As a corporate meeting destination, we see many industry trends come and go or improve upon year after year. Here is a breakdown of Plano meeting trends we’ve seen progress in 2018:
A great destination for your meeting will have walkable areas so attendees are in proximity to amenities like restaurants, attractions, shopping, etc. Plano has long been a walkable destination thanks to the Shops at Legacy and its anchor hotel, the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center, which is within walking distance to 80 restaurants and various shops.
Now, even more options are available in Plano as Legacy West sits just across the highway from The Shops at Legacy. This “city within a city” is the largest mixed use destination in North Texas and is a great place to meet, play, shop, dine, and stay. The 255-acre development boasts 415,000 square feet of open-air high-end retail and restaurant space. Here, diners can satisfy every craving, whether for steak or a good old-fashioned milk shake, French bistro fare, or a perfect plate of pasta. For those who can’t decide, Legacy Hall has it all. In this one-of-a-kind artisanal food hall, visitors can wander from stall to stall to meet local purveyors and sample everything from lobster rolls to Philly cheesesteaks. There’s also an on-site brewery and live music stage in the Box Garden. Anchoring Legacy West is the new Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West.
Across from the Hilton Dallas/Plano Granite Park convention hotel sits a new 30,000 square foot restaurant park called The Boardwalk where visitors enjoy eateries featuring cuisine like southern-inspired gulf seafood to gourmet biscuits and even a new local brewery and restaurant.
Not to be missed is the Downtown Plano Arts District, just a short drive from Plano Event Center. The Downtown Plano Arts District, named one of the Top 10 Best Downtowns in America by Livability.com, offers a charming setting for a simple stroll, a unique dining experience, an afternoon of shopping, or an evening’s entertainment at McCall Plaza.
Attendees and meeting planners alike love to hear what culinary experiences they can look forward to on their trip. Plano has roughly 1,000 dining options across the city and cuisine of every flavor. Dine-arounds are a popular trend in Plano at The Shops at Legacy, Legacy West, and The Boardwalk. Walk out from your hotel and make various stops at chic restaurants for a bite and drink at each. Or start with happy hour and work your way up to dinner and dessert.
Special event beverages are increasing in popularity. The Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West is very skilled with working with clients to serve the perfect drink during the event’s evening receptions. The hotel stocks their Whiskey Moon bar with over 50 different types of Texas and Japanese whiskey (even from a local distillery) and serves a complimentary “East meets West” inspired punch bowl every weekday at 6 p.m. for hotel guests.
Be a Local
Attendees want to experience a destination like the locals do. What’s the nearest local pub? What are the restaurants I can’t find at home?
Planoites like nights out on the town one night and to go to hidden jewels the next. We like places we can go on a date night and family-friendly options that still showcase Plano’s unique dining scene. With areas like those already mentioned as well as others like Lakeside Market, Preston Park Village, and The Shops at Willow Bend area, Plano’s dining and nightlife scene is among the best in North Texas and across the state.
For adventure, Plano has 3,600 acres of park land! Go Ape at Plano’s 800-acre Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve is their first treetop adventure course in Texas and is made up of numerous rope ladders and 39 exciting crossings, including two Tarzan swings and five zip lines! Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a 200-acre park with hike and bike trails, a two-mile walking trail, and stunning views of the prairie and forest. Read more about outdoor adventures here.
Written in collaboration with Collin Kennedy, Technology Manager at Plano Event Center.
Many more events are consciously choosing to add additional internet bandwidth for their attendees, presenters, and for specialty uses like web streaming. More often this is being delivered as password protected private Wi-Fi networks.
Screens and displays are moving entirely to 16:9 widescreen aspect ratios, and virtually all computer sources are now some variant of a 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio. Some presenters however use old default settings in their presentation software (such as PowerPoint) resulting in a 4:3 aspect ratio presentation. Ask what the native resolution will be in your venue and have your speakers try to design their presentations around that for maximum impact. Use all that screen real estate!
Portable devices are getting smaller and thinner which means less space for traditional device outputs. Often dongles or adaptors are needed to convert a miniaturized output connection into a useable port for presentation use. Presenters should not assume that the venue will have every type of connection available. When in doubt, ask about connectivity details.
Another emerging trend in event production is integrating specialty décor and LED lighting to create unique and interesting looks for the meeting space. Keeping things fun and different is a great way to engage your audience and assure that the message of your event is heard loud and clear.
On-Site Catering Trends
Written in collaboration with Katie Ocampo, Destination Sales Executive at Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center.
Unique and diverse culinary experiences are a rising trend across Plano venues, but especially at the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center. Planners are also taking more of an interest in planning vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free meals that are just as unique as everyone else’s plate. Infused water stations are another popular trend.
Giving Back to the Community
Attendees want to connect and have a sense of community by participating in a CSR (corporate social responsibility) project. Hotel sales teams and DMO’s (destination marketing organizations) are often asked what local charities their groups can participate in to make a lasting impact on the community. For charitable ideas as well as other team building activities in Plano, click here.
Due to the increase of safety concerns after mass-casualty incidents throughout the world, meeting planners look for not only safe locations, but also look to the venue staff for help in identifying potential safety issues and curating a plan to help prepare against those threats.
Other Hot Topics Worth Mentioning
Written in collaboration with Jessica Marbut, CMP, Senior Sales Manager for Marriott South Central Group Sales.
- Diversity, inclusion, and GDPR compliance
- Offering more mixed seating options in meeting rooms
- Accessibility to power and Wi-Fi
- Increase in wearable technology with smart badges
For a complete listing of meeting facilities in Plano, click here.
Walkability photo gallery credits (left to right): Legacy Hall, Visit Plano, Legacy Hall
Culinary Experiences photo gallery credits (left to right): Union Bear, Adam Stewart Photography, Legacy Hall, Visit Plano, Legacy Hall, The Keeper.
Mixology photo gallery credits (left to right): Legacy Hall, Pepper Smash, Legacy Hall
Technology photo credit: Plano Event Center