Houston Reports Jump in Room Nights, Revenues

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Houston, TX – Houston officials say they expect the momentum to continue in the new fiscal year after reporting sizable gains in hotel room nights and revenues at the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB).

Rental income reached $2.7 million at GRB facilities, up 23% from $2.2 million in the previous fiscal year. Room nights associated with the GRB events jumped nearly 50% from 259,283 to 385,241 for the year ending June 30.

“We are ecstatic with our year-end numbers,” said Dawn Ullrich, director of the City of Houston Convention & Entertainment Facilities Department, which manages the center. “One of our top priorities is attracting major events that generate more room nights and reliable hotel occupancy tax revenue,” she said.

Offering 893,590 square feet of prime exhibit space, the George R. Brown Convention Center is the 12th largest convention center in the nation, according to Trade Show Executive’s 2008 directory of the World’s Top Convention Centers.

Some big events are coming up in Houston that will keep things humming at the convention center. The National Precast Concrete Association’s Precast Show, the National Council for Social Studies Annual Conference and a John Deere meeting will be held at the convention center. Houston will also host the Latin GRAMMY Awards November 13, 2008 at the Toyota Center.

These events follow a 2008 fiscal year that hosted Heli-Expo and WINDPOWER 2008. “We hit some big home runs in the past year, no doubt about it, but they weren’t just lucky swings,” said Luther Villagomez, general manager of the convention center. Villagomez emphasized that it’s not just attracting major events to Houston that’s important, but it’s delivering for the clients when they are here.

Art Zehnder, director of sales for the center, added that the GRB was committed to its existing customers and was having solid success with show retention.

Reach Luther Villagomez at (713) 853-8036 or luther.villagomez@cityofhouston.net; Art Zehnder (713) 853-8141 or art.zehnder@cityofhouston.net