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Looking For More Convention Traffic For Jacksonville

Posted on | May 19, 2010 | 1 Comment

The local Jacksonville hotel community, a group called “Visit Jacksonville” and the SMG have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to streamline efforts in the booking process to generate more convention business for the city. This memorandum establishes the Jacksonville Convention Center Alliance, which will simplify the booking process for the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center making Jacksonville more appealing to potential customers and reinforcing the city’s commitment to convention business. A concentrated effort like this has not been taken since Jacksonville hosted the Super Bowl. Tourism is not one of Jacksonville’s strongest draws so the idea of hosting conventions would be very appealing.

The newly crafted memorandum includes the development of a city-wide convention sales and marketing plan, a dedicated on-site sales manager for the convention center, a greater flexibility of dates and rates for potential business and enhanced transparency of the convention center’s availability on a calendar up to 18 months out. Downtown hoteliers are developing a city-wide agreement for hotels to offer one contract for the meeting planner customer to streamline the booking process. The convention alliance will meet bi-monthly to review any potential business opportunities.

Since this partnership developed, the convention alliance has secured a city-wide medical convention for June 2010 and an increase in interest for other convention business. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) will be hosting more than 1,000 delegates representing 5,200 hotel room nights utilizing five hotels in Downtown Jacksonville during the organization’s national conference at the Prime Osborn. The total economic impact of the meeting is anticipated to be more than $2.6 million and ties in with the city’s medical tourism initiative, “America’s Health Center.” As a true city-wide event, the meeting will have an impact on occupancy to other hotels in the city.

“We have seen the first success of this memorandum of understanding with the booking of a city-wide medical convention in Jacksonville that will enable the delegates to experience all that Downtown has to offer through our hotels, restaurants and other entertainment experiences,” said Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton. “I commend SMG, Visit Jacksonville and our hotel community for working together to streamline the convention booking process and making Jacksonville more of a top-tier convention destination.”

The alliance is poised to attract a greater share of convention business through this unified effort to market Jacksonville to the national and worldwide market. “Visit Jacksonville” is the marketing organization contracted by the Duval County Tourist Development Council (TDC) to champion the growth of business and leisure tourism in Northeast Florida.

A report commissioned by the mayor’s convention center task force said the Prime Osborn is considered too small and “out of step with what the market demands” when it comes to the convention center/hotel/amenity package due to its location to hotels and entertainment and attracts only 13 percent of the convention market as a result of these factors. However, the partnership established under the new memorandum states that efforts will continue to strive to book conventions at the Prime Osborn as it recognizes and promotes the positive current and future economic impact associated with meetings and conventions in this market.

“The signing of the memorandum marks the beginning of a true partnership between the entities in positioning Jacksonville as a desirable city for conventions,” said Mya Carter, “Visit Jacksonville” interim president and CEO. “Working with our current convention center, we are now able to market specifically to the groups that could be accommodated in the Prime Osborn and sell ourselves as a convenient and cooperative city with which to work.”


One Response to “Looking For More Convention Traffic For Jacksonville”

  1. Conventions Headed To Jacksonville | Jacksonville Real Estate Market | Duval County FL Real Estate
    May 19th, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

    […] Read the original here: Conventions Headed To Jacksonville | Jacksonville Real Estate Market […]

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