The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Unveils Innovative Training Programme For Students

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre), in collaboration with the University of Malaya, the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM) and DHS Hospitality Academy Sdn Bhd, have unveiled their first ‘earn and learn’ talent development initiative, the Professional Development Programme, at a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Signing Ceremony recently at the venue.

The 12-month programme will expose participants to various departments within the Centre through both classroom-style and on-the-job training, which will give students the fundamentals of the business events industry and the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the different careers available in the sector.

Speaking during the unveiling of the Professional Development Programme and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Signing Ceremony, the Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor, said “Since opening, we have put an emphasis on training and development to benefit the Centre, the Business Events industry and Malaysia as a whole. It is this commitment to developing and nurturing talent who can not only make a significant contribution to the Centre’s continuing growth and success, but the local industry as well. This has helped ensure we remain a world-class facility.”

Pryor continued, “After we received our ‘Certified Training Provider’ accreditation from the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources’ Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) last year, we have been looking to enhance our industry training programmes and initiatives. The launch of the Professional Development Programme is a key milestone in our ongoing talent development mission.”

Open to students 18 years and above, the Professional Development Programme includes modules on the Fundamentals of Sales & Marketing; Basic IT/AV Services; Housekeeping in Event and Building Management; Safety and Security Management; Food Safety and Hygiene; Culinary and Stewarding Management; Hospitality English Communication Skills; Basic Human Resources Management and Finance; Receiving and Storage, to name a few. This will provide a solid, rounded practical grounding in all things convention centre related. Upon completion, students will also have the opportunity to continue with a full-time position at the Centre or join its Ambassador Programme.

Congratulating the Centre on initiating the programme, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mansor bin Md. Isa, Director of University of Malaya Centre for Continuing Education, shared “The Professional Development Programme is a great initiative to provide students with additional knowledge and skills on top of their academic qualification(s) to ensure professional growth and greater employability. We look forward to working closely with the Centre, the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM) and DHS Hospitality Academy Sdn Bhd to make this programme a success.”

Echoing Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mansor’s comments in his welcome address, Pryor concluded “I would also like to thank our partners – the University of Malaya, who are the course certification body; the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM), who are in charge of promoting and recruiting students; and DHS Hospitality Academy Sdn Bhd, who will oversee the entire collaboration. Without their support, none of this would have been possible.”

The Professional Development Programme joins a number of other programmes designed by the Centre to nurture and develop local talent namely, the Ambassador Programme, which addressed the flexible staff shortage faced by the industry and even prompted a paradigm shift in talent management in Malaysia’s hospitality industry. Other programmes initiated to-date include the Student Employment Programme (STEP), and Experiential Learning Programme (ELP).

For all the latest news and information on the Centre, visit

New Survey Finds Non-Dues Revenue a Hidden Topic in Many Associations

The Association Research Board has released the findings of a nationwide survey of association executives.

The data reveals most associations lack a sense of urgency and direction in seeking new sources of non-dues revenue.

Digging into the data provides interesting insights:

  • A quarter of the executives never discuss the need for additional revenue with their boards.
  • New non-dues Revenue generation is only a concern of about one-third of the respondents.
  • Among associations that attempt to increase revenue, only half call their programs a success.

A copy of the Association Research Board report can be found here.

IMEX Declares New Purpose for 2017: Reimagines Key Education Programmes

Meeting and event professionals can learn ‘How to plan with deeper meaning, innovation and insight in mind’ as part of Purposeful Meetings, the new IMEX Talking Point and focus of IMEX in Frankfurt this May.

The new Talking Point, which reflects an industry shift towards delivering ‘memorable moments’ instead of meetings, and ‘experiences’ not events, will be explored throughout the show, which takes place 16 – 18 May is in addition to the education programme and its ten tracks, many networking events and extensive exhibition.

Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group, explains: “Any event planner who cares about their craft and truly wants to have a competitive edge will be excited to dig deeper into the IMEX Purposeful Meetings Talking Point.

“Our chief focus is always going to be on bringing buyers and sellers together, face to face, in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible. But, from a strategic point of view, having an annual IMEX Talking Point, or headline theme, will inject more immediacy, stronger direction and a clearer distinction between each show year to year.”

The IMEX Group has also entered into a three-year agreement with Foundation which allows IMEX to offer Event Design Certification to selected participants. The certification training will be offered free of charge and provides planners from across the world with a common language for designing more innovative – and purposeful – events.

