Over 200 meeting planners and suppliers from around the country gathered in The Woodlands from October 23-25, 2023, for a memorable experience at Connect Texas. Connect is well-known as one of the best conferences in the event industry and is often attended by highly qualified meeting planners representing a variety of organizations and groups. Click here to watch a recap video of Connect Texas in The Woodlands. 

The conference was held at the Westin at The Woodlands, a full-service hotel that offers picturesque meeting space along The Woodlands Waterway. Attendees hit the ground running on October 23, kicking off the event with a keynote speaker and preset appointments.

Trolley and Mounted Patrol Outside of The Pavilion


Visit The Woodlands hosted the Opening Reception at The Woodforest Bank Club at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, showcasing why The Woodlands was an excellent meetings destination with the "9 Wanders of The Woodlands."

Attendees were greeted with the first two Wanders - Accessibility and Safety, represented with signage, a Town Center Trolley, and Mounted Patrol - and then welcomed into The Woodforest Bank Club with a clap-in, where Visit The Woodlands team members and partners clapped and cheered as everyone walked into the building. The evening was filled with thoughtful touches and memorable activations, many of which paired with the "Wanders of The Woodlands."


Clap-In During Connect Texas 2023

Visit The Woodlands Team, Board of Directors, and Partners "Clap-In" at the Connect Texas Opening Reception

Wanders of The Woodlands Signage

Connect Texas attendees enjoyed networking and learning about the 9 Wanders of The Woodlands

Dining was showcased with delicious dinner stations, including barbecue, pasta, and more. An art bench replica photo-op, the Haikuists (poets writing haikus for attendees on their typewriters), and Rendered Moments (an activation featuring quick watercolor portraits) gave a nod to Arts & Culture. Music & Nightlife came to life with live music upstairs and downstairs in The Woodforest Bank Club, along with a special cocktail for the evening - The Waterway.

The spotlight on shopping featured a display of boutique bags and a giveaway for a bracelet from Tiffany & Co., located at Market Street. Philanthropy was interwoven throughout the evening as attendees learned how The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is one of many organizations in The Woodlands that gives back to the community. Last but not least, a pop-up flower-crown activation from Piney Rose Floral touched on Nature & Wellness, and the views of the trees from The Woodforest Bank Club's patio showcased the destination's commitment to Sustainability

  1. Accessibility
  2. Safety
  3. Dining
  4. Arts & Culture
  5. Music & Nightlife
  6. Shopping
  7. Philanthropy
  8. Nature & Wellness
  9. Sustainability

Along with experiencing the "9 Wanders of The Woodlands", Connect Texas attendees had an option to tour The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, where there was a surprise waiting for them. Director Richard Franks, Visit The Woodlands' Treasurer on the Board of Directors, performed a song from Phantom of The Opera, dressed as the "Phantom of The Pavilion." Elements of surprise like this enhanced attendees' experience throughout the conference. 


Richard Franks as The Phantom of The Opera at Connect Texas 2023

Director Richard Franks performs as Phantom of The Pavilion

Elizabeth Eddins and Brad Bailey at Connect Texas 2023

Chairman Brad Bailey and Executive Director Elizabeth Eddins welcome Connect Texas


The second day of Connect Texas started early with an art run/walk along The Woodlands Waterway, led by The Westin's Run Concierge, Sandra Huskey. This is one of the many unique group activities that meeting planners can work into their event in The Woodlands. In between keynote sessions throughout the day, attendees networked during scheduled appointments.

That afternoon, fun events like Tequila Tasting at Como Social Lounge and Happy Hour/Light Bites at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center paved the way for even more meaningful connections and conversations between meeting planners and suppliers. The evening ended on a high note with Afterglow at Amrina, where attendees had an opportunity to meet Chef Jassi Bindra, recent winner of TV show Chopped

After a morning of networking appointments on October 25, Connect Texas came to a close. Over the course of the two-and-a-half day conference, Visit The Woodlands met with 31 meeting planners and heard multiple positive comments about attendee experiences in The Woodlands.  


Connect Texas group at Loved Art Bench in The Woodlands, Texas

Run Concierge Sandra Huskey with Connect Texas 2023 Attendees on the Art Run/Walk

Jennifer Gohagan and Nick Wolda mingling at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott during Connect Texas

Visit The Woodlands' President, Nick Wolda, and Visit The Woodlands' Vice Chairman, Jennifer Gohagan, at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Networking Reception


Connect Texas represented over $270,000 in direct economic impact for The Woodlands, and because of the qualified meeting planners who attended, it also represents millions of dollars in potential future meetings and events. This group is responsible for booking approximately 600+ meetings a year, representing an average of 418 room nights per event and a combined event budget of over $35 million. During Visit The Woodlands' appointments with meeting planners, they expressed great interest in bringing their groups to The Woodlands. Visit the Woodlands has already received 3 RFPs from Connect Texas attendees, just two weeks after the conference.

"Hosting Connect Texas was a fantastic way to showcase The Woodlands to the meetings market," said Josie Lewis, Director of Sales for Visit The Woodlands. "We have been working towards this event for several years now, and it was incredible to see it come together. We truly loved working with the Connect team and welcoming all of the 2023 Connect Texas attendees to The Woodlands." 


Brad Bailey and Josie Lewis Networking at Connect Texas 2023

Visit The Woodlands Chairman, Brad Bailey, and Director of Sales, Josie Lewis, at Connect Texas

Connect Texas Registration Desk Area

Visit The Woodlands provided an information booth for Connect Texas attendees to learn more about The Woodlands


Welcome to a better meetings destination. Known for its beautiful natural surroundings that include sprawling golf courses and peaceful forests, a thriving arts and music scene, unique event venues and a vast variety of upscale shopping, dining and entertainment, meeting planners and attendees praise The Woodlands as a refreshing escape from big cities. Offering a wide variety of top-rated venues, many of which are new or newly renovated, The Woodlands boasts 14 distinct hotel properties, more than 2,200 guest rooms and 190,000 square feet of customizable meeting space. Whether you’re planning a small board retreat or a multi-day conference, our team can help you make your event memorable. Learn more about Visit The Woodlands here.


Connect is the premier operator of B2B events and trade shows for meeting and event professionals. Our Signature reverse style one-on-one appointments are proven time and again to be the most productive generator of business leads in the industry. Our team of experts finds the right matches between planners and suppliers and then lets the magic of face-to-face meetings take hold. Learn more about Connect by visiting www.connectmeetings.com.