PROVIDENCE, RI — The Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau (PWCVB) has launched the Meet in RI campaign asking local companies to commit to hosting future meetings, events, and conventions in Rhode Island.
The effort is geared toward rebuilding business lost during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as the health crisis begins to improve and Ocean State businesses recover, said Tom Giordano, executive director of Partnership for Rhode Island.
“As meetings and events begin to once again take place in the Ocean State, it’s a great time for our local business partners to extend their support however they can,” said Giordano. “Our partnership with the PWCVB helps to get this extraordinary campaign before some of the state’s largest corporations.”
In 2019, 250 meetings, conventions, and sporting events booked by the PWCVB took place. In 2020, 44 meetings, conventions, and sporting events took place from January through the first half of March. There was a 75.3% reduction in direct spending from $74.9 million in 2019 to $18.4 million in 2020. “Direct spending” is an estimation of what a group will spend while attending an event and includes several factors such as lodging, transportation, food and beverage, venue rental, and recreational spending, according to PWCVB.
Over the same time period, there was a 74 percent decline in hotel room nights utilized and a 67.4 percent decline in people attending events. Fewer people attending events directly results in less business for local restaurants, shops, transportation, and other recreational activities, the trade organization reported.
Members of the local corporate community can pledge to hold at least one meeting, convention, or trade show in Rhode Island between 2022–2024. Businesses that pledge to Meet in RI will receive assistance from the PWCVB Sales & Services team, providing research of hotel availability and rates, recommendations for off-site venues and free-time activities, site inspections, and any additional needs to make the event a success.