Meet Carrie Westergard, the Executive Director of the Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau. Carrie is a 20+ year veteran in the tourism industry, and boy does she know her destination! Between the multitude of outdoor activities available, to the exciting developments happening in their convention center and hotel development, Boise is sure to be on the top of a lot of meeting planner’s lists. Read on to find out how Carrie spends an ideal Saturday in Boise and what makes it a great meeting destination.
SUZZANNE: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your CVB experience?
CARRIE: I have worked in the tourism industry for 20 years, most of which has been in Idaho. My work has included resorts, hotels, property management, public transportation, plus, a good portion of time in the Chamber/Visitors Bureau world prior to starting at the Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau in January 2015. I enjoy being involved in the community and serve on several boards including the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho, Girls on the Run Treasure Valley and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. I also am an avid lover of the arts, Idaho recreation and exploration. I have two children, Claire (14) and Chase (9).
SUZZANNE: Where would we find you on a typical Saturday?
CARRIE: Well if I’m not at a swim meet or on the ski hill you may find me hiking or biking one of the trails in the Boise foothills. In the summer I also enjoy the farmer’s markets, an outdoor performance of Idaho Shakespeare or an outdoor concert at Alive After 5 or the Idaho Botanical Gardens.
Located in the heart of the Western U.S., Boise is convenient from almost anywhere via non-stop air service from many major airline hubs. Once here, the Boise airport is only 10 minutes from downtown with free shuttle service to most area hotels. Boise’s stellar quality of life includes a vibrant urban downtown, cultural and culinary experiences, unique attractions and close-in outdoor recreation. We also have a thoroughly walkable, friendly and safe downtown and a growing culinary, wine and craft beer scene.
We tout Boise as Urban Outdoorsy. Minutes from downtown Boise you will find over 100 miles of foothill trails, a 25-mile paved bike path, a river that runs through the city, white water park, world-class white water rafting, wonderful farm to table culinary experiences, Idaho wine and craft breweries.
Boise currently has a convention center expansion that will increase our convention space from 50,000 to 86,000 square feet (not continuous, but adjacent). The new space will be open in September 2016. We also have 4 new hotel projects (3 in downtown Boise) that will add over 500 new rooms to the market by the end of 2017.
The most obvious advantage is that we have experienced professionals well versed in everything Boise and offer this free service of connecting, obtaining hotel bids/blocks and rates/availability on venues/convention space. Since we have the connections and the ability to quickly sort through proposals we can save planners time and make suggestions on locations that may not have been considered if not familiar with the market. We are also able to offer promotional support to help increase attendance and meeting/convention visibility.
Thanks so much Carrie for taking the time to talk with us today. I’m excited about all the great things happening in Boise!