Category Archives: Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Normal to host another ASA national softball tournament in 2011

Normal’s bid to host another national softball tournament  hit the jackpot in Reno, Nevada.

Normal Parks and Recreation and the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau staff report that Normal was awarded the 2011  ASA Women’s Under 18 national championships to be played at Champion Fields.  image002

With stiffer competition for championship softball tournaments, the winning bid demonstrates the quality of our tournament staff, our fields, and the hospitality of our community.    Normal beat out a number of other larger cities.

This year’s women’s 18 and under tournament attracted 144 teams.    In late July and early August of 2011, as many as 1,500 players, their coaches, and family members will stay several days here and  generate lots of business for the entire area.

A Pantagraph sports story from this past summer’s tournament indicated that travel softball families aren’t afraid to spend money even in a tight economy.

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CVB ROI not fuzzy math

Okay, I fell asleep in my chair before I could answer Elizabeth the other day with a post explaining how the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau calculates its amazing 11 to 1 return on investment.

It’s easy.

Nothing Fuzzy About The Math: The new business this property will generate through the direct efforts of the CVB will increase the bureau's remarkable 11 to 1 return on investment.

Nothing Fuzzy About The Math: The new business this property will generate through the direct efforts of the CVB will increase the bureau's remarkable 11 to 1 return on investment.

The marketing efforts of the CVB created 44,010 room nights in Bloomington-Normal hotel properties in 2008.   More than 10,00o of those rooms were attributable to the Jehovah’s Witnesses meetings at the Coliseum. 

Again, CVB doesn’t take credit for every hotel room sold in the Twin Cities, only the ones that hard working CVB staff members are directly involved in generating.   Working closely with the local hotel-motel industry, they keep track of that number.  

Multiple those 44,010 room nights by $129.   That’s the number the State of Illinois Bureau of Tourism says is spent by the average overnight visitor. 

CVB executive director Crystal Howard told the Normal Town Council last Monday night that her research has put that number much higher.    I spend more than my fair share of time on the road.  I can tell you that you don’t have to be a big spender to eclipse the $129 figure.

That’s as conservative as it goes.

When you do the math, the total is $5,677,290.   

Divide that by the amount of hotel-motel tax receipts that go to the bureau ($511,468) and you end up with a return on investment of $11 in local visitor spending for every local tax dollar the CVB spends.

It’s that simple.   The ratio is probably higher.

Either way, Elizabeth, I hope you’ll agree it’s a good investment.

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Groups line up to book Marriott Hotel and Conference Center

An impressive array of groups are lined up to meet at the Uptown Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in the coming years.

Nine assocations have committed to hold meetings in at the hotel between this fall and 2012.

They include:

  • Illinois Associations of Museums;
  • Illinois Council of American Institutes of Architects;
  • Illinois Association of Groundwater Professsionals;
  • Illinois City/County Management Association;
  • Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists;
  • Illinois/Eastern Iowa District Kiwanis;
  • Midwest Chapter of the Music Library Association;
  • Illinois Speech and Theater Association;
  • Illinois Council Knights of Columbus;

Knights of Columbus are booked for three-day meetings in both 2011 and 2012, representing more than 500 room nights.  The five-day Kiwanis meeting in 2010 will generate 387 room nights.

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These groups will generate 1925 room nights, enough business to fill up the hotel for more than eight consecutive days.  The meetings will attract more than 2,000 visitors who will spend time and money in Uptown.

Those are just the groups nailed down.  The hotel and the Bloomington and Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau are working closely with five other groups who are planning to host meetings generating an additional 2,500 room nights.

So you can see already the hotel-conference center is an attractive venue for statewide associations and other groups.  That does not count all of the weddings, parties, and other functions to be held in a facility that will surely be a major economic engine in Uptown Normal.

Many thanks to the town employees and others who worked to get their professional associations to meet in Normal.

This is just the beginning.

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Filed under Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Uptown Normal

IHSA Competitive Cheerleading Finals fills area hotels, restaurants, shops

The Illinois High School Association’s fourth annual High School Competitive Cheerleading Finals is being held this weekend at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.  The event features 100 cheerleading squads competing for a state championship trophy.

But no matter which team takes home the title, our community ends up a winner. 

The Normal Community West High School Wildcat cheerleaders compete Friday night in the IHSA State Competitive Cheerleading Finals at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.   The Wildcats placed 23rd in the coed competition.

The Normal Community West High School Wildcat cheerleaders compete Friday night in the IHSA State Competitive Cheerleading Finals at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. The Wildcats placed 23rd in the coed competition.

About 8,000 cheerleaders, coaches, moms, dads, brothers and sisters are expected to attend.    The Bloomington and Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that the event will translate into 1,500 room nights.  

That’s the equivalent of filling 15, 100-room hotels for one night.

Using a conservative formula that estimates how much the average visitor spends in a day, the Bureau believes the cheerleading finals will have a direct economic impact of $750,000 for the weekend.  

In addition to increased receipts at hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and general merchandise stores, many of those dollars come back as tax revenue.   The best kind of taxes are the ones paid by somebody else.  

Cheerleading is growing in popularity, and our community is fortunate to be the first and only host community of the state championships.   We appreciate IHSA’s decision to keep this competition here. 

As a member of the BNCVB board of directors, I recognize tourism is an important industry around here and that’s why it’s essential that we continue to improve our local tourism infrastructure.   One of the nation’s finest amateur softball complexes, Champion Fields,  will host the ASA Girls 12 and under national fastpitch softball championship this summer, drawing about 100 teams.   Some teams will play here several days.  

The 12-and-under age bracket also attracts their parents, grandparents, and siblings.   The Town of Normal is looking forward to hosting this event and has developed a well earned reputation as an excellent host community for championship softball. 

While not all events are as glamorous as an IHSA or ASA championship, a visitor is a visitor, and we welcome each and every one of them.

Enjoy your stay.

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Filed under Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tourism