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Meeting Planners

The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau recently met with meeting planners via Zoom to discuss meeting planning during COVID-19. Afterwards, a survey was sent out to planners resulting in several great questions regarding safely holding meetings during COVID-19. Below you’ll find information and resources for holding a safe event in Columbia.

Information regarding the current health order in place for Columbia/Boone Countyopens PDF file is continuously updated. The current public health order is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. March 4, 2021.

Conference Properties and Contact Information

The Broadway
Amber Gibsoncreate new email, Sales & Clint Young, Banquets (573) 818-6204
Broadway Social Distance Capacityopens PDF file

Courtyard by Marriott
April Oehrlecreate new email, Sales (573) 443-8000
Courtyard by Marriott Social Distancing Capacitiesopens PDF file opens WORD file

Drury Plaza East
Leah Stottscreate new email, Sales (573) 441-0090
Drury Plaza Hotel Social Distance Capacityopens PDF file

Hampton Inn & Suites
Michelle Chemacreate new email, Sales (573) 214-2222
Hampton Inn & Suites Social Distance Capacityopens PDF file

Hilton Garden Inn 
Cindy Neffcreate new email, Sales (573) 814-5464
Hilton Garden Inn Social Distance Capacityopens PDF file

Holiday Inn East
Lorie Jaegers, Sales (573) 474-4444
Holiday Inn East Social Distance Capacityopens PDF file

Holiday Inn Executive Center
Dave Duncan, Sales (573) 445-8531
Holiday Inn Exec Social Distance Capacityopens PDF file

Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Rachel Mandizhacreate new email, Sales (573) 442-8034
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Social Distance Capacityopens PDF file

Stoney Creek Hotel
Matt Slavittcreate new email, Sales (573) 442-6400
Stoney Creek Hotel Social Distance Capacityopens PDF file

The Tiger Hotel
Laurie Williamscreate new email, Sales (573) 875-8888
Tiger Hotel Social Distancing Capacityopens PDF file

Note: Restaurants/bars are still open within hotels and open to the public, but hours are subject to hotel policies and adherence to the current health orderopens PDF file

 

Process for Submitting an Operational Plan to Host a Meeting/Conference to the Health Department

Under the Current Public Health Orderopens PDF file , any business, entity, large venue, event or public gathering facing unique circumstances not specifically addressed in this Order or seeking to accommodate in excess of the limitations specified may submit a proposed Operational Plan for review and conditional approval by Public Health and Human Services (PHHS).

Please submit your plan using this form.

Please allow 7-10 business days for a response regarding your plan. Since operational plans typically require multiple drafts before approval, we recommend submitting an operational plan no later than 14 days prior to the event. When you submit a plan, it is in the queue for review and Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) will do their best to review it as soon as possible.

Examples of general COVID mitigation strategies in a conference setting

    • Offering virtual option in addition to in-person
    • Simulcasting- a meeting planner broadcasting their content onto hotel guest rooms.
    • Electronic check-in with iPads and self-service name tag printing
    • All doors to meeting rooms propped open to eliminate common touch points on door handles. Each room has a separate entry/exit door to promote one-way traffic flow
    • Use of a quick and easy 6ft marker (pole, length of wood, etc.) to check adequate distancing between tables/seats
  • Plexiglass dividers to go on the registration tables to provide a barrier between staff and  attendee registering
  • Staggered registration times for attendees
  • Encourage attendees staying at the hotel to return to their guestroom to use the restroom during break times to eliminate congestion at shared restrooms
    • Encourage participants to eat lunch outside; provide a take-a-way boxed lunch
    • Replace big annual awards banquets with celebrations of smaller group dinners, a hype video, and a virtual reveal of awards and raffle prizes 
  • Conferences with exhibition halls:
    • One-way traffic, spread out aisles
    • Only two exhibitors per booth, limiting # of people in exhibit area at one time
    • View exhibits in shifts; half of people view exhibits during a time frame, then flip
    • Stickers at each table indicating where to stop and where to move forward
  • Meeting and event-specific protocols:
    • Floor stickers marking social distancing
    • Spreading out registration desks, only 1 person per table
    • Eliminate the need for people to come to a registration area–send out info ahead of conference so they don’t have to wait in line
    • Questionnaires at registration tables to check for symptoms
  • Meeting room setup and break dismissal procedures:
    • All rooms set with 6-foot distancing between tables  
    • Make diagrams and secure agendas beforehand to facilitate planning
    • One-way traffic flow in rooms
    • Microphones and podiums–Lysol wipes provided to disinfect between speakers, or make sure speakers have individual microphones that are not shared
    • If multiple groups in house, make sure not taking breaks at the same time
  • Food and beverage:
    • Avoid table linens
    • All food individually wrapped, no large quantities 
    • No shared utensils
    • Bottled beverages
    • Dismissing groups by table for breaks
    • Shifts for a meal – example: a team’s offense comes down to eat at 6p, defense comes down at 7p.
    • Food Trucks for outdoor meals

