Steven A. Schuldenfrei has been named President of the Trade Show Exhibitors Association; Mary Beth Rebedeau will fill the vacancy he left as Executive Director of the Society of Independent Show Organizers.
Alyssa Egger has been named Account Services Representative for Plan Your Meetings (PYM) magazine. Egger will work directly with PYM’s advertising partners to help them take full advantage of the magazine’s marketing services and provide them with account and ROI reviews.
John G. Reyes was named President of Jacksonville & the Beaches CVB, filling the vacancy left by former CEO Kitty Ratcliffe, now Executive Vice President of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc.
The Orlando/Orange County CVB announced several changes: Tina Jones has been named Convention Sales Manager; Cookie Smoak has been named Regional Sales Executive to the Atlanta area; Marco Bloemendaal has been promoted to National Sales Executive; Dana Decker has been reassigned from selling a portion of the SMERF market to taking over the Midwest association and corporate markets as a Convention Sales Manager; and Liz Hudock has been promoted to Convention Sales Manager responsible for a portion of the SMERF market.
Kirk Whalen has been named Convention Sales Manager for Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede in Orlando.
Kevin James has joined the Convention Sales staff at the Palm Beach County CVB; Indra Sweeney has been named Convention Services Coordinator.
Paul Riley is the new general manager of the Windsor Hotel in Americus, Ga., replacing Sharad Patel, who is still the owner of the Windsor, but no longer the general manager. Patel is now working with the Food and Beverage Department.
Kendall Rumsey has been appointed Special Events Manager of The Harriet Himmel Theater in West Palm Beach’s CityPlace entertainment district.
Michele Bemis has been named National Convention Sales Manager for the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB.
Stacey Button has been named Director of the Flagstaff CVB.
Dan O’Byrne has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer of the Little Rock CVB.
Linda Fort has been named Director of Destination Sales for the Corpus Christi CVB.
Jim Knauff has been named Senior National Key Account Sales Manager of the Greater Houston CVB.
Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center announced several changes: Lee Ward and Edward De La Garza have been named General Manager and Executive Chef, respectively, by Aramark, the exclusive food-and-beverage provider for the convention center. Sallynda Montz has been named General Manager of AVW-TELAV Audio Visual Solutions, which bases its operations on the convention center’s third floor. Jim Snook has been named General Manager for Smart City, which provides telecommunications and utility services at the convention center.
Oceania Cruises launched an enhanced online booking engine that gives agents the ability to book air, pre-purchased excursion packages, pre- and post-hotel programs and insurance in one location, 24 hours a day.
Kimpton Hotels is offering a “Size Matters” promotion to planners booking a minimum of 20 rooms on peak nights in its American and Canadian properties. Groups booked and consumed before December 2005 can pick from a menu of perks including a special private welcome reception, complimentary treats for a morning or afternoon break, or 10 percent off of food and beverage needs. Meeting planners also have a menu of perks to choose from including a 2 percent commission or $100 gift certificate.
Delta has implemented the SimpliFares program, which reduces certain unrestricted coach fares up to 50 percent; keeps one-way fares less than $499; eliminates the Saturday night stay requirements and reduces the ticket change fee to $50.
The Green Meeting Industry Council has improved its website, greenmeetings.info, to include tips, links, resources and services for planners interested in making meetings environmentally friendly.
The Greater Birmingham CVB began offering a Southern Food Tour for groups interested in literally experiencing the tastes of the city. The tour includes farmers markets, factory tours, organic food farms, pastry demonstrations and meals at a variety of Southern dining establishments.
Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction in Kissimmee has added new entertainment, expanded its menu and added more business services including pre-show cocktails, hors d’oeuvre receptions, post-show dessert receptions, VIP upgrades, upscale Skybox events, DJ parties and customized private shows.
The Caribe Royale Orlando has renovated all 1,218 one-bedroom suites, doubled the size of its convention center and added The Venetian Room restaurant (recently awarded the AAA Four-Diamond rating); other enhancements include a complete lobby renovation as well as new carpet for the Caribbean Ballroom.
