In the first week of February, around 150,000 fans will invade Dallas, TX for Super Bowl XLV and are expected to spend at least $150-200 million.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, because business travel and group meetings account for over 83% of hotel stays in the Dallas area, and the city plans to milk the Super Bowl to boost its meetings and convention business.
They’ve been spending some seriously big money ($14 billion) on developments, some of which are still ongoing.
A lot of this money has been targeted to impress the 3500 members of the media and thousands of corporate decision makers and meeting planners attending the Super Bowl that the new Dallas is very much different from the dated Big D.
The biggest improvement is, of course, the new $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium in Arlington with its retractable roof and giant screen, which gets a big boost from the Super Bowl right out of the gate.
Another big improvement is the city owned $500 million, 1000 room Omni Convention Center hotel, connected to the Dallas Convention Center via a skybridge. It won’t open until early 2012, but meeting planners in town for Super Bowl event planning have been getting a good close look at it all year long.
Ed Netzhammer, Regional VP and General Manager of the Omni Dallas Hotel, says that “Since the Omni Dallas Hotel began taking reservations last September, the team has already booked over 132,000 room nights.”
To add to the buzz, the other large convention hotels in Dallas have been spending hundreds of millions more on makeovers. The 1,840 room Sheraton Dallas has spent $91 million, out of which $7 million was for upgrades to the conference center and the 70 meeting rooms. The upgrades include large interactive touch screens which provide assistance, flight status and directions.
The 1,120 room Hyatt Regency Dallas has spent $63 million in the last year and a half, out of which $20 million was spent on convention facilities. The 1,608 room Hilton Anatole, which is the official NFL headquarters during Super Bowl week, has spent $100 million on a multi-year renovation.
The Dallas CVB isn’t sitting idle either. They’re paying $30,000 for three short films – Dallas by DART, Arts District, and Western experience in Dallas - to showcase all the recent improvements and upgrades to the city.
It’s early days yet, but it looks like all the investment and hard work, not to mention the successful bid for the Super Bowl in the first place, has already begun to pay off. Earlier this year, Dallas hosted 3000 members of the Professional Convention Management Association for the first time since 1992.
A PCMA convention inevitably leads to a jump in a city’s convention and meetings business, so Dallas now has 14 large conventions scheduled for 2011, followed by 18 in 2012 and probably a lot more after that once the new Convention Center hotel opens.
Photo credits: Cowboys Stadium – Mahanga; Hotel – Omni Hotels & Resorts