Monthly Archives: June 2011

Making the Connection: Hilton Anatole Completes Trinity Corridor

$2.3 million project includes air-conditioned passageway, herb garden, oversized fire pit, and prime placement for historical Berlin Wall art pieces.

DALLAS – Just in time for Dallas’ three-digit summer season, the iconic Hilton Anatole recently completed yet another upgrade. Guests can now enjoy the Trinity Corridor – a totally enclosed and air-conditioned 450-ft. long passageway connecting hotel and convention guests with the Trinity Ballroom and Exhibit Hall spaces. The $2.3 million renovation includes an extra-large Austin-style fire pit for Gossip Bar’s “starlight lounge,” an herb garden for Nana restaurant and prime real estate to showcase the Berlin Wall art pieces.

The contemporary Gossip Bar is hot . . . fire hot . . . with the recent addition of its newest patio, part of the Trinity corridor renovation. Highlighted by an attached 28-foot octagonal fire pit and new heating and misting systems, the Gossip Patio seats up to 60 guests and overlooks the Anatole Sculpture Park. Complete bar service is available including organic cocktails like the signature Gossiprita, as well as new cigar and whiskey menus.

The Trinity Corridor upgrade also includes a 350 square-foot herb garden, created in support of the locally grown trend of the culinary world. Executive Chef Anthony C. Bombaci of the hotel’s award-winning Nana restaurant, along with Hilton Anatole Executive Chef Thomas Welther, are currently selecting their favorite herbs and spices for planting and expect to share the fruits of their culinary labors with restaurant guests as early as this summer.

The Hilton Anatole houses an extensive private collection of fine art and antiques — the largest ever assembled for a U.S. hotel. Over 1,000 museum-quality pieces from the Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art are on display throughout the hotel. One of the more notable and distinguished pieces is the Berlin Wall, now the center of attention in the Trinity Corridor. The two segments, each 12 feet high and four feet wide, feature images and text painted by German artist Jurgen Grope, known as “Indiano.” The renovation will also be home to the hotel’s newest piece, an ornate sandstone pavilion from 18th-century India.

Bordering the beautiful seven-acre Anatole Sculpture Park, the Trinity Corridor provides unobstructed movement – no doors – from the hotel into the Trinity Complex, while resonating the Anatole’s renowned design and sleek appeal. Lush landscaping, panoramic window views of the park, distinctive architectural elements and unique art appointments offer an engaging welcome.

The renovation project, following on the heels of an extensive $125 million transformation, is unique in that its creation was based on the advice and recommendations of meeting and convention planners. Says Harold Rapoza, general manager of the Hilton Anatole, “The Trinity Corridor is just one more enhancement that connects our commitment with the needs and desires of our clients. With such a wonderful transformation behind us, now’s the time to revisit the Hilton Anatole!”

About Hilton Anatole
Located within a 45-acre campus in Dallas, Hilton Anatole features two high-rise atriums, a 27-story tower, and 1,606 luxuriously appointed guestrooms with first-class in-room amenities and Internet access. The hotel offers guests more than 600,000 square feet of event space as well as a variety of recreational activities, including viewing the Art Collection at the Hilton Anatole, one of the largest and most intriguing private assemblies for a U.S. hotel; an 80,000 square-foot health and fitness center, tennis courts, one of the finest lap pools in the region, and an indoor jogging track; gift and sundry boutiques; V Spa, the hotel’s newest luxury spa oasis; and eight unique restaurants and bars for dining and entertainment, including the new high-tech Media Grill + Bar, award-winning five-star Nana and chic Gossip Bar. For more information, visit www.hiltonanatolehotel.com or call (214) 761-7209.

About Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Hilton Hotels & Resorts is the stylish, forward-thinking global leader of hospitality that welcomes guests in more countries than any other full-service hotel brand. The Hilton brand currently includes more than 530 hotels and resorts in 76 countries, and plans to serve travelers in 80 countries by the end of 2011. By offering innovative products, services and amenities, Hilton Hotels & Resorts enables travelers to be at their best 24/7, whether traveling for business or leisure. Start your journey at www.hilton.com. Hilton Hotels & Resorts is one of Hilton Worldwide’s ten market-leading brands.