Reunion Resort & Club of Orlando opened Tom Watson’s 18-hole Independence golf course and Arnold Palmer’s 18-hole Legacy golf course in February, and is working on opening another course designed by Jack Nicklaus in the fall.
Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and Convention Center received the AAA Four-Diamond rating for the 19th consecutive year. It will break ground soon on a $200 million renovation and expansion project, creating the largest pillar-free ballroom in the nation (105,000 square feet) and bringing the property’s available meeting space to 400,000 square feet.
Rosen’s Shingle Creek Resort, a 230-acre Orlando-area resort, is scheduled to open in fall 2006; its Shingle Creek Golf Club opened last year.
The Regent Orlando in Winter Park, a 150-room luxury hotel with full-service spa, is under construction and expected to open in 2006.
In Sarasota, the Radisson Lido Beach Resort terminated its license agreement with Radisson and is now known as the Lido Beach Resort. The independent resort has more than 6,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space and 222 one- and two-bedroom suites.
Meeting planners who book at least 10 rooms per night at the Holiday Inn Lido Beach between May 1 and Dec. 23, 2005, will be eligible to win a Carnival cruise to the Caribbean.
The Bay Point Marriott Resort is offering meeting planners who book a group of 10 or more by June 30, 2005, a chance to win a half-million Marriott Reward Points. With each booking, planners also receive one of the following: up to 100,000 Marriott Reward Points, a complimentary one-hour welcome reception, one complimentary room per 30 rooms booked on a daily basis, or complimentary breakfast buffet.
The Rookery golf course at Marco Island Marriott Resort, Golf Club and Spa, received approval for a $5 million clubhouse renovation, to be completed November 2005.
Independence Air began new airbus service to Palm Beach International Airport with three daily non-stop roundtrips to/from its hub at Washington Dulles International Airport.
Underground Atlanta and MARTA launched a Braves shuttle between Underground Atlanta’s Steve Polk Plaza (Coca-Cola Plaza) and the Braves stadium. Service begins two hours before every home game until the seventh inning; after the seventh inning, the shuttle runs directly to the Five Points MARTA station, adjacent to Underground. Braves ticket stubs allow patrons to enter any Underground club without a cover charge on Thursday through Saturday nights.
Atlanta Arrangements, Inc., received its 12th Allie Award for Best Corporate Event in 2004 at the annual ceremony held in Atlanta this year on March 20. Atlanta Arrangements has won the award for Best Corporate Event four of the past five years. •Bold American Catering (BAC) began 2005 with a new name, a new logo and a new website. BAC is the catering and event-planning division of Fifth Group Restaurants – owners of South City Kitchen, The Food Studio, La Tavola Trattoria and Sala–Sabor de Mexico – and caters social celebrations and business events for 10 to 1,500.
Atlanta-area restaurants Imperial Fez and Atkins Park introduced new spring menus.
Southern Living magazine named Stone Mountain Park its favorite spot to watch a sunset.
In Savannah, the Mansion on Forsyth Park opened with 126 rooms, 8,000 square feet of meeting space for up to 300 people, a spa, a restaurant, private dining rooms and a cooking school.
In Louisville, the Kentucky Exposition Center is undergoing a $52 million Phase I expansion, adding 166,500 square feet of exhibit space and 57,000 square feet of additional meeting and conference space.
The $110 million Marriott Louisville Downtown opened its doors on March 28 with 616 rooms and 50,000 square feet of meeting rooms. The Hampton Inn Downtown also opened with 173 guest rooms, including 14 suites.
Louisville’s Galt House Hotel & Suites $5 million conservatory is complete. The new conservatory connects the hotel’s east and west towers, and is the centerpiece of the hotel’s $60 million renovation. Another property, the West Hotel, is undergoing renovations. •The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in Louisville is projected to open spring 2006.
Churchill Downs completed its expansion and renovation in time for the Kentucky Derby. The $121 million, multi-year revitalization project transformed the historic clubhouse into a state-of-the-art, year-round facility and added luxury suites, a new food court, two restaurants and a new simulcast wagering area.
