Cities have continued to fall over themselves in the rush to build bigger convention centers, over the past several years.

Trouble is, the number of conventioneers, and conventions, has stagnated.

So, cities have had to resort to giving incentives to convince organizations to book their conventions and exhibitions in their buildings, according to today’s New York Times.

Competition for [conventions] has reached a new high, according to city convention planners and trade associations. In 2005, there were 440 convention centers and exhibit halls in the United States and Canada, compared with 269 in 1986, according to Tradeshow Week magazine. And 21 new exposition buildings and 41 expansions are currently in the works.

The increase in convention space has led to a buyer’s market for trade associations and corporate planners, who are being offered a range of incentives. Those can include cut rates for convention space, discounted or free shuttle buses from hotels to convention centers, and money for marketing.

There is one other solution, however, which apparently not one city official has considered.

Don’t build a new convention center. Don’t expand your existing convention centers.

Just a thought.

Source: The Cut-Rate Convention – By David Koeppel, The New York Times

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Updated: January 2018

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