Exterior windows of DeVos Place
Landscaping outside the DeVos Place
DeVos Place exterior
Inside the foyer
Looking up at the DeVos Place exterior
DeVos Place at night
Looking up at the atrium
Sunset falling on DeVos Place
Inside the DeVos Place

Meeting Planner Guide

Download our Meeting Planner Guide PDF

Thank you for selecting DeVos Place Convention Center for your event. It is our goal to help you plan and a successful convention, meeting or tradeshow in Grand Rapids. 

The intent of this guide is to provide an in-depth orientation to DeVos Place offering helpful advice for each step in the planning process. Included are descriptions of services, staff functions [which include general services contractors, electrical contractors, audio visual suppliers], and any other company providing services directly to the facility.

About Us

DeVos Place® is a premier convention center located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Nestled beside the Grand River, the picturesque riverfront setting is the perfect backdrop for your convention or tradeshow. DeVos Place offers a unique combination of meeting and exhibition space to accommodate a variety of events. Downtown Grand Rapids is located 15 minutes from Gerald Ford International Airport and is easily accessible from all major interstates.

The Convention Center features a 162,000 square foot, column free exhibit hall, 40,000 square foot ballroom and 26 individual meeting rooms (32,000 square feet). Twelve spacious loading docks (with a wash bay and marshalling area), allow for easy access into the exhibit hall.  

In addition, DeVos Place features a 2,404 seat performing arts theater with two independent loading docks and one loading ramp. Home to the Grand Rapids Symphony, Grand Rapids Ballet Company, Opera Grand Rapids and Broadway Grand Rapids, it can also serve as the perfect space for a general session or keynote address. DeVos Place is part of a vibrant downtown entertainment district featuring dining establishments, nightclubs, four museums and the 12,000 seat Van Andel Arena, all within walking distance. 

Immediately adjacent to DeVos Place, world-class accommodations are available including the Four-Star Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, JW Marriott and the Courtyard by Marriott. All hold more than 1,100 guest rooms and are within walking distance of DeVos Place, accessible by a climate controlled skywalk.  DeVos Place offers the perfect setting for your next convention or meeting. Come and see what you have been missing!

DeVos Place is managed by SMG, part of a unique portfolio of Convention Centers around the world. www.smgworld.com

Hours of Operation

Standard operating hours for the facilities are from 8:00 am until 11:59 p.m. Arrangements for activities before or after these posted hours can be made through your Event Coordinator.  Your contract with the facility will show either these standard building hours or other hours agreed to at the time of contracting.  Times earlier or later than standard building hours are subject to overtime charges, and exceptions not shown in your contract must be approved in writing by our Assistant General Manager.  Talk to your Event Coordinator ahead of time to plan for your early and late hour needs.

Once you have signed a license agreement, our Events Services Team will serve as your primary source of contact for services and equipment.  An Event Coordinator will be assigned to work with you approximately 12 months prior to your event.  

Event Coordinator

Think of your Event Coordinator as the number one player on your team.  This individual is assigned to work with you and your staff from initial planning through the close of your event.  Later in this handbook, you will find a timeline and series of due dates for providing information to your Event Coordinator:

  • Floor plans for exhibit and registration areas.
  • Meeting room use schedules.
  • Scheduling first aid services, traffic control, and coat/parcel check.
  • Your other service suppliers such as audio-visual, general service contractor.

The marquee over the main entrance offers you the opportunity to identify your event to your attendees.  Please provide your Event Coordinator with the exact copy of what you would like on the marquee for your event.  Due to scrolling capacity, the messaging on the marquee is limited to the name and date(s) of the event.  In addition, we will post your event name on our website with a link to your website. These services are provided to you free of charge.  All events are posted 30 days in advance and will run through the last day of your program.

Food and Beverage Services

All food and beverage services are provided exclusively by the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.  A wonderful meal combined with impeccable service will make your next convention or event at DeVos Place unforgettable. The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, renowned for its culinary excellence, will provide your group with an in-house Sales and Catering team that will assist you in planning delicious offerings that will have your guests talking about the event for days. The Amway Grand Plaza’s experienced culinary team can provide selections for beverages, appetizers, and succulent main courses all masterfully prepared by Certified Master Chef, Josef Huber. And you can rely on professional attentive service before, during, and after your event as your attendees savor meals of five diamond quality without the five diamond price.

