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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Savoring The Suburbs

Dine amidst one of America’s best collections of rare and luxury cars. Enjoy a private park in the city that CNN Money named the best place to live in America. Treat your attendees to Irish dancing 101.

These sound like the kind of experiences available to meeting planners in major cities, right? Not at all. Surprising venues and activities await in many suburban meeting destinations. Meetings planners have located meetings in the suburbs for a long time, taking advantage of their proximity to companies or airports, as well as their cost savings. In recent years, however, many destinations just outside cities that attract a lot of meeting business have become bona fide event destinations in their own right.


Dublin, Ohio

In Dublin, Ohio, just outside Columbus, Irish heritage doesn’t just influence the city’s name. “Irish is an attitude,” said Amanda Mikkelson, group sales manager at the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We try to keep our Irish roots as part of everything we do.”

For groups, Dublin’s Irish attitude translates to everything from activities to event entertainment to food. Local operators can arrange an Irish dancing 101 workshop for the active or provide fiddlers and bagpipes to weave a web of upbeat reception music that also provides a sense of place.

At the Dublin Whole Foods, groups can enjoy an Irish-cooking demonstration followed by an Irish manor house meal. Given that of the 14 hotel properties in Dublin, only three are full service, it’s also easy to arrange to have a catered Irish meal for lunch or dinner.

Among the full-service properties, the Crowne Plaza Columbus-Dublin has recently completed a full overhaul of its guest rooms and offers 13,000 square feet of meeting space. The Columbus Marriott Northwest features 12,585 square feet of meeting space spread over 18 rooms, including a ballroom that can hold up to 728 guests. And the Embassy Suites Columbus-Dublin offers 13,000 square feet of meeting space.

Aside from hotel properties, Dublin contains one independent conference center, the OCLC Conference Center, which has more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space, including 10 breakout rooms, a separate 7,900-square-foot dining space, a two-story atrium lobby and exhibit hall, and ballrooms with lake views.