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Destination Asset Study Top Level Findings

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Convention Center & Hotel Opportunities

Convention Center & Hotel Opportunities

  • Convention center expansion considered for mid-term priority.
  • Hotel development with group room block considered in near-term.
  • Feasibility study needed to determine project size, potential future business opportunities and correlation between center space and hotel room requirements.
Collaborative Partners:

Convention & Arena Authority (CAA), Grand Action, Experience Grand Rapids, City of Grand Rapids, and Kent County

Update:

Identified as a near-term priority the CAA is preparing to conduct a thorough economic and future business analysis of adding a new hotel to the current DeVos Place site. This study would help determine a target number of guest rooms, amenities and meeting space. (8/17)

Identified as a mid-term priority further analysis of expansion to the convention center is also being discussed. This analysis would require careful analysis of the utilization of the current center, future business opportunities, market demand and competition, meeting trends and other community impacts. (8/17)

 

Attracting Professional Sports

Attracting Professional Sports

  • USL Soccer offers potential opportunity to further penetrate the professional sports market.
Collaborative Partners:

Local Investment Group, Grand Action, Experience Grand Rapids, and the West Michigan Sports Commission

Update:

A group of local investors together with the local Grand Rapids Football Club are exploring the possibilities of bringing a NASL or USL league team to the area. In addition to acquiring a team franchise the group would also need to build a championship competition field for the team. (6/17)

Enhancing Amateur Sports Offerings

Enhancing Amateur Sports Offerings

  • Consideration for development of field sport complex.
  • Recommended complex of 12 – 20 multi-sport fields with lighting and parking.
Collaborative Partners:

West Michigan Sports Commission, Experience Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation, and Kent County Parks

Update:

The WMSC facility needs committee is reviewing proposals from several firms to conduct further economic, facility and location analysis for a multi-sport field complex. (7/17)

Leveraging the Grand River

Leveraging the Grand River

  • River experience in Grand Rapids can become the focal point for visitors.
  • Restoration of river should be aggressively supported and pursued by public sector, foundations and private sector.
  • Facilitate convenient visitor access including consideration for River Destination Center.
  • Facilitate convenient visitor access and amenities north of downtown.
Richard Bishop, Executive Director GRWW

Grand Rapids Whitewater has hired Richard Bishop as its first Executive Director.

Learn More ›

Collaborative Partners:

Grand Rapids Whitewater, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., City of Grand Rapids, Grand Action, Experience Grand Rapids, and The Right Place, Inc.

Update:

GRWW together with its engineering firm River Restoration are nearing the completion of engineering and application documents for the City of Grand Rapids to apply for permits needed to implement the project. GRWW has hired Richard Bishop as its first Executive Director a public fundraising for the project will commence soon. (8/17)

Outdoor and Adventure Opportunities

Outdoor & Adventure Opportunities

  • Establish a first class interconnected trail system.
  • Develop visitor-friendly set of trail heads.
  • Develop unified marketing and mapping for outdoor adventures.
Collaborative Partners:

Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation, Kent County Parks and Experience Grand Rapids.

Update:

EXGR created a marketing positioning statement for outdoor recreation.

Grand Rapids is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It offers convenient access to nature-based experiences combined with the excitement and amenities of an urban destination providing the best of a city trip and the outdoors.

EXGR placed emphasis on enhancing the trails information on its website including digital maps, ExperienceGR.com/trails, launched an update to My City Bikes Grand Rapids App, and participated with the Michigan.org nature trails marketing partnership. (8/22)

Downtown Transportation for the Visitor

Downtown Transportation for Visitor

  • Evaluate recent changes to DASH and Silver Line.
  • Consider distinct visitor circulator route.
  • Convenient transportation for visitor river access north of downtown.
Collaborative Partners:

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Mobile GR and Parking Department, The Rapid and Grand Action.

Update:

Efforts led by Mobile GR are underway to re-brand and adjust routes of the current DASH (downtown area circulator) system to increase the ridership of both visitors and community members. In addition, a study analyzing a bike share program is also underway. If proven feasible a bike share program could launch in 2018.

Destination Awareness, Inclusion and Diversity

Destination Awareness, Inclusion and Diversity

  • Consider measuring destination awareness and perceived strengths and weaknesses among potential future visitors.
  • Marketing efforts expanded to provide emphasis on current and future outdoor recreational assets.
  • Consider leveraging local authentic stories focusing on neighborhoods and experiences unique to Grand Rapids.
  • Community efforts to support the advancement of minority youth in hospitality industry.
  • Support for recruiting and training to grow a more diverse hospitality workforce.  

Update:

Experience Grand Rapids added Angela Nelson to their leadership team. Angela will guide EXGR as they fulfill their organizational Diversity Value Statement:

To lead the hospitality and tourism industry in creating a community culture that promotes inclusivity and belonging.

Initially these efforts will focus on impacting a diverse and inclusive industry workforce, enhancing multicultural visitor experiences, leveraging the competitive business advantage in each destination visitor market segment including conventions thereby positively impacting the economy.