Targeted and inspiring Monday education

The Event Design Certification is part of a new pre-show education programme taking place on Monday 15 May, the day before the show. Free of charge and open to all, the day will incorporate five core streams covering event design, future trends and supplier education.

The popular Association Day also takes place the day before the show, offering free, tailored education exclusively for association professionals. The IMEX Association Day programme has been redesigned for 2017 and will feature a new Association Management Stream, covering topics such as understanding why members leave and how to persuade them to stay. There will now be two Meetings & Events Streams (A and B), discussing issues such as how to maximise member participation at your events, and how to identify and approach new sponsors.

Exclusively Corporate at IMEX, the dedicated event for corporate meeting planners and event marketers, has also been redeveloped for IMEX in Frankfurt this year. Tailored to address some of the challenges faced by planners, there is a full day of networking and free education on topics such as delivering ROI, creative event formats, new technologies, security risk and emerging destinations and trends. After a series of group sessions, the education then splits into two streams with sessions on strategic global programme management for senior event professionals and operational issues for event managers.

Emanuele Caprarelli, Meeting & Event Planner at CROMSOURCE, Italy, who attended the event last year explains: “This event is about getting us to think. To remind us not get stuck in our own ways of doing things. It’s also good to meet people here. I’ve been in touch with people I met here at the event two years ago, and just saw them again today.”

More exhibitors to meet

The IMEX show itself offers a wide range of business opportunities and inspiration with new exhibitors including Saudi Arabia, Meet Puerto Rico, Barcelona, Vienna House Hotels and Choose Chicago. Exhibitors with expanded stands include Tourism New Zealand, Royal Caribbean International, Latvia, Slovenia, Accor and NYC.

With the largest global array of exhibitors from every sector in the meetings industry, buyers can discover 3,500 worldwide organisations, the latest trends and hundreds of meeting professionals under one roof. Combined with over 200 networking opportunities with senior level meeting professionals, and social events including Site Nite Europe, CIM-Clubbing and the IMEX Gala Dinner, this adds up to three inspiring and productive days of business.

Mark Abbott, Director of Operations, Abbott Travel Group, USA, who visited the show last year sums up:

“My visit to IMEX was very fruitful. With 28 meetings in three days, I was able to cover more ground and obtain more information than I thought possible in such a short time. There is nowhere so much business can be done in so little time.”

IMEX in Frankfurt takes place at Messe Frankfurt from 16 – 18 May 2017.

Registration is free of charge and open online –

Hand-picked resources that make life easier for ‘Purposeful Meetings Planners’ can be found here. Find out what constitutes a Purposeful Meeting here.


Extensive Renovation Transforms National Conference Center Inspiring New Design, Facilities, Services and a New Brand Image

In only 18 months, one of America’s largest conference centers is emerging with a striking new design, revamped services and facilities and a fresh new branding strategy. The multimillion dollar project has transformed the 65-acre campus and its three connected buildings into a warm, functional and cohesive complex, elevated by a brilliant and inspiring design.

“We are extremely proud that this challenging task was accomplished so quickly,” says Geoff Lawson, general manager and vice president of The National Conference Center and West Belmont Place. “It is certainly a record in the conference center industry.”

With management oversight provided by LaKota Hotels & Resorts, The National Conference Center is one of the largest meeting, training and event centers in the nation and the largest on the East Coast.  The property is located on a 65-acre campus just outside Washington, DC, in Leesburg, Virginia, just 12 miles from Washington Dulles International Airport. “The National” provides 1.3 million interior square feet in six connected buildings. It houses 917 guestrooms, and over 265,000 square feet of meeting and group function space. Supporting outlets include a 900-seat Dining Room, the 200-seat Black Olive Bar & Grill and other new guest-centric outlets creating a warm and engaging atmosphere.

A New Branding Strategy

To transform the conference center, LaKota first re-thought the brand.  There was no clear brand image or strategy for the property as it was.  The historic town of Leesburg, Virginia, was founded around 1755 by the influential colonist, Thomas Lee. The colors of the Lee family coat of arms – and the US flag – are red, white and blue, inspiring a patriotic theme throughout The National.

The National Conference Center team saw an opportunity to remake the center’s brand image and meet a major design challenge. Though The National is located within a spectacular distraction-free, wooded campus, the buildings of exposed concrete demanded a highly creative solution.  Rather than cover the walls, ownership opted to ”celebrate the concrete” with vivid blocks of navy blue and touches of red, contrasted with a softer grey. These striking colors are enhanced by various patriotic motifs, such as images of a Bald Eagle and the American Flag that reinforce the center’s connection to historic Leesburg and Washington, DC.

