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Volume 18, Issue 2 • 2013/2014 $15 US

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DESIGNING MEETINGS THAT INSPIRE P. 10

BECOME WHO YOU SAY YOU ARE P. 19 CREATING A CULTURE OF INCLUSION P. 22 3 BIGGEST THREATS TO THE MEETING INDUSTRY P. 28


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l COLORADO 36 Breckenridge 38 Telluride 40 Glenwood Springs

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EDITOR’S LETTER

l FLORIDA 42 St. Petersburg/Clearwater

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l GEORGIA 44 Metro Atlanta 50 Douglasville 52 Lake Country 54 Savannah 56 Valdosta

CONTRIBUTORS

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WHAT’S NEW & WHAT’S NEXT

l NEVADA 58 Las Vegas 62 Reno

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CONNECT WITH US

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THE PRACTICAL GUIDE TO MEETING PLANNING

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l NEW YORK 64 New York

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l NORTH CAROLINA 66 Charlotte l TEXAS 68 Dallas-Fort Worth 72 Grapevine 74 Plano 76 Granbury 78 Irving 80 Houston 82 North Houston 84 The Woodlands 86 Austin 90 San Marcos 92 San Antonio 94 Abilene 96 Lubbock

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INDEX OF ADVERTISERS

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Psst…Want to know a secret? There’s a lot more we could tell you about a lot of other cities that didn’t make it into this magazine. Want to know what’s new in London or why gastronauts love Birmingham, Ala.? Take a tour of 130+ cities around the world from the comfort of your office. Visit PlanYourMeetings.com/ destinations. Have one you’d like to see included? Tell us about it on Facebook or @PlanYrMeetings.

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EDITOR’S LETTER

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” — Steve Jobs

THE YEAR OF THE ‘DESIGN MIND’ I love pulling together PYM annuals because it gives me an excuse to talk to people who inspire me. For two straight months, I interview people who I think are doing great work in this industry, and we discuss what their frustrations are, what gives them hope and where they think we’re going. After a while, certain themes emerge. Those themes inform what becomes the editorial and educational content for our PYM LIVE events and annual guide. The working title for both this year was “Sparks” because it became evident we needed to explore what sparks new ideas and ways of doing things in 2013/2014. Throughout 2012, people talked about Steve Jobs’ legacy, particularly focusing on how the Apple CEO controlled the design of his products, because they revolutionized how we communicate, share, create and consume content on the go. He not only thought about what products would do, he obsessed over the way they felt, how people would use them, how they made people feel. That attention to detail informed the way they were packaged, marketed and sold. And that kind of design thinking is one of the most important skills meeting and event planners will have to master this year. In Meredith Martini’s “Inspired Meetings” (p. 10), we introduce you to the concept as it applies to the meetings industry. We go more in-depth in “Creating a Culture of Inclusion” (p. 22), which addresses how to create customized experiences for attendees. Although its focus is on accommodating guests’ special needs, it is filled with tips that can be used to enhance engagement, community and goodwill. We also give you a heads-up on some threats you will have to troubleshoot (p. 28). Additional goodies you’ll find in these pages include our destination profiles (p. 35) and practical guide to meeting planning (p. 99). I hope what you read here will spark new ideas, but this is just the beginning. All year long, we’re continuing the discussion on PlanYourMeetings.com, in monthly Google+ Hangouts (Ez. com/pymhangout) and at our PYM LIVE Events nationwide (Ez.com/3hours). I hope to speak with you live or virtually this year. Please don’t hesitate to share with me what you think, what you’re doing and what you’re excited about because 2014 is going to be all about you ... Plan well and prosper,

Kristi Casey Sanders, Chief Storyteller @PYMLive #yaypym P.S. — If you haven’t already, download the free PYM+ app for Android or Apple mobile devices and use it to scan pages with this icon. In fact, I’ve got a special challenge for you, so scan this page and I’ll tell you all about it.

Special thanks to PYM LIVE attendees, partners, AllStars and G+ panelists for sharing their stories and inspiring the words on these pages. Other people and things that made this issue possible: LCD Soundsystem, Vic Chesnutt, Nike+, #SoMeT12, “freeing, electrifying joy,” Google Hangouts, Steve Jobs, Mimi and Poppa T, Hootsuite and the Joy Thai Restaurant in Sandy Springs. TOC

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CONTRIBUTORS

ELIZABETH GLAU (@elizabethglau) has actively participated in the hospitality and meeting/ event industries since 2002. Her experience includes hotel catering, sales and operations as well as meeting planning and marketing for nonprofit organizations. A member of the Ohio, San Diego and Southern California chapters of Meeting Professionals International, Elizabeth has served on numerous committees and belonged to many other industry organizations. An early adopter of social media applications, Elizabeth launched Building Blocks Social Media (basicsocialmediatraining.com) to help planners understand how attendees network and to increase engagement through online social networks. “My inspiration comes from connecting real-world applications of social media,” she says. “I enjoy helping those in my network expand their knowledge and expertise through the content I share. When I am able to connect people with other people and people with information, it is a good day!”

MEREDITH MARTINI, MS, is the ChiefPlayWorker and owner of PlayWorks Group and meetingWorks, event and meeting planning firms based in Atlanta. Meredith specializes in creating interactive learning in meetings, conferences and events through meeting, content and team-building design. “I find inspiration in my daughters and husband and sometimes (unfortunately),” she says, “reality television!” You can reach her @PlayWorksGroup or at playworksgroup.com

GREGG HERNING, former vice president of sales and marketing for Peabody Hotel Group, is best known for his creative and innovative approach to hospitality sales and marketing. He began his 11-year Peabody career as director of sales and marketing, Peabody Memphis, and later became general manager of the Peabody Little Rock hotel, helping it earn Forbes Four Star designation, the first in Arkansas' history. Named “Leader of the Year” by Peabody Hotels in 2006, he received the President’s Award for Special Achievement in 2010 and 2012. “I receive my inspiration from music,” he says. “There is nothing better for releasing tension and feeling creative than driving my sports car through winding roads, sunroof open, with the music very loud. In this setting, my system ‘reboots,’ life makes sense again, and I’m ready for any challenge.” You can read more at greggsblogg.com, where he posts entertaining commentary on life, living and moving the needle.

TRACY STUCKRATH (@tstuckrath), CSEP, CMM, CHC, is founder and chief connecting officer of Thrive! Meetings & Events and one of the 277 who have achieved Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) status. She’s also one of the 15 million people in the United States with food allergies. In 2009, she decided to combine her expertise in producing events with her newly discovered food allergies and nutritional training to make the world healthier one event at time.“I get my inspiration from reading and talking with and listening to others who have special dietary needs,” she says. “By sharing my experiences and goals, it helps others find happiness or comfort in managing their own needs.”

CHRISTY LAMAGNA, CMP, CMM, CTSM, is the founder and chief strategist of Strategic Meetings & Events, an event planning company that specializes in producing events that achieve clients’ marketing and sales goals. A former vice president of a Fortune 20 company and a member of five startup organizations, Christy has built successful marketing, event, travel and trade show departments for companies while helping them create or strengthen their brands and the infrastructure that supports them. Christy teaches event and meeting management classes at a college level and is working on an industry textbook on the science of strategic planning. “A natural curiosity and love of asking questions has fueled my career and enriched my life,” she says. “I love to learn new things, ask, ‘why’ and explore the behind-the-scenes of just about anything. I often find that why something happened is more fascinating than the actual event.”

DERRICK STOMP (@djstomp) combines a strong sense for trends with creativity and passion for people. He’s able to bridge the gap between people and technology by focusing his creativity on what's useful and usable. Due to the seemingly odd combination of studying business information and technology, human health sciences and physical therapy, he's capable of exploring problems and solutions from very different perspectives. He’s co-founder at twoppy. com, a platform on which event organizers can create mobile event guides for free. “A lot of my inspiration comes from being part of Junior Chamber International (JCI), a worldwide federation of Young Active Citizen,” he says. “Contributing to society is a never-ending source of inspiration. Much of my inspiration I find in reading and having conversations with other people.”

We are a proud sponsor of the Green Meeting Industry Council and assist with the communications for GMIC Atlanta. Read about our other CSR initiatives at PlanYourMeetings.com/corevalues. 8 P

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PULL YOUR GLOBAL MEETING TOGETHER IN JUST MINUTES. When you’re an event organizer, you’ve got a million things to do. Online registration with SkyTeam’s Global Meetings Program is fast and frees you up to get on with the job. And it’s just as easy for your delegates. They enjoy attractive discounts with all 19 SkyTeam member airlines. And they fly to join you through the world’s best hubs from our network of more than 1,020 destinations. Organizer incentive tickets and other handy extras add up to a rewarding level of simplicity for you. Find all the details on www.skyteam.com/globalmeetings


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SO HOW DO WE DO THAT?

Why not ask attendees when they register whom they'd like to meet at your event or what they'd like to achieve or learn? You could have a relationship concierge on-site who works to connect people and make sure they get the value and connections they expect from your event.

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PURPOSE

Know how you make a difference in your workplace, the marketplace and the world. Many organizations and their employees know what they do, but don’t necessarily connect the what to the why. People are only inspired by things that matter, even if it is in a small or subtle way. Anyone can build widgets, but if the widgets your company builds help make cameras that capture special moments or items that empower consumers, your job takes on new meaning. Make sure you use every opportunity to communicate the significance of your meeting and the organization itself through clear and consistent messaging before, during and after the program.

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AUTHENTICITY

Be consistent in behavior and actions, transparent, genuine and true to the values for which you or the organization stand.

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Have you attended or been responsible for a meeting that just didn’t ring true to the organization? Maybe it was unclear why you were even meeting at all? Authenticity in meetings means being crystal clear about why you’re meeting and making sure all activities are tested against that why. Also consider the authenticity of the organization’s leaders and the educators at the conference. A willingness to show weakness and be open about missteps is one of the most effective ways a true leader can be authentic.

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AFFIRMATION

Express and receive appreciation for the specific traits or performance of an individual. We’ve all planned awards banquets and ordered plaques for three to five high-performance players. But affirmation should run throughout the meeting, not just at one dinner or luncheon. An

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BRIGHT IDEA

It turns out there has been a lot of research done around the science of inspiration. Performance Inspired (performanceinspired.tv), an Atlanta group, has dissected inspiration and uncovered seven unique drivers associated with inspirational companies and people. While there is much to be said about the enormous economic impact that inspiration can have on a company or brand, let us look at how these seven principles might impact what we do and how they can change the way we plan meetings, events and conferences.


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MOVING THE NEEDLE

TURN YOUR BEST PRACTICES INTO OUTRAGEOUS PRACTICES, AND YOU'LL WORK BETTER BY GREGG J. HERNING

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he racing world has always been ahead of the curve. To remain competitive, drivers, mechanics and team owners maintain a culture of continuous improvement. When not competing, they plunge deep into relentless pursuit of greater efficiencies for their product and strategies.

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In a world where first place is determined by mere thousandths of a second, a reduction in vehicle weight, a tweak in aerodynamics or an improved pit time can be the difference between winning or coming in second. And like in our business, no one wants to come in second. Most of us relate the “need for speed” with heart-pumping excitement, adrenalin rushes and miles per hour. Race teams, however, have long moved past relying on an ordinary speedometer to monitor their transition from point A to point B. Instead, they use a tachometer, a highly sophisticated gauge that measures the revolutions per minute of the engine’s cam shaft, because that measurement has more to do with achieving peak performance. That’s how the racing pro moves the needle in his or her world. How do we do that in ours? Historical examples include some heady names: Walt Disney, Herb Kelleher and Steve Jobs. These outliers despised mediocrity. Resembling their competitors, even slightly, was considered failure. And in return for their obsessive and sometimes compulsive desire to shape and define their industry, they changed norms while developing a loyal, sometimes cultlike following. Translated: They devoured market share. But it doesn’t take genius. It takes insight, desire and drive. Are you in touch with your tachometer? Is it moving forward and causing chill bumps along the way? That’s a good question for all meeting professionals this year. As the Great Recession moves into the history books, this is the perfect time to emerge from our “pit stops” with renewed energy and passion for what we do. Whichever side of the multibillion-dollar meetings market we sit on, opportunity awaits. We need to replace the words “sluggish” and “flat” in our corporate reports with the words “healthy” and “robust.” Let’s resolve to take a fresh look at our best practices and release an updated list of “outrageous practices.” Create new agendas and dialogues. Shake up your meeting formats and the ways you communicate with your members, your board and your associates.

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Most of us relate the “need for speed” with heartpumping excitement, adrenalin rushes and miles per hour. Race teams, however, have long moved past relying on an ordinary speedometer to monitor their transition from point A to point B. Instead, they use a tachometer, a highly sophisticated gauge that measures the revolutions per minute of the engine’s cam shaft, because that measurement has more to do with achieving peak performance. That’s how the racing pro moves the needle in his or her world. How do we do that in ours? Do you measure guest or member satisfaction? When was the last time you gave that survey a makeover? How about the verbiage we use in our communications, both internal and external? Is it stale and predictable? I would bet on it. Moving the needle means exploring new frontiers. Take a group of colleagues to a fun place outside of work to discuss new ideas. Start with listing things that you’ve always done a certain way and, together, discover a new way to get it done. Eliminate duplication and redundancies. Infuse your meetings and work days with music. Establish new email protocols and take back some of the hours in your day. I think that our email inboxes are a form of corporate water-boarding. Take control of your email and feel what it’s like to move forward again. And get some sun on your face for God’s sake! You look like you just went through a recession. I hate that we Americans somehow bought into devoting 50+ hours per week to our jobs and then find it normal to allow earned vacation days to go unused. Resolve to seek balance. Since you are tied to a scheduler and don’t move unless it’s in your Outlook calendar, get creative with your entries. A few of your new “mandatory” meetings each week may include: exercise; think tank; career development;

personal phone call to a valued client, member or associate. Let’s face it, you will probably not shorten your workweek, but you can reformat it to be healthier and more productive. And remember, nobody will do this for you. You make it different. You move the needle. It’s go time. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

TOP 5 TIPS FOR MOVING THE NEEDLE Only check email twice a day. Post an out-of-office message for people to call if they can't wait 24 hours for a response.

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Honestly evaluate how valuable you are to the company. Create a strategy of how you will become indispensable.

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Schedule in time to think and reflect on strategy and next steps.

Identify three people in your circle of influence who can help you get to the next level. Figure out how to connect with them each at least three times this year.

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BRIGHT IDEA: REV UP THOSE SURVEYS Instead of asking this: Did we exceed your expectations? Ask this: Did we leave you breathless? Instead of asking this: Did you receive value for price paid? Ask this: Did your experience with us produce a return on your investment? Instead of asking this: How would you rate the host hotel and conference? Ask this: Tell us what you loved about your stay/our meeting? Tell us what you need more of. Instead of asking this: How would you rate the meal functions? Ask this: Please take a moment and describe your dining experience for us. Instead of asking this: Would you recommend this event to your friends? Ask this: Will you return next year? Are there other people we should invite on your behalf?

Read “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss. (See next page for more required reading.)

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LOVE TECHNOLOGY? GOOD! BUT BE PATIENT WITH YOUR ATTENDEES BY DERRICK STOMP

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’m inspired by technology. Technology represents change, and I love change. Not for the sake of change, but for the sake of progress and efficiency. I love technology because it enables me to do things previously impossible or time-consuming. To view things from different perspectives and experiment, to question the status quo, that’s what I like. But hey, that’s only me.

Why is there such a division between event-tech lovers and event-tech haters? There seems to be a huge gap in our industry. Social media here, faceto-face meetings there. What’s the future? Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Gotcha! I’m not going to answer that question, I’m just going to put things in perspective and try to provide some tools that planners can use in rethinking how technology is handled at their events.

IS EVERYBODY ON THE SAME PAGE? I’ve got a background in human health sciences and wrote my thesis about behavioral change in exercise regimens. Among other theories, there’s a model called Stages of Change. I think there’s a strong parallel between it and the process attendees go through in adopting to new technology. In the model, change is a process involving a series of stages: Pre-contemplation (not ready). Attendees, unaware of the benefits technology provides, have no intention of taking action in the near future.

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Contemplation (getting ready). They begin to see that technology can be beneficial and start to look at the pros and cons of engaging.

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Preparation (ready). They intend to take action in the immediate future and may begin taking small steps toward using the event’s available technologies.

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Action (doing). They start to systematically adopt technology and participate with other attendees.

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Maintenance (keep doing). They’ve been able to adopt the technology and are working to implement it in their daily conference routine.

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Termination (second nature). They’re fully engaged, have integrated technology into their conference experience and no longer want to experience events without it.

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IT’S ALL ABOUT PATIENCE! Think about your events. You might have a substantial diversity in attendee perspectives on technology. Considering your group profile, which characteristics and personal Stage of Change might dominate? If you don’t consider the stage people are at, the success of integrating new technologies at your events will be hindered. You must address

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the demands and desires of each level of adaptation. How do you educate people in the pre-contemplation and contemplation stages about the benefits of engaging on-site? How do you raise their comfort levels so they become adaptors and active participants? How do you address the connectivity and advanced needs that people in the termination stage may have? By identifying the advantages, potential barriers to engagement, desires and behavior patterns of your group, you can formulate your technology-specific communication, education and integration needs. So don’t forget to study your attendees, then bring on your game plan and some patience!

ASK YOURSELF SOME QUESTIONS These might not be all the questions you should ask, but they’re a good start. • What does my attendee population look like? Are there lots of innovators or mostly laggards? • On a personal level, are my attendees mostly in the pre-contemplation stage or are they also in the preparation or action stage? • What do people need in each stage of change? (Basic education, hands-on instruction, tips and tricks, success stories, Wi-Fi, etc.) • How are we going to support our social media, mobile and other technological efforts? (Hint: Get yourself a social media help desk or host.) • How can I benefit from the diversity in technological adaptation? (Consider

BRIGHT IDEA Keep things consistent and transparent by using an online project management system like Basecamp.com. It lets you track projects, share to-do lists, have real-time discussions and upload files with in-house or virtual teams without sending emails back and forth. You can include everyone who needs to know about a project or event and control what they can change or access. A calendar with due dates is auto-generated for each project, participants only see the dates relevant to the projects they’re involved in and daily updates keep everyone on track and accountable.

BRIGHT IDEA If half your audience expects a traditional awards ceremony but the other half feels it’s too stuffy, why not create simultaneous experiences that are formal and casual? One clever organization sold tickets to both a black-tie and a relaxed bar-centric event. When winners were announced, people at the bar got text messages, so they could celebrate, too. But then they were able to go back to their networking.

implementing peer education or preconference peer assistance and what affect that could have.) Don’t forget to take into account the Stages of Change when analyzing event results and postshow feedback.

PYM REQUIRED READING Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. If you’re interested in staying ahead of the curve, add these books to your planner toolkit. “50 Digital TeamBuilding Games: Fast, Fun Meeting Openers, Group Activities and Adventures Using Social Media, Smart Phones, GPS, Tablets, and More” by John Chen “Giving 2.0: Make Your Giving Matter More,” by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen

“Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World,” by Jane McGonical, Ph.D. “Seating Matters,” by Paul Radde “Your Brain at Work,” by David Rock

“Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller; Oil and the End of Globalization,” by Jeff Rubin

“Brain Rules,” by John J. Medina “Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies,” by Jim Stengel

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WHY INTERNS SHOULD NEVER, EVER MANAGE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR YOUR EVENTS BY ELIZABETH GLAU

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But the position of social media moderator or concierge should be categorized as customer service. These folks are responsible for creating conversations, handling feedback and representing your organization to your community. Many people in their early 20s have not had enough life or customer-service experience to develop the skills for handling these situations. Do you really want someone with limited problem-solving experience and no emotional investment in your organization to act as its voice? Then you don’t understand the power of social media. If your organization is large enough, a poorly worded tweet could go viral and catch the attention of other media. As the story is amplified, negative sentiments about your event will be broadcast to customers and formerly potential customers worldwide. A proactive, customer-service-minded professional, however, can create conversations with event attendees and help them share positive experiences. If your attendees share positive experiences, everyone in their personal network will get a good impression of your organization. If your attendees have a complaint or feedback for you, and it’s handled promptly and graciously in a public way, their network will still have a good impression. ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

o you use a social media moderator at your events? You should. This is someone who monitors attendee interactions on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, virtual chat rooms and/or anywhere else conversations are taking place about your event. When an issue arises, they respond on that platform. If they can’t fix it immediately, they know who to call. This requires the experience to know which logistics can be changed during an event and which complaints simply need a “thank you for the feedback, we’ll put that in our notes for next time.” Some events need an entire social media team to monitor conversations happening on multiple platforms. To increase the number of active online participants, you need team members who are active in professional online communities so they can explain the benefits of participation to attendees who are still social media-shy. I understand why planners want to keep costs low by letting interns do this work. After all, it’s a new event function, so there’s probably no line item in the budget for it yet. We like to assume that younger people are better equipped to use social media tools. And, as the joke goes, you can’t spell “Internet” without “intern.”

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hink back to your holidays. When you told people you were a meeting and event planner did they say something like “you are so lucky to have such a fun job and plan parties and travel all the time”? If that happened, and you didn’t correct the well-meaning person by telling them that you are not a party planner but a meeting professional who manages hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, negotiates contracts, coordinates meals for hundreds while juggling a host of dietary restrictions, and that you are responsible for guests’ safety, well-being and enjoyment, you did both of you a great disservice. The meeting planning field is tremendously misunderstood. People imagine that planners jet-set around the world, hosting parties and events that allow us to eat, drink and be merry in exotic settings and get paid for it. Those of us who do this for a living know how far afield that is from our professional lives. What are we doing to fix that misconception? We’re responsible for educating those around us: in our jobs, in our personal lives and in our social circles. It’s up to us to explain what we do and the amount of talent, dedication and expertise it takes to manage programs. When we smile and let remarks like those above go uncorrected, we allow our departments to be the first cut when budgets are tight, our events to be underfunded, our departments shortstaffed and our salaries to be lower than our time, talent and efforts deserve. How does correcting a stranger and educating them make a difference? Think about how many people you interact with, and then imagine how many people they talk to. By changing one person’s opinion, you provide the tools that person needs to educate everyone in his or her circle. And on and on it goes. More importantly, it’s great practice for you to develop the vocabulary you

BECOME WHO YOU SAY YOU ARE need to educate your internal audience (peers, supervisors and executive teams) as to why meetings are an integral part of an organization’s sales and marketing goals. Events support and shorten sales cycles, reinforce marketing messages and bring key decision-makers together in an environment you control. Events should be the last things cut in times of financial uncertainty, for if your sales team is not well-trained, motivated and rewarded, how can sales improve? So the next time you meet someone and they ask what you do, tell them with pride. Eventually the perception of our profession will catch up to our talk track, and we’ll be seen as the respected profession we are. This topic is perhaps one of the most important we can discuss in 2013 and beyond. To continue the discussion, watch for the Strategic Planning on the Plan Your Meetings website (PlanYourMeetings.com) or email me at christy.lamagna@smeplanners.com.

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BY CHRISTY LAMAGNA, CMP, CMM, CTSM

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Creating a culture of

inclusion

Tips and tactics for addressing attendees’ special needs and restrictions

BY KRISTI CASEY SANDERS AND TRACY STUCKRATH, CSEP, CMM, CHC

Diversity is more than just black and white. There is a whole world of difference that meeting planners need to consider when organizing events. Think about your family. No two members are exactly alike, even when they share the same hair, skin and eye color. Some are outgoing, some shy. One may have physical challenges, dietary restrictions or serious allergies. Each has his preferred method of communication, and there certainly are culture clashes.

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Has it ever occurred to you that when you organize an event, you’re creating a family? Whether it’s an executive retreat, virtual event or annual meeting, you want everyone to be comfortable. You want them to relax and engage so they’re receptive to your content and supportive of your goals. You can do this by creating a culture of inclusion that anticipates the needs of your attendees and accommodates them so that they don’t have to focus on what makes them different. Accommodating diversity isn’t about being politically correct, it’s about acknowledging that people invest a great deal of time and money in your event and you have an obligation to be a fabulous host. Fabulous hosts make sure their guests feel welcome. Audience demographics and needs have changed dramatically. Maybe 30 years ago, you were trained to plan for a homogenous group of middle-aged white men who had no idea they had food allergies. Today you’re creating events that draw people of different ages; geographical, cultural and religious backgrounds; and physical abilities. They have different learning needs, social skills, diets and technological skills. The marketplace has trained them to expect individualized treatment. They believe customer service issues should be handled at the speed of social media. If you don’t understand the true nature of diversity and how quickly bad will can spread, you are setting yourself up for a potential crisis. Nobody wants to see that happen. That’s why we’re going to identify several key elements of diversity, show you how to tweak your event registration to capture attendees’ special needs and explain how design elements can either accommodate or alienate them.

IT HAPPENED TO ME:

Guy vs. Girl I grew up in a man’s world of surfing, racing and living with my dad. I have never expected special treatment because I’m a woman. Nor have I ever been easily offended by being called “one of the guys” or hearing raunchy jokes over the intercom on a show site. However, at a recent educational session on event technology, I was

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THE TRUE NATURE OF DIVERSITY

Americans are familiar with Affirmative Action, corporate diversity initiatives and Title IX regulations, so it’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that diversity is simply an issue of color or gender. But did you know that you can be sued by an attendee with food allergies if you fail to provide adequate meal options for them on-site? In 2008, the Americans With Disabilities Act was amended to expand the definition of “major life activities” to include eating, breathing, thinking and major bodily functions. That means that if you light a candle or fill a room with fragrance that causes an allergic reaction, you’re violating federal law. Here are some areas you must consider: DEMOGRAPHICS: What’s the ratio of men vs. women? What age are they? Will there be a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds in attendance or will it be a culturally homogenous group? How many languages will be spoken on-site? ALLERGIES: Will you have guests with food allergies/sensitivities? Will you need to prevent exposure to airborne allergens like perfume, peanuts or pet dander? How will you avoid cross-contamination at buffet stations and during meal functions? DIETARY RESTRICTIONS AND PERSONAL PREFERENCES: It’s important to know if any attendees observe a religious diet. Kosher meals, for example, must be prepared with separate dishes and cookware for meat and dairy products. Can your facility do that? Some religions prohibit alcohol; some attendees may be in recovery. Do you have festive nonalcoholic reception options for them?

moderating a panel that included an A/V professional who is a wonderful, wonderful man whom I would never imagine to be sexist or someone who feels women aren’t capable of doing his job equally well. However, during his presentation, he used the term “A/V Guys” at least four times when referring to the A/V crew. On the last time, I bit my lip and interjected “and A/V Girls!,” which got chuckles from the audience.

Being such a nice man, he smiled and replied (in a very nice way), “Oh, I’m sorry, I guess in my world everyone is just a guy on show site.” I didn’t want to come across as being an antagonist or detract from his presentation, but I felt at that moment such a conflict within. For me, there’s something powerful about recognizing that there are plenty of people out there who are technology professionals and are women.


RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL OBSERVANCES: There are only 78 holiday-free business days in a calendar year worldwide. It’s impossible to hold events only during those days, so be sensitive to what attendees may be observing while they’re with you. If possible, avoid planning events during major holidays, like Yom Kippur. Otherwise, you’re sending a message to those who can’t travel to your event that their beliefs are unimportant and they won’t be missed. PHYSICAL ABILITIES: It’s not enough to have an ADA-compliant facility. If someone is in a wheelchair or using a mobility scooter, will they be able to navigate easily through room sets or will they be stuck in a corner of the ballroom because the aisles are too narrow? Will someone who is visually impaired be able to participate in live polls or identify food during meal functions? Will close-captioning be available for the hearing impaired? GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES: It’s trendy to provide beanbag seating, and people with healthy backs and knees love it. But you need comfortable seating options for those who don’t. Older people at your events may have some loss of vision or hearing, so bear that in mind when designing programs and working with your A/V teams. Your event should temper what’s trendy with options that accommodate each group’s preference or special needs. EDUCATIONAL PREFERENCES: The industry is moving away from lecture-based learning, but not all attendees are comfortable in a completely interactive environment. Most people have a fear of looking stupid, which means that if they don’t understand what’s going on or don’t feel comfortable, they

IT HAPPENED TO ME:

Hearing Loss I finally had my hearing loss diagnosed recently. At events, I’m the canary in the cage. If the planner lowballed the A/V in the general session, I’ll know it within five minutes, because I have a job where I have to document the content, and I have to boost my hearing aids to the max before I can hear a damn thing.

TAKE NOTE: C

WHY DON’T YOU ...

Gen X attendees tend to prefer more engagement and alone time. Baby boomers might favor traditional face-to-face activities like formal dinners, while millennials may feel that being stuck with the same crowd throughout dinner is a waste of time. Your event should include options that appeal to each group — like mixed seating at receptions that includes rounds, couches and highboys, so that the people who want to mingle can and those who prefer to stay put can.

• Use a registration system that lets attendees see which of their friends are attending and makes it easy for them to invite more? • Use a conference app that facilitates networking and finding people with similar interests? • Write a personalized letter welcoming attendees to the conference? • Collect arrival and departure information at registration and share with hotels so that rooms are ready when your attendees arrive? • Sell sponsorships for a professional headshot station? Attendees can get pictures taken at check-in to use for conference name badges and, later, professional online profiles.

won’t participate. If you’re doing something interactive or experimental, let your attendees know what will happen next and that it’s OK to opt out. POLITICS AND PERSONAL CAUSES: More people vote for “American Idol” participants than they do in presidential elections. That doesn’t mean they are any less passionate about their political beliefs, so be careful about using speakers who might alienate attendees or accepting sponsorship money from companies that support potentially controversial causes.

Actually, with all the sound bouncing around, no one else can hear anything, either, but at least they can hear normally. There are 4 million hearingimpaired people in Canada. Our rule of thumb is that the U.S. generally has 10 times as much of anything we have here, because it's 10 times larger — so there are

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probably about 40 million people in the U.S. who are hearing impaired. But I've had a few conversations with people in A/V, and planners are still making their equipment decisions based strictly on cost. That’s a huge issue that the industry is not prepared or willing to deal with, especially with baby boomers aging.

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TAKE NOTE: C • Did you know that companies with three or more women on their boards outperformed companies with no women board members by an 84 percent return on sales, 60 percent return on invested capital and 46 percent return on equity? Yet one in 10 Fortune 500 companies still have all-male boards. Source: Ez.com/women. • During the month of Ramadan, Muslims must fast from sunrise to sunset. If you're meeting during that time, will attendees observing the fast be able to find nourishment early in the morning or late at night?

COMFORT LEVEL WITH TECHNOLOGY: Not everyone prefers a digital conference brochure over a printed copy. And, believe it or not, many people still have phones that only make and receive calls. How will you get your paperless information to them? Don’t expect everyone to want to use the technology you’re offering. And please don’t assume they’ll know how to make the most of it. Create a communication strategy to raise awareness and a process to educate your guests so that participating on-site and through social media is fun, not frustrating. ON-SITE VS. VIRTUAL ATTENDEES: People who will attend your event through a computer will have a totally different experience than those on-site. If you don’t want virtual participants to drift off and tune out, think about how you welcome them and connect them with on-site attendees. Create an event that’s all-inclusive and engaging.

EASY THINGS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE Ask on the registration form if there are special needs or challenges. Let attendees know that you want information on allergies, dietary restrictions/preferences, physical challenges or cultural observances so you can accommodate them. Include some multiple choice options (like vegan, vegetarian, kosher, dairy-free, gluten-free) as well as an open field for “other.”

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Put yourself in their shoes. If you had a physical challenge, what would make the room set easier to navigate? Would being sight- or hearing-impaired prevent you from fully enjoying the event? Would being unfamiliar with the technology make you

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IT HAPPENED TO ME:

Mixed-meal messages I was diagnosed with Celiac disease but told not to worry about it when I was pregnant the first time. After my second miscarriage, I did some research, went to a different doctor and realized that eating gluten may have been responsible for my loss. I went on a strict gluten-free diet and got pregnant. When I was

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WHY DON’T YOU ... • Ask people what their favorite snacks are at registration so you can provide them during breaks on-site? • Seat people in groups according to their personal or professional interests or other things they have in common, like geographical region or first names? • Give people with food sensitivities special meal vouchers and train banquet staff and venues to match meals with vouchers so they’re not given to the wrong person?

want to use it? Troubleshoot your event. Walk through the design and remove any barriers to participation and/or build in safeguards and support to help people enjoy themselves. Share information with vendors. Cross-contamination is the biggest fear of people with food allergies. Buffet setups are a nightmare when food isn’t labeled or properly separated. Talk through issues of care with your vendors and how this will be addressed on-site. How will their staff be trained? How do they make sure people with allergies are taken care of? What happens if someone goes into anaphylactic shock?

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Listen with compassion. Even if a request seems outrageous, resist the urge to be dismissive. At some point, everyone has felt unwanted. Whether that happened to you

about five months along, I spoke at a conference in Texas where I was assured there would be special meals waiting for me, and I was given a laminated card to show servers. At the very first lunch, I showed my card, but the server didn't seem to know what to do and didn't speak English. My “special meals” eventually made it to me, but because of the language

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barrier, I couldn't ask the servers any questions, which was nerve-wracking. It was an extremely tense experience that eroded my trust in the organization as well as the venue.


TAKE NOTE: C

Accommodating diversity isn’t about being politically correct, it’s about acknowledging that people invest a great deal of time and money in your event. You have an obligation to be a fabulous host. And fabulous hosts make sure their guests feel welcome.

• According to Carlson Wagonlit Travel, there are only 78 global holiday-free business days throughout the year. That’s why it’s essential to understand your group’s demographics and compare calendars before signing contracts. You don’t want to unintentionally alienate a portion of your audience.

on a playground or the school bus, remember what it felt like. If you ignore the request once it’s made, you’re going out of your way to make that person feel like they don’t matter. Enlist the aid of everyone on staff and on-site to support the culture of inclusion. It does no one any good if an attendee has a special meal ticket but the servers don’t know how to redeem it. If you’re in a cavernous space, make sure there are people to guide them to the correct destination. If new technology will be used, build in time to help people use it. During virtual broadcasts, program something of interest that the remote viewing audience can be doing while waiting for the on-site event to start. Involve them in the conversation and group activities.

• Of the 7.3 million people in America who follow a vegetarianbased diet, 1 million are vegans. Can your chef prepare tasty and nutritious meals for them?

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Diversity can be a challenge, but it’s a fact of life. If you take time to consider and allow for all the needs of your attendees, you can create a conference with a real feeling of fun, community and passion.

IT HAPPENED TO ME:

Confined Seating When I’m in big spaces, I need a scooter to get around. At a conference last year, I stayed behind after an educational session to speak with people. It was the last one before lunch. By the time I got to the lunch hall, there was nowhere to sit because the tables were so close together.

You have a choice. Do you want your events to reflect the world we see on TV, where people can’t look past their differences and work together? Or do you want to achieve on-site what we all wish we had in real life — one big, happy, fun-loving and functional family? Additional material contributed by Mitchell Beer, Midori Connolly, Joan Eisenstodt and Bonnie Wallsh, MA, CMP, CMM.

I couldn't get my scooter through the aisles. I was in tears. I thought, “I’m tired and I’d really like to eat a nice lunch, but I can't.” Planners

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don't think these things through. Meals are times when people want to talk and meet other people, but planners don’t think about making the room easy to navigate, or they pick a room where the noise is so loud that you can't hear, or the lighting is so low that you can't see your food.

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Wake Up! Here are the 3 biggest threats to the meetings industry BY KRISTI CASEY SANDERS

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f you’re immersed in any activity, it’s difficult to perceive the threats that surround you. That’s why when you eat in the car the food ends up on your shirt and your most serious injuries occur when you’re doing something simple, like stepping off a curb.

SUPPLY AND DEMAND

FOR MORE INFORMATION: C GMIC •GMICglobal.org MITCHELL BEER •smartershift.com TIM SANDERS • sanderssays. typepad.com • Ez.com/meetdifferent PYM • Ez.com/Dominguez • Ez.com/5easysteps

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If you haven’t noticed, hotels aren’t run like nonprofits. There’s an unprecedented push from corporate headquarters to squeeze every last drop of revenue out of each hotel room and amenity. There’s no new supply, and increasing demand. If you walk in and demand your comp room per 50 or a flat 10 percent off, they’re just going to move that cost around. So you need to update your negotiation skills or you’re going to find you’re outclassed by revenue managers. Then there’s the cost of gas. When I got my first car in the 1990s, gas was 78 cents a gallon. Now I’m lucky if it’s less than $4. Too few U.S. cities have useful public transportation options, and the cost of living has created urban sprawl and ungodly commutes as people are forced to settle further out from city centers. You don’t have to live in Los Angeles, New York or Atlanta to experience road rage. South Carolina, Iowa and Missouri get jammed up, too. It’s becoming difficult to hold local events because of drive times and the cost of gas. Did you know that Delta Air Lines bought

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an oil refinery in May 2012? That’s because if the cost of oil continues to rise, it’s going to put several airlines out of business. At the 2011 GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference, Ian Lee of Carleton University warned that half of the 15 existing European carriers would go out of business by 2015 if the price of oil hit $100 a barrel and that only six would remain if oil hit $200 a barrel. Guess what? The cost of oil is projected to be $110 a barrel in 2014. American air carriers are no less vulnerable. How are you going to get people to events if you have half the airlift at twice the cost?

QUALITY OF LIFE/SUSTAINABILITY

Gas and airlift aside, the persistent insecurity of the job market means that even if people can get to your event, they’re afraid to leave the office. You might think you can avoid that conflict by holding events after work hours or on weekends. But people who are stressed don’t want to spend extra time on work. They want to pursue personal passions or be with their families. Does the value proposition of your event outweigh that desire? There’s also the issue of sustainability. “How many meetings did Hurricane Sandy take out,” asks Mitchell Beer, president of Smarter Shift and The Conference Publishers. “As climate change becomes more severe, meetings infrastructure won’t be able to cope with it.” To create positive change, Beer says, the industry will have to reduce its carbon footprint by 80 percent over the next 35 years. “If you’ve flown 3,000 people halfway across the world, what the hell does it matter if you recycle or purchase all your food from a 100-mile radius?”

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I totally understand why meeting and event planners don’t see this industry’s true threats. Technological advances are so sexy. The recession is so boring. The workload is so relentless. There are a million reasons why we’re paying attention to something else. But stop and think for a second. What really are the greatest threats to your job security? It’s not robots. It’s not hybrid or virtual-event technology. It’s supply and demand. As in: If demand is high and supply is scarce, prices will rise. Remember that from Economics 101?


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Bestselling author Tim Sanders has been warning us to rethink the way we organize and execute events since 2008. If you need ideas on how you can avoid being a casualty of what he calls the impending Responsibility Revolution, check out a recap of his MPI PECNA speech (Ez.com/meetdifferent) and think about attending a GMIC conference or similar event close to you.

THE WAY IT’S ALWAYS BEEN DONE

Finally, there’s the matter of habit. The mindnumbing rituals you execute over and over again because you “don’t have time” to examine what’s not working anymore in your event planning process. I’ve got one piece of advice: Make the time. Why persist in doing things that no longer work? You know what the seven most expensive words in business are? “Because it’s always been done that way.” “Event planners spend so much time making sure the menu’s all right and lovingly putting together a list of three vendors to supply seat covers for the gala,” Beer says. “But attendees won’t remember the seat covers when they go home. They won’t remember the food unless it’s really bad. And if they do, they shouldn’t let the CFO find out because if that happens, they’ll never let them get away for a meeting again.” Content, he insists, is key, and something far too few planners care about or understand how to program. But it goes beyond content. There

WHAT DO YOU THINK? What threats to this industry do you see? And what are you doing about it? Let us know by tweeting @PYMLive.

are four critical elements that will influence any future meeting you plan, according to a report titled “Scenarios for the future: Convention exhibits and trade shows of 2016”: • Disorientation that leads to full engagement • Personalized customization that creates great value • Opportunities for self-improvement and augmented connections • Co-creation and ownership of the experience (see the sidebar below for more) You can’t ignore the fact that today’s audiences demand interaction. If you aren’t creating a community with every event, you’re missing a big opportunity to make a real difference (and to save your marketing team a lot of work). Totally stumped for ideas? Try integrating PYM LIVE’s 14 tips to engage people before, during and after events (see next page). A version of this story originally appeared on lizkingevents.com. Reprinted with permission.

FOUR ELEMENTS CRITICAL TO THE CREATION OF SUCCESSFUL EVENTS The recent report “Scenarios for the future: Convention exhibits & trade shows of 2016” by the ASAE Foundation, Center for Exhibition Industry Research Foundation, Freeman, Gaylord Entertainment and PCMA Education Foundation, discusses what people want and expect from today’s conferences and trade shows. The report identifies four elements that have the potential to change conferences, events and trade shows dramatically. Disorientation that leads to full engagement. Participants experience something different than traditional conferences and exhibitions. It causes a sense of disorientation at first because they are unsure how to behave and act. This feeling of disorientation causes them to be more

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present as they read cues about how to respond and know what’s expected of them. Ultimately, they become fully engaged in the experience. Personalized customization that creates great value. Individuals experience something extremely meaningful and relevant to them. The experience feels significant because of very meaningful and practical information and activities. Individuals can adapt and tailor the experience to their own needs, which increases the experience’s value.

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Self-improvement and augmented connections. Many people belong to organizations and attend conferences, events and trade shows because it’s about their own identity. They want to find ways to improve their

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professional and personal lives. The robust conference and trade show helps individuals do this while creating and cementing personal connections with others. As individuals grow during the experience, they are able to connect with their own tribe. Co-creation and ownership of the experience. When attendees can customize and co-create the experience in real time along with their tribe, the experience becomes much more meaningful, germane and pragmatic. This type of experience requires intentionality, insight and forethought on the planners’ part in order to resonate with attendees.

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Excerpted from jeffhurtblog.com with permission. Full story is at Ez.com/4factors.


14 WAYS TO CREATE A COMMUNITY You can’t ignore the fact that today’s audiences demand interaction. But how best to do this? We posed that question to attendees at our PYM LIVE event in Jacksonville, Fla., in February, challenging groups of meeting planners and suppliers to define at least one strategy for each category: pre-show, during the show and post-show. Here are their tips. PRE-SHOW Distribute a QR code or a link to educational materials that attendees can view before an event. Discussions would begin off-site and continue in-depth at the event. 1

Clearly communicate what attendees can expect (resisting the urge to be clever with marketing copy).

WHAT WE WANT A MEETING’S PATTERN OF ENGAGEMENT TO LOOK LIKE

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BEFORE

DURING

AFTER

Create an attendee referral program.

Help attendees form teams before arrival. Give them the meeting’s theme and instructions on what they should create together. Whatever they prepare would be used/displayed at the event. 4

Pepper reminder emails with incentives to come. If you have money in the budget to do so, combine with a direct mail campaign filled with “bread crumb” tchotchkes that are fun reminders of the event theme, destination or content they’d experience on-site. 5

DURING THE SHOW Create five-minute breaks where people can participate in icebreakers like “two truths and a lie,” solve puzzles or just tell jokes. 6

Keep educational topics current and relevant to the audience and the challenges they face. 7

Seat attendees at round tables 8 where they drill down from a general topic to one specific aspect of that topic they would all like to discuss or have in common. Have them discuss that item in depth and share what they discovered with the larger group. Expand on those micro-discussions as the event goes on or post-show in social communities.

* Special thanks to Danielle Adams, Vickie Corder, Juli Heineman, Lacey Mitchell, Vicki Sumagpang, Nicole Taylor, Cindy Tilton, Vickey Woodley, Kathleen Zwart, CMP, Jackie Franklin, Gina Hengst, Wayne Bolai, Sandra Rose, Julie Rhea Bell, Sabrina Young, Holly Laverentz, Matt Gingras and Julie Fisher for sharing their ideas. Model created by Mitchell Beer of Smarter Shift. You can download a copy of these tips from Ez.com/14tips.

POST-SHOW IDEAS Create a photo gallery of images on Smilebox, Facebook or another online host and distribute to attendees post-event so they can comment and share. 9

10 Share post-event survey results

with attendees and let them know what you plan to change because of their feedback. Then create a case study that shows what happened after you implemented those changes. Share that as well. 11

Create a post-show reception where people can bond over drinks.

12 Send handwritten notes to

attendees or personalized emails rather than a blanket email. Have attendees pledge to focus on staying in touch with five people they met at the event. Offer them incentives to share their stories 13

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JOIN THE CONVERSATION Connect with us live or virtually at future PYM LIVE Events. Visit PlanYourMeetings.com/events for the full schedule.

about how they followed through on that promise. 14 Create a puzzle or news bubble that

is sent to past attendees. It should be a fun reminder of what they enjoyed at the event. When decrypted, it tells them what the next steps are or fleshand-blood stories that help you learn from your peers and put the standards into perspective.

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WHAT'S NEW AND NEXT FOR PYM

PYM ALLSTARS

Do you love PYM? Want to share that love? Become a PYM AllStar! You’ll be invited to attend a special roundtable discussion, give us feedback on editorial topics and participate in on-air hangouts. Other perks include free event admission and a very special gift! Interested in becoming an AllStar or participating in a think tank near you? Email allstars@planyourmeetings.com or tweet @PlanYrMeetings.

PYM LIVE EVENTS

This year, we visited some cities that we’d never been to before: Jacksonville, New York, RaleighDurham, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Standbys included Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Denver and Austin. For 2014 dates, registration links and info about our PYM LIVE Events, visit Ez.com/3hours. Before you arrive, be sure to download the free Topi app! Read more at Ez.com/topi. And

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bring your unused soaps so Clean the World can turn them into life-saving donations.

RESOURCES FOR MEETING PLANNERS

Need planning advice? Want to research a destination? Or just want to browse through a list of potential meeting venues and resources? (We’ve got a brand-new directory!) It’s all waiting for you on our website. Visit PlanYourMeetings.com/ resources-for-meeting-planners.

VIRTUAL HANGOUTS

We know it’s not possible for all our readers to meet us face to face, so in 2013 we held regular hangouts on Google Plus. Every month, we broadcast times and dates to our G+ and Facebook communities,

Read about sweet trends

and we plan to continue this through 2014. So if you can, tune in and hangout with us. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and give you tips on some of the coolest things we’ve discovered. Join the community at Ez.com/pymhangout.

AUGMENTED REALITY

If you’ve heard about augmented reality but aren’t sure how it works, download the PYM+ app, available free from Google Play and iTunes stores. With it you’ll be able to unlock a variety of hidden media and messages in this magazine as well as at our LIVE Events. Don’t have a smartphone? No worries! Email allstars@planyourmeetings. com and we’ll send you a link to what we’ve shared.

INGRAM IMAGE

Donate & Clean the World


Join the PYM AllStars

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Hang with us @PYMLIVE

ARE YOU A CHANGE AGENT?? Did you know that you inspire us? We love hearing your stories, seeing your pictures and getting to know more about you and your events. Please connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Flickr and share your work, images and ideas with us. Don’t forget to tag your images, tweets and posts with #yaypym.

MEETING PLANNING ZEN Short booking windows getting you down? When you have to find a meeting venue quickly and get bids ASAP, turn to PYM! Our new online booking engine, PYM Zen, allows you to search a comprehensive database of U.S. hotels as well as special facilities and restaurants based on your requirements. Compare options side by side, build an RFP in minutes and hear back from the sales contacts within hours. Visit PlanYourMeetings. zentila.com to get started.

Plan well and prosper, friends!

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6 ways to achieve meeting bliss with

Don’t let last-minute meeting requests get you down. With our new online booking engine, PYM Zen, you can have bids in hand for your conference or space-only meeting in less time than it takes to see a movie like “Avatar” or “The Hobbit.” Here’s why meeting planners love PYM Zen. 1. Building RFPs is intuitive. Select what kind of meeting it is and the number of attendees, then click a button. On the next screen, the typical meeting pattern and space needed for your event is displayed in calendar format. You can drag and drop menu items to customize, and doubleclick each item to add special requests or desired concessions.

4. All your potential hosts receive the RFP simultaneously and are incentivized to respond within hours. Sales teams know PYM Zen doesn’t let you send the same RFP to tons of people and they have a good chance of booking your business, so they respond quickly. They also see who they’re bidding against, which means they’re more apt to sweeten their deal for you.

2. Finding a venue or hotel that fits your requirements is fast and easy. Need a hotel with free parking, a 40,000-sq. ft. column-free exhibit space or a venue within a five-minute drive of the airport? The PYM Zen search engine filters options using parameters that meeting planners say are most important to them.

5. Complete bids are received in the same format. PYM Zen makes it easy for properties and venues to respond to your request with just a few clicks. Because they’re all in the same format, you’re able to compare apples to apples.

3. You can compare different kinds of venues and hotels side by side. Not quite sure which city you want to meet in or whether you want a ballroom or a restaurant? PYM Zen will display all the options that fit your needs and let you compare the best side by side.

6. When you make your choice, you go straight to contracting and the people who didn’t get the business are notified. In a perfect world, we’d all write thank you notes, but we seldom get the time. That’s why PYM Zen closes the loop when you select the winning bid. You get your space and the other prospects are notified that you’ve made your choice. From that point on, you work directly with your venue contact.

So the next time your boss or client springs a last-minute meeting on you, turn to PYM Zen. Before your second cup of coffee, you’ll have your venue and a lot more time to spend planning the fun stuff.

Start planning: PlanYourMeetings.Zentila.com TOC


DYNAMIC DESTINATIONS On the following pages, we profile select American destinations, offering highlights and insights about how these locations can enhance your meetings. We’ve spoken with meeting planners, CVB representatives and local experts to bring you the best of what each city has to offer. For more extensive coverage of national and international destinations, visit PlanYourMeetings.com/destinations.

SACVB/CRAIG STAFFORD

In San Antonio a river cuts through the heart of the convention district, connecting hotels, restaurants, attractions and meeting venues.

All guides written by Kristi Casey Sanders with the exception of Glenwood Springs (Therra C. Gwyn); Douglasville (Laura Raines); Las Vegas (Beth D'Addono); and New York (Mary Welch).

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COLORADO

Breckenridge WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW During the winter months, attendees can ski-in, ski-out of meetings and meal functions. The rest of the year, they can hike-in, hike-out. A single lift ticket gives you access to Breckenridge, Keystone and the Arapahoe Basin ski areas as well as Vail Resorts. The village is two hours from Denver International Airport (DEN), an hour from Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) in Vail, and 110 miles from Colorado Springs Airport (COS). Planners organizing conventions in Colorado Springs often send pre- or postevent ski trips here.

Want to ski-in, ski-out?

Want transportation?

Colorado Mountain Express drivers are very knowledgeable about the area and can tell airport shuttle passengers about the sites they’ll see on the way into town from the Denver airport (from buffalo and bighorn sheep to the architecturally significant Eisenhower Tunnel Bridge). Stage Coach Luxury Limousine also provides airport shuttles. Fresh Tracks provides transportation between the area’s ski towns. To shake things up, think about booking Good Times Adventures dogsleds or snowmobiles, or sleigh rides from Two Below Zero or Breckenridge Sleigh Rides. Aces and Eights Casino Shuttle warms up groups en route to the historic gold mining — now casino — towns of

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Boreas Pass, on the Continental Divide, is a short drive outside of Breckenridge. It provides wide open spaces and the sort of spectacular views expected in the Rocky Mountains.

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU Instead of tearing down its history, Breckenridge repurposes historic buildings: Old mining cabins are artist studios, Victorian homes house wild-game restaurants, and accommodations for adventurous groups are available in World War II-era military training huts. Sure, skiing is a big draw, but summertime concerts, a bustling downtown and many warm-weather activities make this an attractive year-round destination.

Central City and Black Hawk with trivia challenge and karaoke-equipped limo vans.

Want 4 choices in 1?

Breckenridge Hospitality has four distinct meeting properties: the Village at Breckenridge, Mountain Thunder Lodge, DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge and One Ski Hill Place. Together they offer the most combined meeting/conference space in town, with 43,000 square feet of flexible space in 42 rooms. Select

from facilities with fireplaces, patios, balconies, window walls and mountain views. Clients can use space over multiple properties, if they wish. The Village at Breckenridge holds up to 500 people. Its 13 meeting rooms have a total of 22,000 square feet of space. In summer, a 4,000-sq. ft. tent is an option. Mountain Thunder Lodge specializes in intimate events and accommodates groups up to 325. Its five event rooms total 3,000 square feet and include French doors that open onto protected wetlands. The DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge holds up to 475 people. It has 12 meeting rooms with a total of 10,000 square feet of space and picture windows that welcome natural light and provide mountain views.

Want sleigh rides?

Summit Concierge and Nordic Sleigh Rides have dinner packages that take attendees on sleigh-ride trips to an 1860s-style miners’ camp or the Gold Run Mountain Lodge for a hearty supper, music and entertainment. Rusty

JENNY SCHISLER HINELY

Beaver Run Resort is the largest conference center under one roof in Breckenridge, with 40,000 square feet of meeting space. Attendees can ski right out of sessions to the Beaver Run Super Chair Lift and the Quicksilver Six. From the spa they can ski to Peak Nine. The resort has an entire wing of meeting and conference space, some with access to outdoor decks and patios, and can accommodate groups of 10 to more than 1,000 people. It also has several on-site dining venues and is within walking distance to downtown Breckenridge. In winter, One Ski Hill Place is a ski-in, ski-out facility in winter. In summer, its Rocky Mountains location is an alpine wonderland. In any season it offers more than 3,600 square feet of meeting space in 12 rooms, and 10,000 square feet of outdoor function space.


COLORADO

Spurr Ranch, a short drive away in Kremmling, can sandwich a cowboy lunch between team-building cattle drives, rafting trips or trail rides.

Want group dining?

The Top of the World Restaurant & Lounge has breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and Frenchinspired American cuisine. Salt Creek Steakhouse serves steaks and Texas-style pit barbecue, and has a dance floor with live music and DJs. Modis is one of the town’s newer restaurants and has a sophisticated, nightclub feel. Hearthstone Restaurant is an annual recipient of Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence.”

10th Mountain Division for World War II training. It also offers GPS scavenger hunts and customized eco-challenges. Casarietti Studio has out-of-thebox workshops designed to enhance creative solutions, communication and problem-solving led by artists Robert and Michelle Casarietti. Peak Rhythms creates group drumming and rhythm programs designed to empower and unite groups of up to 5,000.

