The world has changed in the last few months, and so much has changed in El Paso right along with it. Think new hotels, renovations, a 1,200-room extension, reimagined meeting spaces and more. The things that haven’t changed? How willing Destination El Paso is to work with planners, the copious amount of incentives and deals, and its famous year-round sunshine and welcoming winter temps.
Planners sourcing unique destinations for 2021 and beyond should look here if they don’t like cookie-cutter meetings or events, and if they do like salted beer. (Yes, Twang, a beer salt, is an addictive thing in El Paso.) With large, outdoor meeting spaces becoming a requisite, a sense of place and history appealing to those looking for authentic experiences, El Paso should be on your short list of site visits for 2021 events. Maybe that’s why everyone from Texas Society of Architects to Minor League Baseball have recently had incredible events in town.
Ready to host a meeting or conference that will make everyone feel safe and right at home? Here are six reasons you should be looking at El Paso for your next site selection.
1. Outdoor Meetings
A hot trend? Reimagining meetings, events and even product launches that would typically be in a convention hall outdoors instead. El Paso is known for its vast landscapes and large open-air gathering spots with loads of room to social distance and learn in an al fresco setting.
Arts Festival Plaza
Arts Festival Plaza
The picturesque Arts Festival Plaza is managed by the CVB (which makes planning there turnkey) and ideal for big outdoor events. Surrounded by lush trees and a man-made waterfall, it’s great for dining, screenings, festivals, and stage set ups—not to mention plenty of parking, security, catering and AV ready to go. The McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre is another one-of-a-kind outdoor venue that is cradled by the Franklin Mountains with stunning views for all attendees. The 1,503-seat amphitheater doesn’t have a bad seat in the house and would be a unique spot for any outdoor event.
At Cattleman’s Steakhouse at Indian Cliffs Ranch, guests will get to see a real working cattle ranch. With a true Western motif, attendees can explore old stables, a Western collection and antique wagons. The best part? It can accommodate up to 3,000 people outdoors on its stunning grounds.
Convention Center Plaza
Convention Center Plaza
From outdoor pavilions at El Paso Convention Center to the Alcantar Sky Garden, there are plenty of creative ways to move your conference, meeting or after-hours event outside with one of these unique event venues.
2. New Hotel Inventory
Hotel Paso Del Norte, Autograph Collection opened in downtown El Paso in late August 2020. The 350-room, four-star Marriott property is a 108-year-old hotel with a slew of historical touches, and has hosted everyone from G.W. Bush to Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Amelia Earhart and even Pink Floyd. Its stunning rooftop space is the crown jewel of the property, with its hip hangout, El Mirador. From up there, attendees can savor stunning views of the Franklin Mountains and Juarez.
Another historic downtown property was rehabbed and opened in June 2020. The newly bowed Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park sits squarely in the Las Plazas Art District, where it first opened in the 1930s. Plus, it’s steps away from the Judson F. Williams Convention Center, the Abraham Chavez Theatre and Southwest University Park.
These hotels, along with other renovated properties, give downtown El Paso a 1,200-room expansion since you probably last visited.
3. History and Sense of Place
It’s that preserved history that gives El Paso its je ne sais quois. Authentic experiences and uncommon locations are two musts more and more attendees are asking for when it comes to site selection for an event. With millennial decision-makers influencing their industries, meetings have had to adapt. When a city looks like any other city—big box shopping centers, generic architecture, big-chain restaurants—they become less attractive for attendees to make the trek for an event or to come in early or stick around town after.
Chamizal National Memorial
Chamizal National Memorial
Thankfully, El Paso is like no other city. From droves of revelers dancing to Music Under the Stars at Chamizal National Memorial to the Bronco Swap Meet, where attendees on a break walk among flea market goodies delighting in creamy horchata and crispy churros, El Paso has a rich culture easily enjoyed by everyone. Local bars and restaurants all have some version of a Michelada—a light beer on ice that has some Bloody Mary components—regional to the area. If it’s not a Michelada, they’re pouring Twang into their beer to make it salty. And then there’s spots like Chico’s Tacos, which, unlike any other spot we’ve seen, come with tomato sauce and cheese.
4. Attendee Affordability
If you look at a map of El Paso, you’ll see that it’s on the tip of West Texas and accessible from all major cities in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. For many, this means it’s a smooth drive into the area, no matter which direction they’re coming from. The El Paso International Airport has seven airlines flying in and out of domestic and international cities nonstop, which means your guests will have plenty of airlines to choose from to find affordable flights.
Destination El Paso, the city’s CVB, offers a ton of incentives and is known to go above and beyond for clients. Their take? The team is willing to work with planners to get them the best, most customized deals available to win their business.
The Destination El Paso team understands that planning a meeting can be stressful and overwhelming. Don’t pop the top on that headache medicine trying to negotiate with the hotel or convention center. Let them help and make it easier for you by doing some of the legwork. They can help you find the right meeting space, caterers, hotels and more so you can focus on other tasks. They can even brainstorm ideas to help make your vision come true within your budget.
5. Let the Sunshine In!
Good weather with mild winters is a huge plus for those planning meetings and events in the fall and winter months. For those with attendees who live in northern states with tough winters, planners can orchestrate comfortable outdoor events even in December. With mild 60-degree winters and 297 days of sunshine every year, El Paso is ideal for those guests sick of the snow and ice.
6. Everyone’s Taking the Pledge to Safety
El Paso, as a collective community, is all in on safe and clean measures to make sure tourists, attendees and locals will all feel protected in this new COVID-19 era. The Pledge to Safety is a self-monitored program for local businesses created to implement additional safety measures to combat COVID-19. Participating businesses are complying with all of the safety requirements and recommendations made by health officials to ensure that the spread of this virus is slowed.
When you see their name on the pledge, know that they are doing their part to keep everyone who enters their establishment, or hires their team, are adhering to guidelines.