Convention Center gets biz-travel credibility


POSTED: Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Business Traveler Magazine has named the Hawaii Convention Center its Best in Business Travel award winner for 2009 in the “;Best Conference or Convention Center: City”; category.

The center was chosen by a voting panel of 4,000 randomly selected subscribers of Business Traveler Magazine. The survey they were sent contained open-ended questions that did not suggest a particular location or venue.

“;Ours is the first convention center ever honored by the magazine in its 20-year-old awards program,”; said Joe Davis, convention center general manager.

“;I thought that was notable. It's a real testament to the team and the destination and the partners that are involved in serving the business travelers”; who come to Hawaii, he said.

The magazine's December-January issue has editorial coverage of the center and a “;good night shot of the building,”; said Davis.

The Hawaii Convention Center has won other awards, including Prime Site awards from Facilities magazine for 10 consecutive years, “;that's a survey of actual users and individuals who have been instrumental in bringing their business to the islands,”; he said.

“;It's going to make us want to try even harder for a consecutive win.”;

Convention centers do battle for hosting opportunities in what Davis called “;a competitive marketplace.”;

“;We enjoy a great leisure brand, (which can be) an obstacle in the sales process, but now we've got validation from an independent source that they believe through their survey of readers that Honolulu and the Hawaii Convention Center are great places for business meetings.”;

Sun, sand and surf is often a benefit as “;major corporations want the benefits of a very strong leisure destination with all the amenities.”;

Cost-conscious groups, such as those associated with churches, can be persuaded to commit, however.

Two waves of Jehovah's Witnesses will come to the center for events next year. Some 12,000 people will come for two different programs in late 2009 that will really have a dramatic impact during a normally slow period right before the (Honolulu) Marathon.”;











Davis escaped the heavy rains of Thursday as he accepted the award at a Los Angeles gala. It was presented by “;American Beauty”; actress Mena Suvari, with whom he had a picture taken.

It was a little more Hollywood than Davis is accustomed to, he said. “;We host a lot of celebrities but we rarely find ourselves in that kind of environment,”; he chuckled.

Business Traveler is a monthly publication and its 10 editions worldwide have a readership of 500,000.