Local hoteliers and hospitality officials are bracing for a soft 2018. And some in the industry are pointing to the fallout from a controversial 2015 law as the culprit responsible for an expected one-year downturn.
The annual report of the city’s Capital Improvement Board shows the number of events at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium—and the total attendance for those events—fell sharply from 2014 to 2015.
At a time when revenue from its work horse—a casino that opened in late 2006—remains unpredictable, French Lick Resort is rolling the dice on a new strategy: one built on pursuing group sales to increase bookings at the resort and build exposure that will bring guests back for leisure visits. It’s already paying dividends.
In the last two weeks of the year, Visit Indy signed deals to bring 41 conventions to Indianapolis in the next five years. Those deals helped push the group close to a new annual record for advance bookings of hotel rooms.
While Indianapolis pursues major sporting events and massive conventions—gatherings that attract tens of thousands of people and score tens of millions of dollars in economic impact—many neighboring counties are chasing small and midsize corporate confabs, weddings and senior-citizen bus tours.
Visit Indy CEO Leonard Hoops told Capital Improvement Board members that standing pat is not an option when it comes to hospitality infrastructure, but a major expansion wouldn't be needed in the near future.
CIB Executive Director Barney Levengood implored the board not to be overly concerned about the projected $46 million shortfall. The City-County Council is set consider the budget at its Sept. 25 meeting.