Recently, Merrill Jones, with Coach USA/Lenzner Tour and Travel, won the Experience Columbus trip contest and traveled to the booming city.
Groups Today caught up with Jones after her trip to hear what she learned.
Though Jones has had numerous groups visit Columbus, Ohio, she hadn't had a chance to visit herself until her trip.
"I could not believe that I had won the trip to Columbus," said Jones. "I was very excited to have an opportunity to see Columbus for myself. "
The first attraction Jones visited was the Columbus Ale Trail, where she was transported to four local breweries in the city limits.
"I tried numerous beers and learned a tremendous amount about the process of beer making," said Jones. "Roger Dudley from Experience Columbus, who is awesome, met us in the lobby of the hotel and we went to dinner at Martini Modern, an Italian restaurant beside the hotel—it was delicious!"
Jones also had the opportunity to visit Nationwide Arena to see the Columbus Blue Jackets play against the New Jersey Devils.
"It was a really great game. And of course, the Blue Jackets won," said Jones, adding that the hockey game was her favorite part of the trip. "I also visited the newly opened National Veterans Memorial and Museum, which is really well done!"
Jones was pleasantly surprised by how much Columbus has to offer groups.
"There is COSI, the Columbus Zoo, many breweries, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, and events at Nationwide Arena," Jones said, explaining there were even more attractions she wished she'd had the opportunity to visit. "I really wanted to see the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with the Chihuly exhibit, but I ran out of time."
Being able to visualize Columbus, after having visited, is something Jones says will serve her well when it comes to helping groups.
"It really helps to sell an area when you have been there and see how everything is laid out."
Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for Groups Today.
Photo courtesy of Experience Columbus.