Anaheim’s $240 million convention center and campus upgrades are helping this Southern California destination remain an enticing option for meetings and conventions of all sizes.
Jay Burress, president/CEO of the Anaheim CVB, says the 200,000-sf expansion is not just about more space, but providing planners with the space they need. “It will give planners flex space so they can create the custom environments they need for their groups.”
For Anaheim, this addition means they can have multiple shows going on at the same time from large exhibitions to the smaller breakout spaces needed for medical groups like the American Heart Association and other types of corporate groups that require size flexibility. In short, it’s a game changer that is enabling Anaheim to retain and expand its citywide event capabilities. At the heart of the expansion is the refreshed Grand Plaza, which connects the convention center to three campus properties: Hilton Anaheim, Anaheim Marriott and Sheraton Park Hotel.
“Groups love our Grand Plaza,” Burress says, “which offers year-round outdoor experiential networking opportunities due to our wonderful weather and the ability to walk right outside the convention center to food trucks and concerts.”
All three hotels have also undergone upgrades, which include everything from new restaurants to technology enhancements.
“We host groups of many sizes—from the 96,000 National Association of Music merchants to smaller corporate events,” Burress adds. “And in addition to renovations at the three aforementioned properties, we will have 2,100 hotel rooms coming on board in the next few years; two of which will be four-star properties just blocks away from then convention center. Also, six new restaurants will be opening up, giving delegates even more choices.“
With Disney just across the way, the campus’ 10,000-sf patio area gives a view of the iconic fireworks that are displayed on an ongoing basis, adding to the value and ‘wow’ of the destination. Burress says the fireworks are merely an introduction.
“Anaheim is also committed to exceeding the expectations of our visitors and to ensuring the quality of customer service and community engagement. There is a community relations campaign called ‘Faces of Tourism.’ It shows the community how these state-of-the-art enhancements are only part of keeping Anaheim a premier meetings destination. The people serving our guests need to understand the jobs that our meetings industry provide the community.”
Anaheim’s “Synchronicities” partnership with Baltimore and San Antonio, a three-city partnership designed to assist meeting professionals in maximizing ROI, is also adding new energy to the city.
“This partnership will make it easier for planners to pick an East Coast, Central and West Coast meeting destination by providing [planners with] a process they do not have to repeat each year,” Burress says.
Planners should also bear in mind that there are four airports with flights anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour away to Anaheim, making travel to this destination easy.