Small Market Meetings

MAY 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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Page 11 of 35 Managing Meetings 12 as in Anchorage. Though Alaska is on many people's bucket lists, it is a common misconception that travelers should only visit during the long day- light hours of cruise season between May and early September. "Many people are not aware of it, but Anchorage is a four-season destination," said Julie Dodds, director of convention sales at Visit Anchorage. According to Dodds, outsiders often envision the Alaskan region as cold and dark during the winter season, with snow potentially limiting travel access; but it is not much different than a winter trip to Chicago or Seattle. "In 30 years, the Anchorage airport has never been closed for snow," said Dodds. In addition, the cold weather provides many unique opportuni- ties for after-hours entertainment. Groups can take a helicopter tour over glaciers or admire the breathtaking winter landscape from inside heated cabins on a wildlife cruise. "Getting to go out there in the wintertime is pretty spectacular," said Dodds. Other offseason activities are skiing, riding snowmobiles, dog- sledding and hiking, and the adventurous can try ice climbing on frozen waterfalls. "It's so easy to get to places where you feel like no one has ever been before," said Dodds. Of course, one of the most spectacular highlights of Alaska's win- ter season is the aurora borealis, which is sometimes visible as often as four or five times a week. Take It Indoors Extreme temperatures are usually the most discouraging factor for offseason travel, but there is a simple solution for meeting plan- ners: Take it indoors. "There are a lot of properties that are completely indoors; so for groups that don't want to deal with the elements, you really have plenty of options," said Blubaum. In Arizona, the heat reaches its height in July and August, but there are still plenty of ways for planners to take advantage of this time frame. Since the desert experiences a 30-degree climate drop from day to night, most groups can sit comfortably within the air- conditioned space of their meeting or conference during the day, then go out later in the evening to enjoy local sights. For an off-site activity or venue, groups can roam through the cool galleries of the OdySea Aquarium, which is the largest aquar- ium in the Southwest, or catch a breeze at the recently opened indoor skydiving facility iFly. Many attendees also gravitate toward the Topgolf indoor golf range and entertainment complex, which offers golfers a selection of nine different games that use interactive technology like touch screens and microchips to track each shot. The facility's outdoor course provides an engaging night activity as well, featuring illu- minated rings around each hole that change color in sync with music. Likewise, Dodds noted that if weather affects an outdoor event in Anchorage, it is simply moved inside to one of the city's two con- vention centers in downtown. "The wintertime is actually easier to plan because you just assume that there's going to be snow," she said. "Like any meeting destination, you always have a plan B." With over 90,000 square feet of flexible meeting space under one roof and a globally celebrated creative culture, Paducah's amenities make it an inspiring destination for meetings and your next convention or trade show. Become one of our coming attractions. Book Paducah today! 1-800-PADUCAH Inspiration. Creativity. Heritage.

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