The spacious lobby is finished with polished millwork against concrete, angled walls and layered ceilings with skylights. Sustainability has always been a priority at The National Conference Center and management introduced several “green” initiatives, including the lobby’s carpet made of fibers from recycled bottles and caps collected at Yellowstone National Park.

Going forward, The National brand is becoming a hybrid; the blend of a traditional hotel and a conference center. The common thread is learning and development, and providing ample space and versatility that enable clients to purchase a pod of meeting rooms vs. just a few meeting rooms.

Guestrooms – Where Eagles Soar

In keeping with the campus atmosphere and emphasis on learning, guestrooms are small ‘study rooms’ for one person, with a double bed, a large desk, a small chest and a remodeled bathroom.  Although totally appropriate for a successful conference facility, these small and somewhat uninspiring rooms presented a major design challenge.

The National had a striking trompe l’oeil effect created with the addition of a wall mural that visually extends a guest’s view to infinity, and includes a flying eagle in the foreground. This technique makes the guestroom feel larger and reinforces the new brand image and color.

A whimsical touch:  Framed newspaper headlines featuring differing political views on attitudes of Global Warming. A thin black molding creates a crown around the room and into the bathroom where a picture of another American Eagle guards the guest’s privacy.

In fact, to launch the renovation and design theme, The National’s team released a Bald Eagle back into the wild regions of the property’s acreage.

A continuation of the room renovation will take place in 2017.

Dining and Lounges

The National’s Food and Beverage facilities were targeted for a complete make-over. The 900-seat dining room is a huge space with high ceilings held by natural concrete columns. In the past, the dining facility was a cafeteria-style food program. The team totally renovated the buffet areas deleting the use of trays, tray shelves and conveyor belts.  John Walsh, food and beverage director, and Executive Chef Chris Ferrier focused on local farm-to-table cuisine for the guests they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, which can be 1,200 people at capacity. A new area was designed for specialty coffees and wine for purchase.

Seating areas were renovated with new floor and wall treatments and colorful new tablescapes. Custom-designed artwork was installed that enlivened the dining space. In keeping with The National’s brand, large framed photos were created that quote U.S. Presidents and other dignitaries on food. One shows a large green broccoli spear and remarks by President George H. W. Bush: “I do not eat broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli…” Images of fresh foods, supporting the chef’s farm-to-table cuisine, add color, interest and appeal.

The next phase of renovation in The Dining Room will be to create more live demonstration cooking vs. the current steam table and buffet presentation. Induction cooking will allow food to be freshly prepared ‘a la minute’ and presented with very little holding and warming needed. All new menus will be developed and tested by mid-January. The food and beverage operation is a chef-driven operation with the top culinary team all graduates of the Culinary Institute of America and combined have more than 50 years cooking for large groups.

The National’s lounges were revamped to provide a much-improved guest experience. The team took the unused gift shop space near the lobby entrance and repurposed it as a Living Room with flight monitors where guests can check their flights, relax, work at computer stations and enjoy a coffee and refreshment break. Groupings of sofas, lounge chairs and tall tables grace the room that is surrounded with bookshelves. Large TVs are available for news, sports or music. This repurposed space is popular and is also used for private cocktail receptions and business meetings.

The Black Olive Bar & Grill

This striking, 200-seat action bar, with its soaring ceilings and impressive columns, sets the scene for convivial gatherings that include craft beers and Virginia wines, bar food, and games such as pool and darts. The previous 80-foot bar was ripped out and replaced, and new tiles, millwork and carpets added.  Live entertainment and Karaoke were added as well.

Last month, the team incorporated hand-made community tables where groups can mingle and meet new attendees, added 15 new 55” HD TV, improved lighting and added large couch seating options.

The National Secret – A Patriotic Speakeasy

In contrast to the lively Black Olive Bar, the National Secret is an intimate lounge, crafted from two adjoining meeting rooms, a daunting project that had to be completed in less than a month.  Elegant sofas, chaises and lounge chairs were purchased locally. One wall was draped in elegant blue silk and flag banners, complementing the overall blue of The National’s brand, right down to a blue flame in the fireplace.  The National’s signature plaid, in navy, adorns the other walls, which are scattered with images of gold coins and American flags. The room glows with candlelight, adding to the atmosphere of mystery and intrigue.

