August 18, 2014

Guadalajara Oozes with Mexican Tradition

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Catedral de Guadalajara

Guadalajara is so saturated in Mexican tradition that it often is called the “most Mexican of all of Mexico’s cities.” It’s not nearly as large or busy as Mexico City, but offers many of the same types of attractions, but on a smaller scale and often with easier accessibility.

  • Situated at the east end of Plaza Tapatia is one of Guadalajara’s architectural gems, Instituto Cultural de Cabanas (Cabanas Cultural Institute). Founded by Bishop don Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabanas and designed by Spanish architect Manuel Tolsa, the building was constructed  from 1805 to 1810 as an orphanage and home for people with disabilities, and remained so for 150 years, housing up to 500 children. In 1938–39, Jose Clemente Orozco, one of the greatest artists of the Mexican muralist movement, created 57 magnificent murals in the Capilla Mayor at the center of the complex. The murals depict the archetypal struggle for freedom and are widely regarded as his finest works. Free tours of the institute in English and Spanish are available.
  • Catedral de Guadalajara (Guadalajara Cathedral), the city’s most beloved landmark, is the Roman Catholic cathedral of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara and a minor basilica. The cathedral is built in the Renaissance style, with two neo-gothic towers. This ornate church, built from 1558 to 1618, has 11 richly decorated altars donated by Spain’s Fernando VII early in the 19th century. The interior also includes Gothic vaults and massive Tuscan-style gold-leaf pillars, and if a group’s timing is right, attendees will see light filter through stained glass renderings of the Last Supper and hear a working pipe organ rumble sweetly from the rafters.
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August 15, 2014

Integrating Gen Y into the Meetings Industry

Joe Martin Headshot 2 4 200x300 Integrating Gen Y into the Meetings Industry

Joe Martin

The MPI World Education Congress this month had dozens of captivating presentations, and one that stood out involved three young meeting professionals who participated in a panel about the generation gap in the meetings industry.

One of the panelists in the presentation, titled “Generation Next: Bridging the Generation Gap in the Workplace and at Meetings,” was Joe Martin, partner and conference director for BDI Events, a full-service events company based in Los Angeles. Martin has more than nine years professional experience in special-event planning and implementation for non-profits and the entertainment industry, and has served as a meeting planner for conferences ranging from 50–1,200 people.

Martin’s energy and enthusiasm buoyed much of the discussion, and his comments broadened the audience’s understanding of Gen Y meetings professionals such as himself. “When baby boomers arrive at their destination, they get on the phone and say, ‘Hi. I’m here.’ When we land, we send a text,” he said.

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August 15, 2014

Country and Convenient: That’s Nashville in a Nutshell

photo1 300x224 Country and Convenient: Thats Nashville in a Nutshell

For those holding meetings and events in Nashville, there’s no better combo than taking over Schermerhorn Symphony Center for a gala and having attendees stay at the Hilton Downtown Nashville or the Omni Nashville Hotel, which are both across the street from the grand live-music venue.

On Monday night during the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting & Exposition, Lady Antebellum took over the symphony center for the organization’s major fundraiser. In addition to the fabulous concert, which sold out, there were four levels of food stations and bars, allowing attendees to roam through the center’s expansive hallways, corridors and side rooms before the show began.

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August 13, 2014

Hyatt Regency DFW: Texas-Sized Value

Exterior night Hyatt Regency DFW: Texas Sized Value

Hyatt Regency DFW

Sponsored by Hyatt Regency DFW

Land your next meeting at Hyatt Regency DFW and enjoy Texas meeting options as big as the Texas sky. A central location with a breadth of options for attendees, Dallas/Fort Worth is one of the foremost convention destinations in the world. The DFW area boasts an expansive array of entertainment and cultural experiences for everyone in your group. From teams in every major sport to world-class cultural options—including the Ross Perot Museum, Kimbell Museum of Art, and one-of-a-kind attractions like the Fort Worth Stockyards and Texas wine country—meetings in Dallas/Fort Worth are unforgettable. Visitors are often surprised at the overall grandeur of North Texas, with the never-ending sky and the authentic Texas hospitality. 

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August 08, 2014

Top o’ the Mornin’ to You!

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Smart Meetings’ Marin Bright with husband Luc Troussieux

This summer, I had one of the best vacations I have ever taken to Ireland. I had won a six-night trip through a Meetings Professional International auction to the Four Seasons Dublin. But then I had the good fortune to be directed by Bernard O’Reilly from Joe O’Reilly Ireland Group, who suggested I expand my trip to Galway, Killarney and Cork.

Ireland is magical in so many more ways than I had expected. Among the surprises: I was delighted by all the medieval ruins scattered throughout the country. I was enchanted by the Viking Museum in Dublin, and fell in love with the taste of Guinness (I am not a beer drinker). I learned that driving on the wrong side of the road becomes second nature after four days. New and improved freeways makes it easy to zip about, and the country is even more green and beautiful than pictures can ever show.

