduce new formats and new issues to keep people on their toes. We’ve also developed our relationship with ASAE to make sure we play to their strengths and leverage the collective expertise of their board and also their community.” Over the last two years, the IMEX team has been consolidating and improving the entire show experience. “It’s what we live for,” says Bauer. “In the future, attendees can expect more creativity, more cutting-edge technology and more specialist learning and networking opportunities for specific groups.” IMEX America celebrates its 10th birthday next year, and at that show “you can be sure we’ll be offering some great added-value moments and experiences!” 24

GROWING THE GREEN MOVEMENT

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he many planners who practice and advocate sustainable meetings will be heartened to see IMEX America continue to prioritize this aspect of the industry. “We’re on a mission to turn the meetings and events industry bright green,” asserts Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group. “The planet is our home — it’s everyone’s home — and we all need to start making different choices in order to protect it. It’s strange because we keep hearing that people don’t realize how much green event education and how many green experiences we offer at our shows. For us, it comes naturally, but we’re now putting a much stronger focus on ‘sharing what we learn’ and on leading the industry to a much greener, more mindful place.” Some of the results of the IMEX Group’s efforts in this area have been quantified. The show achieved an increased APEX/ASTM Level 1 score of 93 percent last year, which means it diverted 93 percent of waste away from landfill in Las Vegas. “As far as we know, no other tradeshow on the planet has ever got this far, and we’ve been helped by some fantastic partners, MeetGreen and the team at the Sands Expo among others,” says Bauer. Supplementing this effort, IMEX is empowering and incentivizing its exhibitors to support the show’s zero-waste initiative. “It’s all well and good for IMEX to be committed to zero-waste to landfill (as we are), but we are reliant on our exhibitors not to generate waste either,” she says. IMEX’s Sustainable Exhibiting Pledge “is supported by a whole toolkit to educate and support exhibitors in reducing their environmental footprint with some fun ‘rewards’ to get them motivated.” IMEX America attendees will also receive education on greening their events via the brand-new Sustainability Village, produced in partnership with the Events Industry Council. “This will be the go-to place for ideas, inspiration and practical tips, and it’s the place to meet like-minded eco event planners,” says Bauer. Helpful as well are IMEX’s Eco Life Hacks, which were well received at IMEX Frankfurt. “This collection demonstrates not only what all the materials we use at the show are made of — think carpets, badges, lanyards, pizza boxes — but also the different choices you can make as a ‘green’ road warrior, including bathroom products, reusable water bottles and coffee cups,” she explains. “We’re promising a cornucopia of inspiration on what’s effectively a mini market stall.” FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL


Greater Akron, Ohio, is home to the region’s most convenient and affordable facilities for conventions, banquets and special events. Easily

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ATLANTIC CITY CONVENTION CENTER AND HOTEL INVESTMENTS REINVIGORATE THIS CLASSIC MEETING DESTINATION By George Seli

Atlantic City Convention Center

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he resurgence of Atlantic City’s hospitality industry has received much media coverage, but the story of its recovery from the casino closures of a few years ago has not concluded. The city and its hoteliers continue to invest in property upgrades, and two major new properties — Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Ocean Casino Resort — opened last summer. Meanwhile, casino business, a vital economic engine, is on the rise. “The city is getting its feet back under it fiscally, and over the last couple of years we see stability and steady growth. That certainly bodes well for us in the convention center and the city as a whole,” observes Jason Resetar, who has served as Assistant General Manager/Director of Facilities at the Atlantic City Convention Center since October 2016. Resetar recalls being excited to join “a good team that Spectra had assembled in Atlantic City,” and this year the excitement continues as the facility earns LEED Gold certification and completes a major renovation. A meeting facility’s environmentally conscious design and practices are important to many groups, and this well-recognized certification will be a competitive advantage for the convention center going forward. According to Jim Wood, President and CEO of Meet AC, “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. The certification will be an important talking point when 26

vying for new business at the convention center.” Practices adopted over the past year that helped the facility achieve LEED Gold include LED lighting retrofits, close alignment of equipment operations with scheduled shows, ongoing preventative maintenance activities and the start of an extensive recycling program. A few enlightening statistics: In 2018, over 2.9 million kWh of electricity were produced from the venue’s rooftop solar panels, which is the equivalent of powering 250 homes for one year. Reduction of lighting loads by nearly 63 percent by retrofitting the facility with new LEDs. Efficient operation of lighting and HVAC systems minimize their use during non-peak times. Over 158.2 tons of recycled materials diverted from landfills in 2018. Also contributing to the convention center’s earning LEED certification is the recently completed $9.1 million renovation of the venue’s 32 restrooms. The design includes new hands-free fixtures, auto-flush toilets and automatic faucets and electric hand dryers. The new low-flow flush valves for toilets will save an estimated 100,000 gallons of water annually. In addition, each restroom has individual climate controls to adjust the temperatures throughout the changing seasons and hot water circulators to improve hot water response efficiency. The new design features green and blue glass and vein cut porcelain wall tiles, complemented with concrete-look floor tiles with accents of Carrara porcelain. New vanities include long-trough

• • • •

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sinks, quartz surfaces, backlit mirrors and automated soap dispensers and faucets. Given that the restrooms have largely remained the same since the convention center opened in 1997, “it’s a project that was much needed at the facility,” says Resetar. “So much of the capital dollars, not only in Atlantic City but traditionally at public facilities, go into the backend stuff — mechanical units, AC units, elevators, escalators. This is a project that we’re really proud of because it’s so front facing; it was something that everybody knew or had a chance to experience, whether you were a client or show attendee.” He adds that “Traditionally, our busiest time of the year is fall, and we can’t wait to start the season with all our restrooms fully renovated.”

“Whatever show it is, we understand that they don’t just come in for one week a year and then we see them 360 days later. It’s really a year-round relationship.” —Jason Resetar, Assistant General Manager/Director of Facilities, Atlantic City Convention Center Looking ahead, Resetar expects further enhancement projects “centered around our F&B operations and also digital signage that can incorporate wayfinding as well as sponsorship activation opportunities, which will continue the front-facing modernization of our facility.” But in its current form, the Atlantic City Convention Center has many convenient logistical features, including a large loading dock and large freight doors. “We pride ourselves in being an easy facility to operate in,” Resetar says. “And the other thing that sets us apart is our staff. We have great team members who have been here for many years and are very attuned to our clients’ needs. When clients are in our building, we’re thrilled they’re here and do anything to work with them and to make their life easy.”

In June, the Vans Warped Tour stopped in Atlantic City, which is home to a variety of festivals FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL

A DYNAMIC LODGING INDUSTRY

Atlantic City’s constantly evolving hotel portfolio also facilitates planning with new site selection opportunities. A prominent example is the 2015 debut of Harrah’s Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center, a 125,000sq.-ft. expansion that includes two 50,000-sq.-ft., highly configurable ballrooms. The opening of that facility “has meant a little less business for the convention center, but not much,” Resetar says. “Competition is always good. Some groups were just curious, interested in what’s new or different in the market. But we’ve been able to fill some slots that were left with a few groups that went to Harrah’s, and also we’ve had some shows already that have returned from Harrah’s. For whatever reason it didn’t work; maybe they needed a larger space or contiguous floor layout.” Harrah’s continued making upgrades this year with a $56 million renovation of the 507 guestrooms in its Coastal Tower. The rooms now feature a design similar to the resort’s Bayview rooms, complemented by high-speed Internet access, accessible charging stations and 55-inch LG LED televisions. Tropicana Atlantic City has a new guestroom tower with the recent purchase of The Chelsea Hotel, bringing the resort’s room inventory to 2,730. The Chelsea Tower at Tropicana Atlantic City is linked to the main hotel via a skybridge for easy access. Resorts Casino Hotel has introduced a new venue that provides groups an informal gathering place. Located on the Boardwalk, the Margaritaville LandShark Bar & Grill’s Fins Bar has a 2,300-sq.-ft. boardwalk deck, 150 seats, outdoor speakers and exterior string lights. Fins Bar hosts some of the region’s best local bands. But perhaps the most high-profile recent hotel developments in Atlantic City are the openings of Ocean Casino Resort (formerly Revel) and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (formerly the Trump Taj Mahal). The 1,339-room Ocean Casino Resort, partnered with Hyatt, offers 160,000 sq. ft. of flexible indoor/outdoor function space. Property highlights include the largest Topgolf Swing Suite overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the 32,000-sq.-ft. Exhale Ocean Casino Resort offers a Fitness Spa. The 2,010renowned indoor golfing experience room Hard Rock Hotel represents a sweeping redevelopment of the Taj Mahal, with new restaurants and renovations to the guestrooms, meeting spaces (150,000 sq. ft.), performance venues, indoor pool and other facilities.