The finished room is down a hallway around the corner from the active Black Olive Bar & Grill with no other entrance. This secretive and sultry “speakeasy” is aptly named The National Secret, and has become a highly popular venue with guests and local residents who enjoy private cocktail parties and dinners amidst its secluded and intimate aura.

In 2017, The National will continue its capital investment with additional renovations to the meeting space, including enhanced technology, floor and wall treatments, pathway lightening and the updating of courtyards with firepits and landscaping.  Providing a pleasant, comfortable and updated atmosphere is most important to the new owners and management team. Phase II renovations will be completed by year end 2017 as The National advances to the forefront of the learning and development industries.

About The National Conference Center
Located in Northern Virginia 12 miles from Dulles International Airport and 35 miles from Washington, D.C., The National Conference Center is one of the largest and most comprehensive conference centers in the nation. With 917 guest rooms and over 265,000 square feet of meeting and group function space, including the West Belmont Place catering complex with its 16,552 square foot ballroom, The National has become the nation’s headquarters for productive meetings and West Belmont Place the hub for Loudoun County and surrounding area social functions.

West Belmont Place was named 2013 Best Venue by the International Special Events Society. The National Conference Center is also on the GSA schedule. The National is owned by NCC PS Enterprises LLC, a venture between PCCP, LLC and Stoneleigh Capital, LLC., which retained LaKota Hotels & Resorts to oversee all aspects of the day-to-day operations. For information call 800-640-2684 or visit

ASAE’s Great Ideas in Association Management Conference Offers New Learning Opportunities

WASHINGTON — ASAE’s 2017 Great Ideas in Association Management Conference, Asia-Pacific (GIAP) will offer new education formats for association executives, and President and CEO Don Strickland of Strickland & Associates will provide insight on how associations can have long-term success. The conference is March 22-24, 2017, at the Grand Hyatt Seoul in Seoul, South Korea. The Korean Tourism Organization, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul Tourism Organization, and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism are sponsoring the conference.

In its third year, GIAP is expanding its learning opportunities for attendees. Before the conference, participants can register for a tour to see the past and present Seoul. ASAE is offering a preconference masterclass that will emphasize strategies on how to run boards more effectively, and a separate registration fee is required. A new learning format called, “Ask the Experts” will give attendees a chance to share their challenges and gain insight from experienced executives.

During the opening keynote, former Kodak and Apple executive Strickland will reveal four critical success factors of Leadership 3.0 and two leadership traps association executives must avoid. He currently advises technology companies on business model innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship, and he serves as Adjunct Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Imperial College in London.

To close out the conference, an Associations Ignite session will have association professionals presenting five minute presentations that will cover volunteers, careers, and how to do more-with-less.

“The conference always brings a great mix of association professionals and industry partners from across the globe. It’s a great opportunity for colleagues to gain a better understanding of how associations are operating and using different strategies and tactics in the Asia-Pacific region,” said ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE.

ASAE anticipates more than 200 participants from 16 countries to attend and attract professionals from the Asia-Pacific region, U.S., Europe, and the Middle East.

The early bird deadline is February 21. To see a full list of education sessions and register for the GIAP, visit

MEDIA CONTACTS: Sabrina Kidwai, APR, CAE,, 202-326-9505.

About ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 28,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 7,500 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world. With support of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession, and provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. For more information about ASAE, visit

New ASAE Foundation Report Reveals Current State, Future Technology Needs for Associations

WASHINGTON—A new ASAE Foundation report, Tech Success for Associations: Balancing IT maturity, readiness, and expectation for a satisfying, sustainable future, paints a picture of association performance against effective technology application, as well as insights into member and staff technology abilities and expectations. It also provides a vision of what associations need to do for the future. ASAE Foundation, in partnership with DelCor Technology Solutions and in collaboration with research firm Rockbridge Associates, worked on the comprehensive study.

“One of the goals for this report is getting executives and senior staff to think about how they are using technology to serve their mission, whether or not they are meeting member expectations, and how they can improve their systems to be successful,” said ASAE Executive Vice President and ASAE Foundation President Susan Robertson, CAE. “The data provided gives insight on the current state of technology within the industry, and how they can better integrate technology into their organizations, so they can create a better member experience.”

The research looked at metrics from three conceptual areas: IT maturity, technology readiness, and member satisfaction with technology, so that the community can not only understand where associations are but also where they need to be in the future. These metrics were developed from DelCor’s IT Maturity Model and Rockbridge’s Technology Readiness Index.

