RICHMOND – The Virginia Tourism Corporation today unveiled The Declaration of Meeting Excellence, a new meetings and conventions campaign that touts Virginia’s commitment to exceeding expectations of meeting planners everywhere. The state’s tourism industry has come together to support the campaign, making it Virginia’s first-ever statewide campaign to target the meeting and conventions industry. Virginia launched the new campaign to 1,000 meeting planners and industry leaders at HSMAI’s MEET National in Washington, D.C.
The Virginia Declaration of Meeting Excellence is infused with the spirit and tone of Thomas Jefferson and declares that meeting planners have many rights when doing business in Virginia. The first of which is the right “to get your life back” by using Virginia’s enhanced online meeting planning tools. Meeting planners can “exercise their rights,” online at www.virginia.org/meetings and access convenient meeting planning tools including:
- A powerful, online “Quick Venue Search” to find destinations by locality, square footage, room counts, amenities, and other needs.
- A side-by-side venue comparison
- A quick RFP submittal that goes directly to selected meeting locations
- Online Meeting Planning Tool Kit including welcome letter from the Governor, a Virginia video, images for brochures, local contacts and more.
- An online version of the 2012-2013 Virginia Meeting Planning Guide.
“Virginia’s Declaration of Meeting Excellence is truly a revolution,” said Alisa Bailey, President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “We have rallied our industry around this campaign and are committed to making planning and hosting a meeting in Virginia the best experience possible. Our new Web site is designed to make life easier for meeting planners who are short on time and have high expectations. Meetings are big business and we are making sure that meeting planners know we want your business in Virginia.”
Virginia is less than a day's drive from more than 60 percent of the U.S. population and boasts 11 commercial airports – including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International – plus 57 general aviation airports and Amtrak rail service. Whether drawn by the state’s convenient location, historical attractions, celebrated wine and culinary offerings or scenic natural beauty, planners can choose from a wide selection of venues including large convention centers, or smaller meeting spaces such as a winery, museum or onboard a historic yacht. The state also offers a variety of unique extracurricular activities available on Virginia.org/meetings. In addition to Virginia’s new initiatives, planners can take advantage of upcoming events and new venue additions and developments from across the state including:
- Operation Sail 2012, the Commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the birth of the Star-Spangled Banner national anthem, will bring tall ships, naval vessels and the Blue Angels flight demonstration team to Virginia’s Hampton Roads region June 7-12, 2012.
- The Oceanaire Resort Hotel & Conference Center, scheduled for completion in 2012, will be the third phase of the highly successful Ocean Beach Club & Resort in Virginia Beach. This development will add more than 200 rooms and 10,000 square feet of meeting space to the existing resort.
- In 2011, the Virginia Beach Convention Center became the first in the country to achieve certification as LEED® Gold for Existing Buildings. In addition, the VBCC has partnered with Virginia Energy Sense, the Commonwealth’s statewide consumer energy education and outreach program. Virginia Energy Sense is reaching out to consumers, businesses and other organizations to enlist them as “Energy Agents,” who will spread the word about the things they are doing to save energy.
- The recently opened Executive Conference & Training Center (ECTC) in Dulles has launched Executive Rewards, a first-of-its-kind loyalty program for meeting planners, specifically designed for those who book meetings, conferences, and training sessions near Washington, D.C. The program leverages the ECTC’s relationship with its neighboring partner hotel brands and allows planners to earn points on their loyalty programs including Marriott Rewards, Hilton Honors, and IHG’s Priority Club.
- The 300-room Renaissance Arlington Capital View, which opened in spring 2011, features a modern look with kinetic sculptures, glass-enclosed meeting spaces, open-air terraces and a green roof. More than 17,000 square feet of event space is outfitted with the latest event technology and audiovisual equipment, including flat screen panels that control AV, lighting and atmosphere.
- The new Sherwood Center, located in Fairfax, is perfect for groups of up to 400. Its Assistive Listening System is the most sophisticated system in Virginia and is available throughout the building. The Center has a state-of-the-art AV system for meetings and 15,000 sq. ft. of space.
- In Northern Virginia, the Prince William Ice Center’s new, state-of-the-art facility offers 1,400 square feet of meeting space for up to 200 people and up to 400 people on NHL and Olympic-sized rinks year round.
- Sunset Beach Resort’s newly renovated meeting space offers capacity for groups of up to 150. The resort, located in Cape Charles, offers full-service waterfront dining, with over 8,000 square feet of deck space, a private beach and on-site operator for planning outdoor group activities.
- The 8,000-square foot Smithfield Center, one of the premier event and conference centers in coastal Virginia’s Hampton Roads region, has recently undergone a cosmetic renovation to both its interior and exterior.
Virginia’s natural beauty, affordability, central location, incomparable history and attractions make it a premier meetings destination. Visit www.Virginia.org/meetings and “exercise your rights” as part of Virginia’s Declaration of Meeting Excellence.
Katie Barr Cornish (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rachel McLennan (email@example.com)
LOU HAMMOND & ASSOCIATES
Virginia Tourism Corporation
Pressroom – www.vatravelstories.com