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 ⎜ A P R I L 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 36 F L O R I D A the Klein Conference Center at the College of Central Florida – Ocala Campus, with a capacity of 400 in its nearly 7,000 square feet of space; the Appleton Museum of Art, which has space for 500 meeting attendees; and the Circle Square Commons, located in the On Top of the World Communities. The Southeastern Livestock Pa- vilion, Ocala's landmark agricultural showplace, features a covered arena, grandstand seating for 4,200 and an adjacent 800-seat auditorium. In area hotel news, the Comfort Suites Dunnel- lon opened in late 2016, bringing an additional 75 guest rooms to the market plus on-site meeting facilities for up to 30 attendees. The Hilton Ocala and the Courtyard Ocala are both undergoing renovations and upgrades. The renovation of the 196-room Hilton is focusing on exteriors, with extensive landscape improvements to bring a true Florida feel to the entire property, including the pool area. Guest rooms will be renovated in phases and all of the bathrooms will be com- pletely redone, replacing tubs with glass-enclosed showers. The 40,000 square feet of meeting space will be refreshed and the VIP concierge lounge will be enlarged and modernized. The Courtyard Ocala is more than halfway through the $3 mil- lion complete renovation of all 169 guest rooms. Public spaces and exteriors will be upgraded as well. (For more information, see the Breakout spot- light on page 38.) Orlando Orlando and vicinity continues to add new lodg- ing, unique meeting facilities and one-of-a-kind attractions. Getting to Orlando will soon be easier with a $1.3 billion capital improvement project at Orlando International Airport, with terminal enhancements and expansion and a new auto- mated people mover scheduled for completion in mid-2017 and 2018. The newest hotel at Universal Orlando, the 1,000-room Sapphire Falls, has 114,000 square feet of meeting space plus 16,000 square feet of outdoor event space. The hotel connects by a skybridge to meeting space at Royal Pacific, and combined, the two hotels have 247,000 square feet of event space. Walt Disney World's Swan and Dolphin Resort will complete the largest makeover in the resort's history this fall, with a lobby re-design that is the final phase of a $140 million project. Together, the two hotels offer 2,267 guest rooms. ► As they say in the real estate business, "Location, location, location." The Ocean Center convention center in Daytona Beach has that wrapped up. The center is just 400 feet from Atlantic Ocean beaches, minutes away from Daytona International Airport and in the core area of Daytona Beach. "We're surrounded by upscale accommo- dations, restaurants, shopping, entertain- ment and attractions," said Angela Daniels, the center's director of sales, marketing and event services. "The Ocean Center is beautiful, with sweeping architecture and natural light, marine light colors, and permanent and touring art exhibits." The center has more than 200,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 42,000-square-foot arena seating 9,300; a 93,000-square-foot exhibit hall; a 12,000-square-foot ballroom that seats up to 768 for dinners; and 32 meeting rooms. The fifth-largest convention center in the state of Florida has other things going for it as well, Daniels said. "Our staff is always willing to go out of their way to please the customer with personalized service and one-on-one event planning. Also, planners always remark on the quality of our food and presentations, and on the cleanliness of the center, which is important." n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Ocean Center, Daytona Beach Contact: www.oceancenter.com