Today we spotlight Visit Wichita Kansas – one of the Heartland Chapter’s valued sponsors.
What is recently new in Wichita, KS?
Our Flexibility Promise offers no attrition, no food and beverage minimums and the ability to cancel penalty-free up to 21 days out. This offer is available for meeting planners who contract by September 30, 2021, with a meeting before December 31, 2022.
Our Riverfront Stadium is open and home to the Wichita Wind Surge, a Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Games start in May in this brand-new 10,000+ capacity stadium with luxury suites available.
Naftzger Park has been renovated into an urban event space with an outdoor stage and plans for fitness programs and other activities year-round.
Also, Wichita has two new hotels ready to welcome guests:
- Home2 Suites by Hilton Wichita Downtown Delano is in the business district and near Botanica and Exploration Place and a host of places to eat and shop.
- Hyatt Place at Wichita State is located on Wichita State University’s campus, near stadiums, arenas and the Ulrich Museum of Art Outdoor Sculpture collection featuring 81 pieces from renowned artists like Rodin, Henry Moore, Fernando Botero and more.
What else is going on in Wichita?
Upgrades at the “Top 10 in size” Sedgwick County Zoo will be complete this year, including a new entrance and new leopard exhibit. The zoo is celebrating its 50th year in 2021 and these improvements are part of a 25-year master plan of improvements, including an African lodge hotel and waterpark.
How is Wichita working with event planners who are planning events during 2021?
Most importantly, our meeting hotels are all offering our Flexibility Promise to make sure planners have what they need to book with confidence.
Next, we know that planners are looking to their CVBs now more than ever, so we have stayed in close touch with our planners to be their one-stop shop for all things Wichita—protocols, capacities, safety measures, attraction/restaurant availability, etc.
Also, we have assisted planners with rebooking cancelled events so they can get back to the exciting things, new and old, we have to offer in Wichita.
How do you believe the event industry will evolve during this year and into 2022?
We think we will see an increase in meeting planners’ interest to host in cities they might not have sought out pre-pandemic, such as smaller, less densely populated cities. We think they will seek out not only unique experiences, foods and cultures, but also cities that make their attendees feel safe, not just in the hotel and meeting space, but in the community as well.
What interesting facts about Wichita do most people likely not know?
- Visit Wichita is offering a Flexibility Promise which includes no attrition, no food and beverage minimums and the ability the cancel penalty free up to 21 days out.
- Wichita is the Air Capital of the World with decades of history in aviation, producing 35% of all general aviation planes built in the US.
- Wichita has become a performing arts hub in the Midwest. From Wichita Symphony Orchestra to Wichita Grand Opera to Music Theatre Wichita’s local Broadway productions and more, the show must go on.
- Sedgwick County Zoo is the 7th largest zoo in the nation and has launched a 25-year strategic development plan.
- As the largest city in the state, Wichita has become the place for those seeking new opportunities and we deliver with our thriving art, culture and food scenes.
Why is Wichita so special?
Wichita is the Heart of the County, which is about more than our geographical location – it’s about our genuine kindness, generosity and hospitality. It’s about our resiliency in the face of challenges. It’s about the artists and creators, problem-solvers and entrepreneurs, foodies and passionate sports fans. It’s about embracing diversity and lifting each other up. It’s about our places, our faces, and our hearts. When you get to know the Heart of the Country, you know what makes us so special.
What do you like most about being a part of the PCMA Heartland Chapter?
We truly enjoy connecting with members in our neighboring states. This Chapter has given us an opportunity to get to know planners and other suppliers on a personal level and it’s always so fun to catch up with them at PCMA Convening Leaders!
What is your tip for experiencing a hidden gem when visiting Wichita?
- Get custom-fitted for a topper by one of the nation’s remaining hatters, “Hatman Jack,” who has been making custom hats for almost half a century.
- Go nuts at Nifty Nut House – a Wichita staple since 1937 and see why Alton Brown calls it a “national treasure.”
- Stop and smell the variety of tea in the back room of The Spice Merchant.
- Splurge on a Meet & Greet or Behind the Scenes encounter at Tanganyika Wildlife Park—feed penguins, pet a sloth or get your picture taken with otters.
- Enjoy the cultural and ethnic diversity of the cuisine Wichita has to offer—an eclectic mix that travel writers have compared to Brooklyn, NY.
Thank you, Visit Wichita for your support of the Heartland Chapter and Jessica Viramontez, Convention Sales Manager for the interview!