BEYOND THE BOARDWALK

An up-and-coming, off-Boardwalk area is the Orange Loop 27


— three blocks of unique restaurants, bars, live music, coffee shops and more. Trendy spots include The Leadership Studio, Atlantic City’s only yoga studio; MADE Atlantic City Chocolate Bar; Bourre, offering Cajun BBQ cuisine and live music; Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, serving over a hundred craft beers; the recently opened Iron Room restaurant; and Rhythm and Spirits. Speaking of fine spirits, Little Water Distillery, the city’s first legal craft distillery, is worth a visit for whiskey and rum enthusiasts. The venue offers tours and event space. Back on the Boardwalk, conventioneers who haven’t visited the city in a few years will be delighted to experience the Observation Wheel at Steel Pier. The 227-ft.-high attraction affords sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and Atlantic City skyline from inside 40 climate-controlled gondolas. Unique packages can be created for groups. For indoor entertainment, delegates can enjoy performances at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. The historic home of the Miss America Pageant recently went through

a $10 million lobby/atrium renovation. The venue’s primary rentable facilities for private events are the 14,770-seat main arena and 23,100-sq.-ft. Adrian Phillips Theater with a capacity of 3,200. Spectra manages Boardwalk Hall along with the convention center, and “there are times when we utilize the strengths of both buildings” for group clients, Resetar says. Catering to the individual needs of each client is key to long-term repeat business, and Resetar’s team stays attuned to those needs well beyond the show dates. “Whatever show it is, we understand that they don’t just come in for one week a year and then we see them 360 days later. It’s really a year-round relationship, so we keep the lines of communication open,” he explains. The goal is to “understand what’s important to their shows and how we as Spectra can help them grow their shows and create a great customer experience for those coming through our doors.” That kind of customer service attitude will help ensure meetings remain a major contributor to Atlantic City’s economic vitality.

BORGATA: AT THE FOREFRONT OF BOTH MEETINGS AND ENTERTAINMENT

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ocated in Atlantic City’s Marina District, the 2,000room Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has a wealth of function space, spanning 106,000 sq. ft. But it’s not just about quantity: Spaces such as the 30,000-sq.ft. Event Center and recently opened 18,000-sq.-ft. Central Conference Center are replete with high-quality technology and design features. Recently, Borgata hosted a FAM trip for 20 meeting planners and, according to Mark Vanderwielen, Vice President of Hotel and Property Operations, “displayed our state-of-the-art-meeting space with a custom video designed for the group. We also had our Executive Pasty Chef, Thaddeus Dubois, display an array of deserts that wowed our clients.” These kinds of initiatives are helping Borgata maintain a robust level of meetings business. “Group business demand for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has been and continues to be strong,” says Vanderwielen. “We have booked more than 80 groups of various sizes since the beginning of the year.” He adds that the sales team currently has “a concentration on booking larger groups (both new and existing business), through 2022 and beyond.” Yet the $11 million investment into the Central Conference Center demonstrates Borgata’s commitment to smaller groups as well. The two-story facility features highly customizable event space, including five meeting rooms, a boardroom and an office on the lower level, as well as a 6,500-sq.ft., clear-span ballroom on the upper level. The Event Center, Vanderwielen says, “is definitely a differentiator in both the Atlantic City as well as the regional market” with its state-of-the-art AV. “Wi-Fi is available throughout all of our meeting space, with the ability to custom build dedicated networks for larger

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groups so that the appropriate bandwidth can be accommodated,” he notes. “Additionally, personalized messages and custom videos can be displayed on our

in-room TVs for any of our groups.” Of course, it’s not all business for groups at Borgata, which houses 161,000 sq. ft. of casino space, 11 retail boutiques, five fine dining restaurants and 10 casual eateries, a 54,000-sq.-ft. spa and four nightclubs. The 800room Water Club at Borgata has its own 36,000-sq.-ft. spa, six designer retail boutiques and five heated indoor and outdoor pools. Despite being so well stocked in both meeting venues and recreational amenities, the property is still “consistently reinvesting,” Vanderwielen says, “with the most recent addition being our new $12 million sports bar and book, Moneyline.” Opened in June, Moneyline Bar & Book and Level One Cocktail Bar & Lounge welcome sports enthusiasts with a 40-ft. wide by 11.5-ft. tall LED video wall with 17 additional displays. The bar has its own dining program designed by Executive Chef Tom Biglan, ensuring that “foodies” will also have a reason to stop by. —G.S. FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL


CAESARS FORUM LAS VEGAS’ FORMIDABLE NEW MEETINGS VENUE PROVES ITS PRE-OPENING POPULARITY By George Seli

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The 100,000-sq.-ft. FORUM Plaza will be able to host outdoor events with the High Roller as a backdrop

he old saying, “if you build it, they will come,” has certainly been borne out by CAESARS FORUM, Caesars Entertainment’s latest offering to the meetings market. In fact, Caesars hasn’t even finished building the facility, and a great many groups have already committed to coming. The first booking was the American School Counselor Association for an event in July 2021 that will bring in 3,500 attendees from across the United States. Overall, more than $150 million in conference business has been booked for 2020 (the opening year) and beyond, with over 70 contracts signed. In addition, over half a million room nights at Caesars Entertainment properties have been booked for groups that will be utilizing the FORUM. “We’re thrilled that interest from planners in CAESARS FORUM continues to remain high, and also anticipate bookings to remain strong throughout the rest of the year and leading up to the official opening in 2020,” says Lisa Messina, Vice President of Sales for Caesars Entertainment. Current bookings represent diverse industries including fashion, technology, telecom, sports, entertainment, wine and spirits, and wellness, with attendance ranging from 500 to 10,000 attendees, Messina adds. But a massive capacity is not the FORUM’s only distinguishing feature. The venue has been thoughtfully 29

designed to provide both logistical convenience and an invigorating atmosphere for meeting attendees. “When clients organize an event, convenience of setup usually plays a significant role. With CAESARS FORUM being built on one floor, clients can load in their equipment and overall setup with ease through nine easily accessible load-in docks,” Messina explains. “We have

“We are proud to offer one contact, one contract and one food and beverage minimum to simplify the meeting planning process.” —Lisa Messina, Vice President of Sales, Caesars Entertainment

FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL


Rendering of the FORUM’s naturally lit prefunction space

also received positive feedback and appreciation from our clients since CAESARS FORUM will incorporate natural elements and light throughout the facility, as well as light tones and a neutral palette that focuses on bringing the outside in. FORUM Plaza is a prime example of this, as it allows clients the unique opportunity of bringing the inside outside for evening receptions under the stars.” The first 100,000-sq.-ft. outdoor function space in Las Vegas, the FORUM Plaza will be ideal for wellness breaks, opening cocktail receptions, meals and entertainment. And speaking of entertainment, attendees will have many options close at hand. A pedestrian bridge connects the FORUM to LINQ Promenade, an outdoor retail, dining and entertainment on the Las Vegas Strip. Here, attendees can experience attractions such as the High Roller, the tallest observation wheel in the world at 550 ft., as well as Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas and FLY LINQ, the first and only zipline on the Strip. Not only will CAESARS FORUM offer a logistically convenient facility and location, but the planning process will be convenient as well, thanks to the structure of Caesars’ convention services. “We are proud to offer one contact, one contract and one food and beverage minimum to simplify the meeting planning process,” says Messina. “Throughout the planning process, clients will receive individual support from a single contact who is a veteran of the hospitality and meetings industry and will help to execute memorable events.” The company is also ensuring its event sales and service professionals have the latest education in order to support client planners. This spring, Caesars Entertainment entered into a three-year partnership with Switzerland-based Event Design Collective GmbH to launch the Event Design Certificate, with the goal of certifying 1,000 meetings industry professionals by 2022. Many Caesars sales and convention services team FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL

members will be among the new Certified Event Designers. “Customer expectations are growing in all segments of industry, not just the meetings industry,” says Messina. “Event owners and organizers want to work with consultative partners that can understand and help them achieve their organizational goals through meetings. It cannot be a one-way street, however. Customers and their partners need to be speaking the same language to deliver on the mission, so we have elected to certify our sales and service teams along with our customers.” Next year, Certified Event Designers will have the ideal canvas for their art at CAESARS FORUM.

