We are so happy to have had the opportunity to host a variety of sport and meeting planners in Virginia Beach for our #BringItToVB FAM this past month! Attendees were a diverse cross-section of both Sports to Meetings and Conventions planners, as well as writers from Smart Meetings, Sports Destination Management and PCMA Convene, to whom we were able to showcase Virginia Beach’s beautiful beaches, distinct venues and attractions, which inspire every attendee to want to live the life!

Our four-day FAM included tours of sport and meeting venues, such as a sustainability tour of the LEED Gold-certified Virginia Beach Convention Center, Princess Anne Athletic Complex and the brand-new Brock Environmental Center, one of the most energy-efficient, environmentally smart buildings in the country. Attendees enjoyed a mayoral breakfast, heard and learned from keynote speaker Crystal Washington, who gave an insightful presentation about using social media, and participated in our Give Back Marketplace event, which benefited Pajama Jams. Planners and writers also got the chance to “come on down” during the “Price is Right” Stage Show held at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, one of Virginia Beach’s state-of-the-art meeting facilities.

After business was complete, attendees experienced some of Virginia Beach’s top attractions, including oyster-farming boat tours, iFly indoor skydiving and zip-lining at the Adventure Park. Participants of Pleasure House Oysters’ Oyster-Farming Boat Tour were given the opportunity to see first-hand how legendary Lynnhaven oysters are harvested and had the chance to taste fresh bivalves directly from the water. Thrill-seeking participants experienced Virginia Beach iFly, where they experienced the adrenaline of a free-falling skydive indoors at the new facility. At the Adventure Park, the largest of its kind in Virginia, attendees navigated their way through a series of aerial ropes challenge courses and zipped through the trees on multiple zip-lines.

We always enjoy getting to see our clients, media partners and long-time friends in person and showing them what living the life in Virginia Beach is all about. Thank you to everyone who joined us and made our 2015 #BringItToVB FAM so memorable and successful!

Here are some images from these great four days. If you did not get a chance to participate this year and would like the opportunity to learn more, please contact us.

National High School Wrestling Championships

Earlier this spring, we were proud to host the 26th Annual National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) National High School Wrestling Championships at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The event, the country’s most prestigious high school event – in any sport – sees young, up-and-coming wrestlers take to the mat over the course of two days to demonstrate their unbelievable athletic talent. Such a dynamic event requires an equally dynamic venue, and the Virginia Beach Convention Center does not hold back, transforming itself into a state-of-the-art wrestling facility. Check out the awesome setup from start-to-finish!

The team has been rockin’ meetings, conventions and events around the country

Our Virginia Beach team was “rockin’ and rollin’ during the first quarter of 2015, so we thought we’d give you an update on what we’ve been up to over the past three months.

Every year, the Virginia Beach sales team gets the opportunity to attend a vast amount of conferences throughout the country, and these conferences are as varied as the diverse events that Virginia Beach has the opportunity to host each year. Within the last three months, Virginia Beach was represented everywhere – from as far as California to D.C. Some of these included the PCMA Annual Convention and Event Service Professionals Association in Chicago, the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) in Washington D.C., Religious Conference Managers Association (RCMA) in Birmingham, Ala. the Collinson Diversity Conference in Newport, Calif. and CEOs attending theCouncil of Engineers of Scientific Society Executives (CESSE) in Mobile, Ala. In the next few weeks, the sales team will circle back to Washington D.C. for both Destination Showcase and Springtime in the Park showcases.

To continue to enrich the team, we encourage all of our sales managers to attend conferences and meetings that provide both educational sessions and networking opportunities. So far, the Virginia Beach sales team has traveled to Chicago to attend both the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA), which featured new ways to help planners organize events, and the PCMA Annual Convention, where they explored event and technology intelligence, operational strategy, meeting and experience design and globalization. During their time in the Windy City, the team partnered to host a customer dinner at the trendy Osteria Via Stato. On the West Coast, Dawn Whittaker represented Virginia Beach at Collinson Diversity Conference in Newport Beach, which focused on multicultural business in the meetings and events industry. This three-day event featured workshops, education and networking opportunities, as well as pre-scheduled appointments between meeting planners and organizations. Dawn also attended the Council of Engineers of Scientific Society Executives (CESSE) Mid-Winter meeting in Mobile.

As a destination, we believe that we are only as strong as our industry partners, which is why we take pride in collaborating with all of our hotel partners. It is just as important to invite the industry partners to conferences with the sales team, since ultimately, they are the ones who help host the events first-hand. Our hotel partners, Westin Town Center and Holiday Inn North Beach, accompanied our sales team while travelling to Birmingham to attend the Religious Conference Managers Association’s (RCMA) Annual Meeting and Tradeshow, where they learned through educational sessions, contingency planning, negotiation, participation rich meetings, religious conferencing, social media preparation, strategic planning and more.

Back at the beach, our team was busy “creating Rock Stars” for events taking place along right here, including AAU Gymnastics, Cheer & Dance competitions, Soccer tournaments, National Green Schools, Distributive Educational Clubs, Fire Chiefs, Law Enforcement and more! The first quarter is already off to an amazing start, and we cannot wait to see where the rest of 2015 takes us.

To learn more about the conferences we attend and the events we host, contact me, Todd Bertka.

