Twenty-five years of experience in the industry makes Tom Dolan, newly appointed director of citywide sales at Atlanta CVB, a seasoned pulse reader of the meetings climate. Connect caught up with him to talk the business of citywides and the growing trend of miniwides.
How would you describe the current state of citywides and miniwides?
The state of citywides and, subsequently, miniwides, is healthy right now. Attendance and participation are growing, and the desire for cities to bid, host and go after these meetings is driving competition for this vibrant meeting category.
How has this part of the industry changed during your career?
The increase in ways technology is used in the planning stages and during meetings has made a big impact on the industry. The number and diversity of hotel brands and options, along with convention center offerings, has also affected change.
Is the development of miniwide business surprising?
To some degree, I think it’s probably always been there; the landscape has just gotten more competitive about going after some of that business. For hotels that have that availability, it’s such a great fit, especially from a food and beverage and room nights standpoint.
Are you seeing any trends among citywides and miniwides?
There aren’t distinct patterns as far as when meetings are being held, but planners have more options than ever for meeting venues. When choosing Atlanta, more and more customers seem to be interested in taking advantage of our local landscape—the dining scene, unique meeting venues, and arts and culture.
Citywide bookings are up in ATL. What’s driving them?
The number of citywide meetings has been peaking for the last three years, with a solid base for the next few years. It’s due to the city’s accessibility to the airport and the improvements to our convention and entertainment district. In the next three years, we’ll be the first city to host the College Football Playoff National Championship, Super Bowl and Final Four events back to back.