Phoenix aims to lure convention traffic

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PHOENIX -- The Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau and three local entities launched a joint-effort pricing program last month that targets groups.

The bureau's partners in the promotion are the Phoenix Civic Plaza convention center, the Crowne Plaza Phoenix Downtown and the Hyatt Regency Phoenix Hotels.

According to Kevin Hill, director of marketing for the Phoenix Civic Plaza, the program is designed to serve two purposes: to attract convention business and to boost visitor traffic during the city's off-peak season.

Under the package, which can be used for group bookings with a minimum of 1,000 rooms for a 2003 or 2004 date, the space rental fee at the convention center is waived from May 23 to Sept. 8, 2003, and from May 28 to Sept. 10, 2004.

For bookings on any other date during the two-year period, the standard space rental rates will be reduced by 50%.

In addition, convention planners can reserve rooms at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix or the Crowne Plaza Phoenix Downtown at group rates that pay 10% commission.

Hill said that since the program's March 1 debut, four tentative reservations have been made.

Other package features are:

  • A two-hour welcome reception sponsored by the Hyatt Regency and the Crowne Plaza with full bar and hors d'oeuvres.
  • Ten suite upgrades at the normal group rate.
  • A thousand dollars toward graphic requirements from either Brede Expo Services or GES Expo Services.
  • To qualify, group planners must sign reservations contracts this year and have a minimum of three years' past performance of working with bookings of at least 1,000 rooms.

    "This program will attract corporate convention business, drawn by the savings, to the city as well as boost occupancies at our hotels during our off-season," Hill said.

    When asked what makes Phoenix a desirable destination, Hill responded, "We have culture, sporting events, entertainment -- and people almost never have to carry umbrellas."

    Phoenix has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts, according to Hill.

    "Visitors will see things that they didn't know about the area. There are plenty of air-conditioned attractions literally across the street from the convention center," Hill said.

    Among these are the Phoenix Symphony Hall, the Arizona Science Center, four live performance theaters and 24 movie theaters.

    "There's been a total change in the downtown [area] in the past five to 10 years," Hill added.

    Some new attractions include America West Arena (home to the NBA's Phoenix Suns and the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes) and Bank One Ballpark (home to MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks).

    For additional details, contact the Phoenix Civic Plaza at (877) 633-8749.

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