About Hilton Worldwide
Hilton Worldwide is the leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxurious full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and mid-priced hotels. For 91 years, Hilton Worldwide has been offering business and leisure travelers the finest in accommodations, service, amenities and value. The company is dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences across its global brands. Its brands are comprised of more than 3,600 hotels and 600,000 rooms in 82 countries and include Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages the world-class guest reward program Hilton HHonors®. For more information about the company, visit www.hiltonworldwide.com.

Hilton Milwaukee City Center Completes Renovations

Historic hotel has updated its guestrooms, lobby, public spaces and more

MILWAUKEE – Since it’s opening in 1929, guests entering Hilton Milwaukee’s opulent marble lobby have been awed by its luxurious ambiance. With recently completed renovations to guestrooms, lobby area, public spaces, fitness center and more, the hotel’s guests can further enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of the historic property. Hilton Milwaukee, owned by Marcus Hotels & Resorts, has invested nearly $11.5 million in the multi-phase renovation.

“The goal of the renovation was to provide our guests with a new design and all of the modern amenities they desire, while still keeping with the original art deco style of the hotel,” says Steve Magnuson, vice president and general manager of Hilton Milwaukee. “We think guests will appreciate the changes we’ve made, both aesthetically and in terms of functionality.”

Located in the heart of downtown, Hilton Milwaukee City Center is a true Milwaukee landmark. The elegant, refined hotel has been extensively restored to reflect its original 1920s grandeur and renovated to incorporate modern technology to accommodate guests’ present-day needs. In fact, the hotel has an onsite technology partner standing by to assist guests with event planning and production support of all types, including audio, projection, staging, lighting, Internet and any other technical needs.

As Milwaukee’s convention headquarters hotel of choice, Hilton Milwaukee City Center offers the most meeting and event space of any hotel in the city—more than 34,000 square feet—including four ballrooms and 18 well-appointed meeting rooms of various sizes. The hotel’s ballrooms, with their vaulted ceilings and period fabrics, echo the magnificence evident throughout this showpiece. And Hilton Milwaukee City Center is just a skywalk away from the Frontier Airlines Center, with 280,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space. With 729 renovated guest rooms, Hilton Milwaukee City Center can accommodate nearly any group. Its central location means guests are just moments away from the city’s theater district, the lakefront and Summerfest grounds, Bradley Center sports complex and Historic Third Ward.

Hilton Milwaukee is located at 509 W. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee. For more information on the hotel, visit www.HiltonMilwaukee.com.

About Marcus Hotels and Resorts
Marcus Hotels & Resorts, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS), owns or manages 18 hotels, resorts and other properties in nine states. A force in the hospitality industry, Marcus Hotels and Resorts provides expertise in management, development and historical renovations. The company’s portfolio includes a wide variety of properties including city-center meeting hotels, upscale resorts and branded first-class hotels. For more information visit: www.marcushotels.com.

WMG Announces New DMC Partner – Premio Incentives, Costa Rica

With great pleasure we announce the addition of Premio Incentives, headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, to our world-class international portfolio of destination management companies.

The Premio MICE team of 14 permanent staff is lead by industry veterans Helena Chavarria Saxe, Managing Director and Adriana Salas, Executive Manager. Ninety percent of Premio’s business is devoted to managing and delivering corporate meetings and incentives, the North American market being their largest source market.

Premio’s reputation is characterized by its honest business dealings, strong local relationships, socially responsible commitments, ethical policies and initiatives, commitment to clear and concise communications, and wide range of servicing. Simply put, their philosophy is “to supply local services with social sensitivity offering efficient and high quality services with the implementation and sustainability of responsible tourism to satisfy the needs of our clients and workers.”

NEC Advantage and Consultants Symposium 2011 Provides Mingle360 Networking Solution

Jacksonville, FL – The Advantage and Consultants Symposium 2011, hosted by NEC Corporation of America (NEC), brought the MingleStick networking solution for connecting sponsors, consultants, and dealers together. The three day event held May 18 – 20, 2011 was themed “Welcome to the Next Level” and focused on learning and networking. All attendees received a MingleStick for networking with each other.
Akin to an electronic business card, the MingleStick enables people to exchange business contact information, social media profiles, profile pictures, and more. The MingleStick serves as a great social ice breaker and conversation starter and its “click to connect” technology is a great business utility tool for collecting business card information.

