Wilmington Convention Center Bookings Gain Momentum

Wilmington Convention Center Bookings Gain Momentum

Future Looks Bright for Wilmington Convention Center as Opening Nears

Wilmington, NC (September 24, 2010)— As the opening of the Wilmington Convention Center nears, the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau and SMG, the center’s management company, are pleased to announce that more than 35 contracts have been issued to date. In addition, another 65 tentative events (22 of which are conventions) are pending, several of which would take place during 2011 and 2012.

Interest in the Wilmington Convention Center is very high among North Carolina and regional meeting planners, according to John Sneed, Convention Sales Manager for the Wilmington Cape Fear Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). In the year since Sneed joined the CVB, his efforts have generated 13 bookings.  In addition to the meetings and conventions that Sneed has generated, SMG has booked another 22 public and private events, the first of which will be the 5th Annual Cape Fear Wedding Show on November 14, 2010.

“The combined sales efforts of the CVB and SMG have proven to be a successful collaboration, the results of which will add up to a significant economic impact for our community,” states Kim Hufham, President/CEO of the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast CVB.

Based on estimated attendance figures and room nights provided by event organizers, the thirteen meetings generated by CVB’s sales efforts will create a direct-spending economic impact of approximately $4.3 million. An additional

$2 million is expected to be created by SMG’s bookings. When a conservative multiplier of 2.5 is applied, the total economic impact from all 35 events is approximately $16 million.

“These commitments prove what the market research revealed: that meeting planners would bring their meetings to Wilmington if the city had a convention center large enough to accommodate their groups,” Hufham states. “Based on these results and the continued interest shown by meeting planners, the future looks very bright for the Wilmington Convention Center.”

Susan Eaton, General Manager of the Wilmington Convention Center, is pleased to have thirty-five event commitments on the books prior to the center’s opening. “In this business, success breeds success,” states Eaton. “As groups hold successful meetings, tradeshows, and events at the center, word will spread quickly that the facility, staff and destination exceed expectations. We are very optimistic about the center’s potential.”

In the coming weeks, the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast CVB will launch a public relations campaign that supports the CVB’s advertising campaign to promote the Wilmington Convention Center to state and regional meeting planners.

The official Grand Opening Celebration of the City of Wilmington’s 107,000 square-foot state-of-the-art riverfront Wilmington Convention Center is slated for January 13-15, 2011. Green design and construction elements, including sand filtration systems, are being implemented in order to qualify for LEED certification. For more details about the Wilmington Convention Center, visit www.businessmadecasual.com.

The New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority d/b/a Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization of New Hanover County that stimulates economic development through the promotion of travel and tourism. For information about meetings and conventions in Wilmington & North Carolina’s Cape Fear Coast (Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach), contact John Sneed, Convention Sales Manager, at 910-341-4030, ext. 125 or via email jsneed@capefearcoast.com. For visitor information, visit www.gocapefearcoast.com.