Here are key results of the study:

  • The majority of associations that participated in the research are effective, which means they do a good job managing data, have solid processes, maintain sound infrastructure, and engage in long-range planning.
  • Only nine percent of associations manage technology and tech integration in ways that can be considered innovative, which is the highest level of IT maturity.
  • Most members of participating organizations said that there is room for organizations to expand their technology capabilities.
  • Members want easy access to relevant content, online learning, professional networks, and self-service systems. The majority of associations are making some content available, but 20 percent of the association respondents reported they offered limited mobile capability.
  • The greatest areas of opportunity for associations in technology are the ability to produce a complete view of the constituent engagement; data integrations; process for understanding business objectives and requirements; investment in infrastructure; digital content; and training IT professionals.


“The maturity model gives any association insight into how their technology aligns with their mission, vision, and business objectives. Once that level of alignment is known, it’s much easier to plot the IT roadmap and project portfolio with respect to resources, constraints, and organizational priorities, then communicate that throughout the organization,” said David A. Coriale, President, DelCor Technology Solutions, Inc. “Importantly, tying each roadmap initiative back to the organization’s objectives helps ensure the value of such initiatives is clear to the membership.”

As a result of the study, the ASAE Foundation is working to develop a rigorous tool that will measure and assess IT maturity for individual associations. Launching this fall, the IT maturity assessment tool will include a series of 31 diagnostic indicators organized around four maturity component areas: association data, management and strategy, infrastructure, and digital presence. It will be part of a suite of products ASAE plans to bring to the community that will allow organizations to assess the health, readiness, and/or effectiveness in a number of dimensions (e.g., technology, diversity, global).

MEDIA CONTACT: Sabrina Kidwai, APR, CAE, 202-326-9505.

About ASAE and the ASAE Foundation

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 28,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 7,500 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world. With support of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession, and provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. For more information about ASAE, visit

IMEX Group launches ‘Talking Point’ strategy, adds extra focus and edge to education and content

‘Purposeful Meetings’ is the IMEX Talking Point for 2017

The IMEX Group is taking a new approach to its education and content strategies from 2017 by introducing an annual ‘talking point’.

The single, headline theme will allow the company to plan and respond more dynamically to rising trends and issues within the international meetings, events and incentive travel industry.

The new IMEX Talking Point is also a tangible reflection of the company’s new mission: “To unite and advance the meetings industry – doing everything we can to educate, innovate and help our clients make powerful connections with the right people.”

The 2017 IMEX Talking Point is ‘Purposeful Meetings: How to plan with deeper meaning, innovation and insight in mind’. It will feature explicitly through a range of new initiatives and implicitly within the programmes for both IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America 2017.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group explains the thinking behind the new move: “We’re committed to continually adding to the value of the learning and networking opportunities we provide through our trade shows. That means we have to keep ahead of industry trends and keep talking to all our visitors and exhibitors to discover their problems and needs and decide how we can help solve them.

Having an annual talking point allows us to listen and respond quicker and with more intention to those needs. Our chief focus is always going to be on bringing buyers and sellers together, face to face, in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible. But the IMEX Talking Points will inject more immediacy, stronger direction and a clearer distinction between each show year to year.

“That said, each annual talking point won’t dominate education content or industry debate. We’ll continue to deliver education and training under our 10 tracks as we have done for many years now.”

IMEX Talking Point 2017 – Purposeful Meetings
The IMEX team consulted widely with partners and researched industry trends extensively before identifying and choosing ‘Purposeful Meetings’ with the strapline ‘How to plan with deeper meaning, innovation and insight in mind’ as the talking point for 2017.

‘Purposeful Meetings’ reflects an imperative which meetings planners and event marketers are already being asked to address. Bauer sums it up as: “There is a shift towards the intentional planning and creation of ‘memorable moments’ not meetings, and ‘experiences’ not events. ‘Purposeful Meetings’ are engaging, inspiring and enjoyable with long-lasting positive outcomes.  They are successful and satisfying because they’ve been planned with specific outcomes and behaviours in mind, and they achieve these outcomes and behaviours by taking into account five key elements: Behavioural Science, Meeting Design, Health & Wellbeing, CSR Legacy and, of course, Technology.”

