Texas Meetings + Events Fall 2022

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M E E T I N G S M A G S . C O M // F A L L 2 0 2 2

Quirky Marfa

THIS SMALL TOWN'S STYLE PACKS A PUNCH

plus!

Melodic Meetings HITTING THE RIGHT NOTES FOR YOUR MUSIC FESTIVAL

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This conference room seats 102,733. Whether you have 10 attendees or a few thousand more, College Station can help you create a truly memorable, extraordinary experience.

Get started at meet.cstx.gov

Kyle Field, Texas A&M University

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SEE FOR YOURSELF WHY EVERYONE

IS TALKING ABOUT

AUSTIN, TEXAS. With world-renowned restaurants nearby, 12,000-plus hotel rooms within a two-mile radius of the facility, and iconic music venues just a short walk away, there is no better place to host your next event than the Austin Convention Center.

MAKING YOUR VISION OUR MISSION Located in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas 150+ nonstop flights to Austin from 95 destinations Austin-Bergstrom International Airport named Top 10 Best Airport in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler three years in a row

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100% CLIENT SATISFACTION Our service-first culture, with an all in-house staff, takes ownership of the guest’s entire experience. As a result, 100% of our clients would like to return for their next event based on survey results.

TECHNOLOGY With our cutting edge technology, customized network solutions and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout, we are ideal for many events with detailed and substantial technology needs.

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BIG GOALS MADE. MAKE ROUND ROCK PART OF YOUR TEAM.

VISIT / EAT / PLAY / MEET / SHOP / STAY

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GOROUNDROCK.COM

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Contents Feature //

33 Hybrid Meetings Are Here to Stay BY JULIE KENDRICK

The pandemic inspired creativity in the meetings and events industry, and the changes are likely permanent.

In Every Issue //

6 Editor’s Note

FALL 2 02 2

26

Pom Pom Squad at SXSW 2022

Feature //

Music to Your Ears BY TERESA KENNEY

From the what to the why, experts share advice on producing a music festival.

9 Meeting Notes

Take your next meeting from drab to fab with the help of these products, places, and inspiring ideas.

14 Venue Report

Have a wickedly good time at these haunted venues.

20 Destination

History and mystery intersect in magical Marfa.

38 Industry Update

Quirky Marfa

THIS SMALL TOWN'S STYLE PACKS A PUNCH

plus!

Melodic Meetings HITTING THE RIGHT NOTES FOR YOUR MUSIC FESTIVAL

46 Snapshots

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On the Cover

The Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel celebrates five years.

The historic Hotel Paisano in Marfa

PHOTO COURTESY LAUREN MYERS

48 People Profile

Doc Strangeway provides a spooky glimpse inside Houston’s spiritual past.

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14

Grand Galvez in Galveston

PHOTOS: SHANNON SOUTHERLAND; GRAND GALVEZ

M E E T I N G S M A G S . C O M // F A L L 2 0 2 2

Discover the latest industry changes through our Meetings + Events infographic and Texas news.

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Located in the heart of the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, Hotel Drover, an award-winning, 200-room Autograph Collection® Hotel by Marriott, focuses on simple pleasures and genuine hospitality. With nearly 40,000 square feet of gathering space and rustic-luxe venues that can accommodate up to 600 guests, your legendary experience awaits for intimate meetings and inclusive celebrations.

PHOTOS: SHANNON SOUTHERLAND; GRAND GALVEZ

A S F E AT U R E D I N

Book Now HOTELDROVER.COM

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8 1 7. 7 5 5 . 5 5 5 7

200 MULE ALLEY DRIVE

F O R T W O R T H , T X 7 616 4

HOTELDROVER

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EDI TOR ’ S NOT E

Skip the Labels

TERESA KENNEY

Editor tkenney@greenspring.com

P H OTO : A L A N A L A B A S T R O

tx.meetingsmags.com txmeetingsmags

» IN ADDITION TO BEING EDITOR of Texas Meetings + Events magazine, I’m also an event planner, albeit by way of my bookshop. Working on events magazines for the past 15 years has provided me with plenty of inspiration and sound advice. And I have been fortunate to meet many welcoming and exuberant meeting and event producers—so many, in fact, that I have suffered from a bit of imposter syndrome. Because although the planners I have met have all seemed outgoing, I have always thought of myself as an introvert. Now that my own event planning has picked up substantially, I’m discovering my perception may be flawed. I find that events seem to revive me. No matter how exhausted I am right before a program starts, as soon as that first guest walks through the door, the adrenaline starts flowing. It doesn’t matter if the room is packed with 50-plus screaming kids or 100 book lovers waiting to hear from an award-winning journalist, I seem to immediately shift into extrovert mode. And at the end of the evening, I feel energized, lighter, and more connected. In short, I may not be an introvert after all. At least in the traditional sense. No, I don’t care for small talk. Yes, I tend to hang back when I’m in a group of people I don’t know. But, if you walk into my store or into one of my events, I will do everything I can to make you feel welcome. How do you view yourself ? Are you an outgoing, extroverted event planner who also values alone time? Do you hate walking into an event by yourself but take extra steps at your own events to ensure that those who do immediately feel comfortable? Carl Jung—the psychoanalyst who invented the terms introvert and extrovert in 1920—had this to say: “Strictly speaking, there are no introverts and extroverts pure and simple.” So, maybe it’s best to stop labeling ourselves as such. It limits how we view and what we expect from ourselves.

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P H OTO : A L A N A L A B A S T R O

MEETINGS tx.meetingsmags.com

ARE A BREEZE

PRESIDENT TAMMY GALVIN

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER – NATIONAL SALES RYAN MILLER 214-789-7716 | RMILLER@GREENSPRING.COM

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR ALESHA TAYLOR GROUP EDITOR KATELYN BLOOMQUIST SENIOR EDITOR TODD R. BERGER MANAGING EDITOR AVA DIAZ EDITOR TERESA KENNEY ASSOCIATE EDITOR AMANDA CHRISTENSEN

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PRODUCTION MANAGER LY NGUYEN DIGITAL PRODUCTION DIRECTOR DEIDRA ANDERSON ADVERTISING COORDINATOR MIKAYLA SNYDER SALES + MARKETING SPECIALIST MADELINE BRAVERMAN

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REPRINTS For high-quality reprints of 500 or more, call 612-371-5882 or email Lnguyen@greenspring.com. For address changes, ordering single copies, cancellations, or general questions about your subscription please contact customer service at 866-660-6247.

9401 James Ave. S., Suite 152, Bloomington, MN 55431 Phone 612-371-5800 Fax 612-371-5801 HOUR MEDIA CEO Stefan Wanczyk President John Balardo

The pages between the covers of this magazine (except for any inserted material) are made from wood fiber that was procured from forests that are sustainably managed to remain healthy, productive, and biologically diverse. Texas Meetings + Events is published quarterly © 2022 Greenspring Media. All rights reserved.

A new kind of meeting experience. Plan your next event at Conroe’s Margaritaville Lake Resort.

VISITCONROE.COM

PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. TX.MEETINGSMAGS.COM 7

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OPENING OPENING SPRING SPRING OF OF 2023 2023 IN IN THE THE HEART HEART OF OF DOWNTOWN DOWNTOWN ABILENE ABILENE

DOWN DOWN HOME, HOME, DOWNTOWN. DOWNTOWN.

Welcome back, Hilton!

“Abilene “Abilene will will be be well well prepared prepared to to handle handle large large conventions and please the most fastidious conventions and please the most fastidious visitor.” visitor.”

— — Conrad Conrad Hilton, Hilton, Abilene Reporter Abilene Reporter News News || 1927 1927

From From 1927-1945 1927-1945 the the Hilton Hilton hotel hotel set set a a new new standard standard of of hospitality hospitality in in downtown downtown Abilene. Abilene. That tradition continues today with the new DoubleTree by Hilton Convention Hotel. That tradition continues today with the new DoubleTree by Hilton Convention Hotel. •• •• •• •• •• •• ••

200 200 Guest Guest Rooms Rooms Three-Meal Three-Meal Restaurant Restaurant with with Private Private Dining Dining Lobby Bar/Lounge or Room Service Lobby Bar/Lounge or Room Service Pool Pool Deck Deck with with an an Entertainment Entertainment Suite Suite Adjacent to the Abilene Convention Adjacent to the Abilene Convention Center Center Ballroom: Ballroom: 12,151 12,151 square square feet feet (divisible (divisible by by 4) 4) Breakout Rooms: (3) 4,780 square feet Breakout Rooms: (3) - 4,780 square feet

•• •• •• •• •• •• ••

MADEMarket MADEMarket by by Hilton Hilton Fitness Center Fitness Center High-Speed High-Speed WiFi WiFi In-Room Technology In-Room Technology Package Package DoubleTree Chocolate DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Chip Cookies Cookies Business Business Center Center And And Much Much More! More!

