Weekly News & Insights: Cities That ‘Get’ the Meetings Biz

Photo: FreeImages.com /ba1969

Photo: FreeImages.com /ba1969

The latest list of top destinations for meetings and trade shows is out and it’s not a huge surprise that Chicago tops the list, although that’s new this year. As recently as 2012 Chicago was in fifth place, but since then there have been a number of labor issue improvements and hotel renovation projects which catapulted it into the top spot. You may also be surprised at a few of the other cities in the Top 10. Check out the complete Top 50 list compiled by Cvent.

One city not currently in the Top 10 – but definitely has it’s eye on getting there – is Boston (currently number 17). The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) just got approval for a $1 billion, 1.3 million square foot expansion. The project will also include new public space along the South Boston Waterfront. Funding will come from the Convention Center Fund, which is supported by existing tourism-based fees and taxes. Several new hotels are under construction near the BCEC as well.

But who says a convention center is only for conventions and trade shows? The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) in Atlanta is the home to two education centers, including the Georgia State School of Hospitality Learning Center, where students can get an up-close-and-personal experience with conventions. The second education center is for middle school students in the Junior Achievement’s Chic-fil-A Foundation Discovery Center. Two more community attractions are also coming soon – for details, check out this TSNN article. What a smart idea! With more convention centers available these days and many of them needing to justify expensive renovations and upgrades, this seems like a good way to get the community involved as well as provide ongoing activities during slow times.

Now here’s an interesting idea – three Convention & Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) in diverse parts of the country are teaming up to promote their cities. Anaheim/Orange County, Baltimore, and San Antonio announced at ASAE’s annual meeting that they will be working together to maximize resources and pitch to groups about the value of booking meetings in all three cities.

 

Even though the Georgia World Congress Center is one of the country’s largest convention center venues with 1.3-plus million square feet of exhibit space, the building is used for much more than just hosting meetings, conventions and trade shows.

Through unique partnerships in the community, the venue not only has two education centers tucked into converted meeting room space, but also the College Football Hall of Fame will be opening in August on the venue’s campus.

For local students looking for a career in the trade show industry, the GWCC offers an invaluable opportunity through a partnership with the Georgia State School of Hospitality to have a Learning Center in the building.

– See more at: http://www.tsnn.com/news-blogs/georgia-world-congress-center-space-used-educate-entertain-local-community#sthash.9EXOZV7T.dpu

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Marlys Arnold

With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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