Texas Meetings + Events Summer 2022

Page 1







M E E T I N G S M A G S . C O M // S U M M E R 2 0 2 2


TXMESU22.indb 1

6/30/22 5:23 PM

Unrisky Business

Visit Irving has your safety and peace of mind as its number one priority. Accommodations, restaurants and entertainment venues have implemented extensive safety protocols, so you can book with confidence. Many Irving-Las Colinas hotels offer generous concessions including rebates, food and beverage discounts, room upgrades, bonus in-room amenities and other complimentary services to sweeten the stay. Built for business and primed for play, memorable meetings and outstanding accommodations are just a phone call away.


irvingmeetings.com • (972) 252 7476

TXMESU22.indb 2

Flexibility & Safe Meetings

(800) 2 IRVING • #visitirving

6/30/22 5:23 PM


MAKING YOUR VISION OUR MISSION Located in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas Five contiguous exhibit halls with 247,052 square feet of column-free space Surrounded by 12,000+ hotel rooms within walking distance

TXMESU22.indb 1

Our facility is proud to be recognized for cleaning and disinfecting to a higher standard to keep our space clean and safe for occupancy.

BACK TO 100% CAPACITY The Austin Convention Center is officially back to 100 percent capacity with no social distancing requirements, giving you complete freedom in how you set up your event.

6/30/22 5:23 PM

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. A S F E AT U R E D I N


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

TXMESU22.indb 2



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


6/30/22 5:23 PM

A convention that doesn’t feel


Imagine a world where “can’t” doesn’t exist. Imagine all you can do in Arlington, Texas. Located just 15 minutes from DFW 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.

TXMESU22.indb 3

6/30/22 5:23 PM


SUMMER 2 02 2

In Every Issue //



6 Editor’s Note 9 Meeting Notes

Places, products, and inspiring ideas to take your next meeting from drab to fab

16 Trend Report

Engaging your team through community service

18 Venue Report





M E E T I N G S M A G S . C O M // S U M M E R 2 0 2 2

22 Feature //


Five event sites that will cool down your Texas summer


On the Cover

Maragaritaville Lake Resort in Montgomery, Texas PHOTO BY GREG ECKMANN

30 Industry Update Meetings + Events infographic and Texas news

38 Snapshots

The International Live Events Association hosted the annual Texas Star Awards to honor the meetings and events industry.

40 People Profile

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Chris Boleman shares some of his rodeo highlights.

26 Feature //

The 1,200-Pound Business Coach BY TERESA KENNEY

Partnering with a horse for effective team building

P H OTO S : S O U T H S H O R E H A R B O U R R E S O R T & CO N F E R E N C E C E N T E R ; J E S S I C A S T UA R T B U O N O

Historic event sites in the Lone Star State

4 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22_TOCMasT_Edit TRB.indd 4

6/30/22 5:36 PM

P H OTO S : S O U T H S H O R E H A R B O U R R E S O R T & CO N F E R E N C E C E N T E R ; J E S S I C A S T UA R T B U O N O







Personalized staff support leads to success.




Versatile meeting spaces provide flexible options.


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

State-of-the-art technology adapts to specific needs. Elegant venue restored to its 1925 glory offers a unique setting.

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. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.


TXMESU22.indb 5

6/30/22 5:23 PM


Am I a True Texan Yet?

tx.meetingsmags.com txmeetingsmags

» I MOVED TO THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS, from Seattle, Washington, in 2013. I believe the first time I realized just how unique Texas is was when I stumbled across a lost pet forum on Facebook. Instead of a stray dog spotting or reports of feral cat scrimmages in the middle of the night, I found posts about runaway horses walking down major thoroughfares, peacocks wandering around neighborhoods, and pet tortoises finding their way into someone’s backyard. This was all taken in stride by the locals, with comments from neighbors like, “Why yes, I do believe I saw that peacock perched atop the Walmart,” “I’m pretty sure that’s Roxie, and she gets out quite often but always finds her way back home,” or “I’m pretty sure I saw a post about a lost tortoise on another forum, let me try to find it for you.” In short, Texas, I have found, is quirky. And I mean that in the most flattering way—like Zoey Deschanel quirky. And it’s safe to say, I’ve grown quite fond of my quirky adopted hometown. I even say “y’all,” “fixin’ to” (as in “it’s fixin’ to rain”), and “this ain’t my first rodeo.” (Which, in full disclosure, is not true as I have never been to a rodeo.) I’ve also been through a hurricane, a deep freeze (well, as deep as it gets in Texas), flooding, and thunderstorms that seem to shake the foundation of my house. I can now saddle and ride a horse. I own a pair of cowboy boots. I’ve gone roseate spoonbill watching in Galveston. I’ve been to more than one Bucc-ees. I’m no longer afraid of snakes (though I have no plans to invite one over for dinner). And H-E-B has a special place in my heart. So, what do you think, am I Texan yet? This is a long way of saying that I love this state. But I still have so much to learn, and that is where you come in. Call, email, or otherwise badger me with your ideas for the next best thing to come to our state for the meetings and events industry. I’m not sure if there is a special badge I get when I reach full Texas-dom, but I’m fixin’ to count on y’all to get me there.



Editor tkenney@greenspring.com

6 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 6

6/30/22 5:23 PM

DT by H


Down home, downtown. Welcome back, Hilton!

“Abilene will be well prepared to handle large conventions and please the most fastidious visitor.” - Conrad Hilton, Abilene Reporter News | 1927

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

Opening Spring of 2023 in the heart of downtown Abilene

• • • • • • •

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

• • • • • • •

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


TXMESU22.indb 7 DT by Hilton - Abilene TSAE Magazine.indd 1

6/30/22 5:23 PM 9/13/2021 4:15:37 PM

Unique group activities incentives events conference spaces meetings shopping dining

Experiences in

The Heart of Aggieland ®

@VisitCSTX meet.cstx.gov

8 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 8

6/30/22 5:23 PM

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

Gin Mare Mediterranean Gin elevated its multisensory presentation using fresh citrus fruits and fragrant herbs.

SIGHT You can bring nature indoors

anywhere by incorporating green walls, water, herbal centerpieces, and natural, textured materials like wood and stone. New York City-based florist Julia Testa instills natural elements like flowers, oranges, and succulents into branding events and product launches—imbuing creativity and cheerfulness in attendees.

Succulents add texture on a branded tablescape at a Vans shoes event.

P H O T O S : J U L I A T E S TA F L O W E R S

THE GREAT INDOORS Activate the senses through infusion with the natural world. » EVENT PLANNERS often schedule meetings and events

in natural places near wilderness areas, at waterfront resorts, and at mountain event spaces. But there are many ways to bring nature into your events by making use of the architectural concept of biophilic design, which can be defined as seeking to engage most people’s innate desires to affiliate with nature in the modern built environment. If you think of yourself as an “event architect,” you can use nature to stimulate the senses.

