Local meetings and conventions bring value to Memphis’ robust tourist industry

Kevin Kane, President and CEO, Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

Word-of-mouth is the No.1 reason why people choose to visit Memphis.

Recommendations are generated from local citizens and planners who recognize that inviting relatives, corporate peers, and members of various associations to visit Memphis en masse is a rewarding experience for all involved. 

The resulting reunions, meetings and conventions begin a chain reaction. When one person has a positive experience in Memphis, they will inevitably spread the word to their friends, family and co-workers. If 500 students, professionals, or members of a religious group have a great weekend in town, the effect grows exponentially. It continues to perpetuate when people choose Memphis for their first trip after hearing about what the city offers. 

Whether it’s a soccer tournament, family reunion, corporate gathering, or leadership workshop, local meetings and conventions holistically support the $3.2 billion tourism industry in Memphis and benefit our collective pride and our recruitment and retention of new talent.

Over 35,000 people are directly employed by the tourism industry, and they are not the only ones compensated when local leaders and meeting planners choose to keep their conventions local. Countless third-party businesses support our restaurants, hotels, and retail establishments by supplying food, using linen services, and utilizing our airport. When the average convention delegate spends almost $400 per day, that revenue is shared across all facets of our local economy.

While Memphis has room to grow in terms of large-scale convention centers and hotels, enough infrastructure is already in place to catalyze tremendous fiscal growth from large, local gatherings.

The Memphis Cook Convention Center has 350,000-square-feet of convention space and can accommodate 2,000 people. A renovation and the potential addition of a 50,000-square-foot ballroom is anticipated to begin in Fall 2017. There are 22,649 hotel rooms available citywide, alongside our unique attractions, restaurants, museums, theaters and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

Not only are these numbers impressive, they are also reflected in past results. In 2016, 303 conventions were held in Memphis, generating an economic impact of over $109 million. 

Much of this success can be attributed to Memphis’ established planners, as well as to first-time organizers facing the time-consuming task of managing events.

Coordinating a convention is a challenging process. Arranging transportation, figuring out lodging and meeting spaces, and finding appropriate speakers and entertainers can be onerous enterprises for even the most established organizers.

The Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau’s marketing and sales team provides the means for anyone to efficiently and effectively coordinate conferences within the city’s limits.

Through the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau’s free resources — available no matter a meeting planner’s level of expertise or experience — one can find the meeting space best suited for the interested group, reserve the right hotel, coordinate room blocks, and facilitate marketing support. Assistance is available to find presenters and entertainment, create itineraries, and locate incentives to save money along the way.

Reinvesting in the city of Memphis — in this case, through locally-hosted meetings and conferences — has never been more profitable.

Learn how the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau can assist with your convention or meeting.

June, 2017