August 18, 2004

Only a year into the privatization of the Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau - which serves Provo, Orem and Sundance in Utah County - one of the county commissioners has questioned the progress the CVB is making in bringing groups to the area. After hearing the CVB's midyear report, which noted the organization had sold about 5,000 room nights as of June 30 (compared with one 300-room meeting sold by the area the year before), Commissioner Jerry Grover expressed disappointment to the Salt Lake Tribune that the bureau won't be making its goal of 28,000 room nights in 2004. "[Grover] strictly looked at a room-night goal, and it looked like it was a huge miss," said CVB president and CEO Joel Racker. "But that was a stretch projection made with no history to go on." Considering the major properties nearby are only the 330-room Provo Marriott and Robert Redford's 102-room Sundance Resort, he said the area can be a difficult sell. "So far, I think we’ve made substantial gains," said Racker. He added that another 7,000 rooms recently have been booked through the end of January for a series of sporting events. He thinks Grover was correct to evaluate the situation, but feels his CVB needs to be given three to five years to get rolling.

Beginning next year, CVBs exhibiting at the International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus Destination Showcase-- its trade shows for meeting planners held in Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C., respectively -- can invite their members and stakeholders to participate in their booths. In the past, the show had been limited to CVB exhibitors.