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 ⎜ J U L Y 2 0 1 5 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 14 unique venues that the city has to offer, including the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine and the bio-medical district facilities such as the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, all within walking distance of the desired downtown area." Importance Of Medical Facilities Although it is not a must for planners to host meetings in destinations that have medical facili- ties, doing so does create a desired dynamic and draw for attendance from the meeting planner's perspective. "It is helpful to have local medical centers in close proximity to your meeting to at- tract local urologists, urology residents, advance practice nurses, etc. In addition, we have utilized local medical centers for hands on instruction. Recently, one of our live surgeries was from Tulane Medical Center," Skorepa said. Amy Calvert, senior vice president of conven- tion sales and services of Visit Baltimore, agrees that medical meetings tend to flock to places that allow for the best medical facilities—and have the reputation as health-oriented destinations. "We have seen an increase in this market since 2009. Baltimore is and has always been a strong draw for medical- and healthcare-related meet- ings due to the international and national recognition of our medical institutions and universities, like the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins Hospital, to name a few. Johns Hopkins Hospital is ranked as the number one hospital in Maryland and number three in the nation by U.S. News and World Report," Calvert explained. "According to the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore—the EAGB—the Baltimore Washington metropolitan region is among the top five BioHealth hubs in the nation, based on employment, number of firms and venture capi- tal investment. The EAGB ranks the state of Maryland fourth in the country in research and development expenditures at colleges and uni- versities in the amount of $3.41 billion. Local hospitals and research facilities also have con- venient, daily access to key federal agencies to facilitate the drug approval process," Calvert said. What attendees really want is hotel options that offer unique experiences as well as excellent service, attention to detail and state-of-the-art technology capabilities, Calvert added. "Cus- tomization options, efficiency and responsive- ness are also essential in the facilities that host medical meetings, as well as an understand- ing of the PhRMA Codes, Physician Finan- cial Transparency Reports (the Sunshine Act), and implications of medical meetings." Atlanta is definitely attracting medical meet- ings thanks to its posi- tion as a medical meetings mecca. " Atlanta is tracking at 112 percent over the next eight years for meet- ings booked, and medical meetings contribute to that success. [The city] is a hub for medical con- ventions due to the close proximity of Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control," said Mark Vaughan, executive vice president and chief sales officer for the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. "For large-scale events, the G eorgia World Congress Center has 1.4 million square feet of prime exhibit space needed to showcase medical equipment and hold various breakout sessions." For smaller events, hotels and attractions can host meetings and provide great group activities. At the CDC, "groups can take a tour of the David J. Sencer CDC Museum. The Carter Center is also available for tours, where groups can learn about President Jimmy Carter's efforts to eliminate guinea worm through the guinea worm eradication program. Several of our world-class attractions—World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium and the College Football Hall of Fame—are designed to host pri- vate events." Competition can play a big part in deciding on where to host your medical meeting. "There are multiple professional societies per medical spe- cialty and also sub-specialty societies of medi- cine as well. We have a good percentage of urologists who sub-specialize in urologic oncol- ogy, pediatric urology, infertility, etc. In addition, hospitals, third parties and industry all hold meetings to educate the medical community," Skorepa said. Planners have to stay on top of finding the ideal medical meeting host city in time to ensure they will have what they need. This plays a role in determining where to hold meetings and try- ing to plan ahead to ensure ideal host destina- tions. In Durham, N.C., April Ellerbe, director of sales for the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, explained that the bureau typically sees training sessions. "These meetings are in the medical/pharma fields, and also in related indus- tries like software." The field is growing, and as such, competition is a real part of the medical meetings industry. An area known for a specific medical and pharmaceutical niche definitely draws medical meetings, according to Lisa LeCompte, senior sales manager for the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Louisville actually boasts more corporate headquarters in the lifelong wellness and aging-care sector than anywhere else in the U.S., accounting for more than 21,000 ‰ Special Feature: Medical Meetings Near several top medical facilities, the Baltimore Convention Center draws many healthcare-related meetings. The NYLO Dallas South Side, located just three blocks from the Dallas Convention Center, is a unique place for medical groups to stay, with state-of-the-art meeting spaces and a 4,500-square-foot rooftop terrace offering breathtaking skyline views of Downtown Dallas.