Rich Prestia Portfolio
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Rich Prestia Portfolio



My work over the past 5 years.

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  • CHEF TALK: Food Kings Throw Down Advice for Planner Customers p. 6 80% MeetingNews 70% 60% w w w. M e e t i n g N e w s . c o m 50% D e c e m b e r 15, 2008 Starts on page 43 40% 30% Gloom Looms for Rooms International Hotels & Resorts 20% DOLCE OFFERS TO REBUILD DOWNTURN DEALS SANDS 10% Punditry blizzard reveals scope of occupancy chill, MEETINGS IN BUDGET CRISIS A BAD HAND IN MACAU but the deck remains stacked for planners in 2009 Hotelier’s “advice line” gives free Gaming operator suspends work 0% phone help to those who need to on eight hotels in its Cotai Strip replan meetings affected by the area just after a Four Seasons severity that had hotel market analysts By William Ng and Robert Carey economy. makes its debut. see page 22 see page 8 The hotel industry has enjoyed a profitable downgrading already dampened forecasts. supplier’s market in recent years, but the “Our outlook for the lodging industry has CVBs Destination Insider good times are ending, with lodging demand deteriorated dramatically in a fairly short PHOENIX heading into a potentially deep decline, as the period of time,” said Mark Woodworth, CHARLOTTE’S TIM NEWMAN Convention center expansion CULTIVATES A GREEN TEAM economy continues its tailspin. president of100%Hospitality Research. PKF- PKF coincides with launches of Visitors bureau CEO, along with The market erosion began earlier this year HR, which bases its forecasts on indicators 1,000-room Sheraton and a planner, ignite a citywide eco- as the economy started to slow, but Septem- by Smith Travel Research, in October had to light-rail system, sparking new movement in Charlotte. ber’s financial and credit market collapse revise its 2009 outlook released in Septem- 80% downtown vitality. see page 20 underscored the economic downturn’s continued on page 14 see page 38 Insider Reports Incentive Reports 60% Sixth Homeland Defense MeetingNews AFFORDABLE LAS VEGAS EUROPE ExclusiveResearch And Security Symposium’s Sin City’s hospitality, from major Brussels prepares for a new expo 40% Career Summit Welcomes hotels like Harrah’s and MGM center; Zaragoza, Spain, courts What are your professional New Year’s Resolutions? Mirage to the upscale Four Sea- groups with attractions from Hurt Soldiers to Broadmoor Receive recognition sons, are offering deals and price recent world’s fair. 20% for the job I do breaks. see page 30 see page 40 26.6% By Diana Rowe Can’t plan that far ahead Retool our Twenty-three-year-old Marine Caleb Wood 0% SKI DESTINATIONS 20.8% meetings GALVESTON was focused, ready to do the right thing for program Reno-Lake Tahoe packs slopes, 28.6% In its post-Ike cleanup, the island his country and his family, until his recent gaming, and nightlife; Whistler, 11.7% is committed to bouncing back deployment from southern California’s Find a BC, builds up 2010 Winter with improved amenities. 7.8% new job Camp Pendleton to Iraq turned his four-year Olympics. see page 42 26.3% see page 37 military career into a label: wounded soldier. Complete my His injury brought him back degree Other Volume 32/Number 20/$10.00 to the U.S. to recuperate, only Source: 308 of MeetingNews survey respondents to find that he had a dim future Wishing & Hoping ahead of him. “I’m ready to work and have experience in radio communication,” Wood Leveraging technology, gaining said.“Yet the resources to find a recognition by executives, and civilian job haven’t been professional improvement are available.” 80% some planners’ goals. see page 26 continued on page 4 70% 60%
  • 100 30Years MAY 8, 2006 80 Celebrating 60 TM 40 20 0 ® [ MEETINGNEWS EXCLUSIVE RESEARCH ] Hotel Biz The Big Green Debate Breaks Bank Green meetings Agree 67.3% are economically On the whole, efficient Disagree 32.7% do you agree Green meetings Agree 45.9% or disagree are too much Construction & renovation 54.1% trouble to plan Disagree with these projects fill the landscape Green meetings Agree statements? 31.7% are just a 68.3% passing trend Disagree Source: MeetingNews survey of 235 meetings By Rayna Katz buyers 85.0% Green meetings Agree The current hotel sellers’ market and the resulting high room are a noble cause Disagree 15.0% rates sting meeting planners and attendees when they pay their Holding green 57.8% meetings is a use- Agree bills. But a tangible payoff is developing: an avalanche of new ful public relations Disagree 42.4% and improved inventory. or marketing tool for my organization 0% Construction will begin on more new hotel rooms in 2006 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% than in any year since 2000. At the Despite the many benefits of holding environmentally responsible same time, more money is being “We’re probably meetings, the vast majority of groups don’t hold them. page 12 spent on renovation this year than in the sweet ever before, according to Pricewater- spot of this cur- houseCoopers. (See charts, page 33.) “Having new hotels to consider rent industry offers planners new opportunities cycle. Investors and gives our attendees additional see an opportu- options for price points and product type,” said Karen Malone, director of nity to make meeting services at the Healthcare money.” Information and Management Sys- tems Society. “It also reinforces the — Hilton vice president trend that the meetings industry is Bill Fortier on a positive track.” Bjorn Hanson, global hospitality industry leader for PwC, said, “We’ll see occupancies escalate in 2006 to their highest level since 1996, and they will make this a year of record profitability.”. That boosts the appeal of building new properties — or, for some owners and investors, taking over existing hotels, which NOT SO FAST: Officials at U.S. and Canada border checkpoints are typically precedes renovation. delaying or denying entry for some meeting planners. page 8 continued on page 33 I Money magazine’s list of the 50 Best Jobs includes “meeting Volume 30/ Number 7 / $10.00 planner.” page 9 I A pictorial collection of cool exhibit-design ideas from the New York Auto Show. page 14 I A look back: 1995 article disputed The New York Times. page 15 I Great golf that won’t break the budget. page 19
  • Show Drives Cutting Edge of Booth Design The New York Auto Show, which ran at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from April 14-23, annually displays some of the most visually compelling exhibits to be found on any show floor. We sent a photogra- pher to capture some images that may provide food for thought for RICHARD PRESTIA exhibit designs applicable to a wide variety of shows. 14
  • TRANSPORTATION GREEN BEAT MN WEBCAST REPORT In-flight F&B is ‘pitiful’ Hotel has Green Seal & LEED p. 19 Meetings: The Next Generation p. 72 NEWSMAKER p. 17 After nearly MeetingNews three decades, Susan Sarfati bids farewell to ASAE. page 8 w w w. M e e t i n g N e w s . c o m July 21, 2008 July 16, 2007 Oil Is Number One Factor International Hotels & Resorts WESTIN TIMES SQUARE COCONUT BAY BRINGS OUT Affecting Industry in 2008 KEEPS PEDAL TO METTLE SWEET TASTE OF ST. LUCIA In city that never sleeps, hotel will Leisure resort now targets groups finish meeting space upgrades by offering plethora of outdoor Soaring fuel prices, surcharges, & related costs next month before more room teambuilding options and event/ roil meeting budgets in a vicious domino effect renovations begin. see page 14 meeting spaces. see page 18 ‘CALLING ALL CHEFS’ TO A Coming up with noted that many of the large pharmaceutical Destination Insider CHALLENGE IN BOCA RATON our list of the 25 firms are canceling travel for staff:“Speakers are Most Powerful withdrawing due to the elimination of non- Attendees at Boca Raton Resort HAWAII’S GROUP SUPPORT was a challenge, critical travel.”And fuel costs have brought the & Club can cook against each As leisure arrivals continue to because of the airlines to their knees. other—or against a property drop, the islands look to meet- diversity of the Acknowledging the fuel-price hardship, the chef and vintner. see page 14 ings to carry them through the industry. But one Internal Revenue Service this month raised the short term. see page 21 choice was clear: fuel mileage rate, from 50.5 to 58.5 cents. IRS Convention Centers With U.S. gasoline commissioner Doug Shulman declared, “We L.A. & THE BEACHES prices averaging $4.10 a gallon and a barrel of want the reimbursement rate to be fair. Rising crude oil at a record $146-plus, it’s safe to say gas prices are majorly impacting Americans.” CRY FROM THE HEARTLAND Redondo Beach and Ventura that fuel prices now dictate every aspect of But while this represents an overall 36- offer cost-friendly meetings Destinations in the region push meetings and events. percent increase over six close to LAX. see page 22 for more convention space. For Ken Deans, a years, it has not kept see page 15 Los Angeles-based pace with skyrock- trade show man- eting fuel prices, MeetingNews CVBs ager, items that which have more Exclusive Research used to cost $3,500 than doubled. Are you planning to take all of your in shipping each For more on DMAI IS PUTTING ‘DMAP’ allotted vacation days this year? way from L.A. to the people and CERTIFICATION ON THE MAP New York now forces that Yes Destination Marketing 63.2% cost $8,000. Peter are affecting Accreditation Program now has Huggins, planner meetings, turn to close to 60 members. for the American the MeetingNews 36.8% see page 16 No Chemical Society, 25 Most Power- based in DC, ful on page 10. HOUSTON FLICK HONORED Source: MeetingNews survey of 310 meeting planners “One Day in Houston” short film Cedar Rapids: ‘Half Our Visitors Guide Is Obsolete’ wins public relations award. Bailing Out On Vacation see page 16 Midwest flooding washes away Heartland venues see page 20 unscathed, others had to alter By Rayna Katz Volume 32/Number 13/$10.00 Like many other dramatic weather catastro- their plans, and still more are phies, the floods that struck the Midwest this weighing their options. summer left some areas unharmed while oth- Several of Iowa’s cities were ers were submerged and will be repairing the hit hard by the unforgiving damage for some time to come. waters after months of heavy Similarly, among meetings and events that rain. “The floods rendered our were taking place as the region’s rivers over- downtown, and about half of flowed—as well as those scheduled for the our visitors guide, obsolete,” coming weeks and months—some went continued on page 73