Visit Visit abilenevisitors.com/downtown_hotel abilenevisitors.com/downtown_hotel for for more more information information and and reservation reservation options. options. TXMEFA22_Book_TRB.indb 8

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M E E TI NG NOTE S Products, Places & Inspiring Ideas

Kapow! is an effective website for those planning corporate meetings and events.

A SEAMLESS SEARCH FOR VENUES F

P H OTO : A D O B E S TO C K / M A L L M O, K A P OW !

inding sites for a meeting, event, or conference is never easy. Often you are planning get-togethers in a city other than where you live and that you may not be familiar with. One option is to Google venues in your host city, and while you are likely to find good options this way, you’ll need to sort through myriad search results before you find something that will work for both your group and your budget. That’s a time-consuming process. But there is an easier way: online venue-sourcing websites.

Cvent offers far more than just venue sourcing—with features including event registration, management, and marketing—and with some 234,000 venues in its system, the company might just offer the most options worldwide for hosting your event. The site is heavy on large event venues, such as hotels and conference centers, but you can dig deeper into the database for smaller event spaces. cvent.com

EVENTup has similar venuefinding capabilities, but users are able to explore by city. The website finds venues not only in a state’s major cities, but also in numerous smaller cities attractive to budget-conscious planners of small- to mediumsized gatherings. EVENTup does not provide upfront pricing without requesting a quote, but if you are looking for venues outside of a major city, start your search here. eventup.com

Kapow! offers listings of curated event venues in major cities across the country. Specializing in corporate events, the site promises leads and pricing for local restaurants, team-building activity providers, caterers, performers, distilleries and brewpubs, and rentable photo booths. The site presents general cost ideas but will provide a customized quote if you opt to submit detailed information about your upcoming event. kapow.com

COMPILED BY TERESA KENNEY

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M EETI N G N OT E S Products, Places & Inspiring Ideas

Hotel Granduca Austin

» THE 194-ROOM HOTEL GRANDUCA AUSTIN is undergoing a renovation that will include the addition of a new spa and an overhaul of its restaurant and bar. Located at 320 South Capital of Texas Highway in Austin, the property features 6,650 square feet of meeting space, a state-of-the-art fitness center, an outdoor pool with private cabanas, and authentic northern Italian cuisine made with local ingredients at Visconti Ristorante & Bar. Renovations are scheduled to be completed this fall, and the hotel has remained open during construction. “The renovations we bring to Hotel Granduca Austin will not only enhance the beautiful retreat that has served guests the past seven years but will also pay homage to the slow life and spirit of Italy,” says David Putnicki, the general manager of Hotel Granduca Austin. “We want the hotel to be an escape from the hustle and bustle of Austin, a retreat for guests from across the country, and a place for them to relax and recharge, if only for the day, at our new spa or while enjoying a glass of wine and dinner at the restaurant. Once our renovations are complete, Hotel Granduca will give a sense of ‘la dolce vita’ for anyone visiting.”

Improvements include a lobby with a lounge and small boutique market featuring local goods. The hotel’s pool deck will feature a fireplace and cabanas, and the new spa on the second floor will offer a variety of massages and facials. The eight-treatmentroom facility will include a designated couple’s suite, as well as a private spa suite complete with an Experiential Shower and hydrotherapy tub. granducaaustin.com The 503-room Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre at 5410 LBJ Freeway has completed its two-year, $24 million renovation. Improvements began in 2020 and included a redesign of all guest rooms and common areas. Meeting space was also updated, and a 6,600-square-foot Lakeside Ballroom was added to contribute to the 55,000 total square feet of meeting space. “We are eager to welcome our corporate clients and leisure guests back to the new-and-improved Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre,” says General Manager Brett Krafft, CMP. “The extensive renovation was a meaningful investment, and we are delighted to unveil the updates that will enhance our guest experience throughout the entire property.” hilton.com

P H OTO S : H OT E L G R A N D U C A A U S T I N ; O P P O S I T E : F R A N C I S C O C O R T E Z ; P OT L U C K H O S P I TA L I T Y

Texas-Size Makeovers at Two Hotels

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A CELEBRATION OF LIFE » LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION for how to celebrate a landmark anniversary? Take some tips from the producers of San Antonio’s Día de los Muertos at Hemisfair (also known as Muertos Fest). Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the two-day festival is partnering with ABC affiliate KSAT 12 for a two-hour special that will air to a national broadcast audience on Oct. 30. According to National Geographic magazine, the special will introduce one of the best fall festivals in the United States to more than 100 cities across the country. “San Antonio is fast becoming the capital of Day of the Dead celebrations in the U.S., and Día de los Muertos … is leading the way in that honor,” says Jim Mendiola, the festival’s artistic director. “For 10 years, Día de los Muertos has provided an event for the regional community to remember family members, and together, we’ve created a truly unique event with national recognition, and we look forward to sharing our celebration with a national television audience.” The event, which has been named one of the “10 Great Day of the Dead Celebrations in the World” by USA Today and one of the

“7 Best Fall Festivals” in the country by National Geographic, is held at Hemisfair—the site of the 1968 World’s Fair. It includes the tradition of lining paths with ofrendas—offerings or homemade altars that honor the memories of loved ones who have died. Other festivities include a four-stage lineup of music, dance, and poetry performances; a curated arts market; workshops; and a drum, dance, and puppet procession. muertosfest.com

P H OTO S : H OT E L G R A N D U C A A U S T I N ; O P P O S I T E : F R A N C I S C O C O R T E Z ; P OT L U C K H O S P I TA L I T Y

A GEM IN THE PEARL

S

table Ha l l, a new music venue based out of the historic Pearl Stable building in San Antonio is scheduled to open in late fall 2023. The 19th-century building once housed the draft horses of the Pearl Brewery. Stable Hall features a draped “jewel box” stage, floor seating, curved balcony, and outdoor biergarten. The venue can accommodate up to 1,000 music lovers, and boxes that can seat up to 50 people can be reserved for group and incentive outings. The historic Stable Hall venue will be managed by entertainment developer and operator WoodHouse. stablehall.com

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M EETI N G N OT E S Products, Places & Inspiring Ideas

Fine Dining Returns to The Carillon

T

being completely approachable,” says Kyle Barham, chef de cuisine at The Carillon. “The menu of classic dishes prepared in seasonal ways with local ingredients means guests will feel at ease, whether they are here for a special occasion or a last-minute craving.”

The Carillon offers private and semiprivate dining spaces for both small and large parties, providing optional custom menus, beverage pairings, and comprehensive audiovisual capabilities.

» HOUSTON’S GEORGE R. BROWN CONVENTION CENTER (GRB) has achieved the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification (v4.1) from the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED rating system recognizes buildings that excel in sustainability through construction, design, and operation practices to improve environmental and human health. GRB previously achieved LEED Silver in 2011 and 2017. This year’s certification included an appraisal of the facility’s management of energy conservation, waste reduction, indoor air quality improvement, and water conservation. The venue is managed by Houston First Corp., the official destination management organization for the city of Houston. “Our industry-leading entertainment and convention venues are constantly evolving to exceed expectation, and this latest accolade further solidifies our commitment to healthy and sustainable practices,” says Michael Heckman, Houston First Corp. president and CEO. “We are fortunate to have partners like Levy Restaurants and TDIndustries that work alongside us providing support and assistance, so that we continue making improvements that protect and benefit our community and our future.”

