Your Favorite Meeting Venues in the South

By Connect Staff, April 30, 2018

Your favorite venues in the South represent some of the best facilities in the country. Congratulations to all involved for ensuring the events business continues to grow. Below, see what you and your peers selected as prime locations to do business.

Convention Centers

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans led the way with nominations. Connect’s home in 2016 is “equipped to handle large crowds,” says Bob Carter, convention manager for Lionel Collectors Club of America

Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi “has it all,” says Teresa Johnston, area director of sales for the Hampton Inn & Suites and the Home2 Suites by Hilton.

Music City Center in Nashville strikes the right chord for many. “It is fairly new and the space is large and well thought out,” says Cory Brooks, CMP, managing partner of Specialty Planners International.

Jekyll Island Convention Center is a “beautiful building” with “good customer service,” says Rebecca DeShazo, CMP Director of Association Services of the Georgia Association of Realtors.

Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta is a favorite of Felice Levy, manager, global accounts, at HelmsBriscoe. She cites the facility’s size and proximity to the airport.

George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston hosts some huge events, making it a perennial favorite.

Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama is “well run,” says Hank Isenberg, president of IronMountain Solutions.

Orange County Convention Center in Orlando drew the support of William Blue, director of Director Potter’s House International Pastoral Alliance

Also receiving votes were John Q. Hammons Convention Center Northwest Arkansas and the Alpharetta Conference Center, home of Connect Georgia 2018.


Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, Texas, got the love from Kat Sanford, chief fun officer at Kat Sanford Events. Hilton Americas, Omni Dallas, Gaylord Texan and Hilton Anatole were also among Texas hotel favorites.

The Florence Elston Inn and Conference Center in Sweet Briar, Virginia, feels bigger than it is due to its location on the Sweet Briar College campus, says Elizabeth Young, outside sales officer at I Hotel and Conference Center.

Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa has a “great location” says Lisa Brown, events manager at CPAmerica International. DeShazo also raves about the location.

Brown also likes Four Seasons Midtown Atlanta and The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, and who could blame her?

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and Augusta Marriott & Convention Center also drew raves from DeShazo.

Susan Russell, executive director at HD Plan-IT, votes for Intercontinental Buckhead in Atlanta, as well as The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, and The Cloister in Sea Island, Georgia.

Joy Brand-Richardson, vice president and director of training at JCC Association of North America, knows you can’t go wrong with a Rosen property. She likes Rosen Plaza, Rosen Centre and Rosen Shingle Creek.

Claudia Hardy, program director at UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, has few ideas where to stay in Alabama: Renaissance Ross Bridges in Birmingham; Hyatt Regency Birmingham—the Wynfrey Hotel and Renaissance Mobile. Brooks also like the Ross Bridges, as well as Westin Nashville, as well as Embassy Suites Nashville SE & Conference Center.

WaterColor Inn has “sweeping gulf views and multiple meeting space options perfect for your small meeting getaway,” Olivia Wells, marketing coordinator at St. Joe’s Clubs & Resorts in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Matthew Probst, vice president of conference planning at Ivy Tech, sings the praises of Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Spa, JW Marriott Austin and New Orleans Downtown Marriott New Orleans at the Convention Center.

Best-Value Destinations

Favorites included:

New Orleans
Galveston, Texas
Frisco, Texas
Plano, Texas
Grapevine, Texas
Arlington, Texas
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Williamsburg, Virginia
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Franklin, TN
Huntsville, AL

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