  • MeetingNews 25 Most Powerful ahead in Dubai. Gary Sain, President and CEO, Orlando/ Martin Sirk, CEO, International Congress & That’s not all. MPI has enacted an alliance with Orange County CVB Convention Association, Amsterdam Messe Berlin, organizer of the ITB Berlin travel “I don’t think of myself as a Following on the two-decade legacy of retired CVB trade show, in creating the inaugural and back-to- particularly ‘powerful’ indi- legend Bill Peeper is tough for anyone, but Gary back ITB Asia show and Asia Meetings and Events vidual,” said Martin Sirk, Sain has been tackling that job since February 2007, Conference this October in Singapore. head of the International when he stepped in as Orlando’s tourism chief. His Convention & Congress tenure so far has not been Association (ICCA), “but I without challenges: The Paul Kennedy, Group Exhibition Director, do believe that ICCA has economic downturn has Reed Travel Exhibitions, Surrey, England become an extremely influ- triggered declines in both Managed by Paul Kennedy, Reed Travel Exhibitions ential global community.” meetings and leisure busi- runs the formidable European Incentive, Business As head of ICCA, Martin Sirk is a symbol of the ness. But Sain, with his Travel & Meetings Exhibition (EIBTM) industry international growth of the meetings industry. The diverse sales and marketing trade show held annually in Barcelona. In the last association will hold its first education and network- experience and massive couple of years, however, RTE has entrenched itself ing event in Dubai in late August. The number of budget—will be aggressively in two potentially huge meetings markets: China ICCA members in the Persian Gulf and Middle East singing Orlando’s praises through stepped-up pro- and the Middle East. Attendance at the second has grown from four members in 2000 to 14 in 2007, motional campaigns. The latest of these is “Creative annual Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings and Sirk expects to have 20 mem- Minds,” focusing on Orlando’s Exposition (GIBTM), held this past April in Abu bers in the region by year’s end. ability to provide unconven- Dhabi, grew by more than 30 percent. In China, the “We now have over 850 compa- tional meeting and event CIBTM expo—canceled this nies and organizations in mem- spaces—no doubt bolstered by year because of the Summer bership in 83 countries around Disney’s offerings. Sain also has Olympics—has the potential the world, covering all the indus- been trumpeting the upscale of becoming the country’s try supplier sectors,” he said. transformation of hospitality top industry show. Add to product as Orlando’s next evo- these the longtime Asia- lutionary step, as some $2.2 bil- Pacific Incentives & Meetings Wolfgang Puck, Chef and lion in new hotels and attrac- Expo (AIME) and the Inter- Restaurateur,Beverly Hills,CA tions is expected to go onstream national Congress & Con- “Just like a painter or artist, in the next few years. vention Association (ICCA) Exhibition, and RTE every chef does something a has a powerful show lineup. Kennedy is also a high- little bit different to make it interesting,” Wolfgang profile figure for Meeting Professionals Internation- Puck said at his restaurant opening in MGM Grand Bruce MacMillan, President and CEO, al, having just completed his service on the 2007-08 Detroit. Famous for affordable, creative fine dining, Meeting Professionals International, Dallas international board of directors executive commit- Puck has raised the bar for Bruce MacMillan has had one global year. Under tee, and representing the first-ever European winner banquet F&B, inspiring plan- his stewardship, MPI opened a Singapore office, of two MPI awards in 2000 and 2004, respectively. ners to ask for sustainable, created a South Korean chapter, and forged part- local ingredients when possi- nerships with IMEX (Europe’s largest meetings ble. His business enterprises industry exhibition) and Reed Travel Exhibitions, Ben Bernanke, Chairman, U.S. Federal Reserve, have saturated the meetings organizer of the fledgling Gulf Incentive, Business Washington, DC industry, catering (literally) Travel, & Meetings Exhibi- Dollar not going as far as it to prominent venues like the tion (GIBTM), to gain more used to? Home values plum- Kodak Theatre in Holly- prominent positions in meting? In the wake of the wood and Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center, and to Europe and the Mideast. subprime mortgage crisis— the convention centers of Sacramento, CA, and MPI overhauled its Euro- the worst financial disaster Washington, DC, and more. His restaurants at pean education event, to hit the nation since the resorts in Atlantic City and Las Vegas are favorites renamed it the European Great Depression, according among meeting planners for events. Meetings and Events Con- to Time magazine—one This year, Puck was named chef of the year by the ference, and held it in Lon- man has been the focus of Culinary Institute of America. And, earlier this don just before Frankfurt’s IMEX for maximum U.S. economic policy: Ben Bernanke. month, Doubletree Hotels began offering in-room exposure. And, with Reed’s support, MPI piggy- Bernanke, head of the U.S. Federal Reserve, has Wolfgang Puck Estate Grown Coffee at more than backed its new Gulf Meetings and Events Confer- taken plenty of criticism as he navigates the country 190 North American properties. ence onto Abu Dhabi-based GIBTM just days through uncertain financial waters, but he also 10 MeetingNews July 21, 2008
  • CVBS INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE MEETINGS Recession survival steps Unification on terminology Buoyant budgets & incentives p. 18 CHEF TALK p. 10 p. 13 Ocean’s Eleven: Sean O’Connell MeetingNews presides over Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s 11 restaurants. page 5 w w w. M e e t i n g N e w s . c o m F e b r uJuly 16, 2007 a r y 2, 2009 Of Presidential Proportions Insider Report Hotels & Resorts BEVY OF SUPPLIERS LAUNCH GAMING DESTINATIONS Obama’s inauguration creates monster citywide ONLINE BOOKING SYSTEMS CES co-location in Las Vegas; Nikko Hotels, Choice Hotels’ new Wynn launches Encore; a new pendent experts claimed it was closer to 1.3 Ascend Collection, and a Boston ice lounge; Q&A session with Photo: U.S. Department of Defense/Chad J. McNeeley million. But more important, the event fore- collective each has established Tropicana Las Vegas; Reno’s shadowed a promise to pump new life to the web portals for group bookings. transformation still going strong; U.S. political process—and Washington, DC. Detroit’s arts and cultural sites see page 8 round out group activities; giant “The [president] and the Presidential Inau- Convention Centers solar-panel installation infuses gural Committee wanted to make it the most Atlantic City Convention Center accessible of any inauguration in history,”said PHILADELPHIA EXPECTS with energy. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Bill 0% 10% 20% president and CEO of Destina- Hanbury, 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% A BOOM IN CENTER CITY starts on page 20 tion DC, the capital’s convention bureau.“You Anticipating its convention Incentive Report center expansion in 2011, the can see that with the Neighborhood Ball (an city works to secure hoteliers for official ball that had an everyman guest list ISLAND DESTINATIONS The new commander-in-chief was sworn lodging support. and hip entertainment like Mary J. Blige, Bey- in on Jan. 20 in front of a record crowd. Belize offers feel of exclusivity; see page 9 once, and Jay-Z). You can certainly see it with the natural side of Puerto Rico; the Jumbotrons called for on the [National] By Brad Crawford Park Hyatt confirms project in SEATTLE’S WSCTC HAS PLAN President Barack Obama’s swearing-in on Mall.” Bermuda, while Tucker’s Point IN THE HOPPER FOR 2014 Hotel sets its debut for April; Jan. 20 broke the attendance record set by Lyn- Hanbury said 70 percent of the parade Early proposal seeks to double Aruba Marriott’s major don Johnson’s 1965 inauguration—the official route was open to the general public. “In the exhibit space to about 400,000 sf; renovation work yields a tally was 1.8 million revelers, though inde- continued on page 38 meanwhile, a 1,200-room hotel hotel-within-hotel. is being mulled. see page 34 see page 9 Sluggish CES a Shock to the Vegas Circuit MeetingNews ExclusiveResearch Retrenchments at electronics show reflect economic woes International Compared to 2008, the number of attendees at international programs Vegas Convention Center, By Michael Goldstein you are planning in 2009 will: Inertia “ The Pink Taco at the Hard In Vegas, you the carpetsbig empty spots were wider and Stay the Our survey of planners Rock Hotel & Casino had 15 there were same have leverage you (especially in the South Hall) 60.4% about how they tackle empty bar stools and six Increase haven’t0% 10% 20% 30%and big “conversation areas.” 40% 50% 60% Increase had in a the nuts 11.3% bolts of and empty tables at 10 o’clock on 15.1% international meetings Decrease long time. Supply a Saturday night. There were While the Consumer 24.6% produces surprising empty spaces in the parking exceeds demand. Electronics Association, ” see page 16 results. lots, streets were devoid of the consortium behind Source: 338 of MeetingNews survey respondents —Chris O’Malley, partner, Pepcom Inc., pedestrians, and seats at the Experience! press and exhibitor the Digital co-producer and co-owner of CES, reported over 2,700 event at CES blackjack tables were unoccu- global Volume 33/Number 2/$10.00 pied. Slot machines stood like sentinels, wait- exhibitors (including 300 ing for someone—anyone—to try their luck. first-timers), which unveiled The Consumer Electronics Show was in 20,000 new products across town again, but for once, there was plenty of 1.7 million sf of exhibit space, elbow room. Attendees compared their the number of exhibitors was negotiated room rates unfavorably to dis- still down from last year’s counts created by oversupply. At the Las continued on page 20
  • JANUARY 29, 2007 30Years Celebrating TM ® [ MEETINGNEWS EXCLUSIVE RESEARCH ] Smarten Up! Which of the following do you think would be most valuable to a planner’s career?* 43.6% Industry certifications 49.2% (i.e., CMP, CMM, CSEP, CAE) 40.4% Education at industry 32.8% conferences 20.2% Meetings/hospitality- related college degrees 22.1% Check-in, 2037: This just might be what a hotel room looks like 30 years from now. For more future looks, see page 22. 15.4% College degree, not necessarily related to 19.7% meetings/hospitality The Big Three-Oh! Individual 15.4% meetings/ Corporate hospitality courses 11.5% Our list of major milestones at local colleges Association in the history of meetings & events 12.8% None of the above hash out the 30 most important By Robert Carey 16.4% inventions and happenings that This month marks the 30th anniver- 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% shaped the meetings and events busi- sary of MeetingNews’ first issue. To *Respondents were asked to select up to two responses. ness as it exists today. commemorate that milestone in a Source: MeetingNews survey of 310 meetings planners We hope that the list gives you a way befitting our mission — to deliv- perspective on how far meetings and er in-depth perspectives that help Most planners agree that industry education is a useful tool for events have come, not just in the our readers do their jobs better now them to have in their arsenal. Certification beat out a degree, but 30 years of MN’s existence, but since and in the future — our editors sat either puts planners ahead of the game. more on page 12 the early part of the 20th century. down in a conference room one recent afternoon and attempted to continued on page 16 I Some longtime veterans recall what the industry was like when Volume 31/ Number 1 / $10.00 MN first hit the scene. page 18 I Then vs. Now: A look at how much meeting goods and services cost in 1977 compared to today. page 20 I Report from PCMA’s recent annual meeting, the first held outside the U.S. page 10