The Houston First Corp. management team implemented various processes to decrease the facility’s carbon footprint, some of which encourage GRB guests to make more sustainable choices, such as utilizing compostable utensils or refillable water bottle stations and learning about the venue’s hydro garden program. The organization also works with local nonprofits, such as Second Servings, which helps to deliver unserved food from GRB events to more than 90 local shelters, soup kitchens, and charities.

he Carillon, the fine-dining restaurant in the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center in Austin, has resumed full in-house bar and dinner service. “The new menu was designed to complement the grand atmosphere of the restaurant: to feel special, while also

thecarillonrestaurant.com

grbhouston.com

P H OTO : T H E C A R I L LO N

FOR THE GOLD

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P H OTO : T H E C A R I L LO N

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VEN UE RE P ORT Haunted Locales

Haunted Venues for Spirited Events Have a wickedly good time at one of these haunted sites. BY TIFFANY MARASCIO

» ALTHOUGH NOT OFFICIALLY DECLARED A STATE until 1845, Texas was populated long before the 19th century. Its storied past has given rise to local legends and ghost sightings—so many, in fact, that Texas is consistently ranked among the most haunted states in the country. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, our oversized state has plenty of room for ghosts to roam and “stretch their legs.” Luckily for event planners, there are also a lot of places around Texas to scare up a good time for groups.

FRED THE FRIENDLY GHOST At Arlington Music Hall in Arlington, Fred presides over his historic domain. From all accounts, he appears to be a friendly ghost. His presence has been experienced firsthand by the former owner, Jean Collins, who has heard and seen evidence of Fred both on and off the stage. The owner of the restaurant next door even claims Fred introduced himself and asked him to tell Jean hello. Employees throughout the years have told stories of hearing footsteps and seeing lights turn on late at night when no one else was in the building. For a chance to meet Fred or any other spirits occupying the property, book the music hall, which seats 733, or the hospitality room, that can accommodate 100. The two spaces can also be reserved together. arlingtonmusichall.net

P H OTO : A R L I N G TO N M U S I C H A L L

Fred the friendly ghost (not shown) is said to appear at Arlington Music Hall in Arlington.

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P H OTO : A R L I N G TO N M U S I C H A L L


BEACH BY DAY, GHOSTS BY NIGHT Galveston has experienced many tragedies over the years— including the Great Storm of 1900, one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history. But it was another devastating storm that gave rise to the legend of the Grand Galvez’s “ghost bride.” The always-a-ghost-never-a-bride specter is said to have hung herself in the hotel after hearing that her fiance was killed while sailing into the port of the island during a squall. Others report a ghostly child playing with a ball. The hotel was featured on Travel Channel’s “Ghost Stories” and on Discovery Channel’s “Ghost Lab.”

Ghost Tours Around Texas

The Grand Galvez has also offered a ghost tour and dinner package. The hotel, which boasts a swim-up bar and grill, can accommodate groups of up to 500 guests with flexible indoor and outdoor event spaces. The Veranda overlooks the Gulf of Mexico with unobstructed views and can accomodate 250 guests in its 2,500 square feet of space. The 2,501-square-foot Terrace Ballroom can also accommodate 250 guests, and the Music Hall is the largest space at 4,500 square feet and can accommodate up to 500 guests. grandgalvez.com

P H O T O : G R A N D G A LV E Z / S E AWA L L H O S P I TA L I T Y L L C

VEN UE RE P ORT Haunted Locales

Galveston’s Grand Galvez is home to the “ghost bride.”

» While in San Antonio, be sure to visit the River Walk for one of many haunted tours, including the famous Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours that was voted as one of the top three ghost tours in the country by USA Today in 2021. » Catch a ride in a private hearse limo with Austin’s only mobile ghost tour: Haunted ATX. » Take a ghost tour on the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, a haunted aircraft carrier built during World War II. After the ship closes its regular tour operations, ghost tours commence. Be prepared to enter confined spaces as tour guides reveal areas on the ship that have experienced paranormal activity. » At dusk on Halloween, the Mahon Library in Lubbock offers a free ghost tour in its spooky, dark basement, guided by a librarian familiar with the venue’s secrets. » Dallas is home to US Ghost Adventures. Guides will direct visitors to the Grassy Knoll and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza—both connected to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963—along with six other spooky stops.

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P H O T O : G R A N D G A LV E Z / S E AWA L L H O S P I TA L I T Y L L C

Serious Learning. Serious Fun.

72,000 SQUARE FEET OF PURPOSE-BUILT EVENT SPACE WITHIN A 3.5 HOUR DRIVE OF 20 MILLION TEXANS. SalesTeam@MargaritavilleResortLakeConroe.com | 936.448.3103 600 Margaritaville Parkway, Montgomery, TX 77356

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MargaritavilleResortLakeConroeTexas.com

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VEN UE RE P ORT Haunted Locales

STAGE FRIGHT Built in 1930, The Plaza Theatre Perfor m i n g A r t s Center i n E l Pa so ha s it s sh a re of g hos t t a le s . H i s t or i a n s believe the theater is built on unmarked gravesites. A member of the El Paso Communit y Foundation found a mysterious ragdoll that had suddenly appeared at the entrance to the theater. It then vanished days later only to reappear in the projection booth. There have a lso been reports of strange noises, moved equ ipment , a nd myster ious f loati n g lights. This National Historic Building of Significance even has a pipe organ to add to the eerie atmosphere. Parties of all sizes can have a frightfully fun time at the plaza. The Kendall Kidd Performance Hall seats 2,050, while the Philanthropy Theatre seats 200. Atop of the plaza is the A lcantar Sky Garden rooftop terrace, which seats 130 guests and offers sweeping views of downtown. elpasolive.com

The Emily Morgan hotel in San Antonio; Below: A vibrant tablescape at the Alcantar Sky Garden rooftop terrace in El Paso

P H O T O S : V I S I T I N G M E D I A ; L I F E I N TA N D E M P H O T O G R A P H Y

LEANING INTO THE LEGEND The Emily Morgan Hotel in San Antonio celebrates its resident ghosts every Ha l loween w it h a “ R oom Wit h You r Boo” package that also includes complimentary “Ghost Buster” cocktails upon arrival and “Boo-Berry” pancakes in the morning. The Gothic-style building, complete with gargoyles keeping watch over its facade, was once home to a morgue and crematorium. Staff and guests have reported doors opening and closing by themselves, strange noises, and ghostly figures walking through walls. The hotel has four spaces available for events: The Toribio Losoya is 720 square feet—perfect for up to 58 guests; the 874 -squa re-foot Wi l lia m Phi l lip King can accommodate 72 guests; the Daniel Cloud can fit up to 65 guests; and the 1,260-square-foot library can host groups of up to 72. emilymorganhotel.com

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You’ll Meet Some of the Nicest People at Our Hotels.

They Work Here. We’re proud of our hotels, but even more proud of our people. They’re the ones who take care of all the little things that add up to a big difference for every guest on every stay.

P H O T O S : V I S I T I N G M E D I A ; L I F E I N TA N D E M P H O T O G R A P H Y

Va l e n ci a H ote l G r o u p . co m

SAN JOSE, CA

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S A N A N TO N I O , T X

C O L L E G E S TAT I O N , T X

LU B BOCK , T X

AUSTI N , T X

IRVING, TX

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DE ST I NAT ION Marfa Observation platform at Marfa Lights Viewing Area; Below: Marfa welcomes visitors with its distinctive charm.

Meet in Magical Marfa

History and mystery intersect for magical ambiance in this small Texas town.

» AT JUST 1.6 SQUARE MILES in size, Marfa may seem small, but it packs a big punch in style. Known as an art hub, the West Texas town is hip, quirky, and fun—its proximity to Mexico is easily apparent in its minimalist style and culture. Marfa has become a destination of choice for small group gatherings. As part of the Big Bend Region, Marfa’s landscape is comprised of sweeping views of desert, mountains, and plains, which offer beautiful backdrops for outdoor events. With a population of under 2,000 residents, it is the perfect location for an intimate event. “Even though we’re small, we have a lot to offer,” says Abby Boyd, president of the Marfa Chamber of Commerce. “We have world-class art, great food, and events throughout the year.”

THE JOURNEY: Getting to Marfa isn’t easy, but most would agree it’s worth the trek. Marfa is on U.S. Highway 90 about 60 miles east of the Mexican border. It’s about a three-hour drive from the two closest major airports in Midland and El Paso, although there are smaller airports for private planes nearby. Driving from Austin is about seven hours, while the drive from either Houston or Dallas is about 10 hours. AN ABUNDANCE OF ART: From the world-famous Prada Marfa to the Chinati Foundation, Marfa is truly an art lover’s dream. The Chinati Foundation, founded by artist Donald Judd, displays huge minimalist outdoor installations on an old army base, in addition to indoor art pieces. Artists from all over the world have made Marfa their destination for inspiration. You can find galleries on-site at many venues.

