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

2016 SMALL-Market Review 29

Fall 2016

& Destinations


A Blueprint for a Better Convention Center

For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals

Spectra puts industry-leading ideas into practice 14

10 Details for

Details for Your Pre-Event Checklist


Helping Presenters Succeed 59

Ohio 33

New York 38

Texas 41

Matt Hollander General Manager of the Spectra-managed Miami Beach Convention Center

247,052 square feet of column-free space

Cutting edge technology Customized network solutions Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout

When you book your next meeting at the Austin Convention Center, the movers and shakers are already here. With six entertainment districts and a safe and walkable downtown, it’s easy to enjoy our famous live music. And with more than 250 venues, honky-tonks and dance halls, everybody leaves with their toes tapping.

[512] 404-4200 www.austinconventioncenter.com

More than 250 live music venues nightly

Awarded LEEDÂŽ Gold Certification First convention center in TX

editor’s note

Facing the industry’s future, and shaping it

& Destinations Fall For Association & Corporate Meeting Planners & Tradeshow Professionals


Volume 24 No. 3

Chief Operating Officer David Korn


orecasting is a year-end tradition in our industry, and those who produce these studies for organizations such as MPI, SITE and Carlson Wagonlit Travel have the unenviable task of synthesizing numerous trends that will impact the future of meetings. One of the major factors is the supplier-side economy: hotels continue to command higher rates, and the seller’s market is driving many planners to look outside first-tier destinations, adopt more date flexibility and leverage their longstanding relationships with hoteliers. Another topical factor is security and safety for travelling attendees, given the persistent threats of terrorism and the Zika virus. And of course, we can’t ignore the political climate, particularly on the heels of a U.S. election that was “contentious” to put it mildly. Will the incoming Trump administration benefit the meetings industry? Some leaders are optimistic, one being U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow, who stated that the USTA is “encouraged” by Trump’s “extensive business and hospitality background” and “promise to invest $500 billion in infrastructure reform.” But apart from the economic, safety/security and political conditions we must face, our thought leaders will play a major role in shaping the industry’s future — in 2017 and beyond. This issue of F&D features compelling examples of such individuals, beginning with the convention center management team at Spectra. Learn about the company’s ideas for the design of these facilities, as conveyed by Miami Beach Convention Center GM Matt Hollander (p. 14). Also engaging are the ideas of Dan Sherman, Founder & CEO of the HIP Network. Sherman shares his vision of increasing the transparency in negotiations between planners and suppliers (p. 10). Last but not least is the thought leadership of Jean Johnson and Anne Zambrano of Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, who take conference marketing to the next level of efficiency (p. 56). Thankfully, our industry is not short on innovators looking to optimize its performance, whatever challenges the future may bring.

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


In Brief................................................................................................................. 4 Forum Dan Sherman, HIP Network............................................................................... 10 Photoview IMEX America 2016........................................................................................... 12 Perspectives Get “Smart” About Conference Marketing, by Jean Johnson and Anne Zambrano.......................................................................................... 56 10 Event Details Not to Overlook, by Susan Frese............................................ 57 A VAT Primer for Planners, by Oumar Counta................................................... 58 Helping Presenters Succeed, by Michael Hamilton............................................ 59 F&D A-List Top U.S. DMC Leaders....................................................................................... 60


The Spectra Difference...................................................................................... 14 Small-Market Review......................................................................................... 29 Destinations Ohio................................................................................................................... 33 New York........................................................................................................... 38 Texas.................................................................................................................. 41 Facilities Directory........................................................................................ 45-55 Advertiser Index................................................................................................ 55 Facilities & Destinations 2016 fall

Facilities Associate Publisher Michael Caffin Director, Business Development Gerald Sankner Editorial Director George Seli Contributing Editors Anthony Bilden Laura Downey Rosa Laufer Deborah Shapiro Creative Direction & Design Scott-Goodman Associates Circulation Manager Winny Cheung Editorial Assistant Shuyu Guo Business Operations Nadia Derelieva © Copyright 2016 by Bedrock Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. Opinions expressed in by-lined articles and advertising copy are not necessarily those of the publisher. Advertisers are responsible for all costs, damages and claims regarding advertising insertions. Facilities & Destinations is published four times a year by Bedrock Communications, Inc., 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016. Telephone: (212) 5324150. Fax: (212) 213-6382. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Facilities, 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016. Printed in U.S.A. Cover ad space is available by contacting a Facilities advertising account executive at (212) 532-4150.

ON THE COVER Matt Hollander is General Manager of the Spectramanaged Miami Beach Convention Center, a facility that is undergoing a comprehensive transformation through 2018 (rendering in the background). The completed project will showcase some of the forward-thinking ideas that characterize Spectra’s convention center business.


The Cox Convention Center is steps away from the vibrant Bricktown district, featuring a variety of canal-side restaurants, clubs, sports and music venues, plus nearby museums and attractions.





of meeting space.

1 Myriad Gardens

of exhibit hall space.

Oklahoma City, OK 73102

15K seat arena.

Phone (405) 602-8500


Convention Industry Council (CIC) Hall of Leaders celebration attendees: (l-r): Karen Kotowski, CIC; John Patronski, GES; Mariela McIlwraith, Meeting Change; Patrick Delaney, MCI Dublin; Carol Krugman, Metropolitan State University of Denver; Richard Aaron, BizBash Media; Colleen Richenbacher, Global Protocol, Etiquette & Civility Academy; and Bonnie Fedchock, NACE and CIC. ALEXANDRIA, VA — On Oct. 18, more than 450 meeting and event professionals gathered at ARIA Resort & Casino’s Jewel Nightclub for the Convention Industry Council’s 21st annual Hall of Leaders & Pacesetter Awards Celebration. The Pacesetter Awards were presented to Aoife Delaney, Director Global Sales at Ovation DMC, and Mariela McIlwraith, CMP, CMM, MBA, President of Meeting Change. Joining the ranks of the CIC Hall of Leaders were Richard Aaron, MFA, CSEP, President of BizBash Media; Patrick Delaney, CMM, CITE, DMCP, Managing Director of MCI Dublin; and Carol Krugman, CMP, CMM, M.Ed., Chair, Department of Hospitality, Tourism & Events Management at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

CHICAGO, IL — The second installment of IACC’s Meeting Room of the Future study has been published. The first research, which surveyed meeting planners, was published in April 2016; the second research focusing on the views of venue operators and suppliers, drawing parallels with the first research. The results were unveiled at IMEX America in October. More than 65 venues, including a large number of IACC-certified properties, plus suppliers across four continents were surveyed. According to IACC, a key finding was that “venue operators and suppliers are aware of the changing expectations of meeting delegates, and the majority of venue operators see it as their role to provide a great meetings experience, providing new options to the meeting

Source: IACC’s Meeting Room of the Future study 4

Philadelphia town hall meeting participants: (l-r) Greg Talley, Talley Management Group; Doreen Burse, Marriott International; Rick Staub, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB); Gail Mutnik, American Association for Clinical Chemistry; Steve Charamella, Sheraton Society Hill Hotel; Sara Merriman, Philadelphia Department of Commerce; Julie Coker Graham, PHLCVB; and John McNichol, Pennsylvania Convention Center. (Top): Hilton’s “Museum of Wow” debuted at IMEX America. planner.” Examples include collaborative technologies (e.g., Microsoft’s SurfaceHub and Barco’s ClickShare) and providing more networking and social spaces outside of the meeting room. The study can be accessed at http://www. iacconline.org/iacc-meetingroom-of-the-future. MCLEAN, VA — Hilton Hotels and Resorts has launched the B2B marketing campaign WowMakers, recognizing meeting, event and travel professionals who “wow” their attendees and clients. New tools and resources for these professionals will be part of the initiative. The first set of WowMakers’ stories were conveyed in a “Museum of Wow” at Hilton’s annual customer event during this year’s IMEX America. Featuring audiovisual display of artifacts, the exhibits showcased the work of planners such as Joe Landers, a sales promotions manager who recreated

Bavaria’s late 19th century “Mad King” Ludwig’s castle in Munich for a gala — garnering a 99.02 percent satisfaction rating. PHILADELPHIA, PA — On Nov. 2, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) hosted a live town hall for meeting professionals in Washington, DC, titled “It’s Time to Cast Your Vote for Philadelphia.” Moderated by Gregg Talley, President & CEO of Talley Management Group, the town hall focused on positive changes at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and other developments in the city that will enhance the experience for groups. Also discussed was Philadelphia’s successful hosting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and its 20,000 attendees, immediately following the Democratic National Convention with its 35,000 delegates this past summer.

Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2016 Fall

In Brief Convention CENTER WATCH


extensive $75 million renovation, which is scheduled to conclude Jan. 1, 2017. The hotel offers more than 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Tauseen Malik GM, The Adolphus Hotel CANTON, OH — In May 2018, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is scheduled to open a 243-room, four-star hotel with a conference center. The hotel is part of the Hall of Fame’s $500 million development project, which will include an indoor and outdoor NFL activity center, an athletic training and educational complex, and retail, restaurant and office spaces. For more updates on Ohio’s meetings industry, see page 33.

Artist’s renderings of the Kentucky International Convention Center expansion (above), expected to be completed in 2018, and the Anaheim Convention Center expansion (top), scheduled to be completed in fall 2017. ANAHEIM, CA — Set to debut in next fall, the Anaheim Convention Center expansion will add 200,000 sq. ft. of flexible space, bringing the facility’s total exhibition space to more than one million sq. ft. The two-level expansion will include 100,000 sq. ft. of column-free space with 25-ft. ceilings and 10,000 sq. ft. of balcony space. The new 1,350-space parking structure has been completed. LOUISVILLE, KY — Scheduled to be completed in 2018, the Kentucky International Convention Center’s $180 million expansion will add a minimum of 200,000 sq. ft. of

exhibit space and a 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom without expanding the outer walls of the building. This expansion will potentially bring up to 25 percent more business to the convention center. SEATTLE, WA — Construction is set to begin next summer on the Washington State Convention Center’s $1.6 billion expansion. The project will double the venue’s capacity by adding 435,000 sq. ft. of usable space, including 250,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, 125,000 sq. ft. of meeting rooms and 60,000 sq. ft. of ballroom space. Developers expect the expanded center to be completed by 2020.

Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2016 Fall 6

DALLAS, TX — The Adolphus Hotel is entering the final phase of a comprehensive renovation that includes sweeping changes to the guestrooms, lobby, public spaces and restaurants. Originally opened in 1912, the Beaux Arts property now offers 407 completely remodeled guestrooms, the new Spa Adolphus and a new rooftop pool and café suitable for private events. Extending through early 2017, the final phase will reopen the 19th floor ballroom, increasing the hotel’s overall meeting and event space to 27,000 sq. ft. The Adolphus recently appointed Tauseen Malik as its new General Manager. (For more Texas meeting news, see page 41.) LOS ANGELES, CA — The Concourse Hotel at Los Angeles Airport is transitioning to the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport. The 580-room hotel is undergoing an

ORLANDO, FL — The Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate is reopening the Greg Norman-designed International Golf Course following a renovation this summer. The National Course is set to close for enhancements in late spring of 2017. ORLANDO, FL — The Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek recently debuted its 3,500-sq.-ft. Bonnet Creek Ballroom. Located on the Main Lobby Level, the facility can accommodate up to 360 people and opens up to a 923-sq.-ft. balcony overlooking the oasis pool and fountains on the lake. The addition is part of an overall meeting space expansion of nearly 7,000 sq. ft. at the resort. PROVIDENCE, RI — The 564room Omni Providence Hotel, connected to the Rhode Island Convention Center, recently completed renovations to the West tower, marking the end of a $15 million investment in the property. Renovations covered the guestrooms and public spaces. _________________________

MGM National Harbor Set to Welcome Its First Groups Opened on Dec. 8, the MGM National Harbor promises to be a boon for meetings in the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region. Overlooking the Potomac River in National Harbor, MD, the $1.4 billion Continued on page 8

Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2016 Fall 6

Whether you have 50 or 5,000 attendees, we have a prime site for you.



123 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14604 585.232.7200 • www.rrcc.com

In Brief HOTEL HIGHLIGHTS Continued from page 00

Sheila Hession, Executive Director of Sales MGM National Harbor Continued from page 6

resort and casino offers 308 rooms and a state-of-the-art Conference Center that will see plenty of business from the local area and beyond. “We understand that we are located in a very heavy association and corporate market, and we both appreciate and embrace that,” remarks Sheila Hession, Executive Director of

Sales for MGM National Harbor. “With the flexibility of our 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, as well as our 3,000-seat Theater at MGM National Harbor and open-air spaces on our Potomac Plaza, we have the ability to customize a meeting experience like no other hotel or resort in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. We then can provide amazing culinary offerings, featuring local flavors

and inspirations, to further enhance the experience.” Indoor spaces include the 16,200-sq.-ft. MGM Grand Ballroom with a wall of floor-toceiling windows, complemented by a 6,000-sq.-ft. terrace with panoramic river views; the 4,284-sq.-ft. Bellagio Ballroom; and three 1,838-sq.-ft. meeting rooms. Outdoor function spaces can accommodate groups of 50


BALTIMORE, MD — The Radisson Hotel Baltimore Downtown-Inner Harbor’s holiday promotion includes the following upgrades based on spend: $3,000 to $6,000: complimentary festive holiday décor, complimentary sparkling wine and cider toast, 10 percent off best available rates on sleeping rooms. $6,000 to $10,000: complimentary festive holiday décor, complimentary sparkling wine and cider toast, one complimentary sleeping room for the planner, 20 percent off best available rates on sleeping rooms, reduced rate parking; $10,000 and higher: complimentary festive holiday linens and décor, complimentary sparkling wine and cider toast, two complimentary sleeping rooms for planner, 25 percent off best available rates on sleeping rooms, reduced rate parking. To check availability, meeting planners may call (410) 385-6570. 8

BUFFALO, NY — The Buffalo Niagara Convention Center’s Hot Deals Meetings Package includes free meeting room rental and free basic wireless Internet in the meeting space, with the planner’s choice of complimentary one-hour welcome reception or a 3 percent credit to the final invoice. In addition, Visit Buffalo Niagara is offering a $50.00 gift card for qualified RFPs; free trip to Niagara Falls for the group; and a $3 rebate per room/per night paid back to the group. Offer applies to new meetings booked for 2016 and 2017; meeting dates with a minimum of 100 room nights and twonight stay; contract signed by Dec. 31, 2016. Contact National Sales Director Lori White for details at white@ visitbuffaloniagara.com. For more information on meeting in Buffalo, see the New York feature on page XX.

LA JOLLA, CA — The Grande Colonial Hotel is offering a Group Meeting Package for groups bringing 20-50 room nights. The offer includes a 10 percent discount on in-house audiovisual packages, one upgrade to an ocean-view junior suite, three complimentary VIP amenities, complimentary high-speed wireless/wired Internet access and other perks. Groups bringing over 50 room nights receive a 25 percent discount on in-house audiovisual packages, two upgrades to an ocean-view junior suite, four complimentary VIP amenities and more. Special group offers are only valid for new bookings that are scheduled now through March 31, 2017. Call (858) 729-5381 for full details.

NEW YORK, NY — Under the promotional code SNYFallPromotion, the Sofitel New York is offering a credit of 5 percent toward a group’s master billed

to 500. With such a variety of venues, planners have a palette for designing memorable events, and the resort’s team can certainly assist. “In addition to our Sales & Catering team, we have experienced professionals in Banquets, Audio/Visual, Production and Entertainment who can help customize events,” says Hession. “Entertainment is at the heart of MGM Resorts International. We believe that entertainment is a human need and we bring that spirit to our meetings and events team.” The property has hosted a number of tours for planners, according to Hession, and “the feedback has been extraordinary. The concept, the flow of meeting space, the thoughtful details in The Theater, the size and scope of the Spa, the views and the MGM National Harbor Heritage Collection, a diverse collection of high-quality art inspired by the rich heritage of the Capital Region, have topped the list on feedback.” —G.S. sleeping room revenue, complimentary guestroom high-speed wireless Internet, 20 percent cumulative attrition of the contracted block, one complimentary suite upgrade for every 25 occupied rooms cumulative, one complimentary VIP amenity for every 25 occupied rooms, and complimentary general session meeting space rental. The offer is valid for any booking through Dec. 31, 2016. $15,000 minimum spend for all groups. For details, planners can reach out to Darian.James@Sofitel.com.

