Katherine Kertzman, CEO and president of Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) moved around a lot as a child—she came from a military family and even spent time living overseas. Still, most of her childhood was spent in Spokane and Tacoma. As an adult, she worked in Texas as director of marketing and public relations for a hospital. Then a job brought her back to the Northwest.

“I had the opportunity to join Highline Community Hospital in Burien as the director of women’s health services, where I opened a new childbirth and delivery clinic. Then in 1999, I joined the City of Tukwila as the tourism and marketing manager, where through inter-local agreements with neighboring cities, I developed Seattle Southside Visitor Services. In 2015, our hoteliers helped create a Tourism Promotion Area and established the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority,” says Kertzman.

Kertzman says she loves the regional community spirit of Seattle Southside. “Each city that makes up our region offers their own strengths, and, when combined together as Seattle Southside, make our destination unique and appealing. We have a beautiful beach community, internationally diverse dining and shopping community, and a thriving international airport and hospitality community.”

An avid gardener, one of Ketzman’s favorite inspirational spots to visit is the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden. “Afterwards, I visit Zenith Holland Gardens, the oldest business in Des Moines, to pick out flowers and vegetables to plant in my backyard. I finish the day off with a meal at one of the international restaurants to remind me of my childhood spent abroad,” she says.

The southside region has more than 350,000 square feet of meeting space and nearly 9,000 hotel rooms. Kertzman says three more reasons for planners to consider a meeting or event in the area are:

» Location: Seattle Southside is ideally located near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, only 15 minutes south of downtown Seattle with three conveniently located light rail stations and free airport shuttles to hotels.

» Value: Seattle Southside is affordable for planners and attendees. Hotel rates are typically 20-30 percent lower than downtown Seattle. 

» Service: The Seattle Southside RTA staff makes it easy to plan an event. With complimentary services like attendance marketing, welcome services, site sourcing, transportation assistance, group rates at attractions and discounts for groups, the stress is taken out of meeting and event planning.

Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga in Southern California’s Cucamonga Valley is one of the Inland Empire’s oldest wine regions. It also checks off all the must-have items on a meeting and event planner’s wish list. Easy to get to? Check. Budget-friendly? Check. A destination for foodies? Check. Beautiful backdrop to serve as inspiration? Check. Plenty to do after all the day’s meetings are done? Check, check, and check. 

 

The day’s agenda is done—all the to-do items have been checked off, and it’s time to come together as friends and colleagues. So, what is there to do? Well, if you’re meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan, plenty. Located just 20 minutes to the Detroit Metro Airport, which offers 1,100 daily flights from four continents, the city is home to the University of Michigan and is a hub of creativity and culture. Ann Arbor offers a walkable downtown and the quirky and innovative attractions you’d expect to find in a college town. 

 

A generation ago, people talked about the power lunch. Now, taking the “work from anywhere” trend to a new level,  Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino has introduced the “power palapa.”

These beach palapas, which line Aruba’s shoreline, have been outfitted with everything meeting attendees need to stay connected during breaks, including a power and USB charging station, laptop cooling pad, laptop sunshade privacy cover and a power bowl with hydrating aloe juice or coconut water.