She explains: “Being a ‘purposeful’ planner (or a purposeful company or brand, for that matter) requires a change in thinking, a fresh approach plus new skills and knowledge. This is part of a bigger trend towards meeting planners and event marketers becoming much more strategic.”

New research and training certifications
To back up its commitment to ‘Purposeful Meetings’, the IMEX Group has already formed two partnerships with leading industry specialists. IMEX is partnering with PSAV, a leading global event technology services company, to support a major piece of research and industry white paper. Dr Amanda Cecil of Indiana University and Janet Sperstad of Madison College, USA, will release their first findings at IMEX in Frankfurt in May when Sperstad will present a keynote ahead of further developments planned for IMEX America.

The IMEX Group has also entered into a three-year agreement with Foundation which allows IMEX to offer Event Design Certification at both of its shows as part of its pre-show education programmes on Monday. The certification training will be offered free of charge to around 20 English and 20 German planners.

There is much more about the Purposeful Meetings Talking Point here and hand-picked resources that support Purposeful Meetings here.

Strategic Plan Aims to Draw More Visitors to Seattle Southside Area

Five-year plan complete, emphasizing location, transportation, affordability and unique attractions

SEATTLE, WASH. (January 2017) ­ The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) recently completed its five-year strategic plan, designed to attract more visitors to the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila, and Des Moines. The plan was developed over the course of six months by the Seattle Southside Strategic Planning Committee, a group made up of RTA staff, TPA Hotel Management staff and other stakeholders. Based on research, the strategic plan process included interviews with businesses, residents, visitors and elected officials; a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) identification exercise; the creation of the region¹s promise that drove all strategies and actions, and metrics for success.

The strategic plan is based on a central promise that the RTA makes to visitors in the region that they can ³Do More² when they stay in Seattle Southside.  The idea behind the Do More promise is that visitors can maximize their visit because Seattle Southside¹s location, transportation, affordability and unique attractions stretch visitor¹s time, money and opportunities further. For example, the Link light rail system makes it easy for people to visit Seattle¹s attractions while staying in Seattle Southside.  Additionally, the Des Moines waterfront, the Museum of Flight, Tukwila¹s Westfield Southcenter mall and the many restaurants in the area provide visitors with destination attractions in the south end.

The strategic plan is designed to accomplish four goals:

  • increase the number of tourists and groups,
  • increase the average length of stay,
  • increase visitor spending, and
  • demonstrate an increase in the RTA¹s return on investment.

By meeting these goals, local businesses will do better, more tax revenue will flow into the region, and local residents will be able to enjoy the new and upgraded attractions and destinations.

The plan outlines five key strategies to achieve these goals.  These include:

  • Own the region. Build toward being the destination that visitors and groups know and prefer for accessing everything the Seattle region has to offer, emphasizing the experiences within Seattle Southside
  • Drive value and results through leadership excellence. Be the catalyst for bringing partners together to meet the RTA¹s goals.
  • Build destination experiences. Create and build on existing experiences to create critical mass and reasons to visit.
  • Encourage easy connections to and within Seattle Southside and regional destinations,including light rail, shuttles, tours and more.
  • Create a participatory sports focus. Recruit and leverage sports-related experiences to be known as the place for active sports fun.

Each strategy has been attached to actions‹such as upgrading Seattle Southside¹s website‹and metrics to ensure plan implementation.

³There is so much untapped potential in Seattle Southside that this strategic plan is designed to unleash,² said Katherine Kertzman, president and CEO of Seattle Southside RTA. ³We¹re now ready to roll up our shirtsleeves and get to work to implement the plan and attract more visitors and their dollars to our region to boost our local economy and share the bounty these vibrant communities have to offer business and leisure travelers.²

Over the next five years, Seattle Southside staff will be working to accomplish the strategic plan¹s goals and further develop Seattle Southside into a highly desirable destination for both leisure and business travelers. The Strategic Plan, entitled Destination 2020, can be found here.

About Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority

Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) is the official destination marketing organization for South Seattle. The organization is responsible for competitively marketing the area as an ideal travel destination for leisure and business travelers who wish to explore Western Washington and an idyllic place for meeting and event planners to hold their events. The Seattle Southside RTA is funded by a self-assessed hotel fund and supported by a lodging tax from the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines. For more information, please visit or call 877-885-9452.

Architectural Urban Design Competition – Prague Congress Center


 The Prague Congress Centre announces the international two rounds architectural urban design competition for the proposal of an extension to the Congress Centre, consisting of needed exhibition surfaces and of the creation of quality public spaces in the site of the Pankrác square and its surrounding areas.