“We are thrilled to be apart of the NEC conference by providing our networking technology to all attendees,” says Dan Coffing, CEO of Mingle360. “Our digital and paperless connectivity platform easily connected conference attendees with the event sponsors. NEC showcased cutting-edge technology at their event, and we’re a complimentary technology for their events now, and in the future.”

“The technology used by Mingle360 gave our attendees and sponsors a tool to not only easily exchange information but integrate into their existing social media and contact relationship systems.” says Renato Mariani, Director of Enterprise Solutions Marketing at NEC Corporation of America. “It was time for a change in conference networking and Mingle360 helped us to make that leap.”

About NEC Corporation of America

Headquartered in Irving, Texas, NEC Corporation of America is a leading provider of innovative IT, network and communications products and solutions for service carriers, Fortune 1000 and SMB businesses across multiple vertical industries, including Healthcare, Government, Education and Hospitality. NEC Corporation of America delivers one of the industry’s broadest portfolios of technology solutions and professional services, including unified communications, wireless, voice and data, managed services, server and storage infrastructure, optical network systems, microwave radio communications and biometric security. NEC Corporation of America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation, a global technology leader with operations in 30 countries and more than $37.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please visit www.necam.com.

About Mingle360

Offered as a service to event organizers, the Mingle360 solution greatly enhances attendee networking at the event, surpassing business cards with up to date contact information and facial recognition. The company’s MingleStick product is akin to an electronic business card and provides peer-to-peer attendee networking. The company’s MingleStation product is akin to a passive lead retrieval system and online document sharing solution for exhibitors. The mingle networking solution creates ‘buzz’ and excitement at the event and helps differentiate an organization from the competition. For more information, please contact Mingle360 at 703-425-0402 x111.

Visit Fairfax’s Top Picks for Fiscally-Friendly Family Fun in Fairfax County this Summer

As summer kicks into high gear, there are a number of fun activities in Fairfax County to fill the dog days, without emptying your wallet – from fireworks displays and carnivals to live music and movies under the stars.

Here are our top picks for family-friendly activities in Fairfax County that ring in at $15 or less per person:

1. If you enjoy being entertained under the stars, take in a performance during the Arts in the Parks Entertainment Series at various locations throughout the County (http://1.usa.gov/lLwOkr).

2. Stake out your space on the lawn at Wolf Trap (www.wolftrap.org) – select performances start at a mere $8 – or introduce the kids to live theater at a Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods performance.

3. Spend a perfect day at Great Falls National Park hiking or even rock climbing for the adventurous (nominal parking fees may apply).

4. Go back in time to reconnect with the Father of our Country at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens (http://mountvernon.org).

5. Visit the serenity of the newly dedicated Korean Bell Garden at Meadowlark Gardens – the only one of its kind in North America! (www.nvrpa.org/park/meadowlark_botanical_gardens).

6. Animal lovers will enjoy the opportunity to get up close & personal with the “wild side” of the ‘burbs during an afternoon at the Reston Zoo (www.restonzoo.com). Entrance fees range from $9 to $12 with free admission for kids under two.

7. For those who prefer the water, soak in the sun & chlorine at the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole (http://1.usa.gov/igAu9c) with its acre of slides, flumes, sprays, showers, floatables & interactive play features, circled by Rattlesnake River with a 2.5 mile per hour current that gently nudges tubes along. Prices drop to $8.25 after 5 pm on weeknights, and kids two years and under are free.

8. Paddle around Lake Fairfax in a rented canoe – boats are only $6 per hour at the park.

9. Forget the water hazards and save on greens fees with a round of Mini Golf at Top Golf in Alexandria for $7 or less (http://topgolf.com/alexandria); or swing away with the long balls at Oak Marr Golf’s driving range. A jumbo bucket of balls (approx. 120) only costs $14.

10. Explore the stars and the history of flight at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport. (www.nasm.si.edu/udvarhazy)

More information on all that Fairfax County has to offer during the dog days of summer, including museums, festivals, upcoming events and special offers from our partners, can be found on our website at http://www.fxva.com/summerbest/. There’s also a link on the site for those searching for the best July 4th fireworks in the area. Our partners at Virginia Tourism Corporation have a cool tool online that allows visitors to plug in their zip code and search for fireworks displays nearby.

