The Southwest suburban hospitality industry served up a healthy portion of what it has to offer at the third annual Daily Herald Business Ledger Hospitality Expo Thursday afternoon at the Tinley Park Convention Center.
More than 60 local exhibitors showed off their products and services to local business representatives, marketers and event planners. More than 750 attendees got to meet and mingle with businesses ranging from restaurants and caterers to hotels and meeting sites, to entertainment providers offering alternatives to the standard conference room meeting.
While talk of conference room amenities and samples of barbecue and desserts dominated the expo, many attendee were attracted to a more unusual sight -- a bright blue BMW M2 sports car parked in a corner of the exhibition hall.
The vehicle was the attraction of Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, at the expo to share its unique programs such as defensive driving classes or driving an exotic car on the club's track.
"We're known outside the area," said Rob Dabisch, Autobahn sales and marketing director. "We want to let people know locally what we have to offer."
Meg Sakka, manager of La Banque Hotel in Homewood, attended last year's expo for the first time, shortly after the boutique hotel opened.
The exposure last year drew her and the hotel back this year to broaden its exposure.
"The atmosphere is awesome and everyone is just so happy to be here," Sakka said.
Jennifer Murray, of J. Murray and Associates of Downers Grove, took a short break to sample gourmet chips from Square Celt in Orland Park while searching for ideas for her clients.
"We put events on for clients, so it's always good to see what's available and pick up a few cards," Murray said. "My bag is filled with items."
The Tinley Park event was the first of three regional Hospitality Expos sponsored by the Business Ledger. The second is the DuPage County Hospitality Expo, scheduled for Oct. 13 at Abbington Distinctive Banquets in Glen Ellyn.
The Northwest suburban Hospitality Expo is scheduled for Nov. 10 at Stonegate Banquets in Hoffman Estates.