April 2012 Issue 2
IAEE SE Expo Times
ANNA LILLEMOEN, CEM,
Myrtle Beach Convention
How many years have you been with this company? 20 years glorious years as I stated to my City Manager.
Responsibilities? Providing solutions for successful face-to-face meetings in the tradeshow and conference profession
What do you like best about your job? Forming partnerships with providers that will produce memorable events for my clients and their attendees.
How many years have you been in the hospitality industry? 33 years
How did you get into the industry? I needed a job in my hometown after college.
I live in a resort destination where there were many front desk clerk positions available.
What advice would you give to others looking to get into the industry? Cross train in all components that contribute to a successful event.
When did you join IAEE? 1993
How has being a member of IAEE affected your career? It has provided a wider audience of professionals that engage in the tradeshow and conference profession
What accomplishment are you most proud of? There have been many highlights in my professional life but at the moment getting my CEM designation really has given me a sense of accomplishment.
Who do you most admire? I admire many things in many people but collectively, I admire our men and women of the American Military.
What do you like to do for fun? Canoe in the “Redneck Yacht” a 40 year old canoe complete with the America and South Carolina flags and a trolling motor. You can’t paddle all the time!
Do you have a story or experience that you would like to share with the
chapter? Many years ago during a conference, I had the privilege to join a select group of people to tour the USS John Paul Jones, the ship of the Commander of the Pacific Fleet. Participation was by selection, so being from South Carolina, I wrote to the then Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Sen. Strom Thurmond, a South Carolina native. In my request for support in my attempt to join the touring group, I neglected to state that the tour of the USS John Paul Jones was already organized. A call from Sen. Thurmond’s office to me took me by surprise when the Senators Aid wanted to know how many people I wanted to take on a tour and what dates I wanted my group to go. After clarifying that I wanted to join a group, the Aid said that my request really carried weight with the Senator and that he was instructed to organize any tour that I wanted! I was really surprised that my request had that much clout! Needless to say, with Sen. Thurmond’s support, I was able to join the touring group and saw firsthand the young soldiers handle multi-million dollar equipment with expertise. The following year I had the honor of escorting Sen. Thurmond on a tour of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center during its grand opening.
Convention South-June 1, 2011
6 Fun & Family Friendly Cities
by Convention South
If you’re planning a SMERF meeting and want participants to bring their families, choose a destination with mass appeal, like these below.
1. WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS: Nestled in North Texas, Wichita Falls is located between Dallas/Ft. Worth and Oklahoma City. The Multi-Purpose Events Center is a flexible complex consisting of multiple facilities, including an exhibit hall with more than 58,000 square feet of meeting space. Family activities include the newly renovated
Castaway Cove Water Park and the Butterfly Conservatory at River Bend Nature Center. Groups can also enjoy miles of lighted walking trails, winding along the Wichita River to The Falls, a 54-foot, man-made waterfall. Accommodations include the 90-acre Coyote Ranch Resort with the Grand Lodge, five meeting and reception facilities, a wedding chapel, 23 cottages and cabins, two pools and more.
2. WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA: The Greater Williamsburg area of Virginia gives visitors a look at the country’s heritage and offers so much more. “We pride ourselves on having something for every age and every interest,” said Linda Stanier, director of communications for the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance. “We are best known for the Colonial history at Colonial Williamsburg, but we have sites that showcase Civil War history too, exhilarating theme parks like Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.” Greater Williamsburg has over 100 lodging properties to meet almost any need and fit almost every budget. If your event is in the winter, Stanier suggested Great Wolf Lodge with its indoor water park. If your group and their families like sports, consider Kings Mill with its three championship golf courses. And the Williamsburg Lodge and Woodlands Hotel and Suites are part of Colonial Williamsburg.
3. KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA: Providing easy access to world-famous Orlando, Fla., theme parks like Walt Disney World, Kissimmee is the place where almost every kid’s dreams can come to life, said Sylvia Oliande of the Kissimmee CVB. “Families can cheer as their favorite knight bests his rival at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament or marvel at the acrobatic horsemanship at Arabian Nights Dinner Show. Kissimmee also has a large assortment of attractions that allow groups to explore the natural side of the destination, like touring a scenic lake in a pontoon boat or taking a zip-line tour of a nature preserve.” Military reunions enjoy excursions and gathering at the various aviation companies at Kissimmee Gateway Airport, including a WWII air museum. While religious groups enjoy The Holy Land Experience. “Many of Kissimmee’s accommodations offer small- and mid-sized meeting space for a family banquet or even a Sunday morning ‘church’ service, as well as outside gathering space where groups can stage their own picnics,” she said. “Groups can also save money by choosing one of the accommodations that offer breakfast inclusive of their rate.”
4. MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA: A long stretch of sun-kissed sand and surf just begging folks to soak up some fun makes Myrtle Beach a popular destination for all types of travelers. But if you look beyond the beach, you’ll find something for everyone and every age, as Melanie Doty, the SMERF market sales manager for the Myrtle Beach CVB, explained. “It is the one place where you can make everyone in your group happy. From the wonderful theater productions (some with a military tribute at the end), old favorites like Ripley’s Aquarium and area shopping to our newer attractions like WonderWorks and the Sky Wheel (a giant observation wheel that reaches 200 feet above sea level and features 42 climate-controlled gondolas), many of my clients are finding they do not have enough time to do everything,” she said. Many area hotel properties are working hard to garner family business, group-related and otherwise. “Many properties have ‘reinvented’ themselves to be more family friendly,” Doty said. “Groups are finding that if they don’t want to go anywhere once they arrive in Myrtle Beach, properties have added additional swimming pools, waterpark areas and lazy rivers.”
5. GALVESTON, TEXAS: Galveston Island is a historic beach town located 50 miles from Houston. The island offers 32 miles of beaches, a variety of family attractions, Texas’ premier cruise port and one of the largest and well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country, according to Leah Boyd of the Galveston Island CVB, who said The Disney Magic cruise boat will begin its Galveston schedule in September of next year. And, Moody Gardens has opened a newly redesigned Rainforest Pyramid after a $25 million enhancement. The biggest change to the design will be a new tree-top canopy walkway that will take guests on a “bird’s eye” exploration of more than 1,000 species of exotic plants and animals. Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center offers 428 guest rooms and more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space. Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark opens its new Shipwreck Harbor wave lagoon this summer, which will include a 100,000-gallon pool of three-foot waves and two new slides. The San Luis Resort, Spa and Conference Center, offers 246 guest rooms and 40,000 square feet of meeting space. Texas’ only historic beachfront hotel, the Hotel Galvez - A Wyndham Grand Resort, is turning 100 years old this year and offers 224 guest rooms and more than 13,000 square feet of meeting space.
6. PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE: Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge is an outdoor adventurers dream and also a great spot for doing nothing more than simply relaxing in the fresh mountain air. “Pigeon Forge has a huge array of attractions and activities itself, and, of course, its next-door neighbor is Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” said Tom Adkinson of the Pigeon Forge Tourism Department. Dollywood is one of the city’s top attractions and was created by the iconic country star Dolly Parton, a native of nearby Sevierville, Tenn. Adkinson said, “Its theme is the music, crafts, food and culture of the southern Appalachians, so it’s an attraction not duplicated anywhere.” Other attractions include a museum devoted to the Titanic that’s actually a replica of the ship and an upside down building featuring an interactive science center called WonderWorks.
Meeting Focus-March 1, 2011
Meetings Industry Rebounding Strongly
by Tyler Davidson, Chief Content Director
Results from Meetings Focus’ 2011 Meetings Market Trends Survey demonstrate increases in key areas.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The North American meetings industry is solidly in rebound mode after nearly two years of lean times, according to results from the 2011 Meetings Market Trends Survey, published by Meetings Focus, based here.