THE 411

• • • • • •

• 35,000+ square feet of meeting space at the Beaver Run Resort 25,000 beds in hotels and rental properties 200+ shops and boutiques 80+ restaurants Average group size: 450 Average annual snowfall: 250-300 inches Best values: April 1-Nov. 15

Creativity inspired by nature

Want unusual venues?

Planners can create an intimate setting and exclusive lodging for board retreats or small groups at private homes like Mountain Villa Paradise. ResortQuest, White Cloud Lodging and Paragon Lodging also manage residential properties for groups. The O2 Lounge & Internet Café has reception space and serves flavored oxygen to help attendees acclimate to the altitude. The Alpine Villa executive retreat is near Breckenridge Golf Club and ski areas. Amenities there include conference facilities, a Roman bath, dining hall, billiards room, home theater and 35-ft. high natural rock climbing wall. The Riverwalk Center, a 770seat outdoor amphitheater for meetings, concerts and receptions, has a roof and walls that make year-round events possible. In summer, lawn seating raises the venue’s capacity to 2,000.

Want to team-build?

t our Check ou CIALS P S E GROUP rRun.com on Beav e

Looking for a fresh perspective? 40,000 sq. ft. of Flexible Space

The Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center has a lodge for corporate retreats and a 40-acre outdoor campus that accommodates groups up to 300 for experiential learning adventures such as adaptive skiing, snowboarding and ropes courses for people with disabilities or special needs. Colorado Bike & Ski Tours creates trips on backwoods trails through abandoned mountain towns and ski huts built by the

The Spa at Beaver Run Team Building Catering from Fun to Formal Weddings & Receptions

BeaverRun PYM13i2.indd 1

Reunions

We have just the creative workspace you need here at Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center. With 40,000 square feet of space, and exceptional service, we can accommodate your every need. Reconnect, rejuvenate, relax, and be inspired...

Located slopeside in Breckenridge

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7/8/13 5:13 PM


COLORADO

Telluride WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW When residents of Colorado’s picturesque ski resorts go on vacation, they head to Telluride. This southwestern Colorado village stands out in a state known for its natural attractions. It’s surrounded by the San Juan mountains in a box canyon and has more than 2,000 ski-able acres, with 24 percent designated for beginners, 38 percent for intermediate skiers and 38 percent for experts. All slopes are accessible from Telluride or Mountain Village, a midmountain town connected to Telluride by a free gondola. The activities, the absence of franchises and the ease of getting around make Telluride an excellent yearround destination. Want to keep things interesting? Visit Telluride is a great resource for planning scavenger hunts or creating memorable activities tailored to each individual in your group.

Want a distinctive venue?

Want a conference hotel?

The Peaks Resort and Spa’s 161 guest rooms include 32 suites. It has a 42,000sq. ft. spa, three on-site restaurants, and more than 20,000 square feet of flexible indoor/outdoor meeting space, including

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Independent restaurants and shops fill Telluride’s historic downtown, which comes with a view.

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU Telluride’s Victorian-era National Historic District is six blocks wide and 12 blocks long, and all stores are independently owned. Locals are committed to preserving Telluride’s colorful history and spirit. Originally a summer destination for the Ute Indians, Telluride was settled as the Columbia silver mining camp in the mid-1870s. It didn’t become a ski resort until 1973. The Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village has a state-of-the-art video conferencing system that supports up to six participating sites. With advance notice, the conference center’s video hookup can be moved to any other Mountain Village venue.

a breathtaking terrace. It’s ski-in/ski-out to 125 Telluride ski trails and is adjacent to the Telluride Conference Center. Hotel Madeline has 9,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 3,300-sq. ft. ballroom, 84 rooms, 12 luxury suites and 10 condominiums as well as Spa Linnea and M’s Restaurant.

Want sustainable events?

Telluride & Golf Resort has received the National Ski Area Association’s Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence, the Regional Forester’s Caring for the Land Stewardship Award and certification by Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary System for golf courses. In addition to conservation and recycling programs, the resort has extensive education and community programs, including wildlife, cultural and outdoor programs available year-round.

Want group dining?

Italian fine-dining restaurant Rustico Ristorante can host wine dinners and private parties. La Marmotte features seasonal, local and organic produce prepared French-American-style. In Mountain Village, La Piazza has a banquet facility for private meals or meetings and a catering department. Diners at Allred’s Restaurant (capacity: 120) feast on contemporary American cuisine 10,551 feet above sea level. A private party room (capacity: 30) overlooks Telluride.

TELLURIDE TOURISM BOARD/WHIT RICHARDSON PHOTOGRAPHY

The Ah Haa School of the Arts is a community center that inspires people of all ages to develop and celebrate creativity. The school, set along the San Miguel River and surrounded by pines, provides a unique, intimate meeting/ event space for groups up to 80. If you want a more educational experience, try the Telluride Historical Museum. Built in 1896 as Hall’s Hospital, the museum now has 10 rooms, each with its own theme showcasing Telluride history. The museum has both outdoor and indoor space, so it’s great for smaller meetings/ events seeking history and fun. The Sheridan Opera House can host events that require full theater seating, partial theater seating, cabaret seating or no seating at all. The main floor includes the box office and a 1,400-sq. ft., 140-person gallery with a small bar. The second floor has the 240-seat historic Opera House, equipped with a stage, movie screen, sound/lighting system and a concessions/ vending area.


WHERE MEETINGS GO TO BE INSPIRED.

PROOF

Host your next event at one of Telluride’s exceptional venues, like the Telluride Conference Center, for an experience your attendees will never forget. With 22,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and direct access to endless adventures, breathtaking scenery and authentic Telluride charm, it’s the perfect venue for a meeting that will exceed expectations.

PYM 2013 ISSUE 1

VISITTELLURIDE.COM 888.605.2579

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COLORADO

Glenwood Springs WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Glenwood Springs sits where the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers meet. Vail is to its east, Aspen to the south. The historic town is home to an ancient culture of Ute Indians, and although not heavily populated (9,600 residents), it’s packed with scenic and natural wonders. Attendees can fly into one of four commercial airports, drive in or take a shuttle.

Want to get your minerals?

For 125 years visitors have come here to enjoy fresh mountain air and the town’s therapeutic hot springs. The first residents, Ute Indians, called the plentiful springs “Yampah,” meaning “Big Medicine.” The Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge features one of the country’s largest hot springs pools and has a 107-room guest lodge and a recreation area that includes water slides and mini-golf. Its two meeting rooms can each accommodate 50 people. The hot springs pool is free for guests; rates for non-guests vary by time and day. Yampah Spa offers comfort and relaxation in North America’s only known vapor caves, along with dips into the hot springs, massages and other spa amenities. Attendees can fly into one of four commercial airports: Vail/Eagle County Regional (EGE), 30 miles east; Aspen/Pitkin County (ASE), 40 miles south; Grand Junction Regional (GJT), 90 miles west; and Denver International (DIA), 160 miles east. If you want to drive from Denver, road conditions are always available online. Colorado Mountain Express offers multi-passenger shuttle service and private transfers from the Denver and Vail airports. Private charter service is available from Grand Junction and Aspen. Glenwood Springs Central Reservations allows visitors to check lodging availability and reserve rooms. Car rentals and activities like rafting, Glenwood Hot Springs Pool passes, and ski-lift tickets can be booked in advance, too.

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Rafting trips down the Colorado River are one of many outdoor activities your group can take part in in Glenwood Springs, considered one of America’s don’t-miss destinations.

Want to mix it up, in and out?

The Canyon Club Event Center has 8,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space as well as ropes courses for team-building. It can accommodate 20 to 200 people. If your group is into nature, designated wildlife areas nearby are home to elk, mule deer and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

THE 411

• • • •

• 1,700+ guest rooms in more than 60 properties 2,000 square feet — largest meeting space 250 inches annual snowfall 70+ restaurants Daily service from Amtrak

GLENWOOD SPRINGS CHAMBER RESORT ASSOCIATION

Want to fly, drive or shuttle in?


COLORADO

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU Glenwood Springs is listed among the don’t-miss destinations in Patricia Schultz’s best-selling “1,000 Places to See Before You Die — A Traveler’s Life List.” The hot springs, which give the town its cachet, have attracted visitors for more than 100 years. They are available all season. Temperatures here generally are in the 60s and 70s in spring and fall, the 80s in the summer.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS CHAMBER RESORT ASSOCIATION

Want to blaze a new trail?

Glenwood Springs is just as beautiful at night as it is during the day. The city lights glow between gorgeous peaks near the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers.

Want variety in meeting spaces?

The historic Hotel Denver can hold groups up to 99 in The Loft, which has panoramic views of the Colorado River. The 124-suite Residence Inn is near

major attractions and provides 460 square feet of meeting space. The 101-room Courtyard by Marriott offers 600 square feet of meeting space for groups up to 50. It also has private media booths with HDTVs and a business library.

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Sometimes the best way to enjoy the outdoors is also the simplest. Try snowshoeing for a low-tech winter hike. Follow marked, snow-packed trails or cut a new one of your own through drifts of fluffy powder. All you need are boots, gators and a pair of snowshoes, which can be rented at Summit Canyon Mountaineering for a nominal fee. The quiet nature of snowshoeing means it’s more likely you’ll spot winter wildlife including rabbits, deer, foxes, weasels and ermines. Many of Glenwood Springs’ traditional hiking trails are excellent for snowshoeing.

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florida FLORIDA

St. Petersburg/Clearwater WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW St. Petersburg/Clearwater is known for its famously clean beaches and cultural attractions. Flights arrive at the St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport. St. Petersburg and Clearwater are only two of the many communities in the area; each has its own attractions, amenities and meeting venues.

Want green venues?

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The showy, fragrant violet blossoms of the jarcaranda trees are at their peak in April and May.

Want dramatic venues?

The Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts is home to the 2,031seat Mahaffey Theater, which hosts Broadway shows as well as headlining comedy and musical acts. Event spaces include an elegant ballroom and an atrium in addition to the plush redand-gold auditorium. Outdoor venues include a plaza that connects the theater to the Salvador Dali Museum and a 7-acre waterfront park. The visually iconic Dali Museum features a doublehelix stairwell, marina views and a geodesic glass-enclosed lobby — not

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU There’s no convention center, per se (the closest one is across the bridge in Tampa), but there are more than 46 hotels with meeting space as well as several creative and nontraditional venues for off-site meetings, activities, banquets and themed programs.

to mention 96 oil paintings, 2,500 prints and photographs, 125 drawings and watercolors, and 250 objets d’art, the most comprehensive collection of

VISIT ST PETERSBURG/CLEARWATER

The 390-room Sheraton Sand Key Resort sits on 10 private acres of white sand beach and is certified by the Florida Green Lodging program. In addition to 24,000 square feet of renovated indoor meeting space, the property has multiple outdoor venues, and tents can be set up poolside or near the beach for gatherings of up to 60 people. The 382-room Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center is situated along 13 acres of beachfront on St. Pete Beach island. In addition to 10,000 square feet of outdoor event space, the Florida Green Lodging-certified property has 12,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space and six breakout rooms for groups of 12 to 550 people. Setting the standard for responsible luxury on Clearwater Beach is the LEED Silver-certified AAA Four-Diamond Sandpearl Resort, which has 253 guest rooms and suites, a lagoon-style beachfront pool with private cabanas, a full-service spa, more than three miles of beach, and fine and casual dining restaurants. The property, which was named one of the Top 50 resorts in the United States and Canada by readers of Travel + Leisure, has a total of 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including a 5,200-sq. ft. ballroom, two gulf view boardrooms and a 6,700-sq. ft. beachside event lawn. Another Florida Green Lodging-certified hotel is the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, which is located in the waterfront district in the heart of downtown, steps away from much of the entertainment, shopping and culture that the city has to offer. The 333room property has more than 35,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 1,000-person and a 600-person ballroom, and a recently renovated restaurant.


FLORIDA

his works in America. The Museum of Fine Arts is available for banquets and receptions (capacity: 160 seated). The Armed Forces Military Museum has the state’s largest collection of authentic military artifacts, ranging from WWI to the present day. In Clearwater, Ruth Eckerd Hall has a 400-seat banquet room overlooking Alligator Lake and Tampa Bay, an atrium lounge for small meetings, a 200-seat black-box theater, and several classroom and studio spaces. Its 2,180seat main performance hall hosts more than 200 performances annually.

VISIT ST PETERSBURG/CLEARWATER

Want to treat attendees like VIPs?

Creativity isn’t something that you can push out of people. And relaxation is sometimes hard to come by. The conference services team at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor knows that, which is why their group spa menu includes options for breakout sessions, networking events and business-appropriate fitness. With more than 100,000 square feet of indoor/ outdoor space, including the largest

You just can’t get seafood any fresher than this: excellent, reasonably priced shrimp, grouper red snapper and myriad other fish are caught nearby in the Gulf of Mexico; the Salvadore Dali Museum houses the most comprehensive American collection of the artist’s work.

luxurious one- and two-bedrooms to executive suites.

THE 411 • 8,440 guest rooms • 40+ convention hotels • 35 miles of beach • 6 distinct communities

Want life to be a beach?

exhibit hall in Florida, the resort has a high space-to-room ratio. Recreational amenities include four golf courses, 11 clay tennis courts, four swimming pools, 60 acres of fishing lakes, beach access and hiking/biking trails. And the spacious accommodations range from

Loews Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach has 22,000 square feet of newly renovated function space with water views. The bi-level Grand Ballroom has 5,400 square feet (capacity: 650 reception, 400 banquet); the King Charles Ballroom has 4,002 square feet (capacity: 400 reception, 280 banquet). The historic hotel’s 277 rooms and suites are augmented by a spa, 24-hour fitness center and two beachfront pools.

Experience Our Island

• Rated #1 for meetings- Meeting Planner Satisfaction Index • America’s top-rated beaches • 24,000 sq. ft. of meeting space • Award-winning cuisine • Spectacular sunsets

View our meeting and event specials at www.sskmeetings.com/specials or call 727-595-1611 1160 Gulf Boulevard, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767-2799

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GEORGIA

Metro Atlanta WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Atlanta is a big city with interesting little neighborhoods, each with its own accommodations, attractions, meeting facilities, shops, restaurants and personality. From the largest conventions to small family reunions, the city attracts diverse groups because it means so many different things to different people: civil rights, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., New South, “Gone With the Wind,” hiphop, Fortune 500 companies, Southern hospitality. When people speak of the Perimeter, they are talking about I-285, which encircles and separates Atlanta from its suburbs.

Want to meet green?

The World of Coca-Cola is a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold-certified facility; its venues include the 160,000sq. ft. Green Space, a tasting room, a banquet area and a theater. Theatrical Outfit’s Balzer Theater at Herren’s is a LEED Silver-certified building with a 199-seat theater, dressing and green rooms, pre-function space and a rehearsal hall available for rentals. The Georgia World Congress Center is working to reduce energy use by 20 percent and landfill waste by 80 percent in order to become LEED-certified. Eliminate paper use by streamlining your meeting management system and digitizing your registration process with SignUp4.com.

Want to meet near the green?

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200 Peachtree in downtown Atlanta can accommodate local, regional and national conferences.

Want creative venues?

Centennial Olympic Park has a number of special facilities within walking distance of the Georgia World Congress Center and AmericasMart. It also can host a range of private outdoor events and concerts. The Tabernacle, which was built in 1911 as a Baptist church, is now a concert facility. It can accommodate up to 1,500 people for meetings, banquets or special events. Tours of CNN Center’s 24-hour news headquarters are among the top convention attractions with meeting attendees. Planners can use their creativity to craft “Prime Time

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU Many people who live in Atlanta grew up elsewhere, which is a testament to how fast the city has grown in the past 30 years. Despite all the talk about Atlanta traffic, conventioneers and groups meeting downtown never deal with it because everything is within walking distance or accessible by MARTA train. Atlanta gets a lot of flack for constantly evolving, but its diversity and bustling energy (especially in its arts and business communities) makes it a fun, exciting and culturally enriching destination.

KRISTI CASEY SANDERS

The Omni Hotel at CNN Center is across the street from Centennial Olympic Park, steps from the Georgia World Congress Center and a few blocks from AmericasMart, which has 220,000 square feet of conference and trade-show space. The Omni, connected to Philips Arena and the nearest hotel to the Georgia Dome, is the only Four-Diamond convention hotel in downtown Atlanta, and a member of the Convention Collection at Centennial Olympic Park. It has 45 meeting rooms with more than 120,000 square feet of function space, including the 19,864-sq. ft. Grand Ballroom. TWELVE Hotel at Centennial Park offers the same great location, with more than 5,000 square feet of luxury meeting and event space.


GEORGIA

Events” for their groups in CNN's Control Room Theater, atrium, terrace or 50-ft. globe. Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta has interactive gallery space for receptions and private events.

Need audiovisual or hybrid event assistance?

Active Production and Design, Inc. is the exclusive in-house A/V partner for the Georgia Aquarium and Atlanta Event Center at Opera, and also is the go-to solution for many people who book space at the Atlanta History Center, Woodruff Arts Center, Puritan Mill, Fox Theatre, Georgia World Congress Center, Georgia International Convention Center and 200 Peachtree. In addition to providing lights and sound, Active can videotape educational sessions and facilitate live, hybrid and virtual events.

PHOTO HILLYER JASON CREDIT

Want one-stop planning?

200 Peachtree, located atop the Peachtree Center MARTA transit station, is eight subway stops from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL). The site, a historic 1927 landmark designed by architect

The crisp, stark white architecture of the High Museum’s Anne Cox Chambers Wing (left) and the Wieland Pavilion (back right) were designed to seamlessly connect with the museum’s initial structure (front right) completed in 1983, while Roy Lichtenstein’s whimsical House III and August Rodin’s “The Shade” — a gift from the French government — give contrast and balance to the overall composition.

Phillip Shutze, can accommodate local, regional and national conferences, team-building programs, urban retreats, convention events and more. Its largest space is the 21,420-sq. ft. Conference Center, which can hold 1,439 for receptions; its smallest is

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1,675 square feet and can hold 107 (reception), 100 (theater-style) and 80 (classroom). It has full- and half-day packages with or without meals. 200 Peachtree is attached to the Westin Peachtree Plaza and across the street from the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta, Ellis

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GEORGIA

Hotel, Marriott Marquis and Hyatt Regency Downtown. It’s within walking distance of AmericasMart, the Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center, Philips Arena, the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park.

Want a room with a view?

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The Atlanta skyline as seen from Greystone, a 9,000 sq. ft granite event space on Lake Clara Meer in Piedmont Park. Once a private farm, a house racing ground and later an exposition center, the 189acre urban refuge is the Southern equivalent of New York City’s Central Park.

Midtown Want to put attendees in touch with nature?

Roll out the green carpet for attendees at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which has several venues, including Day Hall (capacity: 500), Mershon Hall (capacity: 100) and the GeorgiaPacific Classroom (capacity: 50). Outdoor banquet space and eco-friendly

catering options are available, and an expansion has added more parking, event and garden space. Piedmont Park has a lakeside gazebo, spacious lawns, softball fields, jungle gyms and indoor/outdoor event space within walking distance to several hotels.

Want pure convenience?

The new dual-branded Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites by Hilton

IMAGE LICENSED BY INGRAM IMAGE

Two penthouse-level hotel restaurants — Nikolai’s Roof and the Sundial — deliver stellar views of the city along with world-class cuisine. Nikolai’s specializes in Russian-continental dishes. The Sundial serves contemporary American in a revolving dining room. For a more casual, but no less elegant, experience the Peasant Bistro is a two-story restaurant overlooking Centennial Olympic Park that serves fresh, seasonal cuisine with French and Mediterranean influences. Other amenities include a private dining area, a hip bar/reception area and live jazz entertainment. Ventanas is a rooftop event space across the street from the Georgia World Congress Center that has more than 9,500 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space for groups of up to 500 people.


GEORGIA

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Whether working or touring, visitors to Atlanta often take in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s tomb; the Fox Theatre, seen from the stage, is a premiere live entertainment venue.

GDECD; MICHAEL PORTMAN

Hotel, in the same 12-story tower, offer easy access to one of Atlanta’s main arteries, the branch of I-75/85 known as the Downtown Connector. Combined, the hotels have 226 guest rooms; meeting and conference facilities that hold up to 200; a 110-seat fullservice restaurant and lounge; an elevated outdoor pool and spa; a fitness center; and valet parking.

Want your attendees to feel pampered?

TWELVE Hotel Atlantic Station is set amid a thriving neighborhood of restaurants, boutique shops and public

parks. The all-suite hotel offers one- and two-bedroom options, a 6,200-sq. ft. ballroom and 2,500 square feet of prefunction space including two outdoor terraces. The Four Seasons offers luxurious accommodations, meeting space and a spa. For an elegant dining experience, take groups to Veni Vidi Vici, which serves seasonal Italian dishes and handmade pastas. The Loews Atlanta Hotel’s 40,000+ square feet of flexible function space can accommodate groups of all sizes, whether it’s a board of directors meeting for 15, a corporate retreat for 50 or a product launch for 1,000. The hotel’s largest

Atlanta’s cultural center is in Midtown, home to the Tony Awardwinning Alliance Theatre, Grammy Awardwinning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Fox Theatre and world-renowned High Museum of Art. A flurry of development has added retail and dining in the form of Atlantic Station and the evolving Midtown Mile, a stretch of designer shopping that hopes to one day compare to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

space is the Ellington Ballroom, with 4,640 square feet. It can accommodate 1,229 theater-style, 1,107 reception-style and 921 banquet-style. The Mercer Ballroom, with 1,312 square feet, can hold 606 theater-style, 683 receptionstyle and 420 banquet-style. The facility also has 10 breakout rooms (480 to 1,260 square feet), 414 guest rooms and suites, and 11 restaurants. One nifty amenity: Loews provides free transportation in an Infiniti QX56 within a threemile radius of the hotel. The Atlanta Event Center at Opera is one of the hottest special-event facilities in town; the 1920s opera house-cum-dance

S OUTHERN C HARM M EETING S AVVY Make the perfect first impression with our exquisite top floor meeting space overlooking downtown Atlanta. • Conveniently located in Midtown Atlanta • Can accommodate groups from 10 to 150 people • Hilton Honors meeting planner points proudly accepted

Please contact Tyler Morgan at tyler.morgan@hilton.com or at (404) 565-0023 to book your meeting!

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club has a dramatic main lounge/ dance floor area flanked by balconies, a patio and other gathering areas.

Want to surround your group with culture?

The High Museum of Art has a dramatic lobby, galleries and atrium spaces designed by Richard Meier and Renzo Piano. All are popular venues for banquets and receptions. Other venues include theater and classroom space. Exhibits range from retrospectives of famous artists, such as Salvador Dali, to innovative explorations of modern design in objects not typically considered art, like automobiles. You’ll find a bright and airy alternative in Atlanta Ballet’s 55,000-sq. ft. LEEDcertified Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre. It houses five state-ofthe-art dance studios, a student library and a physical therapy room. It has functional event space, free on-site parking and in-house audiovisual assistance.

clubs along Crescent Avenue (South City Kitchen, Sutra Lounge). For fine Asian cuisine, Nan offers elegant surroundings, excellent food and private group dining.

Want to roll out the red carpet?

The historic Georgian Terrace Hotel has housed Calvin Coolidge, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Clark Gable. Its amenities include grand ballrooms, banquet halls, patio dining and multi-bedroom

suites. Across the street is Atlanta’s theatrical treasure, the Fox Theatre, an atmospheric spot with a private stairway to its Egyptian Ballroom and Grand Salon event spaces, and an expansive marble entryway to its 5,000seat theater. The auditorium inside is designed to resemble a Moorish castle courtyard with twinkling stars and clouds that move across the ceiling’s “sky.” Tours are available.

Want spa packages?

Spa Sydell has six locations in the metro area, including Midtown. It offers gentlemen’s services as well as a full spa menu for women, and can arrange on-site corporate spa parties or bring a mobile spa to hotels and events.

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Want group dining?

Gordon Biersch, within walking distance of the Fox Theatre and Midtown hotels, is housed in an airy industrial-looking space that has a patio and a mezzanine party loft (capacity: 150) with a dedicated bar, an enclosed meeting room and several pool tables. The entire restaurant can be booked for gatherings of up to 450 people. Concentrics Restaurants, the group behind hot Midtown restaurants ONE. midtown kitchen, TWO urban licks and Tap, has private dining areas at each location. Many Atlantic Station restaurants can accommodate large groups. Shout, near the Woodruff Arts Center, is a popular local hangout with a hopping patio. Also, check out the stretch of restaurants and

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Douglasville WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU Douglasville, founded in 1875, is a well-preserved and thriving turnof-the-century railroad town nestled along the tracks of the Norfolk-Southern Railway. Its commercial district displays such architectural styles as Victorian, Queen Anne, Craftsman and Romanesque and more, and the city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the buildings house shops, businesses and restaurants. A self-guided, historic walking tour is available through the Welcome Center. Douglasville offers Southern smalltown charm but is just 20 miles from downtown Atlanta and considered part of the metro area. It's easily accessible via I-20 and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL). Groups can take day trips to the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta or the World of Coca-Cola, but Six Flags over Georgia, Sweetwater Creek State Park and Arbor Place Mall are much closer attractions. With the opening of the new Douglasville Downtown Conference Center, near the existing conference building, this small town will boast two full-service meeting centers with a total of 47,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

Want to mix the modern with old-town charm?

Want a memorable meal function?

How about high tea or a garden party at Le Jardin Blanc? This graciously

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Despite its metropolitan proximity, Douglasville, just 20 miles west of Atlanta, maintains its oldtown charm in areas such as this on Price Avenue.

proportioned 1868 home on an 11-acre estate is a full-service event center with a Southern traditional touch. The formal gardens with fountains, walks and statuary offer a natural setting for open-air affairs and can hold 500-plus. or more. The Roberts-Mozley House (1901), now home to the Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville/Douglas County, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its sweeping veranda, heart-ofpine floors and stained-glass front doors welcome permanent and traveling art exhibits, literary readings, concerts and

art classes. Groups of up to 200 can rent the space on evenings and weekends. The four ballrooms of The Centre @ Arbor Connection host banquets, meetings and special events. The Centre can serve 400 seated, or 600 heater-style. The venue is owned by the award-winning Sam and Rosco’s Restaurant, which caters an Italian-inspired menu. For something more casual, try the upstairs dining room with a full-service bar at Irish Bred Pub and Restaurant. The staff can serve a buffet of Irish favorites or guests (up to 150) can order from the menu.

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The Douglasville Downtown Conference Center, in the historic business district, blends elegance with 21st-century technical capabilities. Its features include a 7,672-sq. ft. ballroom that holds 600 and can be divided into five rooms; a 150-seat auditorium, a 15-person boardroom, three meeting rooms and a spacious terrace overlooking the downtown district. Parking in an attached 300-car deck is complimentary. Nearby O’Neal Plaza, with its pavers and brick-tiered fountain, can be booked for outside concerts or events for up to 200 guests. About 1,800 hotel rooms are nearby and shuttle service can be arranged.