PALM SPRINGS, CA — The Greater Palm Springs CVB’s Midweek Meetings promotion provides savings to planners who have the ability to book meetings Sunday through Thursday. According to the CVB, all rates are supplied individually by hotel partners and offers vary from season to season, but planners can realize savings of up to $100 per room and receive discounts on meeting space and catering. For details, planners can contact Convention Sales at (760) 969-1304.

Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2016 Fall

FORUM Dan Sherman Founder & CEO, HIP Network


By George Seli

eeting industry entrepreneur Dan Sherman launched the HIP Network in 2008. Today, the organization has over 7,500 subscribers, comprised of 70 percent meeting and event planners and 30 percent suppliers. With 77 percent of participants between 25-44 years of age, the HIP Network represents the younger generations of hospitality industry professionals (HIP). It stages networking and educational events for its subscribers and develops innovative tech products for the meetings industry. In October, HIP Network acquired the sustainability platform Convene Green from ASAE.

Q: A:

What was the idea behind the creation of the HIP Network?

It was the next generation of buyers and sellers in the marketplace coming together outside of the traditional settings of our associations that we all are members of and find great value in. We found our niche in bringing together the younger generations, per say. The network has naturally grown for the most part through word of mouth and throughout the U.S.

Q: A:

What benefit does your network bring to planners, in comparison to other industry organizations?

We really focus on connecting influential association and corporation planners to hotels, venues and destinations. Essentially, creating networking and educational events that bring together the next generation of like-minded professionals. In the future HIP Network will look very different as we transition from connector to provider and rollout the industry’s first business intelligence solution (HIP Platform), designed to enhance deal cycle transparency for planners and suppliers alike.

Q: A:

Can you provide some detail on the HIP Network’s subscriber events?

Over the last eight years we’ve produced 55 events, and over 11,000 planners and suppliers have attended those events in five different cities. We go where the association hubs are: DC, Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco. Our Sessions in the City feature high energy, 10-15 minute TED-style talks about new innovation within big data, event design, sustainability and technology. We’re really proud of some of the speakers that we get. [Ed. note: Among the speakers at the most recent Sessions in the City were Erin Lee, Managing Director, Marketing, BIO; Allison Wachter, Director, Exhibitions & Registration, ASAE; Sarah Weller, Steelcase Event Experiences; and Tom Miller, VP, Business Development, FREEMAN.]

Q: A:

How diverse are the supplier subscribers?

It’s the whole gamut: a higher percentage of hotels, CVBs and convention centers, and then the DMCs, transportation providers, audiovisual companies, exhibition management companies, etc. 10

Q: A:

What is your personal background in the events industry?

My family has owned and operated a transportation and tour company since the 1960s, so I grew up in the travel and logistics management space and worked in the family business until 2010. So I have an idea of the planning cycle and I understand how event organizers and suppliers think. Most entrepreneurs in the meeting and event hospitality space are people looking at our industry from the outside and saying, “Oh look, there’s a $280 billion plus U.S. meeting and event marketplace, I can get a percentage of that.” But as an entrepreneur born into this industry, it’s not that easy. You really have to earn your stripes and hyper focus on a niche that delivers real transformative value.

Q: A:

What new products is the HIP Network developing?

We’re launching the first Meetings and Events Business Intelligence tool (HIP Platform), which will provide marketplace guidance on Event History, Event Spend, Event Sustainability and Event Security. The first module is ShowScore, which is set to become the Industry Standard by delivering quantifiable value to planners and suppliers by communicating verified event history, economic and environmental impacts, and dualpurpose compatibility scores that enhances deal cycle transparency.

Q: A:

How would you assess the current state of the sustainability initiative in the meetings industry?

Honestly I think it’s stagnant. If you looked at the planner universe, I would say 5 percent of groups, like USGBC, American Chemical Society and a couple others want to be leaders in meeting sustainability; they think about it pre event, onsite and post event. Fifteen percent are aware and want to do more, and they actually want recognition for some of the stuff they’re doing. Sixty percent are either unaware or they’re aware but kind of carry on their own; they might be interested if someone pointed them in the right direction. And 20 percent I think literally don’t care. We’ve done some surveying over the years, and [this breakdown] is generally what we’ve come across.

Q: A:

What role do you expect the Convene Green platform to play?

Convene Green has programs to help planners at every end of the sustainability spectrum. For those just getting started, the Convene Green Pledge is a great first step in the right direction. For those further along, several options exist to enhance through Convene Green Champions (launching in 2017). We also help suppliers dissect how their sustainability initiatives help event organizers. I think buildings are seeing ROI from the cost saving of implementing sustainable building practices, but they’re not seeing buyers leverage and communicate those efforts to their stakeholders. Moving forward, our goal is the drive clarity and bridge that gap within the event sustainability world through our innovative HIP Platform. Facilities & destinations 2016 FALL

The Breadfruit & Rum Bar

Looking Ahead

Facilities & Destinations 2016-2017 WINTER Issue Featuring:

annual Planner Roundtable: Veteran • F&D’s planners discuss industry trends ELITE Awards and Prime Site Meeting • The Hotel (PRISM) Awards Forums: In-depth Q&As with • F&D industry leaders on the move review of IAEE Expo! Expo!, Dec. 6-8 • AAnaheim, CA; and PCMA Convening Leaders, Jan. 8-11, Austin, TX

from the pros on incentive trip • Tips planning and implementing the latest meeting technology

of California, Florida, Puerto • Coverage Rico and Peru the latest domestic and international • Plus meeting industry news, including facility

8-MINUTE WALK At the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix, your attendees are minutes away from James Beard Award winners, ethnic delights and local culinary wonders. So book today and watch your event take a big step in the right direction.

renovations, deals for groups and much more

To subscribe, see page 44 in this issue.


800-282-4842 | Facilities & DESTINATIONS 2016 Fall



IMEXAmerica IMEX America 2016 was held Oct. 18-20 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center, Las Vegas

Cathy Kretz (left), Travel Portland, and Cindy Wallace, Oregon Convention Center

(L-r): Justin Markle, Katie Conoyer, Linda Jensen and Peter Barton at the Spectra booth

Gregg Caren, SMG, and Mavoy Smith, Montego Bay Convention Centre

(L-r): Mary Johnson, Providence Biltmore; Arleen Oliva, RICC; Kathleen Ceseretti, Providence Warwick CVB

Jennifer Costa, Director, Elizabeth Destination Marketing Organization

Renee Pineda, Special Events Sales Manager, AT&T Stadium

Becca Bides (left), VP of Global Communications, and Misty Goff, Director Convention Marketing, Visit Orlando

Doug Bennett, Senior VP of Convention Development, Visit Louisville

Josh Valasek (left) and Robert Leff, National Sales Directors at Visit Pittsburgh

John Washko, VP, Group Marketing & Sales, Atlantis Paradise Island Resort

(L-r): President and CEO Alan Doyle, VP of Sales, Milton Segarra, Rosa MICE, Palace Resorts Luke, Margaret Colon and Joyce Martinez, Meet Puerto Rico


Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall


Mary Manier (left), Experience Grand Rapids, and Kim Corcoran, Destination Michigan

Dennis Johnston and Ginger Thompson, Oklahoma City CVB

Lexi Sweet, Public Relations Coordinator, Experience Columbus

(L-r): President Kitty Ratcliffe, Courtney Brown, Holly Lammert and John Bettag, Explore St. Louis

Michael Massari, SVP, and Wendy Blaney, Director, In Market Sales - Eastern Division, Caesars Entertainment

Matt Esau, Director of Mayo Civic Center Sales, Rochester, MN CVB

Michael Dominguez, SVP and Chief Sales Officer, and Sandy Zanella, PR Director, MGM Resorts

(L-r): Eva Presenkowski and Andrew Stucker, Visit Pasadena, and Mimi Lo, dusitD2 Hotel Constance Pasadena

Steen Jakobsen, Director, Dubai Business Events

Katie Caswell (left), Sales and Operations Manager, Logistics LLC, and Julie Dodds, Director of Convention Sales, Visit Anchorage

Jennifer Kohatsu (left) and Susan Valen, National Sales Directors, Long Beach Area CVB

Monica Smith, VP Sales & Services, Visit Jacksonville, and Jeff Hewitt, Senior VP, Convention Sales, Visit Savannah

Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall


The Spectra Difference


n June 2015, Comcast Spectacor underwent a major restructuring: Global Spectrum, Ovations Food Services and Paciolan were replaced by Spectra, a single brand with Venue Management, Food Services & Hospitality, and Ticketing & Fan Engagement divisions. Spectra’s convention center clients, who primarily utilize the services of the first two divisions, currently number 25. They include such high-profile facilities as the Atlantic City Convention Center, Duke Energy Convention Center, Miami Beach Convention Center, St. Charles Convention Center and the Palm Beach County Convention Center. Many of these clients are benefiting from Spectra’s “bundled approach” to services, where more than one Spectra division partners with the facility. The approach has contributed a recordsetting 2015-2016 fiscal year at the Iowa Events Center, Duke Energy Convention Center, Owensboro Convention Center, and Palm Beach County Convention Center. The Duke Energy Convention Center, for example, recorded its highest-grossing revenue in its 10-year history, while the Iowa Events Center recently exceeded $1.9 million in profit for the second consecutive year.


Spectra’s value proposition to convention centers is clear, but what does Spectra management mean to convention planners? Matt Hollander, General Manager of the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) and a 13-year veteran of the company, says it ensures a high level of group service, as well as an experience within the facility that expresses the local destination. “Everybody talks about their attention to quality service, but for us it’s deep in our culture. Our clients and exhibitors and attendees have come to be almost surprised by the level of 14

“One thing we try to do, especially in our convention centers, is to create a sense of place, so that groups don’t feel like they’re in Anytown, USA.” —Matt Hollander, General Manager, Miami Beach Convention Center attention that they get,” Hollander explains. “One other thing we try to do, especially in our convention centers, is to create a sense of place, so that groups don’t feel like they’re in Anytown, USA. We make sure that the personality and culture of the community comes through. And I think our users recognize that difference. We work very hard to bring in local flavors, and it even goes as deep as the look of the uniforms that staff wear.”


The MBCC happens to be a facility making headlines in the meetings world with its ongoing transformation. “It’s basically a Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall


Convention centers and planners benefit from the company’s thought leadership By George Seli

In general, flexibility is “an element that most meeting planners are looking for in a modern building,” Hollander stresses, and the transformed MBCC will deliver that feature with a new multipurpose ballroom that’s highly divisible. “One of the main design concerns that we have is making sure meeting planners are not locked into the limitations of the venue,” he notes. “They want to be as creative with their programming as possible. So we will have rigging points throughout the ballroom. Utility services in the floor will allow for maximum flexibility within the space, serving clients that want to have small groups seated around the room, for example. And there will be multiple locations of significant show power sources, so the client is not limited as to where they can set up a major production as part of their program.”


The ideas driving the MBCC project and Spectra’s services are born out of the collective experience of the company’s managers. “There is virtually no challenge I encounter on a daily basis that one of my colleagues has not experienced, so having that network is a great resource for me,” says Hollander. “And in talking with colleagues that have hosted groups that we’re either considering or have already contracted with, we learn how best to give them the experience they’re looking for.” Ultimately, the collaboration among Spectra’s team benefits not only their convention center clients, but the clients of those facilities as well.


Following is a selection of new developments at the company relevant to its convention center business.

New Hires Artist’s rendering of the transformed Miami Beach Convention Center

complete gut renovation and the expansion of the original MBCC; we’re just winding down the first phase of that project,” says Hollander. The transformation “includes the removal and replacement of the 500,000 sq. ft. of exhibit hall floor (half of that has already occurred during this first stage) and updating all of the utilities that provide customer support on the floor. Final completion, including all the exterior site work, will be 2018.” The MBCC’s renovation exemplifies how attuned Spectra is to the latest needs of convention groups, beginning with technology. The building’s “rather dated technological infrastructure,” as Hollander puts it, will be updated with features such as top-quality high-speed WiFi. “That’s one element that customers have come to expect; it’s almost as basic as clean air and clean restrooms,” he explains. “So we’re focusing not just on speed but also density. In addition, we’re upgrading the telecommunication infrastructure, security technology and AV systems. Everything is going to be fully digital and will take a ‘from anywhere, to anywhere’ approach. That means clients can take any kind of signal, generate it in one location and pick that back up in another location. It’s a very userfriendly system.” Many planners today prefer to partner with convention centers that are sustainably operated, and one aspect of that is an energyconserving lighting system. Spectra has worked with 14 of the arenas and stadiums it manages to convert from traditional HID and quartz lighting to the latest in LED sports lighting, and is now looking into doing the same in the convention center space. “Our project team out of Philadelphia has been very engaged in identifying best-in-class opportunities for LED lighting that don’t just meet the energy needs, but also the specific lighting and flexibility needs that the users have,” says Hollander. Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall

On Oct. 31, Spectra by Comcast Spectacor named industry veteran John Wentzell as President of its Venue Management and Food Services & Hospitality division. Wentzell previously served nearly 20 years at Delaware North Companies in various roles. At Spectra, he is responsible for all aspects of facility management and food service, including finance, business development, marketing, corporate partnerships and operations.

New Business

Spectra recently finalized agreements to provide bundled services for Wichita Falls Multipurpose Events Center in Wichita Falls, TX; and Ford Park Event Center in Beaumont, TX. The Wichita Falls Multipurpose Events Center includes the 58,000-sq.-ft. Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall, while the Ford Park Event Center includes the 48,000-sq.-ft. Ford Exhibit Hall. In Springfield, MA, Spectra renewed management services for the MassMutual Center, and also added on Food Services & Hospitality and Ticketing & Fan Engagement services. The MassMutual Center houses over 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Client Renewals

Cross Insurance Center, Bangor, ME – Venue Management, Food Services & Hospitality, and Corporate Partnerships. The center includes 50,000 sq. ft. of convention space. Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, OH – Venue Management, Food Services & Hospitality. (See the Ohio feature, page 35, for details on the DECC.) 15


find time to contribute to their field by participating in meeting industry associations, giving talks, writing articles in trade publications and more. Facilities & Destinations honors our industry’s overachievers with the ELITE Awards.





meeting industry professional’s job is multifaceted. To truly shine, it takes a broad skill set, the kind of network that only comes with many years of experience, and oftentimes industry-specific advanced education. CVB executives must thoroughly know their cities and the latest marketing techniques, while convention center and hotel executives must work to maintain industry-leading products and convey their value proposition to meeting planners. On top of these “musts,” some professionals




We encourage our readers to make nominations for CVB Executive of the Year, Convention Center Executive of the Year and Meeting Hotel Executive of the Year. Who among your colleagues and business partners is making an especially strong contribution to today’s vibrant meetings industry?