P H OTO S : A D O B E S TO C K / R O N ; A D O B E S TO C K / R O S E M A R I E

BY TIFFANY MARASCIO

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P H OTO S : A D O B E S TO C K / R O N ; A D O B E S TO C K / R O S E M A R I E

ROOM TO

IMPRESS Welcome to Colorado Springs, Olympic City USA, where our stunning, wide-open spaces are the backdrop to your next event or meeting. From unique venues and flexible properties to outdoor adventure and delicious dining, Colorado Springs has what you need to create a memorable experience for your attendees. Here, you’ll find room to impress, innovate and reconnect.

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Top 5 Reasons To Meet In COS 1. Complimentary VCOS Services 2. Fantastic Accommodations 3. Flexible Meeting Space 4. Convenient Access 5. Year-Round, Mild Climate

KATHY REAK, CFMP Vice President of Sales Kathy@VisitCOS.com | 719.685.7632 Learn more at VisitCOS.com/meet

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DE ST I NAT ION Marfa

O O

The Mystery Marfa’s “Mystery Lights” bring in people from all over the world. The otherworldly orbs appear to float and bob on the horizon, with the Chinati Mountains serving as an earthly backdrop. Although there is no precise scientific explanation for the phenomena, the effect is magical. The Marfa Lights Viewing Area is a platform at the edge of town built just for those wishing to catch a glimpse of the lights. Every year, the three-day Marfa Lights Festival celebrates the mysterious lights with a parade, concerts, and a variety of entertainment.

Marfa was founded in the 1880s as a railroad stop. The town was in decline until the arrival of artist Donald Judd, who turned Marfa into a haven for art and artists. Judd’s minimalist art can be found throughout the city, from outdoor installations to his Chinati Foundation. Marfa transcends time with its modern, minimalist feel with a strong rustic tie to its Texas roots. “There’s no way to really understand unless you visit and get to experience it for yourself,” says Boyd. “You really have to leave your expectations behind and appreciate it for what it is.”

Top to bottom: Gathering at El Cosmico; poolside lounge chairs at Cibolo Creek Ranch

OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD EVENTS AT EL COSMICO: For an adventurous event, go off the grid at Marfa’s eccentric El Cosmico. El Cosmico has renovated vintage trailers and tents for guests to stay right by the action. The 21-acre property offers event space for five to 500, including a hammock grove and wood-fired Dutch hot tubs. THE LUXURY RANCH RETREAT: Situated on 30,000 acres of land with lake and mountain views, Cibolo Creek Ranch is a luxury resort with a mix of Texas spirit and modern conveniences. True to Marfa’s creative vibe, there is an art exhibition on-site. This working cattle ranch has a variety of event spaces, including a large poolside deck, lawn, and three historical forts for private and all-inclusive experiences. The forts’ adjoining haciendas allow guests to stay mere steps from the event space. The largest of the three forts can accommodate up to 25 people. Catering is also available from the on-site restaurant, and 45 people can be seated comfortably for private events in the Great Hall.

P H OTO S : E L CO S M I CO ; C I B O LO C R E E K R A N C H

The History

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Our is Stronger Stronger Our Team Team is Than Ever.

WE WEHEAR HEARTHAT THATA ALOT. LOT.

P H OTO S : E L CO S M I CO ; C I B O LO C R E E K R A N C H

From toto friendly, Fromthrilling thrillingchallenges challenges friendly, competitive fun, The Woodlands has competitive fun, The Woodlands has a wide range of options perfect for a wide range of options perfect for memorable team building outings. memorable team building outings. Stretch your problem solving Stretch your problem solving skills amongst the trees on a high skills amongst the trees on a high ropes adventure course, opt for ropes adventure course, opt for conversation over a patio happy conversation over a patio happy hour, or hop onto paddle boards and hour, or hop onto paddle boards and kayaks from Riva Row Boat House kayaks from Riva Row Boat House and explore Lake Woodlands. and explore Lake Woodlands. See what sets us apart at See what sets us apart at visitthewoodlands.com/txmeetings visitthewoodlands.com/txmeetings TXMEFA22_Book_TRB.indb 23

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DE ST I NAT ION Marfa

“Jett’s offers daily dinner and bar service, as well as group and event catering.” – VICKI BARGE, GENERAL MANAGER, HOTEL PAISANO

HISTORIC HOTEL PAISANO: Hotel Paisano sits on the National Register of Historic Places and was used as the headquarters for the cast and crew of the 1956 film “Giant.” The 41-room hotel offers a mix of renovated rooms and original, historic rooms. The 3,000-square-foot ballroom and conference space can accommodate seating for up to 100 people. “We also have a central courtyard that can be rented as a private venue,” says Vicki Barge, general manager of Hotel Paisano. “Our on-site restaurant, Jett’s, offers daily dinner and bar service, as well as group and event catering.”

P H OTO : L AU R E N M Y E R S

Hotel Paisano opened its doors in 1930 and quickly became known as “the most elegant hotel between El Paso and San Antonio.”

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P H OTO : L AU R E N M Y E R S

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MUSIC TO YOUR EARS FROM THE WHAT TO THE WHY, EXPERTS SHARE ADVICE ON PRODUCING A MUSIC FESTIVAL // By Teresa Kenney

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rom rock ’n’ roll to gospel and country, Texans love their music. Some of the music industry’s biggest stars (including Leon Bridges, Willie Nelson, Beyoncé, and Buddy Holly) have also called—or still call—the Lone Star State their home. So, it is no wonder the state is also home to some of the country’s most diverse and dynamic music festivals. Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) is one of the country’s largest festivals. In 2022, more than 278,000 people from 112 countries attended the 10-day event. The festival premiered in 1987, and although music has been at its foundation, it celebrates creativity, showcasing music, comedy, film, and professional development. On a more mellow level, Texas’s UTOPIAfest is held in Burnet. Family friendly and with a crowd capacity of 2,000, it is home to two stages,

workshops, hiking, yoga, and sites for camping. Other music festivals in the state celebrate folk, Americana, garage rock, and electronic music genres. If you are planning to start a music festival in Texas, Michele Flores, chief logistics officer for SXSW, says the top five considerations are budget, goals, audience, location, and date. But she cautions, “Knowing what you are wanting and expecting with the budget is key, but always be prepared to change your priorities.”

P H OTO : A N T H O N Y M O R E N O

Black Star Kids at Swan Dive Patio during SXSW 2022

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HERE ARE SOME OTHER CONSIDERATIONS TO FIGURE INTO YOUR PLANNING:

THE VIBE

Just as important as the why is the type of energy you want the festival to exude. Are you looking for a mellow, lounge-around-on-blanketsand-lawn-chairs type of festival or the world’s largest dance party? While choosing the type of music to showcase can certainly set the vibe, the layout of the event and the audience you target can also contribute to the feel.

Other elements to consider are the accommodations for dancing, standing, and sitting, as well as family-friendly versus a 21-plus event. “Since the [foundation] has persisted for 50 years, there is a community culture that has developed and continues. That culture is one of inclusion, [is] family friendly, and [is] of variation—we consider one another our chosen family,” says Muse.

THE SITE

When choosing a location, identify the challenges that each area may present and a satisfactory strategy on how to mitigate or optimize those challenges, says Muse. “For Kerrville, we are located at least an hour’s drive from a metropolitan area. Our model is to have an 18-day festival—which is incredibly long—and create an on-site minicommunity throughout the festival. Many ‘established’ camps have evolved with groups camping together, creating shared kitchen, dining, and living spaces, and song circles within the campsites.” An essential element is the accessibility of the venue for volunteers, employees, and festival goers, as well as parking—paved or otherwise and paid or free.

THE SEATING

“The most important part of planning a festival from a ticketing standpoint is the scaling of the venue,” says Josie Moore, box office manager for The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, one of the top music amphitheaters in the world. “You need to decide on seating. Will the event be general admission [open seating], reserved [assigned] seats, or a mixture of both? A general admission event normally allows for a larger capacity, but you will have to put more crowd-control measures in place, like increased staffing and barriers to maintain aisles and crowd flow. While assigned or reserved seating normally allows for fewer tickets sold, you have more options for pricing.”

