Year in and year out, Dallas hosts some of the nation’s top conferences. One of the reasons Dallas attracts so many events is its size. It’s the state’s third-largest metro area, and to say hotels and convention space are abundant would be an understatement. The metro area has more than 70,000 hotel rooms and is home to Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (formerly Dallas Convention Center), one of the nation’s largest with more than 1 million square feet of convention space. Omni Dallas Hotel, which is connected to the convention center, opened in 2011, adding 1,001 rooms to downtown’s stock. “The connection of the Omni and the convention center made it so easy for our members to go back and forth,” says Jackie Spencer, director of convention and system administration for the Texas Association of School Boards. And the city’s convention facilities aren’t limited to a single district—metro-area destinations including Arlington, Frisco and Irving contribute their own sizable facilities to accommodate expos, trade shows, citywides, meetings and annual conferences.
3 More Reasons to Meet in Dallas
1. Klyde Warren Park: The $100 million addition to the city is a 5.2-acre green space sitting atop a recessed eight-lane highway. The area now connects the uptown neighborhood with the award-winning Dallas Arts District and downtown. Planners can rent out sections of the park (shown above) for receptions or the entire area for off-site events.
2. AT&T Stadium: Arlington is home to what could be the most talked about addition to the city in a decade: AT&T Stadium, where the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys play. Its function isn’t limited to hosting football games on Sundays in the fall. It’s also used for events, meetings, concerts and other sporting events, including international soccer matches and the 2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four. For large-scale arena meetings, it can fit up to 105,000 people with standing room.
3. Southwest’s Expansion: Southwest Airlines, which is based in Dallas and flies out of Dallas/Fort Worth International and Dallas Love Field Airport, acquired AirTran Airways in 2011 and has been adding flights in and out of the Metroplex ever since. The company plans to add 50 new destinations, with at least half of those in place in the next three years. Southwest also is expanding its presence in Houston and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Be the “I” in BIG
Visitors are inserting themselves—literally—into a branding campaign developed by the Dallas CVB. Throughout the city are a series of “B” and “G” sculptures, and people stand between them to create the letter “I” and then share photos on social media using #DallasBIG. More than 13,000 photos have been tagged with the hashtag on Instagram, many of them taken by conference attendees. “This campaign recognizes the people in our backyard who seize opportunities to accomplish big dreams and make Dallas the successful metropolitan city it is today,” says Phillip Jones, the CVB’s president and CEO.
Craig Gregory, associate director of American Choral Directors Association, shares his favorite things about Dallas:
Best Event Venues: Meyerson Symphony Center and Winspear Opera House (shown above)
Best Hotels for Groups: Hyatt Regency Dallas and Hilton Anatole
Favorite Areas: The Arts District, West Village and Knox-Henderson
Single Reason Dallas Is Good for Meetings: Location
News to Know
> Hyatt Regency Dallas debuted its renovated Landmark Ballroom in February 2014 following a $50 million property-wide renovation. The 30,000-sq.-ft. ballroom has updated lighting, carpet, furniture, artwork and technology services, including faster Wi-Fi.
> Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport opened a new group space called Group Zone in January 2014. The 8,000-sq.-ft. space is designed for meeting attendees to connect with each other as they await flights to their destinations. Located in Terminal B, the space can be rented by the hour or the day.
> In August 2014, a new extension of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light-rail system (shown above) opened to the public, making transportation from DFW airport to downtown Dallas a breeze.
> Construction is underway on a 103-room Hampton Inn & Suites-Dallas/Frisco North-Fieldhouse USA in downtown Frisco. It’s expected to open in December 2014.
Deep in the Art of Texas
Dallas has the Cowboys, a rich oil history and dozens of shopping-rich areas, and it’s also home to one of the best arts districts in the country. USA Today named the Dallas Arts District among the top 10 arts destinations in the United States. The 19-acre downtown area has notable museums with world-renowned collections and some of the nation’s best performing arts centers in terms of acoustics and design.
Photo credits: Andreas Praefcke; OpenWindow; Timothy Hursley