Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

December 26 2012

MIDWEST: Omaha

Ali Gramaglia

Where conventioneering is an art form


Planning a convention or meeting is a delicate dance of balancing convenience, comfort, and cost with new, memorable experiences - what the Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau likes to call “The Art of Conventioneering.” Omaha’s convention center, CVB, hotels, and other venues work together as a cohesive team to give organizers a seamless experience that helps to lighten the often-heavy planning burden.

Omaha has a resume full of impressive events, including both the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials. This past June, in just 10 days, the team at CenturyLink Center Omaha - home to the city’s convention center and arena - transformed the arena floor into two Olympic-sized pools that were called “one of the greatest environments ever” for the event. Billionaire Warren Buffett has also chosen Omaha as the host city of his annual Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting, which each year attracts more than 35,000 people from around the world.

Omaha - Nebraska’s largest city - is constantly evolving. Its walkable downtown includes a cluster of closely connected neighborhoods, like the hip NoDo/Capitol District, which surrounds the newly opened, 24,000-seat TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. The stadium is also within walking distance of the Old Market, a historic dining and entertainment district lined with cobblestone streets, shops, galleries, and antique emporiums. Just a few blocks away, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge - the longest of its kind to connect two states - is connected to 150 miles of trails and the three-acre Omaha Plaza.

Omaha’s off-site venues vary from idyllic gardens to historic downtown gems, all convenient to the convention center. The Durham Museum inside Union Station, the country’s first train station built in the Art Deco style, is a popular choice for its 13-foot chandeliers and 65-foot ceilings. For outdoor events, Lauritzen Gardens’ 100-plus acres of themed gardens include a model railroad garden - which makes perfect sense, as Omaha is home to the Union Pacific Railroad.

At a Glance

Convention facilities
• The 250,000-square-foot CenturyLink Center Omaha includes an 18,300-seat arena.

Hotel rooms citywide

• More than 13,000

Hotel rooms within a mile of the convention center

• More than 2,300

For more information: Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau - Cathy Keller, Director of Sales; (402) 444-4660 or (866) 937-6624; ckeller@visitomaha.com; visitomaha.com

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