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The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCVB), a private, not-for-profit organization that globally markets and sells the Detroit area, announced Feb. 18 it is spearheading a new community awareness campaign. Its mission is to welcome the back-to-back conventions that are bringing 200,000 new visitors this year, in addition to the 14.2 million that come annually to metro Detroit.

The DMCVB is launching “One Team, One Dream,” a program designed to call attention to the many groups headed to the region and encourage local residents and workers to provide outstanding customer service to visitors. The program theme will be applied to public service announcements, briefings to the hospitality community prior to each major event and hospitality training for transportation and hotel employees. It will also be used as a call for event volunteers.

“Providing great customer service in our region is more important than ever since the story of Detroit as a comeback city is resonating,” said Larry Alexander, president and CEO, DMCVB. “Convention planners who may not have considered the city or region before are committing to bringing meetings here, and this is our chance to welcome them at our hotels, attractions, restaurants, retail outlets and with our transportation providers to encourage repeat visits.”

Groups hosting a meeting in Detroit this year will contribute an estimated $214 million in direct spending to the region. Among the convention lineup are the National Baptist Christian Education Congress, attendance 25,000; the Shell Eco-marathon Americas, attendance 32,500; the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, attendance 36,000; the Midwest Media Expo, attendance 20,000; Youmacon, attendance 14,000; USA Volleyball, attendance 10,000 and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), attendance 6,000.

Alexander said the interest can be attributed to a number of factors including the recent $279 million renovation of Cobo Center and private sector investment in facilities and attractions.

“The number of new visitors to the city this year is nearly double the number that visited Detroit during the Super Bowl in 2006, so we need to be sure that each and every one has a positive experience while in Detroit,” said Alexander.

To also help create community awareness under the “One Team, One Dream” banner, the DMCVB visited other cities that hosted some of the same events in 2014 that Detroit will host in this year, as well as the meeting planners for those events. A 30-second public service announcement will air on local television stations that feature frontline employees expressing the importance of good customer service.

The Bureau expects this increase in visitors and meetings to continue in the coming years. In 2014, the Bureau’s sales team exceeded its goal and booked 15 multi-hotel pieces of business. One of these groups, the Society of Automotive Engineers, whose annual conference has been in Detroit for 70 years and was considering moving to other cities, signed contracts for Detroit for years 2015 through 2020. The Detroit Sports Commission, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bureau, also received commitment from Capital Sports Center to host five volleyball tournaments between 2017 and 2021 with $38 million in direct spending over this five year period.

Regional year-end hotel occupancy rate was also up, finishing 2014 at 65 percent, about two and a half points higher than in 2013 and more than 9 percent over 2008 when the recession was in full swing.

For more information, visit visitdetroit.com/oneteamonedream


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