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Lake Country WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU Georgia’s Lake Country encompasses the historic communities of Eatonton, Milledgeville, Greensboro and Madison. Golf Digest has named the area one of the best golf destinations in the world, and all three of the magazine’s Top 3 Georgia courses are here. Major meeting facilities are found at The Lodge on Lake Oconee, Cuscowilla and Reynolds Plantation.

Want to meet by the water?

Cuscowilla on Lake Oconee has a conference center that caters to corporate retreats and groups of up to 120 as well as multi-bedroom lake villas. The Lodge on Lake Oconee in Eatonton has 81 guest rooms, 40 of which have lake views. A boardroom by the lobby and a larger, 1,250-sq. ft. meeting and event room can be configured to meet most groups’ needs. The Ritz-Carlton has more than 15,000 square feet of meeting space that can accommodate up to 450 people.

Want groups to get active?

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History is part of daily life in Madison, where you'll find the Joshua Hill House. Local lore says this is the house that Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman found “too pretty to burn.”

Want to make a big impression?

A Southern Living Idea House on the Cuscowilla campus has a helicopter pad and private boat dock so you can shuttle guests to and fro like VIPs.

Want a small-town setting?

Festival Hall, in historic downtown Greensboro, is a flexible 4,550-sq. ft. auditorium, seats up to 548 people and includes a raised stage. Milledgeville’s Centennial Center Complex is a

97,000-sq. ft. multipurpose facility that can accommodate large functions with fixed seating for 4,000 or smaller banquets or gatherings. In addition to three full-sized basketball court areas, there are three meeting room/classrooms with seating capacity for 20 to 40 people. Other unusual Milledgeville venues include Lockerly Arboretum, the Old Governor’s Mansion and Georgia Military College. Madison has the Morgan County African American

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Float, fish, paddle and team-build on one of Georgia’s great lakes. Lake Oconee has 374 miles of shoreline, plus three 85-acre parks positioned around the 19,050-acre lake. Lawrence Shoals, Old Salem and Park’s Ferry all have full-service campgrounds and dayuse areas. Each has a picnic pavilion that can host groups of 30 or more. In addition, all three have playgrounds, boat ramps and a beach complete with a beach house with restrooms and dressing areas. Oconee hosts a huge and healthy largemouth bass population as well as hybrids and crappie, making it a destination for sports fishing buffs and groups. Seven marinas on the lake and inlets rent boats and sell supplies, bait and Georgia fishing licenses (required). Aaron Batson’s Bass Fishing Guide Service can host corporate events and groups on one boat or multiple boats. Lake Sinclair, Oconee’s sister lake, has 417 miles of shoreline. Lake Sinclair is one of Georgia’s most popular boating and fishing areas, with a beach and park. Wildwood Park has horseback trails and beaches.


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THE BIG 3 Cuscowilla, the Lodge on Lake Oconee and Reynolds Plantation are the area’s major meeting facilities. Some facts: • 4 rooms in the Cuscowilla Conference Center. Maximum capacity: 120 Accommodations in 1-, 2- or 3-bedroom cottages or villas. • 81 guests rooms at the Lodge on Lake Oconee. Flexible 1,250-sq. ft. meeting/boardroom. • Rooms, suites and cottages available at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation. 18,000 square feet of indoor meeting and banquet space. The Lake Oconee course is considered one of the Top 3 golf courses in the state of Georgia.

Museum, the Madison Museum of Fine Art, Heritage Hall and The Rogers House/Rose Cottage.

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Want literary attractions?

Andalusia, the final home of writer Flannery O’Connor, is now a literary center and house museum that hosts lectures, book signings and other special events near Milledgeville. The farm inspired many details in O’Connor’s

work. Its front lawn is available for private events and tours are available by appointment. Eatonton is the birthplace of Joel Chandler Harris, a newspaperman best known for his “Uncle Remus” stories. A museum dedicated to Harris’ books, which have never gone out of print, is a popular destination for European and Russian travelers. It sells several non-dialect and foreign language versions of his tales.

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Want golf or corporate retreats? Cuscowilla in Eatonton is home to Golfweek’s No. 1 “Best Course You Can Play in Georgia.” Amenities include the Lynn Blake Golf Academy, which has indoor/outdoor training facilities and a club lounge. The Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore-designed golf course traverses the center of the adjacent 700-acre resort, over meadowlands, through pine forests and along the banks of Lake Oconee.

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Savannah WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Savannah is a classic Southern city known for its pedestrian-friendly garden district, the Savannah College of Art & Design and its lively River Street entertainment district. Most hotels and special-event facilities have at least 10,000 square feet of space; additional accommodations are available in bedand-breakfast inns. Tybee Island, a short drive from downtown Savannah, is a laid-back fishing village with beautiful beaches, beachside accommodations, meeting venues and the area’s best seafood restaurants.

Want historic accommodations?

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Offering new southern cuisine in Savannah’s only 18th century mansion, The Old Pink House restaurant has outdoor dining and nightly entertainment.

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU The convention and visitors bureau provides complimentary ground shuttle service (up to 10 hours per day) for qualifying groups. For a day trip, optional activity or spousal trip, ferries run from Savannah to Hilton Head Island.

iincluding a 1,650-sq. ft. ballroom. The downtown SpringHill Suites Savannah Downtown/Historic District has free Internet, two meeting rooms and 160 suites.

Want to get cultural?

The Savannah College of Art & Design operates the SCAD Museum of Art and several galleries. The Pinnacle Gallery features the work of superstars like Andy Warhol alongside SCAD students and up-and-coming regional artists. The Pei Ling Chan Gallery and Garden for the Arts showcases work in a variety of media; the garden has an intimate, 90-seat amphitheater. The Chroma Gallery has exhibits from jewelry and glass artists, photographers and painters. City Market Street has several galleries, including the funky A.T. Hun International Gallery, the Thomas

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The Historic Hilton Savannah DeSoto Hotel has 246 guest rooms that include complimentary wireless and in-room coffee makers. Its 19,000 square feet of flexible meeting space can accommodate anything from small board meetings to receptions for up to 850. Groups of 25 or less can use the DeSoto’s E-events link to plan online. Hilton Garden Inn Savannah Midtown has complimentary parking, high-speed Internet and economyfriendly banquet menus. Other amenities include 132 guest rooms (76 with two beds) and a 3,182-sq. ft. meeting room. The 120-room Hampton Inn and Suites Savannah Midtown is a few miles from Tybee Island, Savannah’s historic district, and more than 100 stores and restaurants. Amenities include 2,000 square feet of meeting space, complimentary hot breakfast, Wi-Fi and parking. The Hilton Garden Inn Savannah Historic District has complimentary Internet and is steps from the city’s most famous attractions. The hotel also offers video conferencing and video messaging, complimentary printing services, 133 guest rooms and a 1,144-sq. ft. meeting room. The 150-room Doubletree Hotel Historic Savannah is also near the city’s major attractions. Perks include government rates, free Internet and 3,310 square feet of meeting space,


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THE 411

BALLASTONE INN; SAVANNAH INT'L TRADE & CONVENTION CENTER

• 330,000 total square feet in the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center • 25,000 square feet of exhibit space in the Savannah Civic Center • 10,000+ hotel rooms • 3,300 guest rooms in the historic district • 30+ golf courses within a half-hour of downtown • 13 rooms for computer labs, meetings, conferences and events at the Coastal Georgia Center

Kinkade Gallery, and The Gallery and the Silversmith Shop. Groups can explore the working art studios of 35 artists in the market’s art center.

Want group dining?

The Lady & Sons is the buffet-centric restaurant of Food Network star and prolific cookbook author Paula Deen. Elizabeth on 37th Street is famous for its service and upscale cuisine. The Old Pink House Restaurant is a favorite named after its historic location. River Street has several

Quaint bed-and-breakfasts such as the Ballastone Inn keep Savannah’s Historic District vibrant, showcasing some of the country’s oldest and most well-kept mansions; Savannah International Trade & Convention Center is a state-of-the-art venue.

waterfront restaurants including the Chart House and Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub & Restaurant. The Sentient Bean is a hip coffeehouse with a performance space that seasts 100, an art gallery and a funky outdoor courtyard. City Market has casual indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants such as Vinnie Van GoGo’s and Belford’s Savannah. The Crab Shack has been voted “Best Seafood Restaurant” by Connect Savannah readers since 1998; its Gator Deck (with a view of 78 live alligators) is available for private parties.

Want a dramatic venue?

The renovated Lucas Theatre for the Arts, operated by SCAD, has film series, concerts and theater, and the occasional film and music festival. Drag legend (and scene-stealing personality from “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”) Lady Chablis performs at Club One and is available for special events. The club also has cabaret shows, pool tables, DJ music, video games, karaoke nights and a hot dance floor.

the best meetings in

S ava n n a h Start Here …When you let us do all the work! We take the work out of planning, so book your next meeting with StayInSavannah.com. • • • •

Interactive Meeting Room Planner Easy Request for Proposal Process Dedicated Conference and Service Manager DOUBLE Hilton HHonors Planner Points with the mention of this ad Please contact Becky Sterrett at becky.sterrett@hilton.com or at (912) 790-4703 to book your meeting! SIS06

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Valdosta WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Valdosta is halfway between Atlanta and Orlando on I-75, which makes it a convenient drive-in destination for groups from Alabama, Georgia and Florida, especially if they’re minding their budgets. Traditional convention facilities are available in the 47,000-sq. ft. James H. Rainwater Conference Center. Valdosta is a particularly attractive destination for sports events; the city has many facilities and is known as Winnersville because of its legendary Valdosta High School Wildcats football team.

Want a one-stop venue?

The James H. Rainwater Conference Center has 28,000 square feet of indoor exhibit, meeting, banquet and reception space, including two boardrooms and a covered outdoor patio that overlooks a cypress pond. Its 11,000-sq. ft. exhibit hall seats up to 650 for banquets and holds up to 62 booths; an additional 58 booths can be accommodated in the prefunction and hallway areas. Parking and Wi-Fi access are complimentary. Two hotels adjoin the center: the eco-friendly 132-room Wingate by Wyndham and the 184-room Hampton Inn & Suites Valdosta/Conference Center.

Want to surround your group with culture?

Want evening entertainment?

Broadway touring shows perform at the Mathis Auditorium. The Theatre Guild of Valdosta does shows for adults

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The James H. Rainwater Conference Center’s 4,000-sq. ft. covered patio overlooks a cypress pond. Exposed trusses and high ceilings are features of its exhibit and pre-function areas.

THE 411 • 11,000-sq. ft. exhibit hall in James H. Rainwater Conference Center • 3,490 hotel rooms • Best values from August to April

and children at the historic ’Dosta Playhouse. Valdosta State University contributes to the cultural life of the city with its Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Steel Drum Band, Chamber Singers and Peach State Summer Theatre. Planners can

create a pub crawl through the historic Remerton Mill Village, now home to specialty shops, bars and restaurants.

Want group activities?

Golf outings at Kinderlou Forest or Stone Creek Golf Course can include meal functions. Groups can explore the wetlands of the Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area by boat or canoe; the area also is open to fishing and hunting. Hunting and related recreational activities are available at Olympia Bend Plantation and the Indianola Shooting Preserve. Other activities include golfing, walking

VALDOSTA LOWNDES CONCENTION & TOURISM AUTHORITY

The 17,000-sq. ft. Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts has five galleries for seminars or receptions, a sculpture garden, a commercial kitchen, and art, yoga and cooking classes that planners can use for teambuilding or spousal programs. First Fridays bring art lovers, vendors, guest artists and musical acts to the historic downtown area, and are an interesting backdrop for progressive events or dinners. Every third Friday is Art After Dark — galleries stay open late and food vendors representing a range of culinary options, from barbecue to fine dining, take to the streets.


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WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU The James H. Rainwater Conference Center’s full-service in-house catering team is led by a fourstar celebrity chef who has worked for Paul Newman, Louis Gossett Jr. and Angela Bassett. In addition to a vibrant arts and culture scene, there are four historic districts. All attractions and off-site venues are within 10 to 15 minutes of the center. National Geographic Adventure named Valdosta one of its best adventure towns. Groups meeting here are close to quail hunting plantations and rivers to kayak or fish as well as state parks and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

VALDOSTA/LOWNDES COUNTY CVB

the azalea trail (March through May citywide), and visiting Wild Adventures or Splash Island amusement parks.

Want group dining?

306 North can put together wine-andcheese tastings for groups up to 60 people, and serves upscale Southern food and sushi in its main dining room. It’s part of a full-service event production

Wild Adventures, a family-owned theme park, offers thrill rides and all-you-can-eat catering packages; the Cresent House, which dates back to 1898, is available for high teas.

company that has a catering division, Covington’s Dining & Catering, and an event rentals company, Covington’s Party Rentals. Two Friends Café & Market has a private dining room for small breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings. The Crescent House is available for high teas; it seats up to 150.

Want to break out of the boardroom?

Wild Adventures is one of the Top 50 family-owned theme parks in the United States. It has several all-you-can-eat catering packages for group events of

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up to 10,000 attendees. Special add-ons give planners the option to have groups feed giraffes or lorikeets. Experienced animal trainers can introduce guests to other exotic animals. The downtown area has more than 50 historic sites, including the 1898 Crescent House and Gardens, which has a circular veranda with 13 columns representing the original American colonies, and the neoclassical Converse-DaltonFerrell House. Reach for the stars with a reception held at the Valdosta State University Planetarium.

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Las Vegas WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Las Vegas is a first-tier destination that hosts more than 20,000 conventions annually. The city continues to reinvent itself with luxury casino resorts, high-end retail outlets, headlining acts and excellent dining options. Although the city is best known for attracting colossal conventions, there are several properties that cater to small groups needing 5,000 square feet or less. Some of the world’s largest hotels (according to room count) are on the Strip, a four-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard. The Las Vegas Monorail links eight resorts to the Las Vegas Convention Center along the east side of the Strip.

Want to go green in the desert?

Want to give back in a world-class setting?

Internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry designed the jaw-dropping Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, a dramatic event facility next to a treatment and research center for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS. The contemporary space can support up to 700 people inside and out, and is equipped with the Rolls Royce of A/V and lighting systems and near-perfect

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Located in classic downtown Las Vegas, this five-block pedestrian promenade features Viva Vision -- the largest big screen on the planet -- with nightly state-of-the-art light and sound shows.

acoustics. Wolfgang Puck designed the hotel-size kitchen and oversees catering. The architectural details are startling, from the undulating Gaudiesque exterior to the 199 windows, each a different size. All event proceeds support the center’s research mission.

Want just one location? South Point Casino Hotel & Spa is minutes from the Strip, but you never have to see it to hold your event, teambuild, dine or have a little fun. South

Point has 2,163 rooms, a 71,000-sq. ft. conference meeting space, a 4,600-seat arena, 10 restaurants and seven bars/ lounges. And that’s not all. Let your attendees wind down at the fitness center or one of the on-site movie theater’s 16 screens, or let them indulge in a little friendly competition at the 64-lane bowling center. The Aria Resort & Casino has 300,000 square feet of versatile meeting and event space spread throughout 34 meeting rooms, four ballrooms and a chapel. The resort’s

LAS VEGAS NEWS BUREAU

The MGM Grand, recipient of a 5 Green Key rating for sustainable meeting practices, has 602,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including its 92,000-sq. ft. pillar-free Marquee ballroom. The Signature at the MGM Grand has 4,000 square feet of configurable meeting space and an emphasis on serving groups of 10 to 80 guests. The Springs Preserve, an oasis three miles from the famous Las Vegas Strip, is a 180-acre cultural and historical attraction on the site of once-fertile desert springs and an early Mormon settlement. It’s LEED Platinum-certified and home to trails, two museums (including the Nevada State Museum) and botanical gardens. Team-build with a 5K run/walk within view of the Strip’s skyline. Catering comes compliments of a division of the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas.


Don’t know where to turn for help with an upcoming meeting? PlanYourMeetings.com is here for you 24/7. PlanYourMeetings.com is here for you 24/7. Whether you want to research potential destinations, need advice on a specific topic, have to book a venue ASAP or just want to see what kind of resources are available, we’ve got your back.

PlanYourMeetings.com/ resources-for-meeting-planners/

We’re always open. Our Services are always free.

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guest rooms offer options for gathering: Rooms of up to 2,000 square feet are available, as are 7,000-sq. ft. Sky Suites.

Want plenty of choices?

Caesars Entertainment has eight properties that work as one: Bally’s, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, The Quad, Paris, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, and Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Together they offer more than 1 million square feet of meeting space, more than 23,000 rooms/suites, and a long list of dining, gaming and other entertainment options. Here’s a quick rundown: Bally’s — 2,814 guest rooms and 175,000 square feet of meeting space; Caesars Palace — 3,348 rooms/ suites and 300,000 square feet of meeting space; The Flamingo — 3,460 rooms/suites and 73,000 square feet of meeting space; Harrah’s — 2,250 rooms/ suites and an entire conference level measuring 25,000 square feet; The Quad — 2,640 rooms/suites and 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting space; Paris — 2,916 rooms/suites with marble baths plus 140,000 square feet of meeting space; Planet Hollywood — meeting venues that range from 10-person executive boardrooms to 88,000 square feet of pre-function and meeting space; Rio — 2,500-plus suites and more than 160,000 square feet of meeting space. The Cosmopolitan, a hipster enclave with 150,000 square feet of meeting space, provides an army of conference curators to smooth the way. Look for sophisticated A/V technology tools including video playback, multiple computer switching, laptop audio, wireless mix and more. The hotel’s vertical design is a switch from many of the massive Vegas resorts, where walking for miles is common. A multi-pool “district” is ideal for outdoor functions. The property also has 16 restaurants and lounges that provide diverse backdrops for receptions and parties. The Chandelier may be the most dramatic.

Want to mix business and pleasure?

Black Canyon River Adventures is not far from the Vegas Strip but worlds away in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Take your team on the water below the Hoover Dam and get a unique view of the new Colorado

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The lights never seem to go out at Las Vegas’ casinos, hotels and meeting venues, whether you’re inside or out, watching water dance through the air at an illuminated fountain, or seeing the reflections at Sin City’s surprisingly peaceful waterfront.

River bridge (900 feet above). Chartered craft can fit 25 or more, and guides can take groups up to 300 for custom tours on the Colorado River. For the ultimate team-building activity, try the exhilaration of Sky Combat Ace, the brainchild of retired Air Force pilot Richard Coe. It includes flying a plane (with an experienced fighter pilot on dual controls) and taking off for an aerial dogfight against a colleague. Groups can take over the airplane hanger, equipped with big-screen TVs and a pool table, and watch themselves on video. You’ll find it at Henderson Executive Airport, 15 minutes from the Strip. The airport includes a small flight museum and a full bar. Amusement Masters has a large inventory of indoor and outdoor amusements and games, from familiar favorites to high-tech interactive simulators and

THE 411 • 10.5+ million square feet of meeting, exhibit and trade-show space citywide • 3.2 million square feet of meeting and convention space at the Las Vegas Convention Center • 150,000 guest rooms • 1,500+ restaurants, most within walking distance of hotels • 202,362 slot machines

green screens. It can provide services for corporate events, theme parties and team-building, centered around arcade, casino or sports games, zip lining, green screen photo imaging, virtual reality simulators, karaoke, inflatables, Xbox, Wii or Playstation 3 kiosks or good old-fashioned pool tables, LED dance floors or laser tag.

IMAGE(S) LICENSED BY INGRAM IMAGE

Want the trendiest of the trendy?


NEVADA

Want to team-build on skis or in a yurt?

That’s right, near Vegas. Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort in Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, about an hour outside the city, has three chairlifts and 16 runs traversing Mount Charleston (11,918 feet) and 11,308 Lee Peak (11,308 feet). Swoosh down runs named Bimbo, Slot Alley and Keno, or head to an open terrain park for skiers and snowboarders. If you’re game, you can ski and meet in a heated yurt by day, then descend to the valley for dining and shows by night. Group packages include all gear — even skiwear. Open year-round, the resort’s base elevation of 8,510 feet guarantees a 30-degree temperature drop, so when it’s 110 on the Strip, here you’re breathing pine-scented, 80-degree air.

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Want a destination location?

Ravella, a luxury hotel, shopping, spa and casino complex in Lake Las Vegas/ Henderson, rises incongruously from the desert landscape like a transplanted Mediterranean village. It opened in February 2010, replacing a failed Four Seasons, and is 15 miles from the

McCarran International Airport (LAS). One cool feature: a man-made lake. Meeting-site options include a yacht for up to 100, a Florentine garden (yoga optional), and 55,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.

Want gourmet with a view?

In a city full of great restaurants, Alize manages to stand out from the crowd. Chef Andre Rochat’s French restaurant in the Palm Hotel delivers glittering 56th-floor views from 16-foot floor-toceiling windows in a jewel box of a dining room. Alize has private rooms for 10 to 60; the main dining room can double as a banquet space for private events (130 seated, 180 reception-style). The 7,500-bottle wine cellar includes an aged cognac collection. Save this spot for your VIPs.

Want state-of-the art meat and greet?

The Fogo de Chao (fo-go DEE shoau) Brazilian steakhouse off the Strip was designed with group business in mind. Nine configurable rooms can handle 40 to 200; weekend afternoon buyouts

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for up to 400 are an option. Extras: Soundproofing in all meeting rooms and no extra charge for A/V. Gaucho servers grill everything from ribeye steaks to sausages and present them on swords. The all-you-can-eat philosophy, along with a 350-label wine list and expansive buffet, brings value to the table for $44.50 per person at dinner, $26.50 at lunch.

Want a ‘suite’ non-gaming venue?

The modern Platinum Hotel is an oasis of calm just off the busy Strip. In a town where bigger is never big enough, this nonsmoking all-suite property delivers thoughtful service in an intimate, boutique setting. Groups of 24 to 300 are accommodated in boardroom-style meeting rooms, most with natural light, and in an indoor/outdoor rooftop ballroom with an expansive view of the Strip. This is an ideal choice for groups intent on a private and focused setting. The amenities: free Internet and gym access, an on-site spa, a breakfast and lunch restaurant, and the Stir Lounge, a locals’ favorite for happy-hour nibbles and drinks.

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NEVADA

Reno WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Reno is much more than Nevada’s other gambling city. It has natural attractions, a downtown Riverwalk, a family-friendly vibe, cultural amenities and budget-friendly rates. Reno’s casino resorts are one-stop destinations with multiple dining venues, theaters for evening entertainment, meeting space, full-service spas, group activities and hotel rooms under one roof. Major meeting venues include the 500,000-sq. ft. Reno-Sparks Convention Center, the 118,000-sq. ft. Reno Events Center and the 32,700-sq. ft. Reno Ballroom.

Want unusual venues?

The National Automobile Museum is one of the nation’s Top 10 car museums. Its meeting space holds groups up to 1,200, while an on-site theater accommodates 157. The Wilbur D. May Center holds groups of up to 200, and has a garden courtyard, a room overlooking the arboretum and a private room off the courtyard. The center is home to a museum, gardens and a family fun park. Fleishmann Planetarium & Science Center at the University of Nevada-Reno has meeting space, large-format film screenings, hands-on exhibits and a domed digital star show.

Want to do work and give back?

Want adventurous activities?

Several ski and snowboard resorts are within an hour’s drive. Planners can take attendees snowmobiling or crosscountry skiing; transportation options include sleigh rides and dog sleds. In warmer months, attendees can raft, canoe or kayak down the Truckee River, which runs through downtown Reno and downtown Sparks. The Reno-Sparks area has more than 50 golf courses within a 90-minute drive. According to local

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The Reno-Sparks Convention Center has 500,000 square feet of meeting space.

lore, the high altitude causes golf balls to fly 10 percent farther here than in less mountainous regions.

Want to please high-rollers?

The AAA Four-Diamond Atlantis Casino Resort & Spa has doubled its space with completion of a $100 million renovation. The venue now offers 50,000 square feet of flexible meeting space that can accommodate groups of 15 to 1,500. It has meeting and convention facilities,

two ballrooms with pre-function space, breakout rooms, a high-tech executive ballroom, an expanded business center, and professional banquet and catering services. Plus, it's the only resort connected to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. The Peppermill Hotel & Casino also is impressive, with 106,000 square feet of meeting space. A $400 million, Tuscan-themed expansion added gambling areas, meeting space, luxury suites and dining venues.

RENO TAHOE MEDIA

The Lake Mansion has five event rooms, a contemporary gathering space and an 800-sq. ft. pavilion. The historic home holds groups up to 150 and is home to VSA arts of Nevada, a nonprofit that helps the disabled and abled explore the arts in a positive environment. Meetings here support restoration efforts.


Distinctly Four Diamond. Atlantis is an award-winning conference facility. State-of-the-art technology in each meeting room gives you complete control. Atlantis offers professional expertise and resources to make your next event or conference a big success. 50,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space | Reno’s only resort connected to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center via Sky Bridge | Eight award-winning restaurants | Top ten spa in the world* Reno’s only Concierge Hotel Tower Book your next meeting or conference with confidence. Please call for our FAM specials. Contact our experienced sales staff 800.994.5900, sales@atlantiscasino.com Stay. Dine. Spa. Play. In Four Diamond luxury.

Winner of SpaFinder’s Readers’ Choice Award, Best Casino Hotel Spa.

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every player’s paradise.

SM

3800 S. Virginia Street | Reno NV 89521 | 800.723.6500 | atlantiscasino.com |


NEW YORK

New York WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW In the City That Never Sleeps, visitors can be on the move 24 hours a day. By night or day, attendees can walk, ride a public bus or subway, take the ferries, or hail a bright yellow-and-black checkered taxi to desired destinations. New York has five boroughs — Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island — each with its own sense of community. The most recognized is Manhattan, which has several neighborhoods, including the Upper West Side, the East Village, Midtown, NoLita, the Upper East Side, Lower Manhattan, the Financial District, Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, SoHo and TriBeCa.

Want the best of old and new?

More than a dozen properties are within their first few years of business, including the Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn, Mondrian SoHo, Four Points by Sheraton Long Island City, Nolitan, Hyatt 48Lex, Z Hotel, Aloft New York Brooklyn Hotel, Yotel Hotel, New York Times Square West, the Hotel Americano, Flatiron Hotel, Conrad New York and TRYP New York City. Expect to see the results of renovations and/or redesigns at the Sheraton New York, the Roosevelt, the Moderne and the Grand Hyatt.

Want to meet in the heart of the city?

Want to team-build?

The Go Game, whose motto is “Play Like It’s Your Business,” stages technology-fueled, interactive activities that use city sites as the “playing board.” Choose your activity (scavenger hunt, for example) and locale — Midtown, TriBeCa, the West Village, Grand Central Station, Union Square. Team Craft provides workshops and activities

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One World Trade Center, originally named the Freedom Tower, dominates the new World Trade Center complex. At 1,776 feet tall (including the spire), the 104-story skyscraper is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and fourth-tallest building in the world.

including City Sleuths, a riddle-solving exercise in which participants compete to score points by finding answers to riddles throughout Greenwich Village. The Improv does comedy shows for corporate events to build teamwork among co-workers or attendees.

Want to tour the 9/11 sites?