  • MeetingNews 30Years Celebrating Back to the Future 1 2 3 4 From 1977 to 2037 As MeetingNews looks back to 30 years ago, we also offer a glimpse 30 years ahead. 5 1. A deluxe guest room for your convention- eers circa 1977 Hot stuff. . 2. Incentive winners in ‘77 were pampered with a beachfront resort guest room. The bal- cony allows guests to escape the décor. 3. A conference chair in 2037 as featured in a , recent issue of Hospitality Design magazine. It comes with speakers in the headrest, read- ing lights, fold-up tablet tray table, and video camera in the antenna on the chair arm. Eat your heart out, Captain Kirk. 4. A bathroom in 2037 complete with 3-D , projection on the wall to make you feel like you’re showering somewhere else. 5. A 2037 guest room, with a bed that rises to the ceiling and tables that fold into the wall when not in use and guest-customiz- able wall artwork. MeetingNews • January 29, 2007 22
  • SUPPLEMENT TO MEETINGNEWS meeting planners’ handbook 2006 A Logistics & Management Resource
  • 2008 Meeting Planners Handbook Real Life Lessons Featuring Emily Lewis & Alison Golub
  • Destination Insider: Cleveland Edited by William Ng City Inches Toward New Convention Center The county has taken the unprecedented step of tapping a private partner in Merchandise Mart Plan with Merchandise Mart Properties still targets a building launch in 2012 Properties Inc., the Chicago-based property and trade show management firm, which will be inte- gral in any new convention center. It is helping assess both proposed convention center sites and handling negotiations for land and contracting. MMPI’s concept is called Medical Mart, sim- ilar to the Merchandise Mart it has for furniture and home suppliers in Chicago. Medical Mart would attract 50 small and midsize medical con- ventions annually. “[MMPI and Cuyahoga County are] one organization in many respects,” MMPI senior VP Mark Falanga said.“We’ve got a common objec- tive, and they’ll be actively involved in any nego- tiations we’re having.” Falanga said both proposed sites remain viable, Terminal Tower is one of two proposed sites for Cleveland’s new convention center. and indicated his team will be looking for ways to The glacial pace toward a new convention center access to hotels and civic amenities. The mall site, trim the project’s estimated $500-million to $600- in Cleveland continues, frustrating business though, would entail fewer land acquisition costs million cost—which continues to rise as the build- owners, civic boosters, and, perhaps most of all, and greater future expansion potential than the out is extended—in order to stay in line with pro- planners whose meetings would make sense oth- more constrained Terminal Tower site. jected revenues from a sales tax increase. erwise in the city.“We should have movement in the next couple of weeks,” after the local elec- Bus Links Downtown with Univ. Circle Medical Hub tions, said Cuyahoga County administrator Jim McCafferty. He said the county is still aiming for The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Author- kicked in a combined $6.25 million for its nam- completion in late 2012. ity’s “HealthLine”—so called for its sponsorship ing rights. The HealthLine is credited with help- In August, the chamber of commerce’s site- by and service to the city’s two leading medical ing spur $4.3 billion in developments along the selection committee recommended locating the facilities, the Cleveland Clinic and University Euclid corridor, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s estimates. H convention center at Public Square, between the Hospitals—has come on. Cuyahoga River and Terminal Tower, Cleveland’s The line runs along Euclid Avenue from Pub- —Section written by Brad Crawford landmark building. The other site the commit- lic Square, one of the potential Station stops on the HealthLine will be on the center median. tee studied extensively was an outdoor mall on sites for the new convention the downtown lakefront, home to the current, center, to East Cleveland, seven underground convention center—an outdated miles away. On the way, it con- structure with numerous pillars and interference nects downtown with University issues for cell phones. Circle, the medical hub and The Terminal Tower site has the notable advan- home to Case Western Reserve tage of access to much of the city’s infrastructure: University. a direct train to Hopkins International Airport, Sleek, diesel-electric buses and enclosed access to Progressive Field, Quicken make the trip from downtown to Loans Arena, and other venues in the Gateway University Circle in 20 minutes. District. The committee’s study suggested a Termi- The route is arguably the most nal Tower-sited convention center could be done important in the RTA system— for perhaps $40 million less than a mall-sited cen- visible enough that the Cleveland ter while providing visitors with more convenient Clinic and University Hospitals 30 MeetingNews November 10, 2008
  • Destination Insider: Reno-Lake Tahoe Edited by Lori Morris Reno Revival Continues More Deliciousness on Attendees’ Plates New projects still fueling downtown New eateries satisfy foodie trend in the Reno-Lake Tahoe meetings scene The urban revitalization that began a few years ago in downtown Reno shows no signs of slowing down, with a steady stream of new projects being announced as others wrap up. While the new Reno Ballroom officially opened earlier this year, multi- million-dollar projects have been announced to spruce up office buildings, streetscape beautification efforts continue, and new restaurants and shops are consistently opening in the Truckee River District. Construction is fully under way on a new 10,000- seat Triple-A Baseball stadium that will serve as the anchor of the $81-million Reno Baseball Stadium District. Scheduled to open next spring, the tradi- tional brick-style ballpark will be the home of a Pacific Coast League team. Shops, businesses, and a variety of entertainment options are slated to open throughout the surrounding blocks over the next few years. Also, construction will begin this sum- mer on a 148-unit Hyatt Summerfield Suites Hotel adjacent to the new ballpark. The 351-room Fitzgeralds Hotel and Casino recently changed ownership and is being complete- ly revamped. A $3-million renovation will make immediate improvements, and the management Charlie Palmer has given Reno celebrity-chef flair with Charlie Palmer Steak and Fin Fish. team is in the process of developing a master plan room seats up to 20 people, while a group of 100 that will include upgrades to the property’s guest The Reno-Lake Tahoe area has increased it restau- can take over the entire restaurant. rooms, restaurants, and entertainment. rants offerings and culinary activities to cater to the Last fall, Reno’s first celebrity chef arrived at the In downtown Sparks, 1,600-room John Ascua- discerning palates of the increasing number of 1,975-room Grand Sierra Resort and Casino. Char- ga’s Nugget completed a $17-million East Tower “food-as-entertainment” folks coming to the region lie Palmer opened two of his restaurants: Fin Fish, remodel in February. All 600 guest rooms in that for meeting and incentive programs. his premier seafood concept, and Charlie Palmer tower received a floor-to-ceiling renovation, featur- “We find groups often want to explore the cuisine Steak, which has a private room that accommo- ing modern design, plasma televisions, granite and dining experiences that are unique to this dates 60 people. accents, marble flooring, luxury bedding, and busi- region,” said Philip D’Amico, Reno-Sparks Conven- Restaurants at two popular North Tahoe meet- ness-friendly features such as Wi-Fi. tion & Visitors Authority’s vice president of conven- ings resorts have also begun to embrace the foodie tion sales. “Meeting attendees are drawn to the Reno’s Baseball Stadium District trend. The 422-room Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe emerging dining scene along Reno’s revitalized offers a winemakers’ dinner that showcases region- downtown Truckee River, and the truly adventurous al wineries at its lakefront Lone Eagle Grille, while eaters tend to go for the region’s Basque cuisine.” and the Six Peaks Grille at the 405-room Resort at Upscale specialty restaurants are definitely in, Squaw Creek recently introduced a five-course according to Steve Lowe, director of sales for the chef’s table meal available for up to 10 people. 513-room Harrah’s and the 758-room Harveys in On the lake, the newly renovated Tahoe Gal, a South Lake Tahoe. In the year since the resorts’ Gi historic paddle wheeler, has added wine tasting and Fu Loh restaurant opened, the $5.9-million high- end Cantonese eatery has become a favored group bourbon tasting cruises. Cooking classes can be choice.“It is very popular with groups, because it is arranged at two new venues. Chefs at Mikuni very authentic, yet has a Caucasian flair, and the Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, which just service is impeccable,” said Lowe. Its private dining continued on page 26 20 MeetingNews May 19, 2008