SOUND Amplifying the natural sounds of a flowing stream, breaking waves, or fluttering bird song into your event can be relaxing. All you need are some strategically placed Bluetooth speakers and a free app like myNoise, which has numerous natural white noise options, including walking in the woods, the Irish coast, and distant thunder. SMELL Try infusing your event space

with essential oils, such as lemon, which stimulates energy and improves mood, and peppermint, which supports memory and concentration. The Canadian Corporate Meetings Network, which serves corporate meeting planners, uses “scent branding” to positively influence event goers. —Todd R. Berger



TXMESU22.indb 9

6/30/22 5:23 PM

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

Set Sail for Your Next Meeting As the desire for smaller meetings continues to grow in popularity, along with the need for alfresco options, the boat-sharing company Click&Boat has introduced a user-friendly interface that allows planners to select “floating” meeting spaces. Users can steer away from the typical boardroom or conference table and opt for boat and yacht rentals for gatherings of all sizes.

The Click&Boat community is comprised of over 300,000 members, and the company offers more than 40,000 vessels worldwide, including 1,100 moored in the U.S. Top destinations include Austin, Houston, Galveston, and Dallas. clickandboat.com

Construction has begun on MUTTS Canine Cantina, a self-described pet entertainment brand located in Austin. Slated to open later this year, MUTTS is not only an outdoor, dog-friendly bar and grill but also a private, membershipbased off-leash dog park. No dog? No problem. Guests are welcome to enjoy the park with or without their canine buddies. The destination will include casual food (such as chicken sandwiches, fried pickles, milkshakes,

and hamburgers), craft beer, its signature Barkarita margarita, and private event spaces able to host upward of 90 people. “MUTTS Austin will be the premier place to play with your best friend, but it is so much more than just an upscale, off-leash dog park,” says managing partner Lisa Ladewig. “[It] is an outdoor ‘eater’tainment’ concept that doesn’t just cater to dog owners. It’s a great place for you to eat, drink, relax, and hang out with your two- and four-legged friends.”

AMENITIES INCLUDE: » Doggie splash pad park » Covered patios with misting fans and heaters » Live music » Outdoor LED TVs » Private cabana rentals » Private event space » Self-serve dog wash » Wi-Fi and charging stations muttsaustin.com

P H O T O S : C L I C K & B O AT ; L B J L I B R A R Y


10 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 10

6/30/22 5:23 PM

P H O T O S : C L I C K & B O AT ; L B J L I B R A R Y

The Driskill Hotel’s Legendary Clientele » BUILT IN 1886, The Driskill in downtown Austin has been heralded as one of the finest hotels in the country. Wealthy cattle baron Jesse Driskill built the hotel at a cost of $400,000—the equivalent of $12 million today. His goal was to build a grand hotel in the then-frontier town that would rival those in New York and San Francisco. Newly elected Texas governor Sul Ross chose The Driskill for his inaugural ball, and a tradition was born. Subsequent governors William P. Hobby, Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, Dan Moody, John Connally, and Ann Richards all held their inaugural balls at the hotel. And President Lyndon Johnson not only celebrated his presidential victory in 1964 there, but he also met his wife, Lady Bird, years earlier at the hotel for a breakfast date, launching a lifelong romance. Despite changing ownership multiple times over the years—in addition to a few closures and renovations—The Driskill has endured as an iconic Austin property. The hotel recently launched a guided tour that takes groups back to the beginning days of Austin. The tour was curated in collaboration with Harrison Eppright, an Austinite who grew up visiting the hotel and is a tour guide with the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. The hotel also offers a self-guided tour of its museum-quality artwork. The 189-room hotel features 18,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including 13 meeting rooms, a 2,500square-foot ballroom, a 5,600-square-foot mezzanine, and two private balconies. Additional amenities include a fitness center, laundry and dry-cleaning service, and two options for dining: 1886 Cafe & Bakery and The Driskill Bar. driskillhotel.com

The Driskill Bar in its namesake hotel in downtown Austin


TXMESU22.indb 11

6/30/22 5:23 PM

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



LandShark Bar & Grill at Margaritaville Lake Resort in Conroe

What Makes Visit Conroe Special

» CALLING THEIR OFFICE “small but mighty,” the team at Visit Conroe includes Director Shannon Overby, Servicing Coordinator Rebekah Kolb, Group Sales Manager Alex Zavoyna, and Marketing Manager Jodi Willard. The four provided Texas Meetings + Events with a glimpse into their daily operations M+E: What does the Visit Conroe team love about promoting Conroe? Visit Conroe’s success is in part due to all the exciting things the city has going on in terms of new hotels, new restaurants, breweries, a newfound energy in a growing historic downtown area, and multiple music festivals throughout the year. Visit Conroe’s success is also due to the fact that each of us truly loves our job. We love promoting Conroe because each of us, for our own reasons, enjoys Conroe and wants to share that with others, and that comes out when we talk about it with people. M+E: Why should groups choose Conroe to meet or gather for an event? Conroe offers a natural escape from the city without compromising on amenities. From the moment you arrive in Conroe, you know you are somewhere special. The drive into town is framed by impressive towering pines followed by stunning views of 22,000acre Lake Conroe that sits at the center point of the city. Margaritaville Lake Resort resides on the shores of Lake Conroe and features 72,000 square feet of event space, including 20 IACC-certified [previously known as the International Association of Conference Centres] meeting rooms and 335 suites. Margaritaville opened as a new property in June 2020 and offers groups the opportunity for some ‘serious learning, serious fun!’

Conroe also boasts an impressive culinary and craft beverage scene, an energetic downtown featuring nightly live music, rich arts and culture communities, and unique team-building experiences. M+E: What are some local favorites? Kolb: You can’t miss breakfast at Honor Cafe. I love the Avocado Toast with Egg. The cafe also has an amazing lunch menu—I suggest the enchiladas. Overby: I have so many favorites. But I’d have to say, to eat at one of our newest venues, The Table at Madeley. It’s a food truck park and music venue. Or to grab a drink: margaritas on the deck of Fajita Jacks at Waterpoint Marina. The view of Lake Conroe is so calming after a long day. Willard: The Ferm Meadery is my favorite hot spot. If you haven’t had mead, this should be added to your must-try list. Stop by and learn how mead is made. Try the Berry Blitz! Exploring Lake Conroe is my favorite summer event. Cruise around on a boat or kayak, and take in all the beauty. Zavoyna: To eat: Pie in the Sky (get The Cuban). To grab a drink and relax: This one is tough, but I will go with B52 Brewery. [There’s] something about sitting at a picnic table under a canopy of towering pines. visitconroe.com @VisitConroe

P H O T O S : M I R AVA L A U S T I N ; V I S I T C O N R O E

Looking for a new team-building challenge? Miraval Austin has you covered. The 220-acre resort has introduced its three-tiered challenge course, adding six new activities to the resort’s outdoor adventure offerings. The course features tightropes, balance beams, and log crossings, and boasts 29 unique features that encourage groups to leave their comfort zones behind as they embark on a journey of self-discovery. “As we see increased interest in both individuals who want to explore their boundaries and teams that want to unite, we’re excited to unveil this impressive challenge course, which reaffirms our commitment to serving our guests and their needs,” says Sheri Morgan Muskin, general manager of Miraval Austin. “The challenge course encourages introspection and teaches valuable lessons on recognizing, accepting, and finding ways to create a life in balance. I look forward to welcoming guests to have this key experience at Miraval Austin.”

12 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 12

6/30/22 5:24 PM


TXMESU22.indb 13

6/30/22 5:24 PM

P H O T O S : M I R AVA L A U S T I N ; V I S I T C O N R O E

Dignitaries cut the ribbon at the grand opening The ribbon cutting ceremony at the grand of the Moody Center in April 2022. opening of the Moody Center in April 2022.