The NYC Freedom Tour provides bus tours, walking tours and boat cruises around the site, focusing on the Statue of

Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, the history of the 9/11 attacks, Wall Street, Trinity Church, St. Paul’s Chapel and the Brooklyn Bridge. Tribute World Trade Center’s walking tours are led by people whose lives were profoundly changed by 9/11 (survivors, lower Manhattan residents, recovery workers, volunteers who assisted in recovery, and family members). Each tour is unique and connects those who want to hear stories with those who want to share them.

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The Omni Berkshire Place at East 52nd Street and Madison Avenue is within walking distance of Broadway theaters, Midtown shopping and Grand Central Station. The 396-room hotel has 11 meeting rooms that range from 110 square feet to 1,245 square feet. Have health-conscious attendees? The hotel offers Get Fit in-room service.


WANTED: Do you frequently attend our LIVE events, share PlanYourMeetings.com stories with your friends and save copies of our annual magazine? You might be a PYM AllStar! PYM AllStars convene monthly with other meeting planners to discuss hot meeting industry topics and share their views with the PYM editorial team. The perks include VIP treatment at events, social media and website shoutouts (if you’re not shy) and a super-sweet care package, courtesy of PYM.

Want to know more? Contact allstars@planyourmeetings.com or tweet @PYMLIVE. #yaypym

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NORTH CAROLINA

Charlotte WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW The Queen City has grown up a lot in the past few years, but it hasn’t lost its small-town heart. Planners will find one-of-a-kind cultural attractions as well as major sporting venues and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. If you haven’t been here recently, you won’t recognize the Center City district that has sprung up around the convention center. More than 200 restaurants, nightclubs, museums and historic sites are within walking distance of the center. A cultural corridor opened in Center City in early 2010, with a new performing arts venue, two art museums, an African-American cultural center, meeting space and more.

Want to be near it all?

Want group dining?

Chima Brazilian Steakhouse has private dining for small and large groups. Waiters dressed in traditional Brazilian gaucho attire, roam the restaurant, offering a selection of 16 rotisserie meats. For non-meat eaters, there’s a generous salad bar. At the King’s Kitchen, every meal purchased helps feed someone in need. The nonprofit is an outreach project of Restoration Word Ministries; 100 percent of its profits help feed the poor in Charlotte, the region and the world. The menu features Southern staples made with local and organic produce and meats. Carpe Diem Restaurant and Caterers has a private dining room for up to 38

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The Queen City: it’s known not just for NASCAR anymore. Charlotte ranks among the top 50 restaurant cities, the top 20 places for women, and the top 10 places for African-Americans to live, work and play.

guests and a menu of New American cuisine with international influences. The restaurant is available for buyouts all day Sundays and after 4 p.m. on other days. Off-site catering is available. Another fine-dining restaurant that caters off-site, Toscana Ristorante, serves authentic northern Italian cuisine. The restaurant seats 50 (100 for receptions) and has

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU Charlotte was named one of the “Top 50 Cities That Sizzle” by Nation’s Restaurant News Magazine for its vibrant array of dining and nightlife options. Black Enterprise named Charlotte one of the “Top 10 Cities for African-Americans to Live, Work and Play”; BET.com ranked it one of the best cities for African-American families. Ladies Home Journal ranked it one of the Top 20 cities for women based on criteria they say women care about most (crime, lifestyle, education, jobs, health, child care, politics and the economy).

a seasonal patio that seats another 50 people. Barrington’s, one of Charlotte’s most lauded restaurants, serves upscale American comfort food in a bistro setting that seats 45.

Want sports venues?

What’s your pleasure? Charlotte has the NFL (Carolina Panthers), NBA (Charlotte Bobcats) and minorleague hockey (Charlotte Checkers), Triple A baseball (Charlotte Knights) and NASCAR. Groups can reserve party suites and banquet facilities or hire sports figures for special events. Check with individual stadiums and team management offices for details. Charlotte also is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which has a 278-seat theater, 680-person Great Hall, 32,000-sq. ft. outdoor plaza and classroom space for 117 people. Cabarrus County, outside Charlotte, bills itself as the place “where racing lives.” It’s home to the Charlotte Motor

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The Westin Charlotte Hotel, next to the convention center, is an integral part of Uptown’s financial district and the Queen City skyline. It’s minutes from Bank of America Stadium, major headquarters such as Wells Fargo and Deloitte, and offers 44,000 square feet of meeting space. The 400-room Hilton Charlotte Center City is, as its name suggests, in the city center. The AAA Four-Diamond property is across from the convention center, near shopping and dining, and only 15 minutes from the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (CLT). Amenities include more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space, the Coastal Kitchen Restaurant, the Coastal Bar and access to the connected Childress Klein YMCA, the city’s largest private health club.


NORTH CAROLINA

Speedway, zMAX Dragway, Hendrick Motorsports and Kannapolis, from where legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. hails. The Cabarrus County CVB can help your group take advantage of all things with motors, and much more.

Want team-building?

VISIT CHARLOTTE / VISIT CABARRUS

Amusement Masters has a large inventory of indoor and outdoor amusements and games, from familiar favorites to high-tech interactive simulators and green screens. It can provide services for corporate events, theme parties and team-building. Events can center around arcade, casino or sports games, zip lining, green screen photo imaging, virtual reality simulators, karaoke, inflatables, Xbox, Wii or Playstation 3 kiosks or good oldfashioned pool tables, LED dance floors or laser tag.

Want to learn about the city?

Historian Tom Hanchett, from the Levine Museum of the New South, gives lighthearted lessons about local history and cultural quirks. The museum offers walking tours. Enjoy galleries, music and strolls through Charlotte’s

The Charlotte Convention Center has 280,000 square feet of exhibiton space; nearby Cabarrus County is the place “where racing lives.”

arty NoDa neighborhood (first and third Fridays). Historic South End’s gallery crawls are on the first Friday of every month. Tour the Carolina Raptor Center’s bird hospital and see firsthand what it takes to conserve birds of prey. Experience plantation life at the Latta

THE 411: • 280,000 square feet of exhibit space in the Charlotte Convention Center • 30,000+ hotel rooms • 4,100+ rooms within walking distance of the convention center

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Plantation and Nature Preserve. Groups also can explore Charlotte’s historic neighborhoods by trolley.

Want to make attendees feel like VIPs?

The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge, 18 miles south of downtown, is a Forbes Four-Star, AAA Four-Diamond, 200room hotel with 14 suites, a 36-room lodge and a four-bedroom cottage. The property has more than 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, including boardrooms, ballrooms, breakout rooms, atriums, event lawns and terraces for groups up to 400.

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Dallas-Fort Worth WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW People tend to think of this area as just being Dallas and Fort Worth, but planners who have investigated know that many of the metro area’s poshest resorts, largest meeting facilities, famous attractions and major sports venues are in the “smaller” surrounding towns. Because many of these communities flow together, several convention and visitors bureaus work together to promote North Texas as a whole.

Want high-tech surroundings?

The AT&T Plaza in Victory Park is an outdoor events venue surrounded by LED screens mounted on five-story glass buildings. Planners can use screens to brand events, show videos, make presentations, advertise sponsors or create a 360-degree environment of light and sound. The 342-room Hyatt Regency North Dallas, eight miles from downtown by the Richardson technology corridor, has 15,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 7,800-sq. ft. ballroom, a 2,700-sq. ft. ballroom and 4,000 square feet of pre-function space. The hotel is next to a DART light rail and commuter station, which connects attendees to major shopping/dining districts, the convention center and local attractions. White Bluff Resort, 90 minutes south of Dallas, overlooks Lake Whitney and is home to two championship four-star Golf Digest-ranked golf courses that consistently rate among the state’s best. Meeting space for up to 110 people is available in the conference center, which has a large outdoor terrace. In offers golf tournaments and lets planners buy allinclusive corporate meeting packages that include A/V, accommodations, room rental, meals and an on-site conference coordinator. Other resort amenities include a marina and spa.

Want a convention hotel?

The Hyatt Regency Dallas, next to the Dallas Convention Center and adjacent to Union Station, has held the AAA Diamond rating for

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more consecutive years than any other downtown convention hotel. Amenities include 1,120 guest rooms; 55,000 square feet of exhibit space and 25,000 square feet of pre-function space. There are 60 meeting rooms, including a 30,000-sq. ft. ballroom, a 19,400-sq. ft. ballroom, a 3,190-sq. ft. ballroom and breakout rooms with panoramic views of downtown Dallas.

Want attendees to feel like VIPs?

The Warwick Melrose Hotel has been a Dallas landmark since 1924. The AAA Four-Diamond award-winner has 184 guest rooms outfitted with plush beds and considerate touches such as multi-plug adapters on work desks and bathroom makeup tables.

A Presidential Suite and 21 suites are available. Meeting space includes a ballroom (capacity: 230 reception, 200 banquet), a boardroom, three breakout rooms and the Bridewell Suite, which holds up to 70 people. On-site dining includes the popular after-work bar The Library and the AAA Four-Diamond rated Landmark Restaurant, which is considered one of the city’s best. Minutes from high-end shopping district North Park Center, the Stoneleigh Hotel and Spa recently completed a $36 million renovation. The 170-room property has tribute suites honoring Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee; 6,000 square feet of meeting space; a full-service 5,200-sq. ft. spa; and a signature restaurant led by “Iron

EVAN CASEY

Venues at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden include a house on the lakefront.

Want to get away from it all?


MEET IN THE SOUTH CENTRAL. CELEBRATE WHEREVER. EARN UP TO 250,000 BONUS IHG® REWARDS CLUB POINTS!

With 18 locations spread out across the South Central, Crowne Plaza® hotels have your meetings covered. From Austin and Dallas to Oklahoma City and New Orleans, we’ll do everything we can to make your next meeting a success, including guarantee a response within two hours of your RFP. And with The Big Reward, if you book a qualified meeting by December 31, 2013 and hold it before January 31, 2014, you’ll earn up to 250,000 bonus IHG Rewards Club points. Now that’s cause for celebration. To submit an RFP or book a meeting at any of our Crowne Plaza hotels in the South Central, go to CrownePlaza.com/BigReward or call 1-800-MEETING.

CROWNEPLAZA.COM/BIGREWARD

1-800-MEETING

Meeting Planner and Referring Third Party must be members of IHG® Meeting Rewards prior to booking. Offer available at participating Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts properties in the U.S. and Canada for a qualified meeting. Qualified meeting must be booked by December 31, 2013 and conducted by January 31, 2014. A qualified meeting or group stay requires ten or more paid guest rooms for at least one peak night of the event and must include qualified catering/banqueting events. Subject to availability and blackout dates. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Not valid with group bookings affiliated with city-wide conventions. Planner must request bonus points offer and it must be recorded in the hotel sales contract at time of booking. IHG® Rewards Club is a registered trademark of Six Continents Hotels, Inc. ©2013 InterContinental Hotels Group. All rights reserved. Most hotels are independently owned and/or operated.

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TEXAS

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU Dallas is called “Big D” for a reason — it’s a Top 10 convention city — but it also has intimate venues, including an extensive collection of boutique hotels well-suited to smaller meetings and events. A flurry of activity throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area has added meeting facilities, hotels and entertainment districts. The Dallas Convention Center downtown has more than 1 million square feet of exhibit space; the Hall of State Building at Fair Park depicts the different regions found in Texas.

Want creative settings?

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden has multiple event venues, including the lakefront Alex Camp House, the 21,000-sq. ft. DeGolyer Estate and the 5,000-sq. ft. Rosine Hall. The Dallas Contemporary has 6,000 square feet of gallery space for meetings and lets groups hire outside caterers and suppliers and provide their own alcohol. Gilley’s Dallas is a 65,000-sq. ft. honky-tonk bar with five event areas that can accommodate up to 6,000 people. Plainly put, it’s classic Dallas, with live music, hearty food and plenty of room to dance (or meet).

Want to meet like royalty?

The 291-room Crowne Plaza Dallas Downtown is a short walk from the convention center and six miles from Love Field (DAL), with 30,000 square feet of meeting space. Also centrally

located is the 354-room Crown Plaza Market Center. It’s less than three miles from Love Field Airport and Dallas Market Center with easy access to major highways, corporate destinations, the World Trade Center, Dallas Convention Center and other attractions. All Crowne Plazas promise a two-hour “response guarantee” for space and date availability inquiries. A designated meeting director can assist with advance planning, last-minute changes and can help planners stay within budget with a daily debriefing. Crowne also gives discounts and bonuses through its loyalty program, Priority Club Meeting Rewards.

Want to meet amid history?

Fair Park, two miles east of downtown Dallas, has the largest collection of 1930s art deco exposition-style architecture in the United States. It covers 277 acres and is home to the State Fair of Texas. Indoor and outdoor venues include exhibit halls, a bandshell, a theater, several galleries and sports arenas. Fair Park also is home to museums and attractions that planners can use, including the Smithsonian-affiliated Women’s

Museum, the Museum of Nature & Science, the Texas Music Center and the Dallas World Aquarium. The Hall of State has a beautiful atrium with meeting and event space devoted to the different regions of Texas.

Want group dining?

The Hard Rock Café Dallas has a living museum of rock ’n’ roll memorabilia as well as two function spaces for music-themed meetings and events. The main café can accommodate 300 people buffetstyle and has an outdoor patio (capacity: 60 reception-style). Amenities at Ghostbar include audiovisual equipment, patio dining, bar and lounge areas, and private dining rooms. III Forks in North Dallas has one of the largest wine cellars in the state and serves Texas/ French cuisine; several private dining areas, including a courtyard and a piano bar, are available.

Want Texas-themed venues?

The Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture is housed in a restored 1892 courthouse building within walking distance of Dealey Plaza,

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is a hub for American Airlines and generally ranks eighth in the world in terms of passenger traffic. It even has its own ZIP code.

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DALLAS CVB

Chef” challenger David Bull. Built in 1912 and lovingly restored, the AAA Four-Diamond Adolphus Hotel has 422 guest rooms, including 139 suites. Its 5,300-sq. ft. ballroom, restaurants and event spaces evoke the grandeur of the Gilded Age.


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the West End Historic District and the convention center. Its meeting and event space is available in turrets, a great hall and the historic courtroom. Gilley’s Dallas is a 65,000-sq. ft. honky-tonk with five event areas accommodating up to 6,000 people. It’s classic Dallas, with live music, hearty food and plenty of room to dance (or meet). Circle R Ranch in Flower Mound has team-building programs, a roadhouse venue, a 5,000-sq. ft. conference center, an enclosed 28,000-sq. ft. pavilion and outdoor event space for up to 8,000 guests. Eddie Deen’s Ranch, on the south side of the convention center, accommodates up to 2,500 people in its Western-themed saloon, town hall and patio venues, and sells custom-fitted boots, cowboy hats and bandannas. Southfork Ranch, in nearby Plano, offers diverse meeting spaces that can accommodate groups of 10 to more than 1,000 on its 300 acres of groomed ranchland.

Want to meet by the airport?

major attractions, shopping and dining outlets, and central to both downtown Dallas and Fort Worth. The Grand Hyatt DFW is part of International Terminal D, so attendees can disembark from their flight and get right to business. Amenities at the 298-room property include a 6,600-sq. ft. ballroom, a 3,000-sq. ft. ballroom, 20 850-sq. ft. conference suites, 45 meeting rooms, a spa, a 24-hour rooftop fitness center and on-site dining. If more space and rooms are needed, the Hyatt Regency DFW, next to Terminal C, has 811 guest rooms and 92,000 square feet of renovated event space, including an executive

THE 411 • 203,000-sq. ft. exhibit hall in Dallas Convention Center • 182,266-sq. ft. exhibit hall in Fort Worth Convention Center • 7,500+ restaurants • 200+ golf courses • 70,000 guest rooms in greater Dallas • 11,000 guest rooms in Fort Worth • Best values from July through August

conference level. Meeting space includes a 21,000-sq. ft. ballroom, an 18,000-sq. ft. ballroom, 70 meeting rooms and 12 boardrooms.

DALLAS CVB/SOUTHFORK RANCH

The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is close to Grapevine’s

Dealey Plaza, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, is now a historic district; Plano’s Southfork Ranch, famous from the TV series “Dallas,” has event space.

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Grapevine WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Grapevine has small-town flair but with several full-service properties (including mega-resorts like Gaylord and Great Wolf), it’s no stranger to the meetings and convention industry. It’s close to the airport, located halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. A visitor shuttle provides all-day access to key areas of interest throughout the city for $5 per person and offers discounted group rates.

Want to make a big splash?

Great Wolf Lodge is known for its massive, 80,000-sq. ft. indoor waterpark, but it also offers more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space, 605 spacious rooms and complimentary Wi-Fi. Meeting venues include a 7,350sq. ft. ballroom (capacity: 500 banquet; 685 theater-style), two boardrooms and six breakout rooms. Outdoor function space also is available.

Want attendees to be VIPs?

Want group activities?

The Grapevine Wine Trail has eight wineries, some of which have meeting space and do custom bottle labeling, too. Lake Grapevine and Nash Farms lend themselves to outdoor events. The Historic District hosts many festivals and has shops, restaurants and a studio where attendees can watch glassblowing demonstrations at Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Gallery, which also has team-building packages.

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The Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center has 400,000 square feet of meeting space; its Glass Cactus is a 40,000-sq. ft. entertainment complex; City Hall hosts make-believe shootouts.

Want dramatic spaces?

The Glass Cactus at the Gaylord Texan is a 40,000-sq. ft. entertainment complex with four bars, a large dance floor and 13,000 square feet of patio space overlooking Lake Grapevine. The Palace Arts Center has two historic theaters, the Palace and the Lancaster, that are next door to each other. Meeting space includes a 435seat auditorium, a 180-seat performance room and indoor/outdoor event space.

Want to go beyond a boardroom? The Grapevine Vintage Railroad links Grapevine to Fort Worth with regular trips to the Stockyards. The train can be chartered for special events and parties. Consider booking a private room at a winery for a meal function, or treatment rooms at a day spa to pamper attendees. Three golf clubs and Lake Grapevine give groups opportunities to get outside and be active. In September, Grapefest

lets visitors stomp grapes (and win awards for their purple feet) at one of the largest wine festivals in the region.

Want Texas-themed events?

The Austin Ranch accommodates 50 to 1,000 people for private events; attractions include gunfight re-enactments, cookouts, live music, dancing, roping and kids’ activities. Cross Creek Ranch has a 4,000-sq. ft. party barn and a 2,000-sq. ft. covered patio deck.

Want shopping?

Grapevine Mills is an outlet center with brand-name merchandise at discount prices. Shops in the Historic District sell dolls, gifts, Americana and British imports. From March to November, the Grapevine Market is an open-air, European-style artisan market with vendors selling jewelry, fine art, home décor, antiques and specialty foods.

GRAPEVINE CVB

The 40-acre campus of the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center includes horseback-riding trails, indoor and outdoor pools, basketball and tennis courts, four restaurants and a fishing lake. Minutes from historic downtown Grapevine and the DFW International Airport, the property has 393 total rooms and an IACC-certified conference center with 63,000 total square feet of space, including a 14,400-sq. ft. exhibit hall, three amphitheaters and 26 meeting rooms. Team-building packages are available, and nearby attractions include wineries, Austin Ranch and the Grapevine Mills shopping center.


GRAPEVINETX THIS IS ONE IDEA EVERYONE WILL BE ON BOARD WITH.

Grapevine Vintage Railroad

ALL WITHIN 5 MINUTES OF DALLAS-FORT WORTH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. With meeting venues like vineyards and even a vintage excursion train, you know that Grapevine’s breakout sessions will have a little extra something that most others don’t. Let us tailor your meeting with breakout wine receptions on board the Grapevine Vintage Railroad to accommodate your group.

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OUR VID EO

11,000 area hotel rooms 800,000 sq. ft. of meeting space citywide Over 200 restaurants and fantastic shopping 81 holes of golf and idyllic day spas It’s the perfect balance of business and pleasure. A rare vintage served only in Grapevine. American Airlines Group & Meeting Travel is the official airline of the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau

Visit us at www.GrapevineTexasUSA.com or call toll-free 1-800-457-6338 TOC

A G E D T O P E R F E C T I O N®


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Plano WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Less than 30 minutes from downtown Dallas, and both DFW International and Love Field airports, Plano is a sophisticated destination known for easy highway access and its variety of shopping and dining options. The largest meeting facility, Plano Centre, is designed to accommodate up to 5,000 people. In addition to 86,400 square feet of indoor space, the center has an outdoor rose garden and courtyard function spaces. The vibrant Shops of Legacy complex is home to the Marriott Dallas/Plano at Legacy Town Center.

Want green meetings?

Want a Texas-sized space?

Plano Centre provides more than 100,000 square feet of rental space and an adaptable meeting area that includes 18 breakout rooms and a 21,600-sq. ft. column-free exhibition hall. And there’s more: a portable dance floor, bilevel load-in gates, in-house catering and a garden terrace. The Plano Centre, in the North Dallas Metroplex, can accommodate up to 5,000 attendees and offers free parking for up to 750 cars.

Want to leave the boardroom? The Angelika Film Center & Café is a five-screen boutique cinema with lounge/café space available for receptions and catered events. Two

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The Angelika cinema features luxurious, stadium-designed seating allowing for perfect sight lines from every seat. The screens are wall-to-wall, giving each auditorium a big screen presence.

auditoriums have all-leather seating and all screening rooms are available for seminars, corporate meetings or private screenings. Put attendees in touch with nature at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, a 200-acre park that spotlights several indigenous ecosystems. In has an event pavilion, hiking and biking trails, and an observation tower that lets attendees view Plano’s Blackland Prairie.

Want theatrical settings?

The Courtyard Theater in the Haggard Park Historic District is a 1938 Works Progress Administration project that was converted to a state-of-the-art performance facility in 1999. The Amphitheater at Oak

Pointe is a 1,000-person outdoor venue that provides a natural setting for presentations or performances.

Want group dining?

Maggiano’s Willow Bend, in the Shops at Willow Bend, serves authentic Italian cuisine family-style in banquet facilities that can accommodate groups up to 288. Seasons 52 offers seasonal menus of healthy and delicious cuisine and sweet, miniature “indulgences.” The restaurant has two 44-seat private dining rooms, a 700-sq. ft. patio and a chef’s table for 10. At Gordon Biersch, groups can tour the microbrewery and enjoy a beertasting menu. Semi-private meeting space is available, and groups can buy out the facility for brewers’ dinners.

FT WORTH CVB

If you’re looking for a fresh, eco-friendly venue in which to meet, team-build or celebrate achievements, Event 1013 is an engaging and unusual option. Its founders took the bones of a historic downtown store and converted it into a 4,000-sq. ft. event space that is open and modern but features many of the building’s original architectural accents. Technological amenities include 40 sets of electrified floor plugs for laptops or other electronic equipment, a professional sound system, Wi-Fi, a multimedia projector and video wall, an in-house photo studio and a sound system that can be hooked up to an iPod. It also has a full catering kitchen, valet parking, on-site recycling and a “living” wall of plants.


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1-800-81-plano • visitplano.com TOC


TEXAS

Granbury WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW The historic town of Granbury, 30 minutes from downtown Fort Worth and 60 minutes from the DFW Airport, is popular for corporate retreats and small groups, especially with social, military, education, religious and fraternal (SMERF) markets. Meeting space is available on the town square in restaurants, theaters and city hall, lakefront at the Inn on Lake Granbury (capacity: 50+) and the Lodge of Granbury (capacity: 200), and aboard the Granbury Riverboat (capacity: 100-120). The Granbury Resort Conference Center overlooks Lake Granbury. Amenities include state-of-the-art technology and access to boardwalk and beach function space.

Want dramatic venues?

Want group activities?

Take a 9.5-mile scenic drive through the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, populated with animals from the African savannah. Dining and lodging facilities also are available. The Windmill Farm is a bedand-breakfast offering guided tours of its 40-plus historic windmills. Barking Rocks Winery has a tasting bar, talks and tours. Its event space includes a renovated rock cattle barn with 1,350 square feet of climate-controlled space and a covered 80-ft. patio. Rhino Ridge Outfitters gives

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The Granbury Opera House dates to 1886 and is again a home for live entertainment.

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU Accommodations are available in more than 20 luxury bed-and-breakfast inns, which can help planners arrange transportation, dinners, theater excursions and group activities. Local legends tell how outlaws Jesse James and John Wilkes Booth faked their deaths and lived out their lives in town. Davy Crockett’s descendents still live here.

moonlight tours and trips on the Brazos River, and kayaking lessons on Lake Granbury. Eagle Flight Skydiving’s jump courses and skydives originate at the Granbury Municipal Airport.

Want evening entertainment?

The Granbury Opera House presents Broadway-style musicals and tribute shows. Management can help planners make hotel and restaurant reservations. Granbury Live produces

nostalgia concerts of music from the 1950s. Its 270-seat theater is next door to Celebration Hall, which is available for banquets, meetings, dances, themed events and receptions.

Want group dining?

The Merry Heart Tearoom accommodates groups up to 100 for afternoon teas and intimate lunches or dinners. Its sister restaurant, Stringfellows, serves steaks along with Tex-Mex dishes and has indoor and courtyard dining spaces. Also on the town square is the Nutt House Historic Hotel, which has a streetlevel restaurant, seven guest rooms and a massage room. Grumps offers “burgers, beverages and a good time”; other amenities include live music and a mobile kitchen, available for off-site catering. Harbor Lakes Golf Club has a waterfront bar and grill overlooking its golf course. At D’Vine Wine, groups can create custom wines and enjoy private wine-tasting parties.

GRANBURY CVB

The Inn on Lake Granbury is a venue with a view, the personality of a bedand-breakfast and the amenities of a boutique hotel. In addition to meeting facilities, your attendees can take advantage of the inn’s nearly three acres of landscaped gardens, flagstone saltwater pool and waterfall. The inn’s conference room can accommodate 50 or more, depending on its configuration, and has hosted sales meetings, executive retreats, Fortune 1000 business meetings, business startups and more. Or hold your meeting dockside or aboard the Granbury Riverboat, which also can be chartered for mystery, sightseeing and dinner cruises. The Brazos DriveIn Theatre is available for private movie screenings, award ceremonies and concerts Sunday through Thursday nights. The Hood County Jail and Museum was built in 1885 and still has its original cellblock and hanging tower.


meet and retreat

Meetings are more in Granbury, Texas. Stroll through the unique shops on the historic square, take a historic ghost tour, visit a local winery or taste a local brew. Granbury is more than a beautiful historic destination, our 20,000 sq. ft. Resort Conference Center located on Lake Granbury makes us the ideal choice for meetings, seminars and events. The Hilton Garden Inn is within walking distance. Scenic surroundings minutes from the Dallas-Fort Worth area! Call today to schedule your complimentary, customized site visit.

682.936.1200 www.granburytx.com LIKE US ON FACEBOOK Plan Your Meeting WORKING.indd 2

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TEXAS

Irving WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Irving is 15 minutes from DFW International Airport (DFW) and 20 minutes from Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL). The city is home to several fullservice meeting hotels, including the Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas and the Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas.

Want eco-friendly venues?

Want to shake up a meal?

Transport attendees through the Las Colinas Urban Center to a breakfast meeting or evening meal by gondola. The La Cima Club, atop Las Colinas, has views of the Dallas skyline from its banquet area and conference room.

Want high-tech amenities?