  • Destination Insider: Reno-Lake Tahoe Happy (Water) Trails On the Lakefront allow Reno groups, which typically include family guests, to take over the entire facility. The new Lake Tahoe Water Trail allows paddlers to plan a custom canoe or kayak trip around the 72- Catch of the Day: Fresh Tahoe Museums mile shoreline of the famous lake. The trail map includes information about access points, resting The Maritime Museum in Homewood reopens this places, campgrounds, points of interest, and related month in a new 5,800-sf facility with interactive facilities. Individuals can design their own forays on exhibits. Reminiscent of an old boathouse, the the trail, which is free and open to the public, or museum showcases the history of boating in Lake group excursions can be arranged through a guide Tahoe. Watercraft on display includes an 1890s service, such as Tahoe Adventure Company. excursion boat and a rare 1912 Canadian-built dis- placement boat. Reno Museum Waiting for Discovery in ’09 The Tahoe City Field Lab, also known as the His- toric Fish Hatchery, is scheduled to reopen in Construction on the $18-million Nevada Discov- August with a $3-million restoration. Future plans ery Museum ( is on schedule, with include the restoration of the surrounding three the facility slated to open in October 2009. The acres and an interpretive education center and museum, built around families and fun learning, demonstration garden. A kiosk attached to the will have exhibits on subjects ranging from space Kayaking is one Tahoe’s many R&R options. historic hatchery will provide information on the and science, to art and archeology with a northern continued from page 23 historic uses of the building for fish rearing, the life Nevada bent. cycle, and ongoing research. Located in the former Reno City Hall, the audiovisual presentations, and teleconferencing. 70,000-sf building will feature a historic atrium area Banquets of up to 130 people can be held in the Firm Helms a Hilton Garden Inn in Reno & available for receptions; 5,000 sf of multi-purpose, room, with receptions for 100 possible on a new Reflags Property to Holiday Inn in Sparks high-tech equipped function space for meetings outdoor patio situated above the Mountain Stream and special events; 18,000 sf of permanent and room. The expansion brings the total square While a new midrange property came on line in traveling exhibit space; 5,000 sf ongoing program footage of meeting space at the mountain resort, Reno this spring, another essentially new hotel for space, with a series of hands-on experiences; and which has 276 studio to three-bedroom condo- small meetings was announced for year-end arrival on-site, underground parking. The museum will miniums, up to 7,500 sf. in Sparks. A 135-room, five-story Hilton Garden Inn opened in southern Reno in March with 1,920 sf of meeting space, a 24-hour business center, and the Great American Grill restaurant. Feel the Thrill of the Chill At the same time, Crescent Hotels & Resorts has signed on to manage the 220-room Quality Inn in Sparks. Plans are under way to convert the proper- L ong a haven for downhill skiers, Lake Charters at Carnelian Bay or Reel Deal Tahoe has recently begun to offer more Sportfishing in Tahoe City. ty to a Holiday Inn, following the completion of a off-slope activities. $6-million renovation that will upgrade all guest Moonlight snowshoe tours are available. • Skijoring, a Norwegian sport that is a rooms, public spaces, and the property’s 8,000 sf of cross between cross-country skiing and dog- meeting space to Holiday Inn brand standards. sledding, is becoming more popular. • Dog-sledding excursions, including Nice Rock: Two South Lake Tahoe Hotels moonlight expeditions, are offered in Treat Meeting Planners as ‘Diamond’ VIPs Olympic Valley at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort and Sister resorts 513-room Harrah’s and 758-room off Highway 89 north of Truckee. Harveys Lake Tahoe introduced their new Meeting • Horse-drawn sleigh rides go through the Diamond program in April. Similar to the compa- meadows of Squaw Valley. ny’s Las Vegas properties, the Diamond Card • Moonlight snowshoe tours are offered by provides benefits to VIP group planners and deci- Northstar-at-Tahoe, Squaw Valley USA, and sionmakers during their stays at either hotel. Bene- Sugar Pine Point State Park. fits include VIP check-in; access to the private • Ice fishing is available on Boca, Prosser, Diamond Lounge, with complimentary food, bev- and Stampede Reservoirs outside of Truckee. erages, and amenities; priority service at restau- Maps, tips, and equipment can be found at rants; complimentary use of fitness facilities; Mountain Hardware in Truckee. priority valet parking service; and complimentary • Winter fishing on Lake Tahoe can be priority access to the VEX nightclub. arranged through Mickey’s Big Mack continued on page 26 24 MeetingNews May 19, 2008
  • 0% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% MN Exclusive Research 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Are There Enough Planners In The Pipeline? Between genders, planners were basically on By Terri Hardin Commitment by Gender here do you see yourself in five years?” the same page at five years, but 15 percent more “W It’s the quintessential interview ques- men than women were opting out when it came Do you see yourself as a planner…? tion, and in MeetingNews’ most recent survey, we to the 10-year mark. In Five Years’ Time asked that question, and others, and found that Why the falloff? According to Harith Wickrema, most meeting planners—corporate, association, adjunct professor of the School of Tourism and Male Female Yes and independent—are in it for the long haul. Hospitality at Temple University and President of Yes 67.9% 77.7% Nearly all planners saw themselves in their jobs Willow Grove, PA-based Harith Productions, in a year’s time; and 81 percent saw themselves “meeting and event planning is a profession that No remaining as planners in five years’ time. And demands continuous passion to succeed. Those 0 No 32.1% 22.3% nearly half (49 percent) saw themselves in their who get to do various different meetings tend to planning role in 10 years’ time. continue, but others who do the same ‘meat-and- Coupled with the fact that potatoes’ meetings tend to change careers.”Wick- 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% In 10 Years’ Time 92 percent of survey respon- rema added,“Students in my classes at Temple are dents reported experiencing good to excellent encouraged to work in a related field or in an assis- Male Female Yes Yes levels of job satisfaction, it would seem, at first, that tant/administrative assistant capacity at an 37.3% 52.8% the meeting industry is one big bed of roses. event/meeting planning company prior to Looking deeper, however, MN discovered becoming a full-fledged planner.” No No 62.7% some clouds on the horizon, namely, that while “At least 25 percent of [our] students (out of 47.2% 78 percent of all twentysometing-to-fortysome- 2,400) are event management majors,” said Deb- thing planners see themselves in the planning orah Breiter, chair of the department of tourism, role in five years’ time, only 59 percent see them- events, and attractions at the Rosen School of selves as planners in 10 years’ time. Hospitality Management in Orlando. “Some are Source: MeetingNews survey of 279 meeting planners Among planner categories, independent plan- interested in meetings, some in conventions, and ners expressed the most disaffection, with 73 envi- a lot are interested in special events. Our market is manager for Charleston, SC-based Force Protec- sioning themselves as planners in five years’ time, largely supplier-based, so students work in hotels, tion Inc. “I love stepping back when it’s all over, and 43 percent making it to the 10-year mark. theme parks, DMCs, GSCs, etc.” assessing it, and then moving on to the next proj- MaryAnne P. Bobrow, of Bobrow & Associates, ect.” For Vandall, her past 10 years of meetings based in Citrus Heights, CA, thinks there has experience started with cocktail hours and baby Retention Rates been a shift in expectations where planners are showers and advanced to million-dollar interna- expected to move from logistics to strategic. “I tional exhibits. The industry, she noted, is “what- Do you see yourself as a planner…? am often amazed to learn that many planners ever we make it. It’s a fine line that we walk. On In Five Years’ Time never see organizational financials, nor do they one hand, we have to fight to be taken seriously. 81.2% understand or appreciate what they (or their On the other hand, we have to be extremely flex- Yes 76.0% department) contribute to the bottom-line prof- ible, always happy, and ready for the next 72.5% it of the organization. How can they possibly project.” MN become strategic in their approaches when Exclusive Perhaps the new generation of planners 18.8% Research they do not have the tools necessary to grasp will come from where they’ve always come 24.0% No the organization’s overall plan?” from—out of the blue. “Fortunately,” said 27.5% Also, only so much about meeting logistics can Karen Brown, of Conferences by Design, in Salis- 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% In 10 Years’ Time change. (After all, as Joan L. Eisenstodt, principal bury, MD, “we’ve found two very organized peo- of Washington, DC-based Eisenstodt Associates ple to take over registration and database manage- 54.0% LLC, who has nearly 40 years of industry experi- ment of our post-conference surveys. We’ve hired 53.6% Yes ence, pointed out, “We are still meeting in facili- a social butterfly who is handling our companion Corporate 42.5% Planners ties with chairs in rows.”) Thus, planners who are and social networking programs (and leaves each Association Planners goal-oriented and undeterred by the necessary event with a whole new set of best friends), and 46.0% Other Planners repetition are best-suited to the vocation.“I love I’ve found a retired school teacher who handles 46.4% No the rush; I love the deadline; I love that the proj- our speakers and session monitors.” H 57.5% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% ect has a definite finish date,” said Emily Vandall, Contact Terri Hardin at who was most recently marketing and event Source: MeetingNews survey of 279 meeting planners 30 MeetingNews August 11, 2008 0% 5% % 10% 10% 1% 15% 20% 2 25%
