MBACC: Business, convention travel spikes 28% in 2009

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Business and convention travel has proven to be a key driver for Myrtle Beach tourism in 2009, as Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce officials announced its group sales division saw a 28 percent spike in reserved rooms for the year.

Danna Lilly, CMP and director of sales for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce's Group Sales Division, says the spike in room bookings can be attributed to value and increased advertising within key tourism markets.

"More and more groups are combining business with pleasure to stretch their dollars," she noted. "Attendees extend their stays and bring along their spouse or family. With more advertising, no doubt they have heard about the Myrtle Beach area's abundance of offerings."

Each year, the sales group exhibits at roughly 35 trade shows domestically and internationally, touting Myrtle Beach's appeal not only as a group Mecca with diverse hotel meeting facilities and a 250,000-square-foot convention center, but also as a top family destination.

"Promoting the spring season is a key part of our marketing effort," said Brad Dean, MBACC president and CEO. "The group market represents a huge growth opportunity for the Grand Strand. Groups spend more and bring business to our area at a time when we're not as busy."

The 2010 trade show schedule includes meetings with such key national groups as the American Bus Association, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Religious Conference Management Association, Affordable Meetings National, USA Track & Field and Travel, Events and Management in Sports.

Officials note the division secured 101,000 room nights in 2009, compared to 79,000 in 2008.

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