Meetings Today checked in with Michele Hughes, Director of Sales & Marketing with the Connecticut Convention Center (CTCC), in Hartford, Conn., about what the venue can offer groups and its performance in 2017 and beyond.

What sets the CTCC apart?

The centerpiece of Hartford’s Adriaen’s Landing District and just 15 miles from Bradley International Airport, the CTCC is the largest convention facility between New York and Boston and is within a 2.5-hour drive of 23 million people.

We comfortably accommodate up to 10,000 guests in our 140,000-square-foot exhibition hall, elegantly appointed 40,000-square-foot ballroom and 14 meeting rooms, comprising 25,000 square feet of flexible meeting space.

Two executive boardrooms, 20,000 square feet of prefunction space and beautiful exterior concourse add to these impressive options. All areas feature Wi-Fi and the latest audiovisual technology. With exclusive in-house catering options from our executive chef, our award-winning F&B services can be custom-tailored to any guest needs. Last year, the CTCC served as official caterer of the CT Open.

Offering convenient on-site parking and attached AAA Four Diamond, 409-room Hartford Marriott Downtown hotel, the CTCC’s proximity to downtown Hartford and the Front Street District provides may opportunities to enjoy free time.

Our dedication to event success is among many reasons to choose the CTCC. We provide total event management services and coverage from concept to completion, including planning, advertising, professional communications support and exhibitor services.

How did the CTCC perform in 2017?

The Center’s total economic impact continues to exceed the state’s expectations. With corporate meetings and conventions up over 2016 and generating a significant increase in F&B sales, growing this market will stay top-of-mind for the next several years.

This year, the CTCC is looking to host more than 370,000 guests.

Premier events include the New England Region Volleyball Association Winterfest, attracting 4,000-plus athletes, along with coaches and spectators; the annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show, showcasing over 300 booths; and ConnectiCon, welcoming 33,000-plus guests to Hartford. Multiple non-profit galas include the Saint Francis Hospital’s MIRACLES XXVIII Gala, the largest black-tie gala in Connecticut.   

How are you positioning for continuing success?

Strategies include investing in digital media, including social media, geographical retargeting programs, and entertaining and educational videos promoting the CTCC and Hartford. One such video, launched last October, has been viewed over 23,000 times across Facebook and YouTube.

We also maintain visibility by attending numerous tradeshows across the country.

Completed last spring, venue upgrades included our IT infrastructure and digital messaging throughout the building, plus an interior refresh that included new furniture, carpeting and lighting.