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A SEISMIQUE SHIFT

Houston’s new attraction employs holograms, augmented reality and 9 million LEDs

STAR LOCATION

The Film Bastrop initiative promotes the city as a destination for film, TV and media productions

M E E T I N G S M A G S . C O M // S P R I N G 2 0 2 1

THE MEETING PLANNER’S GUIDE TO

DALLAS The Big D is open for business

»PLUS Sunlit Meetings in El Paso SUN CITY HAS GONE THROUGH A TRUE RENAISSANCE {16} TXMESP21.indb 1

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s g n i t e Me

IN THE HEART OF TEXAS

W A C O

C O N V E N T I O N

C E N T E R

OPEN FOR BUSINESS WITH SAFETY IN MIND

Carla Pendergraft, Director of Marketing 100 Washington Avenue | Waco, TX 76701 254.750.5806 | carlap@wacotx.gov wacocc.com

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IT’S NOT OUR FIRST RODEO Get out to the Texas frontier and find friendly faces and wide-open spaces!

Z

• Taylor County Expo Center  $55 million expansion and renovations complete in 2021 • New downtown entertainment district  Out-of-the-ordinary meeting venues • Upgraded Abilene Convention Center • Affordable hotels with 3,600 rooms • Catering with Texas flavors • Fun off-site activities and attractions • Full-service meeting planning • No hassle navigation

Abilene Convention Center

DoDge Jones Youth sports Center

soDA DistriCt CourtYArD

Request a Proposal kim@abilenevisitors.com (800) 727 7704 Scan & Learn More

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Im fro col un

To 20 he ab


rs

ZERO ATTRITION THROUGH 2021

Imagine a world where “can’t” doesn’t exist. Imagine all you can do in Arlington, Texas. Located just 15 minutes from DFW airport, Arlington offers everything you need to make your next event memorable—from our diverse collection of flexible venues, to our growing hotel inventory, to a CVB team that excels at turning Arlington’s unique assets into experiences that make attendees say, “wow!” To instill even more confidence about booking with us, we have instituted a special No Attrition Through 2021 offer for meeting and event planners. Our team is dedicated to taking precautions for a clean and healthy experience with distancing options that make sense for your event. Give us a call, and let’s talk about what we can do for you.

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Contents

20 Meeting Planner’s Guide to Dallas Where to meet, what to do. In Every Issue //

6 Editor’s Note 16 Destination

El Paso is a fantastic option for meetings and events.

18 Venue Report

Seismique is Houston’s newest experiential museum.

32 People Profile Meet Loris Menfi. Meeting Notes //

10 Sharing Is Caring The Meet Safe Platform is a valuable resource for planners.

10 Signature Drink The Mother Mayo Margarita is a tasty update to the traditional margarita recipe.

14 Expert Advice

Tips for strategically integrating video into digital meetings and marketing.

Industry Update //

26 Infographic

An informed outlook on the future of hotels and hospitality.

28 Regional News

The latest news for the industry in Texas.

A SEISMIQUE SHIFT

Houston’s new attraction employs holograms, augmented reality and 9 million LEDs

STAR LOCATION

The Film Bastrop initiative promotes the city as a destination for film, TV and media productions

M E E T I N G S M A G S . C O M // S P R I N G 2 0 2 1

THE MEETING PLANNER’S GUIDE TO

DALLAS The Big D is open for business

»PLUS Sunlit Meetings in El Paso SUN CITY HAS GONE THROUGH A TRUE RENAISSANCE {16}

On the Cover

A neon glow brightens downtown Dallas at night. PHOTO BY DIBROVA

P H O T O : N I G E L YO U N G / F O S T E R + PA R T N E R S

Feature //

SPRING 2 02 1

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P H O T O : N I G E L YO U N G / F O S T E R + PA R T N E R S

SPRING 2021

tx.meetingsmags.com

EDITOR TERESA KENNEY MANAGING EDITOR LAUREN PAHMEIER COPYEDITOR SHERRI HILDEBRANDT CONTRIBUTING WRITERS MONIQUE ELWELL

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Chris Arredondo, Eclipse Entertainment | Yvette Audrain, Simply Mox | Andy Austin, Andy Austin Entertainment | Kelly Bagnall, Dykema Gossett PLLC | Deborah Elias, Elias Events | Lisa Dalton, Hotel Palomar Dallas | Kevin Foster, Conference & Catering Consultant Services | Christy Hill-Howard, Christy Hill Events Rob Keating, M&M Event Rentals | Steve Kemble, Steve Kemble Event Design | Cindy Lo, Red Velvet Events Inc. | Terri McBride, Austin Convention Center | Jim Monroe, J. Monroe Designs Diana Pfaff, Irving CVB | John Shore, Shore Public Relations Laurie Sprouse, Ultimate Ventures | Leigh Stem, AFR Event Furnishings Dayne Sullivan, Adventures LLC Marla Watson-Werst, PeaPod Productions

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EDI TOR ’ S NOT E

Spring in Our Steps

txmeetingsmags @txmeetingsmags @meetingseventsmags

TERESA KENNEY

Editor teresa.kenney@tigeroak.com

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

tx.meetingsmags.com

» AS I WRITE THIS, IT IS APRIL 11, a bright sunny afternoon and the temps are hovering around 86 degrees. I’m looking out to a traffic pattern of Eastern blue birds, mockingbirds, cardinals, robins and mourning doves. I’m fully vaccinated and just spent last weekend at my first outdoor festival in two years (albeit masked up): the Waterway Arts Festival in The Woodlands. I don’t know about you, but things are looking up in 2021, and I am 100 percent on board. In this issue we hit the road—north to Dallas and west to El Paso. Our feature article is a handy guide for everything you need to know when meeting in Dallas, including what to explore and where to meet. We also throw in some fun and quirky facts about the Big D. For instance: Did you know that the frozen margarita machine was invented in Dallas? Find out more starting on page 20. (You might want to first fix yourself our signature drink on page 10. It’s the Mother Mayo Margarita, a recipe spiced up courtesy of Cibolo Moon at JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.) Our destination this issue is El Paso. The city at the crossroads of two countries and two states has grown up quite a bit over the past few years and has become a smart and inspiring option for meeting and event planners. We also meet Loris Menfi who joined San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk as general manager last year in the midst of the pandemic. As someone with 25-plus years of experience in our industry, she offers some sage advice for navigating our new normal. Texans are not ones to back down from a challenge, and that includes challenging years. Consider, for example, how many new venues forged ahead with their opening plans, undaunted by the pandemic. One is Houston’s newest experiential museum, Seismique. We shine the spotlight on this 40,000-square-foot museum—it’s a feast for the senses with dazzling displays of light, color, sound and natural elements. I hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy. Here’s to a productive, eventfilled 2021. Thank you for your readership and continued support. As always, reach out to me with any story ideas at teresa.kenney@tigeroak.com.

