So, you’re considering Detroit as a future meeting destination, but you want the inside scoop. We polled some of our convention sales managers for the most frequently heard questions, comments and concerns from their clients. We’ve got answers for you.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Everyone loves a good comeback story!
Worried about low meeting attendance? Don’t be. The city continues to garner tons of positive national interest. Media reports tout the auto industry turnaround, the city’s creative young entrepreneurs and even its new-found status as a foodie destination. It all makes for an intriguing narrative that people want to experience for themselves. When Detroit hosted ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) last year, attendance surpassed expectations and the response from attendees was overwhelming. It’s official. People want to come to Detroit.
2. Cobo Center is spectacular.
Cobo Center, Detroit’s major convention facility, recently put the finishing touches on a $279 million, five-year renovation project. From the riverside atrium to the 40,000-square-foot Grand Riverview Ballroom, from the giant video display entrances with built-in sponsorship opportunities to the in-house TV studio and robust Wi-Fi system throughout the facility, Cobo Center is everything you need it to be. Cobo has also recently unveiled a new fresco painted by Hubert Massey, a Kresge Fine Arts Fellow who learned how to paint from two of the assistants who worked directly with Diego Rivera while creating the Detroit Industry Frescos at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
3. Relationships with unions have evolved.
Detroit’s “union town” perception has changed for the better. Convention center management partnered with unions to establish more efficient policies and work rules that have contributed to a smoother-running center. Unions are invested in the center’s success and business at Cobo has doubled.
4. We’re connected.
While there are no hotels that directly link to the convention center, almost every downtown hotel connects or is close to one of the 13 stations of the Detroit People Mover, an automated light-rail system operating on an elevated track in the downtown business district. Downtown is compact and the Detroit International RiverWalk provides a lovely stroll from Cobo Center, past the 70-story Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, and down to an area just before the Belle Isle bridge. And now, The QLine streetcar connects downtown Detroit to Midtown and New Center, giving rides the opportunity to travel up to the medical center, museum district and Amtrak train station.
5. You’re in good hands with the DMCVB.
The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau provides exceptional convention services. Our Meeting Planner’s Toolkit includes city guides, maps, postcards, customizable videos and electronic resources to help promote attendance. In some cases we can even assist with financial underwriting from companies or foundations that are a good fit for your group.