Currently celebrating their 225th year of statehood, it’s a great time to be thinking about planning a meeting in Lexington, KY! Attendees can enjoy the world-renowned sites offering fresh possibilities for the perfect meeting experience. Today, we hear from Marci Krueger, VP of Sales & Services with Visit Lexington about new trends in the meetings industry, what’s new in Lexington, and their latest innovative CVB offerings. You’ll quickly see why this destination is an appealing alternative for meetings of all sizes.
SUZZANNE: What makes Lexington a great meeting destination?
Our location is central and convenient. When planners look at a map and see that Lexington, KY, is situated within a three- to five-hour drive of many of their members, they definitely see the benefit.
Next on the list is that we are the right size and affordable. After looking at first- and second-tier cities for meetings, they discover that Lexington is affordable in many ways — room rates, complimentary airport shuttles offered through many hotels, and complimentary parking for convention attendees.
They also like that they will become the “headliner” group when they are in Lexington. This creates more personalized service, and we are already known for our genuine hospitality.
SUZZANNE: What is the one thing planners are always surprised to learn about the Lexington area?
Planners are surprised that there is more to us then just horses and that we can accommodate meetings for up to 5,000 people with our convention center and 11 convention/meeting hotels. When they get here, they also comment about how genuinely friendly everyone is in town — not just the hotel sales people but everyone they encounter. People in Lexington just love what they do and where they live!
SUZZANNE: What might we find you enjoying in the destination on your day off?
I like to get outside! Since we are surrounded by 400 horse farms, it only seems natural to take advantage of a horse farm tour and get close to the beautiful animals we seeing running around the Bluegrass Region.
We also have great options for hiking and walking. Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is 15 minutes from downtown Lexington and offers beautiful views of the Kentucky River and eight miles of trails to enjoy. The Arboretum is located at the University of Kentucky campus and is minutes from downtown. It has walking and running trails as well as art exhibits. It’s also a great place to just stretch out on a blanket, read a good book and enjoy nature.
SUZZANNE: What are a couple of your favorite places to dine or get a drink?
I love the Distillery District, which has a great variety of locally owned restaurants. This area was created from existing empty buildings on the historic grounds of the old Pepper Distillery just minutes from downtown Lexington. I love Middle Fork Kitchen Bar and Goodfellas Wise Guy Pizza. I then finish with my favorite food, ice cream. Crank & Boom has the best flavors! It sources local products to create fun and unique flavors that change seasonally.
SUZZANNE: What do you see trending in the meeting’s market? How is your CVB proactively addressing this trend or staying current?
Planners want a unique experience that creates memories during their meetings. Our team can provide great options to help make these dreams come true. For example, attendees can start with a horse farm experience and learn about breeding, thoroughbred training and the racing industry. Or they can host a reception at the farm and enjoy watching the rolling bluegrass hills with fence lines and horses frolicking around. Sounds pretty? It is amazing!
SUZZANNE: What is an innovative service offering at the CVB?
Folks will decide to attend a meeting based on educational content and then the location of the meeting. We keep evaluating and changing the attendance-building tools and resources to keep up with the trends.
We have a Planner Took Kit available where our services team can walk the planner through the different options. Additionally, we have created more than 100 15-second videos, which are quick, engaging and effective ways for planners to get people excited about Lexington. They are excellent tools to distribute with the registration information. Attendees want to come early and stay late, so our electronic tools are tailored to help them plan their personal side trips.
SUZZANNE: What’s the latest news, developments, or events in your destination you’d like to share with planners?
- We have more than 50 unique venues to host meetings, receptions or dinners. Many are repurposed warehouses, tobacco barns or mansions as well as first class horse farms, the Kentucky Horse Park and Keeneland Racetrack just to name a few. They accommodate all sizes from 10 people to 5,000 people.
- Opening this year is The Summit at Fritz Farm which is a carefully cultivated, one-of-a-kind Lexington destination. The Summit at Fritz Farm will include more than 70 street-level shops and 20 dining options featuring chef-inspired, local and regional flavors.
SUZZANNE: What size/type of meetings fit best in your destination?
Meetings from 50 to 5,200 are ideal, but we also have Rupp Arena, which is a part of The Lexington Convention Center and seats 23,500. Groups can curtain off and use sections of this arena for their general sessions or small concerts.
Thank you Marci for sharing with us all of the great things happening in Lexington! For more information on Lexington or any of the top 150+ meeting destinations, visit www.empowerMINT.com.