What facility changes have occurred in your second-tier city that make it a better fit for faith-based groups?
Gutierrez: “Frisco has seen a tremendous amount of growth in this market since fiscal year 2010. A good part of our rebounding success has come from the fact that we have a 5,100-seat arena that’s directly across the street from our 90,000-square-foot conference center. This partnership allows general sessions, concerts, exhibitions, education sessions, luncheons and more to happen without a hitch.”
Ponton: “The renovation and expansion of our convention center that is under way (opening September 2013) has opened the door for San Jose to host even larger events.”
McCauley: “Here in Providence, an $80 million renovation to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center has allowed us to pursue groups such as the Unitarian Universalist Association, a group that would never have fit previously. Now, you can easily find topnotch meeting facilities in many destinations, without paying first-tier city prices.”
Schmitz: “Downtown Waterloo has boomed in the past five years. We have our new Cedar Valley TechWorks campus, where the John Deere Waterloo Tractor and Engine Museum will be opening in 2013 and where a 100-room green hotel will be built. There is also an amphitheater downtown and our Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.”
Townsend: “Our town is constantly evolving for the good. We’ve instituted a lot of green space, our downtown is family friendly with attractions like the River Market and museums. We have a wonderful headquarters hotel, the Peabody Little Rock, attached to the convention center and a Doubletree hotel a block away.”