MAR 2017

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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M A R C H 2 0 1 7 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 9 of The Westin Jackson, set to open in late summer 2017. With more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Burton will oversee all aspects of property man- agement of the newly constructed hotel and reinforce The Westin Jack- son's mission to boost travel and tourism in downtown Jackson. "There isn't a better person than Mike Burton to lead our new property in Jackson," said Paul Wischermann, president and CEO of Wischermann Partners. "With his experience and longev- ity within the Westin Hotels & Resorts brand, Mike will lead the new Jackson team to ensure every guest's stay is memorable and thoughtful." Burton most recently served as general manager of The Westin Chi- cago Northwest in Itasca, Ill. While there, he managed $14 million in renovations of guest rooms, meeting rooms and public space. "In my work, I thrive on creating, training and growing teams of indi- viduals united toward one common goal of success," said Burton. "The Westin Jackson will be the premier property in the vibrant community of Jackson, Mississippi. Our hotel guests and local patrons deserve nothing but the best and that's exactly what we will deliver." South Carolina New Director of Sales & Marketing MYRTLE BEACH — DoubleTree Resort by Hilton, Myrtle Beach Oceanfront recently named Alan Fabris director of sales and mar- keting. He will direct the resort's internal sales team, and oversee advertising and public relations efforts at the 452-room resort. Fabris's tourism career spans three decades and includes 20 years with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., and 10 years with Hyatt Hotels Corpora- tion. He was most recently area director of sales and marketing for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, overseeing 14 proper- ties throughout the Midwest and responsible for combined group revenue production totaling $115 million. "Alan is a great addition to our team and we're happy to have him leading our sales and marketing initiatives for the property," said Michael Frits, general manager. "His knowledge of the hospitality industry, exceptional reputation and long-standing relationships in the meetings arena will immedi- ately allow us to compete on a larger scale." Formerly the Springmaid Beach Resort, the 30-acre oceanfront property features an all-new 20,000-square-foot main building, ocean-view restaurant and 35,000 square feet of flexible indoor meeting space. Texas New Convention Sales Record HOUSTON — On the heels of helping host Super Bowl LI, which focused global attention on the city, Houston First Corporation announced that the organization has booked a new record num- ber of room nights tied to future conventions. The organization, which in part- nership with the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau (GHCVB) is responsible for bring- ing conventions and tourism to the city, said its sales team booked 479 conventions and meetings in 2016, representing 765,401 room nights, up 4.3 percent from 732,967 room nights in 2015. The 2015 figure, which also was a record, reflected the first year the organization was able to introduce renovation plans for the George R. Brown (GRB) Convention Center and the broader campus surround- ing it. That $175 million improve- ment project for the campus, now dubbed Avenida Houston, was completed in December 2016. "What Houston has accomplished in the last few years now positions us to become a greater conven- tion and leisure travel destination in the years ahead," said David Mincberg, board chairman of Houston First Corporation. "The renovation of the GRB and its surroundings, along with the creation of new hotels including the Marriott Marquis, was part of a master plan for how Houston would win more convention busi- ness. With that plan now executed, we are already seeing the benefits of what's been created." "The renovations to the GRB and the creation of this campus experience have given us the opportunity to go after bigger meetings and conventions and made us far more attractive to a wide assortment of clients," said Mike Waterman, president of the GHCVB. "With these incredible amenities, from restaurants to Discovery Green and everything in between, we have an experience few other destinations can match. And our sales results show that the market is definitely interested." n NASHVILLE—Turnberry Associates has unveiled plans for a new JW Marriott opening in downtown Nashville in 2018. Featuring a distinc- tive elliptical shape conceptualized by award-winning architecture firm Arquitectonica, the 33-story property will be located in the heart of downtown and within a two-mile radius of Music City Center, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Schermerhorn Symphony Center and The Ryman Auditorium. "On behalf of Turnberry Associates, I would like to express our pride in taking part in the remarkable revitalization of one of the coun- try's most thriving and vibrant cities," said Jeffrey Soffer, co-chairman and CEO at Turnberry Associates. "We are thrilled with the plans for JW Marriott Nashville, as we feel the design and public spaces of the hotel, including the rooftop bar, five-star dining experience – Bourbon Steak by Michael Mina – meeting offerings, and spa and fitness facili- ties will continue to position Nashville as a luxury desti- nation for both leisure and business travelers." The 533-room hotel will offer 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space, two ballrooms, 16 meeting rooms and two boardrooms equipped with advanced audio-visual and wireless technology. n New JW Marriott Opening

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