NOV 2016

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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Page 35 of 59

MARKET SEGMENT REPORT: YOUTH & FAITH BASED EVENTS Youth & Faith Based Groups The potential economic impact of such an event is notable, yet destinations and event planners suggest that these groups have specific needs that can make the nuances of booking an event tricky. "The number-one priorities for youth and faith-based groups are affordability and safety," said Susan Sauer, senior sales manager with Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). "Once a city has shown that they can deliver these aspects, the meeting planners prioritize a close-knit hotel package, walkability and transportation assistance to the main event venue and, of course, family-friendly dining and attractions." Donna Wilson, senior sales manager with the Oklahoma City CVB, noted that costs are particularly important to faith-based meetings because attendees generally pay their own way and often bring their family. "Being able to make the meeting affordable is one of the most important factors," she said. "Contributing even more to that characteristic is the fact that most religious meetings are held in destinations where attendees can drive within a day. Attendees are more mobile when they reach the destination, so they often do more Value Is Top of Mind For By Selena Chavis ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 6 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 36 Destinations across the South recognize the potential of large faith-based events and youth gatherings. For instance, the biannual Challenge event sponsored by the Evangelical Free Church of America brought approximately 6,000 attendees to the greater Louisville, Ky., area in 2016, and the North American Youth Congress of the United Pentecostal Church International brought 20,000 visitors to Oklahoma City in 2015. Sponsored By:

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