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On May 26, Greater Fort Lauderdale officials celebrated the record-breaking 15.4 million visitors that spent $14.2 billion in the destination in 2015. Nicki Grossman, who’s retiring President & CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, was also honored for her 21 years of service to the bureau. Pictured here (left to right): Broward County Commissioner Dale C. Holness; Stacy Ritter, Broward County Commissioner and incoming President & CEO, Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB; Grossman; Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler; and Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry.

Choose Chicago Calls for Support for State Funding

By Jonathan Trager

It’s déjà vu for Choose Chicago—and not in a good way.
The organization is again facing the prospect of state-provided money being withheld for the upcoming fiscal year starting on July 1 due to a long-running budget impasse. The state legislative session comes to a close on May 31.

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DMAI Consolidates Annual Convention Dates

By Jonathan Trager

The Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) Annual Convention will be slightly condensed this year because of feedback that “balancing time away from your offices is an ongoing challenge,” President & CEO Don Welsh has announced.

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Convention Hotel Breaks Ground in Des Moines; to Open 2018

By Dan Bennett

A groundbreaking for the planned Convention Center Hilton Hotel in downtown Des Moines means the hotel is on schedule for a spring 2018 opening.
The $101 million, 330-room hotel with as much as 20,000 square foot of flexible meeting space, will be connected to the Iowa Events Center, part of the 23.5-acre Iowa Convention and Entertainment Reinvestment District.

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Forty Under 40 Application Period Opens June 1

By Todd McElwee

The Association Forum of Chicagoland and USAE are once again on the hunt for the best and the brightest association professionals under 40. On June 1, the application process for the fourth annual Forty Under 40 Awards opens. The deadline for submissions is July 31.
“Becoming a Forty Under 40 honoree is an opportunity to join a growing community of up-and-coming leaders in the association or nonprofit profession,” Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, President & CEO, Association Forum, told USAE. “They have demonstrated high potential of success and a strong commitment to the future of associations. These leaders standout in their associations and industries because they challenge the status quo and are shaping the new economy of associations.”

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HOTS Pre-Flight Proposals

HOTS may be one of the few who actually enjoys airports. Yes, security and parking is routinely awful, but once one pushes past the full-body the scanner the hustle and bustle; sights of planes taking off and landing; mindless barstool banter with people you’re likely to never see again over an overpriced beer or double for a dollar more; and feeling of jetting off to a far-off locale all appeal to HOTS. Yet there are measures facilities could implement to enhance the pre-boarding experience.
1. More Manned Security Checkpoint Lanes: Nothing, and I mean nothing, draws the ire of fliers than dust bunnies collecting on unmanned equipment at TSA security checkpoints. If an airport has five lanes, all five should be in operation. HOTS has no issue with tacking on another dollar or two to the price of a ticket or 50 cents onto a bag of chips to pay for this.
2. Plugs, Plugs, and Plugs: Every seat at a major airport should have an outlet as well as USB port. Restaurants should also have outlets in tables and bars. Again, 50 cents more for a soda is acceptable to make this happen.
3. Play Areas: If fast-food restaurants across the nation can encompass indoor jungle gyms, ball pits and play facilities why can’t airports? Clear out seats from lesser used gates and install play areas. Parents of worn out children across the nation will thank you. Plus airports could have each area sponsored.
4. Beer Gardens: Adult play areas. Craft breweries have popped up across the nation. Airports should showcase their best local offerings in German-style beer gardens. Breweries would also jump at the opportunity, which has to be more cost effective than leasing an entire restaurant; we’re talking picnic tables and draft beer. Passengers should also be allowed to carry alcoholic beverages from a restaurant/bar to their gates. Chicago gets this right.
5. Museums: Many airports already display local artifacts and art but HOTS cannot remember a full-fledged museum calling an airport home. Who wouldn’t want to visit a display or two from the Smithsonian while killing time at Reagan National and there’s no better showcase for a city.


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