Louisville, Kentucky is a city on the move! Currently in the middle of their $1 billion hospitality renovation, now is the perfect time to consider this unique destination for your next meeting. Doug Bennett, Senior Vice President of Convention Development walks us through what’s new in his destination as well as how the Louisville CVB is a meeting planner’s best first option when planning a meeting.
SUZZANNE: What makes Louisville a great meeting destination?
DOUG: There are many things that make Louisville a great destination but what stands out in my mind are our people. They embrace hospitality and have a real passion for being great hosts and have tremendous pride in our city and want to show it off. We love to welcome and show off our destination!
SUZZANNE: What is the one thing planners are always surprised to learn about the Louisville area?
DOUG: The uniqueness of Louisville. Many think it is a typical Midwest town, but as the gateway to the south we have a distinctively different flavor and appeal to our destination. We introduce groups and visitors to the south in our own special and unique way.
SUZZANNE: What might we find you enjoying in the destination on your day off?
DOUG: As someone who enjoys history, I would be somewhere on the Bourbon Trail taking in the culture and rich history of Louisville and one of the State’s oldest and continuous industries.
SUZZANNE: What are a couple of your favorite places to dine or get a drink?
DOUG: We have many independent restaurants that have come on line in the past 3-5 years. It is difficult to pin down 1 or 2. Almost any restaurant in the NuLu District or on Bardstown Road would be a great place to eat or enjoy a bourbon.
SUZZANNE: What do you see trending in the meeting’s market?
- DOUG: Planners will continue to make decisions on where they take their meetings with less and less lead time. More and more options exist and the expanded presence of 3rd party representation helps contribute to a shorter booking cycle. The Louisville CVB makes it a priority to book business inside 18 months of the meeting date. We have plenty of options and make it a priority to respond as quickly as possible to inquiries, big or small. Additionally, we just added a 4th Meetings Team Sales Manager to better accommodate this demand.
SUZZANNE: What is an innovative service offering at the CVB?
DOUG: Not sure it would be considered innovative but we pride ourselves in delivering a great planner and group experience. Specifically, we offer groups valuable housing and marketing support. We have helped numerous groups with a custom telemarketing campaign to help drive attendance and/or more exhibitors to a show. Not many bureaus are able to offer this service and I would say none do it as well. We have numerous examples of being able to assist meeting planners and groups in building attendance for their events and love to help planners however we can.
SUZZANNE: What’s the latest news, developments, or events in your destination you’d like to share with planners?
DOUG: We are in the middle of a $1B transformation within our hospitality industry. From a Convention Center, new hotels, and attractions, we are making an important investment in the group market. Our Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) is currently under expansion and a renovation. When it reopens July 1st, 2018, we will have over 200k of column free exhibit space, a 40k square foot ballroom and 52 meeting rooms. Our downtown hotel package will grow from 3800 rooms to 5500 guest rooms. We currently have 23 projects under construction or in the design phase. The largest being the Omni Louisville, 612 rooms with over 70k square feet of function space. It opens in the spring of 2018. These developments continue to position Louisville as a strong destination for group business.
To find out more information about Louisville and 150+ other top meeting destinations, visit www.empowermint.com.