Courtesy Lehigh Valley CVB
Meeting sites, of course, aren’t limited to hotels and exhibition halls. For example, the 2,500-square-foot Edgar N. Putman Pavilion, opened in April 2012 at the James A. Michener Art Museum, is 10 minutes from the new Homewood Suites Warrington/Doylestown.
With 22-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook a sculpture garden, the pavilion is “gorgeous,” said Jessica Lawlor with Visit Bucks County.
In the Lehigh Valley, the Sands Event Center opened last spring next to the Sands Bethlehem, a hotel and casino. The center has 10,000 square feet of tradeshow and event space.
Many companies book the space in combination with the casino and 302-room hotel, which has about 12,000 square feet of meeting space.
“It’s all very much integrated,” said Patrick Ryan, national sales manager.
Speaking of arenas, the Louise J. Tullios Center in Erie is now the Erie Insurance Arena and is undergoing a $42 million renovation and expansion to add 2,000 seats, 13 suites and a club level. The project should be completed this fall.
To the south, Slippery Rock University last fall opened its new student center, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver design. Meeting space includes a ballroom and seven conference rooms.
Business and pleasure
Spa services have become an integral part of meetings. In downtown York, the Yorktowne Hotel in December opened a salon and spa on its lower level that complements the refined property’s 11,000 square feet of meeting space.
Near State College, owners of the Ramada Conference Center State College last year bought a nearby lodge and country club and rechristened it the Mountain View Country Club. The clubhouse sits on a hill with a view of the mountains and the golf course.
The Ramada’s corporate guests appreciate the clubhouse’s 5,000-square-foot ballroom as well as the golf.
“When we run out of space at the hotel, we have more 4.5 miles away,” said Jennifer Brooks-Stahl, director of sales and marketing. “Planners have options.”
The Ramada also introduced a free weekday breakfast buffet, another perk for planners. “Now they don’t need to provide breakfast or an a.m. break,” she said.
Up and away
Last November, the Erie International Airport opened a fully extended runway. The extra length will help reduce delays and cancellations during inclement weather.