By Manny Ruiz
The Hispanic PR Blog
If you’re like many of our readers, you may be asking why we chose Dallas as the host city for the first ever Hispanic PR & Social Marketing Conference, May 10-12, 2010. I don’t want to hesitate to tell you that it was actually much easier to chose Dallas than you would think so let me briefly explain why I think Dallas is not just a suitable place for this important convention but why it’s actually THE ideal location.
Our decision was motivated by numerous factors:
Dallas is centrally and conveniently located in the middle of the United States. The obvious choice for this historic first conference could have been New York, Miami or Los Angeles but that would not have been best in terms of geographically-attracting the large number of people we’re now luring. You can take a DIRECT flight from virtually anywhere in the continental U.S. to Dallas in an average of two hours and never in more than four. Sorry NYC, LA or Miami (my hometown) but for this first go round, Dallas had you beat in this critical requirement.
Dallas-Ft. Worth is home to scores of corporate and non-profit organizations that our conference is especially tailored to help. Only New York and Houston claim more Fortune 500 companies than does Dallas-Ft. Worth and in terms of a state choice, Texas is very strong economically right now. The fact this conference is tailor-made for companies, non profits and government communicators gave Dallas a strong advantage. It also doesn’t hurt that many more marketing pros wishing to polish their Hispanic PR and social marketing skills are also just a short drive or flight away from their homes in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, McAllen and El Paso.
Dallas is one of the largest Hispanic cities and is going to work hard to make us feel welcomed. Greater Dallas is the sixth largest Hispanic market in the U.S. and has a population that is approximately 26% Hispanic. Some project that percentage is going to be in the 38 percent range by the time the official results of the 2010 Census are tabulated. Our show directors are working closely with a host of local organizations, including most notably the Dallas Conventions and Visitors Bureau, to ensure that this conference is a strong success. (Incidentally the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual convention there late this year).
Our conference hotel is an outstanding venue. The Sheraton in Downtown Dallas (see related photos) just had a $95 million makeover completed in December. The hotel looks stunning and even better for our attendees and exhibitors (we can’t forget them), the convention space is layed out in such a fashion that everyone attending the sessions will not only have to pass by all the exhibitors but will be able to network easily with each other. Hailing from Miami, one of the country’s premier hotel destinations like I do, I can unequivocally say that sans the sandy beaches I would put this Sheraton Dallas next to any convention-style hotel in Miami. The Sheraton Dallas is literally blocks away from some of Dallas’ best nightlife.
Dallas is more affordable than most other cities we could have chosen. In organizing this critically first conference in the last stages of a recession we didn’t want ANYTHING to economically impede attendance. The first step we took was to make this 2 1/2 day conference accessible to everybody was to establish it at a low average rate of about $450. The second thing we did was worked with the Sheraton to provide rooms at some of the best rates you could get anywhere for a venue of its location, size and caliber. The third step we took was we chose Dallas. Compared to most cities, including once again my beloved Miami, Dallas is hands down cheaper not just to travel to but to drink, dine and dance (if you chose to). The convention and visitors bureau will be working with all our attendees to make sure you get all the information you need about where to go, dine and drink while you are in Dallas.
Hosting the conference in Dallas makes a bold statement about our industry’s serious focus on expanding nationally in 2010. In discussing venues with HPRA’s leadership we all recognized that Los Angeles is the traditional home to HPRA but the difference here is that this is not 2009. 2010 is not just the year of the U.S. Census (and now the Hispanic PR Census), it is also the year HPRA begins its next step towards national expansion. The safe bet would be to stick to the traditions but we are bucking the trend here. Dallas brings HPRA to the nation in a way that L.A. initially would not. We aim to do a lot of that in 2010!
So there you have it my friend, this is why we chose Dallas and this is why this city will make a terrific host for the first ever Hispanic PR & Social Marketing Conference. I have a list of other major reasons why we loved Dallas for the conference but you can read those on your own here. Trust me, if you’re in or about to enter the arena of Hispanic PR and/or social marketing, this is the conference you’ve always dreamed of.
See you in Dallas and don’t forget early bird registration expires February 1!