NOMINATION FORM CVB Executive of the Year

Nominated By:

1. Name:_____________________________________________

Name, Title:___________________________________________



2. Name:_____________________________________________




Convention Center Executive of the Year

May we contact you?  Yes____ No____

1. Name:_____________________________________________ Company:__________________________________________ 2. Name:_____________________________________________ Company:__________________________________________

Meeting Hotel Executive of the Year 1. Name:_____________________________________________ Company:__________________________________________ 2. Name:_____________________________________________ Company:__________________________________________


Please Fill Out Form & Mail Your Vote To:

Facilities & Destinations

ELITE Awards

152 Madison Avenue, Suite #802 New York, NY 10016 Or Fax to: (212) 213-6382 Or email ballots@facilitiesonline.com

Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall

Be in The

Center of iT All

Hartford is a destination built for meetings! The connected 540,000 square foot Connecticut Convention Center and 409-room Hartford Marriott is just the start. First-class entertainment and restaurants are all right at your fingertips, so getting from work to play has never been easier. Meet Hartford and discover a connected city like no other.

Put your next event in the center of it all. Call 860.249.6000 or visit ctconventions.com



Awards of Excellence

& Destinations


Please consider the following criteria when voting: • Attractiveness & Functionality of Meeting Venue • Size & Quality of Meeting Space • Technological Capabilities • Quality of Staff • Food & Beverage Options • Lighting, Acoustics, & Internet Access • Other Meeting/Event Support Services • Amenities • Recreational Activities • Dining & Entertainment Options • Lodging Quality • Accessibility to Airport • Ease of Travel within Destination Fill Out Form & Mail, Email or Fax Your Vote: Facilities & Destinations 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016 Fax: (212) 213-6382 Email: ballots@facilitiesonline.com

Name of Nominee____________________________________________________ Check Award You want to nominate the above for: Prime Site

Top Destination

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Top Destination

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Facilities & Destinations


VOTE for the top hotels, resorts and conference centers your group has used for its meetings in the last three years. Please base your vote(s) on the following criteria: • Attractiveness and functionality • Technological capabilities • Quality of staff and conference planner • Teambuilding • Food & beverage/catering • Lighting • Acoustics • Climate control • Proximity to airport & other transportation • Onsite or offsite lodging • Other support services • Front-desk operations • Setups and breakdowns • Room décor • Quality/size of ballroom • Special packages • Spa • Nearby attractions Fill Out Form & Mail, Email or Fax Your Vote: Facilities & Destinations 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 802, New York, NY 10016 Fax: (212) 213-6382 Email: ballots@facilitiesonline.com 26


2016 Prime Site Meeting Hotel Awards Ballot

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

Conference Center

Your name and title______________________________________ Organization____________________________________________ Phone__________________________________________________ Email___________________________________________________ Additional comments____________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ May we contact you? Yes___ No___ Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall

there’s teamwork happenIng here!

It’s ImpossIble to convey all the strengths of our exceptIonal team In just a hundred words, so we Included a pIcture to add a thousand more. Why do clients love our team so much? It’s a combination of collaborative spirit, a ‘whatever it takes’ tenacity and decades’ worth of know-how. Every event we host is different, each client’s goals unique. But no matter how challenging or enormous the event may be, our team sees to it that every aspect exceeds the expectations of clients, participants and attendees. Event planning, promotion, hospitality, food, drink and beyond – our people manage it all with professionalism and efficiency. If your event is too important to trust to just any venue, talk to the team at The International Centre.

canada’s leadIng event & meetIng facIlIty 6900 Airport Road Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 905.677.6131 / tf 1.800.567.1199 InternationalCentre.com

Follow us!

the International centre staff (from left to right) Ron Bentley, Director of Event and Client Services; Sandra Martin, Director of Sales; Trevor Lui, Director of Operations and Sustainability; Trevor Graham, Vice-President of Sales; Raiman Dilag, Director of Technology Services; Rita Medynski, Sales Manager – Trade and Consumer Shows; Kevin Parker, Sales Manager – Corporate; Tawfik Shehata, Executive Chef; and Nadena Singh, Director of Events Management


Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall


s planners on a tight budget contend with the seller’s market in the hotel industry, one common strategy has been to select, when possible, second- and third-tier cities where room rates are more affordable. That approach will continue to be relevant next year, as rates will likely escalate again. In September, STR and Tourism Economics projected that the U.S. hotel industry in 2017 will see a 3.1 percent increase in average daily rate. However, in the current market, many second-tier cities in high demand are not that much more negotiable on rates and concessions than their first-tier counterparts — unless a group happens to be able to fill a hole in a hotel’s booking schedule on the short term. That situation will lead many resourceful planners to take a closer look at the third tier. When one of these towns is a logistical fit for a group in terms of airlift, available meeting space and guestroom inventory, the results can be both budget-friendly and engaging for the group. The small meetings market is replete with characterful towns that well-traveled attendees will enjoy discovering. And planners will enjoy dealing with a CVB that considers their group a larger and more significant piece of business, relative to the size of the city. In contrast to the stereotype of “Small Town USA” being slowpaced and averse to change, many of the meetings industry’s small towns are investing in changes that will catch a planner’s eye. New and renovated meeting venues are evidence that today’s small market is vibrant, and a viable option to competing for space in the higher tiers. Following is a sampling of these developments.


The Meydenbauer Center, located in the Greater Seattle area, recently underwent a $12.5 million renovation that included new interior finishes, collaborative lobby seating arrangements, new digital signage, advanced audiovisual systems and custom lighting. “Since Meydenbauer opened 23 years ago, Bellevue has developed into a vibrant urban city that is home to several major corporations and ambitious startups,” noted the Center’s executive director Stacy Graven. “Bellevue has attracted a number of top hotel properties that serve the corporate guest as well as leisure travelers seeking a safe, clean, modern and upscale experience. Meydenbauer Center’s recent renovation elevates the convention center’s interior and provides a new level of finishes and technology that is consistent with our hotel partners.”


The new 222-room Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center is located in downtown Georgetown, 28 miles north of Austin. Groups have available 30,000 sq. ft. of function space, including 14 meeting rooms, a 16,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 7,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space. The hotel is located in the 32-acre Summit at Rivery Park, overlooking the San Gabriel River. Hiking and biking opportunities make the locale ideal for fitness-oriented attendees.


The Monterey Conference Center is reopening next spring following a $60 million renovation. The Center will be LEED certified and offer 40,000+ sq. ft. of meeting space accommodating 3,200 people. Groups meeting at the facility are a five-minute walk from Facilities & destinations

2016 Fall

Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium (ideal for offsite functions) and Downtown Monterey. Other nearby points of interest include Monterey Wine Country and Carmel by-the-Sea.


The Main is Downtown Norfolk’s new upscale lodging, dining and meeting destination, offering 39 meeting rooms across 42,000 sq. ft. The Hilton Norfolk the Main affords guests views of the Elizabeth River and is home to an IACCcertified conference center and an 18,500-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom. Dining highlights include seafood eatery Saltine, rooftop beer garden Grain and Italian trattoria Varia.


Next summer, the Marriott Capitol District Hotel will be a major new option for groups. Situated in an upscale urban destination dining and entertainment community, the 333-room property will house 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including an 11,000-sq.-ft. grand ballroom, supplemented by 16,000 sq. ft. of pre-function space.


Kalahari Resorts and Conventions plans to open a new property in Round Rock by 2020. The “authentically African-themed” venue will include up to 1,000 guestrooms, indoor and outdoor waterparks, restaurants, a family entertainment center, spa and a 150,000-sq.-ft. convention center. “We are incredibly excited to bring our authentically African resort experience to the Southwest for the first time,” said Todd Nelson, Owner of Kalahari Resorts and Conventions. “The city of Round Rock has been incredibly welcoming, and we look forward to finalizing plans to officially become a part of this great community.”


In April, the City of South Padre Island and the South Padre Island Convention & Visitors Bureau hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand reopening of the South Padre Island Convention Centre following its multi-million dollar renovation. “The new Convention Centre renovations have strengthened the building and made it more secure and more aesthetically appealing. The interior renovations provide a fresh look for our convention and meeting attendees to experience,” commented City of South Padre Island Mayor Barry Patel. Affording views of the Laguna Madre Bay, the South Padre Island Convention Centre offers 45,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.


Through May 2017, the Benton Convention Center is undergoing a multi-million dollar structural and technological renovation. Two blocks from the Center is the new Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, the brand’s first North Carolina property. Opened in April, the 174-room hotel is housed in the historic R.J. Reynolds Building and offers more than 6,300 sq. ft. of meeting space. It’s located in the Downtown Arts District, where groups have access to the Old Salem Museum & Gardens as well as the resources of Wake Forest University. 29

Akron, OH

The John S. Knight Center Akron-Summit County Public Library borders the Center on the west and the popular Akron Art Museum is directly to the north. Additionally, a wonderful variety of restaurants are located within blocks of the Center, promising cuisines to please everyone. The space at the John S. Knight Center is as accommodating and flexible as its professional staff. The Center features an exhibition hall with approximately 30,000 sq. ft.; 12,000 sq. ft. of banquet space; an additional 12,600 sq. ft. of meeting space; and 22,000 sq. ft. of magnificent lobby, highlighted by the distinctive glass rotunda and spiral staircase. The lower level features an atriumstyle concourse, 12 flexible meeting rooms and six permanent meeting rooms. The upper level features banquet room and ballroom space totaling 12,855 sq. ft. that can be divided into 5,080 The 2014 National Student Steel Bridge Competition, held at the John S. Knight Center


he John S. Knight Center is a state-of-the-art exhibition, convention and banquet center, located in the heart of Akron’s vibrant downtown, named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal. In 1937, the Knight publishing family bought the Miami Herald, which began a series of purchases and mergers leading to the formation of the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain in 1973. This established the Akron Beacon Journal as the original Knight headquarters of what would evolve to be the second largest newspaper group in daily circulation in the United States until it was sold in 2006. Offering tremendous flexibility, the Center hosts large meetings and tradeshows held by national, regional and state organizations and trade associations, as well as smaller, more intimate business gatherings. Medical, religious, fraternal, corporate, legal education and government organizations are among the many groups that have had successful events at the John S. Knight Center and have benefited from the expertise and help of the Center’s professional staff. The John S. Knight Center is surrounded by landmarks and attractions, all within easy walking distance. Directly adjacent to the Center is Greystone Hall. Formerly the Masonic Temple, the 1917 building is now downtown Akron’s most majestic banquet and special event venue. A two-story ballroom, sitting parlor, lounge and garden room provide inviting and elegant event spaces. The


The View, a new outdoor event space at the John S. Knight Center and 6,775 sq. ft. to separate dining and meeting functions. A new outdoor space, The View, provides a spacious outdoor patio for entertaining. The upper level’s 30,000 sq. ft. exhibition hall has ceilings 30 ft. to the trusses and 48 ft. to the decking. The Center meets the Americans with Disabilities Act specifications, with features such as infrared audio communication and inductive loops for the hearing impaired. Additional services and benefits of the Center include: catering services, with a modern kitchen, experienced chefs and capable staff efficiently providing everything from continental breakfasts to sit-down gourmet dinners for groups of five to 3,500; video streaming, video conferencing and wireless Internet connectivity; and an adjacent city parking deck connected to the Center by an enclosed skywalk. For more information about these or other Center services, call (330) 374-8900 or (800) 245-4254, or visit www.johnsknightcenter.org. Facilities & destinations

2016 Fall

Pasadena, CA

Colorado Bridge Street, the Magnolia House (right), and the Convention Center Plaza (below).


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 LA-area airports and freeways. The Gold Line light rail transports passengers from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles and points in between. In February 2015, the Pasadena Convention Center welcomed the newly restored historic exhibit hall with 17,000 sq. ft. of possibilities. The state-of-the art Pasadena Convention Center features 80,000 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. An eclectic mix of shopping, theaters, golf, museums and gardens are all conveniently just steps away from Pasadena’s Civic Center. There’s literally something significant around every corner, whether you’re into architecture, design, high fashion, music, theater, museums or galleries. Pasadena is the heartbeat of SoCal’s cultural side. Art connoisseurs have 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 treelined 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 500 restaurants — more per capita than New York City.

Facilities & destinations

2016 Fall

Some of the world’s greatest minds have chosen to live and work in Pasadena, and there are countless possibilities for incoming meeting groups. In addition, 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. 31

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The Columbus skyline and Scioto River

Planners do well to keep an eye on developments in the Buckeye State By George Seli


hen one thinks of states with dynamic meetings industries, Ohio may not be the first one to spring to mind. But in fact several of its major cities are making strides in that sector, thereby raising the Buckeye State’s profile among convention groups. To give a few examples: Columbus is welcoming the ASAE in 2019 and completing a sweeping convention center renovation next year. Cleveland debuted the Hilton Cleveland Downtown, connected to its convention center, this summer. And Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center recently achieved an annual revenue record under Spectra management. Following is a closer look at these metropolises, as well as Akron — a great value for Ohio-bound groups.


A major sign of the vitality of Ohio’s meetings industry is that its capital city — and largest city — is garnering more attention among major convention groups. The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) recently selected Columbus to host its 2019 Annual Meeting & Exposition, which will draw more than 5,000 attendees including many site selection decisionmakers. Other first-time groups Columbus has attracted include four medical associations that will hold their annual meetings in the city: the American Dental Hygienists Association (2018), the Association for Vascular Access (2018), the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (2018) and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (2021). Experience Columbus has been instrumental in these booking successes. Last year “was a record year for us and we Facilities & destinations 2016 Fall

are continuing to maintain that level of success across all of our benchmarks,” reports Dan Williams, the CVB’s Vice President of Convention Sales. “In 2016, we have also focused on attracting more meetings in the medical, engineering, scientific and corporate industries, and have booked more than 63,000 room nights for future meetings in these key segments.” A major selling point is the $125 million renovation and expansion of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, set to be completed in July 2017. The finished product will offer 373,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, with the addition of 37,000 sq. ft. of new exhibit space, as well as 10,000 sq. ft. of two-level meeting space and nine new meeting rooms, bringing the total to 74 (see box on the following page for full details). Complementing the transformed Convention Center are several new hotels, including a 135-room Courtyard by Marriott connected to the 13,000-sq.-ft. Grand Event Center; the 149-room Hotel LeVeque, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel; and a 168-room Canopy by Hilton opening across from the Convention Center in 2018. But it doesn’t have to be all business for delegates at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, given its proximity to entertainment districts and cultural enclaves such as the Short North Arts District, Arena District and Italian Village. The German Village and the Brewery District in the south of the city can be reached via the free Cbus Circulator. Getting to these offsite locales will be even easier in the coming years: Columbus was recently named the winner of the Smart Cities Challenge by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and awarded $50 million to invest in technologies that will improve accessibility and transportation in the city. 33

The Scioto Mile Fountain, centerpiece of Bicentennial Park in Columbus

Greater Columbus Convention Center Transformation


et to be completed next July, the $125 million renovation and expansion of the Greater Columbus Convention Center will bring numerous improvements, including the following:

“In 2016, we have focused on attracting more meetings in the medical, engineering, scientific and corporate industries, and have booked more than 63,000 room nights for future meetings in these key segments.” —Dan Williams, Vice President of Convention Sales, Experience Columbus “All of our offsite venues offer first-class service and collaborate with other local entities to create a distinctly ‘Made in Cbus’ flavor,” Williams notes. “One such venue, the North Market, located just one block from the convention center, features more than 30 vendors offering a significant array of local flavor. Convention attendees can walk over during the day to mix and mingle with downtown workers and residents alike. Or, groups can rent out the historic 44,000-sq.-ft. warehouse for private events.” Such events help to make meetings memorable, and the services team at Experience Columbus “is here to help brainstorm and implement those ideas whenever possible,” says Williams. “Take this as an example: the arches that light up the Short North Arts District are some of the most iconic structures in Columbus, often referred to as the Arch City, and these bulbs have been changed to colors associated with certain groups, for example pink for Thirty-One Gifts, as a way to welcome conference attendees to the city.”


