Monday, September 05, 2005

Pittsburgh wooing New Orleans conventions

The folks who are responsible for the utilization of the NEW Pittsburgh Convention Center should NOT be digging for new business by flogging events slated for New Orleans. Rather, Convention Center organizers should be drafting plans to jetison the debt and on-going burdens of upkeep of the white elephant.

Many gambling casinos got wiped out with the storm. Go to those workers and ask them to come to Pittsburgh to transition the convention center into a new casino. We should be striving to set up the new casino slated for Pittsburgh to be within the convention center.
Pittsburgh wooing New Orleans conventions Pittsburgh wooing New Orleans conventions

If Pittsburgh's officials took a proactive approach, this casino in Pittsburgh could open the day after the Major League Baseball hosts the All-Star Game in Pittsburgh in July 2006.


Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh wooing New Orleans conventions

Saturday, September 03, 2005
By Timothy McNulty, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Convention center industry officials in Pittsburgh and other cities are trying, gently, to attract conventioneers and tourists displaced by the ferocious hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast.

It presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the industry, which is by nature a wheeling-and-dealing beast, accustomed to working aggressively to attract tourist dollars to its cities.

While convention center officials are sensitive to the plight of New Orleans and other tourist sites across the Gulf Coast, they also know that through the end of 2005 at least 100 large-scale exhibitions have been displaced by the storm and need to find new exhibition and meeting space elsewhere.

Pittsburgh's David L. Lawrence Convention Center, like many others, is facing vacancies and budget deficits and could use the extra business. Local convention officials have spent about half of their time this week sending out feelers about conventions displaced by the hurricane, said Bob Imperata, vice president of the Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"It's in our nature to be aggressive, but we have to be very careful in our aggression so we don't offend people -- both clients and the people affected," he said.

In sending messages to New Orleans convention officials displaced by the storm, "as gently as I could, I said we're here to help if we can, both personally and businesswise. We hope they think of us if someone's thinking of moving [their convention] farther north," Imperata said.

Officially, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau has canceled all exhibitions only through Jan. 1. Since cleanup efforts will likely take much longer than that -- and the fact that conventions are regularly scheduled years in advance -- the hurricane is causing ripples throughout the convention industry.

The International Association for Exhibition Management, based in Dallas, is heading up reorganization efforts and asking exhibitors affected by the storm to forward details on their dates and square footage they need for their rescheduled events. It will be difficult to match many of the events with facilities that are not yet booked, at least in the short term.

To help convention officials in New Orleans and other destinations along the Gulf Coast -- including Biloxi and Mobile -- the association is trying to foster convention swaps.

Under that strategy, "if an organizer takes an event to, say, Pittsburgh instead of New Orleans, some other event that was scheduled later in Pittsburgh will be rescheduled to New Orleans," said the group's president, Steven Hacker. "That eliminates the urgency of finding a location for that particular event and restores business back to New Orleans.

"It requires a sense of balance and sensitivity. We're getting worn down here just because of the volume" of calls from convention organizers, Hacker said. "It takes propriety and good judgment."

(Tim McNulty can be reached at or 412-263-1581.)

Mark Rauterkus said...

My wife was on a board for a health-care, profesional association that hosts an annual convention of nearly 8,000 people. They voted among various cities for a future convention date and choose to NOT hold the event in New Orleans. Last year's event in DC was the largest post 9-11 convention. The largest convention was in San Diego. Next April the convention moves to MN.