F ACILIT Y F E AT U RE S

• Accommodates more than 10,000 participants • • • • • • • •

within 300,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, including two 110,000-sq.-ft. pillarless ballrooms, two 40,000-sq.-ft. ballrooms and six state-of-the-art boardrooms More than 100 breakout rooms Divisible into limitless configurations, utilizing over two miles of airwalls Built on one floor for convenient move-in, along with nine easily accessible loading docks FORUM Plaza, a 100,000-sq.-ft. outdoor event space LEED Silver rating Direct access via skybridge to Harrah’s Las Vegas and The LINQ Hotel and Casino Connected by pedestrian bridge to LINQ Promenade and Flamingo Las Vegas Conveniently located within walking distance to eight Caesars Entertainment properties

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DENVER HISTORIC BROWN PALACE AND A COLLECTION OF HYATT HOTELS ARE READY TO HOST MILE-HIGH MEETINGS

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The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa

he land upon which Denver’s majestic capital was built was donated to the State by homesteader Henry C. Brown. Clever as he was generous, Brown’s contribution of acres of land for the capital was somewhat self-serving. Owning the land around the capital, he sold off the surrounding plots lot by lot, building quite a fortune. At the top of his game, Brown spent $2 million to construct the Palace, a luxury hotel that was ahead of its time when it opened in 1892. At the time of construction, the present-day hotel, named The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, was the tallest building in Denver and considered to be one of the first fireproof structures in America due to its steel-frame construction and sandstone exterior. Artistry is present in the architecture and design, with intricate carvings of Colorado wildlife on the exterior and interior. The property’s proximity to the capital building made the hotel a stately address of choice. Local politicians and businessmen would hold gatherings at the hotel. Visiting dignitaries, including U.S. presidents and celebrities, would make Brown Palace their local residence. Continuing operations today as a member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the 241-room hotel retains the mystique and classic style of a bygone era. Each afternoon, in the lobby under its stained glass, eight-story atrium, high tea is served to the accompaniment of live piano or harp music. In 1959, Brown Palace added a 231-room annex, connected by a skybridge over the street. Both properties share 25,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space spread

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across each hotel’s second floor. The newer structure has a 5,800-sq.-ft. grand ballroom with pre-function space where dinners, weddings and conferences are held. The original Brown Palace has a series of meeting rooms as well, many of which could function as breakout space to supplement the ballroom. Two spaces of historic note that have a character of their own are the Brown Palace Club and Onyx Room. The former spans over 3,000 sq. ft. and served as a gentleman’s club until the 1980s and doubled as presidential campaign headquarters for Dwight D. Eisenhower. Brown Palace named one of its suites after the former president, who used the hotel as his western base of operations when traveling in the region. The 1,425-sq.ft. Onyx Room was known as the Grand Salon when the hotel debuted in 1892, and featured white onyx columns and paneling, with a central medallion on its ceiling. The original onyx remains as regal as before, but the mural in the medallion did not survive the test of time. In addition to its spa, the dining establishments at the Brown Palace have made their mark on Denver over the years, each noteworthy for its design but more so for its food and drink. While the Palace Arms contains many museum-worthy artifacts from Napoleonic wars, its menu and particularly its wine selection have been ranked among the best in the world. Groups will find the hotel’s location in the heart of Denver’s downtown accessible to the financial, commercial and entertainment districts. Located in walking distance from the open-air 16th Street Mall, which itself presents planners a selection of post-event options, the Brown 31


Hyatt Place and Hyatt House properties add another 248 and 123 rooms, respectively, to the city’s guestroom inventory.

DENVER ART MUSEUM AND HISTORY COLORADO CENTER

“I See What You Mean,” an iconic sculpture at the Colorado Convention Center

Palace is also near the F&D Prime Site Award-winning Colorado Convention Center and downtown museums.

A DIVERSE HYATT PORTFOLIO

There are a series of museums within walking distance of the Colorado Convention Center, two of which can accommodate groups of up to 1,500 people. The Denver Art Museum’s permanent and temporary galleries are sure to impress attendees, particularly its Treasures of British Art exhibit, which contains a historical snapshot of life between the 1400s and 1800s. The History Colorado Center provides a hands-on educational look at everything Colorado, from the lives of the region’s native inhabitants through the present. The museum has a wealth of information to take in. Guests will surely appreciate the “Zoom In” exhibit, which presents a thorough summary of the state history through a display of 100 objects. More serious students of history will probably want to stay past closing time and not want to leave. In a similar vein, meeting attendees spending time in Denver will have a lot of venues to explore, and also won’t want to leave. —D.K.

An array of Hyatt-branded properties accounts for close to 2,000 rooms in downtown Denver. Billed as sister properties are the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center and Grand Hyatt Denver. The 1,100-room Hyatt Regency is a headquarters hotel adjacent to the convention “Big Sweep” at the Denver Art Museum center, whose guestrooms offer views of downtown Denver, the State Capitol or the Rocky Mountains. The property has 60,000 sq. ft. of function space that includes 35 meeting rooms and a 30,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, as well as a terrace for outdoor events. Prefunction space provides a look at the famous public art display of a big blue bear peering into the convention center. Two blocks away, the 516-room Grand Hyatt has an additional 52,600 sq. ft. of event space. While its Colorado Ballroom is the largest space onsite at over 8,300 sq. ft., the Pinnacle Club may be the favorite space among planners. Located on the 38th floor, the Club has windows on all four sides The Brown Palace’s eight-story atrium is a popular spot for high tea affording stunning views. The 32

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DISNEY MEETINGS

CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT INTRODUCES PLANNERS TO A “GRAND” NEW TOWER

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n the ever-changing landscape of Orlando, where mountains — both snowcapped and volcanic — rise and imaginary worlds of magic and space take shape, the past few months have seen new properties and attractions that should catch the attention of event planners, particularly on Disney’s extensive grounds. Opened at the end of August, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is sure to create buzz among planners looking for new offsite event options. Earlier this summer, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort celebrated the highly anticipated opening of the Gran Destino Tower, creating perhaps the crown jewel in Orlando for event planners within Disney Meetings & Events’ properties. Spanish themes are subtly infused throughout the 545-room, 16-story structure, and at the inaugural event in July participants were provided a taste of the Iberian motifs, both literally and figuratively. A pair of flamenco dancers were on hand during the festivities, creating a grand entrance for General Manager Vincent Mercurio, who welcomed guests on the grandiose staircase that descends from the lobby into the Gaudi-esque Barcelona Lounge. Additional design touches included olive trees within the property’s tapas, steak and seafood restaurant Toledo, hinting at one of the region’s dietary staples. Located on the 16th floor of the Gran Destino Tower, Toledo offered guests samplings of its signature dishes as well as traditional food and beverage like jamón ibérico and sangria. The Dahlia Lounge, also on the hotel’s top level, is stocked with a broad selection of Spanish beers and

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wines. A highlight is its gin and tonic libation that is flavored with an orange saffron syrup and juniper berries, and garnished with rosemary — the way the spirit is enjoyed in Spain. Available for private events, the Dahlia Lounge offers guests a terrace to enjoy the outdoors for networking functions. Private dining rooms in Toledo have floor-to-ceiling windows that offer natural lighting for small gatherings. Both venues allow guests to view evening pyrotechnic shows at the nearby parks. During his remarks, Mercurio explained that the Coronado Springs grounds are meant to reflect the spirit of early explorers; as such, Spanish, Mexican and American Southwest influences are incorporated throughout the facility design. An additional design element is the blending of elements of Destino — an animated short created in a collaborative effort between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali in 1945, but only finished generations later — throughout the resort. In the Dahlia Lounge, named for the central character of the film, dandelion-inspired lighting couples with a flowing ceiling design representative of Dahlia’s long black hair blowing in the wind. “Cast members” even offer Spanish greetings during the stay. With the help of the Disney Meetings & Events Group, the creativity behind the design of the hotel can extend into event design both onsite and within Disney’s venues. Tucked away within Disney’s Central Florida offices are a talented team of dedicated, innovative individuals that include meeting planners, florists (with their own nursery), carpenters, artists, graphic designers, film producers, AV 33


personnel and actors, to name a few. Private areas within the theme parks are also available both during and after park hours for group functions, allowing planners to theme their events using the attractions as a backdrop. Meanwhile, guests receive all the benefits of being onsite at a Disney property, including proximity and early access to the parks, which can be reached via a free shuttle bus.

