Joe Holland is a Dentonite. He is a Denton County Justice of the Peace and owns a bicycle shop. Joe is a member of the Denton Breakfast Kiwanis club.

Marvin Ruyle is a Dentonite. A letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, Marvin delivers mail right here in Denton. He is a member of the Texas State Association of Letter Carriers.

Heather Gray is a Dentonite. She is the Athletics Manager for the Denton Parks & Recreation Department.  Heather is a member of the Texas Amateur Athletics Federation.

Besides being Denonites, these three individuals share a special commonality. They are all involved in an organization beyond their 8-5 career day. But then, so are most of us. We are an actively-engaged, civic-minded, socially-aware city. Most Dentonites participate in some kind of group beyond workplace and home: civic organizations, church, hobby clubs, professional associations. The list is endless. It is a commonality these three share, but it is not the commonality.

The commonality is that Joe, Marvin and Heather have each helped the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) bring new tourism to our city, tourism in the form of convention business.

Kim Phillips and Dana Lodge at the ground breaking of the Convention Center in March 2016.

Joe came to the Denton CVB almost two years ago with an idea. Since Denton would soon have a new convention center, could the CVB help him bring the Texas-Oklahoma District of Kiwanis annual convention to Denton?

The CVB team went to work. We researched the requirements and obligations for bidding to be a host city. We worked with Convention Center staff to assess the convention’s space and logistical needs. We determined the hotel room demand and collected rate and amenity information. We assessed the financial investment that would be required to service the convention should it actually land in Denton. And our team worked hand-in-hand with Joe to promote Denton with a booth at the 2016 Texas-Oklahoma Kiwanis annual convention, where we lobbied for the membership to choose Denton.

Together, Joe and our team delivered a wowing bid presentation the Kiwanis could not refuse. Joe’s was the first piece of business to be booked in the new convention center. Denton will host the Texas-Oklahoma District of Kiwanis annual convention in August of 2019.

This convention will bring some 475 people to Denton. They will utilize approximately 500 hotel nights making an estimated $140,000 economic impact on Denton.

CVB staff invested the same level of effort working with Marvin. He and our team worked for months to design a bid presentation that knocked the Texas Association of Letter Carriers’ socks off. Together, we and Marvin won this association’s 2019 convention that will bring 500 new visitors to Denton who will spend 500 room nights in Denton hotels and leave an economic footprint of some $220,500.

The CVB team worked together to create a video for our bid to host the 2019 Texas Association of Letter Carriers convention

Heather Gray and the Denton Parks & Recreation Department partnered with the CVB to win the bid to host the 2020 annual meeting for the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation. Again, CVB staff members were the boots on the ground in research, analysis and bid design for this group of 100 that will consume 175 room nights in Denton hotels, their economic impact an estimated $33,000.

The economic impact on our city between these three conventions is an estimated $363,800. In the meetings business, estimated impact is figured based on an industry-specific set of criteria that considers an all-encompassing assessment of delegate spending including hotel, restaurants, retail, gas and entertainment times the number of days in our city. In Denton, the estimated spending per person per day is $140.

Since the convention center will officially open in the coming weeks, the CVB expects the estimated impact computation for Denton will soon go up. Translation? That $363,800 is conservative, low actually. In reality, the impact of these three conventions will be greater.

Click the video for a first look at the new Embassy Suites by Hilton Denton Convention Center

The CVB has already wooed 70 groups to hold their events in Denton between 2017 and 2024 thus far, some in the convention center and some in other venues, for a combined economic impact of $3.2 million dollars.

Winning the bid is merely the first step in the long process of hosting a convention. The CVB’s work with Joe, Marvin and Heather and the organizers of their respective conventions has only just begun. Convention servicing requirements can be daunting. The good news is that the CVB takes on this vital role, too. We’ll dig deeper into what servicing entails in next week’s column.

Most organizations have some kind of all-member gathering. Since Denton can now accommodate most conventions, every one of us has the potential to spearhead positive impacts on Denton just like Joe, Marvin and Heather did.