Kalahari expanding Poconos convention center
Howard Frank | Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pa. | June 19, 2017 2:57pm
June 16--Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Pocono Manor will more than double the space of its already large convention center in its newest expansion.
The facility now covers 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, with dividers that can join or separate rooms depending on the size of the event. Once completed, the convention center will cover 234,000 square feet and be able to accommodate larger groups.
The expansion will feature 21 new meeting rooms, resulting in 39 total rooms. The resort will also be adding a 38,000 square foot ballroom and an additional 9,000 square foot junior ballroom to the existing 25,000 square foot ballroom and 9,000 square foot junior ballroom.
"There is unfulfilled need for larger events and shows," Michael Levine, director of sales for the Poconos property said. Many associations need to have 200 plus booths plus meeting space in a trade show and meeting format."
It also allows Kalahari to host some smaller national meetings as well as two major groups at the same time.
Kalahari has found the combination of the resort and convention center a good formula to draw meetings and trade shows.
The convention business is particularly important during down times in resort visits, mainly during the school months when the demand for the leisure business is lower. The off season includes September through November and March and April, with the exception of spring break.
Construction on the expansion was moved up a year; it originally wasn't going to take place until late 2020 or 2021. But demand dictated otherwise.
"The tri-state area has proven to be a good draw," Levine said. "The formula is proving the resort is an attendance builder. We have seen 18-20 percent attendance increase for association participation."
New amenities will include an executive conference center for up to 400 guests, large pre-function spaces, enhanced load-in and load-out capabilities, and substantial registration and client office areas, according to the resort.
Kalahari recently opened phase two of the property's development, doubling its accommodating nearly 1,000 rooms of various styles. It also opened two additional restaurants; the Double Cut Charcoal Grill steakhouse, and Sortino's Italian Kitchen.
The resort features African-themed d?cor, a large family entertainment center and a 200,000 square foot waterpark.