After hosting Super Bowl LI that focused global attention on the city, Houston First Corporation announced the booking of a new record number of room nights tied to future conventions in 2016.
The organization, which in partnership with the Greater Houston CVB is responsible for bringing conventions and tourism to the city, said its sales team booked 479 conventions and meetings in 2016, representing 765,401 room nights, up 4.4% from 732,967 room nights in 2015. It’s worth noting that the 2015 figure was also a record; that was the first year the organization was able to introduce renovation plans for the George R. Brown Convention Center and the broader campus surrounding it.
That $175 million improvement project, now dubbed Avenida Houston, was completed in Dec. 2016.
“What Houston has accomplished in the last few years now positions us to become a greater convention and leisure travel destination in the years ahead,” says David Mincberg, board chairman of Houston First. “The renovation of the GRB and its surroundings, along with the creation of new hotels including the Marriott Marquis, was part of a master plan for how Houston would win more convention business. With that plan now executed, we are already seeing the benefits of what’s been created.”
Houston First began 2017 with yet another milestone as the organization hosted the largest client familiarization tour in its history coinciding with Super Bowl LI. The tour welcomed 19 meetings and conventions clients representing meetings in sectors such as agriculture, corporate meetings, energy, healthcare, information technology and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
In addition to record convention sales, the organization’s website network, led by VisitHouston.com, logged nearly 7.4 million visitors in 2016, a new record up from 6.6 million in 2015.