Monday, June 28, 2010

Extra, Extra!: Convene Newsstand

Each Monday, the newest Convene editorial staffer — which currently is yours truly, Senior Editor Hunter Slaton — rounds up meetings- and hospitality-industry news from the past week, in order to compile a top three-story list for inclusion in PCMA's Tuesday e-newsletter, called ThisWeek@PCMA.

So each Monday morning finds me combing through the past week's Google News Alerts and industry publication e-mails, and clicking on anything that seems interesting. My Web browser thus becomes stuffed to overflowing with interesting meetings-industry news items. Then I narrow down the list, write my stories, and send these along to my executive editor for review.

But so much gets left out! That's where it's good to have a blog. No more space limitations, ever! With that in mind, here are links to a handful of interesting stories that didn't make this week's newsletter:

On July 1, Starbucks will begin offering free Wi-Fi in all its coffee shops — including those in hotel lobbies. As any seasoned traveler knows, most hotels charge (a lot) for Internet access ... so will this cause guests to crowd hotel Starbucks in order to avoid "outrageous" hotel Wi-Fi fees?

If you've ever experienced sticker shock when shopping for, say, a couch, you'll be able to empathize with the Wilmington (N.C.) City Council, who recently authorized a quarter of a million dollars to furnish the town's forthcoming new 107,000-square-foot Wilmington Convention Center, opening in "late 2010." That's 2,500 chairs and 720 folding tables!

An airline made a 10-year-old throw away her pet turtle! (The airline denies that its employees ever told the girl that she had to throw away her pet in order to board the plane ... but the airline's employees also said that she could not get on the plane with the turtle, so you do the math.) Thankfully, another airline employee, a kindly ramp supervisor, rescued the turtle, which was later reunited with its owner.

Hotels might be getting a bit shabbier over the next few years, according to analysis by NYU Tisch Center divisional dean Bjorn Hanson. Total capital expenditures will be $3 billion in 2010, or 9 percent less than 2009's $3.3 billion and 45 percent below the record-setting $5.5 billion spent in 2008. Said Hanson: "In periods of declining industry performance, many discretionary projects, and even some items that might be noticeable to guests, are cancelled or postponed."

That's all the extra news for this week. Tune in next week for more meetings-industry news and ephemera (or, to receive our main-edition ThisWeek@PCMA e-newsletter — plus of course many, many more benefits — become a PCMA member).

* If you want to subscribe to PCMA's second weekly e-newsletter, UpComing@PCMA, which A) also features meetings-industry news items, B) is sent out every Thursday, and C) is open to non-members, you can do so by e-mailing your request to

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