By the time the more than 2,000 attendees and exhibitors of the Christian Community Development Association’s annual conference arrived in Covington last October, lead planner Scott Overpeck was already impressed by the service experience at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.


“meetNKY’s Convention Services team was a very active participant in our planning process,” says Overpeck, CCDA’s director of membership and conference.  “They were so meticulous about the event’s details—picking up on things that we hadn't, like a few breakout rooms that were accidentally double-booked.”

And with several of those breakout sessions taking place at one of the hotels next to the convention center, “meetNKY’s services team checked a few days in advance that there would be enough chairs in each breakout room for our large crowd and borrowed some chairs from the center to be safe,” he adds. “That degree of partnership between different venues is not something planners see every day.”

As for the conference happenings inside the NKCC, the event-services team also impressed Overpeck with its creativity. With CCDA using one side of the center’s 46,000-square-foot main hall for exhibits and the other side for the general sessions, Overpeck wanted to create a traffic flow that benefitted both attendees and exhibitors. The event-services team had an idea: Partially close the airwall between the two spaces so that attendees would be funneled through the exhibit aisles as they walked to and from the general session each day. “Everybody loved the increased level of interaction and networking created by that set-up,” says Overpeck.

Delivering Food and Fun for Attendees

Attendees gather around circular tables in a large banquet room.

Given that CCDA’s attendees are on fairly tight travel budgets, Overpeck was struck by the quality and affordability of Sodexo Live’s culinary offerings within the center, where many exhibitor/sponsor receptions and dinners took place after business hours. And “every member of the on-site banquet staff I dealt with was friendly and helpful,” he says.

Further, the number of food-and-beverage outlets that are within an easy walk of NKCC made for exciting discoveries by attendees. In particular, “Butler’s Pantry Market & Café one block from the center was a really popular place for breakfast and lunch,” Overpeck says. “People loved the variety it offers” and the reasonable prices. (Click here to learn about all the other restaurant options in the area.) “Even the hotel restaurants have an emphasis on local dishes, which is unusual,” he notes.

Easy walkability also played a big role in the social-event options

CCDA offered its attendees. In fact, some of the biggest attractions for CCDA’s attendees were on the Cincinnati side of the river, yet are walkable: the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, and the Over the Rhine district. “Walking over the pedestrian-only Roebling Bridge as they went to the museum was a very impactful thing for our attendees, who are community-development advocates,” Overpeck says. “They appreciate the deep historical significance of the area.”

Along the right side are some of the murals from the Roebling Mural walk. In the foreground people walk, bike, sit, and watch the river. The bridge is in the background.

On the Kentucky side of the river, one other walking activity that many attendees enjoyed was the Riverfront Floodwall Mural tour. Painted on the floodwall at the foot of the Roebling Bridge are eighteen stunning murals by artist Robert Dafford and his team. The images depict the rich history of Northern Kentucky, showing scenes from life in the region between 8000 B.C. and 2000 A.D.

What’s more, Overpeck notes that NKY’s Southbank Shuttle system allowed attendees who cannot do too much walking to still enjoy all the neighborhoods around the center as well as the riverfront district on the Cincinnati side.

Overall, “our group felt so connected to the community, which you don’t get in a lot of places,” Overpeck says. “It makes a big difference in the experience.”