Originally from Oregon’s Rogue River Valley, Debbie McCune, director of sales for Travel Salem, relocated to her new hometown when her son was young. In fact, the city’s kid-friendliness is one of the things that attracted her.

“I love that Salem is a family-friendly place to raise your kids, and there are a ton of things to do. Some of my favorite kid-friendly spots are the Gilbert House Children’s Museum, Salem’s Riverfront Carousel, The Kroc Center, Enchanted Forest and The Oregon Garden,” says McCune. “Not to mention we have the Willamette River, which runs straight through our city. With Wallace Marine Park Sports Complex on one side of the river, Riverfront Park on the other (blending into the Minto-Brown Island Park) and walking bridges unifying the two sides, there’s an abundance of beautiful public space.”

One of her favorite things to do in the city is to explore its dining options. “There is something for anyone’s taste, from the collective of food trucks at The Yard Food Park to the Northwest-inspired cuisine at Bentley’s Grill or an extravagant dessert from Sweet Smith, Salem’s list of great eateries is always growing,” notes McCune. All the better to sate the appetites of delegates, hungry after a day of meetings spent in some of the city’s 450,000 square feet of meeting space, which includes the 30,000-square-foot award-winning, EarthWISE-certified Salem Oregon Convention Center. Salem also offers 2,140 hotel rooms, with another 1,000 within 30 minutes of the city. 

Here are McCune’s top three things meeting and event planners should know about Salem: 

-Salem is centrally located in the beautiful Willamette Valley in the heart of wine country. In 2016, Wine Enthusiast magazine named Willamette Valley its “Wine Region of the Year.”
-Oregon has no sales tax (shopping spree, anyone?).
-Parking at the Salem Convention Center is free.

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Over the years, any corporate event planner can admit to spending countless hours researching the perfect venue or vendors for their gatherings. After attending or hosting hundreds of events, New York-based Daphne Hoppenot was no stranger to this research and was frustrated by its repetitive nature. However, it was planning her wedding in 2018 that pushed her to realize the lack of resources in the corporate events market compared to the wedding industry, and set out to see if other meetings and events professionals were struggling with the same problem.  

 

Freelancing has become a new ball game since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as many companies cannot afford to keep full-time positions, but still need those tasks completed. Although many more professionals have had to join the freelancing community since March, Tracy Judge had the passion for the freelancing community two years ago–long before the pandemic hit–and founded her company Soundings Connect in order to directly connect meetings and events industry freelancers with customers. 

 

Located in Oregon’s wine country, The Allison Inn and Spa is offering some new team-building options for meeting planners. Experiences include:

» Smith Teas Tasting: Claire Boyer, Smith Teamaker’s head of education, offers a hands-on class uncovering the exotic world of tea.

» Lotion Blending: Awaken the senses and heighten creativity with a hands-on lotion and essential oil-blending workshop.