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Mesa Makes Final Preparations

Officials at Visit Mesa, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, can’t wait to show off their city to hundreds of meeting planners and suppliers who will attend the Small Market Meetings Conference.

As a meetings destination, Mesa has the venues and hotels planners demand, in a less-congested suburban setting that is surrounded by gorgeous scenery; yet it is on the doorstep of Phoenix, with all its big-city amenities.

“Mesa is literally on the edge of the adventurous side of the Valley,” said Michelle Oden-Huebner, national sales manager for Visit Mesa. “It offers up everything you’d want to see coming to Arizona, like topography, ecology and adventure. You usually don’t see that just outside of a downtown location. We’re the gateway to the Superstition Mountains and the Sonoran Desert.”

But Mesa isn’t just about mountains and desert. Its 60 hotels and 5,000 guest rooms include top-tier hotels with meeting spaces. SMMC delegates will meet at the Mesa Convention Center for part of the conference and stay in the Phoenix Marriott Mesa, in the heart of downtown; the nearby Hilton Phoenix/Mesa or Hyatt Place Phoenix/Mesa.

Attendees should also note that the full-service Sheraton Hotel Mesa will open in January near the Chicago Cubs spring training site, and another hotel is in the planning stages in the same vicinity.

Mo Regnier of GATI Event Management is a SMMC regular. He says Mesa is the kind of city meeting planners should consider.

“It’s smaller destinations like Mesa that offer hotels that are equally nice and for considerably less money,” he said. “For attendees, it’s a site that might have been off their radar.”

The expansion of the Phoenix-area light-rail system will bring service to Mesa by mid-2015. The city will have its own station downtown. This green alternative transportation will whisk commuters, tourists and meeting attendees to places like Sky Harbor International Airport or downtown Phoenix. Travelers will also have quick access to dining, entertainment, stadiums, parks, gardens, museums and theaters in the Valley. “You can be in Mesa, but in 10 or 15 minutes be right in the heart of everything you might want to do,” said Oden-Huebner.

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Dan Dickson

Dan has been a communicator all his professional life, first as an award-winning radio and TV news reporter for two decades and then as a communications director for several non-profits for another decade. He has contributed to The Group Travel Leader Inc. publications since 2007.