Michelle W. Jones
Director, Convention and Meeting Services Associated General Contractors of America, Arlington, Va.
Describe your event. In May 2009, we held our BIMForum at the Omni Mandalay in Irving. BIM stands for Building Information Modeling, an emerging process that is changing the way projects are built. It’s one of the most exciting developments in the construction industry. We had 270 attendees for the two-day conference, which was preceded by one day of BIM education courses.
Why did you decide to host the event in Irving? Irving was chosen because it was centrally located, not far from the airport, and we hadn’t been there before. The Omni Mandalay was chosen because several people had been there before and really liked it.
What surprised you the most about Irving? The growth. I am impressed by the new convention center being built, the new hotels opening and the light rail system coming into Irving.
What did your attendees seem to enjoy the most about Irving? I would say the attendees greatly enjoyed what I’ll call the "walkability." Just being able to safely walk to restaurants, along the water and into Las Colinas was very nice. The weather was lovely and it gave them a chance to get fresh air, stretch their legs and soak up a little local Texas flavor.
Was anybody particularly helpful? Maura Gast and Stacey Goldman at the Irving CVB made me feel very welcome and offered their services for the meeting. And when our on-site registration numbers grew, they were quick to provide me with extra name badge holders.
What other types of groups would fit well with Irving? I would say any group that is looking for value, location and service. I am a fan of Texas in general, but I have always liked the folks in Irving.
Do you have any advice for other planners who might bring a meeting to Irving? My meeting was fairly small, so I really can’t speak on the other hotel properties or ground transportation, etc. I do believe that the ease of transportation and the variety of hotel properties available make Irving a value destination.
Would you return? Yes, indeed! I am excited about the new hotels opening and the light rail system coming on-line.