The American Probation and Parole Association held its 41st Annual Training Institute, Aug. 28-31 at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland. It had been about 10 years since the association met in the city, and the experience for the roughly 34

sq. ft. of new exhibit space, bringing the contiguous • 37,000 space to 373,000 sq. ft. sq. ft. of new two-level meeting space • 10,000 Nine new meeting rooms, bringing the total to 74 • LEED certification • Upgrades to the Convention Center and Hyatt Regency • meeting rooms and public spaces renovation of the exterior of the Convention Center • Full Transformation • 10,000-sq.-ft. eventof thespaceexisting Arnold Plaza into a eight-level, 800-space parking garage • Athatnewwill$18-million, bring total onsite parking to 4,000 spaces. The

• • • • • • •

garage will ultimately connect to the renovated center by covered skywalk. New show offices overlooking exhibit halls New lighting, including up-lighting in foyers and concourse More digital signage New wall colors and textured fabrics throughout the building New, local food and beverage concepts. Levy Restaurants is now the F&B provider. More than 150 pieces of local art on display Enhanced Internet capabilities to allow for use by 20,000 users simultaneously in meeting rooms and exhibit halls

1,300 delegates was “quite a bit different this time,” notes Diane Kincaid, Deputy Director/Information Specialist. “It was really nice to see the city renovated and updated.” Among the improvement projects completed this summer is the $50 million redesign of Cleveland’s Public Square, a site for concerts, movies, farmers markets and other events. In addition, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has updated its outdoor plaza with a new café and beer garden. Located in walking distance to the convention center, this iconic venue is available for group rental; spaces include the 40-person capacity Meet to the Beat conference room and the 163-capacity, high-tech Foster Theater. Also available for rental is the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, which houses a 500seat auditorium. In advance of its centennial in 2020, the museum is undergoing a $150 million renovation and expansion that will introduce a variety of new galleries. The new Perkins Wildlife Center & Woods Garden opened in September 2016. Destination Cleveland, the city’s CVB, set up an information table near the registration area for the American Probation and Parole Association’s meeting so that delegates have some guidance on dining and entertainment options, Kincaid relates. She adds that the group found the Huntington Convention Center logistically well suited for the Training Institute, which featured an exhibit hall and about 80 workshops. “We have 10-12 Facilities & destinations 2016 Fall

Spectacor, manager of the facility, recorded its highest grossing revenue in the 10-year history of the convention center, with a total of 142 events booked. “At Spectra, we empower our employees to be fiscally savvy by spending smart, growing value, managing expenses and minimizing waste for the betterment of our client,” comments Ric Booth, General Manager of the Duke Energy Convention Center. “Particularly when more than one Spectra division is at work at the same property, like we have here in Cincinnati, we can achieve new levels of operational excellence that ultimately benefits our clients and their customers.” The Convention Center offers 200,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 40,000-sq.-ft. grand ballroom and 30 meeting rooms. Like Cleveland, Cincinnati has made major investments to upgrade its downtown in recent years — more than $711 million of private and public funds over the past 10 years, to be precise. Part of that investment is a $52 million mixed-use development with a newly opened 500-space parking garage, as well as a variety of new dining and entertainment options in the heart of downtown. In September, the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar debuted, linking the riverfront attractions to the northern downtown neighborhoods. With stops located three blocks from the Convention Center, this 3.6-mile loop route is a nice option for attendees’ free time. Popular destinations along the route include Government Square, Fountain Square, the Contemporary Arts Center, Jack Casino, Music Hall and Washington Park. In northeast Cincinnati, the Embassy Suites recently reopened after completing a renovation this summer. The 238room property is located near the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Other hotel developments of note include: AC Marriott Hotel, located in the Banks Entertainment • The district in downtown Cincinnati. The 170-room hotel is expected

The Cleveland skyline at dusk and the city’s SMG-managed Convention Center concurrent sessions and need rooms large enough to hold 100 or more people for workshops,” Kincaid says. “It’s very nice there because they have airwalls so they can resize rooms if we let them know ahead of time.” She also praises the AV provider, Colortone, as “wonderful to work with.” Located in the heart of downtown on the shores of Lake Erie, the SMG-managed Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland offers 225,000 gross sq. ft. of exhibit space divisible into three exhibition halls, 35 meeting rooms and a 32,000-sq.-ft., columnfree ballroom with panoramic views of the lakefront. Next door is the Global Center for Health Innovation, home to some of the world’s leading healthcare companies. The American Probation and Parole Association’s headquarters hotel was the 600-room Hilton Cleveland Downtown, which opened in June with over 46,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. “In the last couple of years our attendance has been increasing and we actually had more than we anticipated,” says Kincaid. Overflow was nicely accommodated at the nearby 484-room Westin Cleveland Downtown and 441-room Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. Since 2011, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have invested more than $3.5 billion in meetings-related infrastructure development. Currently there are eight downtown hotels offering over 4,100 rooms in walking distance to the Convention Center. Among the newcomers are the 122-room Kimpton Schofield Hotel, opened in March, and the 189-room Drury Plaza Hotel, opened in April. Major renovation projects include the Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square’s refresh of its 205 guestrooms and the Ritz-Carlton Cleveland’s ongoing renovation of its 209 guestrooms, lobby and fitness area (scheduled to be completed by mid-2017).


The 2016 fiscal year has been a milestone for Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center. In October, Spectra by Comcast Facilities & destinations 2016 Fall

to open in March of 2017.

117-room Holiday Inn Downtown Cincinnati, a new build • The expected to be completed this fall Marriott Autograph Collection property expected • Ato106-room open next July in the historic Anna Louise Inn building

“When more than one Spectra division is at work at the same property, like we have here in Cincinnati, we can achieve new levels of operational excellence that ultimately benefits our clients and their customers.” —Ric Booth, General Manager, Duke Energy Convention Center

Speaking of Cincinnati’s history, the Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark built in 1878, is undergoing a $135 million renovation expected to be completed this fall. In addition, the iconic Union Terminal at the Cincinnati Museum Center is undergoing an extensive restoration. Here, groups can explore the Cincinnati History Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum and the OMNIMAX Theater. The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education 35

(Left): Cincinnati’s Fountain Square, a hub of shopping, dining and entertainment (Below): The Duke Energy Convention Center

will relocate to Union Terminal in 2018. A new option for offsite events is The Transept, housed in the 202-year-old Over-theRhine church accented by stained glass and 50-ft. vaulted ceilings.


The state’s fifth-largest city and county seat of Summit County, Akron is home to the John S. Knight Center, located just 11 miles from Akron/Canton Airport and 30 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The Center offers a 30,000-sq.ft. exhibit hall, 12,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 16 meeting rooms and a two-story, 3,000-sq.-ft. glass rotunda and a rooftop patio ideal for receptions. Just across the street planners can find more rentable banquet and breakout space at the ornate Greystone Hall, a 1917 Masonic Temple. “We’ve been at the John S. Knight Center a number of times over the past years; it has been an excellent location for us,” notes Mark Jaffee, Annual Conference Coordinator for the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “The center is easily navigable, and the signs are well marked for the meeting rooms.” The Council, whose Annual Conference rotates between several different locations within Ohio, will next meet in Akron in 2018. With about 900-1,300 attendees, the group is a good fit for the John S. Knight Center. The Akron/Summit County Convention & Visitors Bureau coordinated a site visit for Jaffee that included meetings with various hotel reps. “The offices of the CVB are at the Center, and they work together closely,” he comments. Indeed, the Akron/Summit CVB has the distinction of being the only CVB in Ohio that also manages its destination’s convention center. Akron’s affordability, compared to Cleveland’s larger cities, is another plus point. “The last time we were in Akron we got some very good hotel rates, in the vicinity of under $100, and the convention center itself is not completely inexpensive but less

“The John S. Knight Center has been an excellent location for us. The center is easily navigable, and the signs are well marked for the meeting rooms.” —Mark Jaffee, Annual Conference Coordinator, Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics 36

expensive than Cleveland or Columbus,” Jaffee observes. “And the CVB has an arrangement that for all of our participants who stay in their hotels, we get a $3 payment to the association” as an incentive to book those properties. Apart from the CVB, Jaffee has also had a positive experience with Hughie’s Event Production Services, which has offices in both Cleveland and Columbus. “We work with them almost exclusively for AV over the years. They work in conjunction with the various convention centers,” he says. “I got my start with the conventions as the equipment chair, and served for several conferences in Cleveland and Akron. Hughie’s is extremely competent; they’re very good at problem solving.” The Akron Art Museum, Akron Civic Theatre and BLU Jazz+ are among the sources of downtown diversion for attendees. The 1,500-seat Goodyear Theater and the 3,500-seat Goodyear Hall, two new venues that are part of the redeveloped former Goodyear world headquarters, are the city’s latest concert venues. And for groups who wish to escape the urban environment, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio’s only National Park, lies just 18 miles from Akron.

Akron recently debuted Goodyear Hall, a downtown concert venue Facilities & destinations 2016 Fall

Best show we attend all year.

WE’LL SEE YOU IN 2017! Great news—IMEX America returns next year for our lucky number 7 show. Count on meeting us in Las Vegas for yet another jackpot of industry connections and unrivaled business prospects.







Welcoming groups to the Big Apple and beyond with thriving convention districts By Anthony Bilden


hile New York City has always been the star of the state’s meetings industry, the supporting cast also deserves some of the spotlight. Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo offer planners high-quality convention centers surrounded by developing hotel infrastructures, not to mention mid-market pricing. But for those convention groups intent on meeting in Manhattan, a major facility upgrade lies on the horizon, thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo.


The Big Apple’s flagship meeting venue is getting bigger. A $1 billion expansion project will take the Jacob Javits Center from 2.1 million sq. ft. to 3.3 million, adding a new exhibition hall of approximately 500,000 sq. ft. as well as new meeting and ballroom space. Twenty-seven new loading docks will complement the expansion. The Cuomo administration is currently accepting bids from contractors, and the governor has indicated that work could begin by the end of 2016. As one of the nation’s busiest convention centers, the Javits Center certainly has the potential to show a great return on investment for the added space. “We plan on maintaining our normally packed schedule through construction and filling the new space as soon as it opens,” said Alan Steel, President and CEO of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, in a statement. “With the new ballroom and rooftop terrace, plus more meeting room space, we will be able to attract a new generation of customers to the Empire State, leading to the creation of new jobs and new business opportunities for New Yorkers.” The rooftop terrace that Steel references will be able to accommodate 1,500 attendees for outdoor functions. Indeed, despite being embedded in a major metropolis, the Javits Center remains quite “close to nature,” with a seven-acre green roof that 38

“With the [Javits Center’s] new ballroom and rooftop terrace, plus more meeting room space, we will be able to attract a new generation of customers to the Empire State.” — Alan Steel, President and CEO, New York Convention Center Operating Corporation

was introduced with the renovation conducted between 2009 and 2014. With the current expansion project, the facility is seeking LEED Silver certification. New York City is also home to several hotels that can accommodate large convention groups, a prime example being the 1,909-room New Marriott Marquis located in the heart of Times Square and the Broadway theater district. The hotel, which houses 124,755 sq. ft. of space across 48 function rooms, will host the 2017 PCMA Education Conference, June 11-14. According to PCMA President and CEO Deborah Sexton, “New York City is a perfect destination for PCMA’s diverse global audience. The Marriott Marquis’ Times Square location and flexible event space Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall

will ensure that our 2017 Education Conference participants have an optimal education and networking experience.” Gotham is a natural draw for any globally diverse group of delegates, as many of its attractions are world-renowned. Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden and Fifth Avenue will all be easily accessible to the PCMA conference attendees. A great resource for all things NYC — including Manhattan and the other four boroughs — is the city’s destination marketing organization, NYC & Company (www.nycandcompany.org/meetingplanners). Its menu of services includes special event and group tour coordination, and referrals to approximately 2,000 member businesses that can support an event.


This year, Rochester is brimming with new developments thanks to an estimated $857.1 million being invested into the downtown. The focal point of the redevelopment is the nine-acre site of the former Midtown Plaza, the first urban indoor shopping mall in the United States. Centrally located at the site is the newly completed Tower280, a modern, mixed-use building with retail, office space and residential units. In addition, the 338-room Hyatt Regency Rochester will be undergoing a $15 million property-wide renovation that will include its 20,100 sq. ft. of function space. The Hyatt and the 450-room Radisson Rochester Riverside are connected by enclosed walkway to the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center (RRCC). Located one mile from 1,200 of the city’s more than 7,500 hotel rooms, the RRCC offers planners 100,000 sq. ft. of function space. Features include exhibit space for up to 400 10 ft.-by-10

ft. booths, 25 meeting rooms, banquet seating for up to 3,500 attendees, theater-style seating for 5,000 attendees, and highspeed broadband wireless Internet. “The RRCC has extensive meeting and function space, with all breakout rooms centrally located on the main floor,” notes Kim Partridge, CMP, Executive Board/Conference Coordinator of the NYS Public Employees Federation, which held its 38th Annual Convention at the facility in September. “We were able to assign all but three rooms at the Convention Center. This helped to decrease shuttle transportation costs and increased participation because attendees didn’t have to travel via shuttle to get to their meeting location.” On the F&B side, the RRCC staff “worked with us to provide alternative selections at different price points for some of our smaller groups, and were very accommodating to our guests with special dietary needs,” Partridge says. “In one case, they made a trip to the grocery store for an attendee who requested a specific variety and brand of a non-dairy beverage due to an allergy.” In addition, Visit Rochester was an “excellent resource,” says Partridge, citing her Convention Services Manager, Amanda Camillo, as “my first call for everything from restaurants and offsite venues to childcare services and wheelchair rentals.” The group enjoyed offsite events at Anthology, a concert hall accommodating 500 attendees, and The Alley Restaurant, where they held a debate-watching party. Both venues are in walking distance from the RRCC. Other offsite venues include the new Arbor Loft, a chic industrial space; the Geva Theatre Center, a premier cultural and educational institution; the George Eastman Museum, the world’s oldest photography museum; the New York Wine & Culinary Center, offering groups interactive cooking classes; and Casa Larga Vineyards, one of New York’s top wine producers.

The NYS Public Employees Federation’s Kim Partridge (left) planned her organization’s recent annual convention at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center (right). Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall


(Left): The renovated Grand Ballroom at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. (Below): Tracey Burkey, VP of Sales & Services, Visit Syracuse


The big news in Syracuse’s hospitality industry is the recent opening of the Marriott Syracuse Downtown after a $76 million restoration. Originally opened in 1924, the historic property has hosted notable guests ranging from Presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower to Elvis Presley and John Lennon. The 261-room Marriott is the official headquarters hotel for the 99,000-sq.-ft. Oncenter, and complements that facility with over 41,000 sq. ft. of function space including a modernized Finger Lakes ballroom, two historic ballrooms and eight IACC-certified meeting spaces. They city’s meetings business “has increased slightly over last year and future business looks promising. In part, this is due to the Marriott Syracuse Downtown,” says Tracey Burkey, Vice President of Sales & Services for Visit Syracuse. The opening of the hotel “is an opportunity for Syracuse to solicit a different level of new business that we were unable to host prior.” According to Burkey, more environmental and scientific groups are finding Syracuse an advantageous meeting site, due to “product development and high-tech industries growing in our area and throughout New York State.” For these groups and others, there is plenty of local character to take in during free time in the city. Visit Syracuse invites groups to “discover some of our quaint and charming neighborhoods, take a downtown walking tour to admire exceptional and historical architecture, appreciate our bourgeoning craft beverage scene, and find adventure in New York State’s largest shopping dining and entertainment venue — Destiny USA,” Burkey describes. Destiny USA is the sixth largest mall in the country and Syracuse’s No. 1 attraction, welcoming 25 million visitors annually. By the fall of 2017, the 209-room Embassy Suites by Hilton Syracuse will open in Destiny USA, offering groups another upscale lodging option in the city.

