It’s not always easy to find the right destination for a mid-summer, week-long event that is also affordable. But that’s just what Mike Sullivan, Future Festival Site Coordinator with the International Jugglers’ Association was able to do by working with the fantastic team at Destination El Paso. Mike is a volunteer planner and by working with Destination El Paso, he has a team of experts helping him throughout the planning process. Mike shares with us the top three things attendees appreciated about El Paso and how the Destination El Paso team was able to help secure the right rates for his group.
SUZZANNE: Tell us, what does your job entail?
MIKE: I work as a volunteer for the IJA to qualify and recommend host cities and venues for the IJA’s annual week-long international juggling convention. We generally try to stay booked three years ahead for our mid-July event. I’ve been doing this job for the IJA since 2007, helping to select our 2009 festival site, and have qualified and recommended the destination for six of our past eight festivals.
SUZZANNE: What is one of your significant job challenges that working with the Destination El Paso team helped you solve?
MIKE: Keeping the lodging for our group affordable. No one gets paid to come to our festival, and with our long-duration event, affordability of lodging is one of the main drivers of attendance. El Paso delivered a choice of first-class downtown accommodations at nightly rates we’d thought we’d never see, and it made a huge difference in bringing people to the festival for an incredible week of fun.
SUZZANNE: What are some of the distinctive attributes/destination offerings of El Paso that helped to make your meeting great?
- World-class venues. The Plaza Theater is an American treasure, and was the perfect venue for our four nights of high-energy shows and championships. All of our juggling and event facilities in the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center were superb, and the Destination El Paso team was incredibly responsive and easy to work with in pulling off our 24-hour-a-day week of non-stop events.
- Incredibly affordable name-brand and convention hotel housing for our group, just steps from our other venues.
- Great airlift on all major air carriers into ELP.
SUZZANNE: How would you describe the relationship you have with the CVB? What would you compare it to?
MIKE: Excellent. All of the folks we worked with in El Paso were passionate professionals who really worked hard to help us produce a great week of fun.
SUZZANNE: What did your attendees say about your overall experience in El Paso?
MIKE: Everyone — without exception — who came to our El Paso festival had nothing but praise for the city, the facilities, the people we met and worked with, and the hassle-free, safe, clean downtown where we spent the week.
SUZZANNE: Did you use a unique venue for a gathering or event while in the El Paso area?
MIKE: We held three nights of shows in Tricky Falls, and it was one of the best late-night show venues we have ever had!
Thank you so much Mike for taking the time to talk to us about your experience holding a meeting in El Paso! We love hearing from a meeting planner’s perspective. To get more information on holding a meeting in El Paso or any of the 150+ top meeting destinations visit, www.empowerMINT.com.
If you are a volunteer or occasional planner, be sure to check out our article – For the Volunteer or Occasional Planner: 5 Tips to Look Like a Pro.