JAN 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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Page 46 of 67

J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 47 T E X A S • Embassy Suites Amarillo Conference Center: 19,000 square feet of meeting and pre-function space; 10,000-square-foot Yellow Rose Ball- room • First United Bank Center at West Texas A&M University: Sports and event center seats 5,000; accommodates up to 400 for banquets Big Spring Located in west Texas, between Fort Worth and El Paso, Big Spring was a landmark for early western pioneers as well as people of the Comanche and Shawnee nations before them. Event facilities in the city include the Coman- che Trail Amphitheater, with outdoor seating for up to 3,000 people. The city's Dora Roberts Community Center has several venues, including a ballroom that can seat up to 350 for dinners and a 45-seat classroom. Hangar 25 Air Museum, which honors the history of the Big Spring Army Air Force Bombardier School and Webb Air Force Base, can be rented for special events. The 1930s-era Hotel Settles has 65 guest rooms and can host groups of up to 300 in more than 15,000 square feet of event space. Recently opened is a 107-room TownePlace Suites by Marriott. Lubbock Amy Zientek, director of sales for Visit Lubbock knows what attracts people to Lubbock. "While Lubbock boasts more than 5,700 hotel rooms, nearly 1,000 restaurants, 264 days of sunshine each year and a 17-minute commute time, the main reason visitors love traveling to the 'Hub City' is the people of West Texas," said Zientek. Having a first-class 300-room hotel and con- ference center, several smaller meeting venues, Texas Tech University and a new DoubleTree by Hilton Lubbock – University Area and a new Aloft on the way certainly helps when it comes to attracting meeting planners. The new DoubleTree by Hilton Lubbock – University Area is slated for a summer 2018 opening. It will feature about 140 rooms and over 4,000 square feet of meeting space, a full-service restaurant and bar. The Aloft at West End is expected to open sometime next year. The two-level Overton Conference Center fea- tures 20,000 square feet of versatile meeting and exhibit space. (For more information see breakout spotlight on page 48.) Another Lubbock meeting site, CenterPointe Event Center, is a 14,500-square-foot facility sit- ting between a Comfort Suites hotel and a Days Inn & Suites. Lubbock attractions include American Wind Power Museum, National Ranching Heritage Center, and the West Texas Walk of Fame. Hill Country Home of the state capital and The University of Texas, this area has an array of cultural and natural features, with beautiful rolling hills, sparkling rivers and bold displays of bluebonnets every spring. There's also a heavy influence of both German and cowboy culture, more than 30 wineries and many festive beer gardens as well as unique attractions. Austin Austin continues to add downtown and citywide hotel rooms, with 12,288 downtown rooms expected to be open by 2019, according to Visit Austin. 2017 saw the addition of more than 3,000 hotel rooms, new meeting spaces and a growing number of nonstop flights from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Three major hotels opened in 2017: the 139-room Hyatt Place Austin Airport, a LEED Silver-certified property with 1,900 square feet of meeting space; the Hyatt House Austin Down- town, with 190 guest rooms and a 960-square- foot event room; and Aloft and Element Austin Downtown, a 32-story hotel with 422 rooms total between the two hotels, a full-service restaurant and 2,500 square feet of event space. Set to open in early 2018, the $370 million Fairmont Austin will have direct access to the Austin Convention Center with 1,048 guest rooms and 128,500 square feet of function space, including two ballrooms with 25,000 square feet each and an outdoor deck that can accommodate up to 1,800 for receptions. Also new for 2018, the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, which in- cludes a 297-room hotel on the campus of the ►

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