With the help of the Disney Meetings & Events Group, the creativity behind the design of the hotel can extend into event design both onsite and within Disney’s venues

ceremony where the flamenco dance duo escorted Mickey Mouse on stage was held on the lawn. Two other noteworthy spaces include a 24-seat boardroom with an abundance of natural lighting, and the Lantana meeting room in the lower lobby, which in addition to being divisible into three sections has prefunction space that includes a show kitchen. Given the Gran Destino Tower’s convenient connection to Coronado Springs’ ample meeting space, along with its engaging restaurants and theme, it would seem that the new venue is “destined” for greatness in Orlando’s meetings industry. —D.K.

David Roark, Photographer

The Coronado Springs campus now has 2,385 guestrooms after the completion of the Gran Destino Tower. The 220,000-sq.-ft. convention center is accessible to the new tower via a covered walkway — which is great during Central Florida’s sudden afternoon rain showers — or a lakeside walkway should one prefer the fresh air. Lawns for events are available — the official opening

Barcelona Lounge

Walt Disney World Resort cast members celebrate the grand opening of the new Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort on July 9, 2019. The opening of the tower also marks the completion of a multiyear reimagining of the resort.

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FORT LAUDERDALE

LOCAL W RESORT IS A PRIME SPOT FOR GROUPS TO EXPERIENCE THE VENICE OF AMERICA By Debi Lander

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hile Miami’s South Beach, art deco architecture and enticing food scene always attract visitors, Fort Lauderdale is less crowded, carries a similar vibe, and lies just 45 minutes away. Like Miami, Fort Lauderdale is home to a world-class convention center. Located just three miles from the airport, the 600,000-sq.-ft. Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center is a LEED Gold facility offering high-tech meeting and exhibits space as well as five-star food service, an Internet café and elegant banquet rooms. In order to expedite a $1 billion-plus expansion and headquarters hotel project that will increase exhibit space by 75 percent, the convention center is closing from February 2020 to November 2021. Once complete in May 2023, the new Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center will offer an exhibition hall with 350,000 sq. ft. of contiguous space, a new 65,000-sq.-ft. waterfront ballroom, upgraded technology, new restaurants, enhanced water taxi access and a waterfront plaza. A new 800-room Omni hotel is also part of the project. The convention center is known for its ocean-themed design, and water activities are a major attraction during attendees’ free time. The Greater Fort Lauderdale area boasts 23 miles of beaches, as well as a 165-mile network of boat canals and more than 100 marinas that have established it as the Yachting Capital of the World and the Venice of America. Of course, yacht rentals make for wonderful group outings. To give your attendees an authentic feel for Fort

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Lauderdale, take them aboard the water taxi. Views of the handsome homes accompany an informative narration about the history of the area. The group can get off at one of the canal-side restaurants (e.g., Shooters with its many group spaces) and then hop back on. Another option is the Jungle Queen Riverboat, which offers 90-minute sightseeing cruises. Here are some other signature Fort Lauderdale experiences: L  as Olas Boulevard is home to many jaw-dropping mansions and 17 blocks of upscale shopping, sidewalk cafés and nightlife. A standout venue for group dining is the rear courtyard at Louis Bossie, an Italian eatery whose magical outdoor setting enthralls, especially at sunset. C  onsider a cocktail party at the New River Fine Art Gallery, where guests can gaze upon some original modern art or famous artists’ works from the past. The shop owners will gladly give a short presentation encouraging an appreciation for the visual arts. F  ort Lauderdale’s thriving beer culture now offers 15 local mini-breweries and 32 craft beer pubs. The Ale Trail features over 500 different beers. D  irectly off A1A, but hidden from the highway, lies the Bonnet House, a historic home now managed by the Florida Trust. Eclectic artists Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett embellished the 1930s beachfront estate. Their family left the property, brimming with a bounty of colorful art, to the state in 1983. Today’s docent-led tour provides fascinating insights into the era, and your guests can roam the orchid

• • • •

35


house, hibiscus gardens and nature trails. Better yet, planners can book a private event at this unexpected gem, built in the 1920s. T  he Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, just off the ocean, provides one of the calmest and most picturesque kayaking spots ever. Your attendees can try paddling a kayak or paddleboard among mangroves. The 180-acre park also offers greenery-lined biking, jogging and walking trails.

W FORT LAUDERDALE HOTEL AND SPA

Located minutes from Hugh Taylor Birch State Park and just six miles from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel and Spa is one of the city’s many upscale, meetings-ready resorts. From the moment one arrives at the W, it feels like a “happening” place, with a palpable energy and excitement within the lobbies and halls. Check-in takes place on the fourth floor, next to the Living Room. The hotel’s $55 million renovation, completed last year, included a makeover of the Living Room, which features a bar serving handcrafted cocktails. Opposite check-in sits the colorful Away Spa, offering quick, seated massage treatments (no need to change clothes) for arriving guests. The mini-massage takes away stress and puts guests in the mood for fun. One floor up is the see-through stairway to the pool, another favorite gathering place featuring prime ocean views, daybeds, loungers, a full bar and live DJs on the weekends. The Atlantic Ocean lies across the street from the W, and the resort offers beach exercise classes for guests. Food in the trendy W is fantastic. James Beard Award winner Chef Stephen Starr oversees both restaurant and

catered meals. The hotel’s restaurants include Steak 954, featuring a 2,000-gallon jellyfish aquarium that creates a mysterious and relaxing mood. Another favorite eatery is the street-level Mexican themed restaurant, El Vez. The indoor/ outdoor venue sports flamboyant and fun décor, not to mention knockout fare. Meeting space within the hip 450-room hotel (106 suites) spans nearly 35,000 sq. ft. The largest meeting space is 8,148 sq. ft. and accommodates up to 450 people. A fabulous palm tree-lined, 1,800-sq.-ft. outdoor terrace joins the 5,568-sq.-ft. outdoor courtyard. The center of the courtyard includes a labyrinth walk (flat maze). Eighteen indoor meeting rooms (including a 4,624-sq.-ft. Great Room with 10 breakout rooms) feature silver, grey and beige accented walls and rugs. For planners seeking a Fort Lauderdale hotel with a contemporary feel, the W Fort Lauderdale is a terrific choice. To access floor plans and a virtual tour of the property, visit https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=NU3rD6hF6gW.

Louis Bossie, a fine choice for group dining on Las Olas Boulevard W Fort Lauderdale Hotel and Spa

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PUERTO RICO

WELCOMING MICE GROUPS WITH REVITALIZED RESORTS AND A NEW ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT

A local iguana enjoys the view of Castillo San Felipe del Morro

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ull steam ahead” would be an appropriate play on words describing the rebound of Puerto Rico’s tourism sector. Both cruise ship visitation into San Juan and departures from the island’s homeport have broken records, while air passenger arrivals have returned to levels preceding Hurricane Maria. While Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s DMO, has plenty of statistical evidence for these increases, F&D staff was able to witness the surge in activity on the island firsthand. While we visited Castillo San Cristobal in late January, hundreds of tourists poured into the historic Spanish fortress from two mega-cruise ships docked walking distance from the port. Late into the evening, Old San Juan’s parks, shops and cafés were teeming with tourists.

