CVB Tops Room-Nights Goal

January 21, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Convention and Visitors Bureau announced that it surpassed its goal of booked-room nights for 2004.

CVB President Steve Wilson reported that his organization booked 112,134 room nights at area hotels during the past calendar year, a total that exceeded its goal by 8 percent.

Wilson added that the CVB has booked 140 groups into

DeVos Place
through 2011. He estimated those meetings will add more than $52 million to the local economy over those years.

One of those groups has returned to Grand Rapids

The Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association left the Grand Center for Lansing because of space limitations in the smaller convention center. But the landscapers returned last week, the first of three consecutive meetings the association will hold at DeVos Place.

“They have booked an additional hall at DeVos Place for next year because they are adding the Michigan Turf Association to their convention,” said Wilson.

With construction of DeVos Place wrapping up in a little more than a week, Wilson said the CVB and the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel will host a group of meeting planners and their guests at the celebratory community dinner to be held in the new ballroom on Feb. 1.

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel President Joseph Tomaselli said he expects 180 planners and spouses to attend the dinner, which will serve 2,500 in the 40,000-square-foot ballroom that doubles as a banquet hall.

“We were overwhelmed with reservations and right now there is a waiting list,” said Tomaselli, also a Convention and Arena Authority board member, while adding that the convention business would pick up steam here in the coming years.

“2005 will be a better year than ’04, and ’06 will be better than this year,” he said.

CAA member Lew Chamberlin said the dinner was a good opportunity for the meeting planners not only to see the new $212 million building, but also to experience it first hand.

SMG general manager Rich MacKeigan said the number of events the new ballroom will host this year may not be as many as was projected, but the addition will still be very active. He said most of the filled dates are coming from local groups, rather than out-of-towners.

SMG Director of Operations Jim Watt added that there has been a lot of local interest in renting at least a portion of the ballroom for wedding receptions.

Construction on the four-year DeVos Place building project is on schedule to end on Jan. 31.   

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