by Michael C. Lowe | July 01, 2014
Why Here?
The Big Easy keeps making it easier to meet there, having spent more than $1.5 billion on capital improvements last year, including upgrades to various hotels, Louis Armstrong International Airport and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Numbers Game 
New Orleans drew 9.28 million visitors last year, the most recorded since before Hurricane Katrina struck in 2004.

Travelers accounted for $6.47 billion in visitor spending, the highest in the city's history and up from $6 billion last year.

The Morial Convention Center wrapped up a $140 million renovation last year with the addition of a 60,300-square-foot hall and a new outdoor plaza.

Digital Boost 
The Sheraton New Orleans hotel has spent $1 million to upgrade its Internet and Wi-Fi network, tripling its previous capacity. The 1,100-room property has more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space.

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Local Update

 The InterContinental New Orleans is undergoing a $26 million renovation, expected to be completed this fall. The project includes the addition of 12,000 square feet of meeting space and upgrades to all 479 guest rooms. The hotel will have a total of 32,000 square feet of function space on-site once work is complete.

 The historic Cotton Exchange Hotel is being renovated and rebranded as the AC Hotels New Orleans Downtown/French Quarter. Owners are investing upward of $10 million to bring one of the first Millennial-minded properties to the Crescent City. Work is set to wrap this fall on the 220-room hotel, which will feature a total of 3,000 square feet of meeting space, a rooftop pool and a library that also serves as a business center.

 Starwood Hotels and Resorts' Aloft Hotels brand is set to debut in 2015 in the central business district. The property will have signature amenities such as the W XYZ bar, an outdoor pool and a fitness center, along with 2,500 square feet of flexible meeting space.
 The Courtyard New Orleans Downtown/Convention Center has completed a renovation that included new furnishings in all 192 guest rooms and 10 suites. The hotel has 3,873 square feet of meeting space.

Meeting Hotels: Properties in the Central Business District include the 1,622-room Hilton New Orleans Riverside; 1,300-room New Orleans Marriott; 1,193-room Hyatt Regency New Orleans; 1,110-room Sheraton New Orleans; 527-room Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans; 504-room Roosevelt Hotel; 496-room JW Marriott New Orleans; 479-room InterContinental New Orleans; 410-room W New Orleans; 367-room DoubleTree by Hilton New Orleans; 316-room Windsor Court, an Orient-Express Hotel; 293-room Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome, and 285-room Loews New Orleans Hotel.

To compare hotels and send RFPs, visit

Convention Center: The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center; exhibit space, 1.1 million contiguous square feet; number of meeting rooms, 145; (504) 582-3023

Airport Transit: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, 15 miles west of the Central Business District and the French Quarter. Transfer cost by taxi, $33; by shuttle, $20 (roundtrip, $38)

Taxes: Room tax, 4%; sales tax, 9% plus a $1-$3 surcharge per room, per night, based on room count; total tax on hotel rooms, 13% plus the surcharge

Group Venue: The 1,193-room Hyatt Regency New Orleans has more than 200,000 square feet of event space, along with several restaurants with private areas for groups. Borgne, from celebrity chef John Besh, serves coastal Louisiana cuisine, including broiled oysters, smoked pork empanadas and fresh seafood. A private dining space can seat 30, or the entire restaurant can be reserved for up to 300. (504) 299-9777, ext. 304

Contact: New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, (800) 672-6124