SAN JUAN

Old San Juan is by no means the only site on the island where the rise in activity was apparent. Earlier that morning, heading out from the Isla Verde section of the capital toward the historic district, we took note of scores of lanyardwearing conference attendees en route to the iconic El San Juan hotel for a conference. Part of Hilton Hotels’ upscale Curio Collection since early 2017, the 388-room oceanfront property has a character all its own, earned and maintained since opening in 1958. At the time of our visit, the hotel was two months into its post-Maria makeover, refreshed and ready to go. Its nearly 40,000 sq. ft. of meeting space includes FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL

an 11,000-sq.-ft. ballroom with an adjacent outdoor terrace overlooking both the hotel’s main pool and beach. Another favorite outdoor spot for smaller events is the shaded patio meeting area under an old banyan tree that has weathered more that one storm in its 300-year life. Another beachfront property in San Juan is the Caribe Hilton, which has completed its $100 million refurbishment and reopened with much fanfare. When we spoke with General Manager Pablo Torres, he explained that a decision was made to extend the closure until the upgrades were fully completed to provide a more satisfying experience to guests. Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, the 652room resort, spread over 17 acres, is situated at the mouth of Condado Bay — a short commute to Old San Juan and the Puerto Rico Convention Center. The Puerto Rico Convention Center has been unrivaled in the Caribbean for some time. Its post-Maria upgrades already had debuted back in 2017, enhancing both the facility and its technology (videoconferencing and connectivity). The 600,000-sq.-ft. convention center houses an exhibit hall of over 125,000 sq. ft., 15 meeting rooms, 29 breakout rooms and an outdoor patio spanning more than 12,000 sq. ft. Adjacent to the AEG Worldwide-managed facility is District San Juan, a five-acre hospitality and entertainment zone that diversifies the options for groups around the convention center. Also referred to as El Distrito San Juan in Spanish, the area includes a 50,000-sq.-ft. plaza that will be the nexus of dining and musical entertainment experiences 37


for the island. With a zip line, eight premium movie theaters and indoor event space that can accommodate more than 6,000 guests, planners will be able to craft unique events and experiences in one central San Juan location.

EL YUNQUE AND RIO MAR

District San Juan, a five-acre hospitality and entertainment zone, diversifies the options for groups around the convention center

Outside of San Juan, a major attraction for visitors to the island is the El Yunque National Forest, which happens to be the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Parks system. Hiking through mountain trails while appreciating ocean vistas is a favorite recreational activity for visitors. The A RENEWED PUERTO RICO forest is home to a vast diversity At a travel-related event promoting Puerto Rico in New of flora and fauna, as well as rivers York City this spring, Discover Puerto Rico’s Chief Sales and waterfalls where hikers can Officer, Ed Carey, made various familiar promotional enjoy a refreshing dip. points, such as the ease of travel to the island (particularly Minutes from El Yunque is from the eastern United States), the lack of a passport the 400-room Wyndham Grand requirement, and the U.S. dollar being the island’s currency. Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & While apparently trying not to mention Maria — he did Beach Resort. Reopened in once — Carey clearly got his message out that Puerto Rico March 2018, the resort affords its has a robust, renewed hospitality product to offer. Many guests more of a taste of tropical properties were in need of updates, and now as new inventory Discover Puerto Rico’s island life than city properties do. supplements the hotels that have been refurbished, there is Ed Carey, Chief Sales Seasonally, protected leatherback an abundance Officer, and Deborah Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & turtles use the beaches to nest, of modernized Cohen, Director of Beach Resort iguana feeding is a daily activity, facilities and Meeting & Convention and coqui frogs provide a venues to host Marketing nightly symphony of sorts. The groups. seemingly endless beaches were one of the attractions that we Carey would found most appealing at Wyndham’s flagship property. Its grounds, spread over 500 acres on the island’s northeastern coast, are home to two championship golf courses — one designed by the Fazio brothers, the other by Greg Norman. Planners will appreciate the Wyndham Grand’s recreational assets as well as its Oceanfront Conference Center, the island’s largest hotel-based convention center. Indoor meeting and event spaces total more than 40,000 sq. ft., including the 21,000-sq.-ft. Rio be pleased to learn that his message Mar ballroom and 6,500-sq.-ft. Caribbean had already started to hit the streets ballroom. The latter has floor-to-ceiling prior to his arrival in New York. windows with beachfront views and access Commenting upon her August 2018 to an adjacent lawn area for events. The stay based out of the Wyndham Conference Center has separate entrances for Grand, Val Delaney, Executive attendees coming in from outside the hotel, Vice President of the Association and guests can reach the contiguous facility of Destination Management without stepping outside. Executives International, said There are plenty of opportunities to Old San Juan she was “happily surprised at the convene outdoors, with about 58,000 sq. state of the island,” since popular media had her “believing ft. of outdoor function space on the Wyndham Grand’s that the entire island was in a horrible state.” Instead, grounds. Fire pits can provide attendees a congenial setting Delaney related that her group “saw quite the opposite. for toasting s’mores at an evening gathering, while a patio Roads, beaches, businesses, communications, all looked between one of the resort’s three pools and beach can host in good shape.” As a result, Delaney said that while she larger groups. A few of the property’s nine restaurants have was originally skeptical about bringing her association’s outdoor dining options, but all provide culinary experiences annual conference to Puerto Rico, she would now be happy for every palate, including traditional Puerto Rican cuisine to do so. —D.K. and drinks and farm (and fisherman)-to-table dining. 38

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Anything you can imagine,

DO IT HERE.

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AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER

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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 Hilton Overhead Walkway. Additional nearby hotels include: Four Seasons Hotel Austin, JW Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown, Radisson Hotel &

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

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

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

Austin

Hotels: 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 conventionsales@austintexas.gov • austinconventioncenter.com 40

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IDAHO

BOISE CENTRE DISCOVER BOISE

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his 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.” Getting to Boise is a breeze with nonstop air service from 20 major cities in the United States.

NEWLY EXPANDED CONVENTION CENTER

Situated in downtown and a short seven minutes from the airport is Boise Centre, Idaho’s premier convention center. Following a recent expansion, Boise Centre offers 86,000 sq. ft. of fully carpeted, versatile event space that accommodates groups of up to 2,000 people. Within the convention center you will find 31 flexible meeting rooms, the latest in wireless technology and beautiful views of the Boise Foothills. Locally inspired menu selections are proudly prepared by the expert in-house catering 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. Several new hotels have opened within walking distance of Boise Centre, and planners now have over 1,200 hotel rooms near the convention center. From upscale boutique to all-suite and Four Diamond properties, Boise has a variety of accommodations to suit your group’s needs.

THRIVING CITY

Boise’s compact, energetic and walkable downtown invites visitors to discover one-of-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. Free outdoor concerts are held weekly

in the summer months 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, a 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, white-water rafting and wineries are all available within an hour.

FAST FACTS

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 convention center 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 Pat Rice, Executive Director Phone (208) 336-8900 or pat_rice@boisecentre.com Ali Ribordy, Director of Sales Phone (208) 489-3608 or aribordy@boisecentre.com

850 West Front Street, Boise, ID 83702 • (208) 336-8900; Fax: (208) 336-8803 • boisecentre.com FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL

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CONNECTICUT

CONNECTICUT CONVENTION CENTER

D EF Y E XP E C T AT ION S

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

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

QUICK FACTS

• 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.” – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

New in Hartford

• The new 6,000-seat Dunkin’ Donuts Park is home to the Hartford Yard Goats Minor League Baseball team. It’s a great option for an offsite reception or teambuilding activity. • The former Goodwin Hotel is being renovated into a new boutique property set to open mid-2017.

100 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT 06103 • (860) 249-6000 • ctconventions.com 42

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

1,600 hotel rooms available in Greater Hartford

20 minutes from the airport to downtown

23 million people within 2 1/2 hours

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

860.249.6000 • www.ctconventions.com • 100 Columbus Blvd., Hartford, Conn. 06103 FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL

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

THE ART & DISCIPLINE OF SUSTAINABILITY. The Convention Center is prized for the comfort it provides and the ample natural light that pours in, along with its many other environmentally sound physical and operational features. Our guests enjoy breathtaking surroundings, including views of the Allegheny River, through walls of windows and from open terraces. Or they can step into the rooftop garden to be surrounded by greenery in the form of native plants. The surrounding landscape can be explored up close by those who venture outdoors, and the adventure begins mere steps from the Convention Center.

Visitors can walk alongside a stunning, cascading waterfall to the riverfront trail, where a walk or run along the water can reenergize the body and mind. Cycling enthusiasts can rent a bicycle from a kiosk directly outside the Convention Center and ride along the riverfront trail or the bike-friendly streets in town. Multiple nearby bridges span the Allegheny River and lead to the North Shore, there kayak rentals are available in season. Visitors can try a growler of the Convention Center’s very own Rooftop Hops, a signature brew made possible through a partnership with the North County Brewing Company. Although always stunning, the iconic Pittsburgh skyline and unique mix of classic and modern architecture is particularly impressive when viewed from the water. THE ALLIANCE DIFFERENCE…The Pittsburgh Alliance is comprised of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, VISITPittsburgh, and major hotels downtown. The Alliance is committed to understanding your organizational vision and mission, and is ready to deliver exceptional guest experiences. The customized approach focuses on your distinct needs, and promises to provide quality cost savings at your next major event.

