Industry Update

September 1, 2007

Places to Go Things to Do Travel receives travel certifications in MBE/WBE

Places to Go Things to Do Travel is now a certified MBE/WBE and is here to serve businesses with excellence in the travel industry and meeting planning services. If you would like more information on services provided, please contact Geneva Smith at (314) 438-1166 or via e-mail at [email protected].

Professional Memberships:
American Society of Travel Agents
Women in Travel-St. Louis
Christian Meetings & Conventions Association
Travel Professionals of Color

“Get to Know” tour of Innsbrook a Success

On Friday, May 18, 2007, Innsbrook hosted its “Get to Know Innsbrook” spring tour. Attendees from companies and organizations such as the Missouri Hospital Association, Ameren, BJC, Boeing, University of Missouri-Columbia, St. Charles CVB and the Missouri Department of Education attended this one-day event.

Activities included a facility tour; lunch prepared by Innsbrook’s executive chef, Dan Thomas; a featured presentation given by Missouri Meetings & Events publisher Joe Clote; horseback riding; and a poolside happy hour.

Innsbrook is the ideal center for productive and stimulating conferences in cooperation with nature. The 7,400 acres of rolling hills and 96 lakes combine to create a distraction-free setting. Located in the heart of the Midwest, Innsbrook is only 45 minutes west of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, so conferees can spend their time meeting instead of traveling.
From start to finish, when you meet at Innsbrook you will enjoy a superior conference experience, including:

• Variety of meeting rooms with break-out areas
• Full on-site catering service
• Host of amenities from golf and tennis to horseback riding and hiking
• Lakeside overnight accommodations for multi-day conferences
• And much, much more.


Mount Pleasant Winery is investing nearly $2 million in a 9,190-square-foot building, which will open in Branson this fall. The limestone-accented building, sitting on two acres near Green Mountain Drive and Highway 165, will include nearly 3,000 square feet of retail space, 2,000 square feet for warehouse storage, 1,500 square feet of wine tasting rooms, and 2,500 square feet of common areas. The exterior of the Branson location will closely follow the original architectural styles of the Augusta location. Not only will Branson visitors enjoy sitting at three wine-tasting bars, but they will also have the unique opportunity of bottling their own wine.
Mount Pleasant Winery is currently accepting applications for managerial and sales staff for the new location. A cornerstone-setting ceremony was held in July 2007.

Augusta, Mo.-based Mount Pleasant Winery offers majestic scenery and award-winning wines. Call (636) 482-WINE, 1-800-467-WINE, or visit for more information.

Visit Truman sites during 50th anniversary of his Presidential Library Visitors to Independence have the unique opportunity to enjoy a number of Truman historic sites. They can sip a chocolate fudge milkshake on the comfy padded barstools at Clinton’s Soda Fountain or cruise past Harry’s boyhood home and the Truman Depot of the famous l948 “Whistlestop” Presidential campaign. An insightful, 12-minute slide show on the family and the home is available at the Truman Home Visitor and Information Center and fascinating tours of the Truman Home, known as the Summer White House, are offered by National Park Service Rangers. The home remains exactly as it was when Harry died in 1972, down to the coats, hat and cane belonging to Harry and Bess left hanging behind the door.

At the Historic Jackson County Courthouse, visit Harry’s restored office and courtroom, where he worked in the 1930s. Those who wish may retrace Harry’s steps on the Truman Historic Walking Trail, marked with 43 bronze sidewalk plaques scattered throughout peaceful, leafy historic neighborhoods. Brochures for this self-guided walk are available at the Truman Home or Ticket and Visitors Center.

The crown jewel of Harry’s haunts is his Presidential Museum & Library, one of only 10 Presidential libraries in America. Harry came here to work in his office from the time of his retirement until his death at age 88. The Museum has undergone a $22 million renovation, and exhibits today are highly interactive with advanced audio/visual technology.

Learn about the personal and family background of Truman in “The Life and Times of Harry S. Truman” through ten audiovisual components, displays and four interactive activity stations. Children can make campaign buttons, sort mail like Truman did as a postmaster, engage in a computerized “race” to Bess’s home or dress up to look like Harry, Bess and Margaret.

