Coronavirus Meeting Planner Information

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why is Wilmington a good destination for socially-distanced meetings?

Thanks to enhanced safety and cleaning protocols, an abundance of outdoor activities and open space, and an intimately sized convention center, Wilmington is an ideal destination for planners needing to find space for socially-distanced meetings now or looking to book future events. Wilmington boasts natural surroundings, healthy spaces, wellness experiences for groups and fresh F&B offerings. Wilmington’s Convention District is located riverfront and within the city’s River District – all connected by a nearly two-mile scenic Riverwalk that makes it easy for attendees to move between the River District and the Convention District.

Research also shows attendees are most likely to travel to beach destinations when they resume traveling, which makes Wilmington’s three nearby island beaches an additional benefit.

What are lodging properties doing to keep meeting attendees safe?

Many area lodging properties have adopted enhanced safety and cleaning protocols to offer comfort and ease of mind for meeting attendees. The Embassy Suites Wilmington Riverfront Hotel and Wilmington’s Hotel Ballast, Tapestry Collection by Hilton are following Hilton EventReady with CleanStay. Designed to create event experiences that are clean, flexible, safe and socially responsible, the program provides curated solutions for every step of the event planning process, including elevated procedures for cleanliness and sanitation through its partnership with RB, the maker of Lysol and Dettol. The Courtyard Marriott Carolina Beach Oceanfront is employing a number of cleaning and safety solutions as well, all of which are being guided by the Marriott Cleanliness Council. And the Holiday Inn Resort Wrightsville Beach has implemented enhanced cleaning, food safety and social distancing measures throughout the property, in accordance with Intercontinental Hotels Group’s Travel Advisory Policy. This is just a sampling of properties and programs as additional enhanced safety measures for lodging and brand hotel cleaning programs have also been implemented.

Lodging properties, restaurants, attractions and other businesses also have the opportunity to participate in Count on Me NC, a statewide, evidence-based safety guidance program designed to educate and train businesses on best practices. The CVB has created a map for planners to reference which partners have completed Count on Me NC training. Meeting attendees are also encouraged to look for certificates and Count on Me NC logos on display for assurance that Wilmington-area businesses have completed the training.

What is the Wilmington Convention Center doing to keep meeting attendees safe?

The Wilmington Convention Center – the largest convention center on the North Carolina Coast – typically offers meeting capabilities from 20 to 2,000 people and a variety of spaces, along with sweeping riverfront views and lots of natural light that help brings the outdoors in. The convention center offers socially-distanced meeting capabilities for up to 330 people theater style, 384 people banquet style, and 70 8x10 exhibits, plus a variety of breakout spaces for up to 48 people theater style.

Outdoor networking spaces include an event lawn, the scenic two-mile Riverwalk, Port City Marina and an event pier. The experienced staff considers the needs of individual groups, tailoring packages to meet various budget constraints. Groups can work with SAVOR…Wilmington to customize menus.

Wilmington’s Convention District and intimate size of the convention center allow groups to become the biggest and only show in town, which is more important than ever as planners seek to integrate social distancing protocols into their meetings.

The Wilmington Convention Center is managed by ASM Global. The convention center has implemented cleaning protocols established by ASM Global called VenueShield. The VenueShield Environmental Hygiene Program works with over 400 products that include the recommended requirements for disinfecting various surfaces. Additionally, SERVPRO, the No. 1 choice in commercial cleaning and restoration services for more than 50 years, will serve as ASM Global’s primary partner in the implementation of the pro-active viral pathogen cleaning process. SAVOR…Wilmington has implemented service enhancements and additional cleaning and safety processes around food and beverage service. There are also comprehensive guidelines in place to help ensure attendee safety including reduced capacities, social distancing measures and safety protocols.

What is the Wilmington International Airport doing to keep travelers safe?

Wilmington International Airport (ILM) is committed to making travel as safe as possible with enhanced safety measures, cleaning and disinfecting. Learn more about how ILM is going above and beyond to create a safe and healthy airport at ILM Safe Travels.

I’m trying to plan my meeting(s) closer to home. How accessible is the Wilmington area?

Wilmington is a quick car ride away for in-state (NC) attendees or those from neighboring states due to convenient access via numerous interstates. The major east/west interstate transportation artery I-40 leads directly to Wilmington, which is also served by U.S. highways 17, 74/76, 117 and 421. The area also features convenient access via the state’s numerous interstate highways.

Distance in miles from nearby cities:

  • Asheville, NC: 318
  • Atlanta, GA: 413
  • Charleston, SC: 167
  • Charlotte, NC: 203
  • Greensboro, NC: 184
  • North Myrtle Beach, SC: 60
  • Norfolk, VA: 250
  • New York, NY: 599
  • Raleigh, NC: 123
  • Washington, DC: 360
  • Winston Salem, NC: 210
  • Interstate I-95: 73

Is there an optimal time for hosting a meeting in Wilmington?

For the best savings now or post-COVID, to both planners and those attendees bringing family along, planners are encouraged to consider booking their meetings off-season for maximum value. Meeting dates and rates from November through March with Sunday through Thursday arrivals and departure patterns will yield the best savings. With good weather year-round, Wilmington is the perfect meeting destination for any season and budget. The downtown location and Convention District offer functional efficiency, making it less costly and more convenient for attendees to enjoy the city, as it can reduce the requirements for transportation that so often accompany off-site activities depending on group size.