  • International By William Ng Coconut Bay Resort Gives Taste Of St. Lucia’s Sweet Outdoors lighted the property’s plethora of Vieux Fort, St. Lucia—On St. Lucia’s outdoor meeting and event spaces southern coast, Coconut Bay Beach during a recent, three-day media Resort & Spa has its sights on adven- tour, including a beachfront pavilion turous small meeting and incentive that seats 75 attendees theater-style groups. So-called “soft adventures” and has its own gazebo for breakouts like zip-lining and ropes courses in or receptions of 40. Two pool areas, the St. Lucian rainforest canopy, all- one of which has an amphitheater, terrain-vehicle treks on the coastline, can handle cocktails as well as din- and paintball in an on-site facility ners in small-round format. are just some of the teambuilding While the pavilion also can handle attractions arranged by the 254- 60-seated diners, planners can take room, all-inclusive resort. meals inside by buying out Silk, an Like most Caribbean resorts, Asian-theme restaurant, or Bellagio, Coconut Bay has traditionally the Italian-style eatery next to Silk catered to the leisure market. But Coconut Bay Resort attendees and adjacent to a lounge that can now that St. Lucia’s airlift has been can do ATV tours or sightsee the serve as prefunction/reception space. beefed up by American Airlines’ town of Soufriere, which offers For those who prefer docile pur- thrice weekly nonstop service from views of the Piton mountains, and suits, St. Lucia has memorable sight- New York – JFK, the resort sees a have evening cocktails and seeing, led by the signature twin ready pipeline to corporate meetings dinner on the resort’s gazebo. Piton mountains, which can be and incentives business of up to 150 viewed from numerous vantage attendees. points. Groups can bus to Sulphur In addition, AA flies direct from Photos: William Ng Springs—billed as the world’s only Miami daily, while American Eagle drive-in volcano—and nearby Dia- serves St. Lucia from Puerto Rico mond Botanic Gardens to take a dip five times a day. All flights arrive at in the waterfalls and mineral baths. Hewanorra International Airport, Coconut Bay can further indulge steam and aromatherapy, and full sages under palm trees and amid five minutes from the resort. meeting-goers in its eight-room Kai salon services. Yet, the spa’s “Pedi Atlantic Ocean breezes for those Coconut Bay sales and marketing Mer Spa with massages, facials, Patio” provides pedicures and mas- who want to take it outside. director Audrey Best notably high- Mexico Installs Tax Rebate form, and bank receipts, after which boast of being in the world’s highest begun saturating every major city they can receive up to half of their board meetings using three meet- Mexico is reimbursing the sales tax with properties, what does a brand reimbursements in cash and the rest ing/dining/reception rooms on the travelers pay on their visits in hopes do to set itself apart? Build the tallest via electronic fund transfers. 93rd floor. (Similar but smaller facil- of enticing more guest traffic. hotel in each of the two biggest cities. Premier Tax Free, Global Refund ities are available on the 86th floor.) Air and sea travelers who spend at Park Hyatt is going for gold in the Mexico, and Yvesam Retornos In Beijing, the Park Hyatt will least 1,200 pesos (approx. $116) skyscraper hotel games with a 174- Mundiales will carry out the pro- have the city’s highest restaurant, on including sales taxes will get refunds room property in Shanghai this gram, starting in Mexico City, Can- the 66th floor, and meetings will at airport and seaport service cen- month and the 237-room Park cun, Guadalajara, Los Cabos, and soar in eight boardrooms on the 61st ters. The rebate does not apply to Hyatt Beijing in September. Puerto Vallarta. Around December, and 62nd floors. Park Hyatt Beijing taxes on services, such as lodging and Not only is Park Hyatt Shanghai it is expected to expand elsewhere. will have 25,000 sf of meeting space, food, and refunds are applicable to declaring itself the tallest in China, it led by a 13,000-sf ballroom. After credit or debit card purchases and is claiming the world’s highest with Park Hyatt Stands Tall in China hours, attendees will sip wine or cash purchases of less than 3,000 its 79th-to-93rd-floor location in the cocktails in three bars on the sixth pesos (approx. $290). Travelers must 101-floor Shanghai World Financial In China’s booming hotel industry, floor or in the 65th-floor jazz bar. H submit receipts, a rebate request Center. Corporate executives can where multinational operators have 18 MeetingNews July 21, 2008
  • Chef Talk Pastry competitions sweeten the deal with dessert chef and asks for something elaborate, ation had an event around the By Rayna Katz In this fifth installment of Chef Talk, MeetingNews these kinds of events make it easi- time of Valentine’s Day, so found its happiest interview subject yet. All of the er for us to fulfill requests. doing something with a heart previously profiled chefs unabashedly enjoy their was obvious, but I wanted to Q As team captain, have you work, but there’s an extra spring in our latest culi- do something more elaborate. learned anything about nary wizard’s step. We did a white chocolate heart preparing a group for an event That shouldn’t come as a surprise because he is a airbrushed in red chocolate, that helps you relate to what pastry chef. Who wouldn’t be happy surrounded by with several elements like meeting planners go through? chocolate and sugar all day? Clearly, David Ramirez, chocolate-dipped strawberries executive pastry chef at Rosen Shingle Creek, in and chocolate roses. A Orlando, gets delight from concocting desserts, but Meeting planners’ jobs are Q Do you consult with he’s taken his work beyond his day job by compet- difficult because they have to meeting and incentive ing in national pastry tournaments time and again. juggle so much, in addition to David Ramirez planners prior to their pro- Recently, Ramirez’ career as a culinary competi- food and beverage. Hopefully, I Executive Pastry Chef grams at Rosen Shingle tor got even sweeter: He’s been tapped—for the first take some of the pressure off Rosen Shingle Creek Creek? time—to participate in an international event. He them. took a break from spinning sugar to talk with MN. If anything, what I do for A clients is take away the scare of the If they need something Q You have been tapped to be the captain of unexpected and then give them something they specific, sure. Sometimes, Team USA in the prestigious World Pastry never dreamed was possible. the hotel brings me people who are on the fence Cup. How will this inspire the creations you about booking the hotel, and I’ll let them know that Q make for groups at Rosen Shingle Creek? To get ready for the World Pastry Cup, I can do something that they never thought they which takes place next January, you are could have in chocolate or sugar. A away at practice for one weekend every month It’s huge for clients because, in competition, we For example, I was working on a competition with this year. How are you dealing with that as far as a history theme, and then shortly afterward, a group push the limits. So, when someone comes in the work that needs to be done at the hotel? came in with that same theme. So, I had the six-foot Ramirez finishes off a towering sugar creation. centerpiece I’d created the day before with an Amer- A The guys in the kitchen all know the situation, ican history theme, and I added the group’s logo. For DSW [the discount shoe retailer], the plan- and they are really stepping up. They don’t want to disappoint me. [Ramirez supervises three ner wasn’t sure if the hotel was the right place for assistant pastry chefs and about 20 other employ- the group, so I made chocolate shoes, and we got the booking. In other words, the shoe fit. ees.] It’s my wife who’s having problems with it! Q Q You have appeared on the Food Network. What can planners tell or ask you that What were those appearances for, and what would be useful? did you learn from them? A Knowing the theme of the event helps me; it A They’ve all been domestic pastry competitions, sends me in the right direction, and I can real- since 2004. Those experiences taught me to be ly run with it. Also, if a client can tell me something creative. They pushed me to limits to which I’d they liked in the past—or more importantly, didn’t never been pushed, which makes the day-to-day a like—that’s informative. Hearing what they’ve seen lot easier because I can come up with better ideas. before and been impressed by is good too. Q Q You often create special treats for various organizations. Can you share examples of What’s your favorite dessert? what you’ve done and what’s in your arsenal? A I have to say a warm chocolate chip cookie. You can’t go wrong with that. H A If you can think of it, I can make it, and I can probably make it better. A heart-related associ- Contact Rayna Katz at 8 MeetingNews March 24, 2008
  • Destination Insider: Florida Gulf Coast Edited by Rayna Katz Region Fighting Fuel Costs with Fire Area destinations promote groups’ limited need for ground transportation nelside dining and entertainment complex, with half Like most every major destination in North Amer- a dozen restaurants and bars; or the Florida Aquari- ica today, all destinations along Florida’s gulf coast um, one of the largest marine exhibits in the state. have rolled out marketing plans aimed at customers Offering venues and attractions “within walking weary of high fuel prices. distance,” from convention hotels has become a The phrase “one tank trips” has become the huge factor in a destination’s appeal. mantra along the Gulf Coast, most of which hap- “Transportation costs to get people from their pens to be within the one-tank range of the state’s headquarters hotel to offsite events is probably what biggest population and business corridors. I get asked about most now,” said Roberta Blum, “We are all focusing on those markets that are president of Tarpon Springs, FL-based HB Associ- one-tank trips from our destinations, and we are in ates, a Tampa Bay area destination management that range both from Miami/Fort Lauderdale and company. “In our area, there is plenty to walk to Tampa-St. Petersburg (the state’s first and second from hotels, both in St. Petersburg and Tampa.” largest metropolitan areas, respectively),” said Jack Other gulf coast cities in Florida have good Wert, executive director of the Naples, Marco Island options “within walking distance” for groups, espe- Convention & Visitors Bureau. cially the well-developed beach areas in St. Pete Added Norwood Smith, vice president and direc- Beach, Sarasota, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, tor of sales of Tampa Bay & Company (formerly the Marco Island, and Naples. All these destinations Tampa CVB), “Once you get here, we are a very feature big meeting hotels from which one can walk fuel-efficient destination. In the downtown area out the back door onto the beach, or hop a shuttle there are lots of off-site venues to which a visitor to nearby dining and entertainment venues. can walk—no transportation required.” “With no end in sight for this fuel crisis, destina- The city’s primary convention hotel, is across the tions like ours are going to become more sought street from the Tampa Convention Center, and one Florida Aquarium is an easy venue to use. after,” said Blum. can easily walk from either building to the big Chan- MeetingNews Q&A: three new museums [the Tampa Museum of Art, the Glazer Children’s Museum and the Tampa His- On the Tampa Waterfront tory Center] all of which are opening near the Riverwalk over the next year or so. Existing hotels and other venues for groups are renovating while new ones are cropping up along the river in downtown Tampa. MeetingNews found out what it all means for With these new facilities, what is your target Q the destination and its customers from Norwood Smith, vice president and director of audience now for conventions? sales of Tampa Bay & Company, the city’s convention and visitors bureau. What’s the most important thing groups con- Q just did a $4 million upgrade, and a great new facili- We are doing particularly well now with nation- A sidering Tampa should know right now? ty that will support conventions, a 5,000-sf multi- al associations and corporate groups, especially function space overlooking the river is being added from the midwest, having opened a new sales office to the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel in August. That we are undergoing what can genuinely be in Chicago, covering 11 states, in the past year. We A described as a rebirth downtown, especially with are being perceived as a value destination within Are you presenting this to meeting planners Q regard to convention center hotels. The Tampa Mar- Florida, especially in the off-season. as a self-contained convention district now? riott Waterside Hotel & Marina, our headquarters Any other events coming soon of which you Q hotel, is undergoing a $12 million upgrade of 618 are particularly proud? guest rooms and 36 suites that will be completed in Absolutely. We emphasize the riverside ambi- A December; the Hyatt Regency Tampa, within three ence of the convention center area. We just blocks of the center, just completed an $11 million completed another section of the Riverwalk that Yeah; the Super Bowl in 2009. You can’t beat A renovation of all 521 guest rooms; the Howard John- connects the convention center with hotels and that for validation of your destination’s appeal. son Plaza Hotel, also in the convention center district, restaurants and museums downtown. And we have —Section written by Rowland Stiteler July 7, 2008 MeetingNews 21
