By Jennifer N. Dienst, Contributing Editor
A revitalized convention center redefines Silicon Valley's innovative capital
It's no secret that things are done differently in San Jose. California's third-largest city is also the capital of Silicon Valley — and home to some of the world's most forward-thinking companies, from eBay to Cisco Systems and IBM. Team San Jose (TSJ), the San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau, is no different. Instead of handing off a meeting once it's booked, as most cities do, TSJ handles it all, from housing and event services to customized food-and-beverage menus. So it's no wonder 98 percent of meeting planners say they'd return to San Jose for future meetings and events.
From the familiarization trip to the meeting's finale, TSJ offers a streamlined solution to booking the destination. Because of San Jose's tightknit hotel, arts, and labor partnerships, booking the city is as easy as booking a big-box hotel property. This saves meeting planners valuable time, energy, and resources so they can focus on what's really important — the success of their meeting. Plus, with San Jose's newly revamped, walkable downtown, planners don't have to worry about group transportation — a big plus for their bottom line.
Unlike other CVBs, TSJ manages the destination's main meeting venues, ensuring quality control from beginning to end. In addition to the San Jose Convention Center, TSJ manages the San Jose Civic (home to everything from concerts to special events), Center for the Performing Arts (home to Broadway San Jose and Ballet San Jose), and California Theatre (home to Opera San Jose and Symphony Silicon Valley), as well as Montgomery Theater, Parkside Hall, and South Hall.
The San Jose Convention Center is undergoing a major revitalization this year that reflects the destination's innovative spirit. In the fall of 2013, the center —which will remain open and 100-percent operational throughout the project — will complete a $120-million expansion and renovation, adding 125,000 square feet of flexible ballroom and meeting space to the center's existing 425,000 square feet. After the project concludes, the center will offer 550,000 total square feet of flexible space for meetings, conventions, and events.
Downtown San Jose is also undergoing a transformation. The city recently launched complimentary Wi-Fi for downtown visitors and residents, and Mineta San Jose International Airport, just four minutes away, has completed a $1.3-billion modernization. The San Jose Civic has also finished a $15-million makeover, and in addition to the new Fairmont San Jose, newly rebranded properties include the Hyatt Place San Jose/Downtown, Sainte Claire — a Westin Hotel, Fourpoints by Sheraton San Jose Downtown, and Double- Tree by Hilton San Jose.
In the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose is known as a business hub, but it's not always about work and innovation. Visitors will quickly discover that San Jose takes play seriously, too. The destination's 300 days of great weather makes experiencing the city's cultural offerings easy and fun any time of the year. There's also an attraction to suit every interest, including the Tech Museum of Innovation, Winchester Mystery House, Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium, and San Jose Museum of Art. And for those who want to venture beyond the city limits, San Jose provides easy access to Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Francisco.
For more information: Team San Jose — Mark McMinn, Director of Sales; (408) 792-4521 or (800) SAN-JOSE; firstname.lastname@example.org; sanjose.org
Team San Jose Highlights
• Team San Jose operates the San Jose Convention Center, Center for the Performing Arts, California Theatre, Montgomery Theater, South Hall, San Jose Civic, and Parkside Hall.
• The San Jose Convention Center opened in 1989 and, along with the city's other cultural venues, hosts more than 280 events annually.
• Team San Jose offers planners a one-stop shop for their entire meeting and event needs, from site visits to an in-house culinary team who can design customized menus featuring local and organic ingredients.
• Forbes.com ranked San Jose as one of “America's 25 Best Cities for Shopping,” and Golf Magazine named San Jose as one of the “Best Golf Cities in America.”
Convention Center Expansion Specs
Total current meeting and exhibit space
• 425,000 square feet
Total meeting and exhibit space as of fall 2013
• 550,000 square feet
Total new prefunction and terrace space
• 51,000 square feet
Total new ballroom space
• 35,000 square feet
Total new meeting space
• 25,000 square feet
Total new breakout space
• 14,000 square feet
Hotel rooms within walking distance or a short rail ride of convention center
• Almost 5,000
Hotel rooms citywide