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

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the grand opening of the Moody Center in April 2022.

Austin Welcomes Entertainment & Events Venue » FOLLOWING A SOLD-OUT grand opening celebration in April that included per forma nces by countr y music legends George Strait and Willie Nelson, Moody Center, a multipurpose venue in downtown Austin, is open for business. The 530,000-square-foot, 15,000-seat venue will be home to concert tours and music shows, as well as sporting events, including The University of Texas at

Austin women’s and men’s basketball games. Developers for the $375 million project include Oak View Group (OVG), Live Nation Entertainment/C3 Presents, The University of Texas at Austin, and actor Matthew McConaughey. The arena is named Moody Center due to a $1 3 0 m i l l ion g ra nt f rom t he Moody Foundation, one of the largest gifts The University of Texas has ever received.

Built into a hillside, Moody Center features 360 degrees of glass walls, mural and neon designs by local artists, and an artist compound with six talent rooms. The center is surrounded by 200-year-old oak trees that were relocated during construction and have been replanted around the Dell Technologies Plaza. The plaza will host event-sponsor activities and preshow entertainment on its Hulu Stage. Available for corporate and private rental, the venue includes 44 suites, nearly 2,000 club seats, three premium clubs, 57 loge boxes, and one VIP club called the Moët & Chandon Impérial Lounge. Some artists scheduled to appear at the Moody Center in 2022 are James Taylor, Leon Bridges, Carrie Underwood, Harry Styles, Florence + The Machine, Kendrick Lamar, The Lumineers, Michael Bublé, Panic! at the Disco, Lizzo, and The Killers. moodycenteratx.com

Located in Little Elm—just north of Dallas—Tinman Social celebrated its grand opening in June. The two-story social venue features indoor-outdoor dining and fullservice bars where guests can enjoy a view of the park and attractions like bowling, axe throwing, arcade games, and cornhole. “With all the negativity in the world … we wanted to create a positive environment that brings joy to the community,” says Kenneth Wynn, founder and CEO of Tinman Social. “Every game, activity, and detail of the layout is designed for people to gather and have fun together.” The food and beverage program includes a menu of casual fare such as chicken and waffles, pretzel charcuterie boards, french fry flights, specialty cocktails, and craft beer. “Even our selection of menu items was carefully picked with sharing in mind,” Wynn notes. tinmansocial.com

GUESTS CAN ENJOY: » Arcade » Axe-throwing lanes » Bowling lanes » Fowling (bowling with a football, instead of a bowling ball)

» Indoor and outdoor bocce ball courts and cornhole » Indoor and outdoor dining » Large fire pits » Spacious party and event rooms

P H O T O S : M O O DY C E N T E R ; T I N M A N S O C I A L


14 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 14

6/30/22 5:24 PM

There are plenty of reasons people choose Waco

as their meeting destination: it’s centrally located, easy to navigate, has great accommodations and is reasonably priced. But it’s our easygoing atmosphere, the slightly quirky downtown shops and friendly locals that have people dismissing the idea that gatherings have to be held in big cities with fast food on every corner. People are ready for something different, something more genuine. Like Waco.





P H O T O S : M O O DY C E N T E R ; T I N M A N S O C I A L

Come Meet

It’s all here. All the things in Plano that you love to see and do and enjoy are all ready to safely love you back.


TXMESU22.indb 15

6/30/22 5:24 PM

TR EN D RE P ORT Do Good, Together

Do Good, Together

» IF THERE IS ONE THING the past two years have taught us, it is this: No person is an island. We have a powerful need for connection. In fact, today’s workforce finds it increasingly important to connect by making a difference. According to a recent report by Porter Novelli, a whopping 93% of employees believe that companies must lead with purpose. One way to demonstrate this is to incorporate corporate social responsibility (CSR) into meetings and team-building activities.

CSR EVENTS FOR YEAR-ROUND EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT Amanda Kenworthy Van Dusen owns Vogt Engineering in The Woodlands. When COVID-19 prevented Habitat for Humanity from holding its annual fundraising gala in 2021, her company sponsored a wall for the organization’s “Framing the Future” campaign. Gathering employees and their families together for a barbecue, the company decorated framing lumber that would later be used in a home. “We also worked together as a team on the Montgomery County Women’s Center’s ‘31 Miles in 31 Days Summer Challenge,’” says Kenworthy Van Dusen. “We all had to walk, bike, or run 31 miles and find people to sponsor us. The company then matched the funds raised by our team.” CSR EVENTS AS TEAM-BUILDING EXERCISES For the past four years, the business development team at Vallen, a national safety services company, has been partnering with Scotty’s House, an organization that assists and supports child abuse victims in Brazos Valley. The management team at the Cavalry Court and The George hotels introduced Vallen to the nonprofit. Scotty’s House directed activities during the Vallen business development team’s attendance at Texas A&M University’s fire academy.

P H O T O : A D O B E S T O C K / W O L LW E R T H I M A G E R Y

Community service can encourage employee loyalty, build teams, and bring together groups and communities. BY TERESA KENNEY

Community service projects, including working with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, are effective team-building exercises.

16 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 16

6/30/22 5:24 PM

P H O T O : A D O B E S T O C K / W O L LW E R T H I M A G E R Y

“Lydia Godfrey [director of sales and marketing] with Cavalry Court and The George has been amazing to work with,” says Matt Dulaney, director of business services for Vallen. “She suggested we partner with Scotty’s House. We divided our team into two and then assembled bikes for the children, competing to see which team can complete the task more quickly. This year, we also are going to go to Scotty’s House and help with its landscaping upkeep.” The project makes a lasting impression on his team. “We invite someone from Scotty’s House to join us for lunch each year, and they talk about the services they provide,” says Dulaney. “You can look in the audience and see our team with tears in their eyes. That’s when you know you’ve done something right.” CSR EVENTS AS PART OF A LARGER CONFERENCE AND CONVENTION If you are planning a destination convention, finding the right community service project fit for your delegates can be daunting. Turning to the local convention and visitors bureau can be a huge help. Visit San Antonio, for example, has a list of local nonprofits that accept groups of volunteers for short-term projects. “More and more, our meeting planners integrate social responsibility into their conference agenda,” says Marc Anderson, Visit San Antonio president and CEO. “Visit San Antonio has embraced

that by dedicating a section of our website to group volunteer opportunities. More than 25 organizations and causes, including human and animal care services and veteran and youth groups’ outreach, are listed, so planners have robust choices. And, of course, our destination experience team is always standing by to help curate tailored opportunities within the San Antonio community.” One recent example is the American Pharmacists Association 2022 Annual Meeting. Attendees provided much-needed donations and support to Haven for Hope, a transformational campus in downtown San Antonio that assists individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness. Meeting Professionals International (MPI), based in Dallas, includes a CSR component in its annual World Education Congress (WEC) as well. This year’s event was held in San Francisco in June. “We choose our CSR programs with the host committee so that we can target giving back to the local community where our annual event takes place,” says Tanya Philyaw, CMP, senior meeting planner with MPI. “The host committee generally chooses five-plus organizations to start, and we narrow it down to three to four that we can focus our efforts on.” This year, delegates put together homeless kits for men and women, worked with an anti-human-trafficking group, and donated paintings to local hospitals through Foundation for Hospital Art.


