Katherine Kertzman, CEO and president of Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) moved around a lot as a child—she came from a military family and even spent time living overseas. Still, most of her childhood was spent in Spokane and Tacoma. As an adult, she worked in Texas as director of marketing and public relations for a hospital. Then a job brought her back to the Northwest.

“I had the opportunity to join Highline Community Hospital in Burien as the director of women’s health services, where I opened a new childbirth and delivery clinic. Then in 1999, I joined the City of Tukwila as the tourism and marketing manager, where through inter-local agreements with neighboring cities, I developed Seattle Southside Visitor Services. In 2015, our hoteliers helped create a Tourism Promotion Area and established the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority,” says Kertzman.

Kertzman says she loves the regional community spirit of Seattle Southside. “Each city that makes up our region offers their own strengths, and, when combined together as Seattle Southside, make our destination unique and appealing. We have a beautiful beach community, internationally diverse dining and shopping community, and a thriving international airport and hospitality community.”

An avid gardener, one of Ketzman’s favorite inspirational spots to visit is the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden. “Afterwards, I visit Zenith Holland Gardens, the oldest business in Des Moines, to pick out flowers and vegetables to plant in my backyard. I finish the day off with a meal at one of the international restaurants to remind me of my childhood spent abroad,” she says.

The southside region has more than 350,000 square feet of meeting space and nearly 9,000 hotel rooms. Kertzman says three more reasons for planners to consider a meeting or event in the area are:

» Location: Seattle Southside is ideally located near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, only 15 minutes south of downtown Seattle with three conveniently located light rail stations and free airport shuttles to hotels.

» Value: Seattle Southside is affordable for planners and attendees. Hotel rates are typically 20-30 percent lower than downtown Seattle. 

» Service: The Seattle Southside RTA staff makes it easy to plan an event. With complimentary services like attendance marketing, welcome services, site sourcing, transportation assistance, group rates at attractions and discounts for groups, the stress is taken out of meeting and event planning.

Incorporating the host city into the framework of the meeting is an effective way to enhance the content of the conference.

Host in Local Hotel
While attendees might flock to flag hotels, consider a boutique hotel as overflow to showcase the destination. In Lubbock, the DoubleTree by Hilton offers a local flair through design and cuisine; meanwhile, just a few streets over, the Cotton Court Hotel pays tribute to the area’s cotton history. 


Plano, Texas is truly the land of plenty. Blending historic charm with modern luxury, the city brims with attractions and amenities. With nearly 60 hotels of various price points, 1000+ restaurants, world class shopping, a lively arts and nightlife scene, abundant natural beauty, and four walkable districts, Plano is the perfect city for a meeting of any size.  


Located smack dab in the middle of Dallas and Fort Worth, less than a three-hour flight from either the West or East Coasts, is the city of Irving.