Concessions

A concession counter is located at the south end of each exhibit hall. Please arrange for hours and placement of concessions with both the Concessions Manager and your Event Coordinator.

Engineering

Our Engineering Department ensures the heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, lighting, and other critical building systems work correctly for the comfort and safety of your staff, attendees, and exhibitors. They rely on you for accurate and timely information.

Telecommunications

We are your full-service telecommunications source!  Our Engineering Department installs telephone lines and instruments as well as high-speed Internet service.  Phone lines may be ordered by filling out the phone line service order online at http://www.devosplace.org.  

Phone lines do not come with a telephone instrument and are available for an additional charge. DSL lines require a minimum of 45 days advance notice.

Audio Visual Services

BlueWater Technologies is our preferred, in-house supplier of audio visual, sound reinforcement, projection, and other related services.  They are the only authorized operator for the DeVos Place Convention Center house sound systems. We recognize that many meeting planners have contractual relationships with other audio visual suppliers.  You are welcome to work with your preferred supplier, however all labor must be scheduled through the Union I.A.T.S.E., Local 26.

A/V Equipment Rental Form

A/V Equipment Price List

DeVos Place House Sound System

A fixed sound system is installed in all of the Grand Gallery and Overlook Meeting Rooms. This system is capable of providing excellent sound for speakers and announcements. The Exhibit Halls have an overhead sound system. This system works well for announcements and as a paging microphone, but it is not suitable for a presentation. Paging microphones set up in the show office that corresponds with your hall is free of charge. Additional paging microphones are available for a small fee. The lobbies in the Grand Gallery do not have a built-in sound system.  If you desire to have announcements made in these areas, a free standing sound system will need to be installed.

Radios – Rental

One radio will be allocated to you by your Event Coordinator.  Rental radios may be ordered from Blue Water Technologies if you need to communicate amongst your staff. If your event spans the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and DeVos Place, you will want to consider renting a repeater.

Media Promotions

Media falls into 3 categories: Press, Radio and Television. Each group must advance their needs prior to the event with their Event Coordinator.  All facility equipment and services will be charged for media usage. This includes electrical hook-ups, telephone lines, tables, chairs, risers, etc. All media groups are subject to the same Exhibitor Guidelines as all vendors displaying at the convention center. This includes signage, banners, no stickers, etc. You are responsible for informing your Event Coordinator of which charges are approved by the show for use by the media.  These charges will be included on your event settlement. Parking for live broadcast vehicles is limited around the facility. It is imperative to coordinate prior to your event for any live broadcast locations. DeVos Place does not have free parking to offer to press vehicles, journalists, or on camera “talent.” All media involved with an event is responsible for their own parking.

Union Labor Requirements and Jurisdictions 

DeVos Place has a signed labor agreement with IATSE Local #26. The agreement is very comprehensive. Please coordinate your needs as specifically as possible with your Event Coordinator. It is helpful to have a script of the proceedings and timeline of rehearsals, etc. if you have a full production. For smaller events with less AV needs, you will need to communicate exactly what equipment will be used and what will be happening on stage at any time.

If your event includes a general session or a large meeting that utilizes staging, lighting, large-scale video and sound reinforcement, or a major theatrical presentation your Event Coordinator will arrange for Union labor to help during load in and load out. Regardless of whom you select as your audio/visual supplier or your production company, the facility’s Union House Head(s) staff must be used.

Building Security

Your Event Coordinator work with you to arrange for any additional security staff required to service your event. In the interest of public safety, DeVos Place may, at its sole discretion, require the presence of Grand Rapids Police Officers during certain events.  DeVos Place may require, Grand Rapids Police officers to direct traffic on Monroe Street for shows that expect large crowds.

If your event requires armed guards, they must be sworn law enforcement officers, licensed to work in the State of Michigan. (Or Federal Officers such as the FBI, Secret Service, etc.)   At no time will armed guards, other than sworn law enforcement officers be allowed into the building.

We are responsible for providing a secure building perimeter (including loading docks) and a 24-hour security office where the emergency response system is monitored. In addition we provide security and traffic control on the loading docks during move in and move out.  They also manage our lost and found services.  You have the option of contracting with an outside security company for dedicated details within your event space.  When doing so, the selected company must provide us with specific documents to include a current insurance certificate and proof of workers’ compensation coverage.  It is our pleasure to provide you with secure entrances and public areas, as well as to coordinate emergency services through our security office.