TXMESU22.indb 17

6/30/22 5:24 PM

History in the Making

When choosing a historic venue for your next event, consider these three suggestions. BY TERESA KENNEY

» TEXAS HAS A STORIED PAST. From Davy Crockett to President Lyndon Johnson, the Lone Star State’s narrative is a real aspect of its legendary status. Holding an event in one of its historic venues provides an added allure to any gathering. Here are three things to think about in choosing your next historic venue. SET THE SCENE When it comes to historic venues, the backdrop decor offered is often the first (and sometimes only) consideration given. Holding a gala at The Adolphus in Dallas, for example, already ups the glamour quotient for the evening. Built in the early 20th century by beer-magnate Adolphus Busch, co-founder of Anheuser-Busch, the hotel was the city’s first luxury hotel, and its luster has not dulled over the years. Modeled after a Germanic castle, the hotel has welcomed such esteemed guests as former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, as well as British royalty, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Imagine your guests meeting, networking, and celebrating within a setting of arched barrel-vaulted ceilings, chandelier lighting, and wood-paneled walls. The hotel has 268 rooms and 139 suites, over 22,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a spa, rooftop pool, and multiple dining options—from fine to casual.

SHARE A STORY A venue with a rich history can serve as a conversation starter for guests and an inspirational backdrop for programming. The Alamo, for example, has spaces that can accommodate up to 525 people. The Texas icon has hosted businesses, organizations, families, and military groups. The historic Alamo transports your guests to the 19th century and the pivotal 13-day battle during the Texas War of Independence from Mexico. It was here that Davy Crockett died in battle in 1836. The destination has six indoor and outdoor spaces that can be used for private events, including Alamo Hall and Alamo Hall Patio, Cavalry Courtyard, La Vista Terrace, and Alamo Gardens’ South and Center gardens. To add some talking points to guest conversations, groups can choose to include a history tour, living history experience, or musket-firing demonstration during the event.

P H O T O S : A D O B E S T O C K / B I L L P E R R Y ; ( O P P O S I T E ) V I S I T G A LV E S T O N

VEN UE RE P ORT History in the Making

18 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 18

6/30/22 5:24 PM

The Alamo in San Antonio has event space with room for 525 guests. Below: Galveston’s Moody Mansion, built in 1895, showcases a variety of architectural styles.

Later this year, The Alamo is set to introduce its new Exhibition Hall and Collections Building. The facility will house treasures from the Alamo Collection and the Phil Collins Texana Collection. (Yes, that Phil Collins. The one-time Genesis front man is an avid collector of Alamo artifacts.) Made possible through a $1 million gift from The Impetus Foundation, the 24,000-square-foot building will include the outdoor Alvarez Family Terrace overlooking the Alamo Gardens. The terrace can be reserved for special events. “Our daughter and her husband had the most amazing rehearsal dinner with family and friends at The Alamo,” says The Alamo event attendee Marnie Simpson. “We toasted the couple while surrounded by the statues of the heroes of the Alamo, including her greatgrandfather’s statue. It was the perfect venue to celebrate with the groom’s family, who were from New Jersey and familiar with the story of The Alamo and so excited to spend a special evening on its grounds.” Simpson continues, “The festive floral arrangements and string lights, incredible Mexican food from one of our favorite caterers, and local mariachis completed the ambiance. It truly was a perfect San Antonio evening.”

adolphus.com thealamo.org moodymansion.org

P H O T O S : A D O B E S T O C K / B I L L P E R R Y ; ( O P P O S I T E ) V I S I T G A LV E S T O N

THINK ABOUT AFFECTING MOOD A historic industrial warehouse with brick walls and exposed-beam ceilings can set the evening mood for an edgy, urban event. A palatial hotel will infuse more than a touch of awe into your gala, and a Victorian home can bring some romance into the evening’s agenda. Looking to add a little 19th-century elite into your event? Consider the Moody Mansion in Galveston. Built in 1895, it is named for successful businessman and philanthropist

W.L. Moody Jr., who lived there with his wife, Libbie, and their family from 1900 to 1983. The home was built by its original owner, Galveston socialite Narcissa Willis, and reflects a variety of architectural styles, including Romanesque, Renaissance, Empire Revival, and Beaux Arts. Featuring exterior elements such as deep porches, arches, and rounded turrets, the home is filled with the memories and personal effects of the Moodys and available for private rentals, accommodating intimate groups of up to 125 in various configurations. Setting the “mood,” the home features mosaic-tiled floors, oak paneling, Doric pilasters, painted ceilings, bronze sconces, and stained glass. So, who’s in the mood for a history-clad event, now?


TXMESU22.indb 19

6/30/22 5:24 PM




SSHR.COM | 281-334-1000



2500 South Shore Blvd. League City, TX 77573 20 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 20

Located Halfway Between Houston And Galveston, on Clear Lake.

7/1/22 10:32 AM

Just Add Water Planning an event for the heat of the summer? Make a splash with a water-based venue. By Tiffany Marascio

It’s summer in Texas, and you know what that means: heat and humidity. Fortunately, many Texas

venues are on the water and offer some much-needed relief. We looked at five venues across the state and spoke with


planners who made a big splash by choosing to meet by the water. Here are some tips for helping your guests stay cool.




TXMESU22.indb 21

7/1/22 10:32 AM

Below: the Waterpoint Landing Deck at Margaritaville Lake Resort has shaded space for networking receptions; Above: The wraparound terrace at Lakeway Resort & Spa in Austin looks out over Lake Travis.

Choose a balcony for outdoor mingling. When it’s time to unwind after an event, a balcony over the water gives guests a beautiful view while allowing easy access to food and drinks—and cool air—indoors. For a private event at Lakeway Resort, Becky Navarro, founder and CEO of Pearl Events Austin, used the establishment’s balcony as a place for guests to relax with a drink before the main event. “We used the balconies for cocktail hour, and the main ballroom with the lake in the background was where the ceremony took place,” says Navarro. Kristi DePew, co-owner of Eclipse Event Co., also coordinated a private gathering at Lakeway Resort. “The [client] chose the venue because the views of the lake are unparalleled,” says DePew. “The sunset over the lake was the perfect backdrop for photographs.” To heck with the temperatures—take it outside. Although you may be at the mercy of the weather, guests look forward to being outdoors when attending an event on a waterfront property. Many venues offer multiple outdoor options, such as decks and private-access beachfront locations. The Waterpoint Landing Deck at Margaritaville Lake Resort Lake Conroe–Houston in Montgomery provides visitors with an intimate waterfront deck that offers expansive views of the lake. Guests can stay cool under the shade of stately oak trees.

