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were built in the 1950s. Today, all that is a tremendous draw.”


“We have a niche,” adds Siciliano. “A large percentage of our convention business is derived from the SMERF (social,military, educational, religious, fraternal) market. When the Elks, 12 Cedars,Knights of Columbus and fire- men have a convention here, they bring their wives and kids along for a mini-vacation. In February, there was a dog show, which drew about 5,000 people. It’s a prelude toWestminster.”


“Here we were, in the dead of winter,and there was a lot of activity,” interjects Rose. “In May through October, there is so much to do in the Wildwoods, but now we have interest throughout all seasons.”


“The convention center is responsible for this,” says Siciliano. “It provides a year-round economy. We’re building long-standing relationships with organizations because of the strong family personality of the town. There is a tremendous history and the center is becom- ing part of the fabric of the community.”


Resort Relevance


What’s New in the Poconos? The Poconos welcomes two new properties. Kalahari Resort and Convention Center is an African-themed indoor waterpark located in Monroe County. It is a 150-acre complex fea- turing 457 luxury guest rooms and suites, a 65,000-square foot convention center, a fam- ily entertainment center, three full-service restaurants and 6,000-square feet of retail space. This new resort is the first on the East Coast for the brand. Two other Kalahari resorts currently operate in Wisconsin and Ohio.


Spring also will bring Camelback Lodge and Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark, opening in Tannersville. Situated at the base of Camelback Mountain, the eight-story hotel features a 125,000-square foot indoor water- park, 453 suites, a spa, several dining options and conference space.


48 March  April 2015


When one venue offers a complete package of meeting space, dining, lodging and recreation, planners rejoice. Hershey Resorts is such a place.“This is not just some- where to lay your head at night,”extolsMike Reynoldson, assistant director of resort sales.“It is a destination with unique activities for groups. We offer 100,000-square feet of flexible function space at Hershey Lodge and 25,000- square feet at The Hotel Hershey. As a destination,we are perfect for business and pleasure because of the prox- imity to dining,entertainment andmany area attractions, like Hershey Gardens, a 23-acre botanical showpiece, Hersheypark amusement park, and Chocolate World, which animates the chocolate-making experience.”


Other appealing pastimes for anyone attending a meet- ing at Hershey Resorts are: The Spa at the Hotel Hershey (The Chocolate Spa),with its 54 treatment areas; and a complimentary outdoor sports complex for tennis, bas- ketball, sand volleyball, croquet, bocce ball, shuffle- board, horseshoes, swimming and fitness. Four restau- rants dot the property, while charming cottages give guests another overnight option.


Hershey Destination Services (HDS) Department of Fun focuses on team building and meeting themes.“This is an internal department that provides services a meeting planner usually pays an outside vendor to handle,” remarks Reynoldson. “A local corporation recently booked Hershey Lodge,crediting HDS as a key factor in its decision. We provided the group with a unique team building exercise involving canned products manufac- tured by the company. The teams constructed a replica of their headquarters and then donated the canned goods to charity. An association held its board retreat at Hershey Resort because of our location, natural light


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