These groups have developed a partnership unique to the industry that focuses on each partner’s core competencies, creating efficiencies, and reducing the points of contact. The groups are:
· VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau
· City of Denver’s Division of Theatres and Arenas (owner of the Colorado Convention Center)
· Centerplate, the exclusive catering partner within the Colorado Convention Center
· Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, and
· SMG (manager of the Colorado Convention Center)
The Denver Alliance is the product of a recent convention center management contract bid process which used extensive research conducted by two industry associations. The project was facilitated by an industry expert study group, and sponsored by the Destination Marketing Association International and the International Association of Assembly Managers.
“The study group’s objective was to develop and promote ‘best practices’ in sales and operations utilizing the destination and the corresponding public assembly facilities,” said Dave Radcliffe, project leader and author, and president of The Radcliffe Company. “This will ensure a seamless experience for the customer.”
“Rather than perpetuate a standard convention-center management proposal, Denver decided bidding companies should address how they could deliver on the recommendation outlined in the group’s landmark study,” explained Jack Finlaw, director, Denver’s Division of Theatres and Arenas. “In examining its own RFP process, Denver asked bidding companies to incorporate strategies that ensure a seamless, one-stop shop for customers, while also providing cost-efficiencies for the city. The formation of the Alliance was a byproduct of SMG’s successful contract bid.”
“SMG had operated the Colorado Convention Center for years and we were excited about the opportunity to continue that relationship,” said John Adams, general manager, SMG. “This Alliance takes our operation to a different level, and we believe it will serve as a model for other cities and convention center operations.”
Richard Scharf, president and CEO, VISIT DENVER, served in the research group and believes the relationship between those entities is critical to a city’s success, especially in Denver, where 65,000 jobs are linked to business travel to the Mile High City.
“The Alliance reduces redundancies by keeping one point-of-contact throughout the process for planners,” said Rachel Benedick, acting vice president of convention sales, VISIT DENVER, which serves as the communication hub from the event sale to its execution.
Major partners now align for ease of booking, contracting, communication, and servicing the convention inside and outside the Center. “Convention Center users are our most important audience, generating 80 percent of Denver’s booked hotel room nights,” said Benedick. “By focusing on our core competencies, each Alliance partner is only responsible for its part of the equation but we function more as a team.”
The Denver Alliance also hones in on key underpinnings including: experiential and performance measurements, providing sales and operational guidance, determining public policy, and speaking in “one voice” on convention and building issues.
Launched to great applause from the Bureau’s Customer Advisory Board (CAB), the Denver Alliance has also been well received by meeting planners booking for 2010.
The Denver Alliance operates through the cooperation between Denver’s Division of Theatres and Arenas under Mayor John Hickenlooper’s administration; Centerplate (the CCC’s exclusive caterer); SMG, the Colorado Convention Center manager; Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, and VISIT DENVER, which together drove outstanding results after the CCC’s expansion in late 2004 and the opening of the new Hyatt hotel in late 2005. The City of Denver has benefitted enormously from increased investment downtown in and around the Convention Center. Since the injection of $650 million in development of the CCC expansion and new Hyatt Hotel, the area surrounding the center had seen more than $800 million of private development.
About VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau
Celebrating 100 years of promoting the Mile High City, VISIT DENVER is a nonprofit trade association that contracts with the City of Denver to market Denver as a convention and leisure destination, increasing economic development in the city, creating jobs and generating taxes. Tourism is the second largest industry in Denver, generating $2.9 billion in annual spending in 2007, while supporting 65,000 jobs. For more information on Denver call 800-2-DENVER or visit Denver’s official Web site at VISITDENVER.com.
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