Shawna Reid, marketing and visitor center manager for the Bay Area Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, has lived all over the world. A self-described Air Force “brat” who then became an Air Force spouse was living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, when she met her husband. They moved to Bay Area Houston for her husband’s job in 2006. One of the things she loves about her adopted hometown is the sheer amount of things to do within 50 miles of her front door.

“We have four professional sports teams in Houston less than an hour drive, year-round festivals, the fun of the Kemah Boardwalk and Space Center Houston is out of this world. Galveston Island is only 30 minutes away with beaches, cruise ships and tons of history.  Bay Area Houston also offers a tremendous amount of culinary delights! We are a foodie’s dream with restaurants that have been featured on the Food Network and Travel Channel and in national publications,” says Reid.

One of her favorite things to do is get out on the water with family and friends—an easy enough option thanks to her waterside locale. “Bay Area Houston is home to one of the top five pleasure-boat communities in the U.S. There is always something going on out on Clear Lake or around Galveston Bay,” she says.

Bay Area Houston encompasses the cities of Kemah, League City, Nassau Bay and Seabrook. The communities offer approximately 1,700 hotel rooms, including two full-service properties with convention space and meeting rooms. Reid says that plans call for additional convention facilities and full-service hotels. Bay Area Houston is also near two airports: Hobby, which is 30 minutes away and George Bush Intercontinental, less than an hour away.

Northwest planners looking to take advantage of the experiential travel trend need look no further than Victoria, British Columbia, for their next meeting or event. Located on Vancouver Island, the provincial capital is a natural playground with boundless beauty, upscale comforts and casual elegance. “We know that organizations are looking for meetings and incentive travel options that can’t be replicated,” says Miranda Ji, vice president of sales for the Victoria Conference Centre and Business Events Victoria.

 

Philadelphia was one of just two U.S. locations on National Geographic’s list of best trips for 2020. The magazine describes the city as “a scrappy underdog with a heart of gold” and uses words like “vibrant” and “creative” to describe this formerly industrial city. That’s good news for meeting planners and should certainly boost attendance at meetings. And adding to the excitement are shopping, entertainment and restaurants cropping up around the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC), glitzy new hotels and renovated attractions with event space.

 

With its casual college town vibe, thriving music and arts scenes, and independent cowboy culture, Denton is a city of originals. So, it only makes sense that planners looking for a unique location would choose the north Texas city.