P H O T O S : N AT H A N M I G E L ; T H E C Y N T H I A W O O D S M I T C H E L L PAV I L I O N

THE “WHY”

What is the goal of your music festival? Do you want to promote new and upcoming musicians and bands across different music types? Or do you hope to elevate the awareness of a specific musical genre? “For the [Kaiser Family Foundation], our mission is to celebrate the craft of song w riting. Our mission drives our booking (we book performing songwriters), and most of the activities and events we plan center around fulfilling our mission,” says Mary Muse, executive director of the foundation, a nonprofit organization that produces the Kerrville Folk Festival. Founded in 1972, it is the longest continuously running music festival in North America. The festival is held at Quiet Valley Ranch, about one hour from San Antonio and two hours from Austin.

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P H O T O S : N AT H A N M I G E L ; T H E C Y N T H I A W O O D S M I T C H E L L PAV I L I O N

Poppy Ajudha at Cedar Street Courtyard, SXSW 2022; Right: Hayes Carll at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

OUR MISSION IS TO CELEBRATE THE CRAFT OF SONGWRITING. –Mary Muse, Executive Director, Kaiser Family Foundation

FESTIVAL SEATING

A sneak peek at the variety of music festivals in the Lone Star State. SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST

Music: All genres When: March Where: Austin

BUZZFEST

Music: Alternative Rock When: May Where: The Woodlands

KERRVILLE FOLK FESTIVAL

Music: Songwriters When: May-June Where: Kerrville

TEXAS MUSIC REVOLUTION

Music: Bluegrass, folk, blues, country When: June Where: Plano

FLOAT FEST

Music: Rap, rock When: July Where: Gonzales

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS

Music: All genres When: October Where: Austin

LEVITATION MUSIC FESTIVAL

Music: Psychedelic When: October Where: Austin

UTOPIAFEST

Music: Folk, bluegrass, Americana When: October Where: Burnet

THE TICKETING

“It’s important to have a pricing plan in place and to revisit it as needed,” Moore says. “Understand your target [ticket sales] gross, but be flexible if needed. Planning for presales and special offers like early bird discounts are also important. Upsells, such as skipping the line to enter the venue or early entry into the venue, are popular, as well as options for VIP areas and prepaid parking.” As for the Kerrville Folk Festival, Muse says the ability to have almost 100 RV lots on-site is a great source of income and provides a helpful service for its eventgoers. Figure out your financial contingency plans for overhead costs. The success of an outdoor music festival relies heavily on the weather, which is unpredictable in Texas. Unfortunately, the show may not go on because of severe weather, but vendors still need to be paid. “Secure sponsors and additional income sources that help offset overhead that is fixed regardless of the impact of a weather event,” says Muse.

THE LOGISTICS

Once the tickets are sold, you want to make sure you have a clear messaging plan to not only set the tone for the event but also the expectations, says Moore. Information like how to access tickets, the scheduled lineup for the event, and important rules such as bag and purse policies are important to communicate early and often to guests who will be attending.

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I CAN NEVER PICK ONE FAVORITE PERFORMANCE. – Josie Moore, Box Office Manager,

Robert Earl Keene at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Muse says the one thing she wished she knew before producing the Kerrville Folk Festival was to source people and strategies in the festival community and harness their desire to contribute their talents to the event. “The first music festival I worked on was when Joe Ely hosted Tornado Jam in 1980, 1981, and 1982 in Buddy Holly Park in Lubbock, Texas. I worked for the Lubbock Parks & Recreation Department during those years, and we provided much of the logistical support. I remember seeing this young phenom no one in Lubbock knew of: Stevie Ray Vaughn. I was hooked,” says Muse. Flores began her career working for Direct Events in Austin. Her first music festival was the Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic—where she worked for 15 years. “You really learn a lot in that July Texas heat,” she says. Still, it was the strength of the SXSW community that pleasantly surprised her when she began working with the festival. “I wish I really understood it was much more than just an annual event, how special the SXSW community truly is. The majority of my career before working at SXSW

was strictly running music venues around Austin,” Flores continues. “But after I started working with SXSW directly, I got to see how much desire our audience (our community) wanted to connect yearround. It’s so inclusive and has the ability to connect all these beautiful, creative minds from around the world with one another. I’m so grateful to get to be a part of this.” All three women have had front-row seats to some of the country’s greatest talents, but none can choose a favorite artist. “I can never pick one or even a handful of favorite performances,” says Moore. “Some standout performances were Tom Petty, Joe Cocker, Kendrick Lamar, Carol King, B.B. King, Alabama Shakes, Tedeschi Trucks, and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. These performances were all amazing, but what

makes them fun is enjoying them with coworkers who are, at this point, family.” Muse adds, “ There [was] the David Wilcox set when I was sitting next to my future husband. As we shared the music, there was a wash of powerful attraction that changed my life. Then there was the rush from the first time I heard an allfemale powerhouse band: Pele JuJu. Folks in our community still talk about their performances. Of course, seeing Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt and so many other legends are all spectacular memories, too. And then introducing our audience to Jackie Venson and Gina Chavez this past year were very rewarding experiences. It is really impossible to pick just one.” Flores says her favorite memor y of SXSW isn’t found on the stage. “I have been blessed to see amazing artists like Adele in a venue where only 20 people showed up or working closely with [former First Lady] Michelle Obama and her team for her last-second keynote speech. But I think overall my favorite memory is the feeling you get when you’re on your feet for weeks with little to no sleep, and you pull off something that brings thousands of smiles and memories to people. That is probably my favorite.”

P H O T O S : T H E C Y N T H I A W O O D S M I T C H E L L PAV I L I O N ; H O L LY J E E

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Kygo at Moody Amphitheater, SXSW 2022

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A convention that doesn’t feel

so conventional?

P H O T O S : T H E C Y N T H I A W O O D S M I T C H E L L PAV I L I O N ; H O L LY J E E

NEW CONVENTION CENTER COMING IN 2024

Imagine a world where “can’t” doesn’t exist. Imagine all you can do in Arlington, Texas. Located just 15 minutes from DFW International airport, Arlington offers everything you need to make your next event memorable, from our diverse collection of flexible venues to our growing hotel inventory — and a CVB team that excels at turning Arlington’s unique assets into experiences that make attendees say, “Wow!” Arlington is also growing by the day. Our new 888-room luxury hotel and Arlington Convention Center is coming in 2024. So whether you’re planning for an event in the next few months or next few years, Arlington is ready. Email us at sales@arlington.org, and let’s talk about what we CAN DO for you.

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A Place to

Reboot Waxahachie

A Place in Your Heart, Texas

visitwaxahachie.com | 469-309-4040

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Are Here to Stay The days of “death by Zoom” are over, P H O T O : A D O B E / N I K I TA G O N I N

but event experts predict that meetings will be blending in-person and online for the foreseeable future. » BY JULIE KENDRICK

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verybody loves to talk about welcoming change. Then change happens, and whew, it’s tough. After the past few years, meetings and events professionals certainly appreciate that feeling, but they’re also

“The industry was due for a reinvention,” says Ryan Murphy, director of sales and marketing at technology-focused event production company Projection. “Something beautiful and meaningful has stemmed from the pandemic. We can now do things more than one way, increasing our potential to add creativity and engagement. In the case of our company, we morphed from working like Broadway producers to suddenly becoming television producers overnight. Now what we’re seeing is more production value on live events,” Murphy continues. “It’s similar to producing televised awards shows that are educationally blended, glitzy, and immersive.” “It goes without saying that 2020 was excruciating for our industry,” says Linda McNairy, vice president of American Express Meetings & Events. “But it did prompt us to engage in more meaningful conversations that dug into the why and how of what was happening. We worked to understand more deeply the importance of bringing people together in challenging environments. For our part, it has been an opportunity we have embraced.” “The very concept of in-person events is evolving, and we will need to cater to the needs of a new generation,” says Julius Solaris, an expert on event trends and founder of consulting firm Boldpush. “It’s almost like learning a new language,” says Maggie Pearson, senior conference director at Conference Managers. “This is definitely the year of the hybrid meeting.”