Visit Fairfax is the official tourism organization for Fairfax County, Virginia. Charged with destination marketing and tourism promotion, it is directed by many of the County’s top tourism and hospitality leaders. For more information, please visit www.fxva.com.

IMEX America – Index of Optimism

According to North American buyers and suppliers, meetings market confidence is on the rise and the outlook for the worldwide meetings, incentive travel and events industry appears brighter than at any time over the past year.

The second IMEX America Index of Optimism poll of North American meetings industry buyers and suppliers found that optimism – and business levels – are higher than they have been for at least six months. The survey was conducted amongst 190 North American respondents (43% of whom were buyers*) during March this year.

When asked if ‘demand for your services has grown during the past six months’, nearly 73% confirmed that it had, whilst only 9% felt they had seen no growth. Just over 18% reported no change against the previous six month period. These results remain consistent with previous patterns of growth and confidence shown in the poll. The previous Index of Optimism survey (September 2010) found that 71% of respondents felt that demand was growing but at that time 15% reported no growth.

The survey also questioned respondents about whether they have been attracting any business from new sources recently, extrapolating this as an indicator of general market health and potential expansion. Just over 79% confirmed they had been winning business from new sources, nearly 6% had seen no such trend emerging and for just over 15% there had been no change.

Compared to the previous six month period, just over 31% said that this pattern ‘was about the same’ as before but just over 65% deemed it ‘definitely better’, suggesting that confidence and expectations are both higher than they have been for a while.

Respondents were also asked if they saw ‘evidence from the last six months that events are attracting more attendees or that spending per participant has increased?’ Nearly 55% responded positively, stating that they did see evidence, although nearly 25% saw no signs of such increases, and a further nearly 21% felt ‘not sure’. Once again results are almost exactly in line with previous findings, suggesting that although volumes of meetings and events business are returning, delegate behaviour at those events has yet to return to pre-downturn levels. Given further shifts in the format of meetings, conferences and events – such as the rise in hybrid meetings and ‘open’ (audience participation-led) conferences – it is entirely possibly that these old success measures are gradually being overtaken by new profit and engagement metrics.

When it comes to accurately forecasting if the worst of the recent market difficulties are over, respondents appear reconciled to uncertainty for the time being. Although a slight majority – just over 35% – believes the worst is now firmly in the past, just over 30% do not feel the same way, and just over 34% are still simply ‘not sure’. However, underlying these findings is a solid foundation of increased optimistic sentiment. Asked if they feel ‘more or less optimistic about the meetings industry than a year ago’, 73% stated that they feel more optimistic than this time last year, 4% are less optimistic and a further 22.6% feel ‘about the same.’

Looking ahead, the survey asked respondents to identify if there is one reason above any other that they believe will guarantee the long-term growth of the U.S. meetings and events industry. At the same time, it sought feedback on their reaction to the recent “Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy study” commission by the Convention Industry Council and conducted by PWC.

Responses to the first open question ranged from “I think technology is the key to the growth of our industry” to “the efforts of the US Travel Association are key”. Others commented more generally that “you can’t do without or replace “face to face” meetings”. Other observations tended to be about economic indicators and included “we need an improved and stabilized economy and an increase in jobs” and “stable pricing and lower oil prices will guarantee long-term growth.” Several other respondents pointed towards the drive for value. A typical comment being: “Companies will continue to be more value driven. As long as companies can find value, they are willing to spend for meetings.”

Regarding the Economic Impact Study, many clearly felt that it had strengthened the credibility of the meetings industry and offset the fact that the sector has been ‘below the radar’ for far too long. One respondent commented: “Findings aside, the fact that this study was even done is monumental. It’s fantastic to see that our industry is finally coming together to speak out about its value to the economy and now has the statistics to back it up!” Many others were surprised at the economic size and significance of the sector compared to the U.S. automobile or IT markets, for example, and many observed that the study was conducted during one of the market’s worst years in recent history, suggesting that if it were undertaken in another year, results would be even more outstanding.

*190 people answered the survey, which was conducted during March 2011. 13% of respondents were Canadian, with the remainder from the U.S. 57% of all respondents indicated they were suppliers to the meetings, incentive travel and events industry internationally. The remaining 43% were all buyers.

