California’s Ontario Convention Center is in the midst of a growth spurt. With reports of big increases in year-over-year revenue, number of events hosted and event attendance, the 225,000-sq.-ft. center is reaping the benefits from a well-planned strategy that began in 2012 when Michael Krouse, CMP, CHME, CASE, took over as its president and CEO. His plan involved three substantial adjustments: Link the convention center and Greater Ontario CVB as one entity; reorganize the center’s sales team structure; and, most importantly, develop a tourism marketing district that has generated $2.5 million in marketing dollars for the center annually. Connect spoke with Krouse about Ontario’s meetings success, what’s changing now and what’s coming next.
How has Ontario Convention Center grown under your leadership?
The convention center has experienced significant growth. Most convention centers run on a deficit because they are designed to drive economic impact, but we’ve cut the deficit in half since 2012. The number of conventions from 2014 to 2015 grew by 47 percent, and this year we’re expecting to see an additional 15 percent growth.