When it is safe to travel and gather again, Louisville will be ready. The destination has spent the bulk of the past year helping its two convention centers earn Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR Facility Accreditation, developing new hotel product, expanding distillery experiences (Angel’s Envy), and building new sports venues (West End Indoor Track and Field Facility).
In addition, The Galt House, situated on Louisville’s waterfront, completed its $80-million renovation after two years. All of the 1,239 guest rooms were upgraded as well as the meeting space. More than 1.5 million square feet of space was reimagined and five new dining and bar concepts also debuted.
Louisville Tourism also has been working to promote a secure environment for travelers, establishing an industry reopening task force led by each tourism industry sector with an overall goal of developing expertly identified plans and best practices for each hospitality sector. Using national resources, local leaders in each category collaborated to develop guidelines and best practices related to their specific industry segment.
The effort to promote safe meetings also involves partnering with PCMA’s Convening Leaders 2021, said Doug Bennett, Louisville Tourism’s senior vice president of convention development. Visit Louisville is co-creating the session, “Reimagining F&B for the Next Generation of Events,” on Thursday, Jan. 14.
“Important to Louisville is the message PCMA sends to the industry that we are open, safe, and welcoming as a destination. Processes are in place for meetings to take place successfully,” Bennett said. “We also want to support PCMA and the industry as we begin transitioning back to face-to-face meetings in 2021. If Louisville can demonstrate the importance of face-to-face meetings in our destination, we feel this will motivate other destinations to be creative in how they energize their local community, and the industry at large, on how to safely come back to more traditional formats.”
As everyone waits to see how events and conferences shape up in 2021, Louisville is prepared to execute high-end, authentically branded, and engaging hybrid events. In fact, Louisville Tourism, along with the Kentucky International Convention Center, Levy Restaurants, and Prestige AV, already held a hybrid in-person/virtual meeting showcase in October 2020. Along with industry updates, creative interactive ideas and DEI sessions, the conference encompassed health and safety processes with GBAC venue certification, food-and-beverage sanitation practices, and AV and technology strategies designed to execute safe events that are creative, engaging, and productive for both in-person and virtual attendees. The education sessions were recorded and are available at LouisvilleMeetings.com.
“Continuous learning is a big priority for Louisville Tourism,” Bennett said. “We encourage this with our staff and are always looking for ways to extend and offer this to the industry. We know PCMA is aligned in a very consistent way in terms of how they approach education and learning outcomes. This is why we support PCMA and the Convening Leaders program. It consistently aligns with our organization, our mission, and our message.”
When it is safe to meet face-to-face again, Louisville will be an especially appealing destination. Within a day’s drive for two-thirds of the U.S. population, Louisville is convenient for the drive market, which is likely to return before air travel.
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