Hotel Nikko San Francisco Accepted As Newest Member Of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI)

WASHINGTON, DC – Hotel Nikko San Francisco, located just steps from Union Square in the heart of San Francisco, has joined as the newest member of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI). The AAA Four-Diamond hotel will now receive dedicated National Sales services and support by ALHI and its professional sales force throughout North America to the meetings and incentive/recognition marketplace.

ALHI (www.alhi.com) is a prestigious dues-based membership National Sales organization, which represents more than 130 Four- and Five-Diamond quality hotels and resorts worldwide to meeting professionals, association executives, incentive/recognition specialists and business executives interested in conducting their face-to-face programs at upper-upper-tier and luxury-level member properties. There is no cost to planners’ or executives’ organizations to utilize the National Sales services, expertise, and account advocacy of ALHI, as its members’ dues fund the national organization to serve planners with local professionals.

Hotel Nikko San Francisco becomes ALHI’s third member hotel in San Francisco, joining the landmark, AAA Four-Diamond InterContinental Mark Hopkins poised at the crest of famed Nob Hill; and the luxurious and new 32-story InterContinental San Francisco, directly adjacent to the Moscone West Convention Center in the vibrant South of Market neighborhood.

“With its scenic beauty, diverse cultural attractions, historical sites, world-class cuisine, and first-class hotel offerings San Francisco continues to be a very popular choice for meetings programs of all types,” said David Gabri, president and CEO of ALHI. “So to address the growing demand being generated for this popular city, we have augmented our San Francisco portfolio with another exceptional option, The Hotel Nikko. We are very excited to have this outstanding hotel as the newest offering in the ALHI portfolio.”

Located in the heart of San Francisco, the elegant Hotel Nikko San Francisco features 510 luxuriously appointed guest rooms and 22 spacious suites. Meeting offerings include the 6,658-square foot Nikko Ballroom that can accommodate 800 for a reception or 600 for a banquet, as well as 13 other meeting rooms that offer impressive views of the city and of the bay. The hotel also features an indoor 15-meter heated swimming pool, a 24-hour health club, steam rooms, saunas, the acclaimed ANZU restaurant, and the popular Rrazz Room nightclub.

Often called “Everybody’s Favorite City,” San Francisco features such offerings of appeal to groups as the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, Chinatown, Union Square, and North Beach. The city is also home to world-class theatre, opera, symphony and ballet.

Meeting professionals, association executives, and incentive specialists have utilized ALHI’s National Sales services for 25 years, with reliable one-call professional sales assistance and access to their distinctive hotels and resorts for meetings and incentive/recognition programs ranging from 10 to more than 6,500 rooms.

With a worldwide portfolio of over 100,000 rooms and suites and more than 10 million square feet of meeting space, ALHI provides planners and their organizations experienced National Sales services with diverse options among its outstanding worldwide member hotels and resorts which specialize in meetings and incentive programs.

Member hotels include extraordinary Four- and Five-Diamond quality meeting and incentive resorts, incomparable city hotels, exclusive smaller hotels, golf resorts, historic and landmark properties, island destinations, resorts with spas, properties in international destinations, and hotels with world-class gaming and entertainment.

For a list of ALHI’s entire portfolio, visit www.alhi.com, and preview details of ALHI’s membership, including easily useful information on several defined specialty segments within the ALHI portfolio to serve distinctive meeting, convention and incentive travel needs. Hotel Nikko San Francisco is now one of the offerings in the “ALHI City Solutions Collection” specialty segment.

On the website, planners can quickly see details of the properties’ meeting, accommodation, recreational and dining offerings, as well as destination information and “Luxury on Sale” value opportunities. A photo gallery, meeting floor plans and specs, and a location map for each property are also easily available.

ALHI has 16 professionally-staffed National Sales Offices to serve, with locations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, Orange County (CA), Orlando, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Diego, Savannah, Toronto and Washington, DC. Go to www.alhi.com to identify the “ALHI Contacts” sales professionals in your state/area.

For more information about ALHI, to inquire about a future meeting at any of the ALHI member properties, and/or to acquire a free copy of ALHI’s “2010-2011 ALHI National Sales Guide To Meeting Facilities,” contact your nearest ALHI National Sales Office, call the “ALHI Group Desk” toll-free at 866-303-ALHI (2544), and visit www.alhi.com.

