Top Reasons to Choose the Orange County Convention Center
As the country’s No. 1 meeting destination as ranked by Cvent, Orlando sets the bar high — and thanks to the ongoing construction of new facilities, and upgrades to its existing inventory, the bar keeps moving up. One of the largest convention centers in the U.S., the award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is the first both domestically and internationally to achieve GBAC STAR reaccreditation, the gold standard for cleaning and disease prevention.
After 35 years, Orlando continues to attract groups with this remarkable venue that continues to attract world-class conventions, meetings and events, certain to send your attendees home with great memories and the desire to return. The PGA Show, Microsoft Ignite, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAPPA), and the Veterinary Meeting & Expo are just a few of the events that have convened in the OCCC, many signing up for repeat performances, thanks to the fun, the sun and the unbeatable selection of first-rate hotels and meeting facilities. In fact, approximately 70% of all conventions are repeats, proving that meeting professionals who want to promise and deliver a memorable meeting experience, choose Orlando, year after year.
Currently, Orlando is outpacing the national average for meetings recovery. More than 140 events are on the books for 2022 and set to deliver an astounding $2.4 billion in direct economic benefits, while welcoming about 1.4 million attendees to indulge in the seemingly endless selection of local attractions.
To discover why meeting professionals continue to choose the OCCC as their top pick, read on.
Considered the “Center of Hospitality,” the OCCC offers a staggering 7 million total square feet of meeting space, 2.1 million square feet of which is exhibit space, plus an additional 480,000 square feet of flexible function space. To put this into context, the North/South building equals 22 acres under one roof, enough to fit 200 NBA sized basketball courts in just this one building’s exhibition hall.
But what about meetings? The OCCC has that covered too with 74 meeting rooms; the 62,182 square foot Valencia Ballroom (with more square feet than the White House, and capacity for up to 6,000 guests); 48,600 square foot Tangerine Ballroom; the 6,563-square-foot Sunburst Room and attached, 2,120-square-foot outdoor Sunburst Hospitality Terrace; 160-seat lecture hall; the 2,643-seat Linda W. Chapin Theatre, and eight food courts.
The center is also equipped with oversized loading docks for show deliveries that bring in super-size equipment. And there is still more. Orlando’s top-rated convention hotels and resorts provide 3 million square feet of supplementary space for meetings and events, including vast and versatile alfresco space to accommodate groups of every size looking to experience customized experiences.
Food, Glorious Food — With Sustainable Practices
Classically trained by some of the world’s best chefs, James Katurakes is the Executive Chef of Centerplate. Dishing up his delicacies at the OCCC, “Chef K” is widely considered a chef extraordinaire when it comes to food prep for large events. His extraordinary culinary creativity is renowned for designing food and beverage programs with customized menus to meet all the special needs of meeting planners, exhibitors and attendees.
But it was the lobby of the OCCC that inspired a vision for more sustainable food sourcing with its 2,000 square foot Center-to-Table Gardens. Its 88 aeroponic growing towers ensures only the freshest greens and herbs for its menu offerings. The gardens are maintained in an all-natural, chemical-free environment with the resultant produce available daily for the center’s clients. Containing nearly 4,000 growing ports in total, the center houses up to 7,000 plants at any given moment, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, herbs and edible flowers.
Learn more: OCCC Center-to-Table Gardens
The center also leads by example in sourcing local products and using environmentally friendly chemicals and other 100% biodegradable products, whenever possible. But going even further, viable surplus food is donated to local food banks to support those in need and reduce waste normally diverted to landfills.
The OCCC’s greatest innovation is also one of Orlando’s most prized assets: the sun. The one-megawatt rooftop photovoltaic system generates enough juice to power 100 average-size homes, annually. Further, in 2020, the OCCC achieved the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, the most widely used green building rating system in the world, for its citywide sustainability and resiliency efforts.
Just 15 minutes from Orlando International Airport (MCO), the OCCC gets all the bragging rights with increased airlift and new rail service, making access to Orlando simple and seamless. With the multi-phase, $3.82-billion renovation and expansion project opening in September 2022, Orlando International Airport’s new South Terminal Complex will slot in 15 more gates. The Intermodal Terminal Facility (ITF) will connect passengers with the Brightline train, with the expected extension of its Miami-Orlando line to be completed by 2023.
Proximity & Walkability
Pedestrian walkways and covered walking bridges provide a critical link and direct access to four area properties, with over 5,400 rooms an easy stroll to the center via Rosen Centre Hotel, Rosen Plaza Hotel, Hyatt Regency Orlando and Hilton Orlando. Nearly 7,500 rooms sit within a 1-mile radius of the OCCC, but with that radius extended to just 2 miles, the options increase to 42 hotels and 17,000 sleeping rooms. All told, Orlando is home to more than 480 hotels totaling just under 130,000 rooms, and 5.8 million square feet of hotel meeting space, with even more properties in the pipeline.
After a long day walking the tradeshow floor, attendees may not want too much more exercise, but Orlando has that covered, too. Hop aboard the area’s convenient I-Ride Trolley Service that journeys up and down International Drive (I-Drive) from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 pm daily, ferrying attendees and their tender feet to area attractions, restaurants, and more.
Dynamic District & Outdoor Venues
Now that you know how easy it is to get around during a meeting at the OCCC, check out this diverse selection of restaurants, many catering to group outings, all delivering an infinite array of opportunities for group soirées and entertainment. Discover Pointe Orlando, a charming outdoor venue with exclusive restaurants, shopping and entertainment choices, all a pleasant stroll from the OCCC.
Learn more: Unforgettable Group Experiences in Orlando
Just down the road from the Convention Center, ICON Park® awaits, presenting groups with yet more decisions. Featuring more than 75 shops, restaurants — including Blake Shelton’s boot-stomping Ole Red — and attractions worth a look, including Madame Tussauds Orlando wax museum and SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium. However, no visit to Orlando is complete without a stop at ICON Park’s centerpiece: the 400-foot-tall observation wheel known appropriately as The Wheel, rewarding visitors with a breathtaking panorama of Orlando’s skyline.
Both in our convention district and throughout the destination, your attendees can also look forward to experiencing 46 MICHELIN Guide restaurants. These include four One-MICHELIN-Star venues, 11 Bib Gourmand honorees, and 31 MICHELIN Recommended eateries. On top of representing the very best of our dining scene, most have options for group dining.
Team at the OCCC
Across our OCCC sales, event and exhibitor services teams, we have more than 300 years of combined service experience. That’s on top of the expertise of the sales and Destination Experience teams at Visit Orlando, ensuring a one-two punch for a seamless meeting, convention or special event.