Virginia Beach: ‘One Beach, One World’ Highlights Green Meetings

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Virginia Beach Convention Center

Virginia Beach Convention Center

“We want people to have a great meeting experience in Virginia Beach and to leave knowing they’ve made a positive difference in the community and that the city has embraced them,” says Al Hutchinson, vice president of convention sales for the Virginia Beach CVB.

This fall, the DMO created the “One Beach, One World” website. It’s part of an advanced CSR program with customized give-back options and dedicated staff to help put the programs together. Projects include restoring and protecting the environment, supporting the armed forces, assisting youth and combating hunger.

The CVB staff also participates in these CSR programs.

“It’s part of our core values, and when groups are looking for give-back opportunities, we want them to know what we’re doing as an organization,” says Hutchinson, adding that his passionate staff is a reason why many groups return.

Sustainability is another core value. The 500,000-sf, LEED Gold-certified Virginia Beach Convention Center is a pioneer in eco-friendly lighting, HVAC and recycling. Not only is the facility a leading example for green meeting professionals, the cost savings are passed onto planners. The facility also offers some unique educational opportunities.

“We’ve taken it a step farther in some instances,” says Hutchinson. “For example, we have a garden and use our own herbs and produce at banquets.”

The ocean, a big draw for groups to the area, inspired the convention center’s nautically themed architecture. There’s a lot of glass so natural light fills the building. Its permanently etched exhibit floor, an award-winning innovation, shortens set-up time by eliminating the need for taping. Plus, having all the exhibit space on grade makes it easy to navigate.