Castles and sheep are everywhere – both are wonderful. Fish and beef on the menus are exceptional. The friendliest people really do live in Ireland. Best of all, there is a sweater weave for every clan—from Kennedy to O’Brien. (Almost 40 percent of Americans claim Irish ancestry, and it shows in all the familiar names.)

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August 07, 2014

Strike a Pose & Enter Our CVB Selfie Contest

sm selfie Strike a Pose & Enter Our CVB Selfie Contest

Can you take a better selfie than Smart Meetings‘ editorial leadership? Surely you can.

As part of Smart Meetings’ annual report on convention and visitors bureaus, we’re holding a Selfie Contest this year.

We’re looking for photos of CVB presidents or vice presidents taken by them at their favorite local landmarks. From theme parks (we’re talking to you, Orlando) to famous bridges (San Francisco, you know what we’re thinking), we are asking CVBs to help us paint pictures of their cities through the eyes of your leaders.

In addition to the photo, we’d like a 150-word description of why each person loves his/her city. Make it personal, insightful or funny. The accent should be on personality.

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August 04, 2014

Cloud Camp Emerges From the Mist

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View from The Broadmoor’s Cloud Camp retreat in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In case you missed it, The Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is roughly two weeks from opening the newest addition to its already impressive collection: Cloud Camp. Sitting 3,000 feet above the hotel atop Cheyenne Mountain, the all-inclusive facility, which is accessible only by 4-by-4 jeep, a 2 hour hike or mule ride, offers a taste of roughing it with all the amenities of a Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond resort, not to mention unparalleled views of the surrounding area and world-famous Pikes Peak. Slated to open Aug. 15, Cloud Camp will be the perfect meeting location for executives and VIP’s looking to get away from it all.

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The main lodge features a wrap-around porch with spectacular views stretching into multiple states.

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Pikes Peak as seen from the main lodge’s front porch.

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One of the surrounding cabins occupies a fire lookout with 360 degree views. It is so isolated that it needed a special ramp to move building supplies to it.

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The cabins are scattered around the mountain top, making each a unique space.

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Work on elevated cabins.

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The main lodge's patio.

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Outside the main lodge.

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More spectacular views.

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Cloud Camp, which sits on the site of Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose ’s private Cheyenne Lodge, consists of 11 one and two bedroom guest cabins, as well as six accommodations in a main lodge and an adjacent honeymoon cabin.

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A view of the main lodge’s great room, which will serve as a dining area and feature a massive stone fireplace.

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Rub a dub dub: a Victorian bathtub is set in place in a room in the main lodge.

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For more information about The Broadmoor, look for the Denver and Colorado Springs story in the upcoming September issue of Smart Meetings magazine.

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July 31, 2014

Get Away From it All in Maui

rainbows Get Away From it All in Maui

Sunsets and rainbows and luaus, oh my. There are plenty of reasons to visit Maui on vacation, or business, but I’m kind of partial to sunsets, rainbows and luaus, which always provide unforgettable photo ops and memories while chilling on the second-largest Hawaiian island.

Even though I travel globally as part of my job as managing editor at Smart Meetings magazine, I especially appreciated a recent family vacation to Maui. I was tempted to ask meeting attendees wearing requisite nametags at our hotel about the events they were attending, but I somehow maintained my focus on enjoying my time away from work.

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July 28, 2014

We Hold These Meeting Spaces to be Self-Evidently Grand

national archives event We Hold These Meeting Spaces to be Self Evidently Grand

Event at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Photo by Pepe Gomez/Pixelme Studios.


Washington, D.C., is bursting with development, including new hotels and restaurants that are boosting the city’s meetings industry.

One of the most recently opened hotels, Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C., opened on May 1, adjacent to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The hotel boasts 1,175 guest rooms and more than 105,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including the 30,000-square-foot Marquis Ballroom and two 10,800-square-foot ballrooms.

Another venue could soon become more of a major player in the Washington, D.C., meetings industry—an established tourist destination that isn’t typically thought of as a meetings spot, but offers several outstanding options.

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July 25, 2014

Survey: Americans Love Watching Cat Videos In-Flight

keyboard cat Survey: Americans Love Watching Cat Videos In Flight
Why airliners need in-flight Wi-Fi


A new survey released by Honeywell Aerospace, a supplier of in-flight Wi-Fi hardware, confirms what just about everyone already knew: Americans love their cat videos, and will do just about anything to watch them.

The survey, which polled 1,045 Americans between June 6 and June 19, showed in-flight Wi-Fi to be important to the average traveler, with 66 percent of travelers responding that its availability influenced their flight selection, and 37 percent saying they would be upset if it wasn’t offered on their next flight.

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