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EMPOWERED BY PURPOSE TO

MAKE YOUR VISION OUR MISSION.

welcome back to the austin convention center It’s time for us to re-open our doors, and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on! The Austin Convention Center team has been tirelessly working to prepare for your next event,

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

prioritizing first and foremost the health and safety of our guests. Through the hard work of our staff, the Austin Convention Center achieved GBAC STAR™ accreditation, the gold standard for prepared facilities. Rest assured, the Austin Convention Center is among the most well-prepared event spaces in the country. It’s been a long year, but it’s time to get back to doing what we do best: Making Your Vision Our Mission.

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M E E TI NG NOTE S Products, Places & Inspiration

From Rendering to Reality

Virtual staging services help work-from-home professionals revitalize their office space without leaving the house. » WORKING FROM HOME has been something

that many professionals have had to embrace this past year, whether they liked the concept or not. After a forced test run during the pandemic, many companies have found success in working remotely and are changing their policies permanently. However, this means that many professionals will need to prepare a permanent workspace within their homes, if they haven’t already, as working on the couch indefinitely isn’t ideal. “If you’re going to be working, you might as well be in an environment that you really enjoy and that’s pleasant to you,” says Y.J. Kim, co-founder of Vancouver-based Bella Staging, a virtual staging company. However, some people don’t have an eye for design or don’t know where to find help. As Bella Staging

provides virtual services, work-from-home employees don’t need to worry about leaving the house to get the design process started and the job done. By sending in a well-lit photo of the space they want to rethink, the team of interior designers will edit out unwanted furniture and decorations and replace them with renderings of real-life furnishings. This way, clients can envision what their space could look like from a professional designer’s point of view and purchase the exact furnishings if they desire. The first phototurned-rendering is free, so professionals can get a taste of Bella Staging and a better workspace without hesitation. bellastaging.ca |

bella_virtual_staging

BY LAUREN PAHMEIER PHOTO BY 360 HOME PHOTOGRAPHY

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M EETI N G N OT E S Products, Places & Inspiration

Cool Idea //

Sharing Is Caring BY LAUREN PAHMEIER

When executed safely, in-person meetings and events are possible. But it’s been tough for meeting planners across the nation, due to differing state-by-state and even county-by-county guidelines. In some areas, meetings and events returned a while ago, but for others, it’s hard to imagine what planning a meeting would be like. In an effort to show the latter how to hold safe business gatherings when restrictions loosen, the Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC) launched their Meet Safe platform as a resource for other planners to reference when planning future in-person meetings.

“You can read about something, but having a visual medium in which you see it is much more impactful,” says Nan Marchand Beauvois, a senior vice president at the U.S. Travel Association, who manages MMBC. The platform provides planners a place to upload details such as attendance numbers, how they followed specific safety protocols and guidelines, photos and videos of the event, and even contact information so other planners can reach out to them directly for advice. While the platform serves as an example for meeting planners, venues,

vendors and more, Marchand also hopes that Meet Safe will help show elected officials that meetings and events can indeed be held safely—and as a result, restrictions will be loosened on all levels across the country. MMBC wants to fill Meet Safe with examples of events both big and small, so that the platform aids professionals planning gatherings of all sizes. When it comes to boosting the meetings and events industry during the pandemic era, sharing your event details on Meet Safe is caring. meetsafe.travel

Signature Drink //

MOTHER MAYO  MARGARITA

INGREDIENTS — Pineapple — Cilantro — Jalapeños — 1 ounce tequila reposado — 1 ounce mezcal — 1 ounce agave — 1 ounce lime juice DIRECTIONS Muddle the pineapple, cilantro and jalapeños, and add the mezcal, lime juice, agave and tequila. Shake, double strain and serve over fresh ice. Garnish with jalapeño and pineapple. @jwsanantonio |

marriott.com

P H OTO : J W M A R R I OT T S A N A N TO N I O

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo—or any day ending with a ‘y’—with the Mother Mayo Margarita from JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa’s Cibolo Moon. The cocktail brings an innovative twist to the classic margarita with mezcal and pineapple. Salud!

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I needed this.

WE HEAR THAT A LOT.

P H OTO : J W M A R R I OT T S A N A N TO N I O

Close the laptop and make plans to relax amid the natural beauty and urban luxury of The Woodlands. After the conference, book a private massage or float the day away in a secluded pool. With plenty of space to meet and spread out, we’re open and ready to meet whenever you are.

Book your best event at visitthewoodlands.com/spacetomeet TX.MEETINGSMAGS.COM 11

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M EETI N G N OT E S Products, Places & Inspiration

Conservation //

Hotel Spotlight //

A Classic Redefined

Kimpton Pittman Hotel opened last August in Dallas. » THE KIMPTON PITTMAN HOTEL

has opened in Dallas’ storied Deep Ellum neighborhood, serving as the first hotel in the neighborhood and providing doorstep access to some of the city’s most popular shops, breweries, dining and live music venues. Making its home in the historic Knights of Pythias Temple, the 165-room hotel was designed in 1916 by prominent African American architect and son-in-law of Booker T. Washington, William S. Pittman. The property has undergone a delicate restoration to once again serve as a place for community, collaboration and celebration of the arts. Kimpton recruited architects Perkins+Will to work in tandem with designers at Busta Studio and the Dallas Historical Society to restore and preserve the 1916 landmark to its original essence, while coupling it with a new-build, contemporary tower. The lobby and common spaces resemble an industrial style loft with strong materials, including exposed steel, raw concrete and natural leather.

In keeping with the musical spirit of the neighborhood, the property has partnered with local record shop Good Records to curate the “Kimpton Pittman Collection” vinyl set, which, upon request, guests can enjoy from the comfort of their rooms or purchase to take home as a memento of their stay. Additional amenities include a 24-hour fitness center with free weights, Peloton and TRX training machines, complimentary PUBLIC bicycle rentals, a ground-level outdoor pool, and the modern American tavern, Elm & Good. With over 8,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, the Kimpton Pittman Hotel opens up an entirely new opportunity for hosting meetings and celebrations. Spaces include the Grand Ballroom with 4,200 square feet of vintage, restored space featuring 28-foot ceilings and three full walls of soaring, 20-foot, palladium windows framing natural light and skyline views.

pittmanhoteldallas.com | @pittmanhoteldallas |

Seven years ago, the Lone Star Coastal Alliance (the Alliance), a 501(c)(3) organization, was formed to help realize the goal of creating the Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area (LSCNRA) along the upper and middle Texas Gulf Coast. The organization continues to work toward this designation today, and recently unveiled its website—Explore Lonestar Coastal—which has over 300 points of interest, itineraries and trip planning tools. National park status would allow the group to preserve important conservation areas while promoting nature and heritage tourism, and enhanced outdoor recreation opportunities. A 2017 economic impact study projected that the designation of the LSCNRA would likely add $140 million in local sales and 3,485 jobs to the four-county LSCNRA area in its first 10 years of operation. explorelonestarcoastal.com

