SITE: Ernest M. Morial Convention Center
ADDRESS: 900 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70130
WEB SITE: www.mccno.com
VISUALS & VIBE: Located just blocks from New Orleans' historic French Quarter, the Morial Convention Center stretches for 101/2 blocks along the Mississippi River. The center is within walking distance of many attractions, including the National D-Day Museum, Aquarium of the Americas, art galleries and a number of world-renowned restaurants.
EVENT AREAS: The center features 1.1 million feet of contiguous exhibit space in 12 separate but combinable halls, as well as 140 meeting rooms covering 232,000 square feet. The center also houses two ballrooms: the 30,487-square-foot La Louisiane ballroom, which seats 3,000 guests theater-style, 1,500 classroom-style, and 1,800 banquet-style; the 36,448-square-foot La Nouvelle Orleans ballroom seats 4,050 theater-style and 2,000 classroom-style.
SPECIAL SPACE: The 8,000-square-foot Conference Auditorium seats more than 4,000 people and can be divided into three separate sections to accommodate simultaneous events. The upper levels can also be screened off to provide a more intimate space for smaller groups. The auditorium was designed as a space for breakout sessions and meetings, and large items such as cars can be brought into the staging area for product launches or demos.
WHO'S HERE: As a popular destination for trade shows and conventions, the center has played host to Microsoft, the American Academy of Pediatrics and The Special Event.
SITE: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
ADDRESS: 655 W. 34th St., New York, NY 10001
WEB SITE: www.javitscenter.com
VISUALS & VIBE: The Javits Center sits on Manhattan's West Side, where it stretches from 34th to 39th streets and between 11th and 12th avenues along the Hudson River. The center, which opened in 1986, was designed by architectural firm I.M. Pei & Partners and is named after former United States senator Jacob K. Javits. Since opening, it has hosted more than 2,400 events, including trade shows, banquets and fund-raisers.
EVENT AREAS: The center has 814,400 square feet of exhibit space that can be divided into 11 different halls, and can provide as many as 102 meeting rooms, ranging in capacity from 12 to 3,000. The Crystal Palace entry hall — inspired by New York's Crystal Palace, the venue for the 1853 World's Fair — is a 60,000-square-foot, 15-story glass atrium containing a mezzanine that can be used for cocktail receptions.
SPECIAL SPACE: Located on the fourth level of the center, the “T”-shaped Galleria and River Pavilion are completely glass-enclosed and feature sweeping views over the Hudson River toward New Jersey. The 45,000-square-foot space can accommodate 1,200 guests for banquets and 13,100 for receptions.
WHAT'S NEW: Go Gourmet, which opened in December, is an upscale, self-service fast food restaurant that gives exhibitors and attendees a quick mealtime option.
SITE: International Convention Centre
ADDRESS: Broad Street, Birmingham, England B1 2EA
PHONE: +44 121 200 2000
WEB SITE: www.necgroup.co.uk
VISUALS & VIBE: The ICC opened its doors in 1991 as an international destination for events such as political summits, conferences, banquets and product launches. The Mall, the main thoroughfare of the ICC, contains a visitor bureau and business center with multilingual staffs and retail outlets including a florist and art gallery.
EVENT AREAS: The ICC contains 11 main conference halls — three with permanent seating for up to 2,000 and eight flat-floored halls with guest capacities ranging from 45 to 3,000 — as well as 10 smaller meeting rooms. Hall One can seat 1,500 delegates (or 730 at individual writing desks with language-selection controls that access 12 interpretation booths); it features state-of-the-art audiovisual capabilities and a 50-by-72-foot staging area with direct vehicle access for easy loading.
SPECIAL SPACE: Symphony Hall is a classic, oval-shaped concert hall with seating for 2,200 on four levels. The concert hall serves as a venue for more than 250 events a year, from jazz concerts and stand-up comedy shows to conferences and opening ceremonies.
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: Since opening, the ICC has hosted high-profile events including the 1992 European Summit and the 1998 G8 Birmingham Summit. Corporate visitors include Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Vauxhall and Cadbury Schweppes.
SITE: Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center
ADDRESS: 1950 Eisenhower Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
WEB SITE: www.ftlauderdalecc.com
VISUALS & VIBE: Situated on the northern end of Port Everglades, the world's second-largest cruise-ship port, the center was originally built in 1991 and underwent a $34 million expansion in 2002. The front of the center is a wall of glass that runs along the entire length of the three-story building, offering expansive views of the city of Fort Lauderdale and the Intracoastal Waterway.
EVENT AREAS: The expansion increased the total square footage of the center to 600,000, including the 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall, which can be divided into four smaller halls, each with its own foyer, food concession area and loading docks. Thirty-two meeting and breakout rooms are available, ranging from 570 to 10,000 square feet. The 9,300-square-foot Palm Room has upgraded sound, acoustics and lighting; its 14-foot ceilings make for large-screen audiovisual presentations. The new Cyber Cafe offers a place to meet for coffee and light snacks, as well as high-speed Internet access.
SPECIAL SPACE: The 32,000-square-foot Grand Floridian ballroom features 25-foot ceilings and can accommodate 3,300 guests for general sessions, 2,064 classroom-style and 1,950 banquet-style; it also can be divided into eight smaller spaces. Behind the ballroom, a 6,000-square-foot kitchen ensures timely foodservice for receptions or banquets.
RECENT EVENTS: Paradise City Arts Festival, Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and the Great Bridal Expo.