Complete your tour with a stop at the graves of Harry and Bess in the courtyard and observe the eternal flame that stands in front of his life-size statue. This year, the Library is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Make certain to explore the long-running exhibit, Treasures of the Presidents. This amazing collection of 200 artifacts, on loan from all the nation’s presidential libraries, showcases extravagant head of state gifts such as a jewel-encrusted dagger, personal possessions such as Bill Clinton’s saxophone and whimsical folk art gifts such as a hand carved coconut bust of Harry Truman.

For a complete listing of special events, other sites and attractions, discount coupons, themed itineraries and lodging information, call (816) 325-7111, toll free 800-748-7323 or go to


Five years in the making, spanning nearly 100 pristine waterfront acres, the $420 million premier tourism destination known as Branson Landing has boasted 4.9 million visitors in its first year of operation.

“By strategically mixing entertainment, eateries and unique shopping opportunities, we’ve created an environment that appeals to a wide segment of both area residents and tourists,” stated Richard Huffman, CEO of HCW Development Company—the Branson-based developer of the Landing. With traffic counts exceeding first year projections by more than 20 percent, consumers are proving this formula of “shoppertainment” has taken the Branson market into a new era of tourism.


More than 100 retail establishments are divided into six key shopping districts. Flanked by a national chain, Belk’s Department Store, and a regional icon, Bass Pro Shops, a strategically designed mix of select strong brand chain retailers and specialty shops lines the pedestrian-oriented urban streetscape. Consumers discover a host of shopping opportunities that aren’t available anywhere else in the area.

Visitors can select from an array of signature waterfront dining options, from themed restaurants to intimate cafes, including such national family favorites as Famous Dave’s BBQ, Joe’s Crab Shack and Garfield’s Pub & Restaurant. In addition, guests can stop in at any of the many specialty food shops and kiosks for a light snack or lunch. Plus, with upscale adult-oriented dining options including Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Cantina Laredo and Bar Louie, there is something to satisfy every consumer’s taste. With the much-anticipated openings of Piztro’s Pizza Bistro Bar, Bass Pro’s White River Fish Co., Wedding Italiano, Ernie Biggs’ Classic Dueling Piano Bar and more, the food fare options are abundant.


From the antics of local comedians, magicians and clowns to a real cowboy in action, more than a dozen talented entertainers will delight audiences of every age. The Landing’s focal point of activity is the Town Square, where live, free concerts and events are slated throughout the year. The outdoor waterfront stage is back by a $7.5 million spectacular water attraction featuring a merger of fire, light, water and music. The dazzling interplay of 120-foot geysers and fountains complemented by blasting fire cannons and a musical light show creates a beautifully choreographed spectacle. Daily performances of the Branson Landing Fountains run at the top of every hour from noon to close. In addition to free entertainment, waterfront adventures are easily accessible to visitors. They include Ride the Ducks, a one-hour sightseeing land and lake tour, and Gage’s Branson Landing Marina and Shoppes, specializing in cruise experiences on historic Lake Taneycomo.


With shopping, eateries and lakeside entertainment all encompassing a 1.5-mile waterfront destination, the addition of premier lodging completes the overall tourism package. Opening in August, the 12-story luxury Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel with 293 rooms and suites, and the Branson Convention Center with 220,000 square feet of meeting space, exhibit halls and a grand ballroom, will provide the perfect facilities for individual families and large group events. The recently opened 242-room Hilton Promenade, located near the Town Square, offers travelers an indoor pool, health club, meeting rooms and dining at the Famous Liberty Tavern Restaurant.
For additional information and a complete list of shopping, entertainment, dining and lodging options, visit the Branson Landing Web site at

J. Buck’s Announces Grand Opening of Newest Location

The newest J. Buck’s Restaurant can be found at the corner of 10th and Clark streets on the ground floor of a recently rehabbed, 140-year-old historic Cupples Station building in downtown St. Louis. Special features include a roof deck with breathtaking views of the city and spacious facilities for corporate meetings and rehearsal dinners. Ample off-street parking and easy access to Highway 40/64. Reservations accepted – walk-ins welcome. For more information, visit