Social Distanced Activities and Attractions for Event Attendees

If you’re looking for socially distanced activities to keep your event attendees entertained, we’ve got you covered! Columbia offers plenty of opportunities to have fun safely during COVID-19.

Lovers of the great outdoors will enjoy checking out the sites featured on our Nature Checklist.opens PDF file

Relieve that conference planning stress by throwing axes! Como Axe AttackThe Axe House and Midway Golf and Games are open and ready to entertain you.

Express your creative side at Pottery Island, Paint the Town, The Canvas on Broadway or The Mud Room.

Build a pre-designed wood project with your group at Sawdust Studios.

Let the escape room experience come to you with AdVenture Games Inc. or visit Breakout Como and find out if you have what it takes to escape!

 

For more information on services for your meeting or conference, please contact:

 

 

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Did you find all six hidden things in the ‘Look Closer’ picture? The answer key is below!

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When it comes to planning your next meeting or conference take a closer look at Columbia, Missouri. Located right in the center of the state, Columbia has over 3,800 hotel rooms, with accommodations that can fit any budget. Columbia also offers the convenience, choices and value that will make any event a success, but the city also has that little something extra (hint: it’s fun!) that makes your attendees’ experiences memorable. So see if you can find what you’ve been missing here in Columbia…

bar at Logboat Brewing Co. with sign of brews currently on tap4 Breweries:

A testament to Columbia’s entrepreneurial spirit, four delicious breweries call the city home. Both Flat Branch Pub & Brewing and Broadway Brewery have excellent food along with their craft brews, but if you really want to go all-out for your event, check out the event space at Logboat Brewery or Bur Oak Brewery. Boasting a relaxed industrial tasting room, Logboat also has ample outdoor space, a great space to rent for a casual reception with games and good times. Bur Oak has ample parking and you can host an event inside the brewery and taproom! Talk about an unforgettable event.

Shrimp and grits, steak, and lobster mac n cheese at Room 38300 Restaurants:

Having so many restaurants makes it difficult to choose, but the Columbia CVB sales and service staff is ready to help you pick the perfect spot! From pizza to pierogies to paella, every price point and palate can be accommodated. Find an intimate room to treat your board to a special meal or find a uniquely Columbia spot to cater for everyone attending your conference.

Artwork at Poppy, a boutique in Columbia60 Unique Shops:

Family vacations aren’t the only time you want to pick up a souvenir! In Columbia, nearly everywhere you turn, there’s a unique option to take home. Prints by local artists, locally produced chocolates or preserves, or even a fun piece of jewelry will be a lasting reminder of your time here in CoMo. Plus, don’t you already have enough coffee mugs?

people waiting in line at the Ozark Mountain Biscuit food truck12 Food Trucks:

When you want something to be the unexpected hit of your meeting or conference, think food on wheels! The food truck trend has rolled out in Columbia in a big way. Lily’s Cantina has fresh, authentic Mexican dishes, The Big Cheese will put pulled pork on your grilled cheese sandwich, and the Ozark Mountain Biscuit Company uses fantastic local ingredients to make their homemade biscuits even more delicious. Food trucks take the restaurant on the road and are a fun break from the usual conference fare.

Ragtag cinema, an independent film house in Columbia20 Entertainment Hot Spots:

A fun night out can be the icing on the cake for a successful conference. From low-key to fast-paced, Columbia offers it all. Gather your group for a world-class performance at the University Concert Series. Enjoy the lawn and local music at Rose Music Hall. Or let the CVB help you find options that your attendees can choose from! If you’re looking for great team-building activities, the CVB also can help you find a custom option just for your group.