 The New KCP international competition is looking for solutions for one of the most complicated, yet one of the most interesting locations of Prague – the space of the Congress Centre´s surroundings. It invites architects, urbanists and others experts, to connect in their proposals, the architectural quality, connected to the new spaces of the Congress Centre, with a contemporary urbanism that is focused on the high-quality and the use of the public spaces.

From an economical point of view, the convention tourism is very important for the city, but currently, the Congress Centre does not fulfil its full potential and that represents a loss for the whole city of Prague. I am convinced that the architectural competition for the new exhibition spaces is the adequate generator in making the Congress Centre once again a competitor to Vienna, Berlin or Munich, “ says the Mayor of Prague.

The Congress Centre requirements are commented by the general director Roman Ray Straub:  „ When it is decided upon where should the biggest conferences occur, the cities of Vienna, Berlin or Paris are the ones to be selected, though we have also competitiveness in the Czech Republic. We do not want to be somehow bigger or just spend some money, but we in fact really need an extension, especially for the accompanying exhibitions, without which today a convention or similar events cannot occur. Thanks to conventions, the city receives new businesses, money, as well as other opportunities. I think that with this extension we will be able to offer something to the Prague 4 city district as well as to the whole city of Prague – open it towards culture, schools and other activities.“

 This is confirmed by Prof. MUDr. Vladimír Tesař, DrSc, MBA, FERA, FASN, Head of the Nephrology Clinic 1.LF of the Charles’ University and of the General University Hospital in Prague and the patron of the Ambassador Programme Prague Convention Bureau:

The expansion of the exhibition space would solve the last obstacle which prevents the Prague Congress Centre to rank among the top European congress centres and it would ensure the regularity of returns of major European conventions to one of the top European destinations.“

 All the actors involved understand this competition as an opportunity to re-embrace the city – instead of a purely pragmatic placement of a large volume, they wish to come up with a solution that would be flexible, sustainable, of a high-quality, and this both from the architectural perspective but also from an urban and traffic aspect, that would lead to a fully-fledged integral part of the contemporary European city. „ We are glad that we have high-quality architects in the jury, but the good competition result is also of high interest for the capital city of Prague and for the Prague 4 district, that have also their representatives in the jury panel. We expect that the new extension will be in concordance with its surroundings and that it will represent an agreement between the investor and the city. We do not want to build strictly an exhibition hall, but spaces which would have a broad use,“ adds the Prague Congress Centre chairman Radim Haluza.

 Together with Roman Ray Straub and Radim Haluza, both representing the KCP, the jury comprises also the Mayor of the Capital city of Prague Adriana Krnáčová, Marek Kopeć from the IPR Prague, the Prague 4 City Councillor Alžběta Rejchrtová and architects with strong practical experience as well as competitions. The chairman of the jury will be Petr Hlaváček from the studio Headhand architects. Elia Zenghelis, originally from Greece and the co-founder of the world famous studio OMA, the Swiss architect Mathias Müller from EM2N will also be part of the jury. The expert part of the jury will also be completed by Ivan Kroupa from the studio Ivan Kroupa architekti, the head of the Bogle Architects´Prague office Viktorie Součková and Tomás Koumar from the studio EHL & KOUMAR ARCHITEKTI.

The competition consists of two rounds – the deadline hand-in for the proposal in the first round is the 17. 3. 2017. It will be completely anonymous and announced both in Czech and in English. It is assumed that 6 proposals will be selected for the second round. The authors will have till the 30. 6. 2017. The results will be announced with the exhibition of the competition proposal in the middle of holidays.

The three best proposals will be awarded. The first price will be 1 000 000Kč, for the second place, the third place and the non-awarded proposal of the second round, will have a sum of 2 000 000 Kč divided between them.

All the informations for the media will be also announced on the competition website:

Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate Joins Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI)


 The AAA Four-Diamond Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate has joined Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI). Located just minutes from Central Florida’s famous attractions and world-class international airport, the 769-room resort is now served by the ALHI Global Sales Organization to the North American Meetings & Incentives (M&I) marketplace, according to ALHI CEO David Gabri.

