Destination: Texas Meeting & Event Planning City Guide

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Destination Articles

  • A Brand-New Texas

    By Steve Winston

    August 01, 2014

    Advertising slogans notwithstanding, Texas isn’t really “a whole other country.” It’s more like a whole bunch of other countries.

    The Lone Star state has metamorphosed—and is still metamorphosing—as much as any state in America.

  • Viva Las Fiestas

    By Dan Johnson

    May 23, 2014

    Though overshadowed in some ways by Dallas and Houston, when it comes to fun and excitement in the Lone Star State, San Antonio and Austin are hard to beat. Both cities mix a unique, rich history with a distinctly modern vibe, thereby attracting a wide array of meeting groups looking for rousing experiences after meeting sessions.

  • 3 Days in Multicultural Houston

    By Mona L. Hayden

    March 25, 2014

    In a city that spans 634 sq. mi. and boasts 2.1 million residents and 83 spoken languages, Houston’s multicultural landscape exudes stimulation and versatility. This port city, the fourth largest in the United States, is a seamless fusion of people, from Europeans to Cajun to Vietnamese to Middle Easterners.

    Celebrated during the last century as an area rich in oil and petrochemical production, Houston is also renowned for its advancements in health care and research thanks to the world-class Texas Medical Center and NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Cultural offerings include the Museum and Theater districts and a local culinary scene with more than 8,000 restaurants representing in excess of 35 countries and U.S. regions. In true, bigger-than-life Texas style, visitors can literally eat their way around the world and never leave the city.

    “Houston is now known as a major destination for foodies and those who enjoy the visual and performing arts,” says Nathan Tollett, director of sales for the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The accolades in these areas continue to grow, but perhaps most importantly, meeting planners are attracted to the attitude here. People are extremely friendly, particularly in the hospitality community, and that keeps certain meetings and planners coming back for more.”

    There are so many venues and hotels to consider for meetings and conventions in the Greater Houston region that Smart Meetings has mapped out what a three-day event may look like. See why we’re high on Houston.

    Above: Downtown Houston, courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau/Jim Olive

  • Big on Meetings

    By Bob Ecker

    December 26, 2013

    The Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex has many claims to fame—stockyards and steak houses, oil barons and rodeos, barbecue, J.R. Ewing, the Cotton Bowl, the Dallas Cowboys, American Airlines and, sadly, the place where John F. Kennedy was killed. Cowboy culture, oil money and barbecue still thrive, but today Dallas and Fort Worth are also a major cosmopolitan metropolitan area and meeting-industry hub. 

    A survey conducted by the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau revealed that the city has climbed to No. 5 in the United States for meetings and incentive business. During the 2012-13 fiscal year, the Dallas CVB reports that a record 31 citywide meetings were scheduled, resulting in 1.5 million future room nights—the most citywide bookings in the bureau’s 55-year history.

    According to the 2010 census, Dallas was the ninth-largest city in the United States, with a population of 1,241,000; it’s the third-largest city in Texas (after Houston and San Antonio). The Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex is home to more than 7 million people.

    “There are a variety of reasons to hold a meeting in Dallas,” says Phillip J. Jones, CEO of the Dallas CVB. “We are centrally located and have tremendous access and great attractions, and are an affordable destination. There are more than 8,000 rooms within one mile of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, which recently underwent $60 million in renovations, with another $350 million in expansion plans coming.” 

    Warm and friendly, Dallas is also less than a four-hour flight from virtually anywhere in the continental United States—helpful geography for meeting planners catering to far-flung attendees. Here are 11 reasons to take your next meeting to the Dallas/Fort Worth region:

    Main image: Big Tex, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, courtesy of Dallas CVB

  • Meet Small in the Big “T”

    By Carolyn Koenig

    July 24, 2013

    Surprise! When you read “meetings” and “Texas” in the same sentence, you typically think “big,” and with good reason: The state is a whopping 268,820 square miles, with 254 counties and a 350-mile-long Gulf Coast. Texas boasts several highly populated cities, including Houston, the largest city in Texas and the fourth biggest in the United States, and San Antonio, the second largest in the state and seventh biggest in the nation. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest U.S. metropolitan areas, respectively. Texas also is the epicenter for large meetings, with a vast portfolio of convention centers, big-brand hotels, major sports stadiums and attractions, and a rich history full of larger-than-life heroes, including Janis Joplin, Alvin Ailey, Nolan Ryan and presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, George Bush and George W. Bush.

  • In the Footsteps of History

    By Steve Winston

    April 23, 2013

    This is hallowed ground.

    It’s quiet now. But if you listen closely you can hear them, the men from both sides who gave their lives for their cause here. You can also hear the cannons bellowing across the centuries, belching flame and death with every explosion.

Learn about Texas for Event Venues, Services & Meeting Destinations

Destination Description

When it comes to a Texas state of mind, Sam Houston perhaps said it best: “Texas is the finest portion of the globe that has ever blessed my vision. ”That feeling expressed by the Lone Star State’s founding father still holds true today among Texans who maintain their own brand of pride, a heritage shaped from two centuries of living along a rugged frontier, one that stretches 773 miles from the western barren desert plains to the verdant East Texas pine forests. Encompassing 268,000 square miles, Texas has it all—from the West Texas mountains’ rugged “cowboy country,” with wide-open spaces, to South Padre Island’s white-sand beaches, to grassy wetlands and bayous along its Gulf of Mexico shoreline.

What captures the attention of meeting planners, however, is what the state’s sheer size has to offer. Texas is home to three of the nation’s top 10 cities: Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, all with major meeting venues and premier museums, performing arts and cultural attractions. And because of its central location and airport hubs, traveling to Texas can often mean a direct flight from many U.S. cities. Add abundant sunshine and a wide range of venues to choose from, and it’s no surprise meeting planners are eyeing Texas in a big way.