Gathering members scattered over a 57,918 square-mile area is daunting at best. Add in a heavy population in the northeast corner and it's especially difficult to find a meeting space that pleases everyone.
"Our Chicagoland member attendance dropped dramatically when we held our conferences in central Illinois and our central and southern members tend not to participate when our location is in Chicago or the north/northwest suburbs," says Linda Engnatz, President of the Illinois Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language. "So I referred our conference committee to the Tinley Park Convention Center."
The Council now sees an improvement in numbers across the board, with no geographic barriers to attendance. "This location is accessible via expressways from anywhere in the state." Chicagoland and far west members take a straight route to I-80 and Harlem Avenue. Central and southern members make an easy trip via various north-south expressways throughout the state, all converging within a few miles the Center. "Our downstate members are not intimidated by this trip. There is no city traffic, no tolls to pay and the Center's parking is free."
"Beyond that," says Engnatz, "there are so many other ways the Center really succeeds." Members staying overnight found the hotel well-serviced and reasonably priced. She remarks that free wi-fi is a big plus, as that is how conference-goers learn in today's environment. "Our vendors love exhibiting in the Promenade. The area is bright and filled with natural light. There is no dungeon feeling that you get at other venues."
Taking care of details is also a Center specialty. "We had a nursing mother who wasn't staying overnight, but staff made private accommodations for her. That went above and beyond. They took care of emergency photocopies and changed a luncheon room for us. The sales staff is warm and they always find solutions."
Overall, meeting at the Center was a resounding success. "We've never held our conferences in the same location twice in a row, but the Tinley Park Convention Center is so well located, so accommodating and so well priced that our meeting spaces are already reserved for next year."
Tinley Park Convention Center
Daniel Fitzgerald, 708-342-5485
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