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Boston, America’s Walking City

  
  
  

Fall is a great time of the year to walk around Boston and enjoy the foliage. Did you know that Boston is called America’s Walking City? It was given this name because of its compact and high density nature, which makes walking an effective and popular mode of transit.

In fact, Boston has the highest percentage of walkers who walk to work. According to The Atlantic, US Census data shows that 15 percent of people working in Boston prefer a stroll to the office. Even though crowded platforms, buses and subways are standard operating procedure during morning and evening rush hours, the percentage of workers commuting by foot in Boston is higher than in any other city. 

Boston is among the top 3 walkable cities in the U.S. according to Walk Score, which has ranked the 3,000 largest cities in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Walk Score believes that walkable neighborhoods with access to public transit, better commutes, and proximity to people and places are the key to a happier, healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.

Boston is a compact city with easy access to restaurants, shops and landmarks from convention hotels and from our two convention centers: the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and the Hynes Convention Center. Your conference attendees will enjoy a rich variety of things to do and see without having to travel great distances.

There are many free walks and trails throughout the city of Boston, a great way to discover Boston’s historic heritage. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile red-brick walking trail that leads to 16 nationally significant historic sites including museums, churches, meeting houses such as Faneuil Hall, burying grounds, the Boston Common park, and the USS Constitution ship that tell the story of the American Revolution and beyond. Other historic trails include the JFK Trail, the Women’s, Irish, and Black Heritage Trails and the Sports Trail. Another popular trail is the Emerald Necklace that connects parks including the Boston Common, Public Gardens, Arboretum designed by Frederick Law Olmstead.

Make sure you pack your walking shoes for your next visit to Boston and visit the Boston sections of our website and blog for more information on what the America’s Walking City has to offer.

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Meet Chef Tim from the Signature Boston Team at the Hynes

  
  
  

Everyone knows that a chef is most comfortable in the kitchen. But for this blog post, we managed to sneak one of our chefs, Chef Tim of Levy Restaurants, out of the kitchen for just a few minutes to help you learn more about the brains and talent behind your meals at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA.

Enjoy this video blog, and if you'd like to learn more about our commitment to fresh, local (more than 70% of our food and beverage is sourced locally!) and inventive cuisine, check out our Culinary Services and Hynes Dining pages at SignatureBoston.com.

Top 5 Tips for Exhibitors at the BCEC & Hynes Convention Center

  
  
  

In Boston, we know that meetings aren’t just held to get people to book hotel rooms. Meetings and conventions create opportunities for business development and for collaboration that leads to innovation. So much of that activity takes place out on the exhibit hall floor.

At the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) and the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center (Hynes), we’ve seen some of the most elaborate booth setups in the industry and have welcomed exhibitors from all over the world. We know how much work goes into planning the design, layout and service ordering for exhibit booths and, in Boston, we want to make that work as seamless as possible.

For this blog post, our amazing Exhibitor Services Department took the time to give us their Top 5 Tips for exhibitors coming to the BCEC and the Hynes. We’re sure their advice will come in handy for your next Boston convention.

Tip #1:  Keep a look out for emails from Signature Boston Exhibitor Services.

If you’re in charge of a booth on the exhibit hall floor, chances are you get A LOT of emails. We know we may be easy to overlook, but we start planning for your event months in advance which means we send you emails to let you know when online ordering has been set up for your event, to notify you when the discount deadline for services is about to end, and to remind you about those last minute loose ends such as ordering cleaning for your booth carpet. We promise to only email you when it’s important, so keep a look out for emails from ExhibitorServices@SignatureBoston.com and Sales@SignatureBoston.com.

The Signature Boston Exhibitor Services Team

Our Signature Boston Exhibitor Services Team. How could you miss an email from these smiling faces?

Tip #2: In Boston, you can move your booth materials in and out yourself through our hand-carry policy.

Moving your booth in and out of a convention center can be stressful and expensive, but at the BCEC and the Hynes, our goal is to make the process smooth with flexible labor rules that provide you with options for setup and break down. You can unload your own vehicle in our loading docks using hand-operated equipment such as two or four-wheel carts. You can pack and unpack your own displays and equipment, use hand-operated power tools and plug in your own electrical and internet devices after the connection has been made. You can even run your own flat electrical cords under the carpet if you bring the cords yourself! For more information, check out our official move-in and move-out rules.

