The race is on and my prediction is you won’t recognize the next generation of meetings taking place in Missouri over the next twelve months. One of the reasons is we have BILLIONS of dollars being spent in almost every corner of the state on hotels, arenas, conference centers, sports centers, underground paintball, race tracks and spas! If you are the planner for your organization or just make the recommendations, then you have your work cut out for you. The inventory of “new” and “fun” meeting locations has not been this great in the six years MM&E has been writing about this industry. Just look at this issue–, it’s full of great ideas on where to meet, eat, play, shop and sleep.
For you government planners looking to save a few tax dollars, check out the article by Michael Humphrey (page 8). If you want to host a government meeting, this article is for you, too. Find out why St. Louis and Kansas City may have an advantage getting Federal meetings. To help stretch your budgets even further make sure you attend the MM&E Kansas City Expo (page 29) on September 12, 2006 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. Register today!
We have a few new meeting venues about to open and a one-year-old that surprised all the pundits. In just its first year the Saint Charles Convention Center (cover story) more than doubled its target of 119 groups. With an eye-popping 275 groups in 2005, the Saint Charles Convention Center set this record, despite not opening till April 2005. MM&E writer Sarah Jamieson (page 26) will help you explore this beautiful facility and show you how to make your next gathering the “center of attention.”
When does meetings space become a spa, and vice versa? Sara Firman-Pitt (page 22) explores a dynamic trend in the meetings and events industry and gives great insight into what you should be offering at your next corporate retreat. Sara should know all about spas – she owns the Aquaest Retreat, a beautiful spa retreat deep in the Missouri Ozarks.
While you transcend the spa experience, I want you to think; ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM. Not the T.V. commercial, but the actual experience of operating your very own, very quite, very fast pro-kart. As you race past your director of human resources to take the checkered flag you remember, you only have 89 days on the job! Michael Humphrey (page 46) will tell you how and where to bring FUN back into your meetings. The all new Grand Prix Speedways in St. Louis County is a first class operation and will have you thinking you’re at the Indy 500. Michael Humphrey (page 36) also uncovers the great gems of Independence, Mo., and why it has a local focus with global impact. Dignitaries from around the world visit each year, and with a little help, you too can hold your meeting in a Presidential Library.
When you see the word Branson what runs through your mind? Okay, now read what MM&E writer Dawn Erickson (page 40) has to write. Your mind will be changed. When you have accommodations like the Chateau on the Lake, Clarion Hotel, Keeter Center, Radisson and (soon to open) Hiltons, the only thing missing is a “theatrical twist”
Have you started to plan the company party or New Years celebration? It’s not too soon. MM&E writer Stephen Lindsley (page 56) found a SPACE you might want to look into, and UP to! Another great place to meet-over-eats is Californos (page 54) This KC bistro can make any size group feel special.
I was recently reminded at a trade show by more than 75 of our readers why MM&E magazine is so well read. Simply put, it’s what they find in the magazine. I was told over and over how it helps them do their jobs. They read it for the Facility Focus, People Update, finding a caterer and getting “NEW” ideas about where and how to hold meetings. On behalf of all of us at MM&E this fall issue is one of the best issues yet!