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Meeting Planners

One of the new divisions of Spectra, Spectra Venue Management, will be especially important to meeting planners of all kinds, especially those in smaller markets.

“When you look at our clientele and who we touch from a facility and food and hospitality perspective, most are located in secondary and tertiary markets,” said John Page, president of Spectra Venue Management. “In all our venues, we have a general manager whose sole focus is to manage their locale. We emphasize with our managers that they’re part of the community. They must be engaged to know what makes that community tick.”

Spectra’s goal is to maximize opportunities for small market meeting planners by taking advantage of the company’s knowledge and systems. “That’s all the best practices, communication and finer details necessary to maximize the experience,” said Page. “It doesn’t become ‘Hey, this is how we do it in Philadelphia, so this is how we’ll do it everywhere.’ No, there’s a lot of flexibility.”

Conventions and visitors bureaus benefit from the new Spectra brand in how they promote their cities. Spectra aligns itself with them.

“Sometimes we support and supplement the long-range goals and sales plans of CVBs,” said Page. “We’ll use our best practices from other markets to assist them. There may be meetings or conventions they don’t know about. We’ll use our connections through our national sales program to position that market as a viable place for meetings.”


Food Services and Hospitality

Spectra serves food and beverages at sports and convention venues, cultural attractions, fairs, entertainment centers, and gaming and hotel sites. That’s 250,000 events and 30 million customers a year across North America. “That’s a lot of guests,” said Ken Young, president of Spectra Food Services and Hospitality. “The key is breaking it down per event and making that event and each individual guest feel special.”

Young said staff training is essential. Employees must deftly handle everything from a fair to a ball game to a wedding reception. “In the end, you’re serving individuals and, hopefully, giving them excellent service,” he said. No matter the venue, Spectra will continue its food service philosophy developed nine years ago: “Everything is fresh.”

More can be done to feed people. For example, trade show planners can order food in advance and skip concession stands. Almost any type of catering can be done for meetings, as simple or as sophisticated as needed. Spectra convention centers can handle any food concept.

Spectra also provides many cooking stations that prepare food right in front of people, not just one long line of guests picking up items.

“We can have 5,000 and still be able to do it that way,” said Young. “You have two or three entrees, pasta and different vegetable choices all prepared as you watch. It’s hot, pleasing to the eye and prepared five minutes before you’ll eat it.”

Young says Spectra will always be evolving. With its employees sharing the same goals, he feels it will lead to more business for the company and an enhanced reputation.

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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.