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A Publication of WTVP

There’s no denying it, conventions and athletic events are big business in the Peoria Area.

Over the course of 2001, the Peoria Area CVB sales team contributed a direct economic impact of more than $18 million to the local economy, derived from those who visited during a convention, meeting, reunion, conference or athletic event. Examples include the IHSA March Madness weekends that pour about $4.4 million into the local economy; Illinois Parks and Recreation Association, which yielded $470,600; and the Illinois Music Educators Association, which brought more than $425,000 to our region.

Opportunity to grow this revenue source is expanding every day, and we need to capitalize on our new facilities, the great golf available, the riverfront expansion, O’Brien Field and everything else that increases our attractiveness as a place to play. At the same time, we should not forget that with more than 63,000 square feet of meeting space in the Peoria Civic Center alone, and more than 4,500 hotel rooms throughout the area, Peoria is one of the prime meeting spots in the Midwest.

Since each delegate or participant spends approximately $130 per day, the potential to generate economic impact through more business is certainly within our reach. These dollars are spent on hotels, restaurants, shopping, entertainment and transportation, and generate tax dollars, jobs and disposable income for our year-round citizens. Through the PACVB’s continued efforts, this consistent stream of revenue to the local economy grows every year, thus contributing to the quality of life we experience as residents of this area.

But what part do our hometowns play in keeping this stream of revenue alive? Almost every resident of the Peoria area participates in an association, reunion group, club, athletic league or an organization that could potentially host their meetings, conventions or events in their own area, but do they?

The best means to capitalize on our convention and meeting assets is through leveraged sales and marketing. The best leverage a second-tier region has to bring regional and national conventions and meetings to its site is found within the local population.

However, when a local citizen who belongs to that association, pays dues and serves on committees or boards or is an officer of that group, and wants to have the association’s meeting or convention in the Peoria area, the meeting planner takes notice and most of the time will give serious consideration to our region as a contender for a future convention site.

In an effort to keep the stream of revenue alive and well, and as an opportunity to create sales leads, the Peoria Area CVB created a campaign to encourage these individuals to support efforts for bringing meetings, conventions and events to our region.

In May, the PACVB launched our "MVP program" to encourage everyone in the tri-County area who belongs to a state, regional or national association to help PACVB and its partners bring that group to the Peoria area. MVP stands for "Meetings are Valued in Peoria", and will be a seven-month program designed to identify local citizens who can help us bring their groups here, provide incentives and prizes for the top participants who bring their meetings and events to this area, and to help people interested in bringing their groups "home" understand how the PACVB can help them with the logistics and services required to have a successful event.

Please take a look at the dues you pay, the volunteer time you spend, the tournaments to which you transport your children, the church you attend, etc., and help PACVB identify any conventions or meetings we could bring from these activities. IBI

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