  • Destination Insider: San Diego Edited by Lori Morris Marriott Adds to Its San Diego Offerings Marriott International is increasing its presence in struction on the Marriott Renaissance Hotel will get the city with two new hotels in the Gaslamp Quar- under way in the fall. The full-service hotel, set to ter. The 12-story, 239-room Residence Inn by Mar- open in fall 2010, will have 344 rooms, a 7,500-sf riott will begin construction this summer, with a spa, and 7,000 sf of retail space. There will be a targeted completion date of early 2009. The proper- 6,400-sf ballroom, 4,500 sf of additional meeting ty will feature 8,000 sf of retail space. Nearby, con- space, and 5,800 sf of prefunction space. Balboa Theatre Stages Planned new lobby at L’Auberge Del Mar Its Grand Reopening L’Auberge Del Mar The Balboa Theatre, a Gaslamp Quarter staple since Unveils a New Look 1924 that has been closed since 1985, made its comeback on Jan. 31 after a $26-million restoration. This June, the historic L’Auberge Del Mar Resort and Phoenix-based historic restoration and performing Spa will be reborn, thanks to a $25-million property- arts specialists Westlake Reed Leskosky orchestrated wide renovation. The hotel, which has been closed the three-year renovation. since November, will look like a private coastal estate, As part of the venue’s update, state-of-the-art with large columns, lush landscaping, and white mechanical, electrical, and performance systems shutters against a green exterior. There will be a new were installed, and the lobby, box office, loading, and lobby bar with a wine and cheese barista; a new sig- public areas received makeover and expansion work. nature modern American restaurant featuring an The 1,339-seat performance hall features new seat- open kitchen, outdoor seating, private cabanas, and ing, a new orchestra pit, and carefully restored deco- a wine room; and a new 4,100-sf luxury spa. rative ceilings and walls. The blade sign and marquee All of the property’s 120 guest rooms will be were also recreated. The entire structure is now rein- made over, as will its 12,000 sf of indoor and out- The Balboa Theatre’s banner and marquee forced for seismic stability. door meeting space. A new, 2,000-sf outdoor area were restored to original specifications. The performing arts venue is owned by the city’s will serve special events. As part of a new air of Redevelopment Agency and managed by San Diego in music, dance, and dramatic shows, groups can exclusivity, arriving guests will be escorted directly Theatres, on behalf of the agency. Along with taking also take over the facility for meetings and functions. to their rooms for private check-ins. Joining The Celebration Planners can piggyback onto what’s going on across San Diego F airs, festivals, sports—San Diego has public events that groups • It’s been 40 years since the US Open last visited southern can easily tie into. Following is a sampling of upcoming celebra- California. This year’s event will take place on the redesigned South tions that planners can consider: Course at La Jolla’s Torrey Pines from June 12-15, marking just the • The nearly 50-acre rainbow of second time the Grand Slam event will be played on a municipal color known as the Flower Fields course. Given Torrey Pines’ dramatic, edge-of-the-ocean layout, even of Carlsbad offers simple beauty. visitors in the spectators gallery should be in for a memorable experi- As the ranunculus varieties reach ence. ( full bloom from early March • The annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, on June 1, mixes running with through mid-May, an arts-and- music (on 26 stages), in what amounts to a 26-mile block party from crafts festival will be held during Balboa Park to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Point Loma. There the second and third weekends of will be a 100-exhibit, pre-race health expo at the San Diego April. Group tours are available. Convention Center, a cheerleading competition along the course route, ( and a raucous headliner concert. ( 60 MeetingNews March 10, 2008
  • Florida Green Guide: Recreation & Teambuilding Setting An Example Picture This: Canon Europe Takes Teambuilding Into Everglades’ Backwaters It wasn’t your classic ropes course. And it didn’t look anything like golf. This was something differ- ent, which was exactly the point. Canon Europe wasn’t looking for the traditional Florida team- building activity, but rather an experience that would provide an opportunity for its senior sales representatives to forge closer relationships with their top clients in a fascinating way. The company found the perfect solution in the Florida Backwater Everglades Tour provided by Coral Gables-based Dragonfly Expeditions.“It was- n’t just sitting on an airboat. Instead, you actually got in the water and waded through part of the Everglades with a guide. It was invigorating and exciting, but completely safe,” said Rachel Hargrave, director of Leicestershire, England-based Phoenix Partners, which organized the four-day incentive trip to Miami. The camaraderie and connection built naturally as the group of 14 executives headed out into the An incentive planner called the Florida Backwater Everglades Tour “invigorating, but safe.” wilds of the Everglades together. Taking off from the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach on the first morning “something they would remember for a long time,” with each other in a comfortable way.“It wasn’t just recalled Hargrave.“Others in the group were excep- the Dutch sales rep talking to the Dutch client, but of their incentive trip, the attendees learned about tionally well-traveled, and Miami hadn’t sounded the nature-lover talking to the guy who is passion- the area from their expert field guide as they drove that exciting to them.” This tour showed them oth- ate about photography. Those who were nervous to the site. Then, everyone stepped into the water— erwise, she said, adding, “Even in a very famous about the whole thing shared their trepidation with it was nearly waist deep at times—for an hour-long place, there is something totally different to do.” each other,” she explained, and the bonding effect expedition. As the first activity of the trip, the adventure lasted even after the trip was over.“People kept talk- Some of the participants were a little nervous and turned out to be the icebreaker it was meant to be. ing about the experience and the great things they might have preferred to stay on the beach, but they “It did exactly what it needed to do,” said Hargrave. remembered, like the four baby alligators we saw as later said that they had done “something they could It got people, who wouldn’t easily interact, talking we began the hike.” —Heidi Waldrop Bay talk to their friends and colleagues about” and Ranger-Led Tours Get Your Peanut Island! Return to Everglades Peanut Island, an 86-acre park in the Intracoastal After several years in hiatus, Everglades National Waterway near Palm Beach, recently completed a Park is once again offering customized group expe- three-year, $13-million restoration project that riences. A private, ranger-led tour can be arranged included expanding amenities and better preserv- for a minimum of 15 people and can be as simple as ing the area’s marine and plant life. New amenities a guided walk along a park trail or as involved as a include swimming platforms, floating docks, a presentation on a particular environmental issue. snorkeling lagoon, and Seminole Indian-style chic- Groups can request a talk on endangered wildlife kee huts. Peanut Island, which is accessible only by and issues with non-native species, such as the boat, is equipped with a dock and anchorage. Other Burmese python. Another option is a talk on the facilities include picnic and beach areas, restrooms, water issues of the park and of South Florida, showers, 20 overnight camping sites, and a muse- explaining the restoration project under way to um featuring a nuclear bomb shelter built in the Everglades National Park return the region to its natural watershed patterns, early 1960s for President John F. Kennedy, who rou- which were first disturbed in the early 1900s by the tact Special Programs Park Ranger Jenny Guerra, tinely vacationed in the area. ( construction of canals. For more information, con- (305) 242-7898. continued on page 48 44 MeetingNews March 10, 2008