Meeting Room Keys

Upon request, your Event Coordinator can provide you with keys to your specific rooms.  A limited number of locks can be re-keyed to accommodate your specific needs.  The charge for this service is $150 per cylinder.   Please let your Event Coordinator know how many keys you will need and the specific rooms. You will be asked to sign a waiver upon receipt of the keys. There is a $500 fee charged for each key that is not returned. You are responsible for all keys issued for your event.

First Aid Services

EMT’s will be scheduled and billed to the event settlement for all public events held at DeVos Place. They will be scheduled one half hour prior to doors opening and will leave when the patrons are gone. Any event that is not open to the public and request to have EMT’s on site, may schedule them via their Event Coordinator.

Wheelchairs

Wheelchairs are kept in the First Aid office for emergency use only. AMR or Security will operate in the case of an emergency.  DeVos Place will have 4 wheelchairs on site at all times for guests to use as needed. The DeVos Place security office will handle the distribution of all wheelchairs in conjunction with AMR and the Event Services staff. All users will be required to sign a wheelchair release form at time of check out.

Operations

Working through your Event Coordinator, our operations crews set all of our tables, chairs, staging, recycling and trash receptacles, and other equipment where and when you need it.  They'll move the meeting room air walls into the right places and handle your changeover requirements with dispatch.

Room Changes/Changeover

This is one topic that we'd like you to read carefully -- We provide your initial set-up at no charge, as long as we receive your set-up requirements in final form at least 30 days before your first move-in day.  This includes all of your non-exhibit areas (meeting rooms, offices, general sessions, meal functions, etc.).  However, you will be charged for labor costs for any changes to these initial set-ups. If substantial changes are requested after we have scheduled our labor, you will be charged for the labor to set and/or change these areas.

Decorative Materials

Nothing may be taped, nailed, tacked, or otherwise affixed to ceilings, painted surfaces, fire sprinklers, columns, fabric or decorative walls.   This goes for surfaces throughout the building, not just in the exhibit hall -- so you will see this rule again as it applies to meeting rooms and ballrooms.  Please pass the word along to your staff, speakers and exhibitors.

Balloons

No lighter-than-air balloons will be permitted inside DeVos Place. Some areas of DeVos Place use “beam” type smoke detectors. The potential exists for balloons to trip these detectors and set off the facility fire alarm system. The client shall be responsible for enforcing this provision. If vendors or decorators bring in helium the balloons will promptly be removed from the facility.

Trash Removal

Unfortunately, even with recycling, trash removal is an inescapable cost item.  DeVos Place provides labor and removal of normal post-event trash at no charge. However, if amount of trash is considered excessive, client shall be charged for refuse removal.  For removal of all compactors and debris boxes, we will pass on to you the charges that we incur. 

Damage to the Facilities 

As the Licensee who has contracted for the use of the facilities, you are responsible for any damage caused by your staff, contractors, exhibitors, speakers or attendees.  This is intended to help us recover costs for repairing damage to the facility (which exceeds reasonable wear and tear) caused by anyone connected with your event.

Your Event Coordinator will schedule a "walk-through" on the first move-in day.  A second "walk-through" will be scheduled at the conclusion of the event to compare conditions and determine responsibility for any repairs or replacements.  You will be kept informed of any damage occurring during your event, with both written reports and photographs, when possible.

Our goal is to keep our facilities in good repair so every client enjoys the attractiveness and serviceability of the center equally. We know you cannot possibly oversee everything that happens when you are on-site, and that you cannot control all of the actions of your guests or exhibitors.  You should minimize your risks and make sure that your exhibitors and guests know the rules that apply to them. Let them know that you will hold them responsible for any damage they cause in the facility.

Coat and Parcel Check

If your event requires ushers or ticket takers or coat check, your Event Coordinator will arrange for those personnel through our Front of House department.  We provide equipment and staffing for coat and parcel check services (on an exclusive basis) through our Front of House department.  These areas will be designated in appropriate high-traffic locations where space is available in relation to your floor plans.

We can provide this service based on your preference:

  • Hosted:  You may provide hosted coat and parcel checking at a cost to you for the labor only.  Talk to your Event Coordinator about volume, hours, and location for this service.
  • Non-Hosted:  We will provide coat racks for self check service.