LEARNING THE LANGUAGE OF HYBRID If, as Pearson says, we have all been learning a new language, then what can we discover from those who have become most fluent in this new way of planning and conducting meetings? Across the country, industry professionals are seeing growing registration numbers when meetings include a virtual option, and those attendees are frequently first-timers who had never been able to attend before for any number of reasons, including cost, travel complications, and disabilities. They are using technology like holograms to bring remote speakers closer to audiences, wherever they are. And many are finding that even in-person attendees are often deciding they will virtually attend sessions, choosing to spend their on-site time reconnecting with colleagues they have not seen in years. “When we first began talking about hybrid meetings, we were thinking about synchronous events where viewers at home would see every single part of the meeting on their screens,” explains Sarah Michel, vice president of professional connexity for Velvet Chainsaw Consulting Inc. “We learned very quickly that it’s too expensive to pull off a synchronous meeting, so what we’re witnessing now is a reimagining of how hybrid can work.” YOU WANT ME TO PLAN TWO MEETINGS? Oftentimes, “hybrid” means that two different meetings need to be planned—one live experience and a second recast of content a few weeks after with speakers invited back for live questions and

P H O T O S : ( O P P O S I T E ) A I R M E E T ; W O R D LY. A I

feeling energized by so many new ways for attendees to gather.

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Airmeet

Wordly.AI

TeCh Matters

P H O T O S : ( O P P O S I T E ) A I R M E E T ; W O R D LY. A I

» IF YOU’RE WONDERING which snazzy new hybrid meeting tech products will stick and which won’t, that’s a question no one is completely prepared to answer right now. “Hybrid meetings are in their infancy,” says Adrian Segar, founder of Conferences That Work. “We’re still scratching the surface of what will be possible technologically. I’d suggest not focusing too much on the tools and more on how you use them.” That view is echoed by Linda McNairy, who says American Express Meetings & Events has strategically taken an approach not to go “all in” with any one tech supplier. “We’d rather be more fluent in a full portfolio,” she says. “We’re the experts in face-to-face, and they’re the experts in tech, so we hope that helps us to be as collaborative as possible.” Still, there are all kinds of possibilities that might end up being the tech darlings of our new hybrid future, so we asked our experts what has been most intriguing to them lately. “One of my favorite products is from Wordly.AI,” Liz King Caruso of Techsytalk says. “It translates and captions, seamlessly, in more than 16 languages. We used Wordly.AI for a Techsytalk global conference last year, and I was a huge fan of not only how simple it was to use the platform, but also of the difference it made for our global attendees.”

Boldpush’s Julius Solaris, for his part, thinks the time is right for holograms. “We’ve been talking about holograms for 15 years now, but I believe now is the time to beam in people,” he says. “ARHT Media has been doing some amazing work in this field. The company goes to the speaker’s house and sets up a studio. It feels very realistic.” Andrew Roby of Andrew Roby Events wonders if we might be asking virtual participants to don an Oculus Rift in the near future. “Those who are attending virtually are wanting more of an in-depth experience, and virtual reality and the Virtual Desktop application might help them become engulfed in the environment. It has been hard to pull off in the past because of the expense, but it’s becoming more accessible.” And even if they aren’t “attending” via their HTC Vive, online-only participants will likely be catching your meeting on their phones. “The single biggest factor influencing the progress of hybrid events is the advancement of mobile technology,” says Lalit Mangal, CEO and co-founder of virtual event platform company Airmeet. “Nextgeneration events are using mobile not just for consumption and streaming, but also for engagement and analytics.”

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From the Trenches RETOOL CANCELLATION POLICIES » “Meetings need to allow no-fee cancellations, eternally,” says Sarah Michel of Velvet Chainsaw Consulting Inc. “If participants feel uncomfortable being around others or if they get sick, convert them to a virtual attendee or give them a credit for future events. Look at how airlines are handling it as a guide.” CREATE JOURNEY MAPS » “Map out every aspect of the attendee experience, both in person and virtual, before you move forward,” Projection’s Ryan Murphy says. “Create a clear production schedule to guide all the work that needs to be done for a seamless attendee experience. Then be prepared to change plans last minute.” PREPARE FOR STICKER SHOCK » “We’ve heard from our industry partners that, on average, AV and tech costs alone to produce a hybrid event are at least 25% higher than an in-person meeting,” says Tammy Kockaya, chief strategy and growth officer at the Event Leadership Institute. TLC FOR VIRTUAL PARTICIPANTS » Before, during, and after your event, your virtual audience—many of whom are new to your meeting and possibly virtual meetings in general—might require extra hand-holding. “They might need to download software, create a user profile, and generally engage with a tech platform they may not be familiar with,” Kockaya says. “Consider a how-to session a couple of days in advance to help them navigate the virtual platform.” ANTICIPATE FAILURE » “Have a plan A, B, and C in place,” says Andrew Roby of Andrew Roby Events. “If you have any virtual component, it doesn’t matter which platform you’re using, just accept that some technical problem is going to happen, especially with a multiple-day event. Know what you’ll do next, and how you’ll communicate, when something goes down.”

HOW TO BLEND IT ALL UP WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND “This is the time to be flexible and try new things,” suggests Karen Hartline, director of corporate events for tech company GitLab. “In-person events now shouldn’t look and feel like they did pre-pandemic. Sensory overload is a real thing, as we’re around hundreds and thousands of people at a meeting. And remember how you feel being on video calls all day long? We need to consider more breaks to allow people to recharge and refocus both in person and online.” Many of the experts we spoke with are including some in-person-only content, and some that has been repackaged and repurposed with online-only elements. Hartline shares GitLab examples: “We’re working on an event that will have a simultaneous in-person/online component for the opening and closing keynotes. We’re considering things like having the speakers come on camera for the online audience immediately following to answer live questions, with the thought that that will give a special experience to those not there in person,” Hartline continues. “We’re also working on an event that has in-person

P H O T O : ( O P P O S I T E ) K AT Y N I C H O L A S

Hybrid Tips

answers. And some hybrid meetings have speakers presenting online and in person in real time. Those who have already done it know that the labor required to create both in-person and virtual meetings is intense. “It’s super taxing on a team that has probably grown leaner in the past couple years,” Michel says. Not only are two meetings required, but the inperson experience also can’t be the same old thing you were doing in 2019, either. “If you had your attendees on the treadmill of ‘general session/break/concurrent/lunch,’ it’s not going to work anymore,” Michel says. “Programming with talking head speakers at the front of the room is also a thing of the past. Attendees literally won’t go into those rooms now. People want interactive, peer-to-peer learning sessions. The speaker is looked at as a guide/facilitator of the experience and is no longer seen as the smartest person in the room.” “No one wants to spend hours consuming content, so we’re finding that very short, ‘packed’ sessions, about 20 to 40 minutes, are working well,” says Andrew Roby, creative director at Andrew Roby Events. “People can consume it, then take a break. The era of the two-hour keynote or panel session is over.”

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P H O T O : ( O P P O S I T E ) K AT Y N I C H O L A S

Liz King Caruso (left) of Techsytalk conferencing on hubilo.com.

“Organizations realize the power of tapping into a larger audience, having less travel time, and being more inclusive. As in-person comes slowly back, organizations will want to hold on to the benefits of virtual meetings.” –LIZ KING CARUSO » Event planner, strategist, and CEO at Techsytalk

and remote aspects, but on different dates, which essentially is two separate events with similar content. This allows our small team to focus on the right experience for each event.” WHAT HAPPENS NOW? Get out your crystal ball. Then toss it out the window (assuming you’re on a low floor), because that thing hasn’t done you any good the past few years. Even if it feels like we’re stumbling in the dark, we must keep planning and moving forward. When we asked experts what’s ahead, they shared thoughts about the general direction meetings and events might be taking, at least for the short term. “While these hybrid events are not always easy to pull off, I think a lot of organizations realize the power of tapping into a larger audience, having less travel time, and being more inclusive,” says Liz King Caruso, event planner, strategist, and CEO at Techsytalk. “As in-person comes slowly back, organizations will want to hold on to the benefits of virtual meetings.” “Now that everyone has been forced to meet online for an extended period of time and sees that it can

work, I think it will now be a consideration to be included in every event-planning process moving forward,” Hartline says. “Attendees will expect it, even if it’s not a full mirror of the in-person event, and event planners will embrace it, since it gets you started on a plan that’s a bit easier to change to if in person isn’t able to happen.” “We need to balance what we learned the past few years,” McNairy says. “It’s important to treat each individual as a whole person. In the past, an ‘invitation’ to a company event was really a command performance. But people have family issues, health issues, and other challenges that keep them from wanting to—or being able to—travel to events. Now is the right time to focus on effectively utilizing hybrid elements to curate access to key components of meetings, so that if you can’t make it in person for the entire event, you can still participate in key moments.” And, along the way, McNairy urges all of us to be forgiving of ourselves. “This work is going to stretch our brains, so it’s important to know you will make mistakes. Lean into them and be honest, but don’t stop pushing forward.”