Tip #3: Speaking of running cords, in Boston we do it a little bit differently…

If you do decide to hire labor to run internet or electrical cords under your carpet, you can send your booth diagrams to the general service contractor (GSC) for your event, or to a third-party setup company. A lot of convention centers require a booth diagram so that their building electricians or technical staff can run cords for exhibitors. In Boston, our staff simply makes the main connection for power or internet, and then exhibitors can hire labor from the GSC or a third-party crew to run the cords, or do it themselves. Our staff is in constant contact with the GSC as we prep for event move-in, so we work together to make sure everything is right where it should be before show time!

Teamwork makes the dream work!

When it comes to booth setup, teamwork makes the dream work!

Tip #4: Forget something? Don’t worry! We have a FedEx Business Center onsite with everything you need.

Is there anything worse than realizing you forgot something for your booth five minutes before the doors open? Our FexEx offices are fully stocked with everything you could possibly need, from power strips to thumb drives and everything in between. The BCEC FedEx office even does sign printing onsite! And if you’re on the road or in your hotel room, you can place an online order and it will be ready for you to pick up when you arrive at the convention center. Now that’s easy!

Tip #5: Boston is a great city - make time for some fun while you’re here!

We know you’ll be working hard while you’re here, but the exhibitor services team suggests you also get out and treat yourself while you’re in Boston. If you’re at the BCEC, why not walk over to the Harpoon Brewery for a tour followed by a giant pretzel at the Beer Hall? For exhibitors at the Hynes, our team suggests Wednesday trivia night and the Guinness braised short rib poutine at McGreevy’s, just across the road from our Boylston Street entrance.

If you ever have any questions about exhibiting at our convention centers, you can reach our world-class exhibitor services team by email at exhibitorservices@signatureboston.com or by calling 617-954-2230.

We can’t wait to welcome you and your booth to Boston soon!

Boston Accommodates Your Events as They Grow!

  
  
  
The HubSpot conference “INBOUND”, which took place last month at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC), is a good example of how Boston can keep providing the perfect venue for a show as it grows and evolves.

The first INBOUND conference was held at the Sheraton Boston and drew 1,200 attendees. That number doubled in 2012 and doubled again in 2013 to more than 5,000 filling the Hynes Convention Center, located right next to the Sheraton Boston. This year, the conference moved to the BCEC and attracted more than 10,000 attendees. HubSpot is a technology company that creates software to help marketers manage online campaigns.

Unique among most convention destinations, Boston hosts two distinct and successful convention venues—the BCEC and the Hynes. This diverse infrastructure coupled with everything Boston has to offer, allows us to support events even as they continue to expand their scope and audience.

CEO of HubSpot Brian Halligan explained: “Most people know that Boston is home to many of the best universities, hospitals, and sports teams in the world, but what many people don’t realize is that Boston is a great incubator for best-in-class conferences and events. With two convention centers, a high concentration of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, great neighborhoods, hotels, and restaurants, Boston is an ideal location to launch and grow world-class events.”

HubSpot is not the only show that took advantage of the diversity that Boston offers as a convention destination. Several of our best-known and successful annual events also started their run at the Hynes and expanded quickly to draw capacity crowds at the BCEC. The Seafood Expo North America, the Yankee Dental Congress and the ever-popular gaming event, PAX Expo East, have followed the same impressive course.

And Boston will have the capability to host events as they grow even larger thanks to the expansion of the BCEC. The expansion plans will increase the size of the facility by 60% and the number of hotel rooms near the center by 120%. Find out more about the expansion by visiting the expansion page of our website >>

Inbound at the BCEC

 View more photos of INBOUND 2014 >>

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Signature Boston Adds Two New Services to Enhance Your Event

  
  
  

Signature Boston recently announced two new pioneering partnerships with Digitell, Inc. and Attend.com that will make your event planning experience in Boston even more seamless than it already is! We are pleased to now offer you in-house Digital Event Solutions and Registration Services. 

What can these partnerships do to enhance your event? Digitell has revolutionized live web-streaming, helping you leverage your most valuable asset – content – to drive attendance, improve ROI for exhibitors, and generate new revenue.  You can host webinars, live-stream sessions, and utilize Digitell’s digital program development expertise to enhance content and engage attendees.

Attend.com is a local Boston start-up that provides online software to help you streamline the event management process of small to mid-size events. Attend.com provides wireless nametag printing, mobile attendance tracking, text-message alerts for VIP arrivals, and access to analytics following the event. You can order this through one point of contact at one rate.  Convenient, simple, and extremely valuable to decreasing costs while freeing up onsite recourses.