P H O T O S : L A K E WAY R E S O R T & S PA ; M A R G A R I TAV I L L E L A K E R E S O R T L A K E C O N R O E – H O U S T O N

Offer a room with a view (an air-conditioned one, that is). For indoor events, consider resorts with a backdrop of calming waters to inspire productivity. Part of Lakeway Resort & Spa’s 24,000 square feet of meeting space, the 5,150-square-foot Vistas Ballroom sits on the upper level of the facility and overlooks Lake Travis in Austin. The ballroom offers a wraparound terrace, vaulted ceilings, and dramatic f loor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views. Overnight guests also appreciate that 86% of the rooms at the resort have lake views, as well as full-size sliding glass doors leading out to private balconies. Sea Star Base Galveston’s banquet hall sits on the fifth floor of a state-of-the-art facility and features panoramic views of Galveston Bay, where guests can often catch glimpses of frolicking dolphins. The space can accommodate seated events for up to 275 guests and standing receptions for 330. The 2,077-square-foot Harbour Room at Tanglewood Resort in Pottsboro, just north of Dallas, has a spectacular view of Lake Texoma and can accommodate up to 170 people. The room can be combined with an adjacent ballroom to provide more than 6,000 square feet of banquet space for up to 500 guests.

22 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 22

7/1/22 10:32 AM

The lighthouse at South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center in League City towers over Trinity Bay; Tanglewood Resort on Lake Texoma north of Dallas has multiple add-on activities for your team to get out on the water.

P H O T O S : L A K E WAY R E S O R T & S PA ; M A R G A R I TAV I L L E L A K E R E S O R T L A K E C O N R O E – H O U S T O N

Put the meeting on cruise control. Add a cruise or lake excursion to your agenda to make an event special and memorable. Many venues partner with local boating businesses, making the coordination of group outings much easier. At South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center in League City, for example, guests can enjoy a relaxing ride on beautiful Clear Lake—complete with beer, wine, and light bites—organized through Houston Party Boats. Tanglewood Resort also partners with a local business that offers sunset and dinner cruises, sightseeing tours on the water, private boat rentals, kayaks, paddleboards, and more. Margaritaville Lake Resort has boat and watercraft rentals and also offers a cruise on The Little Palm yacht, which can accommodate up to 70 guests. The Little Palm has lounge seating, a stereo system, two flat-screen TVs, and recessed lighting. Navarro recalls how guests at an event she coordinated were treated to a cruise, with attendees boarding a party barge after the gathering. Likewise, guests at an event DePew coordinated were encouraged to take advantage of boat rentals. “Being near the lake added a relaxing element to the day, where guests could mingle outside and take in the breeze over the water,” says DePew. “The resort was also able to recommend boat rentals and make water sports referrals to guests so they could enjoy the water in their off times. In Texas, it’s always hot enough to be on the water.” Do some angling. If your guests are up for adventure, add fishing to the experience. Organize an excursion so attendees can bring home tall tales along with their memories of your event. Many venues will coordinate acquiring fishing licenses for guests. Not only does Sea Star Base Galveston offer fishing, but money spent on charters also helps fund education programs for youth, families, and people with disabilities. Tanglewood Resort’s private fishing outings can be tailored to first-time and experienced anglers, small groups, large corporate groups, and anything in between. Meanwhile, Lakeway Resort has partnerships with Lakeway Marina and Texas Sailing, –Tom Faust, which both offer team activities, regattas, Margaritaville Lake Resort and fishing tournaments.

“We have the unique ability to host a meeting, seminar, or conference that combines serious learning with serious fun—with Lake Conroe as the backdrop.”


TXMESU22.indb 23

7/1/22 10:32 AM

Left to right: The Tower Whiskey Bar at Tanglewood Resort can be reserved for events; the Crystal Ballroom at South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center has space for 700 seated.

Immerse Your Team Water, far more than just a beautiful backdrop, can be incorporated into team-building events. Keep teams engaged with a water-based team-building activity designed to focus on engagement, cooperation, and collaboration.

Ensure spaces are accessible. Guests will want to explore the property and enjoy the water, so easy accessibility to all features at a resort is key. Choosing a wellplanned-out space will please guests. At Lakeway Resort, all meeting spaces are within a three-minute walk of each other, and there are resort golf carts available to take attendees down to the property’s marina. And at Margaritaville Lake Resort, the shore of Lake Conroe is easily accessible from all the resort’s suites and its seven on-site restaurants. Make your event family-friendly, or allow the 21-plus crowd a chance to relax in the water. If you choose a resort with or near a waterpark, you can offer a fun, cooling experience with your event. Guests at Margaritaville Lake Resort, for example, enjoy the on-site 3-acre waterpark when they’re not working, while Lakeway Resort has parents covered with a family-friendly pool with a waterslide. Leaving the kids at home? Then bring the bar to the water! At South Shore Harbour, guests can take a dip in the marina-side Oasis Pool with a swim-up bar, private cabanas, and an outdoor lounge. Over at Margaritaville Lake Resort, the 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar is a swim-up bar that serves bar bites and tropical drinks. Bring the water indoors with your theme or decor. Guests can enjoy the view outdoors, but you can also bring the outdoors in with water-inspired decor. Adorn your event space with ship portholes, poolside lounge chairs, or nautical anchors.

lakewayresortandspa.com margaritavilleresortlakeconroe.com ssbgalveston.org sshr.com tanglewoodresort.com

For a real regatta that will bring a team together, Lakeway Resort offers guests the opportunity to work together on a sailing excursion that includes training and professional sailing guides. The resort can also coordinate a fishing tournament for groups. Think outside the box with a beachside sandcastle competition, beach Olympics with several beach games, and coconut bowling on the beach. Margaritaville Lake Resort offers all of the above. “We have the unique ability to host a meeting, seminar, or conference that combines serious learning with serious fun with Lake Conroe as the backdrop,” says Tom Faust, vice president of sales and marketing for Margaritaville Lake Resort. “Whether a group wants to partake in a team-building activity or host a reception for attendees on the water, we have an endless variety of options and ideas to achieve your group’s goals.”

P H O T O S : TA N G L E W O O D R E S O R T ; S O U T H S H O R E H A R B O U R R E S O R T & C O N F E R E N C E C E N T E R

Light up the night. Fireworks over a lake create a spectacular ending to any retreat. During the filming of “American Idol” at Lakeway Resort earlier this year, a stunning display over the lake dazzled both the attendees and celebrity hosts.

Margaritaville Lake Resort’s Continental Drifter Cardboard Boat Regatta encourages teams to work together through a friendly competition. Each team is given one hour to build a boat out of materials provided by the resort and then race each other on the water.

24 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 24

7/1/22 10:32 AM

P H O T O S : TA N G L E W O O D R E S O R T ; S O U T H S H O R E H A R B O U R R E S O R T & C O N F E R E N C E C E N T E R

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

MargaritavilleResortLakeConroeTexas.com TX.MEETINGSMAGS.COM 25

TXMESU22.indb 25

7/1/22 10:32 AM

The 1,200-Pound Business Coach BY

Teresa Kenney


Jessica Stuart Buono



26 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 26

6/30/22 5:24 PM

David Konefal believes horses can teach a lot about effective leadership.

HEN I MOVED TO TEXAS IN 2013, I decided that learning to ride a horse was critical to my assimilation in the state. I mean, this is Texas, right? As a Yankee, Texas and horses were inseparable in my mind. The two were one and the same. Didn’t all Texans learn to canter before crawling? (No, as it turns out.) Weren’t all Texans born with a swagger, a cowboy hat, and a pair of boots? (Debatable. But certainly, if not at birth, they obtain them shortly thereafter.) So, learn to ride, I did. Now, I’m hooked—I even have a pair of boots and a cowboy hat (or three) of my own. And if there is one thing I’ve learned from horseback riding, it’s that navigating a trail atop a 1,200-pound animal can teach you a lot about yourself and how you effectively, or ineffectively, lead.