In Louisville, the Muhammad Ali Center will open in November with two multi-purpose rooms, an auditorium, a changing exhibits gallery, a theater, educational classrooms, Internet capabilities and a striking main lobby area.
In downtown Louisville, a $22 million Wyndham hotel and a $14 million Residence Inn by Marriott are scheduled to open in 2006, adding more than 200 rooms to the existing 3,700 rooms in the downtown area.
The Hyatt Regency Louisville began a $4.1 million renovation project to give a new look to each of the Hyatt Regency Louisville’s 392 guest rooms and corridors.
The Argosy Gaming Company plans a $75 million expansion at the Argosy Riverside Casino in Kansas City, adding a 250-room resort hotel and a new 1,400-space parking garage. The hotel is expected to open in the second quarter of 2007.
The city of Raleigh broke ground on a new convention center in April. The 150,000-sq. ft. facility, scheduled to open in 2008, will have 16 meeting rooms and a 32,000-sq. ft. ballroom for up to 2,400 people. A 400-room Marriott with a 9,000-sq. ft. ballroom is expected to open about the same time.
Benchmark Hospitality’s The Chattanoogan is offering groups that book the hotel’s Complete Meeting Package by June 30 (with meetings held in 2005) a complimentary facility rental for unique receptions, dinners or special events at one of the city’s newly renovated waterfront attractions, including the IMAX Theater Outdoor Garden at The Tennessee Aquarium, the riverfront Paley Terrace at the Hunter Museum of American Art, and the Conservatory at the Creative Discovery Museum. The promotion is based on a minimum number of meeting guests.
Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport now has four additional flights into the city, with additional regional jet service from American Eagle between Chattanooga and Chicago and three daily flights to Charlotte on US Airways Express.
The 600-room Memphis Marriott Downtown is celebrating the completion of its $14 million expansion by awarding planners who have flexible dates an opportunity to earn double Marriott Reward points through its Group Value Dates promotion, good through December 31, 2005.
The Nashville Airport Marriott completed a $2.3 million hotel renovation that added a state-of-the-art 7,200-sq. ft. ballroom, computer-generated lighting effects and Global Video Conferencing. The AAA Four-Diamond property has more than 24,000 flexible square feet of meeting and banquet space.
The Metropolitan Tucson CVB is offering a “You Fly … We Buy” package for meeting planners who have filed an RFP for a Tucson-based meeting. The CVB provides roundtrip airfare for two, three nights at a property, and a customized tour of Tucson.
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North completed property enhancements that added a 5,630-sq. ft. ballroom, indoor pre-function space, two outdoor function lawns and three executive boardrooms, bringing the resort’s total meeting space up to 36,000 square feet.
A 1,000-room Sheraton, scheduled to open September 2008, is under construction one block from Phoenix’s convention center. The hotel will have 50,000 square feet of meeting space, on-site restaurants and a business center.
The initial route of a proposed 20-mile METRO light rail system in Phoenix is scheduled to open December 2008. The segment will connect Copper Square to the convention center, downtown venues and attractions. Future routes will connect Phoenix to Tempe and Mesa.
The Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport opened a new concourse with eight gates for Southwest Air. A consolidated rental car center to house all on-airport rental car companies and their operations is scheduled to open next year.
Valley of the Sun communities Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and Fountain Hills are planning to open two new hotels this fall. The 250-room Radisson Fort McDowell Resort and Casino, with more than 23,000 square feet of meeting space, will open adjacent to the award-winning We-Ko-Pa golf course, which begins construction on a second course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, this summer. The Holiday Inn and Suites in Fountain Hills will have 124 rooms (including 20 suites) and more than 6,000 square feet of restaurant and bar space. Fountain Hills is undergoing a $60 million facelift.
In Tucson, the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort — Tucson’s first new resort in almost 20 years — opened. The resort has 575 rooms, including 35 luxury suites; a 27-hole Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Facility; a full-service spa and 88,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space.
The Historic Tubac Golf Resort in Tucson completed an expansion that added a 2,700-sq. ft. ballroom, 4,200 square feet of covered and open patio space, 24 additional casitas, a shopping village, an artisan’s studio and a Mexican restaurant. Future plans include a full-service spa and nine additional holes of golf.
