Future of outdoor trade show in Salt Lake City gets down to business

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  • Makid Kearns, UT
    Aug. 3, 2012 1:49 p.m.

    Also, the only way we will get a new hotel is if it is built by someone outside of the local market. Holding and his group have done everything they could to block a new larger hotel from coming to the area because it will reduce the occupancy at the Grand and Little America hotels.

    That may have changed lately but it is what has stopped some hotels from expanding in the past.

  • Makid Kearns, UT
    Aug. 3, 2012 1:46 p.m.

    Throughout the country, when hotel occupancy hits over 65% the private companies all scramble to build new hotels.

    Here in Salt Lake though, hotel occupancy has been close to 80% and yet no one build one. The demand is there, just not the desire, which causes the state to lose out on the increased money that the extra tourism and visitors would bring.

    Also, the Salt Palace Convention Center is busy the majority of the year. There are currently about 3 to 4 weeks a year that it is dark. This is over the course of the entire year.

    Also, the size is so large that the center can handle multiple conventions at the same time.

    One last tidbit, the parent company of Outdoor Retailer has publicly stated that they would love to bring more conventions here. They say we are perfect for it in all ways except 1, hotel space. There are more than 100 larger conventions that have passed over Salt Lake in the last 5 years because of a lack of hotel space.

    We really don't need to expand the Salt Palace much at all to gain new conventions, hotel rooms are the problem.

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    Aug. 3, 2012 10:56 a.m.

    The concept of adding space and a new hotel for one convention does not make business sense. Have you noticed how often the Salt Place Convention Center is dark? Or perhaps they have a convention, but it doesn't need anywhere near the entire facility? If there was a need for additional hotel space, why isn't the private sector not building it? Reality says that there is not a need for more hotel space and it is economic foolishness to increase the size of the convention center for one event. The convention center always uses the justification that they can attract more and bigger conventions if they expand, but the more and bigger conventions don't come.

    If politics is the issue, then I would have to say that allowing conventioneers to dictate policy does not necessarily fit with the desires of the citizens of the state. Voters keep electing conservative representatives who keep passing conservative legislation. Allowing a convention group to dictate policy ignores the voters and is just wrong. If they leave, will then the Salt Place will have a prime time slot open to attract another convention.