Return to Meetings Focus Supplements

August 2014

New investments in Texas result in business growth

by Jeff Heilman

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“Are y’all ready to ride?” So said Fort Worth’s energetic Mayor Betsy Price on one of her regular “rolling town-hall meetings,” the cycling enthusiast’s innovative approach of pedaling around town to connect directly with citizens and their issues.

It’s an apt metaphor for well-managed, self-sufficient Texas, where big wheels are always turning and the only direction is forward.

Metroplex Magic

With attributes including an extensive hotel package and the nation’s largest urban arts district, Dallas, America’s fifth top meeting destination, is solidly built for long- and short-term growth after a sustained period of major investment.

Having secured several large future conventions from repeat and new customers, “Big D,” with its new “Big Things Happen Here” tagline, is now also targeting new accounts that have yet to meet in Dallas or have been away for several years, ranging from medical associations to automotive to technology conferences. Also focusing on short-term opportunities as an area of growth, the city is identifying need periods within the next 12-24 months and offering attractive packages for short-term demand in the pharmaceutical and corporate markets.

Superior assets in Fort Worth include the 50,000-square-foot Hurst Conference Center, accommodating up to 900 attendees in versatile indoor and outdoor space. Attractive, too, is the 614-room Omni Fort Worth, offering almost 68,000 square feet of space adjacent to the Fort Worth Convention Center.

The city is studying the feasibility of upgrading its meetings infrastructure, including modernizing the convention center’s arena, building a new multiuse arena adjacent to Will Rogers Memorial Center, and increasing downtown hotel space.

“Our meetings business has grown significantly since the last major expansion in 2003, and we need to grow to meet demand,” says Bob Jameson, president and CEO of the Fort Worth CVB. “The City Council has taken the first step toward expanding our meeting and convention package and enhancing our entertainment districts.”

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