Meeting News - September 22, 2008 - (Page 19)

CVBs Tampa Bay Seeks to Own Its Value Season Destination marketing bureau Tampa Bay & Co. is holding its annual summit on Sept. 24, when it will announce its new officers, executive committee, and board. The organization will also convene to solidify its plans for 2009 and beyond, which involve intense pursuit of off-season meetings. “We’re getting our hospitality community together to change the paradigm that June through August is less important than January through March,” said Alex Kaptzan, Tampa Bay & Co.’s director of convention sales. “Those groups that come in [the summer] are the diamonds.” Especially in the down economy, when competition for fewer meetings intensifies and destinations look to fatten up on bookings any way they can. While “everyone is in the same boat for 2008,” said Tampa Bay & Co. executive VP Steve Hayes, “we gotta do things differently so that it will get us returns” for 2009. That means the agency will be blanketing the country, looking especially for SMERF groups with an interest in off-season dates, when they are more likely to get high value and friendlier terms. Hayes said government, social, and religious meetings have remained strong throughout the downturn so far. The agency is also working more with groups looking ahead at 2013 and 2014, for which hotel rates are lower. Tampa also will go after more drive-in and regional meetings, attempting to source more business in and around Florida and the Southeast, as organizations shrink their travel radiuses to cut costs. “Thankfully, associations are still having regional meetings; they might be sending fewer delegates, but at least they’re still meeting,” said Kaptzan. Both Hayes and Kaptzan expect 2009 will be a strong year, in which the National Association of Black Journalists’ 3,500-strong annual convention will meet Aug. 1-8. But Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1 will get the year rolling—thanks to “tourism-engaged” city and regional governments, which won to be the host of the contest and also vied for the Republican National Convention. “Eighteen percent of [Hillsborough County’s] sales tax revenue come from visitors; lightbulbs go on in officials’ heads,” Hayes said, referring to tourism’s importance to the regional economy. r Don’t just have an event, make a splash. Your guests will never forget the extraordinary experience waiting for them at the Georgia Aquarium. Through two large observation windows in our ballroom, they’ll come face-to-face with fascinating animals from around the globe. Whether you’re hosting an intimate reception or a large event, our flexible space can be customized to create a unique, personalized setting for your occasion. Complementing this dramatic scenery, Wolfgang Puck brings innovative cuisine to elevate your one-of-a-kind event. ® ® To book your event today contact our catering sales team at 404.581.4126 or September 22, 2008 MeetingNews 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - September 22, 2008

Meeting News - September 22, 2008
What’s Up @
Inside the Meetings Industry
People Making News
Hotels & Resorts
Convention Centers
Green Beat
Destination Insider
MN Webcast Report
Ad Index
Live from the Forum

Meeting News - September 22, 2008