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updated: 10/13/2016 6:57 AM

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We live in a fast-paced, competitive suburban market. Competition can be good -- it helps drive us, whether in sports, the workplace or the hospitality industry.

Meeting and event planners, caterers and others in the industry are all vying for corporate clients, looking to increase the bottom line.

We hope this publication serves to help you gain a competitive edge, whether it be finding a location for a team building retreat, a venue for a corporate meeting or a caterer for your annual holiday party.

For a competitive person, it's all about that feeling of success and accomplishment following a tough game or completing a successful event that required countless hours of work or achieving a personal goal. A competitive person thrives on adrenaline and this success.

We hope the Corporate Event Planning & Meeting Guide can play a small part in achieving the goal of success. The pages are filled with options, hot trends, expert opinions and ideas. Popular dinner drinks, technology tips and possibilities for where to hold your next meeting are a few of the features. This issue includes some venue options that you may not have thought about, such as the B. Harley Bradley House designed by Frank Lloyd Write in Kankakee or convention properties at the Wisconsin Dells.

In addition, we explore how the local hospitality industry continues to rebuild after taking a hit during the recession. Suburban leaders talk about how they have seen a boost in event and hotel bookings, more creative approaches to those events and an increase in visitor spending.

And the landscape is changing with new and upgraded hotels. "It was great to see a lot of hotel renovation from franchisers and national brands investing in the market," said Dave Parulo, president of Schaumburg-based Meet Chicago Northwest. "Developers see that things are moving ahead after they stalled in 2008, and now they have some confidence in the region."

In putting this year's issue together, again I want to thank many of my colleagues at the Daily Herald, who know best what's going on in the suburbs. I also want to thank Chris Craven, Business Ledger advertising team leader, for his assistance with the guide.

We think as you flip through the pages, you'll discover something new, regardless of your industry.

I would like to hear what you think of the guide. I welcome comments at

Thanks for reading.

Kim Mikus, Editor