  • Florida Green Guide: Sustainable F&B Edited by Elizabeth West Food for Thought Sustainable Table, a New York-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the subject, it is the pro- duction of a commodity that “can be created repeat- Taking a sustainable approach to F&B events in Florida is easier than you think edly without generating negative environmental effects, without causing waste products to accumu- too much difference between home preparation Banquets and beverage breaks of yesterday, where late as pollution, and without compromising the and large banquets, so making change is totally the most consideration given to environmental well-being of workers or doable. But you have to preservation was the recycling of bottles and cans, communities.” For Rosas, start asking the questions are long gone. Today’s food and beverage events “Organic isBut great; that means thinking and want to get it done.” have tomorrow—and beyond—in mind, as meet- about the earth like a big For meeting planners, ing planners and hotel staffs in the Sunshine State I love it. bank account: Is what however, beginning these give the subject some overdue attention. sustainability is you are consuming conversations, and know- “We can’t ignore this topic any longer, and excus- reducing what’s left? ing what questions to ask, es are running thin for not being responsible with the big-picture focus, can be daunting. Buzz- our food, the way we are cooking and growing it, and it’s where meeting It’s Natural words such as “green,” and how we decide to eat it,” said Justin Timineri, A good approach for “organic,” and “sustain- executive chef and culinary ambassador for the planners, hotels, and planners to take is to able,” certainly have the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer resorts need to put their industry’s attention, but Services, and former head chef for large-scale think about locavorism, what exactly that lexicon events such as NASCAR races and PGA golf tour- or the consumption of efforts right now. ” means—and what it naments. “From a chef ’s point of view, there isn’t locally grown foods, and means for events—can in Florida, planners will —Al Rosas, organic farm owner, former food Nature’s Bounty: Chef Justin Timineri sug- leave planners bemused. find a bounty of re- and beverage director for Marriott, Hilton, gests holding events at restaurants that and Ritz-Carlton According to Al Rosas, sources—making for maintain their own gardens—like this one former food and beverage meals that are fresher and at JW Marriott Grande Lakes’ Primo eatery. director for such hotel brands as Marriott, Hilton, healthier. Beyond oranges and grapefruits, there are and Ritz-Carlton, and current owner of an organic more than 200 freshly grown commodities through- farm in Citra, FL, they’re all important topics, but in out the state, including zucchini, potatoes, squash, terms of environmental responsibility, it’s sustain- tropical fruits, and seafood such as stone crab, ability that planners should be asking about. grouper, and shrimp. That translates into exciting “Organic is great; I love it,” he enthused. “But sus- menu options, said Timineri, like “Florida Tomato tainability is the big-picture focus, and it’s where Orange Marmalade,”“Drop Red Gorgeous Tiramisu” meeting planners, hotels, and resorts need to put (made from local strawberries), and even “Gator Tail their efforts right now.” Picadillo.” Chef Rosas also encourages planners to But what does sustainable mean? As defined by continued on page 41 Turning Passion Into Practice P lanners who want to achieve more sustainable food and beverage events can inquire with their suppliers to see if any of these best practices, suggested by the Florida Green Lodging Program, are in effect. Check out for the full list. k Locate outside ice-makers under cover and in shaded areas k Do not preheat steam tables, grills, broilers, etc. k Reuse water not consumed at events to hydrate plants k Begin a composting program k Recycle oil and grease k Create a food waste reduction policy for scraps, such as donation to a food bank k Use washable hats and aprons instead of disposable ones k Offer half-sized portions k Avoid overpackaging take-out food items k Use bulk straws instead of individually wrapped ones k Switch to glass cups, saucers, and cloth napkins 36 MeetingNews March 10, 2008
  • Insider Report: Spa Meetings Edited by Lori Morris Meeting and Incentive Groups Seeking Out Active Endeavors Adventure spas stimulate the mind and body for more successful and memorable group programs Conference Center last April to meet the rising When Denise Swanson was planning a worldwide number of meeting groups coming to the property. sales meeting for 250 last year, she didn’t want just “They want to see what they can do for employees another boardroom or ballroom setting. that benefits their health and gives them something “People in sales spend most of their time to take away,” she said. In this case, according to indoors,” said Swanson, senior sales coordinator for Perkins, the takeaway is a renewed confidence medical device manufacturer Intuitive Surgical. “I resulting from being challenged by the activities wanted to get them outside for a workout.” and inspired by the outdoor settings. “Guests leave The Red Rock Casino Resort Spa in Las Vegas here with validation and a sense of accomplishment provided the perfect opportunity. Through the that they take back to the office.” resort’s Adventure Spa, Swanson organized group Perkins has seen this desire for something more outings for mountain biking, hiking, horseback rid- active from corporate groups of all kinds, having ing, and traditional spa treatments. Red Rock organized programs for organizations ranging Resort also offers river rafting adventures, kayak from ExxonMobil, to State Farm Insurance, to Paul tours, and indoor and outdoor rock climbing. Mitchell. The spa’s largest markets—California, Adventure spas are popping up throughout the New York, and Illinois—tend to be where corporate States for leisure and group travelers who need a lit- culture is most prevalent. tle more action to cut the traditional take-it-easy “The business climate is stressful,” Perkins said. approach. Some of these adventure spas have sin- “We offer a place where they can take a deep breath gular focus, while other—more indulgence- and escape from the sensory overload.” To that oriented—facilities are incorporating some pretty effect, the resort asks groups to leave their suits at strenuous activities into their menus. Less easygoing jaunts: Mountain biking and home and bring only comfortable attire for the “Companies are increasingly looking to blend hiking trips typify adventure spa offerings. invigorating environment. As part of Red Moun- the outdoors with the indoors for an adventurous tain Spa’s “Climb to ‘Spa’cess” package, groups will popular “Bye-Bye BlackBerry Break,” which offers twist to their meetings,” said Denise Perkins, direc- participate not only in outdoor activities, but will hand massages and berry smoothies to make the tor of sales and marketing for Red Mountain Spa in benefit from more traditional spa breaks like the office seem far, far away. St. George, UT, which opened the Red Mountain Corporate Wellness Retreats Reinvigorate Employees groups looking for spa treatments,” she said, “but other offerings that motivate and inspire their employees to live a healthier and more mindful Health and wellness are on the minds—and bal- groups are banking on it. lifestyle.” Such needs are met at the Sagamore Spa ance sheets—of many a corporation, thanks to Jessica Faulkner, sales manager and certified through group meditations, hand-drumming work- rising health-care costs. Meetings planners may find instructor at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing at shops, yoga classes, aromatherapy, and wellness fairs themselves playing a role in the solution, and La Costa Resort and Spa, in Carlsbad, CA, said she that offer guidance on healthy living strategies. The spa resorts aiming corporate wellness programs at constantly works on such programs. This month, facility has introduced the Crystalline Conscious- Cox Communications will convene at La Costa, Just breathe: Spa retreats boost productivity? ness Technique, a system in human potential that and Faulkner is organizing wellness presentations, focuses an individual’s energy. yoga and meditation classes, Ayurveda discussions, It’s true, though, that taking groups on corpo- and massage sessions. A president from another rate wellness retreats means time away from the prominent company who brought Chopra Center office. According to the American Journal of instructors to his own facility to run a three-day Photo: Courtesy of the Sagamor Health Promotion, however, each dollar that com- meditation course has since noted increased effi- ciency, balance, and communication among panies spend on wellness programs for employees employees—so much so that he now offers Chopra yields a return of up to $10 in improved produc- Center programs as a corporate benefit. tivity, less medical claims, and reduced absen- Sue Butterfield, spa director at the Sagamore, in teeism. Faulkner sums up the idea: “It helps Lake George, NY, sees the same trend.“Not only are employees learn to be the best they can be.” February 25, 2008 MeetingNews 21
  • Destination Insider: Island Incentives Edited by Elizabeth West Atlantis Goes Fishing for Incentive Business December debut of the Reef finishes resort’s meeting space, room expansion much more high-end,” said Bruce, adding that the With the opening of its latest addition, the Reef, the Reef will appeal primarily to family-based incen- Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas, takes tives, for which the resort has seen increased amenities and service to new levels, according to demand. Atlantis’ senior VP of sales, Jamie Bruce. Like the Cove, the Reef is an oceanfront hotel tow- The Reef, which debuted on Dec. 19, is the final ering 22 stories high. All rooms have kitchens, living component of Atlantis’ latest expansion project, areas with sofa beds, and ocean views. One-bedroom which saw the property’s existing conference facili- suites also have washers and dryers and can be linked ty double in size to 200,000 sf and the opening of New face of Dominican Republic starts to with adjoining rooms to create two-bedroom suites. the resort’s first beachfront accommodations, the show its affinity to incentives. Atlantis is joining with the Bahamas government Cove, in April. With the Reef’s 497 rooms and the Westin & Roco Ki Reshape and the emerging Baha Mar development in Nas- Cove’s 600 rooms, the Atlantis and its satellite prop- sau—which will have 200,000 sf of meeting erties (including the nearby One&Only Ocean Club Dominican Republic Scene space—to market the Bahamas to groups and lobby and Harborside Resort townhouses) now have a airlines for increased airlift, said Bruce. “Having total of more than 3,400 rooms on Paradise Island. growth in high-end resorts only builds the status of “This is a much more modern product, and less The Dominican Republic, known for its budget all- the destination to the next level,” he said. themed. It ties in with the rest of Atlantis, but it’s inclusive properties operated mostly by Spanish hotel companies, has not typically been top-of- Atlantis gets even bigger, with its new property called the Reef. mind for most incentive planners. But a new luxury enclave on 2,700 acres near Punta Cana is starting to attract serious notice, in large part because the centerpiece of the project is a Westin hotel with more than 300 guest rooms and a Nick Faldo-designed championship golf course. The first phase of the Roco Ki project will debut this spring, although the first nine holes of the par- 72 golf course opened last month. The Westin Roco Ki Beach & Golf Resort will open in September with 337 rooms and a 20,000-sf conference center. “Our 9,000-sf Flamenco Terrace will be an incredible open-air venue overlooking the 18th hole [of the golf course], with ocean and sunset vis- Sandals All-Inclusives Woo Groups with Luxe Amenities tas,” said David Krech, director of sales and market- ing. Other property features will be an 11,500-sf bled each year, Lynch said. The Luxury Included spa, six restaurants, and a water sports center. Meetings, conventions, and incentives now repre- concept, introduced in October, raises