Thursday, August 9, 2012

Missouri: A Top Spot for Conferences

Recently, the Kauffman Foundation announced that Missouri is the number 6 state for entrepreneurs, but did you know it’s also a hot spot for meetings and conferences as well? According to the article “More Meetings in MO” by William Ng, Kansas City, St. Louis and Branson (yes, Branson!) are some of the top choices for business gatherings.

Conference in KC
From the large-scale Kansas City Convention Center to the more intimate, loft-style spaces of the Crossroads District at bizperc, Kansas City has a lot to offer when it comes to meeting spaces.  Downtown KC has been recently revamped and is ready for eager professionals!  Ng writes, “In the first two months of 2012, the city hosted more than a dozen conventions that contributed more than $20 million to the local economy…In 2011, it recorded its best year ever in terms of hotel demand, with 6.6 million room nights sold.”  Tourists and business people alike are discovering that Kansas City is the new hip destination.

Synergy in St. Louis
The Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress love St. Louis so much, they even had their annual meeting there in July.  St. Louis offers the 500,000 square foot America’s Center right in the center of the lively downtown with four convention centers in one—including Cervantes Convention Center, Edward Jones Dome (yep, the football stadium is inside this place!), St. Louis Executive Conference Center and the Ferrara Theatre.  Walk out the door, and you’re immediately surrounded by restaurants, hotels and other attractions.  With room to play and sites to see, St. Louis offers more than just great sports teams and Budwesier beer!

Book it in Branson
You may be surprised to find Branson on this list, but it’s been gaining convention popularity.  At this family reunion destination, you’ll find not only large groups of relatives strolling around in matching t-shirts, but also business professionals attending conferences.  The Branson Convention Center is just moments away from golf courses, a lake and the Landing (filled with shops and luxurious dining). Plus, if you’re really feeling adventurous, Silver Dollar City is just nine miles away.  You’ll also find the lowest hotel room tax out of the three cities here – 12.1 percent!  It’s not just for tourists anymore either.  Branson is getting a well-deserved rep for hosting some pretty important people.

As the Silicon Prairie gains more popularity, the Midwest earns more respect. Missouri has a lot to offer – and professionals everywhere are starting to see it. 

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