Atlanta convention boosters using football championship to sell city as meetings destination



Atlanta's convention boosters are using today's college football national championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as a vehicle to lure more big meetings to the city.

Ten convention representatives from the worlds of medicine, trade shows and youth sports have been touring the city for the past few days to see if their next show will be in Atlanta. One of their final stops will be tonight's match up between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs.

“Last night we had dinner at Two Urban Licks, which was followed by brunch today on the roof of Ponce City Market and a tour around the city, said Mark Vaughan, executive vice president and chief sales officer of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“We’ll have a tailgate party at the new American Hotel downtown tonight before walking over to the game,” he said.

As one of the nation's top convention towns -- the Georgia World Congress Center is America's fourth largest meetings facility -- big events such as the national championship are critical to the city's success. The national supply of convention space exceeds the demand for meetings, making every opportunity to lure a trade show critical for Atlanta.

Vaughan said activities around the game and the ability of the city to deal with potential headaches such as today’s icy weather gives potential customers a look at how Atlanta handles big marquee events.

“This industry gets more and more competitive every day,” Vaughan said. “The more we can get people here to show off our product, the better we will be.”