Excalibur Cup Gymnastics Invitational

The Virginia Beach Convention Center was the place to be, Feb. 12-14, as the Excalibur Cup Gymnastics Invitational, which was organized by Excalibur Gymnastics, brought together 3,000 competitors. The Virginia Beach Convention Center served as the perfect location for the competition to host the competitors and their families, as they participated in various disciplines of the sport.

Spectators watched and cheered on the amazingly talented aspiring athletes who came from 25 states and 10 countries to compete in this event, and they may have witnessed the next great gymnast of the future compete. Congrats to the winners!

To find out more about hosting sporting events in Virginia Beach, drop me, Bill Kelly, a line.

Looking back on 2014

When looking back on 2014, it is crazy to see the amount of changes that took place within our department and seeing how, even amid transitions, our team remained persistent. In fact, their hard work ensured a successful end of the year, with us achieving our M&C room-night goal! One of the great events that helped make this year a success included our give-back program, which contributed more than 100 backpacks to autistic children participating in Surfer’s Healing. After a dynamic 2014, we are ready to hit the ground running and take Virginia Beach to an exciting new level with new product development on the way. Be sure to stay tuned with us for some exciting news in 2015!

Until then, happy holidays! Please feel free to contact me (Sally Noona) with any questions on partnering with us in the future.

Service is our sport!

It is exciting for me to look back at 2014, given all of the great initiatives that took place! We held 63 sporting events with 132,745 out-of-town attendees. We had the opportunity of traveling to more than 10 conferences, sales missions and other networking events, while also getting the chance to host great new events like the USA Lacrosse Women’s Collegiate Championship and Sevens Rugby Championship. I could have not accomplished all of the success that we have had this year without my team: Dani Timm and also our newest member, Bill Kelly. I am looking forward to working with our new, unified sports marketing team to achieve even higher goals and to continue to spread the message that here in Virginia Beach, “service is our sport!”

To learn how you can work with us in the New Year, contact me (Nancy Helman). Would love to hear from you. Happy holidays!

TEAMS 2014 Conference and Expo

Teams 2014 Conference and ExpoI recently hit the road to Las Vegas, with the rest of my Virginia Beach Sports Marketing team, to attend the TEAMS 2014 Conference and Expo, presented by Sports Travel. It was great attending the event as part of the “Sports Virginia” contingency, which included our partners from Hampton, Williamsburg, Richmond, Salem and Fairfax. Together, we had the opportunity to interact with sports event organizers from all over the country, while learning from the different educational sessions that were offered. Attending this conference will result in having the possibility of hosting future events in our first-class destination, which will benefit not only us but all of our industry partners as well.

To find out more about how we pursue new and exciting sports events to come to Virginia Beach, contact me (Nancy Helman).

2014 Bowl-A-Thon

Linda Eisan, CHSP, CGMP and I had the pleasure of traveling to downtown Chicago to join the Greater Midwest Chapter (GMC) for Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) in their 2014 Bowl-A-Thon, which this year benefitted the charity Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly. With 500 attendees, it ended up being the group’s most successful event yet, and we were so proud to be a part of it.

To learn more about the Virginia Beach sales team and the events we attend, contact me (Lisa MacArthur).

Tips and Best Practices for Smooth Ceremonies

Last week, I traveled up to Washington, D.C. to participate in the monthly meeting for the National Capital Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP NATCAP) to prepare for their upcoming Expo in November. By attending the educational program “Tips and Best Practices for Smooth Ceremonies” at the meeting, I was able to learn about the panelists’ experience working with and hosting government, elected, military officials and international dignitaries. I found the takeaways on hosting a ceremony to be especially interesting, so I thought I would share some quick, fun facts from the session:

  • Take into the consideration of the goal, audience or outcome of the ceremony. Basic ceremony types recognize an organization, an individual or a special event
  • A ceremony must include invitations, collateral material, national anthems, positions of honor, introductions, flag displays and Color Guard
  • The host country flag should also be placed to the right of the speaker (from the speaker’s position, not the audience’s view)
  • Within the U.S., it is appropriate for civilians to place their hand over their heart during the National Anthem, during the passing of the U.S. Flag, the Pledge of Allegiance and the movement of a casket
  • The most important consideration of a ceremony is the memory and the feelings that the attendees walk away with

Also pertaining to government groups are the changes to the military travel policy that went into effect with the new per diem rates the first of this month. Troops on longer trips will be required to take advantage of weekly or monthly rates and those traveling on temporary duty lasting more than 30 days will not get the full per diem rate. These are factors hotels should keep in mind when bidding on or accepting reservations for long-term stays.

For more information on planning government or military events in Virginia Beach, or details on changes in government and military travel, contact me, Linda Eisan.

Inaugural Beach Championships, May 2015

Recently, two-thirds of the Virginia Beach Sports Marketing team, including Dani Timm and myself, got to travel to Frisco, TX for the USA Ultimate National Championship. We wanted to attend this event in advance of Virginia Beach hosting the inaugural Beach Championships in May 2015. While in Frisco, we got an idea of the event schedule, along with witnessing first-hand the spectacular athletic skill in attendance at this premier, professionally run competition, which is rival to none.

I am excited about our team securing this inaugural event and look forward to our continued excellence for the year 2015! To find out more about hosting sports events in Virginia Beach, drop me, Bill Kelly, a line.