Atlantic City Sees Rise in Conventions, Hotel Bookings

Atlantic City’s convention business is up through the first six months of the year with hotel bookings related to conventions up 37 percent. The city is trying to increase convention business in the wake of falling casino revenue.

Atlantic City has seen an increase in hotel booking related to its convention business jump 37 percent through the first half of 2015, according to Meet AC, the private, nonprofit organization that promotes the city as a corporate-meetings destination.

More than 118,000 hotel room nights have been booked this year for conventions running through 2022, compared to about 86,000 during the same period in 2014.

The number of conventions, trade shows and smaller events signed up from 2015 to 2020 has jumped 40 percent—118 through the first half of 2015, compared to 84 during the same period last year.

Gary Musich, vice president of sales for Meet AC, said hotel bookings and number of events are the most important indicators of the health of Atlantic City’s convention business.

“We have a lot of events coming up in the next two years,” Musich said at thee group’s monthly board meeting.

Though a healthy sign, Musich said there is still some “hesitation” lingering in the convention market to book in Atlantic City after the widespread news coverage of four casinos closing in the resort last year.

Atlantic City currently attracts just 1 percent of the $16 billion convention and meetings market in the northeastern United States, but has been making some inroads to raise that number.

Jim Wood, president and CEO of Meet AC, said convention planners have begun to look at Atlantic City “a little more carefully.”

The city has also gotten a boost with the signing of the Meeting Professionals International conference at the newly built Harrah’s Resort Waterfront Conference Center in June 2016. The MPI conference, which will bring about 2,000 influential meeting planners to town, is considered a major score for the resort’s convention business.