FEB 2016

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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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 6 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 37 Visitors Bureau said visitors attending reunions and social events are seeking itineraries that have heavily walkable components. "They want to be able to park their car once and not have to use it for the remainder of their time here," he said. "Atlanta is perfect for this type of traveler as our properties have their own dining experiences and they are also conveniently located near other din- ing options, attractions and entertainment." He added that reunion groups love to be out- doors in Atlanta's parks to enjoy picnics together at spots such as Centennial Olympic Park, Stone Mountain Park and Piedmont Park. Military groups also take advantage of at- tractions that cater to their unique interests and needs. The Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville, Fla., for instance, can host social events, said King. "Hotels have areas where you can grill on site, family game areas too," she said. In Louisiana, military groups are flocking to New Orleans, home to the Na- tional WWII museum which is in the middle of a $370 million capital expansion that will quadruple the size of the original museum, adding state- of-the-art programs and exhibit space among other assets. Laurie Guidry, director of sales for the Bourbon Or- leans Hotel, said the expansion has increased interest and requests for military reunions in the area. She's seen New Orleans become an even larger destination-wedding locale and has seen an uptick in wedding room blocks at her hotel. The Bourbon Orleans Hotel created a wedding package, "Love Wins," after the passage of gay marriage rights, which has attracted couples of all sexual orien- tations to the hotel's great location in the middle of the French Quarter. "Everyone is welcome in New Orleans. We're exciting, and it's such a dynamic package with a signature cocktail, VIP arrival and some specialty amenities. We've seen a big push in that direction for even more desti- nation weddings," she said. Hotels such as the Bourbon Orleans are a draw for social and reunion groups because of their ability to customize for smaller meetings. The Bourbon Orleans, for instance, offers the ► MARKET SEGMENT: REUNIONS & SOCIAL GROUPS The Bourbon Orleans offers the oldest ballroom in the city with a balcony that overlooks the French Quarter.

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