“This year’s survey, among the most comprehensive in the industry, demonstrated that meeting planners expect to hold more meetings in 2011, work with higher budgets and enjoy higher attendance,” said Tyler Davidson, chief content director of Meetings Focus. “On the flip side, they also expect prices to increase.”
Key findings include the following:
When asked what would be their biggest challenge when planning meetings in the coming year, 14 percent less responded “lower budget” this year when compared to last year’s survey. This was led by corporate planners, of which 19.3 percent less this year said budget woes would be their biggest challenge.
Planners who indicated that the number of meetings they will hold will decrease shrank by 12.5 percent overall, and those who replied that they expect the number of meetings to increase raised 9.3 percent overall. Association planners—who tend to hold the largest meetings—led the pack, with 11.1 percent more expecting their number of meetings to increase more than 10 percent next year.
Those who said “decreasing attendance” would be their biggest challenge fell 9.5 percent this year, led by association planners, of which 12.6 percent less noted attendance decline was their chief concern.
16.7 percent more planners overall listed price increases as their biggest concern in this year’s survey when compared to the previous survey, led by corporate planners (18.5 percent more) and association planners (17 percent more).
The results of the survey, which was completed by nearly 700 respondents, were combined with interviews of participants; a separate survey on career trends accompanied by an analysis by Meetings Focus Career Forum columnist Sheryl Sookman; an outlook story from Issa Jouaneh, vice president of Maxvantage and American Express Meetings & Events; and a page of additional resources.
The results of the 2011 Meetings Market Trends survey are available online at www.MeetingsFocus.com/MarketTrends or via the digital edition of the print publication, also available on MeetingsFocus.com. The digital version of the publication also includes video interviews with major meetings industry association heads: Deborah Sexton, president and CEO of PCMA; Bruce MacMillan, president and CEO of MPI; and John Graham, president and CEO of ASAE. Sookman also provides two video clips analyzing the job market.
About Meetings Focus
Meetings Focus is a San Francisco-based division of Stamats Communications Inc., based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Meetings Focus publishes content geared toward the meetings industry, including print publications Meetings Focus East, Meetings Focus MidAmerica, Meetings Focus South and Meetings Focus West, as well as e-media content channels such as www.MeetingsFocus.com, various e-newsletters and educational webinars, and live events, among other products. Meetings Focus also operates an online virtual community, Meetings Focus Forum (www.MeetingsFocusForum.com), addressing meetings industry subjects.
Convention South, January 2011
Myrtle Beach, At The Center Of It All
Gone are the days of drab, boring meeting destinations. Brilliant sunshine illuminates the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Our 250,000-squarefoot convention center is one of the largest on the East coast, and our exhibit hall is 100,800 square feet of column-free space, divisible into three sections. Hall C features telescopic seating for 2,500 plus and is ideal for general sessions and large assemblies. Thirty five-foot ceilings in the exhibit hall can accommodate most any exhibit or production company’s needs. Eleven dedicated docks and drive in access to each hall assures your event moves in and out on time and on budget. Our 17,000-square-foot ballroom features the advantages of both design and functionality. Whatever your agenda, our ballroom’s flexibility and beauty breaks the old rules of how convention center ballrooms should be. Additionally, there are 17 functional meeting rooms for breakout sessions for up to 200 people theater seating. Our lush 30,000-square-foot Events Plaza landscape is a unique space great for receptions, oyster roasts, barbecues and other outdoor activities.
So...sunbathe, stroll, swim, or fish on the wide beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. Just minutes away enjoy 350 acres filled with unique shopping, casual dining, a variety of attractions and exciting nightlife at Broadway at the Beach. In spring of 2011 WonderWorks will make Broadway at the Beach its third home. Now open for your enjoyment is Myrtle Beach’s 1.2-mile oceanfront boardwalk. The boardwalk stretches from the Second Avenue Pier to the Fourteen Avenue Pier and features three different sections of varying width and shape. Our boardwalk features a raised wooden deck, with dune landscaping and vegetation, to create a serene, peaceful and natural environment and beach experience. Minutes away from the convention center is even a baseball stadium, BB&T Coastal Field, home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, part of the Atlanta Braves system and a great night out for any convention or group to enjoy. Situated in Myrtle Beach’s Entertainment District, we are within steps of all Myrtle Beach has to offer!