David Konefal, owner of Lone Star Horsemanship, is a horse trainer and riding instructor in Conroe. He has been working with horses for 40 years and is far more comfortable in a saddle than a conference room. But he understands how the leadership traits needed for one can translate to the skills necessary for success in the other. “Horses are emotional creatures, and so are people,” says Konefal. “And just like in business, if the horse—or your team—is not following, you are not leading.” And, just like many employees, says Konefal, horses become frustrated by doing the same thing repeatedly without ref lection. “Repetition without change leads to frustration, so you need to mix it up a little bit instead of doing the same thing over and over again,” he says. For both horses and humans, that’s where learning new skills can improve results. Wings of Hope Equitherapy in Cleburne, on the other hand, opened its barn doors in 1996 to provide programming for those with disabilities. The nonprofit organization continues to offer equine-assisted therapeutic activities, as well as equine-assisted learning and discovery services for those working through trauma/recovery or those looking to improve communication and teamwork for corporations, nonprofits, and academic and civic organizations.


TXMESU22.indb 27

6/30/22 5:24 PM

EXERCISES IN EQUINE LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS The activities you’ll participate in during a group equine team-building outing will depend on the program, but here are a few common ones: — Walking the horse with little to no touch or tools, such as a halter — Collaboratively leading the horse through or over obstacles, such as cones and rails — Using nonverbal skills to stop or turn a horse in another direction — Relating communication and relationship lessons learned with horses to skills needed in the workplace

Jennifer Woods, executive director of Your Harvest House Burleson, has participated in the equine-assisted discovery program at Wings of Hope several times: first, as part of a chamber of commerce executive leadership program, and then as the director of her own organization. “I’m very passionate about the program. It helps you see how to work through challenges and overcome your fears,” says Woods. “Working in an office, you can get into silos and not interact with each other. This program reveals issues as they come up, and it helps improve communication across generations. It gets you outside and working with horses, which is not only more enjoyable, but it also can make the process so much less intimidating for a work group—leading to greater results.” “Partnering with a horse can be a powerful team-building tool because horses mirror our energy and require us to be focused and present in the now,” says Cheril Boustead, director of equestrian programs for Wings of Hope. “Working with the horses will teach you tricks and tools that you can apply to your everyday life.” Boustead is a certified therapeutic riding instructor and equine specialist in mental health and learning. Wings of Hope can work with your team to create a full- or half-day experience tailored to the needs of your group. The property offers

Equine team-building programs teach that if you lead, your team will follow.

Partnering with a horse can be a powerful team-building toolbecause horses mirror our energy and require us to be focused and present.”

—Cheril Boustead

28 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 28

6/30/22 5:24 PM

programs year-round and features 25 acres of woods and open pasture, a covered arena with windscreens, its Discovery Trail, and an event room, which can accommodate up to 30 people and includes A/V equipment. J&K Ranch-Kennels in the northwest Houston area also offers horse-related team-building activities. Its program uses the equine assisted-learning modality. No prior horse experience is required. The program focuses on ground activities with horses to help participants learn specific skills or achieve educational goals. It is modeled on the principles of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, Horses and Humans Research Foundation, Parelli Natural Horsemanship, and the book “Evidence-Based Horsemanship” by Stephen Peters and Martin Black. “The Equine Assisted Learning Modality is not about horsemanship,” says M.K. Kelley Smith, B.S.W., an equine professional. “It’s not about riding or knowledge of horses.” Smith uses her background in social work to inform her program. “The services I offer are a combination of my academic background in social work and my lifelong passion for horses,” she says. Jeffrey Kerish is director of talent and leadership development with SAP Ariba in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He participated in J&K RanchKennels’ team-building program alongside 21 business leaders from his company. He says the workshop helped the leaders recognize their conscious and unconscious patterns of interacting with each other. “Our leaders learned how to set boundaries without any words. After each interaction, our leaders went through a debrief session, sharing what they learned about themselves and the skills they were using with the horses,” recalls Kerish. And as participants in equine team-building programs no doubt learn—lead, and your team will follow. Just like with horses. “One of my clients was having issues rounding up her herd to go back to the barn. I showed her that she just needed to lead the ‘boss’ mare back to the stable, and the rest of the horses would follow,” says Konefal.

“Horses Never Lie”

jandkranch-kennels.com / lonestarhorsemanship.com / wingsofhopeequitherapy.org

TEXAS TEAM BUILDING WITH HORSES According to the American Horse Council’s most recent Economic Impact Study, Texas has the most horses in the country, with about 767,100. From north to south and east to west, you’ll find acres of opportunities for team building on horseback. Here are just a few of the options—many of which offer overnight accommodations.

Author on Equine SelfDiscovery In his book, “Horses Never Lie: The Heart of Passive Leadership,” acclaimed horse trainer Mark Rashid shares his method of training horses, which emphasizes balance over bluster. While the book is intended for horse owners and riders, it’s not hard to see how many of its lessons and observations also can be applied to human relationships and leadership skills. “It has always been my contention that working with horses is, or at least should be, a delicate balancing act between finding how much or how little direction it will take to help the horse we are working with understand whatever it is we are trying to teach,” Rashid writes. “Too little direction, and our efforts might become ineffective. Too much direction, and we may develop resistance and animosity between our horse and us.” “Horses Never Lie: The Heart of Passive Leadership” is published by Skyhorse and distributed by Simon & Schuster.

BEAUMONT RANCH Grandview / beaumontranch.com

ROUGH CREEK LODGE & RESORT Glen Rose / roughcreek.com

FLYING L RANCH RESORT Bandera / flyingl.com

TEXAS RANCH LIFE Brenham / texasranchlife.com

H.O.R.S.E. CENTER Odessa / helpingourriders.com

WEST 1077 Bandera / west1077.com

PRUDE RANCH Fort Davis / prude-ranch.com

WILDCATTER RANCH AND RESORT Graham / wildcatterranch.com


TXMESU22_Feature_Equine TRB.indd 29

6/30/22 5:33 PM

I ND U STRY U PDATE Infographic




he American Hotel & Lodging Association has released the 2022 State of the Hotel Industry Report produced in collaboration with Accenture. The report is based on the Travel Readiness Index, the Global Consumer Pulse Research Survey, and the Annual Holiday Shopping Survey. Accenture conducted the two surveys in August 2021, and, with the index, the company tracks various parameters since February 2020 and compares data to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2019. There were other sources informing the report, including data from Cvent and the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Only 58% of meetings and events are expected to return.

Technology will be even more critical in a property’s success.

I L L U S T R AT I O N S : A D O B E / H V O S T I K 1 6 ; ( I C O N S ) A D O B E / B OY KO . P I C T U R E S ; ( B A C KG R O U N D ) A D O B E / A R U N R O M K A E W

Occupancy rates and room revenue are projected to approach 2019 levels in 2022.

30 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 30

6/30/22 5:24 PM

I L L U S T R AT I O N S : A D O B E / H V O S T I K 1 6 ; ( I C O N S ) A D O B E / B OY KO . P I C T U R E S ; ( B A C KG R O U N D ) A D O B E / A R U N R O M K A E W

T E C H N O L O GY T R E N D S TO WAT C H Technology is playing an increasingly important role in making it possible for the hotel industry to respond to travelers’ changing needs and preferences.