Buffalo offers plenty of cosmopolitan experiences, but also aquatic fun such as kayaking on the Buffalo River. 40


Known for its proximity to the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls (a 25-minute drive), Buffalo is one of New York’s best value destinations for meeting groups. It has its own international airport — the Buffalo Niagara International Airport with over 100 daily flights and nonstop service to 22 airports — and is home to the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. The BNCC is located just three blocks from over 1,000 of downtown Buffalo’s 2,000 hotel rooms, and is connected to the 396-room Hyatt Regency Buffalo (23,479 sq. ft. of meeting space). Other major properties include the 486-room Adam’s Mark Hotel & Events Center (72,000 sq. ft. of meeting space), 205-room Marriott HarborCenter (5,923 sq. ft.) and 182-room Embassy Suites (6,059 sq. ft.). The BNCC itself offers over 110,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space to accommodate up to 5,000 attendees. That includes a 12,367-sq.-ft. ballroom and more than 46,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space across 21 meeting rooms. On the tech side, over 100 MB of bandwidth throughout the facility allows for 7,000 users to simultaneously use the Internet. The BNCC is also near Canalside, a year-round district featuring waterside restaurants, Lake Erie cruises, summer concerts and more. Foodies may wish to venture north of the downtown to visit the renowned Anchor Bar, which in 1964 introduced the Buffalo wing. Other points of interest include Shea’s Performing Arts Center and the world-class Albright-Knox Art Gallery. For groups especially interested in the Niagara Falls experience, the Spectramanaged Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls is a great option. Located a short walk from Niagara Falls State Park, the Center offers 116,000 sq. ft. of versatile indoor function space. Private outdoor receptions can also be arranged. Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall


TEXAS The Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial fronts the Austin skyline

Dynamic second-tier cities beckon groups to the Lone Star State By George Seli


hey say everything is bigger in Texas, but when it comes to the state’s meeting cities, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Many of Texas’s second-tier destinations have as much character and culture as Dallas and Houston, and they are showcasing recent developments that are attracting more group business, or will do so in the near future. Examples include this year’s completion of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center transformation in San Antonio, a new headquarters hotel in the works for the Irving Convention Center, and the 1,048-room Fairmont Austin, debuting next year. Groups lodging at the Fairmont will enjoy an allnew property in a city with a long history of entertaining its visitors, Texas style.


“Austin has a unique appeal. I’ve never had anybody said they don’t enjoy going to Austin because there is so much for people to do there,” observes Jane Butler, Vice President of the Southern Gas Association. The Gas Machinery Research Council, an SGA subsidiary, held its 2015 Annual Gas Machinery Conference (GMC) at the Austin Convention Center (ACC), in the midst of a city known for hundreds of live music venues. The GMC’s approximately 1,100 attendees took advantage of that scene, enjoying a private performance by Grammy award-winning country music band Asleep at the Wheel. The host venue was Brazos Hall, a turn-of-the-century warehouse building converted to become one of Austin’s premier event spaces, offering a 8,400-sq.-ft. Main Hall and a 3,400-sq.-ft. rooftop deck. A full barbecue spread at the event added to the local flavor. The ACC is walkable to many downtown restaurants, clubs and shops. “At night, after all the events are over, our people can go out and have some fun on their own,” says Butler, who was also pleased with the convention center itself. “The staff at the ACC is always very nice and accommodating. The logistics are very good; the Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall

Jane Butler (left), VP of Southern Gas Association, planned the 2015 Gas Machinery Conference at the Austin Convention Center (above). signage is easy to follow. I also like the columnfree exhibit space.” The ACC houses 247,052 sq. ft. of column-free space, 54 meeting rooms and seven ballrooms, with complimentary Wi-Fi throughout. The Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau is a planner’s guide to facilities including the ACC and numerous other venues and suppliers. This May, the CVB appointed Tom Noonan President and CEO, replacing Bob Lander, who has retired. Noonan’s 28 years of experience in the hospitality industry includes his prior position as President and CEO of Visit Baltimore. Noonan takes the helm during a period of growth for Austin, where new developments include the $500 million Waller Creek project, which has the potential to become Austin’s answer to San Antonio’s River Walk; St. Elmo’s Market, a 40,000-sq.-ft. public market expected to open in 2018; and the University of Texas at Austin’s new Dell Medical School, which is a great resource for medical and science speakers. 41

Irving is home to a convention center with expansive outdoor terraces (right).

In addition, the Austin CVB projects the city’s downtown hotel infrastructure to exceed 10,000 rooms in 2017 and 2018, reaching 11,725 by 2019. A major boost to the room count will come from the $370 million Fairmont Austin, opening next August. Directly connected to the ACC, the hotel will offer over 128,500 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art meeting space, including two ballrooms with 25,000plus sq. ft. each and a 21,000-sq.-ft. outdoor deck. In 2019, Austin will welcome a 347-room, dual-branded Autograph Collection/ AC Hotel by Marriott to the University of Texas area, as well as the 615-room Marriott Downtown. The latter property will be located across from the ACC and offer 65,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Several of Austin’s hotels have renovation projects to share, including the Radisson Hotel and Suites, which is undergoing a complete makeover and adding new waterfront function space by spring 2018. This year, the Hilton Austin completed a full renovation of its hotel lobby, public areas and 80,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The Four Seasons Hotel Austin redesigned its 18,000 sq. ft. of meeting space this summer, and the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center debuted the renovation of its 297 guestrooms in February. A 15,000-sq.-ft. ballroom will be introduced at the AT&T facility in May, adding to the conference center’s 80,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.


The City of Irving has its own hotel news to promote with a Westin-flagged convention center hotel on the horizon. Slated to break ground next spring and open in 2018, the 350-room property will offer 16,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a 10,000-sq.-ft. ballroom. It will complement the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, a facility that has been doing very healthy business, averaging over 300 events per year since it opened in 2011. “We have just come off our single best year yet and have seen steady growth over the five-year period, not necessarily from a number of events standpoint, as it has been consistently strong, but from an event size and financial impact for the facility standpoint,” says Tom Meehan, General Manager of the Convention Center. “What we are seeing now is an increase in events we are able to book further into the future. As a relatively new convention center, we anticipated it would take the standard several years of operation to start filling the books further into the future. But that’s happening now.” The Irving Convention Center’s almost 100,000 sq. ft. of function space includes a 50,000-sq.-ft., column-free exhibit hall; a 20,000-sq.-ft. ballroom with 10,000 sq. ft. of pre-function space; and 20,000 sq. ft. of breakout space. “Many event planners have a crazy notion that a convention center is too big for them or they can’t afford it. That could not be further from the truth,” says Meehan. “We specialize in both small and large groups and offer a 42

“As a relatively new convention center, we anticipated it would take the standard several years of operation to start filling the books further into the future. But that’s happening now.” —Tom Meehan, General Manager, Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas very personalized service at a cost that is affordable and beneficial for both parties.” He adds that this operating philosophy is responsible for the center’s strong repeat business, with 35 percent to 40 percent of clients returning the following year or every year. Apart from the headquarters hotel, Irving also looks forward to the Irving Music Factory at Las Colinas, opening September 2017. The $173 million urban lifestyle center will be anchored by an eightscreen Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and an 8,000-capacity indoor/ outdoor concert hall, the Live Nation Pavilion. The venue will also include a 50,000-sq.-ft. outdoor plaza and over 20 restaurants. Situated on 40 acres in the heart of Las Colinas, the Music Factory will be easily accessible from the convention center and the future headquarters hotel. Attendees will also be able to utilize the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) Orange Line and the Las Colinas Area Personal Transport (APT) people mover system. Yet another future development is the 14-acre Water Street by Lake Carolyn, which will bring 60,000 sq. ft. of retail and dining venues. “With the addition of the Music Factory, Water Street and the

Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall

San Antonio’s famed River Walk (below) was recently lengthened by 12 miles.

headquarters hotel, we are looking at very exciting times ahead,” says Meehan. “It has never been difficult to book [the Irving Convention Center], but these projects will certainly change not only how we do business, but the types of events that will want to come to Irving. SMG and the Irving CVB have spent significant time over the past few years promoting Irving and the convention center, not only on a state level but a national level as well. We know we will be able to compete and attract many more events from across the state and nationally, and have worked hard to make sure we put Irving on the map as a true destination.”


This January, San Antonio introduced a transformed Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Planners now have at their disposal a significantly expanded facility, including 514,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, 270,000 sq. ft. of new exhibit space, 85,000 sq. ft. of column-free multipurpose space, a more than 54,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 70 meeting spaces and a wrap-around balcony with views of the iconic River Walk. The town that began as a quiet river community will be celebrating its 300th birthday in 2018. Information on the planned special events can be found at www.celebrate2018.com. Among the recent sources of pride for residents is the completion of a $358.3 million project to lengthen the River Walk from three to 15 miles. The expansion began with the Museum Reach, connecting downtown with museums, cultural districts and the historic Pearl Brewery to the north. The Mission Reach completed the expansion and joins the original River Walk to four of the city’s Spanish colonial missions to the south. UNESCO recently named San Antonio’s five Spanish colonial missions, including The Alamo, a World Heritage Site. Groups can connect to South Texas’ history at these sites, dating from the early 1700s, and they can connect to nature at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, which is undergoing Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall

a major expansion. Attendees traveling with children will note the recent debut of the DoSeum, the city’s new children’s museum. The DMO promoting San Antonio’s virtues, the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau (SACVB), is now a public-private nonprofit called Visit San Antonio, per a new management agreement that became effective Oct. 1. Casandra Matej, Executive Director of the current SACVB, said that the organization will now be able to pursue other revenue opportunities to market the city’s $13.4 billion tourism industry. “The City Council took a huge step,” said Matej. “This allows us to be more agile, able to react quickly to changing market conditions.” A major change in the downtown will be the $43 million makeover of the 65,000-seat Alamodome, to be completed in November 2017. Connected to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center by a walking path, the Alamodome can accommodate tradeshows and large general sessions. Renovations will include the addition of contiguous event space to the North Plaza, an 18,600 sq. ft. east and west concourse expansion with upgraded concessions areas, a new 24,000-sq.-ft. multiuse space, and two new LED video walls and ribbon boards. On the hotel front, there are new developments in the Texas Hill Country, which extends into San Antonio’s northern suburbs. The AAA Four Diamond La Cantera Resort & Spa introduced a new spa in September, Loma de Vida Spa & Wellness. The 25,000-sq.-ft. indoor/ outdoor sanctuary affords views of San Antonio’s cityscape. As part of Destination Hotels, the 498-room resort is immersed in the local culture; its lobby, for example, is an homage to the renowned King Ranch. More than 115,000 sq. ft. of flexible indoor/outdoor event space is available, including the 17,000-sq.-ft. San Antonio Grand Ballroom. The Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa recently opened the new 20,000-sq.-ft. Independence Ballroom. The ballroom can be divided into as many as eight breakouts and is complemented by a 4,000-sq.-ft. event lawn. The 500-room Hyatt offers a total of 54,000 sq. ft. of flexible indoor meeting space and 20,000 sq. ft. of naturally lit pre-function space. Located about 20 minutes from the River Walk, the 300-acre property is highlighted by 27 holes of golf, a spa and a lazy river. The region is also home to the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, whose recent $16 million expansion has added a six-acre water park, lazy river and the new River Bend Pavilion. The latter facility offers 5,000 sq. ft. of indoor space with a 4,200-sq.-ft. covered deck and an 18,000-sq.-ft. event lawn. The 917-room Marriott has a total of 278,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, including the 40,500-sq.-ft. Grand Oaks Ballroom. Opportunities for meeting groups abound in the Texas Hill Country, as well as in the burgeoning downtowns of Austin, Irving and San Antonio. There is more reason than ever for planners to explore Texas’s second tier. 43

TEXAS CVB LEADERS Kelly de Schaun, CTA Executive Director Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (409) 797-5141, kdeschaun@galvestonparkboard.org Maura Gast Executive Director Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau Vice President, Sales and Services: Lori Fojtasek, (972) 252-7476, lfojtasek@irvingtexas.com Robert L. Jameson, CTA President and CEO Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau Vice President of Meeting Sales: John Cychol, (817) 698-7826, johncychol@fortworth.com Phillip Jones President and CEO Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau Chief Sales & Services Officer/SVP: D. Bradley Kent, (214) 571-1049, bkent@dallascvb.com Casandra Matej, CDME, CTA Executive Director Visit San Antonio Vice President of Sales: Steve Clanton, (210) 207-6717, steveclanton@visitsanantonio.com

Nancy S. Millar Vice President/Director McAllen Convention & Visitors Bureau Director of Sports Tourism and Convention Sales: Robert Lopez, (956) 682-2871, ext. 3021, rlopez@visitmcallen.com Tom Noonan President and CEO Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau Senior Vice President, Sales: Steve Genovesi, (512) 583-7259, sgenovesi@austintexas.org Dan Quandt Vice President Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council Sales Manager – Association, Corporate, & Government: Hollie Hawkins, (806) 342-2017, hollie@visitamarillo.com Mike Waterman President Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau Senior Vice President of Sales: John Solis, (713) 853-8926, jsolis@visithouston.com



Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall

Facilities & Destinations SuperBook Advertiser Index


Austin Convention Center

Located in the heart of the capital city’s downtown, the LEED® Gold Certified Convention Center spans six city blocks


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

Technological Features

One of the most technologically advanced convention centers in the country, this gigabit-rated facility moves voice, video and data at over one billion bits per second. It offers a variety of in-house services including complimentary wireless Internet access, redundant high-speed Internet II access, plug-and-play capabilities, and an onsite technical staff to help with networking needs.


Austin offers more than 33,000 hotel rooms, with 9,000 located downtown, including the 800-room Hilton Austin adjacent to the convention center. Additional nearby hotels

include: Four Seasons Hotel Austin, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown, Radisson Hotel & Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown, Driskill Hotel, Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel, the new W Austin, Hyatt Place Downtown Austin, the 1,012-room JW Marriott and the Westin Austin Downtown. The Fairmont Austin is scheduled to open in 2017.

Austin by Night

After conventions and meetings wrap-up each night, attendees can enjoy Austin’s entertainment districts – Second Street, the Warehouse District and famous Sixth Street. The Austin Convention Center is just down the street from the city’s vibrant nightlife, where visitors can also enjoy everything from fine dining in four-star restaurants, to down-home barbecue and authentic Tex-Mex. As the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is home to nearly 250 venues that echo with the sound of country, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, jazz and Tejano.

Austin by Day

During the day, attendees can enjoy the capital city’s many historical attractions, including the State Capitol, the LBJ Presidential Library, the Texas State History Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art. Or they can experience the beauty of central Texas, captured by downtown’s Lady Bird Lake, bordered by 10 miles of trails enjoyed by runners, walkers and cyclists. Surrounded by three lakes and a network of parks, Austin offers the perfect environment for enjoying the best of nature.

Fast Facts: Facility

Location: Downtown Austin Total Area: Spans six city blocks 369,132 sq. ft. of exhibit and meeting space Exhibit Space: 247,052 contiguous sq. ft., column free Ballrooms: 40,510 sq. ft. level 4; 23,418 sq. ft. level 1 Meeting Space: 54 meeting rooms totaling over 58,000 sq. ft. Technology: Gigabit-rated facility, wireless Internet access, plug-andplay capabilities


Hotels: 9,000 downtown hotel rooms; adjacent 800-room Hilton Austin Airport: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, eight miles from facility Nearby Attractions: State Capitol, Sixth Street Entertainment District, Warehouse Entertainment District, University of Texas, LBJ Presidential Library, more than 20 museums including The Texas State History Museum, dozens of art galleries and historical attractions, Lady Bird Lake

Contact Information

Mark Tester, Director of Austin Convention Center Department Paul Barnes, ACCD Assistant Director – Sales, Marketing and Events 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 Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall



Cox Convention Center


klahoma City is investing $250 million in a new downtown convention center of approximately 470,000 sq. ft. (with about 235,000 sq. ft. of sellable space), replacing the Cox Convention Center by the end of the decade. The new facility is a continuation of the city’s resurgence that includes the nearby Bricktown entertainment district, home to canal-side restaurants, clubs and attractions. In addition, the expanding Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River provides exciting activities for attendees and their families. Since 1993, Oklahoma City has seen more than $5 billion of public and private investment in quality-of-life projects and improvements throughout the city. The Cox Convention Center houses 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 21 meeting rooms, a 15,000-seat arena and a 6,500-seat theater, all connected by a skybridge to the 258-room Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel (66,000 sq. ft. of meeting space). The downtown area is only about 20 minutes from Will Rogers Airport, a streamlined facility that is easy to get in and out of. Oklahoma City offers 1,600 convention center district hotel rooms (16,000 overall), affordable rates, a hospitable atmosphere and cultural highlights such as the Exhibit C art gallery, displaying the works of Chickasaw artists. Other cultural highlights include the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.


