Small Market Meetings

JUN 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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June 2017 33 Paul Younes is a hands-on owner who knows most of his clients on a first-name basis, not that he has a lot of spare time. Younes Hospitality owns 14 properties in Nebraska, including seven hotels and a conference center in Kearney. There's the 50,000-square- foot Younes Conference Center and the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center, with another 25,000; plus, there are six other brand-name hotels. All are in a space of three city blocks at the same I-80 exit. "Mr. Younes developed the area to give larger groups an affordable option to the bigger cities of Omaha and Lincoln," said Craig Link, the company's director of sales. "It's been a great success." Corporate types can get tanked at Team Concepts, a 1,400-acre cattle ranch. And it's not about alcohol: Attendees can settle into comfy Adirondack chairs in an animal watering tank with a cooler and float down the lazy Loop River. "It's like a cool bath or reverse hot tub," said owner Josh Erikson. "In a relaxed atmosphere, everyone's guard is down, and it's easier to cre- ate pivotal, decision-making moments. Individuals then take a new outlook back to their workplace." Groups of up to 40 can stay in the 5,000-square-foot, river-view ranch house with a boardroom, a classroom and an outdoor courtyard. Other activities include four-wheeling, trap shooting and paintball. Younes Hospitality Team Concepts Top: Visitors can observe Kearney's crane migration at Rowe Sanctuary. Bottom: The Younes Convention Center offers 50,000 square feet of meeting space. hold meetings at the Iain Nicholson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary. Two other venues guarantee fun. Mac's Creek Vineyard has recep- tion space for 400. And with two locations, Thunderhead Brewery has production site tours near Kearney and a restaurant and bar on The Bricks, as the town's 100-year-old, brick-street downtown is fondly known. "Kearney is affordable but competitive in that planners receive a great product for the price," Focke said, "yet without parking issues. We're a perfect drive-in location."

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