A trail in Columbia64.5 Miles of Nature Trails:

Who says work can’t also be a little bit of an escape? One of the things people are impressed with over and over again is Columbia’s commitment to green spaces, including our extensive trail system. Whether you brought your bike along and want to take a ride or if a simple stroll is more your style, Columbia’s trails deliver both beauty and serenity. Trails wind through neighborhoods, across campuses and even down by the Missouri River. Check out Columbia at its most picturesque with a break on the trails.


We think when you take all of these great amenities together with the CVB’s incredible sales and service team, Columbia really adds up. Ready to explore and learn more? Contact our sales team or submit your RFP today!

 

Conventions and Meetings Hidden Pictures Adopens IMAGE file

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Work hard AND play hard in Columbia! Check out how your meeting can be better here in CoMo:

Convenience

Columbia is located halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis on Interstate 70 and is 30 minutes from Missouri’s state Capitol, Jefferson City. Our central location means higher attendance for your meetings.

Columbia is easy to navigate with relatively low traffic and plenty of parking. If your attendees prefer not to drive, we have a variety of taxi companies and a convenient public transit system, opens in a new windowCOMO Connect, to take them wherever they need to go.The Broadway Columbia

The Convention and Visitors Bureau is here to help your Columbia meeting run smoothly. Here are some things we can do for you:

  • Arrange site visits of meeting spaces and hotels
  • Assist with date selection to avoid conflicts with other events
  • Obtain proposals and room blocks from hotels
  • Identify group-friendly opens in a new windowrestaurants
  • Assist with choice of event venue, speakers, opens in a new windowentertainment and more
  • Provide a welcoming complimentary services package customized to meet the needs of the group
  • Help arrange  opens in a new windowtransportation for off-site events
  • Assist with press release distribution as well as promotion on our website and social media

Value

Candle Wood Suites

With 36 hotels representing more than 3600 rooms, our opens in a new windowlodging options and meeting spaces can accommodate any budget and are typically priced lower than larger cities.

Fun

Gunter Hans

Our unique blend of small town and big city offers a small-town feel and friendliness with big-city service and amenities – more than 200 opens in a new windowrestaurants (many of them uniquely local), shopping, galleries, entertainment, and more. You can almost always find live music playing in opens in a new windowThe District, where you can also catch an independent film, hop on the opens in a new windowMKT Trail, and sample local beer.

Sparkys and the bluenote

Free-time activities: Make your attendees say “that was the best conference ever!”

  1. Grab a cup of homemade ice cream at opens in a new windowSparky’s (alcoholic flavors included)
  2. Listen to live music at opens in a new windowThe Blue Note or opens in a new windowRose Music Hall
  3. Shop for local gifts and products at opens in a new windowPoppy or opens in a new windowThe Candy Factory
  4. Explore caves and trails at opens in a new windowRock Bridge Memorial State Park
  5. Choose from locally brewed beers at opens in a new windowFlat Branch or opens in a new windowLogboat Brewing Co.
  6. Snap a photo at opens in a new windowThe Columns, Columbia’s most-photographed spot, and wander through Mizzou’s opens in a new windowBotanic Garden
  7. Have a slice at opens in a new windowShakespeare’s Pizza, named “Best College Hangout” in the nation by Good Morning America
  8. Take a look through current exhibits at opens in a new windowSager | Braudis Gallery and Stephens College’s Historic opens in a new windowCostume Gallery
  9. Catch an independent film at opens in a new windowRagtag Cinema – on a couch, with a beer!
  10. Sample Missouri wines at opens in a new windowLes Bourgeois Vineyards

Rock bridge state park, Les Bourgeois Vineyards and the Columns at the University of Missouri

Are you ready to start planning your CoMo meeting? Request a meeting proposal here.

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6697small- AndreaHello! My name is Andrea and I am a sales manager for the Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau. I am an avid traveler, and I love the experience of meeting new people, experiencing new unexpected environments, the FOOD, the art, music and just soaking it all up.

Each month I am going to introduce you, our visitor, to all things Columbia, especially our fabulous arts community. Along the way we will explore some of our fabulous locally- owned restaurants or one of our many music venues or fabulous festivals. I hope you enjoy this city as much as I do, and of course, we would love to have you back many times to take advantage of WHAT YOU UNEXPECT.