St. Louis Region Ready to Welcome “Super Bowl” of Conventions

ST. LOUIS – With more than 5,000 people expected to descend on St. Louis and the future economic impact for the region huge, the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (CVC) is ready to welcome the 2011 American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting and Exposition in early August.

“Association professionals and meeting planners call ASAE the ‘Super Bowl’ of conventions and that is a very valid comparison,” said Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe, President of the St. Louis CVC. “Member associations dominate this $102 billion meetings industry, spending more than $60 billion annually to hold meetings and conventions. ASAE is a great opportunity for us and our many partners to showcase St. Louis as a super region for future meetings and conventions.”

Scheduled for August 6-9, 2011 at the America’s Center convention complex, ASAE will bring together 3,000 association executives, 2,500 industry suppliers and 500 other participants to St. Louis for an array of intense yet fun educational and networking opportunities.

A Who’s Who Coming to St. Louis

More than 1,400 association CEOs will attend the four-day convention as well as senior executives responsible for administration, technology, communications, marketing, publications, meetings and education. Supplier representatives from most major airlines, hotel brands, and convention & visitors bureau in the United States and around the globe will be on hand along with suppliers from the banking and investments, computer and communications industries.

The St. Louis Society of Association Executives determined there are over 900 associations in the St. Louis area. Among the largest national associations located in the region are Optimists International, American Soybean Association, American Optometric Association, the American Association of Orthodontists, National Association of Electrical Distributors and Electrical Apparatus Service Association. The St. Louis area is also home to several diverse associations such as the American Association of Blacks in Energy, Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Black Accountants.

“ASAE will bring the best and brightest in the association world to St. Louis to exchange ideas and network with colleagues,” said Ratcliffe. “We look forward to showing ASAE members what a vibrant and high-energy region we are for work, business, networking and play.”

Economic Impact for St. Louis Region

According to ASAE figures, delegates will spend an estimated $5.7 million in the St. Louis region during their stay with approximately 20 percent of executives attending the annual meeting booking their own meetings in St. Louis over the next five years.

“That’s an estimated $186.5 million in future convention business for our region,” said Ratcliffe. “The financial impact of hosting this convention will have a tremendous, positive effect on the St. Louis area for many years to come.”

Marketing Mojo

Since the announcement that ASAE was coming to St. Louis several years, the St. Louis CVC, partner organizations, cultural institutions, and civic leaders have been aggressively marketing the convention through various platforms including advertising, trade show displays, special events and promotions.

One such platform was teaming up with local favorite Build-A-Bear during the past two ASAE meetings held in Toronto and Los Angeles in staging a bear building station on the trade show floor. Under the theme “St. Lou is Beary Cool,” the station allowed delegates to build their own bear under a 14-foot replica of the Gateway Arch. It was a crowd favorite both years and allowed St. Louis sales staff to better engage ASAE members on why they should be meeting in St. Louis.

“We expect to have a lot of fun and surprises this year, too,” said Brian Hall, Chief Marketing Officer for the St. Louis CVC.

Delegates will also have the opportunity to attend a presentation by Build-A-Bear Chief Executive Officer Maxine Clark entitled “Live in a World of Possibilities: Building a Company with Heart.” Clark’s presentation will run from 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday, August 8.

America’s Center – Ready for its Close Up

Just in time for ASAE, a three-year plan to renovate the America’s Center is underway. The $48 million worth of upgrades, improvements and renovations include roof replacement, new escalators, upgraded elevators; interior finishes upgrades, kitchen renovations, the installation of more than 700 new signs, and restroom renovations.

In addition to six contiguous exhibit halls, 80 meeting rooms, the 66,000-seat Edward Jones Dome, 1,411-seat Ferrara Theatre, 28,000 square-foot ballroom and the St. Louis Executive
Conference Center, the America’s Center also offers the flexibility and next-generation technology to handle major events like ASAE.

“America’s Center was one of the big reasons why we were able to attract this convention,” said Hall. “Like so many major events, ASAE was seeking a venue that could completely serve its biggest and most complex program.”

St. Louis Comes Alive!

ASAE delegates will have a chance to party like rock stars during an opening night reception from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, August 6 that will feature live music and cocktails under the majestic Gateway Arch. The celebration will showcase some of St. Louis’ rich music history with performances ranging from ragtime to rock ‘n’ roll.

