By Tim Hanson
Today’s airports have evolved into much more than a place to catch your flight. Airport visitors now enjoy first-rate dining, shopping and entertainment experiences to occupy their time, and airports across the globe are expanding the services they provide for business travelers. Many airports are now actively attracting meetings with modern conference facilities.
For busy executives, an airport meeting offers maximum convenience. Meeting attendees can fly in, meet, and fly out the same day. Without the added hassle of finding their way into the city, convening at the airport allows extra time for the meeting by eliminating time wasted in traffic. Most airport conference facilities are located before travelers are required to go through the security clearance, giving attendees arriving by ground unrestricted admittance.
Meeting planners will find that airport conference centers are also an excellent option for local groups. Easy access and outstanding service make these venues an ideal space for a corporate planning meeting or board retreat. “Groups enjoy meeting at the airport because it offers a unique setting, and we have all the amenities of a modern conference facility,” says Amy McDonough, sales & operations manager for the Conference Center at Sea-Tac. Here is a selection of Northwest and Intermountain Airports that offer on-site conference opportunities.
THE CONFERENCE CENTER AT SEATTLE-TACOMA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
The Northwest’s busiest airport, Sea-Tac, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), has flight connections to destinations around the globe. Sea-Tac is served by a variety of airlines offering regular flights to and from all of the region’s major airports. Whether your attendees are coming from Bozeman, Montana, or Redmond, Oregon, they will find direct flights to your meeting. A variety of ground transportation and parking options make the airport convenient for participants driving from western Washington.
With more than 4,000 square feet of meeting space, the Conference Center provides room for a small group or a large conference. The five meeting spaces range from the 450-square-foot Tokyo Room, suitable for up to 10 guests, to the International Auditorium, seating up to 210 in a theater-style setup. Located a short walk from the main conference rooms, the Central Auditorium can accommodate as many as 164 for a theater-style presentation or 112 for a banquet. The flexible arrangement allows groups to conduct a large meeting with breakout sessions or to conduct several small meetings simultaneously.
The facility provides a secure, dedicated conference WiFi along with wired internet access for the presenter. The latest in audiovisual equipment will support any presentation. Café Pacific Catering, the Center’s exclusive caterer, offers a variety of menu options for any gathering.
The Center is located on the mezzanine level, only a short walk from the arrival and departure gates, making it convenient for attendees arriving by air or by ground transportation. The venue offers complimentary parking validations to Conference Center customers and their guests.
PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT CONFERENCE CENTER
Busy Portland International Airport (PDX) connects Oregon and Southwest Washington to major cities throughout the U.S. and worldwide. Frequent service between PDX and regional airports makes the Conference Center an opportune location for a seminar, workshop or board meeting. Convenient ground transportation options, including Portland’s TriMet MAX light rail, makes it easy for Portland-area attendees to join those flying in from a distance.
The Conference Center includes more than 6,000 square feet of meeting space in nine rooms of varying sizes. Located before security on the airport’s mezzanine level, the facility provides a quiet retreat away from the bustling airport below. The Center is close to the arrival and departure gates while, at the same time convenient to attendees arriving by ground.
Rooms range from the 1,218-square-foot St. Helens B, accommodating 50, to the Clark Room that seats eight. With two 50-person rooms available and a variety of additional room sizes, the facility is ideal for groups that want to split into smaller units for breakout sessions.
The contemporary meeting rooms have a Pacific Northwest ambience with comfortable furniture, and several rooms have views of the airfield. Complimentary WiFi is available throughout the facility. The Conference Center’s business center offers a full range of business services and on-site staff to provide whatever support your group requires. On-site catering offers a variety of cuisine options provided by a selection of the airports fine food establishments.
SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND THE IRV REED EVENT CENTER
Spokane International Airport (GEG) serves eastern Washington and northern Idaho with direct flights to many of the region’s airports. Located only 15 minutes from downtown Spokane, the airport is a central gathering spot for local groups and those coming from a distance.
Situated adjacent to the Economy Parking lot and just a few steps from the terminal building, the Irv Reed Event Center offers a comfortable, professional space for a business conference, seminar or board meeting. Filled with natural light, the Center’s 1,110-square-foot Great Room can accommodate up to 77 guests in a theater-style arrangement or 60 in a classroom-style setup. The smaller Office Room provides an additional meeting space in a private setting for 6 to 8 people.
The airport’s terminal building is also home to conference facilities. The Main Terminal Conference Room is located near the ticketing counters. It has seating for up to eight at the conference table, and additional seating brings the total capacity of the room to 18. The Ground Transportation Conference Room is tucked away in a quiet space behind the baggage claim area. This room can also hold up to 18 guests.
