Dolce announced September 2 that it had been named to manage the Q Center. It’s the largest conference hotel in the Midwest, a 95-acre facility with 1,042 guestrooms and suites. It has 150,000 sf of function space certified by the International Association of Conference Centers. The center also has five restaurants and lounges and a 4,500-sf fitness center. The center hosts corporate events, association meetings, training and development programs, and special events.
New offerings will begin rolling out over the next few months, with initial changes in place by the end of the year, according to Barry Goldstein, Dolce’s chief revenue officer.
“The Q Center is a very traditional conference center,” he said in an interview, “and we have a few (changes) that we think will have a huge value-add.” That begins with the conversion from paid to free WiFi by the end of the year.
Goldstein said groups now have to pay for WiFi at Q Center, but under Dolce’s management the technology will be free. “We’ll slowly roll this out so that all customers can experience the benefits of being able to connect at all times.”
Dolce also will add signature F&B elements such as its Thoughtful Foods for Thoughtful MindsSM program, featuring customizable culinary experiences for meeting attendees, and Nourishment HubsSM, at which energizing refreshments are served throughout the day.
Goldstein said Dolce also is discussing creating meeting packages that don’t have to be sold comprehensively. For instance, he said, Dolce may be able to sell packages that don’t include all three meals in one day so that delegates can dine elsewhere in the city if they wish.
The deal with property owner Q Center LLC brings the center into Dolce’s collection of 26 properties representing more than 5,000 rooms in 10 states, Canada and Europe. It’s Dolce’s first conference hotel in the Chicago area and its third property in the Midwest, following the opening of The Alexander in Indianapolis in 2013.
“For us it has great appeal,” Goldstein said. “The group market is finally starting to make a comeback in North America—we’re close to the room numbers we were seeing in ’08.” Dolce will be able to satisfy “the pent-up demand for our customer base from Chicago.”
“I think one of the biggest benefits,” he added, “is our relationships with customers and our relationships with third-party planners. This immediately gives us a new funnel of customers that we don’t see today.”
“We’re excited to add it,” he said.