atlanta skyline

Atlanta skyline

The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) has lots to celebrate this New Year thanks to record-breaking numbers for major citywide conventions and its highest hotel occupancy in more than a decade.

Atlanta hosted 21 major citywides in 2014, resulting in an estimated $750 million in direct economic impact. Citywides drew nearly a million event attendees, thus bolstering hotel occupancy.

“These positive lodging numbers serve as evidence of Atlanta’s momentum in attracting new and return business,” said William Pate, president and CEO of ACVB. “Atlanta’s unparalleled accessibility and $1.5 billion in new development make the city a convenient and exciting destination for planners.”

Smith Travel Research (STR) reported that as of November 2014, Atlanta had the highest growth rate in occupancy among the top 25 U.S. markets. Convention hotels were a key part of the growth, with an 11 percent occupancy growth from group meetings. The top 25 U.S. metros averaged 4 percent growth, according to the STR report.

Atlanta’s allure also helped boost attendance, as 21 of its 23 largest met or exceeded their attendance goals. American Coatings met in Atlanta for the first time and experienced a 16 percent increase in attendance and 20 percent increase in exhibit space over its 2012 show in Indianapolis.

This month, conventions are expected to bring 200,000 attendees to Atlanta, with an estimated economic impact of $200 million.