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I ND U STRY U PDATE Infographic

The Hottest

FOOD AND BEVERAGE TRENDS

T

he National Restaurant Association partnered with the American Culinary Federation to conduct its annual “What’s Hot 2022 Culinary Forecast” survey. The organizations polled 350 professional chefs considered thought leaders in the culinary world. The association and federation presented chefs with a list of 109 food items and culinary concepts, and respondents were asked to rate each item as “Hot,” “Not Hot,” and “Perennial Favorite.” The association and the Menu Research & Insights Division of Technomic compiled the list of food items and culinary concepts. The polled chefs forecast menu trends in 12 categories, including culinary macro trends, global flavor trends, food trends, and beverage trends.

Compostable utensils

1.

Culinary Macro Trends Sustainability 2. Plant-based foods 3. Comfort foods

Macaroni and cheese

4. Healthy & immunity-boosting foods 5. Global fare & flavors

Global Flavor Trends

1.

Vietnamese banh mi

Southeast Asian

(e.g., Vietnamese, Singaporean, Filipino) 2. South American (e.g., Argentinian, Brazilian, Chilean)

4. North African (e.g., Moroccan, Algerian, Libyan) 5. Western African (e.g., Nigerian, Ghanaian, Western Saharan) Moroccan bastilla

P H OTO S : A D O B E S TO C K

3. Caribbean (e.g., Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican)

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Food Trends

Beverage Trends NONALCOHOLIC

1. Nut milks

(e.g., cashew, pistachio)

2. Seltzers/sparkling water 3. CBD-infused beverages

BREAKFAST

LUNCH

DINNER

1. Nontraditional breakfast proteins (e.g, chorizo, vegan bacon)

1. Plant-based sandwiches

1. Less-expensive chicken cuts (e.g., thighs vs. wings)

2. Globally inspired salads

2. Plant-based burgers

2. Plant-based breakfast sandwiches 3. Egg-based breakfast bowls

3. Grain-based bowls

3. Less-expensive beef cuts (e.g., beef chuck vs. loin)

ALCOHOL

1. Hard seltzers

2. Uniquely spiced cocktail rims (e.g., Tajín Clásico, togarashi) 3. At-home cocktail kits

Cashew milk

DESSERTS

1.

Alternative sweeteners (e.g., maple sugar, coconut sugar) 2. Alcohol infusions 3. CBD desserts Coconut sugar

Hard seltzers

SNACKS 1. Immunity-boosting snacks 2. CBD-infused snacks

P H OTO S : A D O B E S TO C K

3. Reduced-sugar snacks

1. Gochujang chili paste

CONDIMENTS AND SEASONINGS

Gochujang 2. Tajín Clásico 3. Harissa

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I N D USTRY U P DAT E Regional News

Christian Dortch (left) accepts the Rising Star Award, presented by TRA Chair Leo Duran.

AWARD-WINNING EATS

RISING STAR AWARD: Christian Dortch, Georgie’s by Curtis Stone (Dallas) DEEP IN THE HEART AWARD:

Norma Frances “Tootsie” Tomanetz, Snow’s BBQ (Lexington) OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR AWARD:

Alli Jarrett, Harold’s Restaurant (Houston) THE CARMELO MAURO AWARD, THE SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY:

Patrick Costello, St. Philip’s College (San Antonio) txrestaurant.org

P H O T O S : A U M E M O T I O N A R T S ; J O DY H O R T O N

The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) held its Texas Restaurant Awards in July. Major award categories included:

Flight Path Carriqui (prounounced KHER-ih-key), one of San Antonio’s newest restaurants, opened in the Pearl district in September 2022. The new dining option is in the building that formerly housed Boehler’s Liberty Saloon and Liberty Bar. In its early days, the saloon and bar served as the local watering hole for Pearl Brewery’s workers. Carriqui is named after the green jay of South Texas, the only place in the U.S. where you can find this colorful bird. The f lightpath of the carriqui is the inspiration for the menu, which showcases South Texas foodways—from the Rio Grande Valley to the Texas coast, and north to San Antonio. The menu features seafood, botana platters, pit-cooked barbacoa and brisket, and masa. The restaurant is available for private events and can accommodate up to 100 people. Full buyouts for groups of up to 400 are available on select days throughout the year. carriquitx.com

Family-style meals at Carriqui

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P H O T O S : A U M E M O T I O N A R T S ; J O DY H O R T O N

ROOM FOR THE WAY YOU PLAY

Meetings, your way. Top-rated resorts and meeting spaces for all the ways you work, play, and stay.

Learn more at VISITFRISCO.COM/MEETINGS

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I N D USTRY U P DAT E Regional News

ILEA HONORS TEXAS PLANNERS The International Live Events Association (ILEA) Esprit Awards recognize global excellence in live events across 28 categories and subcategories. Texas event planners and producers were well represented at this year’s awards program, including: » Best (Non-Wedding) Social Event (Under $50,000) Deborah Elias, Elias Events (Houston); Kirksey Gregg, Kirksey Gregg Productions (Houston) The two companies transformed a large home into an intimate “Spooktacular” event for 50 guests. » Best (Non-Wedding) Social Event (Over $50,000) David Reed, Big Time Creatives (Cedar Park) For a woman who is fascinated by ancient Rome, Big Time Creatives created a 50th birthday toga-themed party called “The Queen of Hearts: A Valentine’s Day Union.” » Best Event Design and Decor (Under $75,000) Sara Walker, Sara Walker Events (San Antonio)

Sweet Dreams

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ream Frisco, a boutique 200room hotel, is coming to Frisco in 2026. Led by Texas-based real estate and investment company Wilks Development, the hotel will feature a rooftop pool deck and bar, stateof-t he -a r t f itness center, a nd fou r food and beverage offerings, including a signature restaurant, nightclub, social club, and lobby bar. Located at the

inter-section of U.S. Highway 380 and the Dallas North Tollway, Dream Frisco will be the hospitality component of the city’s new 230-acre Firefly Park. “When we started thinking about what the northern part of Frisco was going to look like, we knew it needed to be a different experience from the southern part of our city,” says Jeff Cheney, Frisco’s mayor. “Now, with the announcement of the Dream Hotel coming to Firefly Park, it adds a significantly different, cool vibe to Frisco.”

Walker created a stunning winter backdrop for her winning event, “Holiday Bells & Shells Bell Bash.”

The development includes 4.75 million square feet of commercial office space and 2,200 luxury residential mid- and high-rise units, along with townhomes, multiple food and beverage offerings, 380,000 square feet of high-end retail space, a planned music hall, and an outdoor amphitheater. Public spaces will include a park and nature preserve with hiking and biking trails, playgrounds, and water features. visitfrisco.com

P H O T O : M O R R I S M A L A KO F F

The “Spooktacular” winner for the Best (Non-Wedding) Social Event

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P H O T O : M O R R I S M A L A KO F F

IT’S JUST AN ILLUSION

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ooking for an inspirational and outside-of-the-box outing for your team? The Museum of Illusions is coming to the Austin shopping mall, The Domain, early next year. The museum is known for its creative exhibits that entertain and educate visitors on the complexities of the human mind. It features optical illusions, 3D holograms, and mindbending exhibits, as well as interactive and immersive illusion rooms. The venue can be rented for private events.