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

1 Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 (405) 602-8500; Fax: (405) 602-8505 coxconventioncenter.com Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall

PITTSBURGH MIGHTY. BEAUTIFUL. VIBRANT. The perfect setting for powerful events.



Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center


ochester is the northern gateway to the magnificent Finger Lakes region, with its rolling hills, lush valleys and 11 namesake lakes. It is also a region becoming famous for its more than 100 vineyards, excellent wines and numerous “wine trails.” With the New York Wine and Culinary Center in nearby Canandaigua, the wineries and farmer’s markets of the Finger Lakes region offer delegates meeting in Rochester wonderful day-trip options for pre- or post-conference enjoyment. Several entertainment districts surround the Rochester Riverside with restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, pubs, dance clubs, music halls, theaters and more. Rochester boasts numerous museums, including the George Eastman Museum, the Susan B. Anthony House and the acclaimed Strong National Museum of Play. Rochester is also proud to be home to the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, a nine-day event featuring 300+ concerts with 1,500+ artists, as well as the Fringe Festival, a unique 10-day event celebrating the arts with 500+ performances all over downtown Rochester. Conveniently located in the heart of the city is the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center, with a scenic setting on the Genesee River, featuring outdoor patios and balconies. The Greater Rochester International Airport — 54+ flights daily — is just a 10-minute drive from the Convention Center’s front door. Complimentary airport transportation is provided by all major hotels. Rochester is a community known around the world for its high-tech expertise, which has led to the city being selected as the location for the Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Integrated Photonics. The Rochester Riverside also gets high marks for handling all types of technology needs. The Riverside has upgraded to a dedicated Internet connection over fiber optics to meet all of the growing number of technical requirements its customers have. This service,


which is self-operated, is available wireless throughout the facility and is boost-able from 200 MB to 400 MB. The 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 Riverside Convention 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 Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center to create a compact convention district in the center of the city. There is a 217-room Holiday Inn, 460-room Radisson, 338-room Hyatt Regency and a 106room Hilton Garden Inn. Delegates also enjoy the convenience of walking between hotels and the Convention Center in minutes using the enclosed skywalk system or the scenic riverside walkway.

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

Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall


Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau

Savvy meeting and event planners look no further than the New Irving Visitors District for standout events with record-breaking attendance


he people are friendly and genuine. Eateries, music and culture abound. Accommodations are plentiful and service is superior. When you choose Irving, you will be greeted with an at-yourservice attitude for providing VIP treatment to groups large and small, plus first-tier accessibility, accommodations, amenities and attractions without the big-city hassle and distractions.

Convention-Centric Visitors District

Stay, meet, entertain and play all in the heart of Irving’s Las Colinas Urban Center. Construction is under way on the site of the $173 million entertainment complex, the Irving Music Factory at Las Colinas. This project is the second phase of Irving’s vision for a distinctive visitor’s district. The Irving Convention Center was the initial anchor, and the opening of a $110 million, 350-room Westin brand convention center hotel will mark the completion of the district in 2018.

Texas-sized Options

No matter what size your group is, Irving has you covered. With more than 75 hotels and 12,000 rooms, from luxury resorts to economy, Irving offers rooming options to fit your needs. The city’s 14 full-service meeting hotels provide over 200,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. You’ll find everything from private suites and amphitheaters to magnificent ballrooms and formal boardrooms.

Not Just a “Box with a Dock”

Visitors to the district can easily walk between the music factory, the convention center and the future headquarters hotel. Plus, they will have prime access to Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) Orange Line and the Las Colinas Area Personal Transport (APT) people mover system.

Book your event at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas (ICCLC), and your attendees won’t mind spending a day or two. The ICCLC is functional, aesthetically appealing, cutting edge, eco-friendly and inviting. With a futuristic design and high-end finishes, the $133 million, 275,000-sq.-ft. convention center takes a bold new direction in a landscape of traditionally “institutional” facilities. The multi-functional center includes a 50,000-sq.-ft., column-free exhibit hall; a 20,000-sq.ft. ballroom; and 20,000 sq. ft. of breakout meeting space.

Top of the Charts Music, Entertainment & Eats

Get In, Get Out

Wheels Off

Your conference and meeting attendees will have a host of dining and entertainment options for free nights at the Irving Music Factory: live music, blockbuster movies, festivals, and really good eats. The project is anchored by: • an eight-screen Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and • an 8,000-capacity indoor/outdoor concert hall, the Live Nation Pavilion. There will also be a 50,000-sq.-ft. outdoor plaza and over 20 restaurants. These facilities will offer unique venues for opening and closing night events.

You and your attendees can get to Irving from the East or West in less than a three-hour flight from either coast. The city is also situated between — and just minutes from — Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field Airport.

Small City Where Big Things Happen

When you want accessibility, first-tier service, a friendly-city vibe, a stunning convention facility, entertainment, walkability and urban integration, choose Irving, a small city where big things happen.

500 West Las Colinas Boulevard, Irving, TX 75039 • (866) 370-8945 • meetirving.com Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall





ith a creative energy all its own, Kansas City is anything but business as usual. It’s a convention destination where friendly people, affordable prices and a central location are a given. Where creativity can be found around every corner. A place with a spirited personality and a genuine heart that’s a breath of fresh air. We’d like you to meet Kansas City. To friends, it’s just KC.

Great meetings happen at the Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Facilities. The eight-square-block convention and special events facility can accommodate every need with 388,800 sq. ft. of column-free exhibit space on one floor; 48 state-of-the-art meeting rooms; a 2,400-seat fine arts theater; an arena that seats more than 10,700 people and a unique outdoor festival plaza. And not only is it all in one location, but the complex is also connected to major downtown hotels and parking by skywalks and underground walkways.

301 West 13th Street, Suite 100 Kansas City, MO 64105 (816) 513-5000 kcconvention.com

Encompassing more than 800,000 sq. ft., the Kansas City Convention & Entertainment Facilities can serve all your meeting needs under one roof. One of America’s largest green ballrooms — the 46,484-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom — is certified LEED Silver, boasting waterless plumbing, energy-efficient heating and cooling, and one of the most sophisticated lighting systems in the world. That’s enough to make other cities turn green with envy.

The Grand Ballroom • One of the nation’s largest eco-friendly ballrooms at 46,484 sq. ft. • Features one of the most sophisticated lighting systems in the world.


Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall


Phoenix Convention Center & Venues


onvening in America’s sixth-largest city packs more value than ever. Located in the center of a vibrant walkable downtown, the Phoenix Convention Center & Venues is mere steps from a variety of urban eateries, live music, professional sports, art, museums and more. In fact, downtown’s Roosevelt Row was recently named one of the 10 Best City Arts Districts in America by USA Today. So whether you’re looking for restaurants featured on The Food Network, or just wanting to take in some local culture, downtown Phoenix has something for everyone. Named one of the top-10 convention center facilities in the country, the Phoenix Convention Center & Venues offers more than 900,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space, including a 312,500-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall and a 46,000-sq.-ft. ballroom. Conveniences include 99 meeting rooms, 61 loading docks (22 of which are climate controlled), exhibit halls with pre-scored floors and an Executive Conference Center — all complemented by a 2,312-seat Symphony Hall and the 1,364-seat historic Orpheum Theatre. The Phoenix Convention Center & Venues was in the international spotlight in 2015, hosting the Super Bowl’s NFL Experience and Media Center. The Orpheum Theatre was the hottest ticket in town when The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon filmed their live performance, and not to be outdone, Symphony Hall hosted the nationally televised NFL Honors show. Recently, Phoenix hosted the 2016 College Football Playoff Fan Central and is looking forward to hosting the NCAA Final Four in 2017. 

Phoenix has nonstop service from 80 U.S. and 20 international destinations, so getting to and from “America’s Friendliest Airport” is both easy and affordable. The Phoenix Convention Center is four miles from Sky Harbor International Airport. Guests flying into Phoenix have multiple transportation options, including the Metro Light Rail, which has dedicated stops at the Convention Center. There are more than 3,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the Phoenix Convention Center and more than 6,000 hotel rooms located along the Metro Light Rail System. With more than 325 days of sunshine a year, the weather is almost always permitting. In a 2014 survey of show managers, Phoenix ranked the second most popular destination for tradeshows and events in the country. There are so many things to do, and with an average temperature of 72 degrees, it’s easy to see why Phoenix is an ideal destination for your next event.

100 North Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 • (602) 262-6225; (800) 282-4842; Fax: (602) 744-2987 phoenixconventioncenter.com Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall



San Jose McEnery Convention Center

Lick Observatory and the Mountain Winery (below)


mbedded in the heart of Silicon Valley, the San Jose McEnery Convention Center provides groups over 365,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space in a modern venue with outstanding technological capabilities. As a bonus, Team San Jose’s all-inclusive service assists with housing, event services, customized food and beverage, permits and special events.


Downtown San Jose offers over 250 dining and nightlife options ranging from eclectic galleries and museums in the SoFA District, a diverse dining scene in San Pedro Square — the city’s unofficial dining district — and vibrant performing arts and entertainment offered at any of the four Team San Jose-managed theaters. Other popular cultural pockets in the city are Japantown San Jose — one of three remaining Japantowns in the United States; and Little Saigon — a district that blends traditional Vietnamese and modern American culture. San Jose’s neighboring towns provide central access to notable Northern California leisure activities. Tucked in the hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Los Gatos and Saratoga offer great wine-tasting venues, Michelin-starred dining and local shopping. Nearby Santa Cruz and Monterey are perfect distances for a beach getaway day along the iconic Pacific Coast.


San Jose is home to over 6,600 technology companies, and visitors can experience their own slice of Silicon Valley technology with free Wickedly Fast Wi-Fi. The nation’s best free Wi-Fi experience extends from Mineta San Jose International Airport, within downtown and throughout the convention center — all covered under one connection.


San Jose has 8,000 hotel rooms available citywide, ranging from contemporary to historic boutiques; 850 of those rooms are 52

connected to the convention center and another 2,000+ are within a block. Groups will find familiar brands such as Fairmont, Marriott, Hilton, Westin, Hyatt, Holiday Inn and La Quinta Inn & Suites.

Airport and Transportation

For convenient access to the heart of Silicon Valley, Mineta San Jose International Airport is only 3.9 miles from downtown. Additionally, international airports in Oakland and San Francisco and local transit throughout the Bay Area on VTA light rail, Caltrain and BART ensure a smooth arrival and departure. San Jose’s Airport has added new routes from San Jose to London via British Airways, Frankfurt via Lufthansa, Shanghai via Air China and Vancouver, BC via Air Canada.

Sustainable Meeting Services

Last year, Team San Jose’s Director of Food & Beverage and Facilities and Property Operations identified an opportunity (through the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act) to donate unused food to local nonprofit organizations. Hotel partners from Hilton, Marriott, The Fairmont and DoubleTree, plus Levi’s Stadium, the SAP Center and Shoreline Amphitheater, have signed on to the initiative, called Hunger at Home. This year, in appropriate Silicon Valley-style, Team San Jose partnered with the City of San Jose and Waste No Food to continue this work. Waste No Food provides a web and mobile marketplace to reduce food waste by matching potential donors with charities via mobile app for IOS and Android. In total, Hunger at Home and the Waste No Food app have provided nearly one million meals.

150 West San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95113 (800) SAN-JOSE • sanjose.org Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall


For more information about the Kansas City Convention Center, please call 816-513-5000 or visit www.kcconvention.com

Sites & Cities Directory OHIO

Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau

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

Atlantic City Convention Center

1 Convention Boulevard, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 (609) 449-7136; (888) 222-3683; Fax: (609) 345-3685 www.atlanticcitynj.com • meetinac.com Vice President, Convention Sales: Gary Musich Your Northeast Business Address


Austin Convention Center

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


Century Center South Bend

120 South St. Joseph Street, South Bend, IN 46601 (574) 235-9711 www.centurycenter.org Director of Sales & Marketing: Crista Tompson Unique Architecture. Exceptional Experiences.

Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall

Greater Akron – set among the rolling hills of the Old Connecticut Western Reserve and along the shores of the Ohio and Erie Canalway. The John S. Knight Center is downtown Akron’s showcase for great events. State-of-the-art video conferencing and streaming systems, onsite skilled support/service staff, full-service catering; 16 meeting rooms; 12,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 30,000-sq.-ft. exhibition hall (41,000 sq. ft. total exhibit space); 12,000 sq. ft. of banquet space; an additional 12,600 sq. ft. of meeting space; 22,000-sq.-ft. lobby, highlighted by distinctive glass rotunda and spiral staircase. PAGE 5,700+ hotel rooms county-wide. C3 A year-round destination with all the amenities you expect from a premier resort: 20,000 first-class hotel rooms (8,000 committable), top entertainment, golf, shopping, worldclass dining and 11 casinos. The Atlantic City Convention Center is a bright, modern facility accommodating meetings and expos of all sizes, four contiguous exhibit halls (486,600 sq. ft.); 32,000 sq. ft. of pre-function space; 109,100 total sq. ft. meeting space; 45 meeting rooms including a 29,400-sq.-ft. ballroom; free WiFi; voice/data communications; green facility – single-roof solar systems, and aggressive recycling and energysavings programs. A LEED® Gold certified, technologically advanced convention center located near downtown’s famous entertainment districts. Multi-level facility spans six city blocks; features 369,132 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibit space, including five column-free, contiguous exhibit halls (247,052 sq. ft. of total exhibit space), seven ballrooms (40,510 sq. ft. is largest) and 54 meeting rooms. Complimentary high-speed, high-density wireless services throughout; onsite engineers; proven ability PAGE to handle 7,000 simultaneous connections. Pre-function spaces offer downtown views. C2 Pedestrian walkway connects 3rd and 4th levels. Close to 7,500 downtown hotel rooms. The Century Center, built on the banks of the West Race canal, overlooks the St. Joseph River and is attached to the 11-acre Island Pavilion, completed in May 2013, as well as the 292-room DoubleTree by Hilton, renovated in 2013. The Century Center features over 75,000 sq. ft. of convention space, including a 25,000-sq.-ft. Convention Hall that can be split into two smaller halls, 41,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 700-seat theater, 16,640-sq.-ft. ballroom and 18 meeting rooms. The 12,000-sq.-ft. Discovery Ballroom can be separated into two equal halls. Free basic WiFi available. Main entrance renovated in 2013, lighting retrofit completed in 2013 and carpet replacement completed in 2014. 53


Connecticut Convention Center

100 Columbus Boulevard Hartford, CT 06103 (860) 249-6000; Fax: (860) 249-6161 www.ctconventions.com Director of Sales & Marketing: Michele Hughes The CENTER of it all oklahoma

Cox Convention Center

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


David L. Lawrence Convention Center

1000 Ft. Duquesne Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (412) 325-6174; Fax: (412) 565-6104 www.pittsburghcc.com Director of Sales & Marketing: Kelli Donahoe, CMP Built Green. Working Green. Every Day! OHIO

