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  • Connect: Team Report

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    Destination MGM shares the story of our city and all it offers with the world, working to entice both business and leisure travelers to Montgomery. The Sales Team, led by Ron Simmons, uses its expertise to bring meetings, conventions and events of all types and sizes here, and Simmons shared how and why they do it.
     
    What do you and the Destination MGM Sales Team do?
    Destination MGM is the tourism arm for the city of Montgomery. The Sales Team promotes and sells Montgom­ery as a convention, meeting and tourist destination for groups and sporting events. We serve as the destination experts who work behind the scenes to provide meeting and sport planners access to a wide range of services within the city, including but not limited to site inspections, checking hotel and meeting space availability, and linking planners to local service providers. We are an extension of an organization’s planning team.
     
    How does the local business community benefit from what y’all do?
    Tourism is economic development. The Montgom­ery Chamber Destination MGM team works closely with the hospitality community such as hotels, restaurants and attractions to provide an exceptional experience for the groups that have selected Montgomery as a meeting destination. When these groups visit Montgomery, they sleep, eat, shop and buy gas locally. As a result, our tourists spend $1.4 million per day in the city. They seek local entertainment, dining and shop­ping experiences. This is a direct revenue generator for our local and small business community.
     
    How does the community at large benefit from what you do? 
    The daily $1.4 million economic impact resulting from tourism is beneficial to everyone in the River Region. These tourism dollars help offset the costs of public safety and infrastructure for the citizens of Montgomery. Montgomery is ranked No. 1 in the state of Alabama for hotel occupancy. This means we have a demand for more hotels, which ultimately generates more jobs in the hospitality industry within our region. When we exceed the expectations of our convention delegates, we find that they return for leisure travel with family and friends – spending more dollars and improving the perception in our city.
     
    What one thing would you like readers to know about the work of the Sales Team? 
    The Montgomery Chamber Destination MGM Sales Team is committed to providing an exceptional experience for our groups. We recruit groups such as social, religious; multicultural; fraternal; education; government; national, regional and state associations; and family reunions. If you’re part of any of these types of groups, we can help bring your group’s meetings or events to Montgomery.
     
    Any recent major accomplish­ments? 
    Montgomery has grown as a sports destination. We have been intentional in going after non-traditional sporting events, which have opened up an entirely new market of opportunities for Montgomery as a sports destination. Examples of non-traditional sporting events that have come here are: 2016 World Horseshoe Pitching Tournament, 2013 -2018 Capital of Dreams Triathlon, 2018 World Championships of Cornhole, Sugar Bert Boxing National Qual­ifier and the 2015 and 2019 World Com­bat Firefighter Challenge. Montgomery has also been selected as the host city for the 2018 Governor’s Conference on Tourism and a host of other conventions.
     
    What is your favorite part of your job? 
    There are two parts of this job that get me excited: First, I love my team. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a group of professionals who have a passion for this city and what they do. And they are good at it! Secondly, we represent an awesome destination. I love the reaction I see in meeting planners and convention delegates when they visit the city for the first time. I love to see people return to Montgomery who haven’t been here in 10 years or more. I love to see the fruit of our hard work fill our hotels, restaurants, attractions and walking the streets of downtown. It’s a very rewarding feeling.
     
    BY THE NUMBERS
    • 4 new hotels under development and/or construction in downtown
    • By the year 2020, there will be approximately 1,100 rooms available within downtown, which is a 30% increase over the current inventory.
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