Black Meetings and Tourism

JAN/FEB 2012

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the Needs of Your Meeting Meeting By DARLENE DONLOE MEETING THE NEEDS It's time to decide which destination and venue to book for your next event, conference, convention or board meeting. Back in the day, organizing those occasions was more of a routine task - make some phone calls, prepare an agenda, assemble the minutes, reports and documents and put them all in a neat little binder. That was then, this is now. POTAWATOMI BINGO CASINO A casino isn't a typicalmeeting destina- tion consideration.That being said, some- times looking and working outside the Meetings have taken on a life of their own. A lot more details are involved in making them a success. Bells and whis- tles aside, what meeting planners need to be armed with is information, information and more information. This column aids meeting planners in their decision-making process by providing vital information on specific destinations. Highlighted in this column are Toronto, Canada; Cleveland, Myrtle Beach, SC and Potawatomi Bingo Casino. Milwaukee Downtown and Hilton Milwaukee City Center. "We're known for our food," says Kaelyn Cervero, catering manager. "That's your expectations, we want to exceed them.'" For more information, visit www.pays- box makes a world of difference in a meeting's success. The Potawatomi Bingo Casino, locat- ed in the heart of Milwaukee,Wisconsin, makes for an atypical destination. Like any other casino, Potawatomi has table games, slots, bingo, poker and off-track betting. There are also five restaurants and a 500-seat theater. If you stay in one of the following hotels in Downtown Milwaukee, there will be access to a shuttle that travels to and from the casino.The hotels include: Comfort Inn & Suites, Milwaukee Athletic Club, Hampton Inn & Suites, Best Western Inn Towne Hotel, Hyatt Regency-Milwaukee, Courtyard by Marriott, Ramada Milwaukee City Centre, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel 20 what I would tell anyone considering us as a destination.We're only a few minutes from downtown. We're also known for being the best entertainment venue.We're considered a one stop shop." Venues and meeting space within the casino include: The Woodland Dreams Ballroom (500 persons, 9,000 sq. ft.); the Tribal Room(100 persons,1,800 sq. ft.); the Wild Earth (150 persons, 2,200 sq. ft.) and the Expo Center (1,200 persons, 30,000 sq. ft.) Cervero pointed out thatmostmeeting planners think they have to go to a 5-star hotel in order to meet their needs. "You don't," she says. "You can get everything you need right here.We're con- venient, right off the freeway,we have free parking andwe're onemile fromhotels.We have a saying here,'we don't want to fulfill TORONTO, CANADA Our neighbors to the north are rolling out the "meetings" red carpet. "Toronto is the ideal meeting site for organizations looking to gain international exposure," says Jonathon Hixon, CMP director of sales,U.S.Association,Tourism Toronto. "In this shrinking global world where better to meet than the United Nations' designated "most diverse city on the planet?" With fantastic access to Europe,Asia and the rest of the world not to mention being a 90 minute (or less) flight for 60% of the U.S. population, Toronto provides that growth opportuni- ty into international meetings for U.S. organizations without many of the fears or concerns that comewith leavingNorth America." The GreaterToronto area,which has a Black Meetings & Tourism January/February 2012:

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