Louisville Hosts Hybrid Event for Planners to Highlight Capabilities, Safety Measures

November 3, 2020

With more and more planners looking at a hybrid model for their meetings, Louisville Tourism and its industry partners showcased their ability to host such an event while also highlighting the work they’ve done as a city to welcome guests back safely. Held on Oct. 29, Barreling Ahead brought together 35 attendees at Kentucky International Convention Center, with an additional 100 joining virtually. 

Currently, all Louisville hotels are open to guests, and event venues and restaurants are allowed to host groups at 50 percent capacity. “Louisville is ready to welcome business to our city,” said Doug Bennett, senior vice president of convention development for Louisville Tourism.

The half-day event Oct. 29 highlighted the city’s latest health and safety plans and the new cleaning standards being implemented at its major event venues. Both KICC and Kentucky Exposition Center, which fall under the Kentucky Venues umbrella, have achieved GBAC STAR accreditation after implementing strict protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention. 

“The health and safety of our guests, clients and employees continues to be our highest priority, and both facilities have been recognized for consistently demonstrating this commitment,” said David Beck, president and CEO of Kentucky Venues. 

The event also featured a series of education sessions, including one with David DuBois, president and CEO of the IAEE, that looked at the future of the meetings industry during COVID-19. Breakouts focused on sporting events in today’s climate; healthy hybrid events; attendance building; and a session on the important topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

“The double punch of COVID alongside the social justice movement has allowed us to rise to these challenges,” said Karen Williams, president and CEO of Louisville Tourism. “As Louisville’s Muhammad Ali once said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with getting knocked down, as long as you get right back up.’ Louisville is up and ready to show the progress we’ve made in both spaces to welcome guests and ensure Louisville is a safe environment to host meetings.”

In hybrid fashion, the event concluded with a virtual tour of Louisville’s 4th Street Live! downtown entertainment venue followed by lunch in KICC’s spacious pre-function area for in-person attendees.

Get information on holding meetings in Louisville here.

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Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact