Located smack dab in the middle of Dallas and Fort Worth, less than a three-hour flight from either the West or East Coasts, is the city of Irving. Thanks to its proximity to two international airports—Dallas Fort Worth International with service to 229 destinations and Dallas Love Field with nonstop service to 57—the city is especially accessible for groups looking to meet in the Lone Star State. Add to that a pedestrian-friendly environment that easily connects delegates to the Irving Convention Center and the Westin Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, and you have a destination with unparalleled convenience and urban amenities. 

Described as a “convention city with character,” Irving packs a lot into a small footprint: history, culture, art, and entertainment can all be had within minutes. Meeting delegates can easily transition from crossing off an agenda to taking in a live show at the Toyota Music Factory’s Live Nation Pavilion. There’s also the outdoor adventure on Lake Carolyn (such as paddle boarding, boat tours, water trikes or gondola rides) and the epicurean options at the Water Street retail development to explore. The city offers 85 hotels and nearly 13,000 rooms with accommodations that range from resort-style to budget-friendly. 

Irving’s meeting “crown jewel” is its convention center, which offers almost 100,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. Set on 40 acres within Irving’s Las Colinas Urban Center, the venue can accommodate groups of up to 4,000 and includes a column-free exhibition hall, 20,000 square-foot grand ballroom, a junior ballroom, 20 breakout rooms and pre-function space. The on-site café can also be incorporated into events as can the center’s multiple outdoor terraces. The venue was awarded LEED Silver certification for using reclaimed water for landscaping, cooling systems, and other non-potable applications. 

To ensure the health and safety of its visitors and guests, Visit Irving, the Irving Convention Center and area hotels and venues have all implemented extensive safety protocols. Irving’s hospitality partners have reimagined food and beverage set-ups, and room layouts were redesigned for physical distancing. Groups can also choose from multiple open-air venues to host their post-meeting gatherings, from patios and courtyards to waterfront terraces and festival plazas.

For assistance in coordinating meetings and events, planners should reach out to the team at Visit Irving, who will help with selecting a facility to fit your needs and an itinerary to create lifelong memories. 

The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth changes its name to Saint John’s Resort in August.

It’s part of a rebranding with multiple enhancements that Director of Sales and Marketing Fadi Sibani says make it a true Detroit destination resort.

Formerly owned by the Archdiocese of Detroit as St. John’s Provincial Seminary from 1948 to 1988, the property was transformed in the 1990s as a center for youth and families before it was redeveloped into a hotel and conference center in the 2000s. 

 

The day’s agenda is done—all the to-do items have been checked off, and it’s time to come together as friends and colleagues. So, what is there to do? Well, if you’re meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan, plenty. Located just 20 minutes to the Detroit Metro Airport, which offers 1,100 daily flights from four continents, the city is home to the University of Michigan and is a hub of creativity and culture. Ann Arbor offers a walkable downtown and the quirky and innovative attractions you’d expect to find in a college town. 

 

First came COVID. Then came the tornado.

The northern Michigan community of Gaylord was just starting to rebound from the pandemic with its groups and events business as a new season was getting underway when a rare EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour struck May 20.

Two people were killed and at least 44 were injured, according to official reports at the time. West Michigan meteorologist Bill Steffen said it was the strongest tornado to strike in the U.S. that month.