With the closure of Trump Plaza, Showboat and Revel Resort in September, some say Atlantic City is old news. But not Jim Wood, president and CEO of Meet AC, a private nonprofit sales agency started in June 2014 and funded by the CRDA luxury tax. Meet AC’s raison d’être is to drive meeting and convention business to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, Convention Center and surrounding hotels. Wood spent 10 and a half years as president of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau and four and a half years at the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, so he knows a thing or two about courting visitors, but he’ll rely on a team of 26 to market the city as a meeting and convention destination. “We’re starting a new company and building a team. It’s an exciting challenge,” says Wood.

In addition to a sales team focused on various segments of the meetings and convention markets, Meet AC will function as a full-service Destination Marketing Organization. “We’re a one-stop shop for meeting planners,” Wood says. “Our sales team can assist with everything from proposals and site inspections to room blocks, while the marketing team can help with social media and other efforts to drive attendance to your event.”

Though he’s only been a local since the early summer (he resides in nearby Egg Harbor Township), he’s bullish on AC. “The closings get a lot of press attention, but we expect some or all of those hotels to return. Atlantic City is a prime meetings location,” Wood says. “It’s a year-round destination. We have a tremendous amount to offer from a fabulous beach and boardwalk to world-class hotels (there are 18,000 rooms in the city) and entertainment. Where else can you get all of that in one place?"

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 

 

Event planning and experience design go hand in hand. Just ask Maria Moyano, experience designer for the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC), based in NYC. “I think that everything is an event. You can go have coffee, and that’s an event. Everything is also an experience. You feel happy, and that’s an experience. It’s about what you are trying to get out of the event—and then how does an experience elevate it,” says Moyano.

 

In the wake of COVID-19, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) set out to provide planners with up-to-date intel and sound advice, appointing Dr. David Nash, founding dean emeritus of the Jefferson College of Population Health, in the process as its chief health advisor. Dr. Nash and Kavin Schieferdecker, senior vice president of the CVB’s convention division, share how the partnership came to be and its potential lasting impact.