Surrounded by 36 holes of Greg Norman-designed championship golf, Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate also features 15 acres of pools and recreation (which includes a lazy river), the signature 10,000-square-foot Mokara Spa, the David Leadbetter Golf Academy, a full-service fitness center, a 9-hole golf course, a comprehensive sports training complex, tennis, and seven restaurants and lounges. The resort’s 128,000 square feet of flexible meeting and banquet space is highlighted by three ballrooms:  the 28,800-square-foot Osceola, the 25,000-square-foot National, and the 20,000-square-foot International. The resort features a total of 48 meeting rooms, as well as 70,000 square feet of outdoor event space, a 24-hour self-automated business center, and complimentary wireless Internet in the guest rooms and lobby. Plus, in 2017 the resort is undergoing a $40 million expansion, which will include 93 new guest rooms, new meeting and event space, another restaurant, and a resort wave pool. The resort is located just 25 minutes from Orlando International Airport and six miles from the Walt Disney World® Resort.

“Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate is a remarkable resort, with a truly lush setting and so much to offer to groups,” said Gabri. “Add in its convenient access to the Walt Disney World® Resort, and its impressive new offerings, and we are very proud to showcase this extraordinary resort to groups across North America.”

Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate becomes ALHI’s 24th luxury hotel/resort in Florida, joining such other Central Florida members as:  the tropical, 1,000-room Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando®, offering 132,000 square feet of meeting space; the all-new and connected to Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Caribbean-themed Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando®, featuring 1,000 guest rooms and 114,000 square feet of meeting space, for the combination of 2,000 rooms and 246,000 square feet of meeting space; plus, the elegant 750-room Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando®, reminiscent of a beautiful Mediterranean seaside resort.

ALHI’s distinguished Central Florida portfolio also features:  the stunning and popular Rosen Shingle Creek, with 1,501 guest rooms and 490,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space, and exceptional onsite golf among the 230-acre resort; Orlando’s luxurious 146-room The Villas of Grand Cypress, with their world-renowned golf and boasting a newly renovated executive meeting center; St. Pete Beach’s renowned “Pink Palace,” the beachfront 277-room Loews Don CeSar Hotel; the picturesque, sophisticated, award-winning and inspiring Streamsong Resort, offering 228 guest rooms and two outstanding golf courses ranked in America’s top 15; and Tampa’s popular 800-room Saddlebrook Resort, a self-contained destination with on-site golf, tennis, spa, fishing, and 95,000 square feet of meeting space.

In addition to joining ALHI’s distinguished portfolio of AAA Four- and Five-Diamond-quality M&I-focused hotels and resorts, Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate also becomes the newest option in ALHI’s “Big Box” luxury brand segment. With this latest addition, ALHI’s “Big Box” collection now features 26 exceptional supersized hotels and resorts, which each feature a minimum of 500 guest rooms and/or suites, at least 50,000 square feet of meeting space, and one or more ballrooms of 20,000 square feet or more.

ALHI (, the leading independent Global Sales Organization serving the North American Meetings & Incentive marketplace, provides one-call local access for its distinguished Membership of over 250 luxury-level hotels and resorts, plus an Alliance including 23 luxury cruise ships appropriate for M&I programs, and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) in over 100 locations worldwide. The membership-based, dues-funded ALHI GSO has been serving its clientele with an impressive variety of Meeting & Incentive solutions around the globe for over 30 years. Providing extensive GSO sales services throughout the United States and Canada at no cost to the Accounts, ALHI provides valuable services, expertise, local connectivity, market intelligence, and account advocacy.

Collectively ALHI is prepared to assist Accounts in the U.S. and Canada with their programs in the U.S.A. and over 90 other countries worldwide. ALHI provides a team of experienced, proven and knowledgeable sales professionals for Account advocacy with full market one-call professional GSO sales assistance and access to their distinctive hotels, resorts, and venue resources for M&I programs of any size and scope worldwide. ALHI helps Accounts best achieve their objectives and budgets, with distinctive venues, vital insights, and responsible service to enhance the ease and success of their programs.

For more information about ALHI, to inquire about any of the ALHI portfolio properties and Alliance partners, and/or to acquire a free copy of ALHI’s new “2017 Meeting Facilities Guide” or the ALHI app, contact your nearest of the 20 ALHI Global Sales offices situated coast-to-coast in the United States and in Canada, or call the “ALHI Group Desk” toll-free at 866-303-ALHI (2544), and visit .

ALHI Global Sales offices are located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Connecticut, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Richmond, Southern California (3), Toronto, Washington, D.C., and Washington (state). For specifics, go to to identify the nearest “ALHI GSO Team” sales professionals in your state/area.