Meeting planners face this challenge all of the time: Your conference or event is so successful, you’ve outgrown most individual hotels, but the size isn’t large enough for a conference center, or you don’t want to expand that much just yet.
Oftentimes, the only option is to have a headquarter hotel where the conference takes place and then book room blocks in a cluster of hotels nearby. But dealing with transportation issues to get attendees to the main conference venue and negotiating rates with different sales teams at each property can be time consuming, expensive, and problematic.
The New Orleans Marriott and Sheraton New Orleans — located right across from each other on Canal Street — have solved this problem for planners with what they call the “French Quarter Connection.”
According to Scott Jernstrom, complex director of sales and marketing for the New Orleans Marriott and Sheraton New Orleans, “The French Quarter Connection means the New Orleans Marriott and Sheraton New Orleans are essentially selling two hotels as one space to enable meeting planners to host a larger event. This means two times the rooms and two times the meeting space, yet all can be negotiated, booked, and managed seamlessly through one single property contact.” Together, the two hotels create a ready-made event destination at the entrance to the French Quarter.
The New Orleans Marriott offers 1,333 guest rooms and suites and over 86,000 square feet of newly renovated meeting space that towers above the city on the 41st floor. The Sheraton New Orleans features more than 105,000 square feet of event space and 1,110 guest rooms and suites, for a combined total of 2,443 guest rooms and over 191,000 square feet of event space.
Jernstrom notes that this is the perfect solution for meeting planners who want to grow their event to the next level with the convenience of a single point of contact.
“With these two hotels being literally 90 steps from one another at the gateway to the French Quarter, this option makes for a very comfortable and easy solution for meeting planners who need additional space in this very walkable city,” he adds.
Lyn Maddox, director of meetings and exhibitions for the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, just took advantage of the French Quarter Connection.
“There are many reasons this setup worked for us,” Maddox says. “It allowed my large group of over 5,000 attendees to remain in a more ‘intimate’ setting. There was enough meeting space to accommodate the many concurrent sessions, exhibits, and poster sessions. We saved money by not having to utilize the convention center. The crossing between the two hotels during the many session changes during the day was seamless due to coordination with the New Orleans Police. And best of all, attendees were just steps away from the many restaurants and venues the French Quarter has to offer.”
Two hotels in close proximity partnering in an endeavor like this to help meeting planners easily, seamlessly, and affordably grow their conferences is definitely a win-win solution for all involved.