Can one agency be great at marketing a convention center as well as managing it? That’s the test for SMG, the venue management company that currently oversees the Hawaii Convention Center, and previously booked only short-term business. Starting in January 2003, SMG will assume marketing responsibilities previously handled by the Hawaii Convention Bureau, which had a $4 millionto market the facility. The announcement was made late last week by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
The move is a result of state legislation passed this year requiring that the center be managed and marketed by one agency. Philadelphia-based SMG, which manages 156 venues and is the leading private facility management company in the world, has managed the Hawaii facility since its pre-opening in 1996. SMG’s new marketing contract for the center will be for three and a half years. SMG is currently hiring additional staff to support the new function, and will be focusing on a smooth transition for all the center’s clients, according to a company spokesperson.
The Hawaii Convention Center is the second one this year to have its marketing function taken away from the local CVB and awarded to a private agency.