The meetings & events market has been a growing part of our business in the Foothills and last month, we made the leap from focusing on the northern California market to the national and international market.
Along with two of or our meetings & events oriented hotels: Evergreen Lodge and the new Hotel at Black Oak Casino (set to open in March, 2013) we exhibited at what is now the largest trade show for the meetings and events industry in North America: IMEX (International Meetings Exchange) America.
The IMEX show originated in Frankfurt Germany 11 years ago and the organizers decided to launch a US version of the show in Las Vegas last year. Even though it's only in its 2nd year, the show drew some 3,000 qualified meeting and event buyers from 44 countries.
The show gave us the opportunity to showcase our area and its many unique activities and facilities for meetings and events that make us an attractive choice for this market segment. We had a terrific team of people from Black Oak and Evergreen Lodge along with Lisa Mayo, our Director of Sales and Marketing and me, representing the Visitors Bureau.
We all had the opportunity to talk with buyers managing groups of all sizes from all over the world. We met with corporate, association and government meeting planners as well as independent planners handling groups of every kind: from executive retreats to school groups from China.
It also gave us an opportunity to meet with many of the group specialists in the Bay Area who sell all of Northern California. We provided them with sales tools to sell the Mother Lode along with the more familiar destinations for this market such as Napa, Sonoma and Monterey.
We want to thank our lodging partners who shared the expenses and make it possible for us to participate in a show of this magnitude to put us on the map for group travel buyers from around the world.