MGM Among the many Factors Spurring Optimism for Tourism Sector
Right Place, Right Time
They call it the ‘need period.’
There are other names for this probably, but that’s how those at the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) make reference to the post-holiday winter stretch in this area.
And that phrase much sums it up pretty. Area places of interest and hospitality-related companies are needy in those days &mdash indeed; a lot more than at any season in this area far. Traditionally, it’s the right time to hang on and, if you’re a ski-related business, expect snow or enough winter to create some.
But because the calendar prepares to improve to 2019 — and, yes, the needy season for most tourism-related businesses in the 413 — there’s optimism and hope, at least a lot more than may be the norm.
This needy season, MGM Springfield will be open, and five months into its work to refine and improve its mixture of services and products continuously. And there may also be the American Hockey League (AHL) All-Star Game, arriving at Springfield for the very first time in quite a while on Jan. 28 (actually, you will find a whole weekend’s worth of activities). You will have a revamped Basketball Hall of Fame, several new hotels, plus some targeted marketing for the GSCVB to let everyone find out about everything going on of this type.
“The final 1 / 2 of 2018 has been great, and we’very optimistic &mdash re; our outlook for tourism is positive for 2019 really. Certainly, MGM is really a factor — it’s an enormous factor, it’s a casino game changer — but it’s portion of the story just.”
maybe the necessity period won&rsquo
So; t be as needy since it has been quite.
And if the outlook for the traditionally slow winter season is brighter, exactly the same — and much more — for the entire year ahead could be said, said Mary Kay Wydra, president of the higher Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, noting that expectations, located in large part on the previous few quarters of 2018 and especially the full total results after MGM opened on Aug. 24, for the entire year ahead are very high.
“The final 1 / 2 of 2018 has been great, and we’re very optimistic — our outlook for tourism is positive for 2019 really,” she told BusinessWest. “Certainly, MGM is really a factor — it’s an enormous factor, it’s a casino game changer — but it’s just the main story.”
Elaborating, she said MGM is assisting to spur new development in this sector — one new hotel, any occasion Inn Express, opened in downtown Springfield in 2018, and another, a Courtyard by Marriott, is defined to open on Riverdale Street in West Springfield — while filling more existing rooms and driving rates higher also.
Indeed, occupancy rates in area hotels rose to 68.5% in October (the most recent data available), up nearly 2% from that same month in 2017, in August and, these were up 5% (to 72.6%) on the year prior.
Meanwhile, room revenue was 4 up.6% in October, from $113 a night typically in this area to $119 a night, and in August, it went 7 up.2%.
And, as noted, MGM is merely among the known reasons for optimism and a bright outlook in this sector, Wydra said. Others are the renovated hoop hall, yearly new additions at Six Flags, and the awesome drawing power of the Dr. Seuss museum on the Quadrangle.
For 2019, the outlook is for the needle to help keep moving in the proper direction, she said, noting that some new meetings and conventions have already been booked (more on that later); Eastec, the massive manufacturing trade show, will undoubtedly be making its biennial pilgrimage to the region (specifically the Big E); the Babe Ruth World Series will again go back to Westfield; and the AHL All-Star weekend are certain to get things off to a good start.
John Doleva, president of the Basketball Hall of Fame and a known person in the executive board of the GSCVB, agreed.
“With MGM available on the market and being active now, there does seem to be a lift, a lot more of an excited spirit by the ones that come in the continuing business,” he noted. “Everybody says that, at some known level, their business up is, their fascination with visitation is up — there exists a general feeling of optimism.”
Getting a Bounce
Doleva told BusinessWest that MGM opened its doors toward the tail end of peak season for the hoop hall — the summertime vacation months. Therefore, it’s too to quantify the impact of the casino on attendance there early.
But the expectations for another peak season are high quite, he on went, adding that lots of MGM customers return many times, and the hope — and expectation — is that, using one or some of those return trips, guests will extend their visit beyond the casino&rsquo far;s grounds.
