Over the past few years, Arizona has begun to rebound as a major event destination. Always a favorite among tourists and snowbirds, the Valley of the Sun is home to some of the best resorts, performance venues, conference centers and hotels. In Business Magazine presents this year’s guide, showcasing some of the top locations and unique opportunities for a great meeting, convention or corporate event.
As in other cities across the country, there is a concerted effort after the recession for many of these properties to look to locals. The word “staycation” spoke to residents vacationing in their home town. Similarly, in an effort to provide business growth, encourage employee satisfaction or enlighten potential clients about services, businesses are looking to their home turf to put on some amazing corporate events. These full-service events range from intimate meetings in a “celebrity chef” restaurant space to a banquets or awards dinner at one of the Valley’s full-sized convention centers or resorts.
Businesses here are taking advantage of the major events that we attract. Since the Super Bowl in 1996 and another in 2008 and our latest coming in 2015, as well as the ongoing annual Phoenix Open, NASCAR and other arts & cultural events, corporations locally are spending money and coordinating their own events around these iconic affairs. Hotels report an increase in room occupancy as well as banquet and catering revenue. Surprisingly, much of the hotel banquet and meeting space is occupied by local business. “We have been focusing on marketing our property to local companies for their events,” says Jerry Jensen, director of sales and marketing at The Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center. “More and more companies want to use the incredible assets right here in their own backyard to draw outsiders, build business and put on great events economically.” Jensen notes that this is a new model for many local resorts because properties traditionally focused only on corporate packages out of state. “Local companies are doing regional events that include rooms, catering and banquet facilities.”
Efforts to promote and market Arizona are impacting the overall experience as well. “Your tourism industry is working hard to position our state for success and to welcome visitors who, in turn, often become residents and even our state’s top business leaders,” says Debbie Johnson, president and CEO of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association. “Creating positive marketing opportunities for Arizona is critical for business attraction and for attracting the world’s top minds and talent to our state,” she adds.