A Brand-New Texas

Smart Meetings |

San Antonio is probably best-known as the home of the Alamo. But now it’s also home to a booming technology sector. In fact, Forbes recently ranked San Antonio No. 3 on its list of America’s hottest technology spots. The city is a leader in the biomedical and cyber-security industries. And it’s the home of innovative enterprises such as Geekdom, where technology companies, entrepreneurs and creative types help to generate new ideas.

San Antonio has a ready-made pool of experienced techies, thanks to the large military bases in the area. The city is also noteworthy for industries such as aerospace, health care, environmental technology, financial services and manufacturing.

San Antonio is so future-oriented, in fact, that it’s created a program called SA2020, a vision of what it would like to be at the end of this decade. It’s a list of goals created by the people of San Antonio in 2010, and it brings with it the promise of a “new” San Antonio.

“San Antonio is consistently among the top choices for meeting professionals,” says Casandra Matej, executive director of Visit San Antonio. “And one of the reasons is our infrastructure. Having a convention center on the River Walk, connected to thousands of hotel rooms, event venues, restaurants and shops, makes us an extremely desirable destination. In addition, exciting developments are taking place here. From projects such as the transformation of our convention center to quadrupling the length of the River Walk in recent years, we know that continuing to invest in our city is crucial.” 

The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center offers planners 630,000 sq. ft. and a River Walk location convenient to myriad hotel rooms. The center’s currently undergoing a $325 million renovation that will include technological and environmental improvements, and the new 54,000-square-foot Stars At Night Courtyard, the largest indoor courtyard in the city. When it’s complete in 2016, it will be an even stronger draw for meeting planners.

The Grand Hyatt San Antonio is right on the River Walk, close to the convention center, with 1,003 guest rooms and 115,000 sq. ft. for meetings. The Marriott San Antonio Rivercenter is also on the River Walk, with 1,001 guest rooms and 60,000 sq. ft. Outside of town is the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, with beautiful views, 1,002 guest rooms and 265,000 sq. ft. The Westin River Walk has 473 guest rooms and 30,000 sq. ft., while Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa offers an AAA Four Diamond rating, 500 guest rooms and 55,000 sq. ft.

The new San Antonio is coming up with innovative new meeting spaces, too. Pearl Brewery, the birthplace of Pearl Beer, is being transformed into an art-filled urban village next to the River Walk, which includes several meeting spaces. And the Briscoe Western Art Museum, which opened last October, has 40,000 sq. ft. available for events.

After the meetings? There’s the Alamo, tour boats on the river, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, SeaWorld San Antonio and the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, if they’re in town during basketball season.

Texas is changing right before our eyes. And, for meeting planners and attendees, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio all offer a tremendous abundance and variety of choices.

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