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Charging into the future with plug-in electric vehicles

The Gateway Centre Hotel Complex is located at the crossroads of US-95 and HWY-64, the midway point between New York and Florida. It is only minutes from Raleigh, N.C., and two hours from the coast.

The Centre is comprised of four hotels providing 452 guestrooms and suites: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Rocky Mount, Courtyard Rocky Mount, Residence Inn Rocky Mount and Comfort Inn Rocky Mount. Each is owned and managed by a single company, translating into great continuity for planners coordinating events at the Centre.

Two hotels are pet-friendly and three are completely non-smoking. All of the hotels adhere to high sustainability standards. For instance, the two Marriott International brands and Residence Inn and Courtyard conscientiously participate in the company’s strategies for contributing to environmental conservation. According to Marriott, these include:

  • Further reduce energy and water consumption 20 percent by 2020;
  • Empower its hotel development partners to build green hotels;
  • Green its multi-billion dollar supply chain;
  • Educate and inspire associates and guests to conserve and preserve; and
  • Address environmental challenges through innovative conservation initiatives including rainforest protection and water conservation.

“We also have the Gateway Convention Center, which is in the center of our complex, and it provides over 8,000 square feet of meeting space,” said David L. Joyner, marketing director/event operations manager, Gateway Centre Complex. “There are 11 meeting rooms as well as a large, outdoor lot where a tent can be erected for events al fresco.

“Our location makes a great place to hold events. We provide a full catering service that is operated out of the DoubleTree Hotel. We have the capacity to do events that range from 10 people to 500 people. We also do a great deal of off-site catering to groups as large as 2,000.”

Recently, Tesla Motors installed a supercharger station for its electric cars at the Centre. The company is planning to install similar charging stations about every 150 miles along major highways in the U.S. so that Tesla electric car owners may conveniently travel long distances. The Gateway Centre is a prime location to serve this objective. The ribbon cutting on Nov. 14, 2013, was well-supported by state officials along with the city of Rocky Mount.

“We also have installed a universal charging station for any electric vehicle. This station is up and running and for a small fee. Guests with compatible vehicles can utilize this station,” Joyner said.

According to Joyner, the charging stations are already attracting a new brand of travelers and convention-goers. On Dec. 19, 2013, the North Carolina Plug-in Electric Vehicle Taskforce and Advanced Energy hosted a free conference about strategies for providing workplace charging stations for employees who drive plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The event included a presentation and a ride-and-drive featuring electric vehicles. The event was part of The Alternative Fuel Implementation Team (AFIT) project, a two-year initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to enhance implementation of alternative fuel in North Carolina and neighboring states. Event sponsors included the North Carolina Solar Center, the City of Rocky Mount, N.C., and Electricities of North Carolina Inc.

“Our goal, slogan and creed at the Gateway Centre Hotel Complex is to provide our guests with an Excellent Experience. All over our campus, there will be signs that read – ‘Experience Excellence.’ Our amenities, our hotels and our services are centered around and held to the standard of providing our guests with this experience,” Joyner said.

Green Tip:
Visit the following sites for more information about some of the organizations mentioned in this article.

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