We have it all under one roof! Just steps away from your convention activity your attendees will marvel at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel’s exquisite cuisine, state of the art fitness center, and 402 comforting guest rooms and suites. Being a member of the Starwood family, we welcome Starwood Preferred Planners to experience our facility as we Host Great Meetings! As a planner you will find our convention center and hotel to be your best choice on the Eastern Seaboard, and love the fact that we erase the need for early morning commutes from hotel to convention center. While staying at our hotel, enjoy dinner in Vidalia’s Restaurant or an afternoon cocktail at M-Bar, here we offer complimentary
wireless Internet access. At the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel friendly service and a contemporary design awaits you!
The Sheraton chefs provide all the food and beverage services at the convention center, offering a superior food experience for your attendees. Chefs can easily cater a gourmet meal for 5,000 people in our 8,000- square-foot banquet kitchen. You will not be disappointed with their spectacular catered presentations ranging from eye-opening breakfasts to a seven course extravaganza of food and fun.
Modern meeting-goers enjoy our features like wireless Internet access, electricity, cable, telecommunications and water every 30 feet throughout our exhibit halls. Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) lines can be provided throughout our facility. We believe in doing our part in “Going Green,” so much so we have installed Occupancy Motion Sensors. Sensors are designed to turn lights off in meeting rooms, ballrooms and restrooms when there is no movement within 30 minutes. Our facility’s use of compact fluorescent bulbs is estimated to save up to 70 percent on our energy bill.
Services & Amenities
Convention center security staff and monitors keep our facility safe 24 hours a day. We offer over 1,750 on-site parking or your attendees and exhibitors. South Carolina is a right-to-work state and that fact alone is a great service, which eliminates unnecessary expenses.
Airport & Transportation
Just about 70 miles from Interstate 95, you can drive here easily or choose to fly direct to the Myrtle Beach International Airport. Either way, your journey to and from conferences in Myrtle Beach will be an easy one for sure.
Rejuvenate, December 2010
Industry Leaders - Ursula Witherspoon
Sales Manager for Conventions and Expositions
Myrtle Beach Convention Center, South Carolina
“It’s a thrill to see a new trade show or convention produce a successful event in our facility and make plans to return in the future.”
Ursula Witherspoon, CEM, has sold Myrtle Beach in a variety of capacities for nearly 30 years and joined the Myrtle Beach Convention Center team shortly after its opening in 1992. Her professional memberships include the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, PCMA and Religious Conference Managers Association. Witherspoon became a Certified Exhibit Manager in 2009, which she says broadened her capacity to understand a customer’s needs and objectives. When not working, she enjoys exploring the area’s creeks and rivers in her kayak.
“It’s a thrill to see a new trade show or convention produce a successful event in our facility and make plans to return in the future,” she says.
Witherspoon advises planners take full advantage of social media. “Future meetings and events are forecast to rely more on social networking and digital media in marketing branding and to drive event attendance,” she says. “MBCC works hand in hand with our meeting planners to assist them in maximizing their conference attendance via Facebook and linking to their websites.”
Jayne Kuryluk, CMCA, of Christian Meetings and Conventions Association, says, “Our spring show in Myrtle Beach, S.C., was our largest show yet. About 200 were in attendance to enjoy the sights and hospitality of Myrtle Beach. Danna Lilly with the Myrtle Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and Ursula Witherspoon with the Myrtle Beach Convention Center were our gracious hostesses. Thank you, Danna and Ursula, for a fantastic job. The Myrtle Beach show holds many fond memories.”