Are there socially-distanced activities available to meeting attendees while they’re in town?

Planners often select Wilmington and Beaches for their meetings because there is plenty for attendees to see and do before or after the meeting, many of which will now fulfill attendees’ desire to spend time in natural, open spaces.

Expansive island beaches, a cross-city trail, golf courses, two state parks and dozens of city parks and outdoor outfitters encourage a year-round fitness culture that attendees can take advantage of when they are in town. Beaches and waterways invite surfing, paddleboarding, boating, swimming, kayaking and fishing. The Loop fitness trail circles the island of Wrightsville Beach. Two state parks at Carolina Beach and Kure Beach offer nature trails and watersports, while Greenfield Lake Park in downtown Wilmington treats attendees to jogging and kayaking. Or feel the river breeze as you pedal your way along the 11 mile, on-and-off road River to Sea Bikeway that stretches from downtown Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach.

What should meeting attendees expect when traveling to Wilmington and Beaches?

Wilmington and our island beaches of Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville Beaches are under an Executive Order easing the Phase 3 restrictions but still requires the wearing of face masks or face coverings when out in public or in public areas - both indoors and outdoors. With the easing of restrictions, conference centers, hotel meeting spaces and event venues can now accommodate gatherings of up to 50% capacity indoors or outdoors.

For those visiting our city and beach communities, we thank you for trusting us with your care and safety. We encourage you to travel and enjoy responsibly by practicing social distancing and other guidelines for your safety and those of our residents.

For full details of the Executive Order through April 30, please visit our COVID-19 page for what to expect during your visit.

What outdoor venues are available for meetings, receptions and events?

Please note that the below capacities are based on normal capacities, during non-COVID times.

Riverfront Park & Amphitheater

Riverfront Park & Amphitheater is scheduled to open in summer 2021 in Wilmington’s Convention District. This 6.6-acre urban green space is an ideal outdoor location for receptions and special events, plus for attendees to enjoy during downtime, whether it’s for a morning jog, an evening concert or something in between. It can accommodate more than 6,000 people for an event.

The park will take advantage of views of the Cape Fear River and be connected by the downtown Riverwalk. A playground with a splash pad, shade trees and lush gardens will allow visitors to enjoy respite among the active downtown urban landscape. The project has received WEDG Verification, which is the gold standard for resilient, ecologically-sound and accessible projects along the coast. The park's largest feature will include a large open-air music venue managed by Live Nation, making it one of only a handful of Live Nation music venues located on the water. The amphitheater’s VIP Club will feature a balcony overlooking the seating area.

Aloft Wilmington at Coastline Center

The Aloft features a unique pedestrian- and pet-friendly “Front Yard.” The outdoor space will offer seating, a fire pit and music, and it will be connected to the hotel’s bar, the WXYZ Lounge, for outdoor beverage service. The “Front Yard” can accommodate up to 50 guests. Guests can host weddings and private events on the rooftop bistro bar, Above, which looks out across the scenic Cape Fear River. Offering indoor and outdoor seating, the rooftop venue is available for up to 100 guests.

Wilmington Convention Center

Outdoor networking and event spaces at or within walking distance of the Wilmington Convention Center include an event lawn (for up to 750 people), the scenic two-mile Riverwalk, Port City Marina/Event Pier (for more than 4,000 people) and Riverfront Park & Amphitheater (above).

Courtyard Marriott Carolina Beach Oceanfront

The only oceanfront Marriott in North Carolina is located steps from the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, shops, restaurants and nightlife, as well as a variety of other things to see and do in Carolina and Kure Beaches. The hotel’s outdoor dining deck can accommodate a maximum of 50 people for receptions or sit-down meals.

Holiday Inn Resort Wrightsville Beach

The Holiday Inn offers luxurious interiors, breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and true Southern hospitality. There are two outdoor terraces that can be booked for private events: The Sunrise Terrace can accommodate a maximum of 72 guests, while the Sunset Terrace can accommodate up to 120.

Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Blockade Runner Beach Resort is surrounded by water, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other. It is the only resort in the area with surf to sound amenities. The nearly 25,000-square-foot Oceanfront Gardens can accommodate more than 2,700 people.

Hotel Ballast, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Located along Wilmington’s Riverwalk, Hotel Ballast offers a prime downtown location for meetings and events. The 2,500-square-foot Riverfront Terrace, located just off the Grand Ballroom, is a beautiful space ideal for outdoor cocktail receptions and seated dinners overlooking the Cape Fear River. It can accommodate up to 200 people.

Embassy Suites Wilmington Riverfront Hotel

Also located along the Riverwalk, the Embassy Suites is adjacent to the Wilmington Convention Center. It serves as a headquarters hotel for meetings and is also the perfect location for many different types of gatherings. Guests can enjoy sweeping vistas of the Cape Fear River and Historic Downtown Wilmington with incredible sunsets viewed on the ninth floor at Cloud 9. The rooftop bar can accommodate a maximum of 120 people.

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