ATLANTIC CITY (January 15, 2019) – Meet AC, the marketing and sales branch of the Atlantic City Convention Center, recorded a fourth year with increased convention and meeting bookings in 2018, CEO Jim Wood said Monday.
The 238 conventions booked in 2018 will fill 371,996 hotel rooms in the resort until 2022, driving $400 million back into the local economy, the group says.
Meet AC, which is 96 percent funded by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, said the organization has exceeded its goals for the past four years. Now, the board is aiming to book 360,000 rooms in 2019, setting a stretch goal of 400,000.
“I think we as a group, we as a destination, as we continue to pour investment and add new products into hotel properties and casinos, continue to enhance their flavor and their offerings … (the stretch goal) might be achievable,” said Wood at the organization’s annual meeting Monday. “And that might be our plateau. I don’t know.”
CRDA’s 2019 funding for Meet AC is up more than $1.3 million over 2018, to a total of $7,835,119.
“CRDA is pleased to be instrumental in its support of the meetings and conventions business in Atlantic City,” said CRDA Executive Director Matt Doherty. “Atlantic City is known for our beautiful free beaches, world-famous Boardwalk, outstanding restaurants and top-tier entertainment and shopping options, all of which are assets to the meetings and conventions market.”
At the meeting Monday, Wood said the organization’s goal, beyond simply increasing business at the Convention Center, is revitalizing the city’s image in its advertising.
“People aren’t just buying the convention center. People aren’t just buying a hotel property on the beach,” Wood said. “People are buying a destination.”
The ongoing shutdown of NJ Transit’s Atlantic City Rail Line and the lack of a clear timetable for its reopening has proved problematic for attracting outside guests, Wood said.
“We do recognize, though, for the most part, we are a regional destination. And so our emphasis is on the regional,” Wood said. “And it’s really because the barrier of the transportation. It’s tough when you’re an hour and five minutes away from … a primary airport that’s got the bulk of the flights.”
They are focused on those potential convention-goers who can drive into the city.
“That is the sweet spot for Atlantic City at this time,” Wood said.