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by MIchael C. Lowe | September 01, 2013
Why Here?
The Carolinas offer attendees rich experiences, ranging from coastal resorts to the culinary traditions of the South. Major airport renovations in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (above), and Raleigh, N.C., are making travel into two of the region's high-profile destinations easier and more enjoyable for groups.

Resort overhaul. The 323-suite Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort completed the first phase of a $17 million renovation in April, including a revamp of its 20,000+ square feet of meeting space (phase 2 details are still to come). The property also sports a new 3,600-square-foot "zero-entry" swimming pool. bit.ly/13mIA02.
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Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Myrtle Beach International Airport completed an extensive $113 million expansion project this past April, increasing the number of gates from six to 13.

The 100-room Homewood Suites Oceanfront Resort & Convention Center is on target to open in June 2014. The $25 million property will offer a 300-seat conference center and will share swimming pools and other amenities with the 226-room Hampton Inn Oceanfront next door.

The 492-room Springmaid Beach Resort recently completed a $7 million renovation, upgrading its guest rooms, conference center and landscaping. The resort offers 35,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort at Kingston Shores has wrapped up a renovation of its 385 guest rooms. Upgrades include new furnishings, bedding, lighting and paint. The property features more than 48,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has relaunched its website, VisitMyrtleBeach.com. The revamp focused on improving user experience, maintaining brand positioning and helping community stakeholders grow business through website referrals.

Meeting Hotels
Properties include the 1,600-room Sands Resorts (comprising seven hotels), 1,560-room Kingston Plantation Resorts (four hotels), 816-room Sea Mist Oceanfront Resort, 620-room The Breakers, 600-room Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort, 570-room Landmark Resort, 540-room Caravelle Resort, 514-room Crown Reef Resort & Conference Center and 491-room Springmaid Beach Resort & Conference Center. To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, go to mcvenues.com.

Convention Center
Myrtle Beach Convention Center; exhibit space, 100,800 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 17; (843) 918-1225; myrtlebeachconventioncenter.com

Airport Transit
Myrtle Beach International Airport, three miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $13-$15. Many hotels offer free shuttle service.

Taxes
Room tax, 2.5%; local taxes, 4.5% or 5.5%; total tax on hotel rooms within city limits, 13%; outside the city, 12%

Group Venue
Attendees can experience hurricane-force winds or lay on a bed of nails at Wonderworks, which has more than 100 interactive exhibits, including a space-themed ropes course and a 2,100-square-foot "lazer-tag" arena. The venue can host groups of up to 1,000 people. (843) 626-9962; wonderworksonline.com

Contact
Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, (800) 488-8998; www.visitmyrtlebeach.com