Convention Center Debate Continues
Cincinnati Council could soon change booking guidelines for the Duke Energy Convention Center. The issue revolves around protecting locally produced consumer trade shows like the Travel, Sports and Boat Show, and the Home and Garden Show.
Hart Productions produces these annual events. Its Holiday Market show in 2016 could be in jeopardy because the center is booked for a national convention at the same time.
Nick Vehr spoke for Hart Productions at a council committee meeting. "They've basically been told that for 2016 they have to shrink the show back down to Hall A only. So they basically have to take this product that they have worked hard to grow (to) the benefit of the city, that has provided great impact to the city, and are being forced to shrink it down to about the size, or smaller, than when it first came over (from Northern Kentucky)."
Hart is asking for additional protected dates to hold its shows at the convention center. It also wants to be able to book dates 36 months in advance, the same as national conventions and trade shows.
Representatives with the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) say changing the booking policy would put the city at a disadvantage. They say it would cost the city money and reduce the chances of landing big, national conventions.
"Simply put, there is no scenario where expanding the booking guideline for local public shows benefits the city, the county, and the regional hospitality industry," says Barrie Perks, vice president of sales and services for the CVB.
City administrators will study the issue and a council committee could discuss it again in two weeks.