With a gutsy new meetings and conventions ad campaign proclaiming, “There’s nothing to do in Salt Lake,” Visit Salt Lake is forcing planners to take a second look at a city that’s racking up recognition. Scott Beck, the CVB’s president and CEO, weighs in.
1) Despite being headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake is not a dry city.
“There’s that mentality: ‘Oh yeah, Salt Lake sucks. I was there 25 years ago and I couldn’t get a drink.’ Well, 25 years ago was 25 years ago. That doesn’t relate to today’s version of Salt Lake. The burgeoning food and beverage culture now is so exciting.”
2) It’s easy to navigate but has big-city perks.
“We’re quite a small city in terms of our competitive set, yet our convention center has 679,000 square feet [of meeting space]. Our customer advisory board told us that having a center that size makes us a perfect destination for associations because they need a lot of meeting space for education and trade shows.”
3) The pioneer spirit is alive and well.
“While most people associate us with the LDS church and Mormonism, our roots are in pioneers. There are a lot of cultural heritage things to do here that relate to that idea of settling the West, from historic South Temple mansion tours to the Natural History Museum of Utah.”
4) The weather is not as miserable as you assume.
“People know us as a Winter Olympic host city with great ski resorts, but those are at 10,000 feet; our city is at 4,000 feet. It’s a mild climate. You can meet here in February and it’s quite nice. You need a jacket, but there’s no humidity. We don’t get those days where it’s 25 below zero.”
5) Salt Palace Convention Center has highly lauded F&B.
“We’re lucky we have a local caterer that does all our institutional catering in our building. We found out how incredibly unique that is because we are able to do stuff on menus that large-scale, national concessionaires just aren’t able to do. That’s a reflection of the whole food scene here in Salt Lake.”
Photo: Elevate, a multi-level event space, is located across the street from Salt Palace Convention Center and can accommodate up to 700 attendees.