APR 2012

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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Home AUSTIN Planning Directory Planner Resources Meeting Site Showcase Hotels With A New Look The historic 189-room Driskill Hotel completed a $4.5 million renovation project in late 2009 that includes a complete makeover of all guest rooms. And, last year, the Driskill Bar and The Driskill Grill received enhancements, according to Laura Heathcott, director of social media and reputation management. The bar, she said, "features live music six nights a week and boasts award-winning signature cocktails, like the 2011 official drink of Austin, the Batini." The Driskill also features 12 meeting rooms and 18,000 square feet of meeting space. The 800-room Hilton Austin Convention Center added 17 breakout rooms in 2011, increas- ing meeting and event space to 80,000 square feet, said Allen Alderman, director of sales and marketing. The hotel's 28,000-square-foot ballroom is the largest in the city. Alderman notes that a major guest room renovation in slated to begin in 2013. The Omni Austin Hotel Downtown is spending more than $1 million per floor to renovate the top five floors and increase room count to 392, including 42 one-bedroom suites. Renovations are expected to be complete this spring. DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Austin is completing a major guest room renovation this spring, according to a press release from the hotel. Renovations feature 188 upgraded suites with new soft goods, refreshed kitchens and new high-definition TVs. The hotel has an entire floor of PURE rooms that create an allergy-friendly environment. ■ TECH SAVVY SITES Planners appreciate how Austin stays ahead of the technology curve, said the Austin CVB's Steve Genovesi. "A lot of planners have high-tech needs but are planning five or six years out and wonder if a facility will be able to meet their needs in the future," Genovesi said. "That's never a problem in Austin. Because our 880,000-square-foot convention center hosts SXSW, which focuses on emerging technologies, our convention center continues to be upgraded for today and tomor- row's needs. We can do up to 8,000 people at one time on wireless—for free. You can be assured that your technology needs will be available now and five years from now." Austin Convention Center Located in the downtown business district between the shores of Lady Bird Lake and historic Sixth Street, the Austin Convention Center provides state-of-the-art wired and wireless Inter- net capabilities able to accommodate 7,000 simultaneous users and making it one of the most technologically advanced convention centers in the nation. And, it offers ample meeting space with approximately 880,000 square feet of total meeting space. AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center Speaking of technology, the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center has a new Telepresence Room, powered by Cisco, and new built-in high-definition projectors throughout the property, said Keith Purcell, director of sales and marketing. "The property was developed to host training and development programs and to give planners more for what they spend. We have tiered classrooms, free WiFi throughout the property, award-winning cuisine and 297 guest rooms. Our association with The University of Texas at Austin empowers us to assist clients in developing high-quality programs." ■ 32 ConventionSouth APRIL 2012 www.con v

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