Friday, June 20, 2008

Big Leaguers eye Dallas

Convention center hotel plans boost interest in city as site for meetings

As the City of Dallas forges ahead with plans for a publicly owned convention center hotel, many city officials are already anticipating more conventioneers in downtown Dallas.

Not long ago, the city's emphasis was on attracting midsized or small groups of 2,000 to 5,000 people. But Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Dallas is already piquing the interest of big-time conventions now that the city is putting its money where its mouth is.

Currently, Dallas attracts about 16 citywide conventions per year totaling 250,000 visitors, making it the seventh-largest city for convention business, Jones said. If plans for the new hotel go forward, that number could jump to 25 citywide conventions and about 450,000 attendees, according to Jones. Jones said the city also books another 600,000 room nights that range in size from fewer than 100 room nights up to 2,000 room nights. A room night is one hotel room occupied for one night occupancy.

Representatives from two prospective conventions have recently visited; one would bring 7,000 people, the other 20,000. Jones declined to identify the groups, but described them as a major technology group and a major trade association.

Dallas Business Journal
by Lauren D'Avolio Staff writer