Getting bigger isn't everything

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Despite what the spammer hawking enlargers for certain body parts might try to tell you, it’s not enough just to increase your size—especially if you’re a downtown convention center looking to get a bigger share of the meetings market.

According to this article from The Cincinnati Enquirer, whose city just kicked off a $160 million expansion and renovation of its convention center, the challenge now becomes selling all that new space. Cincinnati’s not alone—the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center is also giving that city’s authorities a bit of a challenge to find groups willing to commit to fill the space, as are numerous new and expanded centers across the U.S.

So cities are rolling out the incentives to hook the big-fish conventions. I know Hawaii’s done a lot lately, and the article outlines some "economic incentives" being offered by Tucson, Tampa, Detroit, Cincinnati, and a bunch of other cities.

Are these incentives the way to lure your meeting to their town? And what about smaller, less prestigious events not deemed worthy of the perks? I understand the economic pressures, but somehow I’m not sure this is the best way to go—feels a little like bribery to me.

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