Greater Columbus Convention Center

400 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43215 (614) 827-2500; (800) 626-0241; Fax: (614) 827-2659 www.columbusconventions.com Senior Director of Sales: Sherry Chambers, CMP, CTA Ontario, canada

The International Centre

6900 Airport Road, Suite 120 Mississauga, ON. L4V 1E8 (905) 677-6131; (800) 567-1199; Fax: (905) 677-3089 www.internationalcentre.com Director of Sales: Sandra Martin There’s Something Happening Here! texas

Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau 500 W. Las Colinas Boulevard,
Irving, TX 75039 (866) 421-4379 www.irvingtexas.com Vice President, Sales and Services: Lori Fojtasek

New York

Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center 123 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14604 (585) 232-7200; Fax: (585) 232-1510 www.rrcc.com You and your event are always the center of our attention at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center!” missouri

Kansas City Convention Center 301 West 13th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105 (800) 821-7060; Fax: (816) 513-5001 www.kcconvention.com Director of Sales: Gemma Zook


The views are stunning, the space is immense, and the ease of booking an event is superior. 205,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibit space, dramatic riverfront setting, accessible to 23+ million people within a 2-1/2 hour drive; 19 meeting rooms; 40,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 180,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space/140,000-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall; 3,200-seat ballroom; attached to 409-room Marriott Hotel; 700 rooms (downtown); 6,500 rooms (within 30 miles). Attractions: Front Street District; The Old State House; Wadsworth Atheneum; Mystic Seaport & Marinelife Aquarium; and Essex PAGE Valley Railroad. 25 Spanning more than one million sq. ft. and four city blocks, this complex is located at the heart of downtown Oklahoma City, a city both accommodating and affordable. Multipurpose venue hosts everything from intimate meetings to major conventions, tradeshows, concerts and sporting events. 27 meeting rooms; 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom; 100,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall; 15,000-seat arena. Free WiFi available; Internet access speeds up to one Gb; 1,400 of Oklahoma City’s 15,000+ hotel rooms are across the street. From arts and adventure to cowboy culture and family fun, Oklahoma City PAGE offers an eclectic mix of heritage and hotspots. 3 Located in downtown Pittsburgh’s cultural district along the Allegheny River, the environmentally smart, Gold/Platinum LEED® certified, SMG-managed David L. Lawrence Convention Center features 313,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space with 37 loading docks, 53 meeting rooms and a 31,000-sq.-ft. ballroom. The center’s dynamic architectural design offers breathtaking views, open terraces and column-free space. Technology: Network infrastructure refreshed in 2015 offering free WiFi to attendees and a full range of products and options to exhibitors including high-density wireless and connectivity of 1Gbps PAGE or greater. 47 The SMG-managed Greater Columbus Convention Center is located within a day’s drive and hour’s flight of the majority of the nation’s population. The GCCC houses four contiguous exhibit halls (336,000 sq. ft. contiguous, 410,000 sq. ft. within facility), 65 meeting rooms and three ballrooms, including the 74,000-sq.-ft. Battelle Grand, the largest multipurpose ballroom in Ohio. Connected by enclosed walkway to five hotels; about 26,000 hotel rooms citywide; dozens of restaurants, bars, theaters, galleries, sports and concert venues in walking distance. A $125 million expansion and renovation has begun and will conclude in 2017, adding nearly 37,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Located three minutes from Toronto Pearson International Airport, The International Centre offers 548,000 sq. ft. of expansive and versatile function space, an exceptional culinary experience and a team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals, many with CEM and CMP designations. Thirty-three meeting rooms, 125,500-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall, 48,000 sq. ft. of conference center space. State-of-the-industry AV equipment built in, ultra high-speed Internet, complimentary WiFi in the Grand Lobby. Forty brand-name hotels nearby, providing over 10,000 rooms. Recently completed Phase 1 of a $7 million improvement project PAGE that renovated Hall 1, added a new Connector building to Hall 5 and more. 27 Located adjacent to DFW International Airport and Downtown Dallas and just minutes from Love Field, Irving, TX is an ideal meeting destination. Irving boasts more than 75 hotels with more than 12,000 guestrooms, including luxury, full-service, extended-stay and limited-service accommodation options. The 275,000-sq.-ft. Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas offers nearly 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space, includes a column-free exhibit hall, elegant ballrooms, separate breakout rooms and pre-function areas with views of the Dallas and Las Colinas skyline. Situated in Irving’s Las Colinas Urban Center, the convention center is just one phase of a mixed-use PAGE C4 entertainment district that will be completed in 2017. Convenient upstate New York location, situated on the Genesee River. 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting/exhibition space; 22 meeting rooms; 10,208-sq.-ft. ballroom; 49,275-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall with 266 exhibit booth capacity or 5,000 seating capacity; dedicated Internet connection over fiber optics with wireless access throughout facility. 1,100+ hotel rooms in a quartet of major hotels connect to the venue, surrounded by entertainment districts with restaurants, cafes, pubs, dance clubs, music halls and theaters. Rochester offers planners a compact convention district and New York State’s only one-stop PAGE convention facility. 7 An energetic city forged by a rich history, Kansas City has a central location, is highly affordable and is brimming with eclectic cuisine, swinging jazz, one-of-a-kind museums, a thriving arts scene and fantastic shopping. One million-sq.-ft. Kansas City Convention Center accommodates everything from mid-sized meetings to citywide conventions – 388,800-sq.-ft., column-free exhibit space, 142,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, 46,484-sq.-ft. state-of-the-art Grand Ballroom, 48 meeting rooms. Arena houses 7,316 permanent seats, 2,405 seats on risers plus capacity for 1,000 theater-style on main floor. 946 guestPAGE rooms nearby; 3,500 downtown hotel rooms; 26,000 citywide. 53 Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall


Montego Bay Convention Centre

Rose Hall, 18 Queens Drive Montego Bay, St. James, Jamaica, West Indies (876) 622-9330; Fax: (876) 622-9360 www.mobaycentre.com Senior Sales and Marketing Manager: Michelle Parkes A World Class Convention Centre in the Heart of Jamaica Louisiana

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

900 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 582-3000; Fax: (504) 582-3032 mccno.com Director of Sales: Elaine Williams, ewilliams@mccno.com Any meeting, any size. California

Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau

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

Phoenix Convention Center & Venues

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

San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

203 S. St. Mary’s, Suite 200, San Antonio, TX 78205 (210) 207-6768; Fax: (210) 207-6843 Meetings.VisitSanAntonio.com saconv@visitsanantonio.com


Team San Jose

408 Almaden Boulevard, San Jose, CA 95110 (800) SAN-JOSE sanjose.org

Director of Sales and Destination Services: Cheryl Little

A beautiful, lively island, Montego Bay offers a memorable experience for meeting attendees; excellent hotels, inns and guest houses; and great golf, music and a vibrant culture. With an oceanfront location and breathtaking views, the state-of-the-art Montego Bay Convention Centre features 132,000 sq. ft. of meeting, exhibition, ballroom and plenary space, including: 56,788 sq. ft. of dedicated exhibition space; a 18,845-sq.-ft. ballroom; nine meeting rooms; 6,000-seat theater; a large, full-service kitchen within the facility; and 4,000 nearby hotel rooms. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is located in the Warehouse/Arts District, in walking distance to 20,000 hotel rooms and the historic French Quarter. Among many local highlights are Harrah’s Casino, the Audubon Zoo, Aquarium and IMAX Theater and Mardi Gras World. The Center houses 1.1 million sq. ft. of exhibit space; a 60,300-sq.-ft. divisible, columnfree ballroom; 140 meeting rooms; a 4,000-seat theater; and a 1-gigabit per-second fiber-optic Internet backbone that is 100 percent redundant. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center plans an ambitious new venture that aims to revitalize the City’s riverfront: the PAGE 47-acre Convention Center District Development Project. 9 Pasadena offers groups year-long warm weather, five-star accommodations, endless shopping and entertainment options, and more restaurants per capita than New York City. There are over 2,500 guestrooms citywide, more than 1,200 of which are within walking distance of the Pasadena Convention Center. The expanded Pasadena Convention Center features a 55,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall (expandable to 80,000 sq. ft.), a newly restored 17,000-sq.-ft. historic exhibit hall, 25,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 29 meeting rooms, 3,000-seat Civic Auditorium and a 22,000-sq.-ft. outdoor plaza. Major local attractions include the Historic Rose Bowl PAGE Stadium, Pasadena Playhouse, Norton Simon Museum and Pacific Asia Museum. 5 The award-winning Phoenix Convention Center & Venues is within walking distance of shopping, entertainment, sports and theater venues, and is just four miles from Sky Harbor International Airport. There are more than 3,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the center and more that 6,000 hotel rooms located along the Metro Light Rail System. Named one of the top-10 convention center facilities in the country, PCC&V offers more than 900,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space, including a 312,500-sq.-ft. main exhibit hall and a 46,000-sq.-ft. ballroom — all complemented by the 2,312-seat Symphony Hall and the 1,364-seat historic PAGE 11 Orpheum Theatre. The new San Antonio meeting experience allows attendees to Meet, Learn and Play in a place that’s sure to engage and inspire at every turn. San Antonio recently debuted the $325 million expansion of its Henry B. González Convention, increasing the center’s footprint to 1.6 million sq. ft., with 514,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, 270,000 sq. ft. of new exhibit space, 85,000 sq. ft. of column-free multipurpose space, a more than 54,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 72 meeting spaces. Other new developments include the city’s five Spanish colonial missions being named UNESCO World Heritage sites, Hemisfair Park’s redevelopment, the new 146-room Hotel Emma, and the recently completed $358.3 million project to lengthen the River Walk. San Jose, The Capital of Silicon Valley, weaves its rich history, vast cultural diversity and stunning natural beauty with a wealth of technology. The 300 days of sunshine are a great excuse to access magnificent redwood groves and breathtaking views at Castle Rock State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park and Henry W. Coe State Park. Enjoy boutique shops and tasty bites in Saratoga, Los Gatos or Campbell, or sip your way through one of California’s oldest wine producing regions in the Santa Cruz PAGE Mountains and Santa Clara Valley. 1

advertiser index Akron Convention & Visitors Bureau.................................................................................................................................................................................... C3 Austin Convention Center......................................................................................................................................................................................................... C2 Connecticut Convention Center..............................................................................................................................................................................................25 Cox Convention Center.................................................................................................................................................................................................................3 David L. Lawrence Convention Center..................................................................................................................................................................................47 IMEX America...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................37 The International Centre..............................................................................................................................................................................................................27 Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau..................................................................................................................................................................................... C4 Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center........................................................................................................................................ 7 Kansas City Convention Center............................................................................................................................................................................................... 53 New Orleans Morial Convention Center................................................................................................................................................................................9 Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau.................................................................................................................................................................................5 Phoenix Convention Center........................................................................................................................................................................................................ 11 Team San Jose.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................1 Facilities & Destinations 2016 Fall


Get “Smart” About Conference Marketing Targeting individuals as opposed to segments is becoming the best practice By Jean Johnson, CMP, and Anne Zambrano


oday, the most successful conference attendance-building strategies have “smart marketing” at their core. Smart marketing is directed toward specific individuals who likely have been attracted to your organization or event due to its thought leadership. In contrast, “targeted marketing” is directed toward segmented groups of potential participants. Once the “smart” way of reaching your audience, targeted marketing is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Soon to be gone are the days of segmenting your list into various groups, such as speakers, sponsors and attendees, and creating messages targeted at each group. If this is your current strategy, don’t fret. You are not alone and it is not completely obsolete, but pass over targeted marketing. Smart marketing is taking the stage, and for good reason.

TRaditional Conference Marketing

YearRound Engagement

The “Spray and Pray” Method

Organizations typically understand that attending tradeshows and sponsoring conferences will help them move their business forward. The question then becomes which conference(s) to choose. Targeted marketing would wisely list the value points to a segment and push the message in front of as many people in that segment as possible to gain interest. Essentially, these marketers default to the “spray and pray” method of content delivery. They focus on segment-specific messaging, not one-toone messages. In terms of timing, the traditional marketing plan looks like a series of steps beginning a set number of months out from the conference and ending shortly after the conference has concluded (see the table at right for an example). Then the process starts over again for the next annual conference, and the plan becomes wash-and-repeat strategy. In contrast, the smart marketing plan begins long before you communicate the “save the date” for the upcoming conference. Smart marketing is an ongoing process, one that starts with relevant and useful content, lead generation tactics, dynamic offers based on interest, and solid social engagement. Smart marketing is an infinite cycle where thought leadership is a constant no matter what annual meeting you are promoting (see the graphic in the upper right). Event-specific messaging is then integrated with the content strategy based on individual

Months to Conference


4 Months

Email and post save the date Email prospective sponsors and exhibitors; post about sponsorship opportunities

3 Months

Announce registration and early bird pricing via email and on social channels Email prospects agenda, networking events, and topics

2 Months

Email and post registration reminder Email and post registration reminder, early bird pricing ends Announce keynote

1 Month

Email and post last chance to register Email “know before you go” information

Continued on facing page

Targeted Conference Marketing

Smart Conference Marketing

Email segmented groups with one message (e.g., a message that is targeted to past attendees and another one that is targeted to speakers)

Email an individual based on his or her interactions with your organization, behaviors and unique segmentation characteristics

Push your conference in front of prospective attendees

Pull your conference attendees to your conference with thought leadership

Splash your message across various social channels

Engage with your participants on social channels

Design your conference website for all audiences

Design dynamic conference websites viewable by participants


Facilities & destinations 2016 Fall

10 Event Details

Not to Overlook By Susan Frese


osting a large event like a tradeshow or industry conference takes a lot of planning. Sometimes, you can get so focused on the big picture that you forget about the details. Here are 10 planning priorities to have on your pre-event checklist.

1. Share the Event’s Schedule With


Let everyone know your event’s schedule by sharing it via email or a mobile event app. Use hashtags like #eventprofs and the name of your conference or tradeshow to share information on Twitter. You should also post schedules at the event to help attendees make the most of presentations and other opportunities.

2. Check for Inconsistent Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi quality can drop quickly as more people arrive and connect to the Internet. You probably can’t do much about a building’s Wi-Fi quality, but you can use a mobile event app that stores information and regularly syncs with its database to make sure attendees get updates as soon as they can connect.

3. Provide Good Signage to Help People Navigate the Event

The bigger your event is, the harder it becomes for people to find booths, stages and vendors. Posting large, colorful signs will make it easy for all attendees to navigate your event without constantly asking staff members for help.

4. Hire Enough People to Staff Your Event You may need to hire several types of people to staff your event. Your specific needs will depend on the size and type of event that you host. Typically, you can expect to hire security guards, audiovisual professionals, greeters and janitors. Make sure you coordinate your staffing needs with caterers and your convention center or hotel.

5. Bring Dollies and Hand Trucks to Help People Set Up

Exhibitors who rent booths for your event may not have the equipment they need to haul heavy items like tables and displays. Providing some dollies and hand trucks will make your event more efficient and encourage exhibitors to return next year.

6. Get Permission to Use Songs

If you plan to play music at your event, then you should make sure you have permission from the artist or record company so you can avoid potential lawsuits. You can also contact a performing rights organization (PRO) like ASCAP, BMI or SESAC for permission.

7. Have Someone Document the Event

Whether this is your first event or your hundredth, you should have someone document the occasion so you can include it in your portfolio. Having video clips of successful events can convince future clients to hire you instead of a competitor. Or, if you are an in-house planner, a portfolio will be useful for future employment opportunities.

8. Contact Local Media Outlets to

Publicize Your Event

Write a press release and send it to media outlets in the area, including online newspapers, as well as radio and television channels. Getting the media involved gives you an inexpensive way to publicize your event and attract more attendees.

9. Choose a Location With Enough Parking Event planners need to think about parking space as well as the maximum capacity of buildings and rooms. Most people will want to park near the event, so ensure the meeting venue has plenty of parking space. Nearby garages can expand the amount of parking space you have, but you’ll need to tell attendees where to find the garages and how much it costs to park.

