Exploring Durham: Convening in Durham is convenient

May. 10, 2014 @ 06:40 PM

This month, Exploring Durham looks at Durham as a meeting destination, and all the ways it excels for groups from banquets and family reunions to conferences and conventions.

Meetings and conventions generate more than $1 trillion in economic impact in North America annually.  Each year in Durham, about 450,000 convention attendees spend nearly $48 million.

Conventions are different than conferences primarily because they are larger in scope and require more floor space to execute events.

There are two convention centers in Durham, and both offer considerable flexibility in the way space is used to achieve memorable events. With one in downtown and the other in southeast Durham adjacent to Research Triangle Park, Durham offers convention planners great convenience for both their clients and attendees.

The Durham Convention Center (DCC) is part of a large complex comprising over 100,000 square feet of both indoor and outdoor space. The DCC is located less than 14 miles from Raleigh-Durham International Airport in the heart of Durham’s historic downtown core. Having undergone $6.1 million in renovations which were completed in January 2011, the DCC leverages its proximal assets to the enjoyment and fulfillment of conventioneers. 

Being a standalone convention center also opens the DCC up for planners to utilize any of the over 3,500 rooms available within close proximity to the DCC in the Downtown/Duke Convention Cluster, which is slated to get 533 more rooms by the end of 2015 with five new hotel projects either underway or to begin soon.  Meetings can occur in their ballrooms and meeting halls, and then move to the adjacent Carolina Theatre, Durham Armory or Durham Arts Council for unique indoor events, and the CCB Plaza and Convention Center Plaza for such things as outdoor concerts and even food truck rodeos. Plentiful parking is available across Morgan Street at the Durham Centre parking deck.

The Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center is adjacent to Research Triangle Park in the southeast corner of Durham County.  Opening in 1986, this landmark, which is adjacent to Interstate 40, has 34,000 square feet of flexible meeting space capable of hosting groups of 2,000 in theater-style seating.  It also features 24 meeting rooms and 331 hotel rooms, including a selection of guest suites, making it the largest and highest-capacity lodging property in Durham. 

Just 4.5 miles from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, this convention facility has been consistently recognized as the number one Sheraton hotel of the 212 Sheraton Hotels in North America by Sheraton/Starwood Hotels. The hotel has a campus-like setting making it ideal for networking and socializing, as well as meetings. With all of its amenities including on-site free parking, business resources for guests and nearly 4,000 overflow rooms within a 10-minute drive, the Sheraton Imperial continues to be a popular destination.

Durham’s convention traffic continues to increase as the economy improves, and there is ample opportunity for even more to occur here. With its open and welcoming community, historic architecture, award winning food, world class performing arts and its unique sense of place, Durham is a destination convention attendees and planners find engaging and friendly, and one in which they can accomplish their goals without distraction.  

Did You Know?: The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau can help people and organizations in Durham facilitate bringing meetings to town. Information and help can be requested from DCVB’s Group Sales & Services department at salesinfo@durham-cvb.com.

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) is Durham’s official marketing agency. For more information about things to see and do in Durham, visit www.Durham-NC.com and www.DurhamEventCalendar.com, or stop by the Visitors Information Center at 101. E. Morgan St. in Downtown Durham and pick up the Official Durham Visitor & Relocation Guide.