Did you know that Grand Rapids enjoys a national reputation as a premier convention destination?
Last year, we were named one of America’s Top 25 Convention Cities – alongside such heavy hitters as San Diego, Honolulu, Orlando, Los Angeles and Seattle. The ranking came from MeetingSource.com, an authoritative industry voice, which evaluated cities on the assets that make for a good convention.
Grand Rapids has three key factors every great convention destination must: a convention center, convention hotels and an airport. Our DeVos Place Convention Center is linked via skywalk to three excellent hotels and nine more downtown hotels are accessible within a short walk/free bus ride. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport offers daily non-stop flights to 30+ major market destinations, making it easy for convention attendees to get here.
And get here they do – Grand Rapids hosted 117,895 attendees a year, on average, from 2017-2019. Attendees brought a lot of money with them to inject into the local economy – in 2019, 158 groups and their attendees spent $77.9 million here, in hotels and restaurants and breweries and museums and convenience stores and countless other business segments.
Our mission at Experience Grand Rapids is to keep attracting more and more groups to the city, increasing the impact on the local economy and helping fund improvements that boost the quality of life for residents.
Convention planning typically begins several years in advance of an event, so even as COVID-19 canceled most 2020 bookings, the Experience Grand Rapids sales staff worked to secure future conventions. We also collaborated with meeting planners to rebook canceled events. We continue to “fill the pipeline” with upcoming events so that Grand Rapids can continue to thrive as a convention destination.
Our team is assisted in our efforts by locals who are members of state or national organizations that hold meetings. They help us Bring it to GR by expressing interest in their group meeting in Grand Rapids. Thus far, more than 1,000 individuals have helped us secure meetings/conventions for Grand Rapids. We invite you to help and bring a meeting to Grand Rapids too!
This level of local support is just one more reason Grand Rapids IS a convention destination.