10. Solidify Plans With Your Caterer

Talk to your caterer a couple of days before the event to make sure you know exactly what foods, drinks and services are available. If you plan to serve alcohol, then you will need to hire a caterer with a liquor license in most states. Get everything squared away before the event starts, or you’ll find yourself trying to solve catering problems when you need to focus on other things. Susan Frese is Director of Marketing for Pathable, a leading provider of event apps, mobile conference apps and web sites for tradeshows and events.

Conference Marketing Continued from facing page preferences. For instance, a good strategy would be to release a blog article aligned with the message of a keynote speaker and then send a message announcing the keynote. This strategy allows an interested individual to interact not only with the event messages and communications, but also with content he or she is interested in. In turn, the smart marketer acquires a very good understanding of how to target that individual. What’s more, with marketing automation technology, a smart conference marketer can track and talk to the individual based on his or her behavior and interaction with emails, social posts, landing pages and websites. It is as if the sales representative is speaking directly to the individual about why he or she should attend the conference, sponsor at the event or exhibit at the

tradeshow. But instead the “conversation” is all happening electronically via an automated marketing strategy versus overthe-phone sales efforts.

What It Takes to Succeed

Event marketing has become increasingly important in conference attendance-building strategies. To be successful, it is important to leverage sophisticated marketing automation tools and techniques, whether you are making the investment for your organization or working with an industry partner. A smart conference marketing strategy would likely require an additional upfront and ongoing investment either in technology or resources to create, write and implement a well-thought out campaign. However, such an approach produces far greater returns and higher Continued on next page

Facilities & destinations 2016 Fall


A VAT Primer for Planners Know how to recover value-added tax for international meetings By Oumar Counta


n the United States, when a consumer — individual or company — purchases goods or services, that entity must pay one or more cumulative taxes. This is commonly called sales tax: a percentage that applies on the net sales price, to be paid by the end user. A similar tax exists in most developed countries. However, it is levied on the value added at each level of production of the product or service, meaning that whenever an intermediary sells goods or services, the tax is applied to its margin. Referred to as VAT (value added tax) in Europe, GST in Canada and IVA in Spanish-speaking countries, this tax is also paid by the final consumer. Importantly, the regulations applicable to VAT are always those of the country where the service is provided or the goods are purchased. Suppose a U.S.-based organization purchases hotel rooms in a European country. Since VAT is charged on the incoming invoice, the legislation will be that of the country where the hotel is located, even if the purchase was made online. Furthermore, VAT must be fiscally neutral (i.e., not used to price a product or a service) for the local and foreign companies, even when they are the end users. The American system also provides for a possibility of tax exemption for certain companies taking part in the production cycle of a product or service. The company must prove that it is acquiring the goods or services for the sole purpose of transforming and selling them. This is a complex process that requires prior government authorization.

Sales Tax and VAT: A Key Difference

Sales tax is a real burden for the purchasing company, whereas VAT can be reimbursed or recovered, when it is invoiced to companies or certain associations. Individuals cannot recover VAT (excluding the VAT refund procedure that will not be discussed here). To recover VAT, whose rate varies presently from 20 percent to 27 percent depending on the country, certain local requirements must be met. In Europe, the EU has established common rules for all the member states to facilitate the recovery of VAT for both Europeans and non-Europeans. In the event planning field, the stakes are high because the tax in question can raise the budget of the event by up to 27 percent. Therefore, the skills and efforts of the event organizer are essential for recovering this tax. Following are the steps to be taken by a company, association or event planner to recover the tax while organizing an event outside the United States:

Conference Marketing Continued from previous page conversion rates, as well as a quantitative method to track that ROI based on the reporting of the marketing automation technologies. While purchasing a list and drafting a few targeted messages with an HTML email campaign technology may seem like an economical way to go, the return and conversion rate is low and difficult to track. Given that the Information Age has shifted toward the Age of Engagement, conference marketing strategies should follow suit. Instead of flooding the marketplace with information overload about the conference, engage specific individuals via smart marketing. 58


Qualify the event: Is it a congress (i.e., an event with an attendance fee) or a corporate event? Although both kinds of event involve purchasing goods and services abroad, the tax may not be recoverable, or not in full, depending on the type of event. (Reminder: The applicable rules are always those of the event location.)

(a) Congress

• Register with the local administration: It is imperative that the organizer obtain a VAT number in the country of the event with the local legislation. (b) Corporate

• As part of the organization of this type of event, registration is not necessary, since it is the company itself that organizes the event for its own employees. • There is no invoicing of entries for the participants, and therefore no tax to collect. • The VAT on purchases in connection with the organization of the corporate event will be recovered by the organizer, in whole or part, depending on the country. • Registration will be mandatory if the organizing company is not the beneficiary of the corporate event and must therefore sell the event.


The exemption for associations In some cases, defined by each country, certain associations can benefit from VAT exemption. This consists in exoneration of all registration formalities and invoicing of participants. While this may appear as a big favor for the associations, in reality it has a significant drawback: The association that opts for this measure shall not recover local taxes charged by its suppliers (hotels, rental, catering, etc.). (Note: To qualify for this status, most countries make it a condition that the activity of the association does not compete with the commercial sector.) In conclusion, although the sales tax has obvious similarities to VAT, these are two completely different mechanisms with regard to their basis and philosophy. The VAT is a tax on the gross margin, but it does not constitute a charge, while sales tax, which is based on the sales price, will always be a burden for the business. That is why event organizers must make every effort to recover the VAT burden on expenditures incurred abroad, because it allows them to significantly reduce the budget for the event. Oumar Counta is Director of the BC&A Tax Department. BC&A has been specialized in VAT management for meetings, incentive programs, conferences, events and housing since 2004. The company has offices in Paris, Barcelona, Los Angeles and Casablanca, Morocco. For more information, visit www.bc-a.com.

Jean Johnson, CMP, is CEO and President of Meetings & Incentives Worldwide. Johnson has grown a family-owned company of five employees to more than 230 associates across the United States and United Kingdom. Her 25 years’ experience in the industry has provided her the opportunity to work with some of the most recognized brands across the globe. Anne Zambrano is Manager, Communications & Creative Services at Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, where she plays an essential role in developing clients’ conference marketing strategies. Her passion for the latest trends in conference marketing is fueled by her 17 years of sales and marketing experience. Facilities & destinations 2016 Fall

Helping Presenters Succeed Speaker coaching can generate significant ROI for your organization By Michael Hamilton “I appreciate your suggestions, Coach, but I think I’ve got this football thing down now.” –Peyton Manning


and the more their target audience will perceive them as thought leaders in their field. It’s amazing how much credibility is gained when vocal delivery and physical confidence align with content expertise. It’s never enough to know what you’re talking about. You also have to look and sound like you know what you’re talking about. Plus, the skills learned when preparing for a specific presentation will be applied to optimize every talk — inside or outside of the organization. In other words, speaker training and coaching will not only help your team be better presenters, but it will also help them succeed in life.

onfession. I made up that quote to get your attention ... and to make a point. No matter the sport, professional athletes — the best of the best — understand the importance of continuous improvement. Those who are driven to excellence never stop seeking opportunities to improve. In fact, if they want to stay at the top of their game, they invest in ongoing coaching. Ancillary benefits. Audiences appreciate the presenter’s clarity, Similarly, in the world of face-to-face communications, people who conciseness, and demonstrated understanding of their interests and needs, are responsible for conveying their organization’s messages flourish which increases their likelihood of taking action. Their positive perception when given the support they need to evolve from “passable” presenters to of the presenter also influences their view of the company. In addition, the expert communicators. The presentation skills they acquire along the way organization enjoys a competitive advantage through a more strategic enable them to speak equally well to 10 executives in a boardroom or to a and persuasive approach to its presentations, resulting in more buy-in of thousand customers in a crowded ballroom. However, some organizations initiatives, products or services. High-impact presenters are the company’s do not establish processes or best practices to help their people improve brand ambassadors, a source of pride. their presentation skills. All too often, presenters are left to do the best they can, on their own, without guidance. Predictably, the results are a crapshoot. Getting started. Meeting planners who Let’s look at a typical example. An organization wish to facilitate the coaching of their organization’s taps one of its subject-matter experts — we’ll call internal speakers have several questions to consider. her Mary — to preview a new customer support ll too often, First, when is the best time to bring in a speaker coach? initiative at an upcoming to annual meeting. good coach can improve a speaker’s performance To prepare, Mary spends the majority of her presenters are left to Awith just one session, even if that occurs the day before time developing the content. “Rehearsing” the the presentation. At that point, however, most of the presentation consists primarily of building her do the best they can, work will have to focus on delivery skills. The best slide deck and “thinking” through the presentation on their own, without coaches know that content organization and structure in her head. The idea of practicing the presentation just as important as delivery, so engaging a coach out loud and on her feet doesn’t even occur to her. guidance. Predictably, are at the beginning of the development process will In the unlikely event that Mary does decide the results are deliver superior results. to run through her remarks, she’ll probably pull Second, how can the right coach be identified? a colleague or two into a conference room and a crapshoot. Referrals and experience. A solid list of satisfied clients ask them to watch her presentation and offer is a good start, but it’s also smart to assess what kind suggestions — with mixed results. of experience the coach has in addition to public Mary’s coworkers may offer a few helpful speaking. A coach with a background in management or sales, for instance, points about content — “You may want to recheck those fourth quarter will be able to more fully engage and guide an executive speaker or a numbers ” or “There’s a typo on your closing slide.” But because they’re member of the marketing and sales organization. friends and/or coworkers, and because the organization has no formal Finally, how do the speakers want to be coached? Conduct interviews presentation standards, Mary’s colleagues either don’t notice the to find the right coaching style. If you know that your speakers are weaknesses in her presentation, or they hold back for fear of being insulting inexperienced and nervous, you’ll want to look for a coach with a nurturing or in any way negative. They could be noticing her failure to use language that would make her audience feel more included and understood, her over- approach. On the other hand, a senior executive with significant experience and a limited schedule may appreciate a coach with a more direct, reliance on reading from her slides, her underwhelming close and several prescriptive style. other common missteps — missteps that can be easily fixed with some professional advice. And, because Mary’s coworkers don’t have standards by which to identify any of these things, they resort to meaningless FINAL THOUGHTS. For the record, what Peyton Manning really said observations, including complimenting her thoroughness in bringing was, “The head coach tells us what to do, and we follow his orders.” Though together “all of those complicated numbers.” most presentation coaches won’t “give orders,” the effective ones will Unfortunately for Mary, and her organization, what should be a help the presenters find ways to win. And, as this article shows, when the high-impact presentation becomes a missed opportunity. Yet when presenters win, so does everybody else — including the event organizer. organizations have clear processes, standards and ongoing support for presentation excellence, the benefits are many and far reaching: Michael Hamilton, Principal of Frankfort, IL-based GetSynchronicity, brings content development expertise that includes strategy, creative direction, writing and media production. An accomplished speaker, he is Gaining insight. Presenters gain insights from unbiased, objective a frequently requested presenter at the events of industry organizations feedback on their impact. They gain skills targeted to their specific needs including MPI, the Trade Show Exhibitors Association and the Health and gain the confidence these skills offer. And the better your team excels Care Exhibitors Association. in their presentations, the more their speaking invitations will increase,


Facilities & destinations 2016 Fall




Top U.S. DMC Leaders


Jaclyn Bernstein

Partner ACCESS New York accessdmc.com/destinations/new-york rior to joining ACCESS, Jaclyn Bernstein was co-owner of Empire Force Events for 20 years. Born and raised in Brooklyn, she sits on the Board of NYC & Company (the city’s DMO) and has been inducted into the ILEA New York Metro Chapter’s Hall of Legends



Anthony Napoli

CEO and President Briggs Inc. www.briggsnyc.com ative New Yorker Anthony Napoli, CMP, DMCP joined Briggs in 1990 as Director of Operations and is a respected leader in the destination management industry. Napoli, who holds an MFA in theater directing from the City University of New York, is a Board member of NYC & Company.



Cynthia Alford

Co-Founder, President and Managing Director Destination South Meetings + Events destinationsouth.com aunched in 1995, Destination South Meetings + Events is a leader in the Greater Atlanta hospitality community, earning ILEA Esprit and ADMEI Awards. Co-Founder Cynthia Alford, CTP has served on the Board for ADMEI and as President of MPI Georgia Chapter. .


President and CEO Destination: San Antonio cegroupinc.net or 25 years, Destination: San Antonio has played a leading role in milestone events such as the grand openings of the Alamodome, San Antonio International Airport and the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center expansion. The company is led by Janet Holliday, who is also who is also the founding Board member of the San Antonio ILEA Chapter.


Hope Valentine

President CSI DMC www.csi-fla.com Florida native and graduate of the University of Central Florida, Hope Valentine has over 16 years of destination management experience. CSI’s clients have included Ford, Procter & Gamble, CVS, Honda and Wells Fargo. The company serves numerous cities including Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Naples, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and the Keys.


CEO Seattle Hospitality Group www.shworldwide.com arka Waechter joined Seattle Hospitality Group as CEO in 2014, bringing over 20 years experience in leadership and organizational development. She was previously co-owner of Metropolitan Travel, acquired by Expedia in 2002. In 1999, she co-founded Highwire, Inc., a corporate travel management firm.



Director/Co-Owner, Founder Destination Philly A.C. destinationphillyac.com member of both the Philadelphia CVB and Meet AC, Destination Philly A.C. was launched over 20 years ago. Larry Huttinger, CMP has over 25 years of destination management industry experience. A former hotel manager, he opened some of the largest hotels in Atlantic City.



Jillene Szostak

President Chicago Travel Consultants ctcdmc.com orn and raised in Chicago, Jillene Szostak, DMCP is experienced in both meeting planning and event marketing. She began her career at the Chicago-based agency Entertainment Marketing Inc. Currently President of CTC, Szostak oversees business development and still makes time to execute her own programs.



Francine McKanna

President and Owner AlliedPRA Las Vegas alliedpra.com/locations/las-vegas rancine McKanna, DMCP is celebrating 10 years as the owner of the Las Vegas franchise of AlliedPRA. She has 22 years of experience in destination management, including 17 years in Las Vegas. This April, the AlliedPRA Las Vegas office received the Aimia Passion for Excellence Award for a fourth year.



Marka Jenkins Waechter

Larry D. Huttinger



Janet Holliday



James Lammy

Owner and Founder Southwest Conference Planners swcp.net ames Lammy founded Southwest Conference Planners in 1987. The company serves groups bound for Phoenix/Scottsdale, Tucson and Sedona, and is the official in-house DMC for several resorts in the region, such as the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa, Arizona Grand Resort and Arizona Biltmore Resort.



Gordon R. Thompson

President Cappa & Graham www.cappa-graham.com consummate travel industry professional, Gordon Thompson, DMCP, CMP has served on the San Francisco Travel Association’s Board of Directors, and taught in both the Business, and Recreation & Leisure departments at San Francisco State University. He is also a retired U.S. Army Ltn. Colonel.



Barbara Edwards

CEO and Founder California Host californiahost.com arbara Edwards is celebrating 45 years as the founder and proprietor of California Host, a company that has coordinated meetings and events for trailblazing startups in Silicon Valley. Edwards served for three years on the San Francisco Convention Bureau Board of Directors.


Facilities & destinations 2016 Fall


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Facilities & Destinations Fall 2016  

Cover Feature: Spectra Puts Industry Leading Ideas Into Practice || Inside: Small Market Review, Get “Smart” About Conference Marketing, 10...

Facilities & Destinations Fall 2016  

Cover Feature: Spectra Puts Industry Leading Ideas Into Practice || Inside: Small Market Review, Get “Smart” About Conference Marketing, 10...

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