Audiovisual equipment can be provided for groups at the Irv Reed Event Center, while whiteboards and monitors are available in the main terminal conference rooms. On-site catering is available for all the conference facilities and outside catering is allowed. Complimentary WiFi is available throughout both facilities.
SNAKE RIVER CONFERENCE CENTER AT BOISE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Boise International Airport (BOI) lies a mere four miles from the heart of downtown Boise, making it a handy meeting venue. Nonstop flights connect Boise to most major Northwest cities and direct flights are available to many major U.S. cities. A variety of ground transportation options and easy parking make the airport’s conference facility an attractive conference space for locals and visitors alike.
Located on the third floor of the terminal building away from the busy arrival and departure areas, the Snake River Conference Center can accommodate meetings and conferences from a two-person confab to a presentation for 125. Five conference rooms range in size from 294 to 1,800 square feet. For an intimate board meeting or planning session, the Bruneau River and Malad River Rooms are ideal. They are suitable for groups of two to 10 people. The light-filled Boise River Room can accommodate up to 125 for a larger conference or seminar. The conference rooms are equipped with high-tech audiovisual equipment and complimentary enterprise-class WiFi. The facility also offers on-site catering.
GREAT FALLS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Serving central Montana, the Great Falls International Airport (GTF) is served by United, Delta, Allegiant and Alaska Airlines with daily direct flights to Seattle, Salt Lake City and other major U.S. cities. Easy connections through Seattle and Salt Lake City provide convenient access to the region from anywhere in the Northwest. The airport is located within the city limits of Great Falls, and it is only three miles from the center of the city.
Whether it is a business meeting, an executive luncheon or a special celebration, the airport’s banquet facilities can accommodate large and small groups. Overlooking the city of Great Falls and the Missouri River landscape, the rooms provide a scenic backdrop for any gathering.
With a fireplace and open floor design, the Panorama Room comfortably seats up to 300 guests. The Top O’ The Falls Room accommodates up to 175. Air Host Great Falls, operator of the meeting facilities, offers a full selection of catering options and event support. Audiovisual equipment is available and complimentary WiFi is available throughout the airport. Parking is also included with the room rental.
ROGUE VALLEY INTERNATIONAL – MEDFORD AIRPORT
Any meeting will take on a special tone when it is held in the presidential Oval Office Meeting Facility at southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley International – Medford Airport (MFR). The room is an accurate reproduction of one of America’s most famous rooms, the President’s Oval Office in the White House. From the classic star-patterned flooring to the desk, which is a replica of the Resolute Desk used by the President, the room brings a touch of Washington D.C. to the gathering. The room can accommodate as many as 25 guests for a meeting, retreat or special dinner.
The airport is also the home of a historic airplane that serves as a meeting venue. The retrofitted KC-97 fuel tanker has been turned into a unique space for groups. With seating for 49, the airplane offers an unrivaled meeting or event space that your group will remember for years. Two additional meeting rooms can be used separately or combined to host up to 88 guests for a conference, party or catered dinner.
With the exception of the KC-97 aircraft, all of the airport’s meeting spaces offer complimentary WiFi and projection screens. Local Medford vendors can supply additional audiovisual equipment if required. Catering can be provided by the Sky House Bar & Grill, the airport’s restaurant, or groups can utilize a caterer of their choosing.
The Rogue Valley International – Medford Airport offers regular service to a variety of West Coast cities. Several flights each day connect Medford with Portland and Seattle, giving groups from all over the Northwest the opportunity to enjoy these unique facilities. Located only three miles from downtown Medford, the facility is also convenient for a drive-in gathering.
The Conference Center at Sea-Tac
Eight meeting and event rooms
210 seated capacity in largest meeting room
Amy McDonough, sales & operations manager
Portland International Airport Conference Center
Nine meeting and event rooms
50 seated capacity in largest meeting room
Susan Hangartner, Port customer relations supervisor
Spokane International Airport – Irv Reed Event Center
Four meeting and event rooms
60 seated capacity in largest meeting room
Todd Woodard, director of marketing/public affairs
Boise International Airport – Snake River Conference Center
Six meeting and event rooms
125 seated capacity in largest meeting room
Michele Wigley, administrative supervisor
for the director of Boise Airport
Great Falls International Airport
Two meeting and event rooms
300 seated capacity in largest meeting room
Holli Hawkes, general manager at Airhost-Great Falls
Rogue Valley International – Medford Airport
Four meeting and event rooms
88 seated capacity in largest meeting room