P H OTO S : K I M P TO N P I T T M A N H OT E L ; @ V I S I T B E AU M O N T T X

COAST ALONG THE LONE STAR COAST

pittmanhoteldallas

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M EETI N G N OT E S Products, Places & Inspiration

Expert Advice //

Ask the Expert

Three ways to integrate video creation and production into virtual conferences. BY MONIQUE ELWELL

THINK LONG-TERM AND REUSE Video is expensive and time consuming to manage, so you want to be as efficient as possible. During your next event, film more than you think you need because you can use it during the event, after the event and before the next event. CHOOSE YOUR VIDEO SUBJECTS WISELY Consider filming: Panels and Speakers: You’re probably already filming these, so edit out short segments of these videos to be used later. Or better yet, right after they come off stage (virtual or in-person), ask them to summarize their most salient three speaking points. This saves you the time of sifting through their hour-long presentation and gets you better quality and more exciting summation videos. Delegates: Get attendees to film about what they have

learned, what they want to learn or why they came. Your intent here is to get VIP titles as much as possible and to capture the excitement of being there. You want people to watch these videos and say “Hey, if I don’t go, I’m missing out on all the fun, the learning, the networking opportunities, etc.”

Vendors: Ask vendors to film. Many vendors can’t afford

video production and also would like the credibility that comes from being under your brand. Consider including this as a part of your sponsorship package. You might have silver, gold and platinum levels of their video profiles combined with your distribution.

OFFER VIRTUAL NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES Nearly 70 percent of event marketers say it is more difficult to provide networking opportunities when hosting a virtual event. My suggestion: Add a specific networking video product. Invite participants to create video profiles where they can share info about themselves. A good profile outline would be “Introduction,” “Share a bit about my role,” “Share how I can help someone,” and “Share what I want people to contact me about.” Actively distribute and share these videos in a virtual environment that allows people to connect. Tap into the power of video creation for your event marketing initiatives. Encourage attendees to take you up on opportunities for both live video and pre-recorded video throughout your event. Virtual events present a unique opportunity to incorporate innovative tools into your conference, and videos can enhance each attendee’s personal experience and solidify the positive and memorable impressions of your event. Storyvine is a disruptive technology that, for the first time, allows video to be manipulated like data. Monique Elwell’s career started in the mid-'90s, and her responsibilities have spanned finance and marketing & branding. She doesn’t believe in “shiny objects.” Technology must be useful and have appropriate consumer adaption. Elwell is fascinated by how digital technology is changing the cultural landscape, whole industries and businesses. storyvine.com | @storyvineinc |

storyvineinc

P H OTO : (O P P O S I T E ) S P I D E R WO O D S T U D I O S

Monique Elwell is the president, chief operating officer and co-founder of Storyvine.

» THERE AREN’T ENOUGH DYSPHEMISMS in the English language for 2020. The good news is that the light at the end of the tunnel is coming in 2021, but we still expect to see conferences continue in virtual or hybrid environments. I can safely say that we miss the human element, such as socializing and networking, but I want to acknowledge that there are benefits to virtual. According to a recent survey by Bizzabo, nearly twothirds of event marketers believe tools to engage virtual attendees will play a key role in 2021. So what video creation and production tools can event organizers use to showcase industry experts’ insight and/or research pre- and post-event? Here are a few suggestions.

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Tourism //

STAR LOCATION

appeared in hundreds of films, including Friday Night Lights, Boyhood, Spy Kids, Michael, Lonesome Dove, Courage Under Fire and Hope Floats. In 2018, Texas hon-

ored Bastrop with the title “Film Hospitality Capital of Texas,” recognizing the work of local professionals who served the creative teams of hundreds of movies.

P H OTO : (O P P O S I T E ) S P I D E R WO O D S T U D I O S

The City of Bastrop has launched the new initiative Film Bastrop, which aims to promote Bastrop as an ideal destination for film, TV and media productions. Film filmbastrop.com Bastrop will serve @filmbastrop as a liaison to film filmbastrop crews and provide information on economic incentives and packages, assist with permits, accommodations and logistics, and help to connect crews with local production professionals. Throughout the past few decades, Bastrop’s buildings and scenery have

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The Franklin Mountains form a natural backdrop for your gatherings in El Paso.

Sunlit Meetings in El Paso

The forecast calls for successful meetings when you choose El Paso. BY TERESA KENNEY » IF YOUR GROUP hasn’t checked out El Paso recently, take our advice: Do so. Now. The West Texas city’s skyline and landscape are changing with the opening of new hotels and attractions. “El Paso has gone through a true renaissance. We have renovated meeting facilities, [there is] an influx of hotels, and a plethora of restaurants and bars.  We are poised to welcome large conventions and invite all

meeting planners to experience the new El Paso,” says Anthony Jay Mancuso, director of conventions sales development at Visit El Paso. The fifth largest city in the state is known as Sun City, thanks to it being one of the sunniest locales in the country, boasting 300plus sunlit days each year. Here’s a brief look at what you’ll discover when you meet up in El Paso:

MEET & SLEEP Newly renovated, the 1930s-era Plaza Pioneer Park was once the address of legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor, who used the 17th floor as her penthouse suite during her marriage to Conrad “Nicky” Hilton. During its early years, the 130-room hotel was known as the “living room” of El Paso. The new renovations reflect that original ambiance with its comfortable lobby com-

P H OTO S : JACO B H A N S E N ; (O P P O S I T E ) H E R I B E R TO I B A R R A P H OTO G R A P H Y

DESTI NAT IO N El Paso

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P H OTO S : JACO B H A N S E N ; (O P P O S I T E ) H E R I B E R TO I B A R R A P H OTO G R A P H Y