Keeping it human with technology

Remapping the guest and staff journeys

Shifting in-house technology solutions

Expanding the use of agile PMS

The personalization of technology will take another leap forward, with hotels using digital technologies to ease workloads and further satisfy each individual guest with a new visitor experience.

Mobile, self-service devices are allowing guests to navigate much of the traditional traveling journey— from booking to checkout— without having to interact directly with staff.

More hotels will move from in-house technology tools to “off-the-shelf” offerings from industry vendors.

Hotel operators will increasingly turn to property management systems (PMS) with a network of integrated partners offering expanded capabilities.

O C C U PA N CY A N D R E V E N U E Hotel occupancy is expected to continue trending upward from the historic lows of 2020, averaging 63.4% for the year, or 1.3 billion room nights.

Room revenues are projected to reach $168 billion.



The report predicts a 228% leap in spending in the United States by international travelers compared to 2021.

72 86.9 1

72% of surveyed meeting planners are sourcing events with an in-person component.



want to provide great service, but with labor


One quarter of meetings being sourced are hybrid.

Our venues


markets tight, it


works out well that meetings are coming back at a manageable pace.

The report projects that only 58.3% of meetings and events will return in 2022, with 86.9% back in 2023.



TXMESU22.indb 31

6/30/22 5:24 PM

I N D USTRY U P DAT E Regional News

TEXAS CULINARY ACADEMY TAKES FIRST PLACE The future of the hospitality industry in Texas is bright if the 2022 National ProStart Invitational (NPSI) is any indication. Outshining 80 other culinary and restaurant management teams from across the country, Ben Barber Innovation Academy of Mansfield earned a first place at the invitational, which is hosted by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). The Mansfield academy won the restaurant management competition with its “The Herb’N Table” concept that featured a farm-to-table, contemporary-casual dining experience. Held in Washington, D.C., in May, this was the first in-person conference for NPSI since 2019. Sponsors of the three-day event included Ecolab, Nestlé Professional, The Coca-Cola Co., and Golden Corral. More than 1,000 people attended the event, which included nearly 400 ProStart participants and 68 judges. The competition awarded over $200,000 in scholarship funds to winning teams to support their future careers. Past NPSI winners have gone on to work at some of the best restaurants in the world. chooserestaurants.org

Festival Introduces After-Hours Events

The Knight’s Revels

Planners looking for a unique experience to reward highperforming teams should consider taking them on a trip to a 16th-century village via the wildly popular Texas Renaissance Festival. This year, the festival is infusing its medieval theme with a decidedly 21st-century experience called The Knight’s Revels, after-hours shows on Saturday nights at the Fields of New Market campgrounds. The shows take place in an air-conditioned venue with a dance floor and fully stocked bar, and include, depending on the weekend, live music, burlesque, DJs, a drag show, and a masquerade ball. The Knight’s Revels 2022 lineup includes: Oct. 8: Forging the Fields of New Market Oct. 15: Fairy Dust & Divas Drag Show Oct. 22: Pirates on Parade Costume Contest Oct. 29: The Knight’s Revels Presents: Bag of Donuts Nov. 5: The Knight’s Revels Presents: The Spazmatics Nov. 12: Barbarians & Burlesque Nov. 19: The Highland Fling Grand Masquerade Ball Nov. 26: The Celtic Christmas Burlesque Season Finale

The Texas Renaissance Festival is the largest of its kind in the country, featuring more than 400 shops, 200 performances, foods from many cultures, human-powered rides, and games of skill. It takes place over eight weekends in October and November each year. Adult groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets to the Texas Renaissance Festival at a discounted rate by contacting groups@texrenfest.com. texrenfest.com


» » » » » » » »

32 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 32

6/30/22 5:24 PM



AFROTECH Comes to Texas

AFROTECH Conference 2022 is coming to the Austin Convention Center and Hilton Austin this November. It will be the first time the event has taken place outside of the state of California. Founded in 2016 by Blavity Inc., AFROTECH Conference is the largest multicultural tech gathering in the United States. It convenes engineers, venture capitalists, recruiters, technologists, and culture enthusiasts from all over the world for thought leadership, networking, and community building. In past years, more than 10,000 programmers, engineers, and entrepreneurs have attended the conference, which features on-site interviews with representatives from companies such as Amazon, Qualcomm, and Bank of America. The 2022 event will be Blavity’s first in-person event since 2019. Organizers chose Austin in part because it is a “thriving national tech hub and home to tech mammoths such as Dell, Samsung, Google, Oracle, Tesla, Apple, NXP, IBM, Amazon, and Facebook,” says Rodney Gonzales, who oversees economic opportunity and affordability as Austin’s assistant city manager. afrotech.com

CONROE TO WELCOME NEW HOTEL AND CONVENTION CENTER » IN 2023, the city of Conroe, just north of Houston, will welcome the 250-room Hyatt Regency Conroe and Convention Center to the Grand Central Park master-planned community. The hotel’s amenities will include a full-service restaurant, full bar, pool deck, fitness facility, and market. With an anticipated opening in the second quarter of 2023, the convention center will consist of 39,000 square feet of event and meeting space, including a 14,000-square-foot grand ballroom, 6,500-square-foot junior

ballroom, 8,000 square feet of breakout spaces and boardrooms, and pre-function space. Conroe’s Assistant City Administrator/Chief Financial Officer Steve Williams says the project is financially self-sustaining. The full cost of operations and debt service is expected to be paid using revenues and taxes generated from the hotel and convention center. cityofconroe.org


TXMESU22.indb 33

6/30/22 5:24 PM

I N D USTRY U P DAT E Regional News


Best Of Choice Awards Honor Midland Hotel Choice Hotels International announced its Best of Choice award winners at the company’s 66th annual convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. The awards recognize the top hotels in Choice’s global portfolio of more than 7,000 franchised properties. Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Midland I-20 in Midland was one of the 2022 winners. choicehotels.com

The Fort Worth Zoo’s Elephant Springs

the herd. Since establishing its elephant breeding program in 1986, the Fort Worth Zoo has become an international leader in elephant conservation. Elephant Springs is phase two of A Wilder Vision, the fourphase, $130 million capital campaign and building project that adds new species, spectacular natural habitats, merchandise locations, restrooms, and most importantly,

new ways for visitors to observe, interact with, and learn about animals. The zoo, home to nearly 7,000 animals, has been voted a top zoo in North America by USA Today, one of the “World’s Greatest” by BloombergTV, and a Top 10 Zoo or Aquarium by FamilyFun magazine. fortworthzoo.org

TEXAS RESTAURANT SHOW CELEBRATES MILESTONE Formed in 1937, the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) serves as the advocate and resource for the food service industry in Texas, representing the state’s $70 billion restaurant industry. This summer, the TRA held its 2022 Texas Restaurant Show (formally TRA Marketplace) in Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. The show—which celebrated its 85th anniversary this year—was projected to bring more than $2 million in revenue to Dallas-area businesses. The Texas Restaurant Show includes interactive displays, forward-thinking products and equipment, cutting-edge technology, and more than 400 exhibitors. It also included Lone Star Bash at Gilley’s Dallas, benefiting the programs and initiatives of the Texas Restaurant Foundation, the workforce development arm of the TRA. txrestaurant.org


