"Our knowledge and complimentary services are at your beck and call - we add value, saving our clients time and money with a level of service that stays ahead of what the planner and attendees need."
Recently, we sat down with Karen Fogle, Sales Manager – Association & Corporate Markets with Visit Plano to hear about the latest developments and other unique offerings in her destination. If you haven’t thought about Plano, Texas for your latest meeting location, you should! Besides its convenient location near Dallas, Plano has a variety of meeting and venue options, warm Texas hospitality, and a staff ready to help you reach your meeting goals.
SUZZANNE: First tell me a little bit about yourself and your CVB background:
KAREN: I joined the Visit Plano team a little over 11 years ago, covering the association and corporate markets for clients all over the country/world. Before Visit Plano, I had a varied background as a business owner, including owning thoroughbred horses and racing them around the US.
In addition, I have a passion for giving back to the meeting community and have done so by serving 3 years on the MPI Texas Hill Country Chapter board and becoming more involved with PCMA through their Gulf States Chapter. And I was recently humbled and honored by TSAE (Texas Society of Association Executives) with the Distinguished Affiliate Award. I love Plano and I love what I do!
SUZZANNE: What makes Plano a great meeting destination?
KAREN: I may be biased, but Plano really has great meeting facilities for so many different types of meetings. With over 41 hotels and 5,100 guest rooms, we love welcoming groups of all different sizes. We also offer some really unique offsite venues and attractions that allow the attendee to have a great meeting experience.
SUZZANNE: What is the ONE THING planners are always surprised to learn about Plano?
KAREN: One thing planners are always pleasantly surprised about is that our location is so convenient. We are only 20 minutes north of downtown Dallas, which makes Plano convenient to all the metropolitan area attractions.
SUZZANNE: How do you see the value you provide to planners as a CVB?
KAREN: Our knowledge and complimentary services are at your beck and call – we add value, saving our clients time and money with a level of service that stays ahead of what the planner and attendees need. We love sharing our expertise, not only as the local resident experts, but also providing key information about the broader surrounding area and new ideas in the meeting industry. Whether it’s taking a call early on a Sunday morning, because a planner needs to have something delivered, brainstorming over lunch about how to increase attendance for an upcoming conference, or sharing knowledge on the latest trends and success stories, we’re here for you.
KAREN: Being an advocate from the beginning for your meeting success, your needs and wants, allows us to take our extensive first-hand knowledge of our hotels, meeting and offsite facilities to not only provide great insight for location selection and VIP site visits, but to continue with even more complimentary services throughout your planning and onsite process. Loop us in early so we can provide the most support.
SUZZANNE: What size/type of meetings best fit in your destination?
KAREN: So many meetings will find a great home in Plano. From 10 to 3,000, our bureau will help you find a match, whether it’s in our largest facilities such as the city’s convention center or Southfork Ranch, outdoor filming location for the two Dallas TV series, or one of our varied hotels, accommodating banquets from 10 up to 900.
SUZZANNE: What are the latest developments/happenings/events in your destination you’d like to share with planners?
KAREN: A lot of growth in the hospitality industry! Our newest hotels are the Hilton Dallas/Plano Granite Park, the only Cambria Hotel & Suites in Texas and a SpringHill Suites concept hotel with larger meeting space. The Renaissance Plano is under construction, coming on board in 2017.
Plano Centre, our city’s convention center, will begin their renovation soon, covering interior and exterior changes. Retail, entertainment and restaurant development is keeping pace with recent additions of Chef Kent Rathbun’s Hickory Kitchen, Chef Tim Byrnes Smoke plus the Legacy West development is underway adding an expansive additional dining, nightlife and entertainment area to Plano.
SUZZANNE: Why are your services free?
KAREN: Visit Plano is a division of the City of Plano, funded through hotel/motel taxes that are dedicated for promotion and support of tourism, leisure and business travelers, and convention business in Plano. Because of these funds, we are able to offer complimentary services with a strong commitment to our clients through goods, services, our time commitment and more, to provide a richer experience when in Plano.
SUZZANNE: What motivates you to provide the excellent service you are known for?
KAREN: Bringing value, sharing knowledge, making connections and connecting them to others – these are all part of my personal philosophy of service and I am proud that Visit Plano exemplifies this.
SUZZANNE: What would you like all planners to know about Plano?
KAREN: We are more than a great location. Plano is full of warm, friendly Texas hospitality, and when you stay here you’ll find culinary diversity, shopping delights, plenty of nightlife and fun entertainment venues, plus our close proximity to Dallas provides quick access to professional sports, museums and more.