Kathleen Can­ning

Where Orlando - - Maps -

Can­ning has been at the Or­ange County Con­ven­tion Cen­ter—where she leads in the oper­a­tion and man­age­ment of one of the coun­try’s largest con­ven­tion des­ti­na­tions—for nearly 30 years. The con­ven­tion cen­ter hosts 150 events each year in­clud­ing the meet­ings of ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions such as Mi­crosoft and Star­bucks. She is cur­rently work­ing on a mas­ter plan to fur­ther en­hance the 2.1 mil­lion square feet of ex­hibit space, to in­crease both its ca­pac­ity and ameni­ties. Can­ning is also in­volved with nu­mer­ous pro­fes­sional or­ga­ni­za­tions. She serves as ad­junct pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Florida and vol­un­teers with the United Way, cham­ber of com­merce and Visit Or­lando.

Or­lando is, of course, known as the theme park cap­i­tal of the world, but we're also one of the top busi­ness meet­ings des­ti­na­tions. What do you think makes Or­lando such a pop­u­lar choice?

In the meet­ings mar­ket, Or­lando is num­ber one be­cause of all that we have to of­fer: an in­ter­na­tional air­port, the sec­ond largest con­ven­tion cen­ter in the United States, a large ho­tel in­ven­tory, at­trac­tions, shop­ping, restaurants, great weather and the list goes on and on.

How many people come to Or­lando for busi­ness ver­sus for plea­sure?

The Or­ange County Con­ven­tion Cen­ter hosts close to 1.5 mil­lion busi­ness vis­i­tors per year. The large ho­tels also han­dle a good deal of the group busi­ness. The leisure vis­i­tor far out­weighs the busi­ness trav­eler; how­ever, the dol­lars spent by the busi­ness trav­eler is con­sid­er­ably more than the in­di­vid­ual tourist spends. As a re­sult, the OCCC at­ten­dees con­trib­ute ap­prox­i­mately $2.1 bil­lion to the area's econ­omy each year.

What makes the leisure trav­eler dif­fer­ent from the busi­ness trav­eler?

The main dif­fer­ence is the leisure trav­eler spends their own money for va­ca­tion, and the busi­ness trav­eler is of­ten at­tend­ing and en­ter­tain­ing on be­half of their or­ga­ni­za­tion.

What will new projects, like Or­lando 360, add to the city and In­ter­na­tional Drive?

Or­lando as a busi­ness and leisure des­ti­na­tion needs to con­tin­u­ally re­fresh, ren­o­vate and add new ameni­ties to the in­ven­tory of things to do. When an­a­lyz­ing the in­di­vid­ual busi­ness trav­eler, we use the rule of thumb: there are eight hours in the work­day and eight hours of rest; the re­main­ing eight hours need to be filled by the trav­eler with dif­fer­ent op­tions for din­ing, ed­u­ca­tion, en­ter­tain­ment, shop­ping and re­lax­ation, etc.

If some­one is com­ing in for a con­ven­tion and just has time for one thing, what would you tell them to do?

Re­lax and en­joy the weather, shop at our world-class malls, out­lets or bou­tiques; dine at one of our highly rated restaurants; spend time at the at­trac­tions or on a pro­fes­sion­ally de­signed golf course. There are un­lim­ited op­tions, so I can’t think of just one thing.

Or­lando 360

OCCC

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