Monday, July 19, 2010

Extra, Extra!: Convene Newsstand

It's Monday, and that means extra (Extra, Extra!) news from around the meetings industry.

Bass Pro Shops has signed a 20-year lease to redevelop the ill-fated Memphis Pyramid, turning it into a $100 million "outdoors superstore." According to a hotel consultant, "If Bass Pro goes forward, there will be a fair amount of redevelopment ... and some of that will be hotels." The Memphis Business Journal also reports that Bass Pro taking over the Pyramid could prompt an expansion or replacement of the Memphis Cook Convention Center. Could these developments, with buzz from the new Memphis Beat TV series, kick off a renaissance for groups in Memphis?

"White Tea"
it wasn't: At the Palms hotel and casino in Las Vegas, an experiment at perfuming the property with a "teakwood" scent recently came to a screeching halt, after visitors pretty much roundly panned the aroma. The Las Vegas Sun reports that one online commenter wrote, "The place literally stinks. I'd almost rather smell the smoke."

According to USA Today, a number of Gulf Coast hotels — as well as big hotel companies including InterContinental, Marriott, and Hilton — are offering "oil-free beach guarantees." The story doesn't say whether this guarantee applies to groups, but it's worth asking, for any planner who is considering booking a meeting at a property possibly affected by the oil spill. (Of course, the point of the guarantee is that, in large part, the beaches are just fine.)

Used to, you could only talk to your seatmate. But now, reports the New York Times, with Twitter and other social networking programs, you can talk to anyone at the gate or on the plane. This recently happened to Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do?, who found himself trading tweets before a flight with another passenger who knew him from his writing.

And last but not least, the quote of the week award goes to this story from United Press International, about Toronto hosting the International Medical Marijuana Expo last week:
"We're not trying to promote, 'Come down to the convention center and get stoned.'"
Still, it's not a half-bad tagline.

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