With three events scheduled and over 20,000 attendees expected at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center, the tragic events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing had little immediate effect on operations at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA). With increased security measures and a joint communication effort, MCCA officials and event organizers worked together throughout a chaotic week to keep convention center activity on track, with safety at the forefront and with little impact to event attendance.
“We are grateful to our customers and their attendees for their patience throughout a week of uncertainty and constantly changing information,” said James E. Rooney, MCCA executive director. “I continue to be impressed with the resiliency of the meetings industry and our customers’ willingness to work with us to keep their meetings scheduled, not only out a sense of determination, but also as a show of support for the City of Boston.
We are grateful to our customers and their attendees for their patience throughout a week of uncertainty and constantly changing information.
“I’m also personally thankful to my staff and our contract partners for reassuring and updating our guests, keeping them and our facilities safe, and for continuing to deliver excellent events regardless of the situation at hand.”
After some uncertainty following the Marathon bombing of April 15, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association’s Annual Meeting began the following Wednesday as scheduled. On Friday, April 19, attendees – most of whom are staying in hotels connected to the convention center via walkways from the Prudential Center and Copley Place – were in the Hynes for sessions starting at 7 a.m. In accordance with a shelter-in-place order from the Governor, attendees stayed at the Hynes and continued with event activity as scheduled. A Friday evening reception scheduled to take place at the Harvard Club on Commonwealth Avenue was relocated to the Hynes.
ASCA wrapped up its event Sunday and, overall, saw little impact to its event attendance. Show organizers reported 1,700 attendees each event day, only 5 percent less than originally expected prior to the bombing.
“Safety was our first priority. Once that was assured, it was a matter of working with the great staff at the Hynes Convention Center and our host hotels to keep our attendees fully informed,” said William Prentice, CEO of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. “In addition, local, state and federal law enforcement, along with all the other first responders, did a masterful job of maintaining order and calm.”