Texas Training and Conference Center has suites for PC-based seminars, and many hotels offer shuttles to and from

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The Irving Convention Center has won awards for its innovative and visually striking design.

the facility. Regus Group helps planners book meeting, conference and training space in full-service office complexes by the hour, half-day or day. ClubCorp Business Clubs have videoconferencing capabilities, e-lounges, workstations, and multimedia-capable meeting and conference rooms.

Want creative meeting facilities?

The Irving Arts Center has four galleries of contemporary and traditional art, a 10-acre outdoor sculpture garden, two theaters and classroom, reception, meeting and rehearsal facilities.

Want group activities?

Las Colinas Equestrian Center and Polo Club has horseback riding trails,

lessons, horse shows and polo matches from January to March and May to October. Two country clubs, Las Colinas and Hackberry Creek, have meeting and banquet space in addition to golf courses; the Four Seasons is home to the world-class TPC course. The Irving Heritage Society can arrange tours of historic homes and the downtown area, themed teas and educational programs.

Want to meet amid history?

The National Scouting Museum has a Norman Rockwell art gallery, virtualreality adventures, hands-on activities and exhibits on the history of the Scouting movement. Heritage Park has shade arbors, picnic areas, a gazebo, an antique caboose, and replicas of a settler cabin and a water tower.

IRVING CVB

Silver LEED certified with the U.S. Green Building Council, the architecturally stunning Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas is strategically designed to maximize energy and water efficiency. Meeting space includes a 50,000-sq. ft. columnfree exhibit hall, 20,000-sq. ft. grand ballroom, a 8,000-sq. ft. junior ballroom and 20 breakout rooms. The 200room, five-suite NYLO Dallas/Las Colinas purchases renewable energy credits to offset 100 percent of its energy consumption and uses lowwattage bulbs throughout the property. Meeting facilities include a 4,000-sq. ft. ballroom and a 7,500-sq. ft. outdoor courtyard called Central Park. The 123-room Element DFW Airport North Hotel is pursuing LEED certification. Meeting space includes a 1,150-sq. ft. room and a 12-person boardroom. The 136-room aloft Las Colinas offers a 525-sq. ft. room that can be configured for 12-person board meetings or banquets of 40 or fewer. Environmental practices include in-shower product dispensers and initiatives to conserve water and energy.


WHERE

Accessibility

MEETS

Possibility

Of the many facets that make up Irving, Texas, our location probably most often defines us. In the center of the United States and in the heart of Dallas-Fort Worth, we’re easily accessible – whether you’re traveling from Austin or Boston, from Little Rock or Long Beach. And because we’re adjacent to DFW International Airport and near Dallas’ Love Field, we can be reached non-stop from more than 170 destinations worldwide, including every major city in North America. But the skies are certainly not our limit, because Irving isn’t your average suburb. The proof? More than 75 hotels and 11,000 hotel rooms. The state’s first and only five-diamond resort. The global headquarters of six Fortune 500 companies, and home to thousands of other corporations. Irving is a city built for business and where business takes place every day. So forget all the talk about first-tier and second-tier. The best destinations are all about dimension.

irvingtexas.com

irvingconventioncenter.com

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972.252.7476

Adjacent to DFW International Airport and Minutes from Dallas Love Field Airport Gold Service Award-Winning Staff 11,000+ Hotel Rooms 75+ Hotels Center of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex Fine Dining to Down Home Cooking Irving Arts Center National Scouting Museum Mustangs of Las Colinas Championship Golf Courses Within 10 miles of Gaylord Texan Mandalay Canal Campión Trails Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas Heritage District


TEXAS

Houston WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Houston’s concentrated effort to add attractions and amenities to its first-class convention corridor has created a vibrant downtown scene. MetroRail connects the massive facilities of Reliant Park and the George R. Brown Convention Center to the Medical Center, the theater and museum districts, and boutique hotels. The city plans to open a light rail extension running from the Galleria to Reliant Park in the next couple of years, connecting the city’s two most popular meeting destinations. United Airlines has a major hub here, making it easy to get attendees to and from the city. The airline offers group travel booking assistance through its United Meetings program.

Want a centrally located venue?

Want eco-friendly venues?

The Grove, a restaurant and bar in downtown’s Discovery Green, uses herbs from its own garden, recycles and composts, and uses only compostable or biodegradable disposables. Its menu is rustic American and it has three private dining areas: the Green Room (capacity: 24), the Primavera Room (capacity: 80) and the Vista Room (capacity: 170). The Vista Room has a panoramic park view and is next to a tequila bar and outdoor terrace. An event lawn can be tented for groups up to 800 people. The 1,200room Hilton Americas Houston, a Green Seal-certified hotel, has 91,500 square feet of meeting space including 40,000sq. ft. and 26,000-sq. ft. ballrooms. It’s the largest convention property in the area, and it’s connected to the George R. Brown Convention Center and next to the Toyota Center, home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets. Amenities at the

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A mix of architecture old and new makes for a vibrant, convention-friendly downtown district.

AAA Four-Diamond hotel include two restaurants, three bars/lounges and a spa. For a full list of green venues and suppliers, go to visithoustontexas.com/hotels/greenhotels.

Want to shake up a meal?

The Hard Rock Café Houston has a living museum of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, and four function spaces for meetings/events. These include the 70-person Lone Star Room and 50-person Hard Rock Deck. The entire venue accommodates up to 400 guests reception-style. The Downtown Aquarium has a 6,000-sq. ft. ballroom, a private wraparound balcony, picnic area, dive lounge and the underwater Aquarium Restaurant with panoramic views of more than 100 species of tropical fish. The House of Blues (capacity: 1,500) has several private dining areas, including its VIP Foundation Room, and a two-story concert venue. Liven up a dinner event with a soul food buffet and wine served in coffee cups at the Breakfast Klub, which has a small stage for entertainers.

Want to meet like royalty?

Crowne Plaza, with six hotels in metro Houston, promises a two-hour “response guarantee” to all space and

date availability inquiries. A designated meeting director can help with advance planning, last-minute changes and will help planners stay in budget with a daily debriefing. Discounts and bonuses are available through its loyalty program, Priority Club Meeting Reward. The 259room Crowne Plaza Houston-Downtown has 12,000 square feet of meeting/event space for groups of up 500. The 207room Crowne Plaza Galleria Area is conveniently situated inside the Loop and has 14,000 square feet of flexible event space. The 354-room Crowne Plaza Houston River Oaks, halfway between the Galleria Mall and downtown, has more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space. The 653-room Crowne Plaza Near Reliant is adjacent to the Reliant Sports & Entertainment Complex and near the airport. It has 60,000 square feet of flexible function space. The 259-room Crowne Plaza Northwest Brookhollow, near many of the city’s major corporations, has 17,000 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms and 10 meeting rooms. The 244-suite Crown Plaza Suites near Sugarland offers a suburban setting with full-service meeting space for up to 300 people and complimentary transportation to local attractions.

KRISTI CASEY SANDERS

The 23-story Royal Sonesta Houston Hotel, one block from the Galleria Mall downtown, puts attendees in the middle of it all. It has 485 rooms/suites and 50,000 square feet of function space in 23 meeting and breakout rooms. The largest space, the Legend’s Ballroom, accommodates groups up to 1,500. The hotel is within walking distance of the business district, eight miles from the Houston Convention Center and near the city’s theater and museum districts.


With rich wood details, illuminated walls, dazzling coffered ceilings and smooth onyx finishes,

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From an inviting and contemporary lobby to expansive meeting spaces, we’re undergoing a smart and sophisticated hotel renovation designed to complement the most brilliant of meetings... yours.

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TEXAS

North Houston WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Texas’ iconic Lone Star flag was created in Montgomery, one of the oldest towns in the state. The city, an hour northwest of Houston and 15 miles west of Conroe, has a 19th-century historic downtown district filled with shops, restaurants and attractions.

Want eco-friendly accommodations?

La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa on Lake Conroe has a number of green initiatives in place, including recycling and waterreuse programs, low-flow water fixtures, organic and vegetarian menu items, locally sourced food and herbs, vegan spa products and guest education programs. Meeting facilities include three ballrooms (the largest is nearly 10,000 square feet), three outdoor venues for groups up to 1,500 and 16 conference/meeting rooms. The resort also features a marina and a mini-waterpark.

Want to meet in a place with history?

Want group dining?

The Walden Yacht Club on Lake Conroe offers several banquet/meeting spaces, including the Commodore Dining Room, the lakeside Promenade Room, a lakeside gazebo and a wine room that seats 12. AAA Four-Diamond dining is available at Chez Roux, an upscale

THE 411 • 111,000-sq. ft. exhibit hall at nearby Lonestar Expo Center • 22,000-acre Lake Conroe • 9,504-sq. ft. ballroom at La Torretta

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La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa is a first-class meeting facility with indoor and outdoor venues.

French restaurant at La Torretta that has a chef’s table, lounge and outdoor patio. For a more casual dining experience, Kaiserhof serves classic German cuisine plus a smattering of other European staples, such as paella and carpaccio. It has a private dining room, a lounge area and a Bier Garten with a stage. Ransom Steakhouse and Saloon serves Texas flavors, music and atmosphere in a rustic environment.

Want spirited activities?

The Rancher’s Daughter, a downtown gift shop for “all things fine and funky,” includes daily wine tastings of local vintages in its Rockin’ R Wine Bar. Wine tastings also are available at the Retreat Hill Cellars in Montgomery’s old First State Bank Building. At the Cork This!

Winery, attendees can create and bottle their own wine and design their own labels. Full- and half-day team-building/ educational programs are available.

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU A family-friendly lake resort town with first-class meeting facilities surrounds the La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa. Nearby Sam Houston National Forest offers hunting, horseback riding, fishing and nature hikes. The park also does adult nature education, including “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” workshops. Traditional convention facilities exist in Conroe; its Lonestar Convention and Expo Center accommodates groups up to 1,200 indoors and has an equestrian center.

LA TORRETTA LAKE RESORT & SPA

The Vintage Garden Tea House in the old Gundy home specializes in catering lunches, afternoon teas and social events. Private meeting/dining space is available indoors (capacity: 100); an outdoor garden accommodates receptions of up to 75 people. The Caroline House Bed and Breakfast Inn dates to the 1850s. In addition to the main dining room in the historic home, there is private meeting/ banquet space for small groups in a garden cottage and five sleeping rooms. Fernald Historical Park has four historic homes dating from the 1800s.


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TEXAS

The Woodlands WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Home to more than 1,000 company headquarters, The Woodlands is roughly 30 minutes from downtown Houston, 20 minutes from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and is known for its upscale dining, shopping and leisure amenities. The town center is ringed by a waterway that connects the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center to nearby attractions, restaurants and businesses.

Want to make attendees feel like VIPs?

Want to break out of the boardroom?

CineMeetings & Events works with local theater operator CineMark to help meeting planners produce turnkey corporate meetings and events in movie theaters. From private screenings to presentations, product launches, team-building events and face-to-face meetings, CineMark can provide groups with event coordination, catering, marketing tools, advanced technical support and audiovisual tools that also can link attendees to groups in other cities. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion hosts concerts as well as Houston Ballet and Symphony performances. Its amphitheater has VIP seating and a 1,600-sq. ft.

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The Waterway is a 1.25-mile-long linear park and transportation corridor that runs through the Town Center’s entertainment and convention district. Look for its daily water-and-light shows.

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU The town center is fairly compact, with the shopping and dining areas connected by trolleys and water taxis. But just north of the business district, set amid several hundred acres of woods and lakes is, the Woodlands Resort, a secluded corporate retreat. Attendees are only 30 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Houston, but the peaceful, ecooasis feels like it’s in a whole other world.

Woodforest Bank Club for business meetings and receptions. Amenities include four 42-inch plasma TVs and a 10-ft. HD projection screen with multimedia capabilities, a fullservice bar and an adjacent covered outdoor patio. A 6,000-sq. ft. House of Blues Hospitality Tent, next to the patio, is available for group functions year-round. It holds up to 300 guests; during performances, live video feeds broadcast on two 11-ft. HD video screens and a 42-inch TV

inside the tent. Spectrum Catering, Concessions and Events is the venue’s preferred caterer. Waterway Square is a one-acre plaza with a synchronized musical water-and-light show seven days a week in the town center. Groups interested in using the plaza for receptions, should contact the Woodlands CVB.

Want unusual transportation?

The 1.4-mile long Woodlands Waterway stretches from the Woodlands Mall to the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and Town Green Park. Planners can shuttle attendees from one place to another along the corridor using Woodlands Water Taxis. Historic trolleys also run through the district corridor’s surface streets, linking hotels and meeting venues to restaurants and businesses. General public day passes with unlimited rides on the cruisers and trolleys are $5.

GREATER HOUSTON CVB

The concept behind the Woodlands Resort & Conference Center is providing a serene natural setting for meetings in an environment far removed from the daily grind. The hotel has more than 60,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space, including 32 meeting rooms (many of which have water or forest views), and fun extras like “18-hour” swivel-and-tilt executive conference chairs. Conference service managers can help planners put together themed events — margarita parties, Texas-style banquets, tapas dinners and luaus, for example. There’s also the spa, where small groups, spouses or VIPs can convene for pampering and relaxation.


Where ideas flow like water, innovation takes root, and meetings come to life. Oasis

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woodlandsresort.com TOC


TEXAS

Austin WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Austin has a little something for everyone: live music and nightlife, extensive parks with biking and hiking trails, watersports, corporate retreats, high-end hotels, funky restaurants, oneof-a-kind boutiques, first-rate museums, a vibrant art and film community, and the cache that comes with being a capital city. Because there’s so much to do, Austin appeals to attendees of all ages, bridging the gap that can crop up in multigenerational meetings. A wireless cloud provides complimentary Wi-Fi access within city limits.

Want to meet downtown?

Want events that sizzle?

In the trendy Warehouse District, nightclub venues include indoor/outdoor martini bar Cedar Street Courtyard, Fado Irish Pub and Malaga Tapas Bar, which has wine tastings and cooking classes. Sixth Street is known for its live music venues, many of which are available for group buyouts. SoCo (South of Congress) is ground zero for the “Keep Austin Weird” movement. Funky venues include Doc's Motorworks Bar & Grill and Guero's Taco Bar.

Want unusual transportation?

The Rockin’ Ride (maximum capacity 56) is a converted bus that plays '70s music while shuttling passengers between clubs.

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The Austin Convention Center is known for its technical amenities and systemwide security.

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU Austin, the state capital, is laid back and progressive. The Austin Convention Center is one of the highest-ranked convention centers in the country for its technical amenities, including system-wide security, flexible network design (capable of supporting thousands of wired and wireless systems simultaneously) and universal Wi-Fi coverage.

Pedicabs are a fun way to get around the Sixth Street and Warehouse District.

Want group dining?

Maggiano’s Little Italy serves authentic Italian cuisine family-style in a corporatefriendly, wood-paneled setting. Choose from one of three banquet rooms or a private terrace. The Austin location, in the Domain shopping district, can accommodate groups up to 200. Carmelo’s Ristorante serves Sicilian-style Italian cuisine inside an 1872 railroad house; its

main dining room accommodates parties of 300. Five smaller private dining rooms and a courtyard are made for groups of 20 to 90. The Roaring Fork has two Austin locations and serves wood-fire-grilled meats and locally grown vegetables. It also can provide custom floral arrangements and decorations as well as private dining facilities. III Forks is an upscale steakhouse with a large wine selection, and bar, lounge, patio and private dining space. Planners can bring their own alcohol to meals at Salt Lick BBQ (capacity: 2,000), which is in a dry county. County Line BBQ is a well-known joint with group dining and patio space in two locations: overlooking Lake Austin and in an old speakeasy on Bee Cave Road.

Want to pamper attendees?

Horseshoe Bay Resort Marriott, west of Austin, is on the banks of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson. Corporate or private aircraft can land at the resort’s private jet center, which has a 6,000-ft. runway. Amenities include three golf courses, a spa, 347

AUSTIN CVB

The AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center at the University of Texas has an 800-seat divisible ballroom, a 300-seat amphitheater, classrooms, conference rooms and breakout rooms. A 297-room hotel with three dining facilities. is attached. The Austin Convention Center covers six city blocks, all with high-speed Internet2 access, eliminating the need for satellite uplinks. The InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel, in the downtown business district, is within walking distance to many shops, restaurants and entertainment (the Sixth Street entertainment district and the University of Texas are also nearby). Amenities include 189 guest rooms, 6,000 square feet of meeting/event space, and patio dining overlooking the Texas Capitol building.


· aaa 4 Diamond Rating · Complimentary wi-fi & wired connectivity facility-wide · 4 Star Fine Dining · leed gold certification · Casual café & coffee bar on-site · Conveniently located on the UT campus near downtown with views of the State Capitol and the UT Tower · 297 full-featured rooms & suites · Fitness center, pool · 40,000 sqft. of meeting space

Stay at the Center of it All. Located in the center of the live music capital of the world, cutting edge technology and a newly awakened culinary scene. Just steps away from the Texas State Capitol, Museum District and everything downtown has to offer–your visit to Austin will leave you enriched. Let our exceptional staff take care of the details while you enjoy our serene and sophisticatedly appointed hotel & conference center. We welcome you to join us at the Center of it all. www.meetattexas.com 512.404.3600. TOC

1900 University Ave. Austin, Texas 78705 · Meet AtTexas.com

@MeetAtTexas |

MeetAtTexas


texas TEXAS

rooms/suites, and more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 12,000sq. ft. ballroom. It has unusual outdoor event venues as well, including lawns and gardens, an 18-hole putting course (for team-building or recreation), a 25,000-sq. ft. lakefront party deck, poolside gathering space and a 90-ft. yacht. Meeting spaces in the Mansion at Judges’ Hill feature crystal chandeliers and wrought-iron French doors opening onto courtyard spaces; the luxury boutique hotel also has in-room spa services and elegant dining facilities.

Want outdoor venues?

The Oasis, perched 450 feet above Lake Travis, has several outdoor decks with prime views of Hill Country sunsets as well as a private banquet hall and a dance floor. The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center has outdoor reception space and garden tours. Hamilton Twelve has patio and poolside event space (capacity: 200) on five acres. The Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum has more than 130 works of art, a full catering kitchen, a covered terrace that accommodates up to 200 and the glass-enclosed Roberta Crenshaw Building, which holds 30 for a seated dinner. The Cedar Street Courtyard is a cigar/martini bar with outdoor function space in the middle of the Warehouse District. La Zona Rosa, a nightclub and music venue, is managed by Direct Events, which also handles private rentals at the Austin Music Hall, and the open-air venues Backyard Live Oak Amphitheatre and Glenn at the Backyard. Planners can arrange VIP sections at music festivals. Groups can tour the Austin City Limits studio, attend a taping of the PBS show or rent the facility for a private function. Stubbs Bar-B-Que is as famous for its eclectic musical lineup (e.g., Willie Nelson, Nine Inch Nails, Kenny Chesney) as for its barbecue, sauce and rubs.

Want to leave the boardroom?

The 131,000-sq. ft. Palmer Events Center gives planners the option of holding trade shows and large functions in a park-like setting overlooking Lady Bird Lake. The Long Center for the Performing Arts, next to the events center, is part of a 54-acre cultural arts park. Dave & Buster’s has a mystery theater, teambuilding programs and arcade games plus conference, banquet and meeting space.

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The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center has outdoor dining and function space; The State and Paramount theaters double as off-site venues; the green-leaning Austin Convention Center has achieved a LEED Gold-certified status for its environment-friendly practices.

THE 411 • 25,000 guest rooms citywide • 5,500 guest rooms downtown • 246,097-sq. ft. exhibit hall in the Austin Convention Center • 200+ live music venues •Best values in July/August and December/January

Bob Bulloch Texas State History Museum on the University of Texas campus has an IMAX theater, a marble rotunda with a 50-ft. granite map of Texas, and three floors of galleries and special-event space.

Want green meetings?

The Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve offers guided tours of its trails. Eco-Wise sells earth-friendly products ranging from green bath and body goods to party supplies. Austin is the home to organic supermarket chain Whole Foods, which

has tours, cooking classes, food and wine tastings, and a catering department.

Want theatrical settings?

Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas accommodates conferences, meetings, banquets and private screenings in multiple locations. It’s known for showing indie/art house and classic cinema, but a well-developed conference division offers groups portable road shows, “Iron Chef”-style cooking challenges and creative team-building programs. The Paramount Theater downtown originally housed Sam Houston and the Republic of Texas’ War Department; it’s popular for red-carpet galas, film screenings and concerts. The historic State Theatre next door reopened in late 2008 after renovations. The One World Theatre is a Tuscan-style castle with a banquet hall, theater and courtyard event space. It also has fiber-optic wiring for TV broadcasts and multimedia productions.

BOB DAEMMRICH/LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER; AUSTIN THEATRE ALLIANCE/AUSTIN CVB; AUSTIN CVB

Want music-themed events?


Let’s Hangout! Did you know that you can talk with PYM’s editors, educators and meeting planners, even if there’s no PYM LIVE Event in your town? It’s true! We hold regular online video chats through our Plan Your Meetings+ community on Google+. To get on the invite list, join the community at Ez.com/pymhangout. Our PYM LIVE events also have a virtual option. Check out our calendar at Ez.com/3hours and register if you’d like to participate. Want to network with our attendees? Organize a viewing party of 10 or more and send your location by emailing allstars@ planyourmeetings.com. We’ll send you instructions on how to take part in our group challenges and connect to us via Topi, our free conference app. (Haven’t heard of Topi? Read about it at Ez.com/topi to see why we think it’s so cool.)

We can’t wait to virtually meet you! #yaypym

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TEXAS

San Marcos WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW San Marcos is known for its outlet malls, which attract nearly 10 million visitors a year, but it offers much more. Clustered around the outlets are several chain hotels and the San Marcos Conference Center (capacity: 3,000), which has several flexible meeting spaces, including a 28,800-sq. ft. grand ballroom, a 7,200-sq. ft. junior ballroom and a 4,082-sq. ft. veranda. Attached to the convention center is a 283-suite Embassy Suites Hotel with a 10-story atrium and a spa. The city’s business district is just off I-35, 40 miles north of San Antonio and 30 miles south of Austin, making it an easy drive-in destination for groups based in or flying into those cities.

Want shopping tours?

Want unusual venues?

Hold a reception for up to 180 at Dick’s Classic Garage, which displays cars from the 1920s to the 1950s. Lyndon B. Johnson, our 36th president, graduated from Texas State UniversitySan Marcos. The LBJ Museum has meeting space for up to 80 in its lobby and gallery areas. Government and nonprofit groups qualify for discounts. The Calaboose African American History Museum, built in 1873, showcases the role African-Americans have played in influencing Texas and U.S. history and culture. Ten minutes away in Kyle is Texas Old Town, a ranch-themed special facility with three

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Outlet stores, to which some hotels offer shuttles, have made San Marcos the fourth most-visited tourism destination in the state of Texas. Yup, they have shoes, and a whole lot more.

air-conditioned assembly halls and multiple outdoor event areas that can hold up to 500 people. Group amenities include catering, fireworks, balloon rides, volleyball courts, cowboy singers, staged gunfights and dance lessons.

minutes away, in the town of Gruene (pronounced “green”), the oldest dance hall in Texas can do banquets for up to 2,000 in a fun, rustic setting.

Want group dining?

The Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, Spa & Conference Center has 78,800 square feet of conference space and 283 two-room suites near downtown and Courthouse Square. It’s also near such attractions as Aquarena Center, outlet centers, the San Marcos River, Rio Vista Falls and the LBJ Museum as well as Texas State University.

Historic downtown restaurants offer the best atmosphere and typically come with fun stories: Sean Patrick’s Irish Pub ’n’ Texas Grub was a disco before it became a Wi-Fi-enabled social hot spot. The Root Cellar Café doubles as a gallery space and is available for evening catered events. Fifteen

Want to stay near ... everything?

SAN MARCOS CVB

The Tanger Outlets and the Prime Outlets-San Marcos have made this city the fourth-most visited tourism destination in Texas. Some hotels provide shuttles to and from the outlet malls, which offer landscaped gardens and gathering areas as well as 240 name-brand stores and steeply discounted merchandise. The historic downtown area offers antiques shops, independent clothing boutiques and more. The San Marcos CVB can help planners organize shopping tours of these areas, the town of Wimberly (one of America’s “10 Best Small Towns”) or the nearby cities of Austin and San Antonio.


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San Antonio WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW San Antonio is a charming, pedestrian-friendly city that’s both laidback and festive. The River Walk (or Paseo del Rio) is the city’s central dining, shopping and nightlife corridor, and where major convention facilities are. Planners can shuttle attendees to venues or meal functions by water taxi or arrange catering on a river barge. Special facilities are available in River Walk restaurants, historic venues, museums, guest ranches and amusement parks. It’s an incredibly fun, diverse destination with top-notch service and style.

Want attendees to feel like VIPs? The elegant Westin La Cantera Resort, a Condé Nast Gold List property, is 20 minutes from downtown in the Texas Hill Country. Amenities include a PGA golf course, a full-service spa, a 17,000sq. ft. ballroom with 20-ft. ceilings, a 3,200-sq. ft. event pavilion, on-site fine dining, and 508 guest rooms/suites. A free shuttle connects the resort with the Shops of La Cantera, an upscale, openair mall that has several group-friendly restaurants. Six Flags and Sea World are down the road.

Want a room with a view?

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The eco-friendly Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center is accessible by water taxi and river barge.

Edge events provide meeting planners with easy solutions for entertainment and team-building events, with on-site options ranging from Biker’s Night to food-and-wine pairing and preparing.

Want group dining?

Maggiano’s San Antonio serves authentic Italian cuisine family-style in banquet facilities that can hold groups up to 250. Maggiano’s, near Galleria Mall and Uptown Park, can accommodate groups up to 200. Boudro’s Texas Bistro on the River Walk has banquet and reception space in a garden courtyard, wine-themed dining rooms, the Zinc Wine & Spirits Bar, river barges and a private banquet hall in the former Alamo National Bank building. The Hard Rock Café San Antonio has a living museum of rock ’n’ roll memorabilia and five

function spaces for music-centric or themed meetings and events, including private dining barges for up to 40 and the 300-person River Level space. The Little Rhein Steak House in La Villita serves steaks and wine from a historic building on the River Walk (seating 30-85); meeting/banquet rooms and riverside event space are available at its Dashiell House (capacity 250). Its sister restaurant, the Fig Tree is a DiRoNa Award-winning restaurant with more than 200 wines and champagnes. Le Rêve, serving contemporary French cuisine, is among the best restaurants in Texas. Boudro's, on the River Walk, can accommodate groups of all sizes and offers a choice of venues — dinner barges, historic wine cellars or the restaurant interior. Bonus: The guacamole is made right at your table.

SAN ANTONIO CVB

The 2,400-sq. ft. Lone Star Palace at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio is a dramatic rooftop venue with a patio that overlooks the Alamo. A private elevator transports guests to the 850-sq. ft. penthouse, which has a dedicated catering kitchen, bar, fireplace and outdoor grill. It’s a fun and unexpected venue right off the River Walk, and offers great views of the sunset. The 632-room hotel has an 18,000-sq. ft. conference center with 13 meeting rooms and two ballrooms, a garden terrace (250 reception-style), a rooftop pool and a full-service spa. If you’re looking for function space on the Paseo del Rio, the Westin Riverwalk has more than 26,000 square feet of flexible function space with river-view terraces or riverside patios. The 473-room property has 23 meeting rooms, the 5,900-sq. ft. Navarro Ballroom, the 3,100-sq. ft. Hidalgo Ballroom, a boardroom and full-service restaurants. Its Planners


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Want to team-build?