The Esplendor at Rio Rico, formerly the Rio Rico Golf Resort, has completed renovations of its pool area, restaurant and meeting space.
Tucson’s Coyote Moon Health Resort and Spa, the world’s first gay health resort, is planning to close during the summer to expand its facilities by adding 20 rooms, meeting space and a wellness center.
Northwest Airlines added seasonal non-stop service from Memphis to Tucson. Continental Airlines began non-stop service from Newark to Tucson.
Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa has opened; it has 77 guest rooms, suites and spa rooms, and 27,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space, including an executive boardroom, a 2,000-sq. ft. conference room and a raised observation deck that accommodates receptions of up to 50 people. Private dining facilities are also available.
The Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Chamber of Commerce Tourism Bureau launched the redesigned website VisitSedona.com; features include a meetings section.
The City of Flagstaff is currently in the planning stages of building a conference center, expected to open next year; it will be the largest facility in Flagstaff with 20,000 square feet of exhibition and meeting space. A conference center hotel with at least 250 rooms, retail stores and a parking garage will be built later.
A new 19-mile light rail line is under construction in Denver to begin service this year. The line will connect downtown Denver to many hotels in the Denver Tech Center area along I-25.
In Colorado Springs, the Cheyenne Mountain Resort completed a $2.2 million renovation to its 316 guest rooms, meeting rooms, the main restaurant and two of the 18 tennis courts. State-of-the-art wireless high-speed Internet access is now available.
•At Broadmoor Colorado Springs, the 60,000-sq. ft. column-free Broadmoor Hall, scheduled to open in September, will have 25-ft. ceilings, 30 recessed utility boxes with 100 AMP, CATV and video. The hall is adjacent to the 20,000-sq. ft. International Center and the 18,000-sq. ft. Colorado Hall, bringing the total of available meeting and event space at the Broadmoor Events Center Complex to 185,000 square feet. The Broadmoor South tower will close in October to begin a $24 million expansion and renovation of its oldest guest rooms and the Penrose room restaurant; it is scheduled to re-open May 2006.
Colorado Spring’s Wyndham Hotel is adding a conference center, scheduled to open this November.
Construction on the $42.5 million, 100,000-sq. ft. Vail Conference Center was delayed, but plans are proceeding to open the center by late 2007. The facility will be located in Lionshead Village at the base of the Vail Mountain gondola. The village is receiving a $32.1 million upgrade that will add new amenities including luxury hotels, retail, restaurants and an ice skating rink.
The Vail Cascade Resort completed a four-year, $20 million renovation including a $5 million makeover of all 292 guest rooms and suites, common areas and corridors; the addition of Chap’s Grill & Chophouse and Aria Spa & Club; and renovations to the conference, event space and ballroom.
A three-year, $1 billion upgrade of Vail Village’s streets and pedestrian areas is underway. Improvements, to be completed by late 2007, will include utility upgrades, old world pavement, selected snowmelt, water features, and enhanced landscaping and lighting.
Manor Vail Resort will shut down a portion of its lodgings between August and December of 2005 for renovations; the buildings are expected to reopen in December for the winter season. In April 2006, the entire resort will close for extensive renovations until December 2006.
The $2.7 billion, 2,726-room Wynn Las Vegas opened with 200,000 square feet of meeting space, including 20 meeting rooms, a 50,000-sq. ft. ballroom and a 25,000-sq. ft. ballroom, 18 restaurants, an 18-hole golf course and a 2,080-seat theater for a Cirque du Soleil show. The casino property sits on 217 acres. A $1.4 billion, 20-acre expansion, called Encore, is under construction and expected to open spring 2008 with 1,500 suites.
$6 million was allocated for capital improvements at the Albuquerque Convention Center for safety, technology and security upgrades, mechanical system replacements, and kitchen and design renovations. Interior upgrades include improvements to sound systems, airwalls, wall coverings, ceilings, signage (including flat panel LCD information kiosks), doors, tables, chairs and carpets. The exterior will get landscaping and aesthetic improvements. A $1.3 million upgrade of the IT infrastructure is complete and an on-site business center will be added to the west building. Free wireless Internet hot zones are available on both the east and west buildings of the center.
