FREE WI-FI Attendees and organizers alike are demanding more and more band- width for the content-rich apps that orbit every meeting, and, slowly but steadily, venues are responding with free facility-wide wireless access. That makes planners happy. “Not only do our attendees need to stay in touch with their associates back home, but they need access to our newly launched mobile applications and wayfinding systems — which ultimately lead to a better attendee experience overall,” said Carrie Abernathy, CMP, CEM, director of education, training, and events for Practice Greenhealth. “Today, being without Internet is like being disconnected from the pulse. Making it free for us to provide to our attendees is icing on the cake.”
MCEC’S FOOD AND WINE BLOG fromfarmtofork.net.au How seriously does the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) take food and wine? Seriously enough to create a foodie blog dedi- cated exclusively to MCEC’s kitchen operation. Visit the blog for “our reci- pes, an insight into the kitchen, and some of the team’s culinary adventures across Victoria” — from an interview with sous chef Billy Palmer, to pastry chef Mike Belcher’s recipe for hot cross buns, to a behind-the-scenes look at the kitchen’s preparations for AIME (Asia- Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo), to a report on MCEC’s stand at the Mel- bourne Food & Wine Festival’s Cellar Door & Farm Gate event, which offered “a perfect opportunity to illustrate our from-farm-to-fork philosophy.” Much like the blog itself.
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PHILLY’S ELIMINATED 8% FEE paconvention.com Lest you think Chicago has cornered the market on trade-show labor reforms, the Pennsylvania Conven- tion Center Authority (PCCA) in Philadelphia recently announced that it was eliminating its 8-percent labor- management fee as of July 1 — part of a campaign to transition the 2.3-million- square-foot facility to a more customer- focused business model. “Our business is customer service, so when our customers told us that eliminating the 8-percent fee would make us more com- petitive, we listened,” said Ahmeenah Young, PCCA’s president and CEO. “All of us — management, unions, and con- tractors alike — recognize that we suc- ceed only when our customers succeed, and we’re united in achieving that goal.”
PEDESTRIAN SAFETY AT THE OCCC occc.net/pdf/Map_Connectivity.pdf The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) sits at the heart of a sprawling meetings district that also includes the Hilton Orlando, The Peabody Orlando, and Rosen Centre — 4,375 guest rooms, well more than two million square feet of event space, and a never-ending traf- fic jam of attendees, taxis, and buses. Until the OCCC embarked on a com- prehensive pedestrian-safety initiative
that has built covered bridges to the three hotels, with a fourth bridge in the works; enhanced wayfinding signage outside the OCCC; and added covered waiting areas for bus and trolley stops. “We are known as the number-one tourist destination,” said Kathie Canning, the OCCC’s general manager. “Now we want to be known as the safest place in the United States for pedestrians.”
ATLANTA MARRIOTT MARQUIS’ GREEN PROGRAM convn.org/marriott-green Lots of hotels have green programs, but for Cori Dossett, CEM, CMP, president of Dallas-based Conferences Designed, the appeal of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis is that “the hotel cares enough about our footprint to take active steps toward conservation” — from meet- ing rooms with linen-less tables, to an ample supply of recycling bins, to a staff member who helped her group donate more than a thousand granola bars to a local food bank. And unlike other venues, the hotel delivered on every sustainability item it promised in its RFP. “These are just a few examples of the many steps they are taking toward improvement,” Dossett said. “It is a total package.”