Don Strange Ranch Adventure Challenge Course is one of the few in the country that’s handicap-accessible. Capers DMC can create scavenger hunts and group activities. Dave & Buster’s has several team-building programs including special agent missions, problem-solving quests and scavenger hunts; meeting space, arcade games and a dinner theater also are available. La Cantera Golf Club can create tournaments and group outings for as many as 280 players.

has landscaped gardens, a historic dining hall a nd a Gothic chapel; the Navarro Campus has modern conference, meeting and reception space, contemporary art galleries, and sophisticated classrooms for art-making workshops. The University of Texas San Antonio’s Institute of Texan Culture has meeting, classroom and event space in an outdoor living history museum, an auditorium and a conference center.

THE 411 • 33,000 guest rooms citywide • 12,000 guest rooms downtown • 1.3 million square feet in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center • Average group size: less than 200 • Best values in early January and from mid-August through September

Want to meet green?

The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center has green initiatives in place (recycling, energy conservation). The RK Group, the center’s caterer, does not use paper coffee filters and does encourage using china, cloth napkins and silverware over disposable goods. It also donates leftover food to Daily Bread Ministries. Freeman Decorating recycles aisle carpet, steel metal waste and aluminum exhibit components and uses propane lifts and carts to reduce emissions. PRA Destination Management can organize transportation, themed events and group activities as well as green meetings and events.

Want to leave the boardroom?

Pearl Brewery, a converted 1883 brewhouse, is a 22-acre live, work and play development on the San Antonio River. You’ll find the elegantly restored 19th-century Pearl Stable event space there, with a state-of-the-art video projection system, wireless mics and a wireless communication system. The facility accommodates up to 500 guests indoors and has two 10,000-sq. ft. courtyards. If you’re looking for speakers, the complex also is home to the Culinary Institute of America, the Aveda Institute and the AIA Center for Architecture. The Southwest School of Art & Craft has meeting and event facilities on two campuses. The Ursuline Campus, founded as a girls’ school in the 1800s,

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Abilene WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Abilene is a West Texas town located 180 miles from Dallas/Fort Worth, adjacent to I-20. It’s a place where history is still very accessible, with museums, events and attractions that celebrate its railroad, cattle and oil town heritage. Historic Downtown Abilene is compact and walkable, with special facilities, attractions, accommodations and restaurants in close proximity to each other. Hotels with meeting facilities include MCM Eleganté Suites, Hilton Garden Inn and Wingate by Wyndham. Guest houses and bed-and-breakfast inns also offer overnight accommodations and meeting space for small groups.

Want to meet in a place with history?

Want patriotic activities and amenities?

Just north of town are the remains of Fort Phantom Hill, an 1851 Army post that is part of the Texas Forts Trail, a 650-mile loop of historic military outposts. The 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum downtown is a

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Buffalo Gap Historic Village, about 16 miles south of Abilene, offers overnight lodging for small groups. This Texaco station is one of the village's many buildings, all housing West Texas artifacts.

teaching museum with educational programs and exhibits on World War II and its impact on the American people. Dyess Air Force Base is home to the 7th Bomb Wing and the B-1B bomber. Speakers from the base are available for groups with at least 30 days’ notice.

Want dramatic venues?

The fully restored art deco-style Paramount Theatre has a 1,200-seat auditorium with twinkling stars, turrets and drifting clouds. Its stage accommodates banquets for up to 100. The Grace Museum, a hotel in 1909, is home to the Art Museum, Children’s Museum and History Museum. Event space includes a ballroom (capacity: 150 banquet, 275 reception); an

outdoor courtyard (capacity: 180 banquet, 400 reception); and a loggia (capacity: 50 banquet, 125 reception).

Want creative surroundings?

The Center for Contemporary Arts is home to more than 70 artists. Four galleries and 10 studios showcase regional, national and international artists. The center sponsors art walks on the second Thursday of each month. Galleries and a conference room are available for private banquets (capacity: 36-120) and receptions (capacity: 55-180).

Want entertainment?

The band Mariachi Alma Mexicana gives gatherings a festive air with

ABILENE CVB

Frontier Texas! uses life-size holograms and multimedia exhibits to tell the story of how Americans settled and lived in Texas from 1780 to 1880. Meeting facilities include a breakout room that seats 32, a pavilion (capacity: 200), Buffalo Plaza (capacity: 500) and parade grounds (capacity: 1,500). Downtown, special-event facilities are available in repurposed historic buildings. The T&P Event Center is a flexible warehouse space with a kitchen and bar that can host from 30 to 570 people. One Eighty-One was a candy shop in the 1920s; it has two rectangular rooms with wood floors, adjustable lighting and a kitchen. Built in 1910, the Texas & Pacific Railroad Depot has indoor classroom and banquet space for 40 and reception space for up to 75. Planners can stage a reception or meal function throughout the Buffalo Gap Historic Village or reserve specific frontier-era structures for events, such as the Nazarene Church, courthouse or schoolhouse.


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a repertoire of traditional Mexican songs. Have a hankering for cowboy singers? Jody Nix and the Texas Cowboys have been inducted into the Western Swing Society Hall of Fame and have represented Texas at the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. The Abilene Community Band is a volunteer orchestra that plays everything from Broadway tunes and big band to symphonic works.

that has been converted into a retreat, banquet and events facility (capacity: 200). There are 40 guest rooms on-site. The main house sleeps 15 to 18; additional cabins sleep two to eight people and are designed to look like 1800s-era U.S. Army officers’ quarters. A working ranch, the facility also has 25,000 acres of hunting grounds populated with whitetail deer, quail and Rio Grande turkey.

THE 411 • 20,000-sq. ft. exhibit hall in the civic center • 180 miles from Dallas/ Fort Worth • 11 hotels with meeting space • 8 bed-and-breakfast/ guest houses

Want group dining?

Copper Creek is a steakhouse that also caters off-site functions. The Ball Ranch serves chuckwagon suppers and Western stage shows April through December. Its tented outdoor staging area accommodates up to 250. Abilene’s first (and only) microbrewery is at Cypress Street Station restaurant, which has been featured in The New York Times and Southern Living magazine. Sharon’s Barbeque has an 80-person party room and can bring traditional barbecue and rib-eye dinners to off-site venues. Joe Allen’s Bar-B-Que and Catering owns and operates the Lytle Bend Ranch, a special facility with an enclosed pavilion and an event lawn for private banquets.

making memorable meetings.



Want to rustle up some fun?

Transport attendees to Stasney’s Cook Ranch, a historic ranch

WHAT WILL SURPRISE YOU The Abilene Civic Center has a 20,000-sq. ft. exhibit hall; 2,000seat auditorium; 13,400-sq. ft. conference center (capacity: 1,000 banquet-style); 9,000-sq. ft. glasslined foyer (capacity: 550 banquetstyle); several breakout rooms (capacity: 40-200); and an outdoor plaza. It’s a sophisticated venue for such a small town. In fact, Abilene offers many amenities that planners would expect to find in a much larger city.



call us today to see why over 250 groups choose abilene each year! 800.727.7704 www.abilenevisitors.com TOC

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Lubbock WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Lubbock is a West Texas town that offers the type of cowboy-based experiences most people associate with the state, as well as a wide variety of cultural amenities and attractions that make it unique. The convention and visitors bureau offers a range of complimentary services for meeting planners bringing groups of 10 or more. These include sending RFPs to hotels and meeting facilities; providing complimentary welcome bags, nametags and VIP gift baskets; and tour-planning assistance. Four major airlines fly in and out of the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (LBB): American Eagle, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines. Lubbock often is referred to as “Hub City” because of the number of major highways that run through it, including U.S. highways 87, 84 and 62/82, S.R. 114, and I-27.

Want dramatic venues?

Want to rock their socks off?

Buddy Holly is the city’s most famous musical son, but he’s not the only local musician to hit it big. The West Texas Walk of Fame celebrates some of the region’s finest performers. Near the walk

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The scenic outdoor plaza at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, complete with waterfalls, bridges and fountains, can accommodate receptions of up to 1,000 attendees.

of fame and Buddy Holly statue is a West Texas Terrace with raised seating that honors Lubbock citizens who devoted a significant part of their lives to promoting, developing or producing regional art, music or entertainment. Meeting venues at the Buddy Holly Center include a 2,500-sq. ft. fine arts gallery, a Texas Musicians Hall of Fame, and a gallery dedicated to Holly’s life and music. The facility holds 415 people; its outside courtyard accommodates another 250. The center is in the Depot Entertainment District, which offers nightlife and live-music venues such as Cactus Theater, a 400-seat, 1930s-era renovated movie house that presents plays, musicals and specialty music acts.

Want real West Texas flair?

The city was named after Texas Ranger

Thomas S. Lubbock, and the community still celebrates its ties to ranching and cowboy culture. Every fall, Lubbock hosts the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration, which fills the streets with rodeo celebrities, cowboy poets and chuck wagon cook-offs. Professional cowboy Brice Chapman is available to spice up events year-round with his rodeo horse-riding and roping specialty act. The National Ranching Heritage Center, on the campus of Texas Tech University, is a museum and historical park that tells the story of ranching, pioneer life and the development of the North American livestock industry. In has educational resources and exhibits, 48 historic structures throughout its 30-acre park and Cogdells General Store, which has a fun selection of takeaway items.

VISIT LUBBOCK

Lubbock’s central performing arts venues, owned and operated by the city, do double duty as major meeting facilities. The Lubbock Memorial Civic Center has event space ranging from the traditional (a 40,000-sq. ft. column-free exhibit hall) to the unconventional (a scenic outdoor plaza with waterfalls, bridges and fountains). The outdoor plaza can accommodate receptions up to 1,000. Also on-site are a 1,300-seat theater that is home to the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Lubbock, and a 14,000-sq. ft. banquet hall with a fixed stage that seats 960 in rounds. City Bank Auditorium/Coliseum, adjacent to the Texas Tech campus, has a 2,800seat auditorium, which regularly presents touring Broadway shows. Its coliseum has hosted everything from rodeos and circuses to Bob Hope and Elvis; it has 6,900 fixed seats and 1,440 portable floor seats. The outdoor Wells Fargo Amphitheatre, on a hillside in Mackenzie Park, is home to the Lubbock Moonlight Musical’s familyfriendly productions in the summer.


FRIENDLY FACES &

WIDE open

sPACES Lubbock is famous for its open spaces, which include beautiful Texas horizons and an almost endless variety of flexible, roomy meeting facilities. We believe that authentic hospitality is in the smallest of details. From warm welcomes and a dedicated servicing staff to gourmet dishes created by world-famous chefs, we show our guests what the West Texas experience is all about.

Chef Patrick Tarantino Overton Hotel & Conference Center Alaskan Halibut

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THE PRACTICAL GUIDE TO

MEETING PLANNING Regardless of whether you’re an experienced or entry-level meeting planner, you need to be aware of the best practices that have evolved in the industry over the years. This guide will help you create and keep track of the goals for your meeting, room layouts, budgets, F&B needs, timetables and myriad other details. What follows is a compilation of some of the best lists, tips and guidelines culled from past Plan Your Meetings issues and LIVE Events, updated by our editors, advisory board and contributors. For more industry news, tips, trends and advice, visit PlanYourMeetings.com.

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DEFINE YOUR MEETING Clarify the purpose. Get the history. Establish the goals and objectives. Create a complete meeting profile — spend time upfront gathering the basic information to build a good foundation. 1. What is it? A new product launch, an annual board meeting, an incentive trip, a sales meeting or a social event? What are the goals? 2. Who wants this meeting? Who is the decision maker? Who are the stakeholders? 3. Who will be attending? Why are they coming? What are their expectations? Where are they coming from? What is the age range, and are the majority male or female? Are they bringing family or guests? Are there any special needs? 4. What have they done before? What worked and what didn’t? What was the cost of past meetings? Where have they had meetings in the past? Do they want to do something entirely different? 5. Don’t forget to ask the people who didn’t attend last year’s event why they stayed home. Knowing that can help you create an irresistible event that they must attend this year.

CREATE A BLUEPRINT A blueprint will shape your event and can serve as a selling tool. Whether you make a formal proposal to a client or simply need to report back to your corporate committee or manager, you should prepare a structured proposal.

A COVER LETTER MIGHT INCLUDE: o Objectives and preferences o Geographical information o Meeting structure

o Demographics o Budget parameters o Summary

THE PROPOSAL SHOULD CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING: o Destination review o Transportation plans o Site information o Room breakdowns o Food and beverage information o Entertainment and other activities o Day-to-day itinerary with grid overview o Cost summary sheet o Planning timetable o Detailed program inclusions (spells out what is included in cost summary sheet: e.g., site inspection, promotion, airfare, hotel accommodations, décor, special effects, room gifts, communication costs, etc.)

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o Program options and enhancements (i.e., CSR/sustainability initiatives) o Other things to add: historical information (if applicable); destination brochures; location photos; hotel/meeting room layouts; brochures from restaurants, caterers and entertainers; promotional items; sample invitations; and, depending on your relationship with the client, your company profile and references. If you are going to be responsible for securing sponsors and marketing the event, include that information as well. (Note: If you need supporting materials on a city and its attractions, contact the CVB.)


DEVELOP THE BUDGET The meeting budget is an estimate of expenses and anticipated income (if your event is profitdriven). It provides financial control and accountability. Armed with the meeting’s objectives, you can begin to develop a worksheet covering all categories. Reviewing last year’s budget, if available, will make your job easier.

LIST ALL FIXED AND VARIABLE COSTS: VENUE o Meeting or event space rental o Room setup/breakdown costs o Equipment rental and setups o Taxes and gratuities ACCOMMODATIONS o Rooms o Hospitality suite o Taxes and gratuities o Other fees (read the contract carefully) FOOD & BEVERAGE o Per-person food costs o Beverages o Breaks o Setup/cleanup o Staff o Taxes and gratuities o Fees (read the BEOs carefully) PRINTING/DIGITAL COMMUNICATION o Invitations/confirmation cards o Website/social networks o Meeting/pre-registration kit o Online registration o Agendas o Handout copies o Signage, banners, tickets o Internet AUDIO/VISUAL o Computer rentals o A/V equipment o Other technology o Setup/breakdown fees o Gratuities

PROGRAMSROGRAMS: o Field trips o Tour guides o Team-building o Sports fees o Health club fees o Gratuities SPECIAL SERVICES o Decorations/florals/props o Messengers o Photographers o Entertainment o Speakers’ fees and gifts o Linens/laundry TRANSPORTATION o Airfare o Taxis or limos from airport o Shuttles o Parking o Valet o Gratuities o Other ADMINISTRATION o Accounting services o Advertising and promotion o Insurance o Legal services o Postage/shipping o Security o Staffing o Supplies (notepads, nametags, etc.) o Telephone o Gratuities o Other

8 EXTRA TIPS 1. Keep track of how you arrived at each budgeted item. 2. Allow contingencies for the unexpected (about 10 percent to 15 percent). 3. Have a credit card with the right limits on it. Discuss payment with all venues ahead of time, and make sure the staff knows who gets the bill. 4. Have cash on hand for tips and other emergencies. 5. Make sure to keep track of actual costs against budgeted costs for each line item in a spreadsheet. 6. Keeping track of how much money you’ve saved helps prove your worth to the company. 7. Keeping track of how much money your group spends on hotels, incidentals and F&B can prove the worth of your business. 8. Keeping track of how much business your attendees have given past exhibitors and sponsors will help prove the value of your event.

LIST ALL REVENUES: o o o o o

Audio tapes, books, videos Event fees Exhibitors Grants Web/Mobile advertising

o o o o

Product sales Program advertising Sponsors Other

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PREPARE THE RFP (REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL)

SAVE TIME, MONEY 1. Visit Ez.com/pymzen and read about our innovative solution to the pain of sourcing venues. 2. Follow the links to our intuitive RFP builder. 3. Search comprehensive list of venues. Select favorites. Compare side by side. 4. Click to submit RFPs. 5. Receive bids within a few hours. Select winner. 6. As you go to contracting phase, other bidders are notified and thanked.

After you establish the meeting’s goals, outline the agenda and know the budget, you are ready to approach meeting facilities with a request for proposal. (You are asking them to bid on your requirements.) RFPs can be completed online, using meetings-specific software, through a CVB or over the phone. Whatever method you use, be specific. An RFP can be one to 10 pages, but make sure it is clean, clear and precise. This document represents you, your company and your reputation. It is paramount to be ethical; remember you want to foster long-term relationships. Respond to vendors in a timely fashion and be flexible.

INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: o Contact information (name, title, address, phone, fax and email) and preferred method of communication (phone, email) o Company information (name, address, website, phone and fax) o Event dates and alternative dates o Event start and end time o Number of attendees and, if property, number of rooms needed o Preferred location of event (city, state and area of town) o Venue requirements (hotel, resort, special facility, restaurant, etc.) o Type of event (meeting, wedding, social, reception, product launch, etc.)

o Food and beverage requirements (passed hors d’oeuvres, buffet, seated, etc.) o Off/on-site requirements (caterer, entertainment and setup) o Audio/visual requirements (sound, stage, lighting, screen, microphone, laptop, etc.) o ADA requirements (shuttles, ramps, parking, etc.) o Time requirements (deadlines for proposals, deposits, vendors, etc.) o Estimated budget (includes money allocated for event, F&B, venue, travel, A/V, etc.) o Additional details (sustainability/CSR initiatives, breakout rooms, patterns, etc.)

DO SITE INSPECTIONS Go through the RFPs you’ve gotten back and eliminate the vendors and properties that won’t work. Schedule site inspections with your top prospects. Ask questions. Take notes.

BASIC INFORMATION NEEDED: o Name of hotel or venue o All contact persons with information o Cancellation policy o Fees

o o o o

Deposit required Group rate for rooms Meeting room rates Banquet facilities and menus

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On-site caterer Business services Audio/visual services Parking Bandwidth/connectivity

AMENITIES

FOOD & BEVERAGE

o What “green”/CSR initiatives are in place? o Does the hotel have executive/club floors offering special guest services? Business center, printing, free Wi-Fi, etc.? o Is there a pool, health club and/or a spa? Are they complimentary? Are group rates available? What are treatments and prices? o What attractions are on-site or nearby?

o What are the standard group offerings for meals and breaks? Can menus be created or tailored to your group? (Collect menus.) o Are taxes and gratuities included in F&B costs? Are extra charges applied for events that run over schedule? o What are the local liquor laws? o What on-site dining venues are available?

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GUEST ROOMS o What is the total number and type of rooms in the hotel and the maximum number that can be committed to the meeting? What are the room categories (nonsmoking, ocean-view, etc.), and how many are available in each category? Are smoking rooms close to nonsmoking, or are there nonsmoking floors? o Determine the cut-off date for room reservations and room blocks as well as check-in/check-out times. Will rooms be available for early arrivals and late departures? Establish how many days before and after the official meeting dates special lodging rates apply. o What are the guarantee and deposit requirements? What is the refund policy for cancellations/attrition? o If confirmed rooms are not available, will property provide overflow housing at a comparable property for the conference rate and provide free transportation between the properties? o How many complimentary rooms are issued for units occupied before, during and after the meeting dates? o Specify the number of rooms needed for staff, speakers and VIPs. Ask what the criteria are for obtaining free, more discounted or higher-quality rooms. o Request the rate structure for both single and double occupancy, with and without taxes. Be sure there is an understanding about how sales and use taxes will be billed or avoided. o Ask if the rates apply to children staying in the same room. o Review services such as hot/continental breakfasts, newspapers, Internet access, resort amenities, local phone calls, etc. Negotiate to have them included at no extra cost. o Ask whether there is space available to store luggage after checkout but before departure from the conference. (This service should be provided free.) o Inspect the guest rooms. Are they comfortable and clean? Is the furniture in good condition? Is there balcony furniture? Are the bathroom fixtures modern? Are robes and other amenities (bottled water,

shampoo, hair dryers, irons, etc.) provided? Do rooms offer adequate lighting (check and make sure light bulbs are working), closet space and hangers? Are the rooms wired for Internet access? What services does the TV offer (DVD, conference news, Web access)?

THE LOBBY o Are the front-of-house staff (doormen, concierge, reception, etc.) efficient and friendly? o Is the registration desk easy to find? Is there staff to handle busy check-in/checkout times for major groups? Is there a separate group check-in area? o Is the lobby inviting? Check the cleanliness of public restrooms. o Check the availability and location of guest services such as ATM machines, gift shop, safety deposit boxes, etc. o How far is the lobby from the self-park lot?

MEETING ROOMS o Walk the space. How long does it take to get to and from rooms? o What technology is available? Are there fees for not using in-house A/V? o Are rooms adequately soundproofed? o Are lighting controls in the room and easy to use? Is the room comfortably well lit? Can it be darkened? o Are temperature controls in the room, and easy to use? Is the air-conditioning quiet? o Do meeting rooms have high ceilings? Are columns or obstructions a concern? Can rooms be set up in the seating styles required? o Is adequate space available in or near the meeting rooms for breaks? o Does the hotel have in-house or preferred suppliers for A/V, florals, etc.? o Does the facility have any theme decorations or props you can use? Are they free of charge?

13 EXTRA TIPS 1. Prepare in advance: Visit websites. 2. Take pictures or video with camera or phone. 3. Bring someone along; another pair of eyes helps. 4. Create a timeline from when you first experienced the property until the day you leave. 5. Eat a meal at the property and sample on-site catering menus. 6. Get to know the key employees: the general manager, concierge, director of security, chef, etc. 7. Discuss concessions but be ethical, honest and realistic about your budget and expectations. 8. Make an unannounced visit to the property. 9. Stay overnight. Order late-night and earlymorning room service. Arrange a wake-up call, and keep a checklist of all services. 10. Use speedtest.net to test Internet speed and bandwidth in rooms and meeting space. 11. Are any renovations planned? Will the work interfere with your meeting? 12. If you’re visiting an unfamiliar city, also schedule tastings with potential caterers and meetings with other suppliers, as well. 13. If you can't attend a site visit in person, see if you can find a local planner through an online community like PYM or MeCo or an association like MPI to do the inspection and send you their notes/impressions.

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FOLLOW THESE 6 STEPS: 1. REPORT BACK

INDUSTRY WEBSITES • Asaecenter.org American Society of Association Executives • Conventionindustry.org Convention Industry Council (CIC) • Ez.com/pymhangout PYM’s G+ community for meeting planners with monthly online video chats and broadcasts. • Gmicglobal.org Green Meeting Industry Council • Iaap-hq.org International Association of Administrative Professionals • Ises.com International Special Events Society • Meetingscommunity.com MeCo listserve • Mpiweb.org Meeting Professionals International • Pcma.org Professional Convention Management Assn. • PlanYourMeetings.com Plan Your Meetings: online RFPs, resource directory, blogs, news, social networks, advice, tips and more ... • Facebook.com/ Planyourmeetings An online community of meeting professionals • Sgmp.org Society of Government Meeting Planners • Siteglobal.com Society of Incentive & Travel Executives

o Notify all who were involved in the site selection process (national sales offices, property-level sales manager, CVBs, etc.) that the bid was awarded. o Send thank-you notes to everyone you met, and consider providing feedback to vendors you didn’t select.

2. NEGOTIATE SITE CONTRACT o Make sure the contract is easy to read and precise. o Ask a meetings industry attorney to review it even if your company doesn’t require it. At the least, check to see that indemnification language is included and is reciprocal. Make sure that each party is responsible for its own negligence. o Make sure it includes concessions and upgrades besides the standard offering, such as complimentary meeting space, room upgrades, VIP amenities, complimentary welcome reception, free parking, health club passes, etc. Specify what is not allowable for direct billing, i.e., personal phone calls, alcoholic beverages, movies, room service, etc. o Does it contain cancellation clauses, attrition fees, etc.? o Strike out clauses that “double-dip.” o Protect your group from change of ownership or any other factor that might reduce the quality of service by inserting a clause that gives you the right to cancel if quality of service is jeopardized by specific conditions. o Include a statement in the contract that all fees and charges have been disclosed, and that you are not liable for any other changes unless you agree to them in writing. o Update your meetings résumé and double-check details before signing. o Make sure your contract is countersigned and dated by all necessary parties.

3. CHOOSE VENDORS o Ask the facility to recommend vendors, if they don’t have on-site services or contracts.

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o Check references and talk with people who have used the service provider. o Meet with caterers and sample food. o Meet with speakers and/or entertainers and review demo tapes/press releases/ résumés. Is there a backup plan if there are last-minute cancellations due to illness, travel delays, etc.? o Arrange for equipment needs. o Arrange transportation. o Inquire about policies on credit and payment of charges. Is there a discount for paying in advance or within a certain time frame? o Ask about the cancellation/refund policy. Find out what measures are in place in case of equipment failures. o If the event is outdoors or includes outdoor activities, what provisions are there in case of bad weather? o Finalize written agreements and follow up with final details. o Schedule extra help for the day(s) of the event. (CVBs or colleges may have volunteers.)

4. CREATE SPEC WORKSHEETS Make separate worksheets for each function or meeting room, so they can be given to everyone responsible for the session or activity. They will facilitate communication and establish a chronology. Include: o Billing costs and information o Beverage/break/menu/catering details o Equipment information o Entertainment details o Program location and title o Setup details/diagram o Staff responsiblities o Type of function o Contact information

5. INVITATIONS, SIGNS, AMENITIES, ETC. o Develop your attendee list. o Print and mail invitations, or save paper and email invitations, depending on the preference of your group.


o Include information on agendas about suggested attire, travel arrangements, directions and other instructions. (Consider including a list of other meeting attendees.) o Track the number of RSVPs; follow up with those who did not RSVP to find out why they can’t/won’t come. o If no reusable supplies from previous events are available, order signs and printed material, including nametags. o Put together your welcome package; include evaluation forms. (Consider distributing digitally or via flash drives.) o Arrange delivery of all meetings material with the event manager. o Develop and distribute meeting agenda (include hotel and transportation information). o Prepare a complete master set of all handouts and materials to carry with you in case digital files are corrupt or shipments get lost in the mail. o Get estimates/proposals for gifts or favors. Make sure they reflect the meeting and respect the corporate brand/image. o Place gift orders, wrap and distribute. o Make arrangements for post-meeting disposal of items, whether they are to be donated, recycled or shipped.