We had the opportunity to see Digitell in action during a recent event at the Hynes, the Advanced Audio + Application Exchange, or A3E. A3E was a two-day event geared toward professionals in the music technology industry. It featured cutting-edge apps, software, hardware, instruments, and audio products while aiming to create greater synergy between the apps being developed, the art being created, and the instruments and tools being manufactured in the industry today.  

Digitell was able to live-stream A3E event activities to a remote audience

Due to the nature of the high-tech event, A3E planners expected us to provide services that were on par with all of the innovative music technology that populated the exhibit space.  Digitell was able to live-stream keynote panels and center stage performances, including a ‘Trans-Atlantic’ Skype interview with the amazingly talented musician and music technology creator Imogen Heap. In-person attendees watched Heap demonstrate her electronic musical gloves via webcam as Digitell streamed the session live to an online audience who were unable to attend A3E.

We are excited to see how you integrate these technologies into your event planning process and, as always, are constantly seeking out new organizations to partner with so we can continue to bring you the best and most advanced services the industry has to offer.

To learn more about our new partnerships and how Digitell and Attend.com can work for your next Boston event, read our press release.

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Wow Your Attendees at the BCEC’s Lawn on D!

  
  
  

We recently unveiled our newest and greenest event space at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) – The Lawn on D.  We know you and your attendees are going to love it.

At 2.7 acres, the Lawn on D is built for events of all types from receptions, to networking events to concerts or event sessions. Picture your attendees playing corn hole or bocce during an afternoon cocktail hour, or enjoying a morning yoga session that gets them engaged and activated first thing in the morning.

This week, one of our events is using the Lawn on D in two unique ways. On event days, they are encouraging their attendees to visit the Lawn on D for lunch where they can relax and use the free Wi-Fi, network, enjoy local food trucks and take a break from traditional meeting rooms.  At night, planners will utilize the built-in tent, tables and bar to host a reception.

If the lawn games, bar and complimentary Wi-Fi aren’t enough, your attendees will love our latest art installment on the Lawn: Swing Time. Swing Time is not your average swing set. It is an interactive, lighting-enabled swing set from award-winning, Boston-based architects Hoewler + Yoon. The swings are circular and glow in different colors and with different vibrancy depending on how you swing in them. Swing Time and the other six exhibits on the Lawn have been a huge hit with our events. Check out the hashtag #LawnOnD on Twitter and Instagram to see for yourself!

The Lawn on D is an experimental event space designed to bring out your creativity and engage your attendees in a unique and fun way. So tell us, how would you program your event on the Lawn on D?

For more information about the Lawn on D, or to book a site visit, visit us online at LawnOnD.com and visit the BCEC section of our website for information on the convention center.

Lawn on D BCEC

Lawn on D BCEC

Lawn on D BCEC

Sheraton Boston Unveils Multi-Million Dollar Renovation

  
  
  

Last month, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts announced the completion of an extensive multi-million dollar renovation of the Sheraton Boston Hotel. The hotel now showcases a transformed 450 deluxe guest rooms in the South Tower in addition to enhancements to the public areas of the hotel, most notably a new look for the hotel restaurant—Café Apropos and a new spa Green Tangerine. The Sheraton Boston is the largest hotel in Boston with over 1,200 guest rooms and is connected to the Hynes Convention Center.

The deluxe guestrooms feature new lighting, window treatments, art work and wall coverings that offer a relaxing and refined ambiance. All rooms offer the all-white Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed, an oversized work desk, ergonomic chair, high-speed internet and 42-inch flat panel television. Renovations also include a refreshed lobby with new comfortable inviting furniture in two seating areas and the new Green Tangerine Spa, a 5,500 square foot full service spa.

“We are delighted to see the completion of the significant enhancement of the Sheraton Boston, one of our landmark hotels in North America,” said Hoyt Harper, Global Brand Leader for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. “Sheraton Boston provides travelers with a stylish, comfortable and social atmosphere where they can enjoy all the brand’s recently enhanced signature services and amenities following our highly successful brand-wide revitalization and multi-billion dollar investment to enhance the Sheraton brand over the past several years.”

One of the most impactful changes is the opening of the newly renovated Café Apropos. This stylish downtown restaurant presents American cuisine in a transformed and energetic atmosphere. The culinary team, led by Executive Chef Chad Kennedy, provides a unique dining experience that features an interactive Chef’s Kitchen.

