Atlantic City convention business reducing the sting of casino closures
The contracted casino market in Atlantic City has had local leaders looking elsewhere for business. Specifically, trying to turn the gambling shore town into the ultimate destination for conventions and corporate meetings.
The industry's numbers in Atlantic City have grown immensely over the past couple years, but there's still room for improvement, according to Meet AC, the organization created to promote Atlantic City to the conference and meeting market.
But there's been a small bump in the road for the industry so far this year. News of Atlantic City's financial crisis, Wood said, has been keeping some outsiders on the sidelines.
"Weekends sell out; they still fend for themselves very, very nicely as a gaming destination," said Meet AC CEO Jim Wood. "So if we can continue to enhance the mix of business by growing the mid-week market with meetings and conventions, Atlantic City will be stronger for it in the future."
Meetings and conventions were responsible for the booking of more than 253,000 hotel room nights in Atlantic City in 2015. The new waterfront conference center at Harrah's was responsible for about one-third of that business.
Harrah's has been able to attract many new visitors to its center, which opened in September, by rotating events from other Harrah's properties in Las Vegas and elsewhere, according to Wood.
"We're seeing significant growth, and we're on a very good growth track again for 2016," Wood said. "Everyone here in Atlantic City is now bullish on the meetings market to kind of augment what's already happening and diversify their mix of business a little bit more."