LA has advanced to next stage of the 2024 Olympic Games bidding process, prompting VP of MICE at Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board Bryan Churchill to discuss the event implications, and the city’s ascent
As one of the premier travel destinations in the world, LA is already equipped to handle an event of such magnitude like the World Olympics. We recently secured a successful bid to host the Super Bowl LV in 2021, and we estimate that the week leading up to, and including the game would generate at least 100,000 hotel room nights. In fact, just last year we hosted the world’s largest sports and humanitarian event in Los Angeles – the 2015 Special Olympic World Games. The largest single event staged in the city since the 1984 Olympic Games, we welcomed 6,500 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 165 countries with hundreds of thousands of spectators. Having successfully hosted the Olympic Games twice before, it will be a homecoming for the Games to Los Angeles.
As a global leader in sports entertainment, technology, and innovative green technologies, LA is well positioned to host a sustainable, fiscally responsible, and inspiring Olympic and Paralympic Games that will directly benefit our community, the International Olympic Committee, and the wider Olympic Games movement.
Since joining LA Tourism, one major milestone for me has been firmly positioning Los Angeles as a viable candidate for MICE buyers internationally – specifically in the UK, and the Olympic bid only helps this goal.
We established our commitment to the market last year with the hiring of a full-time representative based in London to oversee MICE efforts in the UK and Ireland and we’ve recorded immediate results. Since then, LA Tourism has identified more than $5m in prospective business for our hotels and the Los Angeles area.
We have invested more sales resources in the MICE market, have an increased presence at key trade shows and relevant programming opportunities. As a result, our MICE leads overall are projected to grow nearly 40 per cent year-over-year in 2016.
The most significant changes in terms of exhibitions that we’re seeing in LA is more and more groups utilising non-traditional exhibition and meeting facilities.
They’re breaking out of spaces like a convention centre and are incorporating unique venues to showcase their exhibition.
Los Angeles is a place where creativity thrives, allowing renowned venues and spaces to be incorporated into programing such as the Dolby Theatre, home of the Oscars, Universal Studios HollywoodSM or Microsoft Theatre at LA Live, home of the Primetime EMMY Awards. Let’s not forget being able to use our outdoor spaces such as Grand Park, as we offer nearly 300 sunny days a year. The possibilities in Los Angeles are truly endless.
In regards to our MICE strategy, LA Tourism previously studied our domestic competitors to ensure we were offering a premier destination experience to meetings and events professionals. However, we quickly realised that to compete on a global scale, we have to emulate top MICE destinations, internationally, such as London and Sydney. Our MICE strategy has shifted to reflect this and we’ve hired staff based in our major international markets of the UK, China, and Australia to serve as a first point of contact for buyers and ensure a seamless experience.
Over the last 30 years, LA has built a series of new venues and public spaces, providing for a rich array of venue choices that are experienced in hosting world-class events. Ninety-seven per cent of the venues in the LA 2024 Bid either exist, are already planned as permanent venues by private investors, or will be temporary facilities.
Finally, our diverse community of Angelenos is united in its passion for the Games and desire to see them returned to the United States. The Los Angeles area is home to more than 18 million people representing the people and cultures of the world, and 81 per cent of Angelenos are united in their desire to host the Games. A Los Angeles Games is not just a celebration of our diversity, it’s also a celebration of our unity – just like the Olympic Games movement itself.
One of the most significant changes to the events industry is the increasing importance of technology. In the competitive market, it is becoming vital that the exhibition creates a connection between those attending the exhibition and those exhibiting.
The increasing use of mobile technology and connectivity in this environment is not only maximising the experience for exhibitor, but it is also increasing the amount of analytics that can be done and ways that success can be measured. Previously success was based on sales alone, but the increasing use of digital and mobile technology in the events space has meant that exhibitions can show who is visiting and why
The United States exhibition market is the largest in the world and in 2015 it was valued at $12.8bn. There’s no country like the United States when it comes to diversity – we are a melting pot and thrive on bringing people from all parts of the world together to connect and engage.
The direct airlift into America is unparalleled, offering international attendees convenient options with competitive fares. As a nation that thrives on innovation, our access to a deep pool of thought leaders also puts us at the forefront of exhibition markets. EW