The Embassy Suites of Albuquerque, a new full service hotel, opened in April. The $47 million hotel, a John Q. Hammons property, has 260 all-suite guestrooms with more than 20,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. The hotel is close to both the Albuquerque Convention Center and the Albuquerque International Sunport airport.
Albuquerque’s Sheraton Old Town, a New Mexico Heritage Hotel completed a $3 million renovation, adding 20,000 square feet of event space. Additions include a 19th century-style New Mexican chapel, a Victorian-era outdoor pavilion, Spanish garden lawn courts, a swimming pool, fountain plaza and an upscale lounge. The hotel also remodeled its 3,850-sq. ft. Franciscan Ballroom.
The MCM Eleganté Hotel and Event Center, formerly the Holiday Inn Mountain View, completed a multi-million dollar renovation this year. The hotel has 342 guest rooms with 18 suites, a business center, complimentary shuttle service, a restaurant, a lounge with entertainment and more than 7,400 square feet of flexible banquet and meeting space with high-speed Internet access.
The Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa, located on Santa Ana Pueblo’s reservation between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, was named one of America’s “75 Best Golf Resorts” by GOLF Magazine.
Albuquerque’s Sandia Pueblo plans to open a new 18-hole golf course, 228-room hotel and 38,000-sq. ft. convention center this fall.
The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History completed an $8-million expansion, adding 40,000 square feet of space. The museum has gallery space, lobby space and an outdoor amphitheater available for private functions.
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center has added 12,000 square feet of space with two art galleries, three meeting rooms, a 3,000-sq. ft. gallery and a garden area available for outdoor functions.
Albuquerque ‘s Downtown Civic Plaza and the Albuquerque International Sunport are now free, publicly accessible wireless spaces. The Albuquerque Aquarium and Botanic Garden is expected to have wireless access available soon.
Santa Fe’s Eldorado Hotel, under new management by Tishman Hotel Corp., will become Eldorado Hotel & Spa upon opening Nidah Spa this winter.
La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa, now managed by Trinity Hotel Investors, completed a $1 million soft goods upgrade last year and plans to spend a significant amount upgrading the spa and guest rooms.
The Hilton of Santa Fe spent about $1.5 million on a soft goods upgrade last year.
Santa Fe has accepted proposals for the design of a new convention center at the current Sweeney Convention Center location. An abundance of Native American artifacts found in preliminary archeological digs will be incorporated into the center’s final design.
The Radisson Santa Fe has refurbished and appointed guest rooms and public spaces.
Santa Fe’s Palace of the Governors is undergoing an expansion that will add new galleries to display its considerable collection of art and artifacts. Upon completion, currently scheduled for 2008, the expanded facilities will be available for private group functions.
InterContinental Houston launched an American Express Gift Cheque program for meeting planners. Planners who book meetings worth $10,000 or more will receive a $500 gift cheque. Smaller meetings generating between $5,000 and $9,999 will earn planners a $200 gift cheque.
This summer, the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is scheduled to open the 28-gate, 2 million-sq. ft. International Terminal D, a Grand Hyatt hotel and a $700 million bi-directional Sky-Link Terminal Tram as part of a $2.7 billion capital development plan.
American Automobile Associations (AAA) has recognized Hyatt Regency Dallas with the AAA Four-Diamond distinction. The hotel joins 43 other Texas hotels selected to receive the award, and remains the longest-running AAA Four Diamond convention hotel in downtown Dallas.
March saw the opening of Hilton Houston Post Oak, formerly the Doubletree Post Oak, in the city’s Uptown district after a $15 million transformation. All 448 guest rooms have been rebuilt and feature ergonomic workstations, new bathrooms and wireless high speed Internet. Most of the property’s 30,000 square feet of meeting space was refurbished, an executive lounge was added to the top floor, and the pool and fitness center were updated.