The Baltimore Buzz [Meetings Edition] - Winter 2015

February 2015

Location, Location, Location

Baltimore’s key location among contributing factors to increasing attendance numbers

Baltimore’s meetings and convention groups are reporting rising attendance numbers at their 2014 shows. Below are testimonials from the meeting planners of four of Baltimore’s returning conventions.  

PRIM&R (Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research)

PRIM&R saw their attendance level jump from 2,213 in 2013 to 2,419 at their 2014 show, held in Baltimore. The show also saw a 120% increase in government employee attendees over the 2013 numbers, and a 70% increase over 2012.

When asked about any specific factors that contributed to the attendance growth, Meeting Professional Alysa Perry stated: “The Maryland/DC area is a hot spot for us. A number of our constituency work in the government sector, and so this conveniently located meeting allowed many of them to get approval and support to attend our meeting.”

Click here to see PRM&R’s new video testimonial!


NASPA, the association of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, saw the attendance rise from 5,600 in 2013 to 5,745 in 2014.

Kevin Kruger, NASPA President, noted that, “The increase in attendance was due to several inter-connecting factors. First, Baltimore has an ideal location for our members to arrive via air, train or car. The central Mid-Atlantic location drew additional participants from the Northeast corridor and into the eastern Midwest. Both of these areas have high concentrations of colleges and universities. I think a second factor is that while we had never had our annual meeting in Baltimore, increasingly, Baltimore is a destination. The harbor, Aquarium, the historical charm and the wide range of ethnic restaurants and, crabs of course, attracted a lot of first-time visitors.”

Kruger also added, “We loved the opening reception for the conference at the Power Plant Live! complex. Had great turnout and our participants really enjoyed the variety of venues. They were also very easy to work with."

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

The AOTA 94th Annual Conference and Expo in April 2014 saw its attendance jump from 7,133 at their 2013 meeting to 8,433. Frank Gainer, AOTA’s director of meetings, provided the following testimonial:

Are there any specific factors that you feel contributed to the attendance growth? “Location.”

Any other positive statistics you feel you’d like to share? “The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) headquartered in Bethesda, MD, achieved a number of firsts during our recent 2014 Annual Conference & Expo in Baltimore but the one achievement that stands above the rest was our exceptionally strong record-setting attendance numbers.  Baltimore was the perfect draw and location for more than 7,500 occupational therapy practitioners and students, which in turn kept a record number of exhibitors very busy.  The Baltimore Convention Center and Hilton Baltimore rose to the challenge and the supporting hotel community could not have been more accommodating as numbers continued to grow beyond our expectations.”

Natural Product Expos

Natural Products Expo East saw the attendance numbers jump to 23,547 at the September 2014. This was a significant increase from the 22,735 attendance number at the 2013 Expo. Adam Andersen, Group Show Director, provided the following testimonial:

Are there any specific factors that you feel contributed to the attendance growth? “Any convention, any expo is about this community. And Baltimore, the downtown Inner Harbor, provides the ideal setting for the campus environment that we like to put our shows in.”

Any other positive statistics you feel you’d like to share? “The team at Visit Baltimore has just been a great partner for us. We bring them any issue we have for them or any challenges we have, from our exhibitors and our attendees, and they work with us to make our experience better.”

Click here to Natural Products Expo East's video testimonial!



Take a 360-Degree Virtual Tour of the Baltimore Convention Center now features a 360‑degree virtual tour of the Convention Center that places you inside the building and allows you to explore the venue floor‑by‑floor. The feature allows users to view floorplans of the center, click on the room or other area they’d like to explore — such as the main lobbies and exhibit halls, ballrooms, entrances, meeting rooms, exterior terraces and more — and simply click and drag their mouse across the screen to look around the room. While viewing a selected 360‑degree panorama, the user can also see alternate images of the room as it would look when set up for different events and functions.

Other features include downloadable PDFs of the center’s floorplans and an area map that shows a “bird’s eye view” of the Convention Center and surrounding area. The 360‑degree tour feature can be viewed while using a desktop computer or tablet.


Synchronicities Books Multiyear Deal with APCO

Synchronicities, the three-city meetings and convention sales partnership between Baltimore, San Antonio and Anaheim, has been chosen to host APCO International. APCO International is the latest organization to partner with Synchronicities, joining the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) and the National Postal Forum.

