Convention marketing push bearing fruit
Helping groups make Asian connections has boosted attendance by 10 percent, officials say
Early last year, the Hawaii Convention Center launched a global marketing program aimed at making Hawaii into an international destination for high-level meetings.
That campaign has started 2008 by reeling in a big fish. Nearly 6,000 attendees from around the world are expected to attend the 37th annual Society of Critical Care Medicine Critical Care Congress. The conference, which begins today and will run through Feb. 6, has never been held in Hawaii before.
The Hawaii Convention Center's attendance-building program aimed at Asia and the Pacific Rim, sealed the deal for conference organizers because it helped them bring in a larger contingent from China, Japan and South Korea, said Randy Tanaka, assistant general manager for the Hawaii Convention Center.
Since launching their international program, the Hawaii Convention Center has expanded their business conference attendance by more than 10 percent, through a marketing effort that pairs foreign markets -- mostly Japan, Korea and China -- with their domestic counterparts who are conducting business in Hawaii, Tanaka said.
"The SCCM conference organizers are very happy with the attendance at this event, which is just short of a record for them," Tanaka said. "They are already talking about rebooking for 2017."
In addition, turnout at this conference has enticed at least four other medical groups at event to discuss their bookings with Hawaii Convention Center staff, Tanaka said.
"The first half of the year looks pretty good," Tanaka said, adding that 14 events are scheduled between now and June 13.
Since Hawaii's $350 million convention center, which opened in 1998, is still a relative underdog in the competitive business meetings and incentive market -- where bookings are made six to eight years in advance -- Hawaii Convention Center marketers are using global networks between associations to build demand in Asia.
"We have turned Hawaii's geographical disadvantage into an advantage," he said.
The SCCM Congress will generate over 36,000 room nights for the convention center's hotel partners and attendees are expected to spend over $21.2 million while they are here, Tanaka said.