Meetings South, June 2009
Jo Anne Mims
Convention/Meetings Manager; Associated Locksmiths of America and Safe and Vault Technicians Association; Dallas
Describe your event. Our event was an annual convention of the Safe and Vault Technicians Association in March (SAFETECH 2009). We had 350 members in attendance from over 40 countries. We are an international association, so attendees came from as far away as Papua New Guinea, Guam, Singapore, Sweden and Norway. The purpose of the meeting is educational training and we put on a trade show featuring new products. We were based at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel.
Why did you decide to host the meeting in Myrtle Beach? We wanted a location in the South for the nice weather. It was also important that the location have a lot [for attendees] to do, and Myrtle Beach fit the bill.
What surprised you the most about Myrtle Beach? The ease of getting around the city was a surprise and the convenience of the airport.
What did your attendees seem to enjoy the most about the city? The attendees truly enjoyed the nightlife that the area offered, from the stroll down to the beach area to the easy walk over to Broadway at the Beach. Attendees enjoyed Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and the Hard Rock Cafe Myrtle Beach.
What were some of the unique off-site venues that you used for events or meetings? Our grand finale banquet was held at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. Our international attendees especially enjoyed the music and history the show had to offer.
Was anybody particularly helpful at a venue or property? All of the staff at the hotel and convention center was very friendly and always ready to help with any need we had. From the loading dock staff to the banquet setup folks, everybody was very friendly.
Would you return? Yes. We are planning to return to Myrtle Beach in 2012. The Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel is the perfect venue for us. We love the city, and our attendees will be excited to return.
MB Convention Center wins Chili Challenge
by Continuous News Desk
Seven teams of three prepared at least 20 quarts of chili to be tasted and judged at Myrtle's Market. The event raised money for the American Heart Association. The Myrtle Beach fire and police departments participated - just to name two.
Some of the teams attempted to make an original recipe. Others used family recipes they wouldn't share with anyone. "It's a secret. We're all from the same blood line and honor a family tradition. Many generations of my family died getting this recipe here to the United States so we could make great chili," said Mike Quinn, Myrtle Beach Police Department. The Myrtle Beach Convention Center won the contest.
Tasting and judging was open to the public for a $3.000 donation to the American Heart Association.
The event raised $681.
Destination: The Carolinas
Smart Meetings, October 2010 Creative Conferences in The Carolinas (Excerpt)
North and South Carolina offer the perfect blend of perspectives
By Erin Bernall
The Carolinas contradict. In one moment, the landscape is shrouded in lush forest. At next glance, a labyrinth of waterways and islands punctuate the mid-Atlantic shoreline. Modern cities with sophisticated services remarkably complement historic landmarks that shaped the nation. For meeting planners, North and South Carolina offer great variety for any size event, any time of year.
The Myrtle Beach area, referred to as the Grand Strand, is home to more than 425 hotels and resorts that compose the region’s inventory of 89,000 accommodations. There’s no shortage of recreation either. Golf courses number more than 100, and the new $6-million Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade offers scores of restaurants, shopping and live entertainment options.
New seasonal air service provided by Spirit Airlines, American Eagle and Allegiant Air has further bolstered Myrtle Beach’s appeal to meeting planners. “Many spring and summer conference attendees, who were also last-minute bookers, have been able to take advantage of some great fares with the new low-cost carrier routes,” says Danna Lilly, CMP, director of sales at the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
In the heart of central Myrtle Beach, the Myrtle Beach Convention Center is the region’s primary conference-specific facility. Flexible function space totals 250,000 sq. ft., including the 100,000-square-foot, column-free exhibition hall and a 17,000-square-foot ballroom.
The Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel is connected to the convention center, and offers 400 guest rooms and an in-house ballroom with capacity for up to 1,200. All other meeting and event space needs are met directly with the convention center.
To read the entire article visit http://smartmeetings.com/event-planning-magazine/2010/10/creative-conferences-in-the-carolinas/destination