With so many people searching for niche, unique vacations, it can be difficult to find the perfect spot. However, if it’s rich history, a variety of event spaces, and a plethora of outdoor recreation activities you’re looking for, look no further than Altoona, Pennsylvania.

The city of Altoona is conveniently located along Interstate 99, two hours east of Pittsburgh. “The location allows conference groups to draw attendees from more than 7 million people within a three-hour radius,” says Mark Ickes, executive director of Explore Altoona.

Whether you find yourself in Altoona for business or pleasure, there is no shortage of things to experience. Check out what’s going on at the state-of-the-art convention center or take a trip back in time and visit a reconstructed Revolutionary War fort site.

For meetings and events, “the variety and value of meeting and event space within the Altoona/Blair County market is advantageous for any budget,” says Ickes. Over the past two years, Altoona has renovated and added 550 hotel rooms, completed a $12.5 million expansion of Laguna Splash water park, and expanded train trips on the Everett Railroad to cel- ebrate Altoona’s deep historical connection to the American railroad.

With an array of award-winning hotels to choose from, Ickes says “this is an exciting time for groups to explore a small destination with big adventures!”

Just like the rest of the world, the hospitality and travel industries slammed to a halt when the pandemic hit last March. Some sectors within them had built-in solutions to focus on, such as hotels limiting capacities and restaurants focusing on takeout and delivery. But for many businesses within the related meetings and events realm, there were no natural alternatives to turn to.


Unprecedented times call for strategic measures. With so many planners wondering how best to plan for the event-specific challenges posed by COVID- 19, industry leaders and top associations have stepped up to offer a road map with trainings on everything from cleaning protocols to new contract clauses.


Lake life provides a kind of tranquility and beauty that can’t be replicated. Often, it accompanies a woodsy cabin on the water, but in the Finger Lakes, luxury and lake life pair perfectly at The Lake House on Canandaigua. World-class amenities and a residentially inspired design throughout the building bring a sense of comfort to visitors, as well as the title as one of the “most anticipated hotel openings of 2020” by Vogue magazine.