Hilton Hotels Revamps Online Group Booking Tool, All-In-One Planning Tool Makes Meeting Planning Easier

e-Events Portal Provides Real-Time, Customized Group Hotel Accommodations and Meeting Space for Family Events, Weddings, Business Meetings

Hilton Hotels is alleviating the amount of time and energy spent on organizing small social and business functions with the introduction of its enhanced e-Events online group booking tool, available at

Representing a first in the hotel industry, e-Events allows organizers to book an entire group event or meeting from start to finish at any time, and receive immediate confirmation of their reservations. The online portal caters to groups requiring 25 rooms or fewer, whether for a family reunion, wedding, sporting event or corporate retreat.

The company’s industry-leading technology, OnQ, enables online users to see room availability across more than 200 participating Hilton hotels in North America. With hundreds of hotels to choose from, e-Events allows professional and amateur event planners, small business owners and families to find a hotel that fits their needs based on price, guest room types and features such as proximity to local attractions, kid-friendly amenities and high-speed Internet capabilities. Special event organizers can reserve guest rooms, meeting spaces, food and beverage, audio/visual equipment and more up to one year in advance without a request for proposal or a waiting period.
Hilton’s e-Events features an all-inclusive Guest List Manager tool that enables meeting and event planners to manage their room blocks, including instant, online access to group reservation details and guest room information through an HHonors or Fast Reservations profile. Guest List Manager lets event guests access a group code provided by their event organizer so they can reserve their own rooms within the room block. Planners can instantly see who has booked guest rooms for their events, and can reserve rooms on behalf of guests, thus keeping track of the total head count at all times. This online efficiency eliminates the need to call the hotel or wait for the hotel to upload room lists manually.

Hilton Hotels is also rewarding event planners who use e-Events. Organizers who use an American Express card to book a qualifying event or meeting with e-Events between now and October 31, 2007, and complete the event by February 28, 2008, will receive an American Express® branded reward card worth $250, valid at any participating U.S. Hilton hotel. Event planners can also earn Points & Miles® for qualifying events with the Hilton HHonors® Event Planner Program. For more details on e-Events or the Event Planner Program, please visit

For more information, please visit


Stoney Creek Inn, a Northwoods theme hotel chain located in the Midwest, announces the site of its newest property in Sioux City, Iowa. Jim Thompson, president of Stoney Creek Hospitality Corporation, announced that construction will begin on the 11th Stoney Creek Inn and Conference Center.

The 161-room hotel, to be located directly north of the Tyson Events Center, includes a 16,000-square-foot conference center, glass lobby elevator and Wilderness Park Pool, and is a completely smoke-free facility. A summer 2008 opening is planned.

Other locations in four states include Galena, Peoria, Quad Cities and Quincy, Illinois; Des Moines and Waukon, Iowa; Columbia and St. Joseph, Missouri; and LaCrosse and Wausau, Wisconsin. Accommodations at Stoney Creek Inn offer the guest an opportunity to “Experience the great outdoors…indoors.” For further information, visit the Web site:


The Cordish Company announced the addition of two unique and dynamic tenants, Angel’s Rock Bar and Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, to the Kansas City Power & Light District.

Angel’s Rock Bar, a concept created by established venue operator Jerry Watson of Houston, will occupy 4,000 square feet on the west side of the second level of the Kansas City Live! block. Featuring both live and recorded music, the venue will combine the best elements of a world-class club venue with the attitude of a neighborhood pub. Classic and comfortable with splashes of decadence, Angel’s Rock Bar will allow its guests to rock out around multiple bars or be extravagant in unique, stadium-style plush booths overlooking the action.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium will be located on the west side of the first floor of the Kansas City Live! block. The 4,600-square-foot venue will feature more than 225 hand-crafted beers from more than 15 countries. Eighty different unique beers will be available on tap, and approximately 150 different bottles from around the world are part of the list of options. Founded by innovative entrepreneur Shannon Wynne of Dallas, Flying Saucer offers guests the opportunity to become a BEERKNURD by paying a small fee for a T-shirt and a magnetic card. BEERKNURDS then can swipe their cards to keep track of the beers they have consumed in an effort to be immortalized in the bar’s Ring of Honor. (BEERKNURDS get their names put on saucers affixed to the bar’s wall after sampling 200 different beers, with a three beer per night limit.)