Nearby upscale hotels, all within walking distance, include the 616room Westin Convention Center Hotel, the 596-room Omni William Penn Hotel, the 333-room DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh Downtown, the 402-room Pittsburgh Marriott City Center, the 300-room Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, the 712-room Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh and the 399-room Sheraton Station Square Hotel. The 44

Convention Center’s features make it a favorite in the second-tier market. The building offers 313,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 31,610-sq.-ft. ballroom and 53 meeting rooms, including two lecture halls. The award-winning Convention Center staff and Visit Pittsburgh client services staff provide the outstanding and friendly customer service befitting such a spectacular setting.

More than a meeting destination, Pittsburgh is a happening destination. Much of the recent buzz in the popular press reveals just how hip the city is, and how remarkably it has transformed. For example, a Conde Nast contributor wrote, “The furnaces are long gone, but this city’s on fire.” In addition, the Chicago Tribune said, “Steeped in spirit and flavor, Pittsburgh can lay claim to being one of the nation’s most underrated cities, with a beauty as breathtaking as it is obvious.” Esquire magazine stated, “Pittsburgh is definitely a must-see,” and the Huffington Post called Pittsburgh “the coolest American city you haven’t been to.”

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

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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.

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Contact Kelli Donahoe, CMP, Director of Sales & Marketing David L Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA (412) 325-6174 45 pittsburghcc.com


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OHIO

GREATER COLUMBUS CONVENTION CENTER

H

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 74,000-sq.-ft. Battelle Grand — the largest multipurpose ballroom in Ohio — the ballrooms include 15,000-sq.-ft. Short North and 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 • columbusconventions.com FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL

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NEW YORK

JOSEPH A. FLOREANO ROCHESTER RIVERSIDE CONVENTION CENTER

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

48

Internet connection over fiber optics to meet all of the growing number of technical requirements its customers have. This service, which is self-operated, is available wireless throughout the facility with bandwidth of 200mb (up/down) and bursts to 400mb if needed. The Floreano Center features an in-house food and beverage operation, which includes an Executive Pastry Chef. In addition, the Riverside Productions and Riverside Catering divisions can even provide services to groups utilizing offsite locations throughout the region. Basically, the Floreano Center is New York State’s only one-stop convention facility. More than 1,100 rooms in a quartet of major hotels connect with the Floreano Center to create a compact convention district in the center of downtown Rochester. There is the 460room Rochester Riverside Hotel, a 106-room Hilton Garden Inn, a 217-room Holiday Inn and a 338-room Hyatt Regency. Delegates also enjoy the convenience of walking between hotels and the Floreano Center in minutes using the enclosed skywalk system or the scenic riverside walkway. Rochester offers groups a compact convention district.

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

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WHATEVER YOUR NEEDS, WE HAVE THE ANSWER

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

585.232.7200 • www.rrcc.com Rochester, New York FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL

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FLORIDA

OCEAN CENTER CONVENTION CENTER

T

he Ocean Center Daytona Beach is the crown jewel of the Central Florida beachside. Only 400 feet from the world’s most famous beach, the center is known for its naturally lit, open, sweeping spaces and beautifully catered functions. The Ocean Center’s unique spaces, including art galleries and dramatic pre-function areas, add a bit of local personality. Even though the Ocean Center is the state’s fifth-largest convention center, the talented staff and creative Executive Chef are adept at customizing details for every event to meet a group’s needs. The Ocean Center is a world-class venue designed to meet the exacting needs of event planners. The center features over 200,000 sq. ft. of multiuse space. The Ocean Center is situated adjacent to shopping, restaurants and entertainment, and is surrounded by first-class accommodations. After your event, enjoy the sun-blessed beaches of Daytona Beach where activities are plentiful with fishing, surfing, parasailing, biking and much more. The Ocean Center and area hotel accommodations work well for small meetings up to citywide events. The flexible facility includes an exhibit hall, arena, ballroom and over 32 spacious meeting rooms. The arena covers 42,146 sq. ft. and can seat 9,600. The exhibit hall is 93,028 sq. ft. with six loading docks and is home to many events. The ballroom spans 14,000 sq. ft. and can accommodate 900, banquet style. Meeting rooms cover 32,000 sq. ft. and offer 32 breakout rooms, an executive boardroom and a VIP suite, all with easy sound and lighting controls. There are spacious pre-event areas. Parking is adequate with two outside lots and a covered parking garage. Award-winning catering and Executive Chef brings the highest quality and refreshing creativity to every food and beverage offering, from a simple coffee break or event concessions to a formal banquet. And the attentive

staff anticipates your every need. The Ocean Center location at the crossroads of Central Florida is unbeatable. U.S. Interstate 4 and 95 offer easy driving access. And the area is served by the Daytona International Airport, which is only minutes away. There is ample shopping, restaurants and nightlife with the recent addition of Tanger Outlet, Bass Pro Shops, Daytona One and plenty of new oceanfront dining. With year-round sunny skies and warm hospitality and service, the Ocean Center can become your preferred destination. Allow the Ocean Center to host your next meeting. Its unique architecture style, mouth-watering cuisine and superior service will ensure your next meeting is a resounding success. And when the meeting breaks, the ocean awaits.

QUICK FACTS

•• •• •• •• • •• •

Over 200,000 sq. ft. of space 93,028-sq.-ft. Exhibit Hall 42,146-sq.-ft. Arena 14,000-sq.-ft. Ballroom 32 meeting rooms with over 32,000 sq. ft. of space Spacious pre-function areas Award-winning catering and Executive Chef Full onsite event staff S  urrounded by hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment Across from the Atlantic Ocean and spectacular beaches An abundance of beach activities Year-round warm weather and over 300 days of sunshine!

CONTACT: Tim Buckley, Director of Sales and Marketing, (386) 254-4523, tbuckley@oceancenter.com

101 North Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, FL 32118 • oceancenter.com 50

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CALIFORNIA

PASADENA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

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here’s a reason Pasadena is the perfect choice for meetings. The weather is idyllic. Mountain views and blue skies abound. Intimate neighborhood allure is infused with modern energy and metropolitan offerings that make it a destination in itself. Pasadena is located just 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles, and is conveniently accessible from all L.A.-area airports and freeways. The Gold Line light rail transports passengers from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles and points in between. The state-of-the-art Pasadena Convention Center features 130,000 sq. ft. of space for meetings of all sizes, with spacious exhibit halls, an expansive ballroom and 29 meeting rooms. Over 2,500 hotel rooms are available within the city to fit all budgets, 1,200 within walking distance of the Convention Center. Recent changes in Pasadena include a $20 million renovation of guestrooms, lobby and meeting spaces at Sheraton Pasadena; a $25 million renovation of guestrooms, lobby, bar and meeting spaces at Hilton Pasadena; an $11 million guestroom beautification at Westin Pasadena; construction of a rooftop pool, meeting space, fitness center and 25 new rooms at dusitD2 Hotel Constance Pasadena; and a new 186-room upscale Hyatt Place hotel in Pasadena’s most popular retail and entertainment center, The Paseo. The downtown six-story hotel opened in December 2018. Pasadena provides the rare opportunity to host more personalized meetings, with all the benefits of the big city. Unique social breakout experiences run the gamut from

local teambuilding activities like hiking Eaton Canyon, to popular wine bars, shopping excursions and cultural events with special group rates. The city’s convenient layout, in conjunction with an array of world-class business and entertainment venues, makes Pasadena the perfect destination. An eclectic mix of shopping, theaters, golf, museums and gardens is conveniently just steps away from Pasadena’s Civic Center. There’s literally something significant around every corner, whether you’re into architecture, music, theater, museums or galleries. Pasadena is the heartbeat of SoCal’s cultural side. Art connoisseurs can explore a myriad of landmark museums and galleries, housing everything from European masters to early California Impressionists to modern art. Literary lovers can peruse rare books and manuscripts. Explore mile upon mile of stunning botanical gardens, top-notch arts performances and live concert venues. A tour of the town will lead to a beautiful tree-lined shopping district along South Lake Avenue, galleries and specialty shops in the Playhouse District, 19th century structures and quaint alleyways in Old Pasadena, and an open-air urban village in Paseo Colorado. Pasadena could easily be called “Foodie City,” with more than 650 restaurants — more per capita than New York City. Some of the world’s greatest minds have chosen to live and work in Pasadena. Plan your next meeting here and imagine the possibilities. The destination experts at the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) offer a variety of personalized services to meeting planners. For more information, visit www.PasadenaMeetings.com or call (800) 307-7977.

