Organizations do not have to spend a fortune to hold a first-class convention or major gathering. Nor do they need to head to major cities like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco. Cities like Cincinnati, Ohio provide companies with choice and convenience.
Conveniently located in southwest Ohio, within 500 miles of 60% of the U.S. population, Cincinnati touts itself as a great place to hold a convention. “In Cincinnati, we make sure that groups meet and exceed their expectations,” said Barrie Perks, Vice President of Sales and Services at the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), who spoke to RewardExpert.
“Attendees love how affordable and accessible the city is, which makes it an easy destination for a host city and increases the likelihood of strong attendance.”
The convenient location is one of many reasons to choose Cincinnati as the host city for an event. The city sits at the intersection of Interstates 75 and 71, within an easy drive of a wide-range of cities including Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, Columbus, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Nashville.
If you’re flying, it’s smooth sailing, too. Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport is located just 13 miles from downtown across the Ohio River in Hebron, Kentucky. The airport is served by major airlines including Delta, United, Frontier and American.
“The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport has the lowest average airfare in the region,” said Perks. That accessibility is just one of the reasons why Cincinnati is home to more Fortune 500 companies per capita than any other city in the nation. Those companies include major brands like Procter & Gamble, Kroger and Macy’s.
Queen City Treatment
Cincinnati is nicknamed the Queen City and the staff at the CVB aims to treat all guests like royalty. Perks points out that the city’s compact size and commitment to hospitality makes it feel like the red carpet is being rolled out for all convention goers. “Once visitors are here, groups are able to own the city and make a real impact,” he said.
He also points out that the CVB has a convention services team, as well as a Cincy Tourism Ambassador program to escort visitors to some of the top sights. Attractions include award-winning restaurants, strolls along the Ohio Riverfront and numerous museums like the Cincinnati Art Museum, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Cincinnati Zoo.
In addition, Perks points out that the city’s location allows it to have both a Midwestern vibe and a southern vibe. “In Cincinnati you have classic, local features like beer, baseball, Cincinnati-style chili or our famous Graeter’s ice cream. But cross the river (into Kentucky) and you enter the world of bourbon and fried green tomatoes,” said Perks.
Should an organization decide to hold an event in greater Cincinnati, there are a number of different venues to choose from, and the CVB will be there to provide key guidance. “We work closely with groups to tailor their events to match the mission or message they’re trying to convey, whether that’s through the choice in meeting space, customized programming or options for things to do throughout the city after the event concludes,” said Perks.
There are numerous choices for meeting space. For big gatherings, the Duke Energy Convention Center is located in downtown Cincinnati, and provides easy access to fine cultural attractions, restaurants and more. If convention goers want a more suburban feel, there is the Sharonville Convention Center, about 15 miles north of downtown.
Besides traditional venues, Perks points out that the region has some distinct venues allowing a more personalized experience, like the American Sign Museum. “We also have historic churches that have been converted into event space, an abundance of breweries, sports venues like Great American Ball Park where the Cincinnati Reds play, and more,” said Perks.
A Destination in Growing Popularity
Cincinnati’s attention to detail is paying off. In the past year, the city has hosted a variety of events including the National Baptist Convention’s Annual Session, the National Square Dance Convention and the National Field Archery Indoor Championships.
This year, there are already a variety of events on the docket including the National Catholic Educational Association, the International Conference on Missions, Sigma Pi Phi and the Educational Testing Service. “At the CVB we recognize that Cincinnati is not becoming a must-visit destination, but that it is one,” said Perks. To find out if Cincinnati is the right place for your gathering, head to www.cincyusa.com.