the bar, Krech said the Dominican Republic—which also sent more than 10 percent of bookings at Sandals offering an array of services like personal butlers, will add a Ritz-Carlton in Cap Cana and a Four Resorts properties in the Caribbean, and company exclusive dining options, and new guest suites with Seasons in La Romana in the next few years—“has officials are hoping that its new Luxury Included private plunge pools and Jacuzzis. The first 180 of captured the eyes of planners who previously services will attract even more high-end group these high-end suites were added as the new viewed it as primarily a family destination.” business. Mediterranean Village at the Sandals Grande Group business at the Westin is expected to be John Lynch, Sandals’ executive VP for worldwide Antigua Resort & Spa. primarily incentives. The novelty factor plays a role sales, said meeting and incentive planners began As part of a $200-million initiative, such addi- in early interest in Roco Ki, but Krech said the approaching the company about a decade ago for tions are planned at Sandals resorts in Jamaica, Dominican Republic has advantages like excellent group bookings at its all-inclusive properties. “We St. Lucia, and the Bahamas—for a price, of course. airlift, a service-oriented culture, and a new road almost fell into [the group business],” said Lynch. “We’re not as inexpensive as some other brands,” system that will improve travel in the 20-mile stretch The company responded by adding conference said Lynch, but “we haven’t priced ourselves out of between Punta Cana International Airport and the facilities at most of its resorts, and since the late resort area. H the ballpark, either.” 1990s, Sandals’ meetings business has roughly dou- —Section written by Bob Curley 30 MeetingNews February 11, 2008
  • Florida Green Guide: Facility Initiatives continued from page 26 The Gainesville Visitors and Convention Bureau is hosting the meeting using local conference-devel- opment funding. Roland Loog, the bureau’s execu- tive director, said that the timeliness and high level of interest in the issue—especially in the wake of Governor Charlie Crist’s mandate that all govern- ment meetings be held at facilities certified by the state’s Green Lodging Program—prompted the investment. “The conference will focus on how-to’s,” said Loog. “We’re not going to lecture people on how altruistic this is, but we will focus on what they can do in the front and back of the house to create a smaller carbon footprint” and attain the state’s green certification, he said. “Our biggest meetings market is the government Hilton Univ. of Florida Conference Center courts governement meetings with sustainability. market,” added Loog, who predicted that it won’t Broward County Convention Center be long before more corporations and associations For more information on the Green Hotels Con- Looking to Become a LEED-er start requiring higher environmental standards ference, go to or call from hotels and meeting facilities. “We’re trying to Roland Loog or Nancy Fisher at (866) 778-5002. The Broward County Convention Center has get our industry ahead of the curve.” —Bob Curley announced plans to join similar facilities in Pitts- burgh, Portland, OR, and a handful of other cities that have received certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Envi- Green on the Scene: Orlando ronmental Design (LEED) program. The Fort Lauderdale-area convention center is T he Orange County Convention Center contributes about one-third of the city’s economic hoping to attain LEED Silver certification in 2008 impact of meetings and conventions groups, according to Orlando’s CVB, which estimates (LEED awards four levels of certification: Certified, the meetings industry’s total impact on the city in 2006 at about $3.87 billion, based on Silver, Gold, and Platinum). The SMG-managed 3.959 million visitors staying at least one night for a meeting or convention. facility has installed a reflective roof surface and a While the OCCC has taken major steps to become greener (see p. 23 for details), 33 “reduced-bleed” cooling tower system that has Orlando hotels have received Green Lodging designation from the state of Florida, including reduced freshwater consumption by 10 million gal- several leading convention hotels like the Rosen Centre and Rosen Plaza and the Embassy lons annually. It also has put in automatic-flush toi- Suites Orlando International Drive/Convention Center. lets in all restrooms, replaced a glass curtain wall “There is a tremendous amount of green resources and activities in Orlando—and these are with a special energy-saving glass that reduces elec- growing daily,” said Tammi Runzler, VP of convention sales for the Orlando CVB. “We have tricity consumption during the daytime, converted developed an internal task force charged with keeping our convention sales and services to energy-efficient lighting fixtures, and put in team educated about all of Orlando’s green options to help guide planners toward the products motion sensors that shut off lights when rooms are and offerings that are right for them.” unoccupied. Orlando has lots of options for green A variety of establishments around Orlando meetings, from convention properties, “With plans to build a LEED-certified convention offer eco-tours, which offer a look at the state’s to eco-tours, to volunteer programs. center hotel, and additional eco-friendly measures natural wonders, including a guided canoe or being implemented, Greater Fort Lauderdale is kayak tour along Shingle Creek. Offered by looking to not only protect natural habitats like the Ritz-Carlton, Orlando, the tour lets groups see Everglades and mangrove preserves, but positively alligators, bald eagles, ospreys, and barred impact the environment and serve as an example for owls in their natural habitat. other organizations throughout the destination,” Other outside organizations that the CVB rec- said Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort ommends include Green-Up Orlando, which Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. encourages groups to plant trees and shrubs, Mark Gatley, regional general manager of the beautify neighborhoods, raise public awareness Broward County Convention Center, said that and pride in Orlando, and promote the benefits of volunteer efforts in partnership with the city. while it will be a “tall order” to achieve LEED certi- —Phillip Hennessey continued on page 30 28 MeetingNews March 10, 2008
  • Florida Green Guide: Facility Initiatives continued from page 28 fication this year, impetus for creating a greener Green on the Scene: facility is coming from several quarters, including Jacksonville customers, state and local governments, and SMG’s own desire to increase efficiency and contribute to T The state’s northeastern hub boasts the a cleaner environment. Broward County CC’s LEED initiative is part of largest urban park system in the coun- “For a new building, it’s easier when you’re starting SMG’s goal to reduce eco-impact of facilities. try, with more than 110,000 acres, pro- from scratch. When you’re retrofitting, there’s a lot of viding groups with a wealth of natural things involved, but the company is committed to burgh, another SMG-managed property, became meeting opportunities. doing this as quickly as budget will allow,” said Gatley. the first LEED-certified convention center in the Options promoted by Visit Jacksonville The David Lawrence Convention Center in Pitts- United States in 2003. —Bob Curley include eco-friendly Segway tours of Little Talbot Island State Park by EcoMotion Tours, as well as guided kayak excursions Mixed-Use Projects Set Environmental Examples by Kayak Amelia, a company committed to Sarasota’s University Town Center is Florida’s latest green development protecting and respecting the natural sur- roundings and plant and animal life. vehicles and bicycles, and buildings with green roofs University Town Center, a mixed-use development Lyndsay Rossman, a spokesperson for that accommodate gardening and recreation. approved by Sarasota lawmakers last year and now Visit Jacksonville, has noticed an increas- In West Palm Beach, adjacent to the Palm Beach under construction, is the latest large-scale project ing trend among meeting planners visiting County Convention Center, the already-opened in Florida to incorporate green construction and the city looking not only for such eco- CityPlace is cited as “one of the best” models of design techniques intended to minimize sprawl and tourism options, but also for hotels and high-density, reduced-impact development by Tim environmental impact. meeting facilities that are dedicated to Center, executive director of the Coalition for a Sus- The mixed-use residential and commercial proj- protecting and preserving the city’s large tainable Florida. natural environment. The 72-acre develop- “We’re definitely noticing that there’s a ment in downtown trend and that this is becoming more pop- West Palm Beach, ular,” said Rossman. “People are really which is designed to concerned about the environment and want to make sure that when they are resemble a town center hosting events, they are minimizing their of an Italian city, impact.” includes 586 private Two properties, the Crowne Plaza residences, 600,000 sf of Jacksonville Riverfront and the Hyatt retail space, 17 restau- Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, received rants, a theater and cin- Florida’s Green Lodging designation based ema complex, and on conservation, recycling practices, plans for a 375-room environmental purchasing, pollution pre- Westin hotel next to the vention, and other criteria. convention center. “With Green Lodging-certified hotels,” Florida is home to said Rossman, “we’ll be able to gain more six developments that meetings and more exposure for are named Certified Jacksonville’s [travel] industry as a Audubon Cooperative whole.” —Phillip Hennessey Sanctuaries, including Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront the 3,000-resident University Town Center in Sarasota, debuting in 2009, is following is one of the city’s two Green Lodging- Bonita Bay property in in the environmental footsteps of other Florida mixed-use projects. certified properties. Bonita Springs. Mean- ect will feature 1,750 homes, 1.7 million sf of retail while, real estate developer St. Joe Company is often space—including a large shopping mall—three cited as a leader in green development: The compa- hotels, a supermarket, and a movie theater. Certified ny’s WaterColor Inn in Santa Rosa Beach has been by the Florida Green Building Coalition, the project certified as part of the Florida Green Lodging pro- will include a trolley system running on an alterna- gram, while the surrounding WaterColor develop- tive fuel, 60 acres of conservation land and walking ment includes hiking and biking paths and pre- paths, parks, preferred parking for alternative-fuel continued on page 32 30 MeetingNews March 10, 2008