Boston: Easy As 3-2-1

The Westin Copley Place

The Westin Copley Place

For each ‘Planner’s Pick,’ Prevue interviews a planner for their choices of compelling, high value destinations. 

Senior Director, Membership & Constituent Services
Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington D.C.

The upscale Back Bay residential neighborhood in Boston is defined by rows of 19th century brownstones, where neighbors still talk to each other while watering their window flower boxes. Leafy streets within a stone’s throw of Charles River are filled with hip restaurants and shops, and the central location provides quick access to all of Boston’s major landmarks.

Within this setting, the 176,000-sf Hynes Convention Center is attached to two shopping centers and three hotels: Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston Hotel and The Westin Copley Place Boston, totaling 3,170 rooms and 192,000 sf of group space.

Planners can book the complex through the unique “Connect 3-2-1” package that rolls the entire complex into one, which brings all kinds of wonderfulness to the sales process, logistics and convention services.

Heather Brinton Parker, CMP, is the senior director of membership/constituent services for the Association of American Medical Colleges, who has twice organized AAMC’s Annual Meeting here. They’ve booked again for 2017.

“It’s fabulous, it’s perfect for a group our size,” says Parker. “Our attendees love it and we always have record attendance there…. They really love everything being under one roof and walking to their hotels without going outside, if they choose, particularly because our meeting is in November.”

Over the years, the 4,000-pax group outgrew convention hotels but they still like congregating in what feels like one hotel. Needless to say, between the Hynes and three hotels, a group would be hard pressed to use all of the many breakouts, hospitality suites and various dining venues.

Parker says, “It’s a terrific package of space and rooms, and the quality of hotels within the complex is perfect for us.”

Most of the evening events took place in the hotel spaces, but did the group get to see and enjoy Boston at all?

“At these meetings, they don’t have much free time during the day so the variety and close proximity of restaurants are really, really important to us, and when we consider future cities, that is very high up on our priority list,” says Parker. “We particularly look for restaurants that are high-end but not chains, and the Back Bay just has a great variety of those.”

Equally important, the residential area made everyone feel safe and comfortable in the evening to go out and explore the city’s wealth of nightlife.

“We really enjoyed having so many wonderful options right there, unlike some cities where the convention centers are located in areas where there’s not a ton of buzz at night,” she explains. “And that has been a bit of a challenge some places. Everyone wants that feeling where we can walk out of the complex and feel like we’re part of the city, and enjoy local haunts, not just touristy places.”