The APCO Annual Conference and Exposition will take place in Baltimore, San Antonio and Anaheim in 2019, 2021 and 2022, respectively. APCO International is the world's oldest and largest not-for-profit professional organization dedicated to the enhancement of public safety communications. The Annual Conference and Exposition attracts 5,000 attendees who utilize more than 10,000 room nights annually, offering cutting-edge educational experiences, effective networking opportunities, and a showcase of the industry's latest and greatest products and services. 




Royal Farms Arena Ranked No. 1 Midsized US Venue

Leading industry trade publications Venues Today and Billboard Magazine distinguished Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena among the top venues of 2014. Venues Today named the Arena #1 in the United States among buildings 10,001 – 15,000 and #8 internationally. Billboard Magazine named Royal Farms Arena #8 globally for arenas of its size.

The Royal Farms Arena is an excellent additional venue to consider for general sessions. Click here for further information on upcoming events at the Royal Farms Arena.


Free Wi-fi Now Available in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake recently announced that free wireless internet service will now be available for tourists and other visitors to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The free wi-fi zone extends along the Inner Harbor waterfront promenade from the Rusty Scupper to the west side of the World Trade Center. Complimentary wi-fi is also available at the Baltimore Visitor Center as well as a free charging station.

Baltimore in the News

“Baltimore’s Renaissance in Full Swing”Huffington Post

“There’s Always More in Baltimore”- Philadelphia Sun  

“Underrated American Cities”Condé Nast Traveler

“10 Best Children’s Museums in the US”Fodor’s Travel

“10 Best: Prettiest cobblestone streets across America”USA Today

“Johns Hopkins University Launches Vendor Acceleration Program to Support Baltimore City-Based Minority and Women-Owned Businesses”Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore

“Maryland gained estimated 11,000 jobs in December”- Baltimore Sun

Hotel Openings and Updates

The Hyatt Place Baltimore Inner Harbor East opened in December 2014. Located in trendy Harbor East, this new hotel has 208 guest rooms, complimentary daily breakfast, an on-site fitness center, complimentary Wi-Fi, an indoor pool with an adjacent outdoor sitting area and 2,500 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space with a pre-function foyer. 

The Ivy Hotel, the new premiere luxury hotel in historic Mount Vernon, is scheduled to open in May 2015. The Ivy’s 18 guest accommodations – nine suites and nine rooms - will each have a fireplace and private bathroom. The hotel’s relaxed and informal fine-dining restaurant Magdalena, led by acclaimed Executive Chef Mark Levy, will serve refined, modern American cuisine in the original mansion’s treasury and wine cellar.

The Hotel Indigo Baltimore, scheduled to open Summer 2015, will be an upscale hotel in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. The hotel offers over 5,100 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, and the West Franklin Street location puts guests within walking distance to some of the city’s greatest attractions, including the Inner Harbor, Camden Yards, The Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Convention Center, major corporate headquarters and more. The hotel is located 10 miles from the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and less than a mile from Baltimore Penn Station.

The hotel company Red Lion Hotels Corp. acquired the historic Keyser Building on Baltimore’s Calvert Street corridor and plans to reopen it as a Hotel RL in the summer of 2015. The 130-room property will be the company's first on the East Coast, as well as its first Hotel RL, a brand the company launched in November 2014. Red Lion Hotels has more than 50 properties across the West Coast and one in British Columbia, all under the Red Lion flag.

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has signed an agreement to be acquired by one of the world’s leading hospitality companies, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). Baltimore’s Hotel Monaco is thrilled to be joining IHG, alongside the nine successful brands already in their portfolio. The Hotel Monaco will operate under the IHG umbrella but will maintain the Kimpton brand with the hotel’s unique approach to hospitality.



Baltimore Flights Update

On May 8, Icelandic airline WOW air will offer nonstop service from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to Reykjavik, Iceland, for as little as $99 one-way, with connections to many European cities. The flights will run year-round and operate four days a week for the first month of service, from May 8 to June 3. Thereafter, the flights will be offered five days a week. This new flight will make Baltimore an even more easy and convenient destination for European travelers coming to the U.S.

Baltimore’s Hot Dates 

Consider the following ‘hot dates’ to bring your group to Baltimore, and make sure to inquire about special hotel offers and promotions available. October 23 –28, 2015 is newly available! 

Click here for a complete list of hot dates until 2017.



Past Baltimore Buzz: Meetings Editions

May 2014

October 2014


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