plete with fireplace, bookshelves and plenty of conversation-inspiring seating. The hotel features multiple dining options, including Ámbar Restaurante and La Perla, a rooftop bar. Thanks to El Paso’s unique coordinates—directly across the Mexican-U.S. border to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and the Texas-New Mexico border to Las Cruces, New Mexico—the bar offers views of Mexico, New Mexico and the Franklin Mountains. Private dining is available for 12 in Ámbar, while events can be held in the 2,154-square-foot Trost Ballroom or 1,650-square-foot La Perla South Terrace. Built in 1912, Hotel Paso del Norte was dubbed the milliondollar hotel and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Featuring 351 rooms, the hotel once welcomed U.S. presidents, celebrities and dignitaries. Amenities include a fitness center, cigar lounge, outdoor pool and the gift shop, Dannah Lane. A yoga studio and wellness spa will be coming soon. It also offers 32,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a 7,344-square-foot ballroom, a 3,738-square-foot junior ballroom, and a rooftop deck. Doubletree by Hilton Hotel El Paso Downtown offers 200 guest rooms and nearly 5,000 square feet of event space, including the 3,551-square-foot Franklin Ballroom. Amenities include an outdoor pool, fitness center, free Wi-Fi and on-site dining options, including the Fire Restaurant, grab-and-go M Café, and lounges Sunset Terrace and Fire Bar. The 145-room Courtyard El Paso Downtown has just 765 square feet of meeting space, but as it’s only 0.2 miles to the convention center, there are plenty of off-site options available. The hotel has a fitness center, heated outdoor pool, the Bistro, and a grab-and-go market. TOP-NOTCH VENUES With 133,100 square feet of usable space across three halls and 17 breakout rooms, the Judson F. Williams Convention Center recently underwent a $1 million renovation that included a new bistro and updated furniture, flooring and digital radio system. In addition to the indoor space, the Convention Center Plaza is also available for open-air events. Founded in 1959, the El Paso Museum of Art (EPMA) is located in the city’s Downtown Arts District. The museum also includes EPMA’s 6,500-square-foot Art School, which includes three studio classrooms. Be sure to check with staff on the type of event you are holding: The museum allows private celebrations, but does not allow trade shows or political, fundraiser, pre-ticketed or religious events. Located between the Museum of Art and Plaza Theatre is the Arts Festival Plaza. Featuring a waterfall and lush landscaping, it is also home to some of the city’s favorite events. Site of the El Paso Farmers Market, as well as a variety of other events, the Pedestrian Pathway connects the convention center to Chihuahuas Stadium and includes a huge colorful mural. POST-MEETING ACTIVITIES In the mid 20th century, San Jacinto Plaza’s pond was filled with

The El Paso Museum of Art is the perfect canvas for your private celebrations.

visitelpaso.com visitelpaso visitelpasotx visitelpaso

alligators, and people would gather to watch them sun. Today, it’s an open space of paths, bridges, gaming areas and a café. As a nod to its past, the plaza features the Pile O’ Gators sculpture. While visiting, be sure to head out to enjoy El Paso’s sunshine. Take a hike in Franklin Mountains or Hueco Tanks state parks, try the El Paso Zoo’s Copper Canyon Challenge Ropes Course or the challenge course at the University of Texas El Paso. And rest assured, whatever you do, El Paso has your group’s health and safety in mind. “We are committed to safety when it comes to meeting in these unprecedented times,” says Mancuso. “The protocols and procedures we activate provide security, customer confidence, and cleanliness. We are committed to help you meet safely.  Another reason why El Paso is on the forefront of the nation’s premiere meeting destination.”

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VEN UE RE P ORT Seismique

A Seismique Shift

Houston welcomes a new experiential museum.

BY TERESA KENNEY

» HOUSTON’S NEW attraction, Seismique, is a feast for the senses. The 40,000-square-foot art-fueled experiential museum on Houston’s west side is built to capture the imagination of audiences with more than 40 unique exhibits showcasing dazzling displays of light (generated by 9 million LEDs), color, sound and natural elements. The first-to-market arts and entertain-

ment space features works by 24-plus established and emerging artists along with advanced technological elements like projection and light mapping, holograms, augmented reality, gamification and more. In addition, Seismique has installed 40 motion-tracking cameras that provide additional non-contact interaction by tracking patron movement in several areas of the facility. These cameras collectively function

to activate parts of the experience without a guest needing to touch anything. Among the artists bringing Seismique to life is acclaimed Japanese crochet artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam, who has been exhibiting artwork around the world since the 1960s. Horiuchi MacAdam’s awardwinning public art for kids, which began as an installation for a park in Tokyo, has evolved into a signature concept dubbed

P H OTO S : C H R I S TO P H E R B R I E L M A I E R

The Wormhole installation simulates a journey through space and time.

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“AirPocket.” The multi-colored playscape resembles a giant hammock made of crocheted circles, open pockets, and dangling pendulums for climbing and playing. ADDITIONAL EXPERIENCES AT SEISMIQUE INCLUDE: Eden: an Avatar-inspired gallery conceived of and constructed by New Orleans artist David Carry in collaboration with Brian Val Habisreitinger. Featuring oversized carved trees, custom lighting and ultra-violet, blacklight reactive painting, the garden includes three large holograms throughout the room that come complete with alien visitors. Venus: a multi-dimensional playground that emulates the surface of the planet Venus that has been hand-crocheted by Horiuchi MacAdam as one of her AirPocket concepts. It is one of only three pieces of its kind in the country. The exhibit’s structure utilizes a specially constructed net that is resilient and responsive to the slightest movement, which allows tension to be maintained as the fiber stretches, enabling safe interaction. This piece is surrounded by Chicago artist

C.J. Hungerman’s mural dubbed “Ocular Existence,” which creates movement through a dynamic splash of color. Acid Rain: an optical illusion by Smooth Technology that has been designed and constructed by Mark Roberts. Visitors walk through water raining from the ground up without getting wet as eerily illuminated green water walls fall from an exterior circular structure. Once inside the glowing center, the rain lets up and stops in midair. The Color Portal: a vibrant pathway that guides each guest from the two-tone aesthetic of the black and white lobby into the world of colorful galleries that populate Seismique. Created and installed by Carry, The Color Portal provides a thoroughfare to many of Seismique’s spaces. The Hub: a 70-foot spaceship also constructed by Carry that boasts over 1 million LEDs. The Hub is additionally enhanced by thrusters designed by Smooth Technology that drop calming bubbles filled with fog and enveloped by walls designed and painted by artists Kai Ussin and Austin Linkinhoker (artist name Shokka). As Seismique’s largest installation, The Hub will ultimately house

P H OTO S : C H R I S TO P H E R B R I E L M A I E R

Seismique’s Venus gallery is a multi-dimensional playground that emulates the surface of the planet Venus.

future concerts and special events. Masks are required, hand sanitizing stations are placed throughout the facility, and all of the interactive elements are frequently and thoroughly sanitized with a state-of-theart misting system. For a completely touchless experience, guests can also utilize an integrated Seismique mobile app. Seismique can also host private events and parties. It is available for a full facility rental, or one of its three private events spaces can be rented for smaller gatherings like birthday parties, corporate events and more during normal business hours. Each individual private event space is able to accommodate 10 people, but the three spaces can be combined and opened up to accommodate a single private event as large as 150 people. “I liken  Seismique  to the equivalent of walking through a portal and into an alternative universe that is a feast for the senses,” says  Seismique  creator Steve Kopelman. “This past year has been exceedingly difficult for the whole world, and we want  Seismique  to serve as something of a pandemic panacea—a place where visitors can transport themselves to another realm and find creative inspiration through the artistic manifestation of 40 different exhibits. That is a long way of saying we just want people to forget their worries and have fun, albeit in a responsible and safe environment.   “My co-founder Josh Corley and I are both proud Houstonians, and we wanted to launch  Seismique  in our own backyard in order to enhance what is already one of the best places on Earth for art and culture. When President Kennedy gave his 1962 moon-shot speech at Rice University, he espoused the virtues of space as a vast frontier that beckons never-ending exploration. Nearly 60 years later in the same city, Seismique further embodies the limitless potential of space exploration through the lenses of art and technology.”

