Houston Looks Ahead

  • Houston Looks Ahead

     
    POSTED November 9, 2017
     

Following Hurricane Harvey, events took a hit. Now one local business is hopeful for a quick recovery.

Steven David founded his photography business, Houston Event Photo Booth, in 1997. Over the past few years, demand for event photography at fundraisers, expositions, conferences and corporate meetings has grown. And David’s business has grown along with that increased demand—at least until Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area in August.

After making landfall in south Texas on August 25, Harvey stalled for a record-setting 117 hours. Hurricane Harvey resulted in 82 fatalities, up to 61 inches of rain, historic flooding and an estimated $180 billion in property damage. Most business segments in the Houston area, including the meetings and events industry, were affected and are still working to recoup the losses.

“We are really hurting,” says David, owner of Houston Event Photo Booth. “Many venues were damaged by the storm, and local citizens and businesses cancelled planned events to focus on cleanup, recovery and rebuilding.”

Fortunately, Hurricane Harvey had a lesser impact on conferences coming to Houston from outside the area. “Visit Houston is fortunate to have the support of the meetings industry, and that they are committed to keep their business in Houston,” says Mike Waterman, president of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The George R. Brown Convention Center, which acted as a shelter through Harvey, returned to business September 15, hosting the Texas Society of Association Executives. To date, no large-scale conventions have been canceled, though five meetings were rescheduled for later dates.”

Event-related companies like Houston Event Photo Booth are committed, too. The goal, says David, is to create a fun atmosphere for all kinds of group events, including corporate banquets and group meetings. The company offers a number backgrounds, such as a green screen that can be customized to fit any event. Pictures are printed immediately on-site and are also uploaded digitally to an online gallery for guests to view or download. The booths are open-air, allowing groups of up to 12 to pose for pictures at one time. Additionally, Houston Event Photo Booth can provide a screen and projector for a slideshow of the photo booth photos as they are taken. An on-site professional attendant is included with every booking.

"Photo printing has become immensely popular in recent years and it looks set to continue as a popular event trend,” David says. “At events, people want a take away, they want to leave the event with something in their hands. Pictures get lost or deleted when they are on your phone or computer. With a print, you can tape it to the fridge, or put it on your desk where it can be enjoyed. I have some reluctant clients with small budgets, but I always recommend they offer printed pictures.”

David says that he has a nearly full schedule of events in December 2017, and that bump in business is just in time. As cleanup efforts are continuing, much progress has been made throughout the greater

Houston area. David remains optimistic about life getting back to a new normal, allowing local people as well as businesses to resume scheduling events like holiday parties and annual group meetings. And Waterman agrees with the sentiment.

“2018 is on pace to be a record year for our group segment,” says Waterman. “We are pacing ahead of last year with Super Bowl in our 2017 numbers. The investments in our campus, called Avenida Houston, in preparation of hosting Super Bowl 51 along with our Astros ‘epic’ World Series win have been huge boosts to our brand and showed first hand we are open and ready for your business.” 

Tilman J. Fertitta has announced the opening of The Post Oak at Uptown Houston—the newest luxury destination and singular mixed-use development that caters to business and leisure travelers.

Set on 10 acres by The Galleria and River Oaks District, this 38-story tower has new design, art collections, technology, fashion, and restaurants.

The Post Oak has 250 guestrooms and suites; 20 executive residences; and a 35,000-square-foot conference facility, including the largest ballroom in the Uptown Houston area.

 

Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center on Lake Grapevine will open its $120 million expansion on May 1, 2018.

Named the “Vineyard Tower,” the expansion adds 303 guestrooms to its current 1,511 and 86,000 square feet of meeting space to the existing property - making it the third largest, non-gaming convention/ meetings hotel in the United States.

 

The city of Arlington is excited to announce plans for a state-of-the-art esports stadium designed to draw competitive gaming players and fans from around the world.

The 100,000-square-foot space, which would be the largest esports stadium in the country, is set to open its doors this fall in Arlington’s Entertainment District.