Flying Saucer will offer a “fire sale” every evening, for those customers whose budgets do not allow them to partake in the more expensive beer offerings. Mondays will be “pint night,” where all the draught beers on the wall are a low price, and Wednesdays will be “commemorative glass” night.

Beer and glass aficionados should visit the Flying Saucer Web site at

About the Power & Light District

The Power & Light District is creating a vibrant new nine-block neighborhood in downtown Kansas City. The District will link the renovated Bartle Hall Convention Center, the new Sprint Center, offices, hotels, entertainment, cultural destinations and residential developments. The $850 million mixed-use district will anchor $2 billion in complementary development efforts in downtown Kansas City, such as the new H&R Block headquarters. The combination of entertainment, retail, nightlife and residential with imaginative and innovative design will create a unique and vibrant neighborhood.


Executives of Ameristar Casinos Inc. celebrated with guests and community leaders at a topping-off ceremony for Ameristar St. Charles’ new luxury hotel, spa and pool slated to open in December 2007. To commemorate the occasion, guests signed the final steel beam that was raised to the top of the 25-story hotel tower, signifying that construction has reached its highest point and a significant milestone toward the project’s completion has been achieved.
When finished, the $265 million facility will include a 400-room, all-suite luxury hotel, a 7,000-square-foot full-service spa, an indoor/outdoor pool area with landscaped grounds and waterfalls and a 2,000-space parking garage. The first phase of the expansion – with 19,200 square feet of state-of-the-art conference and meeting facilities – opened in September 2006.Hotel Exterior and


The distinctive design of the hotel and parking garage exterior is indicative of the historic masonry themes of the St. Charles area, but interpreted with a contemporary take. Guests will enter the hotel from a newly refurbished and modern entryway that leads into the hotel lobby. It is predominantly glass with stone floors and walls and includes a “water wall” feature that will introduce sound and atmosphere into the space. Beyond the entrance, the hotel’s sweeping two-story lobby will greet guests with scenic views of the Missouri River amid sophisticated luxury.

400 Luxurious Suites

The all-suite hotel’s 400 oversized rooms will offer some of the metropolitan area’s most upscale accommodations. All suites have front bedroom entrances to showcase scenic views of the river and St. Charles from sunken living rooms.Swimming Pools, Cascading Fountains and Romantic

Fire Pits

An impressive indoor/outdoor pool, a unique pool deck and a distinctive landscaped area complement the hotel. Guests will be able to swim between the indoor and outdoor pools. Surrounded by tranquil fountains, the pool area will also feature indoor and outdoor hot tubs. Guests can relax in upscale chaise lounges, specialty seating areas and around romantic fire pits.

A Tranquil, Relaxing Spa Retreat

Also on the pool level, guests will find the hotel’s full-service spa, which will pamper guests in a tranquil and relaxing water-themed environment featuring blue and green tones and custom glass and water features. The 7,000-square-foot spa will offer a full menu of traditional and unique signature spa services in six private treatment rooms.

About Ameristar Casino St. Charles

Ameristar Casino St. Charles brings the finest gaming and entertainment to the banks of the Missouri River, serving the entire metropolitan St. Louis area from its convenient location just north of the Interstate 70 bridge near historic downtown St. Charles. Established in 1994 as the first gaming facility in Missouri, the new Ameristar that opened in 2002 boasts a cobblestone streetscape inspired by the 1880s architecture of the St. Charles River Port District, with seven dining and entertainment venues. The streetscape adjoins a 130,000-square-foot casino vessel offering the largest selection of gaming options in the region, including 3,300 slot and video poker machines, 91 games and a 19-table live poker room.

About the author

The MEET® Family of Publications

The MEET® Family of Publications produces regional and national publications that keep corporate, association, medical, education, independent, and religious meeting and event planners informed about relevant industry suppliers, news, tech innovations, and resources that impact and influence how and where they plan their upcoming company function(s).