seismique.com | seismique |

seismique

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THE

MEETING PLANNER’S GUIDE TO

DALLAS WHERE TO MEET AND WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE MEETING IN THE BIG D. BY // TERESA KENNEY

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I

t’s official: Dallas is open for business—and they can’t wait to meet you. “I know I speak for the entire Dallas hospitality community when I say we are ready for recovery in 2021,” says Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitDallas. “The Dallas hospitality community led the nation by coming together to seek Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation, the gold standard for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention protocols. Since then, we’ve seen our convention center, both airports, sports arenas and some of our top hotels achieve this accreditation. When you pair that with vaccine development and the execution of safe events in Dallas and nationwide, I am very hopeful with where our destination is headed in the coming year.” The Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington Metroplex is the No. 1 visitor and leisure destination in Texas. Both Cvent and Speednetworking.com have named it one of the top 10 cities in the country to host a convention or event. And according to VisitDallas, the city is especially well-connected: It has more daily non-stop flights and access to more non-stop cities than the country’s other top 20 meeting destinations. So what are you waiting for? Dive into our handy guide to see where to meet and what to do while you’re in Dallas.

P H OTO S :

I S TO C K .C

O M /A D R I

AND; JAI ME HUDS ON;

D I B R O VA

; I S TO C K . C

OM/ELEE

KRIS

Where to Meet

From an iconic convention center to a legendary ranch, Dallas’ venues can accommodate any size program or event. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON CONVENTION CENTER dallasconventioncenter.com |

@kbhccdallas | kbhcc.dallas

Located in the heart of downtown Dallas, the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas (KBHCCD) has been recognized as the best-run convention center in the U.S. Offering 1 million square feet of exhibit space, three ballrooms, 88 meeting rooms, a 1,750-seat theater, and a 9,816-seat arena, the center is connected via a skybridge to the 1,001-room Omni Hotel (which has its own 142,000 square feet of meeting and event space). And for VIP-est of your VIPs, it’s also adjacent to two Vertiport landing pads. Sustainability takes front and center at KBHCCD, as the center is U.S. LEED-EB and ISO 14001 certified. Planners can also take part in the center’s Good Neighbor Program, which diverts unconsumed food and surplus exhibitor items—such as totes, T-shirts and supplies—from landfills to local non-profits. BELO MANSION belomansion.com |

@belomansion | belomansion

Built in the late 1800s by A.H. Belo, founder of the Dallas Morning News, this neo-classical revival-styled venue was purchased and restored in the 1970s by the Dallas Bar Association. Located in the city’s Arts District, the venue can host as many as 1,500 guests and features a 7,000-square-foot ballroom with 17-foot vaulted ceilings.

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Uptown //

SIXTH FLOOR MUSEUM jfk.org |

@sixthflrmuseum | sixthfloormuseum

The Sixth Floor Museum is located within the former Texas School Book Depository Building and chronicles the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The venue can accommodate up to 275 guests and can host corporate receptions, awards banquets, conferences and meetings. Out of respect for its historical and sobering subject matter, it is not available for personal celebrations, such as weddings, proms, anniversaries or birthday parties.

North of downtown Dallas is the appropriately named neighborhood Uptown. Here you’ll find plenty of boutiques and dining to keep your guests busy post meetings, as well as Victory Park, home of the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars.

UNION STATION

unionstationdallas.com

Built in 1916 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Union Station was once a major transportation hub, serving as many as 80 trains a day at its peak. The Beaux Arts-style building is served by Amtrak and is a stop on the city’s light rail. It also moonlights as a gorgeous backdrop for your private event. The 26,000-plus-square-foot venue offers 11 spaces ranging from 367 to 8,594 square feet. FOUR CORNERS BREWING CO. fcbrewing.com

Located in the Cedars District, Four Corners Brewing Co.’s event space is called the Stables and can accommodate up to 500 people for a reception. The venue’s century old architecture—with exposed wooden beams and brick walls—includes an outdoor beer garden. Vibrant murals with loteria-inspired images represent the beer brewed at Four Corners, including El Grito Lager and El Chingon India Pale Ale.

attstadium.com |

@attstadium | attstadium

Hold a reception for 8,000 at the same address as the Dallas Cowboys. Choose from hospitality suites, End Zone Platforms, locker rooms, an amphitheater and field-level clubs. Or, head down to the turf for a truly impressive event: Imagine holding a concert, trade show or gala banquet on the same field that the Cowboys play on. To give you an idea of the size of the stadium, the entire Statue of Liberty can fit inside with a little room to spare. HALL OF STATE AT FAIR PARK hallofstate.com

The Hall of State was built in 1936 to commemorate the Texas Centennial. Dedicated to four centuries of Texas history, heroism and achievement under the flags of six nations, the Art Deco building houses a collection of more than 3 million artifacts and archives from both Dallas and Texas. It also can host events of up to 500 guests for a reception.

Oak Lawn //

Trendy, diverse and welcoming, Oak Lawn is the center of Dallas’ LGBTQIA community and is home to the city’s annual Pride Parade. You’ll find dynamic nightlife, hilarious comedy and top dining options.

West Village //

Be sure to tell your delegates to leave plenty of room in their suitcases if you’re meeting in or around the shopping destination of West Village. Spanning several city blocks, this is where you’ll find the largest national and local retailers.

Knox/Henderson //

At interstate 75, Knox Street to the west becomes Henderson Avenue to the east. Whether you head east or west, you’re sure to find some incredible shops and restaurants to explore.

P H OTO S : V I S I T DA L L A S ; (O P P O S I T E ) JA I M E H U D S O N

AT&T STADIUM

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P H OTO S : V I S I T DA L L A S ; (O P P O S I T E ) JA I M E H U D S O N

,

Downtown //

Downtown Dallas is a palette of arts, parks, nightlife, shopping and dining. While you’re there, be sure to check out some of its most iconic attractions, including the Dallas World Aquarium, Main Street Garden and Pioneer Plaza. Take in a bird’s eye view of the city via the Reunion Tower GeO-Decks or a solemn and life-changing review of the country’s civil rights journey via the Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.

LAY OF THE LAND Explore some of the city’s hottest neighborhoods.

Design District //

Dallas’ Design District is 2 miles northwest of downtown. Here is where you’ll find the city’s antique shops, art galleries and interior design showrooms. You’ll also find some amazing places to eat and recharge between browsing and shopping.

Arts District //

The largest urban arts district in the U.S., Dallas’ 68-acre Arts District extends over 20 square blocks. This is the core of the city’s creative energy and home to award-winning museums, performing arts venues, restaurants and bars, as well as the arts magnet high school, Booker T. Washington. Check out the Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Margo and Bill Winspear Opera House or the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and Wyly Theatre, many of which are located in Sammons Park, and the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

Deep Ellum //

Just follow the neon “Deep Ellum Texas” sign to the city’s hub of cool. The former warehouse district has been transformed into the place to go for live music, great bars and casual eateries. The neighborhood’s music roots date back to 1884, when it was known as the place to go to hear blues and jazz, and artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter and Bessie Smith.

Harwood //

Situated between Uptown and Victory Park, Harwood is home to The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection. The museum showcases centuriesold Samurai masterpieces, including armor, helmets, masks and weaponry.

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Groups & Teams Post-meeting, Dallas has plenty of activities to keep your delegates happy. See who among your coworkers make the cut with a chopped-style culinary competition at 3015 at Trinity Groves. 3015dallas.com Save the world, find a killer or crack the code in one of the escape room challenges at Escapology at Victory Park. escapology.com Try your hand at some improv with a comedy workshop from the awardwinning improvisational group, Four Day Weekend. fourdayweekend.com Create a work of art with a glass-blowing class at Dallas Glass Art. dallasglassart.com

Sate your sweet tooth or imbibe some adult beverages with a tour from Dallas by Chocolate or a trip along Margarita Mile. dallasbychocolate.com margaritamiledallas.com Hoist a cold one while getting in some cardio on one of the pedal pubs of Dallas Party Bike. dallaspartybike.com Explore the city with a chartered tour by Big D Fun Tours. bigdfuntours.com

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

PEROT MUSEUM OF NATURE AND SCIENCE perotmuseum.org |

@perotmuseum | perotmuseum

With space to host up to 1,500 people, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science showcases collections on both natural history and scientific and technological achievements. The five-level venue has played host to everything from weddings to corporate gatherings. Depending on the floor, you can enjoy a private screening in The Hoglund Foundation Theater, challenge your guests in the Robot Arena or dine with dinosaurs in the “Life Then and Now Hall” with its fossil skeletons of a T. rex and Alamosaurus. GEORGE W. BUSH PRESIDENTIAL CENTER bushcenter.org |

@thebushcenter | thebushcenter

Nestled on a 15-acre park on the campus of Southern Methodist University, the George W. Bush Presidential Center houses the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the George W.

P H O T O S : P E R O T M U S E U M ; ( O P P O S I T E ) J A M E S D . S M I T H / D A L L A S C O W B OY S

Charter the McKinney Avenue Trolley for a tour about town. mata.org

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P H O T O S : P E R O T M U S E U M ; ( O P P O S I T E ) J A M E S D . S M I T H / D A L L A S C O W B OY S

Bush Institute and Café 43—and all three spaces are available for private events. The Bush Presidential Library and Museum can accommodate up to 400 guests and includes spaces such as the main lobby, Freedom Hall and the outdoor Ceremonial Courtyard. The Bush Institute, also accommodating 400, features a state-of-the-art auditorium and Hall of State, with an outdoor terrace overlooking the park. Café 43—so named because President Bush was the 43rd President of the United States—is available for private functions during the evening hours and includes terrace seating overlooking the park. SOUTHFORK RANCH

southforkranch.com | southforkranch

For an event that would make the Ewings proud, host your gathering at the Southfork Ranch of primetime series Dallas fame. Once a popular tourist attraction, the 300-acre ranch, with its iconic white mansion, pools, rodeo arena and barns, began serving as an event center in 1985, and a 63,000-squarefoot conference and event center was built to accommodate up to 2,000 people. Need more ideas of where to meet? The sales team at VisitDallas are happy to oblige. “Dallas is a vibrant city with a unique set of attractive benefits that make it an ideal destination for meetings and events. Dallas has the accessibility of two major airports and is less than a four-hour flight from all major U.S. cities, not to mention a depth of hotel product unmatched by other destinations,” says Brad Kent, senior vice president and chief sales officer of VisitDallas. “Our hospitality community has made safety and cleanliness a top priority, and we’ve already been able to host some events successfully. I’m looking forward to recovery in 2021 and seeing friends and colleagues face-to-face in Dallas again.”

QUIRKY DALLAS 8 Fun Facts About Dallas (courtesy of VisitDallas)

1.

6.

2.

7.

The frozen margarita machine was invented in Dallas. The integrated circuit computer chip (which became the microchip) was invented in Dallas in 1958.

3.

The 52-foot “Big Tex” statue that greets visitors at the annual State Fair of Texas is the tallest cowboy in Texas.

4.

With the roof closed, the entire Statue of Liberty could fit into the AT&T Stadium.

5.

The largest permanent model train exhibit in the country is on display in the lobby of Dallas Children’s Medical Center.

The Dallas Arts District is the largest urban arts district in the United States.

Lamar Hunt, founder of the American Football League and son of oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, was a noted Dallas resident when he coined the phrase “Super Bowl.”

8.

The Dallas Public Library permanently displays one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, printed on July 4, 1776, and the First Folio of William Shakespeare’s “Comedies, Histories & Tragedies.”

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I ND U STRY U PDATE Infographic

Clearer Skies Ahead Research courtesy of AHLA

N

O ONE COULD HAVE PREDICTED the quarantines, shutdowns and travel restrictions that rocked the world in 2020. Although all industries were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, hotels were one of the sectors hit hardest and will be one of the last to recover simply because they’re synonymous with travel.

After record-setting lows throughout the unpredictable year, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) gathered data from surveys of frequent business travelers, other samples of adults, and other research for their 2021 State of the Industry Report. The document gives insights as to how the hotel industry will make steps to recover throughout 2021 and beyond. Data from AHLA states that the industry is already improving—for example, hotel occupancies are expected to rise by 8 percent from 2020, and the number of hotel jobs to increase as well. “COVID-19 has wiped out 10 years of hotel job growth. Yet the hallmark of hospitality is endless optimism, and I am confident in the future of our industry,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. With a forecast like this, we can count on the fact that the darkest days are behind us. ahla.com | facebook.com/hotelassociation » Download the full report at: ahla.com/sites/default/files/2021_state_of_the_industry_0.pdf

H OTE L I N D U STRY » Although hotels will add 200,000 jobs back in 2021, the employment level will still remain 500,000 below the pre-pandemic number of 2.3 million employees in the industry

Hotel occupancy hit a

H I S TO R I C LOW OF 24.5% IN APRIL OF 2020, ALTHOUGH THE YEAR AVERAGED AT 44%

» 34% of Americans are comfortable staying in a hotel as of January 2021, although 48% of them say their comfort is related to vaccinations:

20%

will feel ready when the majority of the population has been vaccinated

2018

66%

2019

66%

2020

44%

2021

52%

2022

61%

Even by 2022, occupancies are not projected to be back to their pre-COVID levels

17%

will feel comfortable after they personally have received the COVID-19 vaccine

11%

will feel ready when vaccines are available to the general public

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CLE AN LI N E S S I N H OTE L S

TR AVE L I N D U STRY The travel industry is expected to return in three phases: leisure travel first, then small and medium events, and finally group and business travel. Full recovery is not anticipated until 2024.