The Fort Worth Zoo’s newest habitat, Elephant Springs, received a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Themed Entertainment Association. The habitat is one of only 13 international honorees, and, among the Outstanding Achievement award recipients, the Fort Worth Zoo is the only zoo, the only institution in Texas, and one of only six facilities in the United States to be recognized. The destination is available for private corporate event rentals and is able to accommodate groups of up to 7,500. Events can include close-up animal encounters and demonstrations, teambuilding activities, and scavenger hunts. Event rental fees support educational and conservation programs and projects such as Elephant Springs. The three-generation herd in Elephant Springs roams among varied landscapes, pools (including those out of view), and a 400,000-gallon river in which the animals can fully submerge and swim. Additional elements, such as a climate-controlled environment, indoor and outdoor training spaces, and sand floors provide comfort for

34 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 34

6/30/22 5:24 PM



TXMESU22.indb 35

6/30/22 5:24 PM


PUTTSHACK TO OPEN SECOND TEXAS LOCATION Puttshack, a tech-infused mini-golf experience with food and drink, is opening a location at the Village on the Parkway, an open-air shopping destination within the Dallas metropolitan area. Opening in the summer of 2023, it will be Puttshack’s second location in Texas. The 28,000-square-foot, two-story venue will feature four custom-made and tech-driven competitive mini-golf courses featuring Trackaball technology, which keeps score for golfers as they play.

The new location will have multiple private event spaces for exclusive parties, including a mezzanine area. A full-service bar with signature cocktails will transcend two floors, and a globally inspired dining menu also will be available. “The Puttshack Dallas location will be a unique, high-energy space with multiple floors and include brand-new features for our tech-infused mini-golf experience,”

says Logan Powell, global chief financial officer and U.K. president of Puttshack. “It’ll be a premier destination for everyone in the Dallas area. We were drawn by Village on the Parkway’s local and wellcapitalized ownership group, which has a long-term commitment to continual enhancement of this already great center.” puttshack.com

Downtown Houston Hotel’s Speakeasy-Inspired Event Venue Houston’s C. Baldwin hotel has debuted its event space: Parlour Hideaway. Located on the first floor of the hotel, it is accessible through a hidden door near the lobby. Accommodating intimate gatherings of up to 65 guests, Parlour Hideaway is available for event bookings only and not open to the public. Chef Chris Cosentino of the hotel’s on-site restaurant, Rosalie Italian Soul, created a new curated catering and drink menu exclusive to the space. The speakeasy was designed by award-winning Kate Rohrer of

Philadelphia’s ROHE Creative and features custom Victorian millwork and wall panels infilled with large, graphic, botanical wallpaper. A marble fireplace lounge includes wingback chairs, deep leather settees, and velvet slipper chairs. The room’s focal point is a lively pink bar, while a custom-made 8-foot crystal chandelier draws the eye at the center of the room. cbaldwinhotel.com


The Parlour Hideaway at C. Baldwin hotel features an elegant and eclectic interior.

36 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 36

6/30/22 5:24 PM

Booking a meeting in Laredo, Texas, means plenty of options for accommodations, incredible facilities of all sizes, and personalized service, all at affordable prices. And when it’s time to unwind, the nightlife on Iturbide St. and all throughout downtown welcomes anyone ready for a good time. Book your meeting today and see if your group qualifies for incentives.


A Place to

A Place in Your Heart, Texas


TXMESU22.indb 37

6/30/22 5:24 PM

S NAP S HOT S Texas Star Awards



Star Power The Texas chapters of the International Live Events Association came together on March 27, 2022, for the annual Texas Star Awards at Gilley’s in Dallas. The event celebrated industry excellence in the Lone Star State. This was the first time in two years the chapters gathered to celebrate in person.


1. Abby Joy and Delaney Lovelace 2. Brian Acheson 3. Living sculptures mirrored the “Rise of the ‘Events’ Empire” theme. 4. The host venue Gilley’s served up tempting bites. 5. Raye-Dawn Acheson, Laura Swiecki, Chris Horace, Codi Guthrie, and Madisson Gouveia 6. Stratosphere Band 7. Rebecca Roberts.




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

P H OTO S : I L E A DA L L A S / H A R M L A N D V I S I O N S


38 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 38

6/30/22 5:24 PM

CorkysGamingBistro.com | 817-857-6401 3520 Grapevine Mills Blvd N., Grapevine, TX 76051




P H OTO S : I L E A DA L L A S / H A R M L A N D V I S I O N S

Corky’s caters to private events such as holiday parties, birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette events, team-building exercises, and many other get-togethers—large or small.


TXMESU22.indb 39

6/30/22 5:24 PM

P EOPLE PROFI L E Chris Boleman

» IN 2020, COVID-19 forced the early

closure of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Last year, select events were held in person. But in 2022, the rodeo was back in full force as it celebrated its 90th anniversary. Successfully staging the largest rodeo in the world relies on the contributions of 35,000 volunteers.

“Welcoming back more than 2.4 million guests to celebrate the 90th anniversary was an incredible feeling,” says Chris Boleman, Ph.D., who is president and CEO of the organization. “Our fans and the community were excited to come out and celebrate this milestone year with us.” Boleman, who has been with the organization in various capacities since 2017, shared some of his personal rodeo highlights with us.

Which two events are your favorites? I love the Calf Scramble. Seeing those young people catch a calf and then return to the show the next year with their beef cattle project (steer or heifer) completes the full cycle of the learning experience. I love it. I also love the night of the Grand Champion Junior Market Steer Selection inside NRG Stadium. I grew up showing steers and took a few into the stadium as an exhibitor myself, so that moment always brings back great family memories for me.

What are your favorite rodeo memories? There are several. When the Grand Champion Market Steer sold for $1 million, I was very emotional. It was such a monumental moment in our history.

Personally, I am not a dancer, but opening night with Cody Johnson kicking off the rodeo’s 90th anniversary and playing to a sold-out crowd [was memorable]. I was on the dirt dancing with my wife, Randi, and I was so relieved that we finally made it. She has been my rock through some very difficult times, and it was great to share that moment with her.

Not His First Rodeo

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Chris Boleman shares his favorite rodeo moments. BY TERESA KENNEY

Out of curiosity, how many pairs of cowboy boots and cowboy hats do you own? Nine pairs of boots. Far fewer than my wife! Four hats. I am looking to purchase another one really soon. rodeohouston.com


Getting to the George Strait concert [on the final night of the 2022 rodeo]. It meant we made it through an emotional journey. It meant that everyone stuck together to get to the finish line— volunteers, staff, donors, sponsors, partners, the community—everyone.

40 TX M+E » SUMMER 2022

TXMESU22.indb 40

6/30/22 5:24 PM



TXMESU22.indb 41

6/30/22 5:24 PM

This doesn’t feel like work.

WE HEAR THAT A LOT. The Woodlands combines stunning event space with natural surroundings and plenty of room to spread out. Here, events come together effortlessly. We have all the hosting capabilities of a larger city, neighboring proximity to major Houston airports, and one of the region’s top shopping, dining and entertainment areas for your group to enjoy. Combining business with pleasure has never felt so effortless.

See what sets us apart at visitthewoodlands.com/txmeetings

TXMESU22.indb 42

6/30/22 5:24 PM