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Making Boise A Conference Destination

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Boise Centre
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The Grove Hotel has conference space and more rooms than most any hotel in the city. They've expressed interest in a contract like the one Westergard suggests.

 

Are big conferences on their way to Boise? If the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau gets their way, then yes.

Hosting these kinds of events can boost local economies and bring visitors to a city. But there isn’t one hotel in Boise that can accommodate thousands of guests. Instead, convention planners have to work with several hotels to cobble together enough rooms to book large conventions. A recent growth in downtown hotels has increased the capacity for guests, but hasn’t streamlined the process for securing these events.

According to Carrie Westergard of the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau (BCVB), this problem has meant millions of dollars in lost revenue for Boise’s economy.

“These meeting planners – they’re working not just on this one conference in Boise – they’re working on up to 60 or 100 [conventions] a year,” said Westergard during an interview on Idaho Matters. “And so the easier we can make that process for them, the better it is.”

She said that in 2019, her team put out more than 300 proposals for conventions. Of the ones that turned them down, 11% said it was because contracting with several individual hotels would be too much of a headache. So, BCVB is looking to a solution from Madison, Wisconsin. That city created a “one contract” model where hotels team up to secure larger conventions.

Westergard said the new contract model might help secure a new convention as soon as this spring.

Have a question or comment for the show? Tweet @KBSX915 using #IdahoMatters

Gemma is the host of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show which broadcasts live Monday-Friday at noon. She is an award-winning journalist and has spent the majority of her broadcasting career in Idaho. Gemma was a television news anchor and reporter in Boise for close to 15 years. She came to Boise in 1999 to start Fox 12.