Travelers value the cleanliness of the hotel the most out of all factors, rising by 24 percentage points since pre-COVID.

» 56% of Americans say that they will travel for leisure in 2021, compared to 58% in a normal year.

What steps can hotels take to make you more comfortable staying at a hotel?

» The impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry so far has been nine times that of 9/11.

ENHANCED CLEANING REGIMENS

52%

STAFF TO WEAR FACE MASKS

Business Travel » Frequent business travelers are more comfortable traveling than adults overall, for any reason » 51% of frequent business travelers expect to travel more for business in 2021 compared to 2020 » Group travel demand is expected to stay below 85%, lower than 2019 levels through April 2021 » However by May, demand for group travel will increase to 75% below 2019 levels » By Q4 of 2021, demand for group travel will increase to 23% below 2019 levels

53%

50%

GUESTS TO WEAR FACE MASKS

U.S. Anatomy of Travel Recovery 2020-2021

INITIAL PHASE BEGAN SUMMER 2020 » Domestic leisure driving » Domestic leisure flying

SANITIZING GEL OR WIPES THROUGHOUT THE HOTEL

49% 41%

ENFORCED SOCIAL DISTANCING

HOTEL BRAND CLEANLINESS STANDARD

SECONDARY PHASES BEGAN 2021 Q2 » Essential meetings » Small and medium events » Regional international

37%

34%

DAILY STAFF HEALTH CHECKS

BEGINS 2021 Q3

33%

» Large events » Long-haul international

MEASURES IN PLACE TO PROMPT SOCIAL DISTANCING

VISITOR TEMPERATURE CHECKS

FINAL PHASE

SOURCE: STR 2020

30%

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I N D U STRY U P DAT E Regional News

Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt

Venue News //

NOW OPEN Dallas recently welcomed its newest hotel to the city: the Marriott Dallas Uptown. The 14-story, 255-guestroom hotel has 13,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as a full-service ground-floor restaurant, a casual all-day café plus lobby lounge, a fitness center, and a pool deck with panoramic views. The interior design concept reflects Dallas’ Uptown community, with an art installation behind the reception desk that features reclaimed wood as a backdrop to scenes of local landscapes, terrain, outdoor activities and neighborhoods.  The hotel is within walking distance of shopping, entertainment and outdoor activities, including Katy Trail, the Crescent, the Quadrangle, McKinney Avenue, Knox-Henderson, Turtle Creek Corridor, Highland Park Village, Oak Lawn, Arts District, Klyde Warren Park and downtown Dallas.  marriott.com

Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Southlake opened in November 2020. The six-story, 240-room hotel includes 10,000 square feet of meeting and conference space consisting of eight meeting rooms, including the Chisholm Trail Ballroom. Additional amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi throughout, a grab-and-go food market, fullservice fitness center, an outdoor pool and the hotel’s signature Sky Creek Kitchen + Bar. The Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Southlake will anchor a 16-acre mixeduse development that also features office and retail space. The hotel is 15 minutes to DFW International Airport. delta-hotels. marriott.com The much anticipated Harvest Hall, located inside Grapevine Main Station, opened in February. The station is also the new home of the Grapevine Visitor Information Center, and features 40-foot ceilings,  a colorful mural that pays homage to Grapevine’s rich heri-

tage, and the seven kitchens of Harvest Hall. Harvest Hall is a European-style food hall, and part of Grapevine Main, a $114-million-dollar public/private sector transit-oriented development project. Each kitchen is family-owned and operated, and focuses on preparing meals that are made from scratch. Kitchens include Arepa TX, Chick & Biscuit, Spuntino, Easy Slider, Monkey King Noodle Co., ZaTaR, and Main Line Coffee Bar. Additional elements opening this year include Grapevine Main Plaza, an outdoor venue large enough to accommodate 3,500 guests. grapevinetexasusa.com and harvesthall.com   MICRO MEETINGS Austin’s Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt has introduced a new micro-meetings package for those looking to book a private space for under 10 people.  The package includes a board-style meeting room, complimentary Wi-Fi, a 10 percent discount on additional A/V, a mini office kit for each attendee, $15 valet (per car), and a 10 percent discount during Geraldine’s dinner service. A halfday package starts at just $350, and a fullday starts at just $550. hotelvanzandt.com RACE START The grounds of the Texas Renaissance Festival in Magnolia served as one of the start locations for this year’s Bike MS: Texas MS 150. The route finished at the 50-yard line at Kyle Field in College Station. nationalmssociety.org

P H O T O S : K I M P T O N H O T E L VA N Z A N DT ; D E LTA H O T E L S B Y M A R R I O T T DA L L A S S O U T H L A K E

Marriott Dallas Southlake

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When it’s time

Come explore It’s all here. The sights, the sounds, the people and the places of Plano. All ready to welcome you back, when you’re ready.

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I N D USTRY U P DAT E Regional News

RENOVATION NEWS The 302-room Westin Stonebriar in Frisco reopened this fall following a full-scale, $30 million renovation that debuted more than 26,000 square feet of luxury indoor and outdoor event space. Meeting and event space options include: The Legacy Ballroom: The central on-property ballroom offers 6,240 square feet of space that can be used for large events or broken into four more intimate rooms. It is adjoined by indoor pre-function space for registration or mingling with access to even more space outdoors. Garden Terrace and Grounds: The multi-acre outdoor event space includes a partially covered outdoor terrace that overlooks the property and can accommodate cocktail hours and pre-function gatherings.

Top Golf Swing Suite: The new Top Golf Swing Suite includes a floor-to-ceiling screen for virtual multisport games. The room also offers HDTVs, lounge seating, frosted glass options and airwalls. The Westin Stonebriar also offers a new WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio, exclusive access to the Stonebriar Country Club’s neighboring 18-hole Tom Fazio golf course, a day-to-night café Beans & Barrel, and an on-site golf pro shop. Later in 2021, The Westin Stonebriar will introduce a full-service spa, Westin Family Kids Club, an outdoor yoga lawn, a running trail and a pool oasis. westinstonebriar.com

Accreditations //

THE GOLD STANDARD Texas venues and communities are stepping up to keep visitors, residents and team members healthy and safe. Both the Austin Convention Center and the City of Arlington have achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation, the gold standard for prepared facilities. As the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation, GBAC STAR™ helps organizations

establish protocols and procedures, offers expert-led training and assesses a facility’s readiness for biorisk situations. The program verifies that the Austin Convention Center and the City of Arlington implement best practices to prepare for, respond to and recover from outbreaks and pandemics. Arlington is the first city in the United States to be recognized for implementing the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention at its public facilities under the guidance of GBAC. In all, the city received accreditation

for 23 public facilities, including all recreation centers, golf course clubhouses and libraries, City Hall, the Municipal Court and Esports Stadium Arlington + Expo Center. To achieve GBAC STAR™ accreditation, the facilities demonstrated compliance with the program’s 20 core elements, which ranged from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to personal protective equipment and emergency preparedness and response measures. arlingtontx.gov

