Intelligence Report: October 2006

Meeting Planning

Pride of the Nation
Many know that an investment in the community is an investment in the future. But few have invested like the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation Indian tribe, whose $52-million restoration turned a 96-year-old historic landmark in downtown San Diego into a world-class luxury hotel. Scheduled to open this month, The US Grant has hosted 13 U.S. presidents and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.

The elegant hotel features 33,000 sq. ft. of ballroom and event space, and 270 guest rooms with French and original Native American art. The hotel also offers elegant dining at The Grant Grill, as well as a spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a rooftop terrace and an opulent lobby with private salons.

Hip Flamingo
Stylish, modern and hip—all words that you might soon associate with the Flamingo Las Vegas after an extensive, 636-room renovation scheduled for completion in February 2007. The new rooms will offer upscale accommodations with modern décor and technologically advanced amenities, including sophisticated entertainment systems and MP3 player docking stations. And as part of the fresh Flamingo experience, guests will receive a CD of rock songs specially compiled for the hotel, along with newly designed room keys that complement the resort’s new décor. The Flamingo’s pool is set to undergo major improvements, as well.

Pat on the Back
Everyone likes to celebrate a job well done—especially the hospitality industry. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and Sunstone Hotel Investors had plenty to celebrate in early September after unveiling the Fairmont Newport Beach—the brand’s first in Orange County. The bash was the icing on the cake after Sunstone Hotel Investors spent more than $32 million to completely revamp the 440-room hotel.

Lose the Luggage…
You probably are well aware that airline security and weight standards have gotten tougher. Gone are the days where you can bring as many carry-on bags as your hands can hold—which is why more and more people are relying on baggage service companies to deliver luggage safely and hassle-free to their final destination. At least six companies are specifically geared for travel bag delivery: Luggage Concierge (, Luggage Forward (, Luggage Free (, Sports Express (, The Luggage Club ( and Virtual Bellhop (

…And Get a Boarding Pass

It’s not just private companies that are helping you around bothersome airport baggage check-in. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the San Diego Convention Center have implemented services to help keep your hands free while traveling. The LVCVA, in cooperation with McCarran International Airport, recently implemented Airport SpeedCheck Advance, allowing convention attendees to check in their luggage on-site. For $20, customers can check their bags at Las Vegas Convention Center kiosks during regular show hours, and get their boarding pass for a flight later that day.

Also, for a $10 fee, guests attending major conventions and trade shows in San Diego will have the convenience of traveling baggage-free and obtaining a boarding pass at the Convention Center. Guests flying on Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue or United airlines will have access to the service. or

Why Stop Now?
Two airlines have made it easier to get from point A to point B. Southwest announced it will begin operating a total of 12 new daily nonstops from Washington’s Dulles International Airport starting October 5 that include flights to Las Vegas, Denver and Los Angeles.

Also, beginning October 29, Alaska Airlines will offer new daily nonstop service between San Diego and San Francisco, operating four daily flights on weekdays and a reduced schedule on weekends, with flights timed for convenient connections to other cities in the Pacific Northwest, Mexico and Vancouver. or

Conferon Global Services, an event service that includes the former Conferon, ExpoExchange and ITS division, has united under the single name Experient. Industry execs say that the merging will allow the company to maximize its wealth of experienced experts in all of its departments, including registration, housing, event management and sales. Experient is one of the industry’s largest centrally managed event-service providers, offering services to more than 1,050 customers and managing more than 2,800 meetings and incentive groups every year.