February – the second month in and perhaps one of your resolutions is to embrace your creative side or try a new craft. If that’s the case, you are in luck. Columbia offers a lot of ways to discover your inner Martha Stewart. Whether you are a visitor, resident or attending a conference, we have many options, not only for individual crafts, but also for team-building crafts.

Each month you can find classes available at the Columbia Art League, Access Arts, Paint the Town and The Mud Room. These organizations offer the opportunity to be introduced to a new skill or technique and network with fellow art enthusiasts.

One hidden gem is the Craft Studio located on the MU campus in historic Memorial Union. Each week the Craft Studio holds classes and workshops in printmaking, ceramics, fibers and more. If you are looking for a team building experience, their Creative Team Building workshop “addresses specific challenges that many organizations struggle to overcome through mediated discussion and creative projects.” They offer workshops in Creative Marketing Solutions and Vision & Goal Setting as well.

harold's doughnutsopens IMAGE file If cooking is more your creative speed, try “Love Your Craft Cooking Series” with Melissa at Harold’s Donuts. You and your team will be able to make donuts like pros at this fun class, and you’ll leave with practical knowledge of how to make doughnuts from home.

Back to 2 Basics offers teams another chance to work together and cook a meal. Games are incorporated throughout to keep things lively, and the grand finale is when everyone gets to sit down and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

These are just a few of the unique and fun options Columbia has to offer. Whichever team-building experience you choose, you are sure to be enriched. And who knows, you may even find a great new hobby! Enjoy, and we hope to see you back in Columbia soon!

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Work hard AND play hard in Columbia! Check out how your meeting can be better here in CoMo:

Convenience

Columbia is located halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis on Interstate 70 and is 30 minutes from Missouri’s state Capitol, Jefferson City. Our central location means higher attendance for your meetings.

Columbia is easy to navigate with relatively low traffic and plenty of parking. If your attendees prefer not to drive, we have a variety of taxi companies and a convenient public transit system, opens in a new windowCOMO Connect, to take them wherever they need to go.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau is here to help your Columbia meeting run smoothly. Here are some things we can do for you:

  • Arrange site visits of meeting spaces and hotels
  • Assist with date selection to avoid conflicts with other events
  • Obtain proposals and room blocks from hotels
  • Identify group-friendly opens in a new windowrestaurants
  • Assist with choice of event venue, speakers, opens in a new windowentertainment and more
  • Provide a welcoming complimentary services package customized to meet the needs of the group
  • Help arrange  opens in a new windowtransportation for off-site events
  • Assist with press release distribution as well as promotion on our website and social media

Value

With 36 hotels representing more than 3600 rooms, our opens in a new windowlodging options and meeting spaces can accommodate any budget and are typically priced lower than larger cities.

Fun

Our unique blend of small town and big city offers a small-town feel and friendliness with big-city service and amenities – more than 200 opens in a new windowrestaurants (many of them uniquely local), shopping, galleries, entertainment, and more. You can almost always find live music playing in opens in a new windowThe District, where you can also catch a opens in a new windowcomedy show, an independent film, and sample local beer.

convenience, value, and fun - hold your meeting in Columbia, MO

Free-time activities: Make your attendees say “that was the best conference ever!”

  1. Grab a cup of homemade ice cream at opens in a new windowSparky’s (alcoholic flavors included)
  2. Listen to live music at opens in a new windowThe Blue Note or opens in a new windowRose Music Hall
  3. Shop for local gifts and products at opens in a new windowPoppy or opens in a new windowThe Candy Factory
  4. Explore caves and trails at opens in a new windowRock Bridge Memorial State Park
  5. Choose from locally brewed beers at opens in a new windowFlat Branch or opens in a new windowLogboat Brewing Co.
  6. Snap a photo at opens in a new windowThe Columns, Columbia’s most-photographed spot, and wander through Mizzou’s opens in a new windowBotanic Garden
  7. Have a slice at opens in a new windowShakespeare’s Pizza, named “Best College Hangout” in the nation by Good Morning America
  8. Take a look through current exhibits at opens in a new windowSager | Braudis Gallery and Stephens College’s Historic opens in a new windowCostume Gallery
  9. Catch an independent film at opens in a new windowRagtag Cinema – on a couch, with a beer!
  10. Sample Missouri wines at opens in a new windowLes Bourgeois Vineyards

Are you ready to start planning your CoMo meeting? Request a meeting proposal .

Continue reading...