Digital Edition Regional stories on the top meeting and event venues, advice from professionals, and reports on food, beverage, décor, technology and more… AT YOUR FINGERTIPS!

museumofillusions.com

Gather Bayside

» GROUPS LOOKING TO celebrate or gather waterside now have another coastal option. The Galveston Island State Park Beach Redevelopment project has been completed, thanks to $10.6 million from the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) Early Restoration-Phase III. The funds were provided by the Texas Trustee Implementation Group, a collection of governmental agencies dedicated to restoring the Texas coast along the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The improvements to Galveston Island State Park include three new beachside pavilions available for groups. Add it iona l i mprovement s i nclude a new park headquarters building, two restrooms (and renovations to an existing restroom), roads, 95 campsites, two changing areas and rinse-off showers, 20 shade shelters in the day-use area, and a seasonal equestrian day-use area. There also will be more than 5 miles of hiking trails, a remodeled nature center, two observation towers, two boardwalks, and three bayside kayak launch locations.

TX.MEETINGSMAGS.COM/ARCHIVE

galvestonislandstatepark.org

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INDUSTRY UPDATE Regional News

HISTORIC HOTEL IN WACO Hotel 1928 is coming to Waco in 2023 as part of the city’s Magnolia Market. Built in 1928 as the Grand Karem Shrine Building, the hotel will feature a Moorish-style arched entry and large ballroom. The property will include 6,200 square feet of meeting space, an on-site restaurant, and a rooftop terrace. wacoheartoftexas.com

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impton Hotels & Restaurants announced that it is opening its first hotel in San Antonio in late 2024. Located in the Central Business District, the 347-room hotel will be part new-build and part adaptive reuse of an 1850s schoolhouse. The 10-story tower will include a rooftop pool and lounge with views overlooking downtown, a restaurant, a bar, and 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a 5,000-square-foot ballroom. kimptonhotels.com Loews Arlington Hotel is on schedule for its 2024 opening. This summer, the $550 million, 888-room hotel celebrated its “topping off” celebration. Loews Arlington Hotel is part of an $810 million expansion of Arlington’s Convention Campus, which, in addition to the hotel, will include a new Arlington Convention

Center that will offer 216,000 square feet of meeting and outdoor space connected to the hotel via a skybridge. “We are thrilled to see consistent progress on this beautiful new addition to our Arlington Convention Campus,” says Decima Mullen, vice president of marketing and public relations for the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We have so many exciting things happening with the continued development of The District, giving more options to attendees than ever before.” The expansion is the next phase of a $4 billion project by the City of Arlington, the Texas Rangers, The Cordish Companies, and Loews Hotels & Co. that began with the $250 million Texas Live! entertainment center (August 2018) and Live! by Loews Hotel (August 2019). loewshotels.com

HOTEL REFRESH

Sheraton Suites Houston in Uptown Houston is now The Chif ley, Tapestr y Col lect ion by H i lton . T he rebranding includes renovations to its 284 suite-style rooms and 8,000 square feet of meeting space. The name Chif ley is meant to ref lect Houston’s diversity and is inspired by the schiffli weaving process, which utilizes hundreds of needles to stitch patterns into lace. The collection of needles works together to create one finished piece, which reflects the way that various cultures come together to create one community. thechifleyhouston.com

P H OTO S : WA C O C O N V E N T I O N A N D V I S I TO R S B U R E A U ; T H E C H I F L E Y

Coming in 2024

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WITH SO MUCH TO OFFER, EVERY MEETING IS A WIN.

wacoheartoftexas.com WACO IS MORE THAN JUST A PLACE TO MEET. IT’S A PLACE FOR GREAT HOSPITALITY, TOP AMENITIES THAT CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT FOR SUCCESS AND EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES THAT OFFER AMAZING EXPERIENCES AFTER THE DEALS ARE DONE. IT’S A WIN FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND A WIN FOR ALL YOUR EVENT GUESTS. SCAN THE CODE FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF VENUES, ACCOMMODATIONS AND SERVICES.

wacoheartoftexas.com/meetings

9/27/22 12:19 PM

P H OTO S : WA C O C O N V E N T I O N A N D V I S I TO R S B U R E A U ; T H E C H I F L E Y

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S NAP S HOT S Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel

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The Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel chose to celebrate its fifth birthday with flair this past July. The event, produced by owner and developer Sam Moon Group, included interactive human art, live music, craft cocktails, custom Western wear, Eastern art, and a donation to Minnie’s Food Pantry—a Plano-based nonprofit organization that fights food insecurity in the city. Since opening in 2019, the hotel has hosted more than 2,550 meetings, with over 111,000 group room nights.

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1. General manager Patrick Miller 2. Guests of the anniversary event were invited to shop pop-up experiences by local vendors, including the custom hat shop from McKinney Hat Co. 3. Guests were treated to live music 4. Tiffany Moon strikes the gong 5. Cheryl Jackson speaks to the audience 6. Catering provided by Renaissance Dallas included shrimp ceviche and cocktails 7. State Representative Matt Shaheen, who represents the citizens of District 66, attended the event.

To have your meeting or event photos featured, contact tberger@greenspring.com.

P H O T O S : R E N A I S S A N C E D A L L A S AT P L A N O L E G A C Y W E S T H O T E L

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The Renaissance Dallas Celebrates Five Years

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P H O T O S : R E N A I S S A N C E D A L L A S AT P L A N O L E G A C Y W E S T H O T E L

Book your next business meeting in Laredo, Texas. Our welcoming facilities, comfortable accommodations, personalized service, and affordable prices ensure your group is at the top of their game. And our bustling nightlife and welcoming bars will help them unwind and have a little fun. Book your meeting today and see if your group qualifies for incentives.

visitlaredo.com 1.800.361.3360

Industry Tıps & Trends IN YOUR INBOX Digital stories on the top meeting and event venues, advice from professionals, and reports on food, beverage, décor, technology and more!

Stay up-to-date! TX.MEETINGSMAGS.COM/NEWSLETTER-SIGNUP-TEXAS

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P EOPLE PROFI L E Danny Thomas aka Doc Strangeway

Is There a Doctor in the House? Doc Strangeway offers groups a glimpse into the unknown. BY TERESA KENNEY

The property’s most recent reincarnation is a mirror and vanity shop. “[Customers] and employees reported seeing shadow figures inside the building and in mirrors when they would look at their reflection. Bonnie and Clyde’s spirits are known to revisit places they committed murder and

robbed; however, we believe the spirit that is seen inside the shop is the original bank manager. The shadow of a man wearing a bowler hat is consistently seen and photographed in and around this shop today.” houstonghosttour.com

P H O T O : R A E - LY N N P E R K I N S P H O T O G R A P H Y

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t was a visit to New Orleans in 2007 that got Danny Thomas, otherwise known as “Doc Strangeway,” owner of Houston Ghost Tour, interested in starting his business. “I went on one of the ghost tours [in New Orleans],” he says. “I met with the owner afterward, and [I] got to talking to him about my degree in abnormal psychology and my interest in the paranormal and history. The owner encouraged me to open the market in Houston, which was at the time void of a regular ghost tour.” After researching the area, Thomas began his tour in 2008, first for free and later for a fee. “[The tour] became bigger than me in 2010 when I signed up for an online promotion website, and it took off,” he says. “One day, I went to the spot to do my tour, and there were over 100 people standing there waiting. That’s when I knew it had grown larger than I had dreamed.” Today, his team of guides numbers 13, including his wife, Lindy. Opening people’s eyes to the unseen is his favorite part of the ghost tours. “When starting my path, my goal was always to enlighten people about the paranormal world. Seeing people take the knowledge home and embracing the possibility that there may be more to life after death [are my favorite parts],” he says. Thomas says one of the most haunted spots on his tour is in a town called Spring, north of Houston. “In our Old Town Spring location, our town bank was originally a jail. When it was a jail, it was rumored to be robbed by the famous duo, Bonnie and Clyde,” he explains.

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P H O T O : R A E - LY N N P E R K I N S P H O T O G R A P H Y


Safe Is the New Sexy

Safe is the new sexy and Irving rocks safe meetings. The Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas has re-imagined how your group meets, providing unique banquet options, exhibition opportunities and safety protocols so you can book with confidence and peace of mind. Built for business and primed for play, memorable meetings are just steps from world-class live entertainment, unique venues, and a thriving culinary scene. The beat goes on in Irving, and we hope you'll rock your next meeting with us!

IRVING ROCKS

irvingmeetings.com • (972) 252 7476

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Flexibility & Safe Meetings

(800) 2 IRVING • #visitirving

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