300 East Green Street, Pasadena, CA 91101 • (800) 307-7977 • pasadenameetings.com FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL

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ARIZONA

PHOENIX CONVENTION CENTER & VENUES

WELCOME TO PHOENIX THE FUTURE OF HOSPITALITY DESIGNED FOR TOMORROW

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

EVENTS ON A SPECTACULAR SCALE

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

CERTIFIABLY GREEN

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

A CULTURE OF FINE CUISINE

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

DISCOVER THE HEART OF PHOENIX

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

100 North Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 • (602) 262-6225; (800) 282-4842 • phoenixconventioncenter.com 52

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MISSOURI

EXPLORE ST. LOUIS

I

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

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

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

The museum is an interactive treasure trove of sights and sounds

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

saluting the country’s indigenous music with numerous galleries

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

and an intimate performance space for concerts to provide

sible and affordable destination that will keep delegates enter-

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

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

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

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

options along Washington Avenue. Attendees will enjoy Peruvian,

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

Italian, French, Mediterranean and more cuisine varieties from

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

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

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

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

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

completely transformed with biking and running trails, space for

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

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

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

museum commemorating the westward expansion of the United

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

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

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

ners and their attendees can benefit from VIP experiences at the

your citywide event, St. Louis can accommodate you.

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

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

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

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

bookstl.

701 Convention Plaza, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63101 • (800) 916-8938 • explorestlouis.com FACILITIES & DESTINATIONS 2019 FALL

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GEORGIA

VISIT SAVANNAH

BRING YOUR CONVENTION ATTENDEES TO A BUCKET LIST DESTINATION

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

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

101 East Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401 • (877) SAVANNAH; (912) 644-6424 • visitsavannah.com 54

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

VISITSAVANNAH.COM

THIS ISN’T ORDINARY. THIS IS SAVANNAH.

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


THE “UNSUNG HERO” OF EVENT DESIGN Best practices for sourcing, a behind-the-scenes but vital planning skill By Monika Adelmann and Courtney Miller

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f asked to describe the meetings and events industry in one word, an appropriate choice would be “diverse.” Drawing business from dozens of industries, hundreds of countries and thousands of attendees with unique needs, the industry challenges planners to constantly elevate their approach to best serve their clients, day in and day out. While the industry continues evolving to exceed the expectations of its customers, the name of the game remains the attendee experience. And the better you play it, the more Monika Adelmann it pays for all parties involved. One especially critical aspect of that game is sourcing. Although the sourced components of an event are often some of the first things attendees see during their experience, sourcing is ironically one of the unsung heroes of event design and takes place entirely in the background. From large-scale convention centers to thoughtful touches like personalized gifts, teams of event professionals work diligently behind the scenes to negotiate contracts, secure spaces and create atmospheres that capitalize on client goals while meeting attendee needs. When executed precisely, sourcing can make the difference between an event that effectively engages an audience and one that falls flat, and many event successes can be attributed to an effective sourcing strategy. Following is an overview of some of the best practices involved.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

It’s the unspoken first rule of event planning, but it bears reiterating: Get to know your audience. Before going down the rabbit hole of sourcing hotels, gifts or DMCs, always begin your process by asking questions about your client’s goals to get a deep understanding of their needs. What type of atmosphere does your client want to create? Are the different venue spaces in close enough proximity to facilitate networking opportunities? How much breakout space is necessary for the event? Does the venue prioritize sustainability in its operations? How much light filters into the space during the day? Asking a range of questions across the spectrum, from broad to pointed, will help to inform your decisions, focus your 56

efforts and even help narrow your field of choices so you can give your client what they really want.

COLLABORATION IS KEY

As clients become savvier and begin asking for more innovative experiences, creativity becomes a valuable currency in the sourcing and planning process. It can be easy for teams to unintentionally work in silos when developing a program, but keep in mind that being inclusive of other functional areas can spark new ideas. Encouraging your planning and sourcing teams to work closely together and serve as sounding boards for one another can lead to more innovative experiences for clients than working independently would. All the same, collaborating with your industry partners is crucial as well. Keep in mind that although the need to work with these partners Courtney Miller — such as DMCs, AV/production companies and décor providers — may be common knowledge for planning and sourcing teams, that need may be less apparent to a client with budgetary goals in mind or limited previous experience utilizing those various resources. Take time to educate your clients on the cost breakdown, efficiencies, local expertise and overall benefit of working with industry partners and providers versus independent sourcing. DMCs for example, are excellent sources of information and creativity for your client’s program and will have insider knowledge on the best things to see, eat and experience in the meeting’s destination. Don’t be afraid to challenge DMCs to present solutions they haven’t provided before, and remember that you can request that vendors and DMCs set up showcases to display their capabilities, creativity and concepts in an immersive setting for clients to see live.

THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

The last thing you want when it’s time for a program to launch is for a client to arrive at the event venue, only to find out that the hotel you’ve sourced is undergoing extensive renovations or they’ve accrued hidden fees. Many of these mix-ups are avoidable and can be prevented during the negotiation process Continued on page 58

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FOUR REASONS TO GO HYBRID A virtual extension to the physical convention can move your event strategy forward By Leslie Wingler

W

e all think we can’t be in two places at once … or can we? A physical event paired with a hybrid component pushes through that limitation. For organizers, enhancement or extension is the key focus. It’s as simple as including a studio onsite where both audience types can view thought leader interviews, product demos and more — all in real time. This deepens attendees’ connection to the event, whether they are onsite or remote. While one may need to convince meeting owners to add a hybrid component, the arguments and payoff are solid. Here are four ways a hybrid extension can enhance the physical event in terms of attendance, revenue, networking value and engagement, respectively.

3

Be Extra Social Social media integration has become an essential ingredient in all events. This is a great tool for event updates, communications, connecting many audience types and, most of all, creating the sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). In regards to a hybrid event, social media can be a useful tool to connect the online participants with those onsite. For example, Twitter can be used to share ideas, pose questions for a presenter and present event polls. During our hybrid events, we provide the same event hashtag to both onsite and online audiences to better connect those two communities. Facebook Live offers another way to connect with an audience that may not know your event is happening. It can also be used as an interactive tool for users to come together to comment, ask questions and network.

1

Extend Your Reach The sky is the limit. Hybrid events allow you to extend your reach beyond those who have attended your physical events in the past or attend in person every year. You choose who you want to reach and when and how to reach them. Access has to be immediate and timely. With a hybrid event, you also have the positioning available to promote registration and attendance for your event at the same time that it’s happening.

2

Increase Your Revenue With a hybrid event, there are many ways in which a sponsor, or multiple sponsors, can participate. It starts with a simple logo placement or verbal acknowledgement during a session. There are bigger ways to let sponsors own more of the experience, too, such as sponsoring an entire hybrid event and including dedicated marketing callouts throughout the program, or demo-ing a product during the live stream. For example, at PCMA’s Convening Leaders event, we include dedicated time during our live stream for a “Tech Spot” segment in which sponsors or other organizations can present their services to the onsite and online audience. This opportunity helps deliver the ROI sponsors are looking for — and keeps them coming back with more dollars to invest the following year.

