Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Convention Business Gets a Boost
As reported in the Business Journal, the Convention & Visitors Commission booked a record number of room night commitments in fiscal 2008, which ended June 30. The 554,240 room nights exceeded the organization’s stated goal of 550,000.
This is great to hear.
The article mentions one particular organization, the Society for Nuclear Medicine, that chose St. Louis for its 2014 annual meeting, despite having a rather lackluster time here in 2000. Said the Society’s meeting planner:
"…a lot of restaurants were closed on Sunday and Monday, and there weren't really any nightlife options. It wasn't a real vibrant downtown."
Fortunately, the impressive turnaround that has occurred downtown since then played a major role in the Society’s decision to come back to St. Louis. Perhaps we can win back other conventions that have overlooked us in the past.
The quote above illustrates why a thriving downtown is so important – because it’s our public face to the rest of the world. When you're in St. Louis for a convention, your whole world is downtown St. Louis. The state of downtown will determine the impression that you'll develop of the city as a whole - anything happening in Creve Coeur, Clayton or Chesterfield is totally irrelevant. For some reason, this concept is hard for some people to grasp, but I'm guessing that if they were to go to, say, Chicago for a convention, they wouldn't be heading to Naperville or Rosemont or Orland Park.