On Sunday, August 7, delegates can “Dine Around St. Louis” and enjoy many of the region’s great restaurants. On Monday, August 8, the ASAE Foundation will roll out the red carpet for select guests during “The Classic” (formerly the Food & Wine Classic) at the Missouri Botanical Garden. To close out ASAE, a Final Night and Downtown Block Party will be held from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 9 on Washington Avenue.

ASAE Gives Back to St. Louis, Stray Rescue

In partnership with the St. Louis CVC and Stray Rescue, ASAE will offer convention attendees a one-of-a-kind opportunity to make a difference for animals in the region during two unique events. From 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, August 6, attendees can take part in a doggie treat baking workshop at America’s Center as well as participate in a “Doggie Day Spa” that same day.

Attendees are also invited to Stray Rescue’s primary shelter in downtown St. Louis from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 9 to assist during a “Shelter Shift” where they may choose from tasks that help the shelter run on a daily basis.

“As a very pet-friendly community with many attractions, dog parks, gardens, hotels, and outdoor restaurants that welcome pets, ASAE’s service project for Stray Rescue was a fitting choice,” said Ratcliffe. “Our region has a great history as a pet-loving culture with the founding of the Humane Society of Missouri and the Animal Protective Association in St. Louis.”

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (CVC) is the sales and marketing organization responsible for selling St. Louis City and St. Louis County as a convention and meeting site and as a leisure travel destination. In addition, the CVC manages and operates the America’s Center® convention complex, which includes 502,000 square feet of exhibit space, 80 meeting rooms, a 28,000 square-foot ballroom, the 67,000-seat Edward Jones Dome, 1,400-seat Ferrara Theatre.

The Pfister Named Best Hotel for Business Meetings & Travel

MILWAUKEE– The Pfister Hotel was named Best Hotel for Business Meetings and Travel at Corporate Report Wisconsin’s 7th annual Best of Wisconsin Business Awards luncheon, held last week in Wisconsin Dells. Nearly 2,000 readers cast their votes online to determine the winners of this year’s awards.

“We are honored to have received this prestigious recognition,” said Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister Hotel. “Delivering our guests superior service and an unmatched experience is our top priority. We are pleased that our efforts have been acknowledged and we look forward to extending our high level of service to even more guests.”

Recently named to Expedia’s Insiders’ Select™ list, placing it among the top one percent of hotels in the world, The Pfister also has received AAA Four Diamond status for 35 consecutive years and is one of Wisconsin’s six lodging properties that received AAA’s highest Diamond Award ratings for 2011. It is one of only 14 hotels in the nation that has received this designation since the inception of the award program in 1977. The Pfister Hotel is a proud member of Historic Hotels of America.

The Pfister Hotel is located at 424 E. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee. More information and updates on the hotel can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thePfisterHotel and on Twitter @PfisterHotel.

Echo Arena Liverpool Welcomes Two Millionth Visitor

The Echo Arena has celebrated a huge milestone in its illustrious first three-and-a-half years of operation by welcoming its two millionth visitor to the award-winning waterfront venue.

Lucky concert goer Lorraine Taylor from Anfield was officially welcomed as the two millionth customer by Girls Aloud singer Nicola Roberts, who presented the special visitor with a golden ticket prize at the Radio City Live event.
The golden ticket can be redeemed for a pair of free passes to 10 shows at the arena between now and the end of next year, with upcoming concerts including high profile stars such as Rihanna, Katy Perry, George Michael and Cliff Richard as well as a host of comedy royalty, world class sporting events and entertainment shows such as Batman Live.

The Echo Arena has enjoyed phenomenal success since its opening in 2008, hosting the 15th Anniversary MOBO Awards, the European MTV Awards, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and the Davis Cup, as well as global performers including Elton John, Beyonce and Lady Gaga.

Tim Banfield , commercial director at Echo Arena , said: “We are very proud to be welcoming our two millionth visitor to the Arena.”
“The last three-and-a-half years have seen some fantastic events here and these are set to continue with some big name acts performing at the venue.”

“This has been a really special occasion as we reflect on the two million visitors who have come through our doors and we look forward to welcoming our next million customers.”

The millionth visitor received a golden ticket awarded by Sir Cliff Richard in November 2009, who was performing at the Arena for the first time.