Located in the heart of Back Bay—Boston most historic and central district--the Sheraton Boston is part of the 3-2-1 Connect complex that comprises three convention hotels, two shopping galleries and one convention center connected within an all-weather facility. Find out more about the complex by visiting the 3-2-1 Connect section of our website. The hotel also accommodates corporate events with 70,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting and function space.

Learn more about our Boston hotels and about the great free services that we offer when it comes to building your hotel packages by visiting our website and our blog. You will also find a very handy interactive map that shows where the Boston’s convention centers, hotels and venues are located. For more information on the Sheraton Hotel, visit the hotel’s website.

Sheraton pool Sheraton Exterior at Dusk
Sheraton meeting room Sheraton Guest Room
Green Tangerine Spa   Treatment Room Green Tangerine Spa   Reception

Watch a Time Lapse Video of the Boston Seaport District!

  
  
  

With more businesses locating to the Seaport Innovation District, and with the expansion of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) and the addition of new hotels, the Boston Seaport District has become the largest development project in the Boston area.

The area is thriving with an ever-evolving landscape. New cranes are still rising to this day to erect office buildings, condominiums, retail stores, hotels and restaurants. Those amenities coupled with the location—across from downtown, right off the highway, and just a short subway ride to the airport—have made the Seaport a prime spot for growth.

The new stunning waterfront offers great appeal to conference attendees. The city and ocean views are spectacular and the atmosphere is at the same time peaceful and energetic, with a wide range of restaurants, chic fashion, contemporary museums, breathtaking harborside walks, green parks and concerts.

Watch a short video that will give you a feel for this exciting new neighborhood! (make sure you watch it with the music on) and visit our website for more information on the expansion of the BCEC.

Video provided by the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Visit the GBCVB's website >>

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Opening Tomorrow! The Lawn on D – the BCEC’s New Outdoor Space

  
  
  

The new outdoor space of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) is opening tomorrow! “The Lawn on D” is an experimental and temporary 2.7-acre park space that runs alongside the BCEC.

This multipurpose space will allow show and conference organizers using the BCEC to host outdoor events and will officially open to the public tomorrow with a series of back-to-back kick-off celebrations including live music, a rotating display of art, and Bocce ball courts for playing rounds of Bocce ball.

The space encapsulates the experimental flavor and spirit boasted by the Innovation District. It can accommodate up to 3,000 people, provides complimentary Wi-Fi and a full bar set up. The Lawn on D will be open for 18 months, but a more permanent outdoor event space is expected to be built into the BCEC Expansion.

With endless possibilities for unique outdoor events, the Lawn on D at the BCEC will add a wow factor to your Boston event! Check out www.lawnonD.com for a schedule of events and more information about all things Lawn on D. Learn more about what the BCEC has to offer for your Boston events and find out more about its upcoming expansion by visiting our website.

LawnOnD

1.3 Million Square Foot Expansion Approved for the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

  
  
  
Last week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation that authorizes a $1 billion expansion of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) in the South Boston Waterfront.

The plan includes increasing the size of the facility by 60%, already the largest in New England, and the development of a headquarters hotel.

The new law authorizes a 1.3 million-square-foot-expansion of the BCEC, including substantial additions to the exhibit and meeting space, and a second, larger ballroom that will attract larger events and create substantially more calendar dates of availability for other events.

Funding for the expansion will be supported by the existing Convention Center Fund, which was created in 1997 to pay for the construction and operations of the BCEC. The Convention Center Fund revenues consist of existing tourism-based fees and taxes, none of which will need to be increased to fund the expansion project.

“The passing of the BCEC Expansion bill allows Boston to continue to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, while generating even more economic return for the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. “More major meetings and conventions in Boston allows Massachusetts to shine on a global scale and creates opportunities for business growth not just at the convention center, but statewide”

The BCEC expansion is part of the MCCA’s Top 5 campaign, which was announced in 2009 and seeks to move Boston from a top 10 meetings and conventions destination into the top five. The Top 5 campaign also calls for an increase in the number of hotel rooms near the BCEC.

The number of hotel rooms near the BCEC is expected to increase by 120 percent. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. is already building two mid-priced hotels across the street from the BCEC. Expected to be completed by 2016, the Aloft Boston Waterfront will have 330 rooms and the Element Boston Waterfront will have 180 rooms. In addition, Massport and the MCCA have teamed up to develop a 1,000+-room headquarters hotel and are currently in the process of selecting a hotel operator and a developer.

Find out more about the BCEC expansion by visiting the Expansion page of our website. Learn more about new hotels and hotel renovations in Boston by visiting the Hotel section of our blog.

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