Richmond Region Tourism program incentivizes hotel meetings
Meaningful Meetings will include referral bonuses
After a year of virtual events and canceled conventions, Richmond Region Tourism has launched a program to attract meetings to Virginia’s capital city and surrounding areas in four key economic development sectors.
The initiative, called Meaningful Meetings, also offers financial incentives from $250 to $1,000 to people and organizations who successfully refer such events. The amount is based on total hotel rooms booked and includes qualifying criteria.
The nonprofit tourism group, working with economic development teams in the region, said it identified the four target areas as the arts, sustainability, universities and diversity, equity and inclusion.
According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, business travel is down 85% from pre-pandemic levels and is not expected to begin to slowly return until the second half of the year. Major events, conventions and business meetings have also already been canceled or postponed until at least 2022, the group says.
Dasha Runyan, vice president of sales at Richmond Region Tourism, noted Gov. Ralph Northam’s plan to lift COVID-19 restrictions at the end of May as an important factor in bringing back in-person meetings.
“Welcoming meetings and conventions to the region is now more important than ever to the community’s economic rebound,” Runyan said in a statement.
The tourism group said it booked meetings, conventions and tournaments in 2019 that represented more than $64 million in economic impact for the region.
The Meaningful Meetings program applies to Richmond, Colonial Heights, Ashland and the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and New Kent.