Meeting News - April 7, 2008 - (Page 1)

INSIDE THE INDUSTRY Destination execs in NOLA p. 8 CONVENTION CENTERS Cleveland inks building deal p. 15 MN WEBCAST REPORT Meeting generational needs p. 30 NEWSMAKER InterContinental’s Kenneth Low is a rising star among Asian hoteliers. MN gets the lowdown on the executive. page 10 MeetingNews w w w. M e e t i n g N e w s . c o m April 16,2008 July 7, 2007 Eye of the Storm Tornado rips through heart of Atlanta, affecting meeting facilities and displacing group events By Rayna Katz Hotels & Resorts HILTON HOTELS GIVES PLANNERS ‘SMALL’ EDGE Company’s e-Events product expands with customizable web pages for small meetings. see page 12 Insider Report NEW ENGLAND Facilities news in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine; Q&A with the CT casinos. see page 17 New York—The tornado that struck Atlanta on March 14 had it in for the city’s group business. It landed right in the convention corridor, shattering significant portions of the glass exteriors of the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) and two key convention hotels, the Omni at CNN Center and the Westin at Peachtree Plaza. There were no fatal accidents, and 12 people sustained only minor injuries (none were conventioneers), but groups that were in town felt the collateral damage. “People were scared, they were terrified,”said Sylvia Ratchford, executive director of the Hinman Dental Society of Atlanta, which was finishing day two of a three-day meeting when the tornado hit. Ratchford received reports of attendees witnessing glass flying about. THEME PARKS Photo: AP/Photo/Dave Martin RENAISSANCE AT WORLD GOLF VILLAGE RETOOLS Wrapping up major rework job, property puts more emphasis on non-golf groups. see page 12 NEXT-GEN CROWNE PLAZA LAUNCHES IN WISCONSIN Property is fruit from parent InterContinental Hotels’ design program for emerging markets. see page 12 Operators focus on spouses and families of attendees; the latest news from major attractions. see page 21 Twister leaves debris in the streets and a scarred CNN Center in Atlanta. In addition to safety, planners safeguarded property. Exhibitors at shows that were under way—including Hinman and the Atlanta Home Show, which started one day before the continued on page 32 Destination Insider SOUTH CAROLINA Midlands Authority prez/CEO Ric Luber talks about the rise of see page 25 Columbia. ST. LOUIS MeetingNews ExclusiveResearch What part of your job has become the most complex in the past two years? Managing budgets/costs Improving the quality of meeting content Short time frames to organize programs Manage organization’s expectations Proving return on investment Dealing with transportation and logistical issues 19.1% 31.4% Meetings Budgets Hold Steady In the Face of Economic Uncertainty Two new studies reveal an abiding commitment to meetings and events, no rush to slash meeting expenses By Christopher Hosford CVBs ATLANTIC CITY SEEKS HOLD OF CONVENTION CENTER A bill that transfers ownership from NJ Sports & Expo Authority see page 14 moves forward. CHICAGO GOES TO LIVE TV Bureau begins airing live from McCormick Place, covering trade shows there for online see page 14 video series. Lumiere Place lights up the city with new casino and a see page 26 pair of hotels. CARIBBEAN Cayman Islands Department of Tourism discusses the destination’s advantages; Harrah’s bails out on Baha Mar project in the Bahamas; and more. see page 28 18.5% 15.8% 10.0% 3.2% 2.1% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Volume 32/Number 7/$10.00 Other 0% Source: MeetingNews survey of 341 meeting planners Seeing the Big Picture As fiscal fears worsen, planners are set on cost control, but it’s time to get strategic. see page 16 New York—Meeting planners may feel they’re going about their jobs against a background of uncertain economic times, tenuous budgets, and jittery bosses or clients.Yet, companies seem to be maintaining their composure when projecting future meetings budgets, even as they advocate financial discipline. Those are the findings of two new surveys released last month. One, conducted by American Express and CFO Research Services of mid-sized firms in North America, reveals a general commitment not to slash meetings and event budgets over the continued on page 33

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