ALEX KAPTZAN Director of Convention Sales ✪ Tampa Bay & Company
The Ever-Expanding Hub of Florida’s West Coast
What’s new in your destination that meeting planners are most excited about? The Glazer Children's Museum, the Tampa Art Museum, and Curtis Hixon Park are all brand-new developments that have opened within the past year, within close proximity of our convention center. New attractions include the Cheetah Run and Cheetah Hunt rollercoaster at Busch Gardens and the brand-new LEGOLAND Florida.
How has your team used social media to work with meeting professionals and promote your destination? What new social- media tools are you looking forward to trying? Tampa Bay & Company utilizes blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube as its primary social-media tools, and they have proven to be tremendously success- ful in marketing the destination. We primarily use blogs to promote the destina- tion to meeting professionals, and we use Twitter to gauge the pulse of a group’s attendees while they are in Tampa.
HOST CITY: When the 2012 Republican National Convention meets in Tampa Bay, they’ll find a bright new downtown, a revamped riverwalk, and more than 18,000 hotel rooms, said Alex Kaptzan.
What single asset makes you most proud to repre- sent your destina- tion? The hospitable envi- ronment Tampa offers, no question. We wel- come our visitors with a friendly, safe, and affordable destina- tion that has every- thing one looks for in
a Florida experience — history, culture, warm weather, attractions, and more. Our unique combination of ingredients can’t be matched, and we provide it all at a great value.
What piece of advice would you give to a young professional entering the meetings and conventions industry? Get involved, and stay involved, with your industry. Network among your peers; join trade organizations, boards, and committees; and volunteer your time and knowledge whenever and wherever possible. Gain as much exposure in your industry as possible, and strive to continue learning throughout your career.
CHANGERS 96 pcma convene January 2012
What are meeting professionals asking for now that they weren’t asking for a year or two ago? How are you responding? The trend of supply exceeding demand in hotels and convention centers has created larger function-space needs, while attrition issues from 2009 and 2010, as well as economic worries, have shrunken room blocks. Groups require more space but cannot commit to the blocks they did historically. Hotels are looking for alternate revenue streams, and often tie rentals to food-and-beverage minimums. Convention centers have also gotten very creative in offsetting those rentals. n