They're Virtually Ready

February 18, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place will be getting new-look Web sites any day now.

At the same time, DeVos Performance Hall will get its first self-contained site.

SMG Marketing Director Lynne Ike said the new versions will provide the buildings with a better look and offer each a distinct identity. And the performance hall will get its own site for the first time.

“We’re real anxious to get it completed,” said Ike.

Not quite up and running yet, as final testing is underway, Ike said a news release and e-mail blast announcing the sites’ launch date would be coming soon.

Q LTD of Ann Arbor designed the sites, which are being hosted by ISG of Holland.

The former CyberNET Group of Grand Rapids devised the current convention center and arena Web sites.

But SMG general manager Rich MacKeigan said his management firm started looking for a new designer and host company well before CyberNET owner Barton Watson committed suicide in November. CyberNET closed its doors just days later, with the company under investigation for bank fraud. MacKeigan said users had been complaining for months that maneuvering through the sites was slow, difficult and tiresome.

“We were looking for a new provider for five months,” said MacKeigan.

Meeting planners will be able to download forms and examine floor plans at the

DeVos Place
site. Group-ticket buying will be easier at the arena site, and the performance hall will be virtually separated from the convention center.

“In the past, DeVos Performance Hall was just a place inside a building and we wanted to get away from that,” said MacKeigan.

Convention and Visitors Bureau President Steve Wilson said his organization also is getting ready to unveil a new Hometown Heroes Web site that will honor local residents for their attempts to bring conventions and tradeshows to the city.

“Our No. 1 source of new business leads is coming from our community,” said Wilson

Ike hinted that another Web site may be coming in the future. She said this one would be built for the new ballroom that opened in

DeVos Place
earlier this month, as inquiries about leasing space in the 40,000-square-foot room have been brisk.

“We almost need another site for the ballroom,” she said.    

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