BACVA Increased Convention Sales Bookings by 70,000 Room Nights for Fiscal Year 2008
More than 451,000 Room Nights Booked For Future Years
(BALTIMORE, MD) - Mayor Sheila Dixon and the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA) announced today that BACVA closed out fiscal year 2008 with its strongest sales performance in years with 451,608 future room nights booked. The total convention sales bookings exceeded the organization's goal of 400,000 room nights and topped last year's bookings by more than 70,000 room nights, an 18 percent increase. The future economic impact of these bookings is estimated at $422 million.
The increase in bookings is a direct result of a number of new strategies implemented by BACVA president and CEO Tom Noonan over the past 18 months including:
- Increased size and experience level of sales staff to include more industry veterans from around the country
- Created Baltimore Citywide Alliance with the major convention hotels to maximize room block commitments for groups considering Baltimore several years out
- Formed new strategic partnerships within the convention community including the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), one of the industry's largest group of influential leaders in the country
- Developed more comprehensive sales plan to generate new business in pharmaceutical and corporate markets
- Increased the destination's presence at industry tradeshows
- Created three-city sales partnership with Fort Worth, Texas, and Sacramento, California
The 18 percent increase in room night bookings in fiscal year 2008 comes on the heels of an 8 percent jump in bookings in fiscal year 2007 when the BACVA sales team booked 381,556 future room nights. "We set an aggressive goal for fiscal year 2008 and the sales team far exceeded those expectations," said Noonan. "We were strategic in our sales approach and it paid off with more bookings and business generated for Baltimore in future years."
BACVA's bookings have increased year over year since fiscal year 2004 with the fiscal year 2008 numbers marking an 81 percent increase over production four years ago.
Year Room Nights Booked for Future Years
"With the Hilton opening and new properties coming online in the next few years, it is more important than ever that we keep this positive momentum going for Baltimore, said Mayor Sheila Dixon. "We've made a significant investment in our future as a convention and tourism destination and that is clearly paying off."
Looking ahead, BACVA has set a number of strategies to plan for continued growth in the short-term and to lay the business foundation for future years. New strategies and initiatives include:
- Creating the Baltimore Convention & Tourism Board, a joint BACVA and Baltimore Convention Center Board
- Developing a citywide customer service initiative, the Certified Tourism Ambassador Program, that will train front-line workers on service techniques, and raise the level of customer service for the destination
- Developing an integrated meetings and conventions campaign to maintain top-of-mind awareness and enhance perceptions of Baltimore with meetings planners and attendees
- Developing a customer incentive program
- Producing geographic sales missions with hotel general managers
"The increase in convention bookings is a collaborative effort that is strengthened by support from the Mayor's office, Baltimore Convention Center and our hotel partners," said Noonan. "This is an exciting time to be selling Baltimore and in the past year we've set new goals and developed an aggressive action plan that will set the tone for Baltimore's future success."
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