“Once people return several times, they’re likely to be searching for other things to accomplish,” he said. “Personally i think a feeling of excitement and anticipation definitely, and I’m pumped up about next summer when it&rsquo definitely;s the high-travel season, and really get yourself a gauge for what the potential MGM crossover customer is.
“Conversely, you can find probably people that may possibly have the Hall of Fame on the list of things you can do,” he continued, “and that there&rsquo now;s more of a crucial mass, with MGM right next door, I believe we rise on the to-do list.”
But MGM’s arrival is one reason behind soaring expectations at the hall, said Doleva, adding that the facility is in the center of an ambitious renovation project that’s already yielding dividends.
Indeed, phase among the project included a thorough makeover of the lobby area and the hall’s theater, and the ones steps have helped inspire a substantial upsurge in bookings for events and meetings.
“Our renovations have resulted in a lot of facility rentals for events which are happening inside our theater, our new lobby, and Center Court,” he said, per year adding that the hall was averaging 175 rentals, and can log to 240 for 2018 close. “Before, the theater wasn’t a concealed gem, it was hidden just; it had been just like a junior-high-school auditorium — it had been dark, it had been gray, it had no full life. Now, it’s an excellent spot to have a presentation or meeting such as a product launch.”
Phase 2 of the project, with a renovation of the third-floor mezzanine, where in fact the Hall of Fame plaques are, and considerable focus on the roof of the sphere, will commence “any full minute now,” said Doleva, adding that the ongoing work should improve visitation numbers, but, more importantly even, profitability and revenue.
The improved numbers for the hall — the entire year ahead &mdash and the optimism there concerning; certainly are a microcosm of the broader tourism sector, said Wydra, year &mdash adding a amount of collaborating factors point toward what is actually a special; and a good long-term outlook.
It starts with the All-Star Game. On a Monday night the overall game itself is, but you will find a whole weekend’s worth of activities planned, like the ‘classic skills competition’ night before the.
“With the common daily rate increasing and occupancy growing even, we have that require period &mdash still; that is true for several of Massachusetts,” she noted. “In January if you have an event just like the All-Star Game, that helps the hotels and restaurants really.”
Additional momentum is expected in-may with the arrival of EASTEC, regarded as New England’s premier manufacturing exposition. The three-day event drew a lot more than 13,year 000 attendees last, a lot of whom patronized area clubs and restaurants, said Wydra, adding that MGM Springfield only increases the set of hospitality and entertainment choices for attendees.
The Babe Ruth World Series is another solid addition to the year’s lineup, she noted, adding that the united teams getting into the area, and their parents, frequent a genuine amount of area attractions catering to families.
Meanwhile, the spot continues to attract a diverse portfolio of conventions and meetings, said Alicia Szenda, director of sales for the GSCVB, adding that MGM Springfield provides another attractive feature for the 413, that may boast a bunch of amenities already, accessibility, and affordable hotel rates.
In June, the National Assoc. of Clock watching Collectors will stage its 75th annual national convention at the Big E, she said, a meeting that is likely to bring 2,000 visitors to the region. And in the summertime later, the Professional FIREMEN of Massachusetts shall bring a lot more than 900 visitors to downtown Springfield.
Those attending these conventions and the countless others slated through the year will have a growing set of things you can do in this area, said Wydra, who mentioned MGM, obviously, however the revamped Hall of Fame also; Six Flags, which continues to include new attractions yearly (a Cyborg ride is on tap for 2019); and the Dr. Seuss museum, that is drawing folks from over the national country and all over the world.
“The Seuss factor is huge,” said Wydra. “It’s a large reason visitation is in this area up. Seuss is really a recognizable brand, and the museum delivers on the brand, plus they keep reinventing that product.”
This ‘Seuss factor’ is merely one of numerous powerful forces coming together to create the outlook for tourism in this area to possibly the highest plane it’s seen.
Pieces of the puzzle continue steadily to belong to place, and together, they indicate Western Mass. learning to be a true destination.
As noted, the &lsquo even;need period’ is looking less needy. Of the entire year the rest? The sky’s the limit.
George O’Brien could be reached at [email protected]