P H O T O S : T H E W E S T I N S T O N E B R I A R F R I S C O ; ( O P P O S I T E ) U LT I M AT E O U T D O O R E N T E R TA I N M E N T ; O R O

Venue News //

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People News // Tools //

A PARTY’S PLATFORM

Event planning has just gotten a little easier with the introduction of the all-in-one platform ORO. ORO is the first event-planning tool to help planners do everything from managing contracts and budgets to creating downto-the minute timelines in one, easy-to-use dashboard that can be accessed via browser or mobile app. The ORO dashboard offers the ability to: »»Manage vendor contracts and invoices  »»Create custom timelines and checklists  »»Monitor event costs »»Create to-scale floor plans  »»Manage meal preferences, special requests and more ORO also offers a clientfacing app to allow clients and vendors to view pertinent event details on the go. Event planners are able to control exactly what the client can see and send notifications about approaching deadlines. oroplanner.com |

oroplanner

SCHOLARSHIP GRANT Megan Schultz, a student at the University of Houston, was awarded the top $2,000 grant of the inaugural KPMG/MPI Emerging Professional Scholarship. The scholarship  recognizes students who have demonstrated significant promise for a career in the meetings and events industry. In total, three grants were presented to students across the country. In addition to the grants, awardees will receive a complimentary MPI student membership. mpi.org   NEW HIRES/PROMOTIONS Fairmont Dallas has appointed JeanFrancois Fortin as its new executive chef. Chef Fortin has been with various Fairmont resorts throughout his 22-year career, most recently with Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. Todd Marinko, group vice president of mar-

keting for PSAV in Dallas, has been named chair of the 2021 MPI Foundation Global Board of Trustees. D. Bradley Kent, senior vice president & chief sales officer for VisitDallas, was also named to the board.

The Marriott Dallas Uptown has appointed Robbie Tawil as its general manager. Tawil has more than 35 years of experience with Marriott and the hospitality industry, including previous leadership roles in management and operations. During his tenure with Marriott, Tawil has served as general manager of the Marriott Conference Center in Norman, Oklahoma, general manager of the Worthington Renaissance, director of operations at the Dallas Renaissance, director of food and beverage at the Worthington in Fort Worth and director of operations at Dallas Marriott Downtown. The Marriott Dallas Uptown has announced that Juan Pablo Silva has joined its team as executive chef of Good Graces, the hotel’s restaurant. Born in Lima, Peru, he attended Le Cordon Bleu Peru, and has helped manage the culinary program for the largest RitzCarlton in the world: The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal. He also has worked at the Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, first as executive sous chef and then as executive chef.

Vendor News //

ULTIMATE SCREENING Ultimate Outdoor Entertainment (UOE) in partnership with Insane Impact has acquired two of Insane Impact’s flagship MAX 2313—the largest mobile LED screen trailers that Insane Impact manufactures. These two massive mobile LED screens will be staged in  Texas  to service the entire central U.S., and in California to service the entire West Coast. These massive new LED screen trailer platforms allow UOE to offer high resolution, incredibly bright video screens that make daytime viewing experiences possible that could previously only be done at night. The mobile LED screens with their advanced technology and rapid deployment capabilities, combined with long-range video transmission system (perfect for syncing multiple screens together) and live camera packages will allow UOE to scale their operations to accommodate almost any outdoor video entertainment need for their customers. uoe.com

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P EOPLE P ROFI L E Loris Menfi

» IN THE MIDST of the pandemic

last year, Loris Menfi joined San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk as general manager. At the time of her hire, Rivercenter had recently unveiled a renovation to its 70,000-plus square feet of meeting space. And now, Menfi is being called on to use her 25-plus years of hospitality experience to adapt the property to a new normal—one less oriented around meetings and more focused on social distancing and safety. We sat down with Menfi to find out how she successfully pivoted during the pandemic and what she sees as the future of face-to-face meetings.

TXM+E: How are you approaching the challenges we are facing today in the industry? LM: We are continually adjusting to the ever-evolving “normal” as we navigate through this pandemic. Safety is paramount to our guests, my staff, and me, so we follow and take Marriott’s Commitment to Clean very seriously. We are continuing to use this crisis as an opportunity to be creative and think outside of the box when it comes to revenue, optimizing resources and delivering excellence in service. We are staying intentional, exercising compassion, staying positive and celebrating all wins.

I

The New Industry Normal

Years of experience have helped Loris Menfi navigate 2020 and beyond. BY TERESA KENNEY

TXM+E: What advice would you give to individuals in your industry today?   LM: I think it’s important to realize that leadership and communication are more critical now than ever before, so continue to self-reflect on how you can show up as a better leader for your team and communicator during this trying time. Every major crisis creates unprecedented problems, but also creates unexpected opportunities. Look for these opportunities and use this as a time to be creative in your solutions. Lastly, remember that we will get through this, adapt and overcome. And we will come out on the other side better than before.

marriott.com marriottriverwalk | sanantoniomarriott marriottriverwalk | sanantoniomarriott

I L L U S T R AT I O N : T R A C I Z E L L M A N N

TXM+E: What do you see for meetings, conferences and events in 2021?  LM: I see the return to meetings and events in 2021 as a slow burn at the front end, but much improved toward the back half of the year. As the vaccine is distributed more widely, I think customers will continue to gain confidence.

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ROOM TO

INSPIRE

I L L U S T R AT I O N : T R A C I Z E L L M A N N

Welcome to Colorado Springs, where our wide-open spaces, 300 days of endless blue skies and stunning natural scenery serve as the backdrop to your meetings and events. Discover unique venues, first-tier amenities and an array of properties. From countless trails and open spaces to delicious local dining, Colorado Springs has everything you need to create a memorable experience for your attendees. Here you’ll find room to inspire, innovate, connect and re-energize. Learn more at VisitCOS.com/meet

KATHY REAK, CFMP Vice President of Sales Kathy@VisitCOS.com | 719.685.7632

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TEXAS STYLE

Contact us today to learn about our stimulus program, meeting spaces, and amenities.

VISIT.CSTX.GOV/MEETINGS

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Texas Meetings + Events Spring 2021  

In this issue we hit the road—north to Dallas and west to El Paso. Our feature article is a handy guide for everything you need to know when...

Texas Meetings + Events Spring 2021  

In this issue we hit the road—north to Dallas and west to El Paso. Our feature article is a handy guide for everything you need to know when...

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