MAR 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ M A R C H 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 46 Annual CVB Issue! Sponsored Content hen the time came to discuss renovations and upgrades for the Benton Convention Center in downtown Winston-Salem, the stakeholders quickly agreed: whatever came next would be no ordinary renovation. Taking a thoughtful, strategic approach to the project, the team at Visit Winston-Salem recognized this as an opportunity to reinvent not only the bricks and mortar, but also the guest experience at the Benton – the centerpiece of the city's growing meetings and events offerings. The internationally recognized architectural firm tvsdesign was retained for the project, sen- ding a strong signal to the meeting planning com- munity about Winston-Salem's commitment of the redesign. Recognized as a global leader in the design of world-class convention centers, tvsde- sign was charged with helping establish the Ben- ton Convention Center as a first-class convention facility in the Southeast. Central to the planning and design process was input from meeting planners gathered for a series of focus groups. Small groups of current, past and potential clients were asked what they would like to see at the reinvented Benton and how it compared to other convention facilities in the region. Tourism and community leaders took great interest in the planners' feedback, as did the lead architect for the project, who sat in to hear firsthand the group's expectations and preferences. In addition to a number of practical sugges- tions regarding technology enhancements and functionality and flexibility of space, what emer- ged from the focus group research was a desire for an engaging facility that embraced and reflected Winston- Salem's unique history and culture. Planners clearly wanted an en- vironment that would connect attendees with the vibrant community, drawing on the city's spirit of innovation to stimulate productive events and inspire thoughtful outputs. The new 105,000-square-foot Benton Convention Center is the artful culmina- tion of this industry input and the concerted effort and creative collaboration of the design and development team who brought it to life. Among the many improvements at the Benton is a smarter, flexible use of meeting and exhibit space, the purposeful addition of open, engaging pre-function areas and the inclusion of contemporary, yet cozy conversation and networking alcoves. The installation of the buil- ding's sawtooth roofline, reclaimed wood accents and metallic signage provide an architectural nod and historic symbol of Winston-Salem's inno- vative, entrepreneurial spirit. New soaring glass walls maximize natural light and create a connec- tion to Winston-Salem's vibrant downtown, while technology upgrades keep pace with today's mobile workforce. Beyond the inventive structural improvements, a team of art aficionados were painstakingly reviewing custom pieces from numerous North Carolina-based artists, selecting those that best portrayed the cultural influences and artistic vibrancy of the destination. True to the city's moniker, as the City of Arts and Innovation, the Benton's interior would be the perfect canvas for regional artistic influences. The art on display throughout the center boldly reflects the diversity, ingenuity and creativity for which Winston- Salem is known. To schedule a personal tour of the reinvented Benton or discuss how to reinvent your next meeting in Winston-Salem, contact the conven- tion sales team at Visit Winston-Salem. Be sure to ask about the WAKE UP REWARDS PRO- GRAM, which provides up to a $3,000 credit, plus an array of incentives to palnners that book with Visit Winston-Salem and the Benton Con- vention Center complex. For more information, visit n W The Benton: Not Just Another Renovation Christian Schroeder, Director of Sales & Services An industry veteran, Christian boasts more than 14 years in convention sales at both the hotel and DMO level. He is the immediate Past President of the MPI-Carolinas Chapter. (336) 728-4218 or (866) 728-4200 Visit Winston-Salem

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