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Convention Bureau prepares for tough economic climate
Friday, October 31, 2008 by Kimberly Reeves
The Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau – noting a slow economic year ahead and little change in the current marketing climate – is setting a 5 percent growth goal in the coming year, according to a presentation at Monday’s board meeting.
ACVB is in fairly solid financial shape going into the new fiscal year. The city’s contract with the bureau is up by $500,000, to $7.7 million. And the bureau’s own business has generated some additional growth, mainly in merchandise sales. That is about 20 percent of ACVB’s total budget. The only loss on the balance sheet will be minor, about $5,000, from investment losses.
However, that was the fruit of last year, and this is a new year, one where convention business is expected to be more competitive.
“Landing meeting and convention business is getting harder and harder and increasingly competitive in trying to book business,” Benear said. “Knowing that it would be a bit of a challenge this year – given the historical trends and past production – we decided to dig into more data on what the trends are and where the business is coming from.”
The bottom line is that ACVB met its goal for last year, booking just over 411,000 room nights in
Next year, the sales production goal will be 420,000 room nights, up from the goal of 400,000. The top-tier business is set at 258,000 room nights. Overall, the ACVB wants leads on at least 2 million room nights. That kind of goal is achievable, but aggressive, knowing the current dynamics of the market, Benear said.
The creation of a sports commission at the ACVB has paid off with an upward tick in more sports bookings, Benear said. Association marketing also is up. For local hotels and venues, a top ranking in college football is good for business.
The ACVB has realigned its sales markets to reflect growing interest from what is labeled on the map as
Lander said the ACVB would not forget “how we got here” and would continue to look for new opportunities to grow business in
Key new business has included a
All that business was a direct result of trade shows and sales missions, said chamber staff. The ACVB continues to make specific trade industry and association conventions, along with multi-day sales trips to
When it comes to attracting convention business,
Lander said the ACVB continues to make some “maintenance placement” in various trade magazines to keep
The committee also has recommended a need for one more large-scale hotel in the city to remain competitive, Hackley said. Even today,
The group also considered
ACVB is working to put together a joint meeting between the Customer Advisory Board and members of City Council in February. That way, Council members can hear directly what might be expected to keep the city competitive when it comes to meeting and convention business, Hackley said.
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