There are bigger ways to let sponsors own more of the experience … such as sponsoring an entire hybrid event and including dedicated marketing callouts throughout the program

4

Build Trust When attendees know they have options, it builds a relationship of trust and reliance with the organization. Knowing that they have a secondary option if something prevents them from attending a physical event is an added bonus that might set your organization apart from the competition (e.g., if a registrant gets sick and is confined to his hotel room, he can still attend sessions thanks to the hybrid extension). PCMA offers a hybrid option for both of our larger events, and the Digital Experience Institute offers a rebroadcast option of select sessions from both of these events once the event concludes, giving onsite participants the option to view sessions they didn’t get to see while at the physical event. And for online participants, if they missed any part of the Continued on page 58

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THE “UNSUNG HERO” Continued from page 56

Before going down the rabbit hole of sourcing hotels, gifts or DMCs, always begin your process by asking questions about your client’s goals to get a deep understanding of their needs by keeping some key guidelines in mind. When negotiating contracts, make sure to inquire about hidden costs up front including renovation clauses, branding fees and deadlines for program changes — like final headcounts — which may not be explicitly spelled out in the contract but could incur significant financial or experiential tolls in the future. It’s also important to know if the facility you’re contracting is a union facility. There can be mandatory fees associated with union venues that may not be included in contract terms, so be sure to double check the event planner’s guide to ensure all costs are accounted for before contracting. On the other hand, when looking to proactively keep costs down, think about negotiating discounts during off-peak seasons or securing concessions for using your own production company versus the one provided in-house. Chances are, if you’re detailed in the negotiating phase, you’ll discover creative ways to stay within budget while providing out-of-the-box experiences.

WHAT’S THE TAKEAWAY?

Sourcing is no easy task. It takes a discerning eye, budget savvy, a creative mind and a collaborative spirit to consistently go beyond what’s been done before and push boundaries. But the end result will be an attendee experience that connects, inspires and changes behavior for the better. Monika Adelmann and Courtney Miller serve as Event Directors with BCD Meetings & Events. Adelmann’s 20plus years of industry experience encompass a wide range of functions including hotel sales and convention services, tradeshows, and corporate conference and incentive travel management. At BCD Meetings & Events, she has led project and cross-functional teams in the strategic design, planning and execution of high-level, complex and innovative corporate events for clients across the globe. Miller has been in the meetings industry since graduating college in 1999 and has worked for some of the largest hotels and convention centers, planning events of all kinds and sizes. She has been with BCD Meetings & Events for the past six years, working with clients and their vendors to take their projects to the next level.

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4 REASONS TO GO HYBRID

Continued from page 57

initial live stream, the rebroadcast is an option for them to catch up on any valuable content they missed. For those still not fully convinced that hybrid events will elevate their physical events, I ask you this: How do you know if you don’t try? There are definitely more than four ways that hybrid events can complement the physical element. So for 2020, I challenge you to start hybrid events in your way and in your own style to see what they can do for you. PCMA’s Digital Experience Institute does offer a Digital Event Strategist course, which is a great place to start. Leslie Wingler is an Education Manager for PCMA. She has been immersed in digital events for over 10 years, with positions ranging from webcast and live stream producer to content and course development. As Education Manager, she currently develops content for the Digital Experience Institute webinars, the Digital Event Strategist course and PCMA’s two large annual conferences, Convening Leaders and Educon. In addition to content development, she plans and produces the live stream programs for the aforementioned conferences.

ADVERTISER INDEX Akron/Summit CVB........................................................25 Austin Convention Center..............................................9 Boise Centre..................................................................17 Caesars Entertainment....................................................5 Cobo Center....................................................................1 Connecticut Convention Center..................................43 David L. Lawrence Convention Center........................45 Explore St. Louis............................................................13 Greater Columbus Convention Center.......................23 Hawaii Convention Center........................................... C3 Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland...............3 IMEX...............................................................................21 Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Convention Center....49 Meet AC........................................................................ C2 Monona Terrace...............................................................8 New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center....46 Ocean Center................................................................11 Pasadena CVB................................................................15 Phoenix Convention Center........................................ C4 Puerto Rico Convention Center...................................39 Visit Orlando....................................................................7 Visit Savannah................................................................55

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CONVENTIONS IN HINDSIGHT Guidelines for effective post-event analysis By Kari Messenger, CMP

A

s members of the meetings department at an association management company, our team is continually planning one conference after another, without much break in between. Throughout the conference, we are celebrating our successes, while also collecting valuable data to inform our planning decisions for the following year. We are continually looking at the data we collect, how we collect it and how we utilize it. Engaging and listening to attendees is critical to ensuring we are gathering the intel needed to provide meaningful recommendations for our clients and teams. Below I outline my team’s approach to post-event analysis. By analyzing trends and feedback, we find the most valuable post-event analysis information and are ultimately able to improve the conference experience for our attendees.

To begin the process, we always determine the “who.” Who are the members of this industry? What is important to their experience? Are they here for the networking, or do they need to focus on obtaining education credits?

THE WHO

To begin the process, we always determine the “who.” Who are the members of this industry? What is important to their experience? Are they here for the networking, or do they need to focus on obtaining education credits? Taking a moment to remember who your audience is will position you to collect the right information in the analysis process. The impact

of knowing the who relates directly to what questions need to be asked along the way to start capturing the attendees’ experience of the conference and getting to the meat of what their biggest opportunities and takeaways are.

THE WHAT

After reviewing the “who” we move on to talking about the “what.” What do we want to analyze? As a team we review the goals we had for the conference and start evaluating whether we succeeded. One way to measure if we have met these goals is by attendee feedback. For example, a team goal may be to have higher, more engaged traffic on a certain area of the show floor. We start by asking, “Did we hit this goal? If so, how?” As a team we start formatting the questions that will be important to understanding if we hit our goals.

THE WHY

Once we have a better idea of what we are looking for, we analyze the “why.” Why do we want this information? Why are we doing this? Discussing these questions as a team helps format the questions that we will be asking our attendees. There will be specific reasons for soliciting each piece of information. In general, we collect the data to show our client what was accomplished at the conference this year and what can be improved in years to come.

CARRYING OUT THE PLAN

Now that our team has a clear idea of what information is needed, we start putting our plan into action. We create and send surveys based on what we need to analyze for future years. In addition to surveys, our team will collect information from our CVB and hotel partners. From these details we are able to track what type of economic impact our group’s meeting made on the city. This information is vital as we go to bid for future years, since we can project the economic impact our group will have on a prospective destination. We use this data as leverage in negotiation. We know our clients’ needs as well as their buying power. Continued on page 60

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

PRISM PRIME SITE MEETING H OT E L AWA R D W I N N E R S 2019

2019 Prime Site Meeting Hotel Awards Ballot

VOTE for the top hotels, resorts and conference centers your group has used for its meetings in the last three years. Please base your vote(s) on the following criteria:

Name of nominee_______________________________________

• Attractiveness and functionality • Technological capabilities • Quality of staff and conference planner • Teambuilding • Food & beverage/catering • Lighting • Acoustics • Climate control • Proximity to airport & other transportation • Onsite or offsite lodging • Other support services • Front-desk operations • Setups and breakdowns • Room décor • Quality/size of ballroom • Special packages • Spa • Nearby attractions

Check the award you want to nominate the above for:

Name of nominee_______________________________________ Name of nominee_______________________________________

Meeting Hotel/Resort

Conference Center

Your name and title______________________________________ Organization____________________________________________ Phone__________________________________________________ Email___________________________________________________ Additional comments____________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ May we contact you? Yes___ No___ Fill Out Form & Mail, Email or Fax Your Vote: Facilities & Destinations PO Box 1807, New York, NY 10150 Fax: (435) 578-8193 Email: ballots@facilitiesonline.com

CONVENTIONS IN HINDSIGHT Continued from page 59

KEEPING THE PROCESS ON TRACK

In performing this exercise on an annual basis after each conference, we have determined three best practices that ensure we continue to deliver valuable post-event analysis: 1. Set a target date for when we need to capture the information. 2. Ensure we work closely with our client and partners to understand what we are looking for. 3. Review the process on an annual basis to ensure we are always seeking the most critical information needed for the future. 60

Kari Messenger, CMP, has been serving Association Management Center (AMC) and its clients since 2015 and has worked in the association industry since 2010. She was recently promoted to Senior Manager at AMC and now oversees four staff members in the meetings department. This year, Messenger was elected to serve on the Board for the Association for Women in Events. She has also been involved with PCMA, Association Forum and ASAE.

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Facilities & Destinations Fall 2019  

F&D's 2019 Fall 2019 Issue >>BONUS: IMEX America Special Section. >>Destination features: Atlantic City, CAESARS FORUM, Denver, Disney M...

Facilities & Destinations Fall 2019  

F&D's 2019 Fall 2019 Issue >>BONUS: IMEX America Special Section. >>Destination features: Atlantic City, CAESARS FORUM, Denver, Disney M...