An article in the Indianapolis Business Journal citing data from the Capital Improvement Board’s 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report raised concerns that business at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium dropped sharply in 2015 compared to 2014.
While the article cites top-line data published in the report, that data does not accurately reflect the health of Indy’s convention, trade show and event industry. That’s in part because the ICCLOS contracts and hosts many events beyond what Visit Indy books for the facilities. Also, Visit Indy books a significant number of non-ICCLOS groups that only use hotel space which are not included in the data.
In addition, the report includes events with attendance ranging from 10-person company meetings to 65,000-person Colts games, as well as receptions, graduations, luncheons, concerts and other events not relevant to assessing the strength of our tourism business. Also, as the article noted, just one or two high-attendance, non-annual events can significantly skew the data and is not materially offset by increases in attendance at annual events.
So how did Indy’s 2015 convention year actually compare to 2014? Visit Indy booked 538 conventions, trade shows, meetings and events in 2015 generating approximately 1,064,000 delegates; in 2014 we booked 563 of these groups generating approximately 1,269,000 attendees (an all-time record for attendees). For context, Visit Indy booked 395 groups in 2010 (the last year before the ICC expansion opened) with about 900,000 attendees.
Factoring anomalies such as one-time events as well as the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2015 (Indy hosted the NCAA Men’s Regionals in 2014), the attendance at Visit Indy-booked events for 2014 and 2015 was otherwise very comparable.
In addition, as has been reported at our annual meeting, Visit Indy booked 880,552 future convention room-nights in 2014 and 904,717 future convention room-nights in 2015, back-to-back records.
Indy is poised for more record-breaking results for CIB revenue, hotel rooms sold and revenue, and industry jobs and wages in the near- to mid-term.
Leonard Hoops, president, CEO