6. PRE- AND POST-MEETINGS Once the contracts are signed, you will probably be assigned to a Conference Services Manager (CSM) by the facility. Get to know the CSM very well; he or she can help with upgrades, perks and special requests. Schedule pre- and postconferences with the CSM. Depending on your program, the average pre-conference is two to four weeks prior to your meeting (date of arrival). The post-conference will provide important feedback for you, the property and for future meetings. So be honest and don’t forget to give praise where it’s deserved. IN ADVANCE o Check with the hotel at intervals to review the agreement, plans and to make sure things are on schedule.

o Submit group rooming list to hotel and confirm arrangements three to four weeks out (including menus, room setups and special requests). o Provide guaranteed attendance numbers for food and beverage events at least 72 hours in advance. o Confirm speakers’ A/V needs and travel arrangements and review per diems and reimbursement policies. o Confirm logistical arrangements with other service providers. ON-SITE o Hold pre-conference meeting to review details. o Confirm arrival of shipped materials and distribute. o Check hotel “reader boards” for posted times and locations of your functions. o Check function room/banquet setups. o Notify on-site contacts of any changes in plans or requirements. o Monitor service delivery. o Keep track of master account. Review and sign banquet checks daily. o Make sure everyone knows what’s acceptable. See that either signage, in-room screens or registration packets contain information about ground rules. AFTER THE MEETING o Gather room pickup and other reports from facility. o Prepare statistical reports on the meeting. Detailed reports should include attendee demographics, budgets and procedures as well as feedback. (These will provide a history for future events.) o Process evaluation forms. Document your successes and share with meeting stakeholders. Surveys should include more than routine questions about food, entertainment and the facility; ask what attendees learned from the meeting that will change the way they do business. Evaluate overall satisfaction and demonstrate how well the event met its objectives. o Provide feedback to the hotel; it builds a future relationship. Let them know what they did well, and how they could improve.

6 EXTRA TIPS 1. Room rates are the easiest item to negotiate. Knowing your attendees’ habits and what they will spend on other services, such as golfing fees, gives you more leverage. Look for soft dates and off-peak savings. 2. Familiarize yourself with the destination and meeting locale. Get to know the local culture; find out what events are going on that you might tie into; tap into the CVB and any other resource. 3. Stay in touch with everyone. Make sure meeting objectives, systems and procedures are clearly spelled out and conveyed to staff and attendees. Keep suppliers, speakers and staff up to date on the status of the meeting no matter how busy you are. 4. Stay on schedule. Attendees want to know exactly what will be offered, when it will start, and how long they’re expected to stay. 5. Be courteous to everyone and make sure your staff is trained to be, as well. 6. Check airlift into potential meeting destinations. If possible, confirm with local CVBs or air carriers that service will still be available over the dates of your meeting. If service is discontinued it can make formerly accesible destinations expensive to reach.

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PLAN YOUR F&B o Get estimates and proposals o Arrange tastings and take photos o Choose caterer/restaurant o Sign contract o Pay deposit

DON'T FORGET Food allergies and diet restrictions are an increasing concern among event attendees. Make sure this information is gathered during registration and that allowances are made. Don’t forget to make sure the banquet staff understands the importance of attending to and serving these needs.

RENT IT Need a candelabra or brandy snifters? Coat hangers or cutlery? Fountains or furniture? You can rent them all. In fact, when it comes to renting items by the hour, the possibilities are endless. Think “different.” Need to set the stage? Consider prop houses that work with theaters or within the film industry. Think about renting plants from a nursery, or paintings or sculptures from an art gallery. Visit antiques stores, specialty lighting facilities or furniture stores for ideas. For trouble-free rentals, make sure to have the time and people needed to make it work. Visit the rental company and do a spot check for chips, stains, cigarette burns, etc. Finally, check the cost of renting against the cost of buying. In some cases, it may actually be more cost-efficient to purchase the item.

o Choose format o Finalize menus (include special needs) o Finalize seating, décor, etc. o Take final head count o Arrange for tips and taxes o Arrange transportation and parking

NEGOTIATING GUIDELINES o Don’t forget to take a look at menu pricing before hotel contracts are signed. Beware of hidden charges — tax, gratuities, service charges, setup fee, decorations, carving person, labor, bartender, etc. o Ask for references from groups that have held food functions at the facility within the last two months o Find out how far in advance the property will confirm menu/reception prices. o Watch F&B attrition in the contract negotiation stage: Tell them you will pay any attrition on their profit, not the entire plate and not on service charges if the attrition happens far enough out that food and labor haven’t been ordered. If you think this is going to be a problem, ask the catering manager how far out they order the food. Also, go low on your numbers; it is always easier to add than delete, but be sure to keep your catering manager updated if your numbers are growing. Most vendors provide 5 percent to 10 percent above the agreed-upon guaranteed number. o If you know you will exceed the minimum F&B spend required, you can use that as leverage in negotiations to gain concessions elsewhere. o Find out when the site’s program coordinator will arrive to oversee last-

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minute details. (This should be at least 30 minutes before the food function is scheduled.) o The best way to handle F&B billing is have the property do a binder that has dividers by dates, according to your catering functions. Each morning they take the banquet check, attach it to the BEO from the previous day and place them into the binder under the day the event happened. Accounting then gives the binder to the meeting planner who is handling the billing on a daily basis to sign banquet checks. Once checks for that day are signed, give the binder back to accounting. This way any discrepancies can be discussed while the meeting planner is still on-site. o Be aware of what is happening in general with food costs. If you frequent certain restaurants, become friends with the manager and occasionally ask what pricing on food is looking like. Same with liquor store owners. o Keep an accurate history on your numbers. Go around and see how many people you actually have: Don’t count empty seats; count folded napkins or unused silverware. o For bar service, on consumption is cheaper than per person. Coffee breaks per piece are cheaper than per person. If you are doing power bars or granola bars for your coffee breaks, make sure they are on consumption, as very few people eat them. o The biggest cost-cutting you’ll do is in beverages, by not having an open bar and just serving beer and wine. Or have just one special drink in addition to beer and wine versus an open bar. o Is there a charge for a bartender/cashier? In a cash bar reception, find out if there is a minimum sales amount required to waive the cost. (Be sure that you comply with the company’s policy on alcohol.) o Add curb value to your meal by having the chef put herbs in sauces,


food, vodka, etc. It seems more elegant and won’t raise your cost. o Discuss how they dress their buffets. Many companies are getting away from fluff cloths and, as a result, the buffets can look flat and boring. If this isn’t acceptable, ask for more layering and texture. If you have a couple of pennies to spend, buy some potted plants — they will last your entire stay. o Make sure properties charge based on actual, not estimated consumption. o If you have a very tight budget, it's best to tell the chef how much you can spend per person and let him or her design a custom menu for your group.

FRESH IDEAS o Put meal coupons in the attendees’ registration package for those requesting special meals. Have the banquet server set a cocktail round with the box of special meals behind them; people can come up to this station to redeem their coupon. o For breakfast, think along the lines of a European continental breakfast: assorted nuts, trail mix, cheese display with crackers, and an antipasto platter of meats, sausages and vegetables. o For coffee breaks have the facility put the replenishments for cream, sugar, cups, etc., under the coffee break table. Put creamer and sugar in big bowls to cut down on replenishment. o Make sure snacks or treats are fresh. Have healthy alternatives; keep them simple but fun — baskets of popcorn, plates of cookies, yogurt with fresh fruit and granola, everything chocolate or a local specialty, like Moon Pies. o Use decorative buckets to hold different types of snacks — trail mix, dried fruit, miniature pretzels, chocolate-covered raisins, etc. Put out wax bags or little white bags with a sponsor’s sticker and let people make their own baggie. o Consider an afternoon tea. Offer a selection of green teas with finger sandwiches or mini-desserts.

o Don’t pay much attention to what is “in.” Instead, pay attention to the foods your group enjoys and try to put twists on them, i.e., instead of chocolate chip, oatmeal and peanut butter cookies, do toffee chip, M&M and Reese’s Pieces cookies. Or provide healthy alternatives like fruit and nuts. o Be more conscious of the food that is coming back. Get up and walk around the room during your events and see what people aren’t eating. Ask the banquet captain to keep track of what comes back untouched (tip extra for his or her help). o Always make sure buffets are doublesided, even for smaller groups. o Make the menu a keepsake. Do something different with your printed menu; put relevant quotes above the item being served, and then print the menu on a nice paper from a paper store. Or, if you’re interested in being green, print the menu on a sheet embedded with wildflower seeds that can be planted, or project the menu on a wall. o Personalize the meal — have the company logo or name stenciled in chocolate or powdered sugar on the desserts; ask the bartender to create a signature cocktail. o Use props on the tables to tie in to your theme. o Chef demonstrations, wine-tasting dinners, create-your-own stations, and other interactive, educational opportunities enhance events and make for memorable experiences. o Lazy Susans or salads that need to be assembled at the table are a fun way to get people talking to others at banquets.

5 EXTRA TIPS 1. Cutlery: Rental cutlery goes far beyond plastic and stainless steel. Your borrowed finery can include fish forks, butter knives or demitasse spoons in gold plate or pure sterling. 2. Dishes: Options range from exquisite table settings to Fiesta-ware for barbecue grub. Beyond the basics, you can choose from goldor silver-rimmed plates, bone china soup bowls, demitasse cups, dessert plates and so on. Mixed shapes and patterns add to the table’s interest. 3. Glassware: Rent glasses in every shape and size. Try different colors. 4. Linens: Rent tablecloths, table runners and napkins in every imaginable hue and layer them. Order dark napkins and lint-free tablecloths; lint from white tablecloths and napkins leave a mess behind on dark suits. Organize buffet tables into color groups to match a corporate or program theme. 5. Tables and chairs: Tables come in half-moon, serpentine, high-top and more. Or rent bar tables, registration tables and banquet tables complete with covers of every description. Ordinary banquet chairs can be covered with fabulous fabric for greater impact tied with bows, or hang with silk vines and flowers.

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PAY ATTENTION TO ROOM SETUPS Dynamic meetings, effective interaction and successful learning depend on the setup of the room. Pay close attention to details and don’t just accept the schematic the facility provides. Make setup decisions based on your needs.

7 EXTRA STEPS 1. Make sure you take the overview tour of meeting room locations. Are the rooms easy to find? How much signage is needed? 2. Attendees should be able to leave the room without disturbing anyone else. 3. If extensive writing is to be done or if the meeting will run more than two hours, seat attendees at tables, preferably without a cloth. 4. If chairs are not as comfortable as they could be, ask your speaker to consider giving participants a stretch break. 5. Provide plenty of ice water, drinking glasses, notepads, pencils, mints, etc. 6. It’s important that during sessions, attendees can see each other; it helps them connect with each other and the presenter. 7. People learn and feel better in comfortable, attractive surroundings; keep that in mind.

o Comfort zone: Make sure the room is neither too hot nor too cold. Are there any unpleasant odors? Be aware of cleaning solutions, food odors or any other less-thanpleasant scents in the room. o Doors and walls: Your group should face the longest wall in the room. This way, the maximum number of people face the presenters. o Front and center: Typically the back of the room fills far quicker, to the speaker’s disadvantage. Place rope and stanchions across the back rows, forcing people to the front. Or put the speaker in the center, “in the round.” o General appearances: Check to see if there are any panels on the ceiling that show signs of dirt or water damage; that the windows are clean; that chairs and tables don’t wobble or show signs of wear. Ask when the last time air filters were changed. o Lighting: Make sure all the lights are functioning properly and set the way you prefer. Consider pink lighting for the speaker, which is the most flattering. o Size: Make sure the room is not too large or too small for the group. If participants arrive and see a room that is relatively empty, they may think the meeting is not very important. A room that is too large is as negative as a room that is too crowded — both may give an impression of lack of respect for the meeting and speaker.

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Have you left space for staging, audio/ visual equipment, pillars or head tables? Is there space for refreshment breaks? How do you know if a potential space is adequate to your needs? The best way to be certain your group will fit easily into a space is to create a diagram to scale. (Room diagramming software is available.) Another advantage to using a diagram is that it can simply be handed to the people in charge of setting up the room for your meeting. o Sound: Make sure the sound system is in excellent working condition and that there is someone who knows how to work it. Do a sound check before the meeting starts, and have an additional microphone on hand in case of technical difficulties. Also, consider neighboring room noises and hotel maintenance schedules. You don’t want someone starting a vacuum cleaner or lawn mower outside your room during the presentation or meeting. o Table shapes: Square or rectangular tables create a sense of getting down to business and are often preferred for training sessions and instructional meetings. Round tables encourage a sense of cooperation and sharing, and are also a good shape for creative ideas and brainstorming sessions. o Visibility: Make sure presentations, overheads and handouts use a typeface that all participants can easily see. Make it easy for every person to see and hear the other individuals.


SEATING PLANS The following are common seating arrangements. Whichever arrangement you choose should be comfortable and promote open discussion. There are nine distinct choices, each best suited to a specific set of circumstances. For more out-of-the-box ideas visit thrival.com.

1. CLASSROOM SEATING

5. U-SHAPE SEATING

Reminiscent of a schoolroom, this is basically rows of tables with chairs. It’s preferred when attendees need table area to take notes, spread out materials or do other activities. One of the most efficient uses of space, classroom tables come in two widths: The standard table is 30 inches wide; there also is an 18-inch version known in the trade as a “skinny.” Tables are either 6 or 8 feet long. Place two participants at the 6-foot table and 3 at the longer version. Specify in your contract the number of participants you want per table; otherwise the facility may overcrowd each table to fit more people into a smaller room.

2. THEATER SEATING Theater seating maximizes space, but it is far less convenient for note-taking or group interaction.

3. CHEVRON SEATING In this setup, chairs are angled toward the front of the room in a V-shape. Chevron seating has a friendlier feel.

Also used for small meetings, standard banquet tables measuring 8 feet long and 30 feet wide are placed end-to-end to form a large U shape. Participants face each other, but there is space between the tables that can be used as a presentation area.

6. HOLLOW SQUARE SEATING Standard banquet tables are placed endto-end forming a giant rectangle or square that is hollow in the middle. It’s generally used for groups of 30 or fewer.

Used for meetings with 30 participants or less, all chairs gather around one large table.

8.

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7. T-SHAPE SEATING Another small group setup, banquet tables are arranged to form a large T, giving a sense of having a head table where presenters might be seated.

8. BANQUET SEATING The standard banquet table is 60 or 72 inches in diameter, seats eight or 12 people, and is nearly always used at food functions.

9. CRESCENT SEATING

4. CONFERENCE SEATING

1.

Similar to banquet seating, but the chairs are placed around one-half or threequarters of the table. Chairs all face the front of the room.

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HIRING SPEAKERS & ENTERTAINMENT

SPEAKERS ONLINE • Thespeakersgroup.com Celebrity speakers and experts. Search by price range. • Brooksinternational.com Celebrities, famous athletes, motivational speakers and entertainers • Nsaspeaker.org National Speakers Association • Premierespeakers.com International resource for prominent speakers • Speakers.com Authors, impersonators, actors, celebrities and special interest speakers • Speaking.com Keynote speakers

o Do you want them to educate, entertain or persuade? Make sure they can help you accomplish the meeting’s goals. o Before hiring a speaker or entertainer, meet with them in person, watch a performance or ask for a demo tape. o Discuss what the specific presentation or entertainment program will be for your event. You don’t want to be surprised. o Try to negotiate a flat fee. See if the speaker is willing to include travel, hotel or other costs in the fee. o Check contingency plans for illness, bad weather, power outages, etc. o Make sure the venue can accommodate your choice. (A two-piece act in a large convention room will get lost.) o Arrange for something to fill in when the band takes a break. o Make sure you have covered all equipment needs (lectern, microphone preference, overhead projector, LCD panel, video equipment). Check computer compatibility. Be thorough about the technical requirements and make sure you know what is allowed and whether the room can accommodate the equipment, such as large screens. o Check access to freight elevators and be sure to leave time for setup and breakdown. o Be sure to meet with the on-site technician and make sure you can contact her or him in an emergency. o Check all mics and sound levels well before it’s time for the speaker. o Make sure the speaker or room monitor knows where the light switches are, how they work and who will dim them on cue. o Check sightlines to the stage or podium. Never place the speaker in front of a window, shiny surface or busy background where glare or distracting elements will compete and diminish attention to the message.

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o Fresh or silk flower arrangements or plants near the podium create a feeling of comfort. (Be sure to ask the speaker about allergies.) o Will speaker provide handout material or need copies made? Be green: Encourage attendees to go to websites for handouts or distribute them digitally on USB drives. o Make sure the speaker knows how much time is allotted for his or her presentation and how much time should be left for Q&As. o Is there a rehearsal schedule? Is there a speaker’s room (green room) where he or she can wait or do lastminute preparations? o Have water available at the podium. o Let speakers and other guests know what meetings or events they are invited to attend. Are they invited to the awards dinner? o Are they willing to offer other services: MCing, working the floor, handling an information booth, etc.? o If staff members are doing presentations and need to improve their speaking skills, consider hiring a theater professional to work with them on stage presence, body language, vocal work and delivery. Corporate divisions of theater and improv companies have a variety of programs that can enhance employee training and development, and are often staffed by actors with corporate backgrounds. o If you are planning a team-building activity, make sure it suits your group’s demographics. It’s important that whatever you plan, it’s fun as well as challenging and won’t leave anyone out in the cold. o Want a speaker to be a virtual emcee or presenter? Look for someone with broadcast experience.


TECHNOLOGY KNOW-HOW MANAGE YOUR MEETING o Get organized with the basics: a word processor, a spreadsheet and a database. o If you need guidance, download free Excel spreadsheet templates for everything from conference matrix grids to attrition calculators from corbinball.com/tipstools. o If you want everything spelled out for you, meeting management software packages, such as APEX Powershop, can include everything from RFPs to housing lists, nametags and budgets. o Organize press releases, email invitations and marketing metrics with an online system such as Certain Meetings or Constant Contact. o Invite local press or industry bloggers to attend and cover your event.

GET CONNECTED o Make sure you know how attendees can get connected to the Internet on-site, and at what cost. o Use a video-conferencing facility, G+ hangouts or a virtual network like Second Life to facilitate training sessions and conferences between attendees in far-flung destinations, or to introduce a special speaker to the group. o Need broadcast-quality resolution? Go for HD cameras/projectors, satellite feeds or Internet 2 access. Live satellite broadcasts also are available for conferences held in movie theaters. Check ncm.com for more information. o On a tight budget? Webcam-equipped laptops create instant conferences over the Internet using free software like Skype. com, Google hangouts and ooVoo.com. o The World Clock Meeting Planner (timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting. html) calculates the best conference times for attendees in up to four time zones. o Leverage technology such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Eventbrite,

Slideshare, Tumblr, YouTube, Lanyrd and Google+ to help you network, connect attendees and market your event.

MAKE IT SNAPPY o Encourage presenters to include YouTube videos and music in PowerPoint/Keynote/ Prezi presentations. o Spice up a boring presentation with a little humor. Some improv theaters have corporate entertainment/video departments or can team-build. o Moderate Twitter streams for real-time conversations/feedback using an event specific hashtag (e.g. #yaypym), and provide a blogging station during general sessions.

SET THE STAGE o Choose a room with adjustable lighting. Keep the room light enough to take notes. o Data/digital projectors can be hooked up to laptops, DVD players or mobile devices. o Using closed-circuit video in large rooms allows you to scatter satellite screens throughout the audience to improve everyone’s access to the information presented. o Copy boards let presenters record notes and print them out for attendees. o Interactive whiteboards are connected to a computer and projector, allowing presenters to interact with the audience and access computer-based information at the same time. o Plasma display panels (PDP) or flat-panel television screens can be used in lieu of a traditional screen. PDP overlays turn plasma panels into interactive whiteboards. o Multiple panels can double as videoenhanced scenery, projecting one or many background images. o Water screens provide a high-resolution projection surface that “floats.”

8 EXTRA TIPS 1. Research areas you’re unfamiliar with at planyourmeetings.com/ destinations or on our business directory. 2. Find out whether airfare rates are likely to rise or fall, and see what the current lowest fares are at bing.com/travel. 3. Make sure software is compatible with your computer’s operating system. Also, only load software on the computer you will be doing the most work on; software locks may prevent it from running on more than one machine. 4. Create a closedcircuit video connection between the main space and any spillover group so everyone can see what’s going on. 5. Use the free TechSpec app to rate a venue or hotel’s technical infrastructure and compare potential meeting sites. 6. Need backup Internet? 4G/LTE aircards may be rented by the day from daypasswireless.com. 7. A mobile device’s hotspot may be used in lieu of wired Internet if yours goes out. But tether the device to a laptop via a USB cable to ensure the best connection. 8. 4G/LTE cell connections are faster than most Wi-Fi connections.

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Continued

o You don’t need a screen to project images. The surface of a pool, the walls of a room, a wall of water — anything that is flat will add texture and a touch of the unexpected to projected displays. o Consider creating projected 3-D images to interact with speakers or audience. o Self-contained, roll-up venues are available for outdoor events. o Check the presentation sightlines from everywhere in the room. o Encourage speakers to interact with the audience by providing clip-on lavaliere, handheld wireless or headset microphones. o Use colors and light to transform the mood of a room and brand the space. Laser lighting can create rock-show effects, spell out company logos or slogans and reinforce the rhythm and mood of piped-in music. Gobo gels in fixed lights can project logos and color washes. Special gobo gels can simulate textures, as well.

BE PREPARED o Walkie-talkies are your best friends. All important contacts should have one on the big day. Don’t rely on cell phones (although the Voxer walkietalkie app is cool). o Make sure the venue provides you with at least one tech-savvy A/V person who will be on-call and within arm’s reach throughout the event. o Have extra batteries for microphones, dongles for projectors and charger plugs for laptops in the presentation room. o Make sure projection equipment is compatible with the disc or laptop the presenter is bringing in advance. Just in case, have a backup plan. o Use text messages, social networks, conference apps and emails to broadcast emergency information or schedule changes, as needed.

GETTING THERE AND BACK BY AIR o Who’s in charge of booking flights? An in-house department? An outside travel agency? Coordinate flight arrivals to simplify ground transportation arrangements (and lower costs). o Select an official airline. Some airlines have group sales departments offering discounted fares, ticketing services and convenient billing policies. o Airfares tend to be lower if you’re flying into a major hub where an airline is based. o Best fares are traditionally found 90 days out. Bing.com/travel predicts whether fares will rise or drop, and lists what the current lowest fare is on any given day. o Encourage attendees to use your official air carrier. Use that as leverage to get complimentary tickets, based on number of seats booked, to use for future flights for staff or VIPs.

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o Ask airlines for additional frequent flyer points for your group and for an additional discount for those booking flights 60 days or more in advance. o Negotiate for the use of the carrier’s VIP lounge for an attendee meetand-greet. o Note fees for checked luggage.

GROUND TRANSPORTATION o Check with hotels and facilities; many have free, dedicated airport shuttles or can provide airport pickups for a minimal fee. o Arrange limousine (Hummer, town car) transfers for VIPs. o Do you need to ask for concessions on staging areas and curb space at the airport or venue? o Are police needed for extra security? If so, who will pay for them? o Get advice from the local convention and visitors bureau (CVB) about how to


o o

o

o

o

o o o

handle group transportation needs. Do they have examples of what similar size groups have done in the past? Do they have suggestions for unusual forms of transportation? Contact local transportation companies the CVB recommends. Does the city have a public transportation system that would be useful? Are group fares or charters available? What are taxicab fares, and can prepaid vouchers be purchased for attendees in advance? Consider hiring a destination management company to arrange transportation and drivers, print brochures and maps for attendees, and set up signs and loading areas. What’s the transportation schedule? A continuous loop? Morning and afternoon only? On demand? Who’s providing signage for each vehicle? Arrange America Disabilities Act (ADA)equipped vehicles, if needed. If venues are within walking distance, give attendees maps.

BE PREPARED o Make sure the vendor carries adequate insurance that states liability limits. o Ask for recent references. o Make sure vendors’ contracts spell out who is responsible for what. o Have passenger lists to check so no one gets left behind. o Keep shuttle vans stocked with water and light snacks, especially if attendees will be getting on and off more than once a day.

Jackie Thornton, M.S., CMP, contributed the seating chart to this guide. President of Global Marketing and PR Inc., Jackie also teaches event planning certificate courses. Claire Gould, owner of Rx for Events LLC, contributed to the F&B section. Claire shares her F&B tips and experiences monthly at PlanYourMeetings.com.

o Consider hiring a speaker or storyteller to amuse attendees if they will be on the bus for more than 20 minutes. o If attendees will have bags with them, make sure shuttles have ample storage space. o Keep informed about local construction schedules and traffic patterns; use that information to avoid both while in town.

PREPARE THEM o Keep attendees informed about what they should expect before they arrive. o What’s the weather like? What activities are planned? Will they need sensible shoes? What should they pack? o What’s the airport layout? Where should they go after they land, and who will be there to meet them? What should they do if their plane is late? o Greet attendees at the airport with a bottle of water and with welcome packets; they can relax, rehydrate and reorient themselves to the new task at hand before arriving at the hotel. o Provide diagrams of the meeting venue and transportation hubs, so no one wastes time getting lost. o Don’t ever assume attendees know where they’re supposed to be. o Be productive in informing attendees about potential crises like hurricanes or flu outbreaks so they know what contingency plans are in place.

7 SAFETY TIPS 1. Gather a list of emergency contact numbers from the local CVB and notify authorities when your group will be in town. 2. Meet with hotel and facility security professionals and go over emergency procedures, particularly exit and crowd management strategies. Know city plans, too. 3. Go over internal communication plans; know who is doing what and make sure everyone is on the same page and is connected during the event. 5. Make sure properties and facilities are aware of who your vendors are, what they are delivering and when they are expected. 6. Know what’s going on in the world. Designate someone who can deal with questions and concerns attendees may have. Have alternative travel plans just in case. 7. Spell out specifically who is responsible for what in vendor contracts. Vendors’ insurance should state liability limits; see if your group can be named as additional insured. Consider getting an event cancellation policy.

Plan Your Meetings Chief Storyteller Kristi Casey Sanders updated and edited this guide. For more best practices, planning trends, tips, ideas, examples, industry news and more claim your free subscription to PYM at PlanYourMeetings.com/subscribe.

©2013 Plan Your Meetings. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in whole or part without permission.

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INDEX OF ADVERTISERS 200 Peachtree, Atlanta, GA

46

Abilene CVB, TX

95

Amusement Masters

48

James H Rainwater Conference Center, Valdosta, GA

57

La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa, Montgomery, TX

83

+ Plano CVB, Plano Centre, TX

+ AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, TX

75

87 Promote Your Message

Atlanta Braves

Inside Front Cover

45

+ Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Reno, NV

63

+ Beaver Run Resort, Breckenridge, CO

37

+ City of Granbury, TX

77

Constant Contact

+ Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston, TX

81

+ San Marcos CVB, TX

91

Sheraton Sand Key

43

StayInAtlanta com

47

StayInSavannah com

55

Visit Lubbock, TX

97

61

+ Crowne Plaza South Central, TX

69

Cuscowilla on Lake Oconee, Eatonton, GA

53 + Visit Telluride, CO

+ Dave & Buster’s

20-21

+ Delta Sky Team

9

Douglasville Conference Center, GA + Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, CO

39

The Westin Charlotte, NC

67

Warwick Melrose Hotel Dallas, TX

71

The Westin La Cantera Hill Country Resort, San Antonio, TX

93

51

41

Grapevine CVB

73

IMEX America

1

+ Irving CVB, TX

79

+ The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center, TX Zentila Zoo Atlanta Special Events, GA

85 Back Cover 49

Advertisers with the “+” symbol have special “Augmented Reality” content, accessible through the PYM+ app available free for Apple and Android devices. See page 6 for details. For meeting room specs, photo galleries, special offers and more hotel and vendor listings, go to PlanYourMeetings.com/business-directory.

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