Marketing for the Future: Visit Savannah’s Historic Convention Center Expansion

By Colette DuChanois & Melanie Cornwell

Visit Savannah Logo

Savannah, a city rooted in history, was building for the future by expanding the Savannah Convention Center when Visit Savannah invited Digital Edge to help build awareness among meeting planners about the state-of-the-art riverfront venue doubling in size and market the Southern gem as a prime meetings and conventions location. The partnership has flourished by heightening awareness of the historic Convention Center expansion, supporting the Destination Marketing Organization’s Sales Team, and resulting in record lead volume.

Heightened Awareness

Sales Team Support

Record Lead Volume

Our lead volume has been really strong. … We are tracking record lead volume.
Jeff Hewitt, CDME

The Challenge

History was in the making for meetings in Savannah. The Savannah Convention Center, an economic pillar in Coastal Georgia, planned an impressive increase in size —doubling the exhibit hall space to 200,000 square feet—and the addition of unique, modern features to attract a wider variety of meetings and larger groups. The charming and enhancing city had become a top visitor destination in the United States, but the Convention Center expansion positioned Savannah to compete for more conventions than ever before. Visit Savannah had a seasoned leisure marketing team but needed an agency with meetings and conventions expertise to speak to planners and give its Sales Team the resources it needed to sell the expanding Convention Center.

What ensued was an invitation for a partnership.

The Solution

Visit Savannah partnered with Digital Edge to address its Sales Team’s need to focus on meetings and conventions during the expansion of the Convention Center featuring breathtaking views of the Savannah River and the Downtown Historic District. We understood how vital the Convention Center expansion is to an influx of bigger meetings and conventions in the destination and the city’s overall growth. 

In our first year, we developed a digital meetings marketing plan that included:

  • Positioning the meetings website for success with increased engagement via a site strategy and new content development
  • Evaluating the meetings sitemap and providing recommendations to create a stronger focus for content and design that resonates with meeting planners
  • Designing a mobile-optimized landing page targeting specific planners and using Visit Savannah’s brand guidelines 
  • LinkedIn training for the destination sales team with ongoing support to increase the team’s ability to sell digitally via the platform and enhance the destination’s profile
  • Growing Visit Savannah’s social media presence
“Designing for Savannah was all about supporting their current branding and knowing to not deviate from a direction that was already working strongly for them. With care, we made sure to adhere to solutions that could marry our content strategy while still feeling like charming Savannah.”

In the second year, our awareness campaign evolved to include:

  • Continuing to enhance Visit Savannah’s presence on LinkedIn with posts for the sales team and sponsored posts, as well as the destination’s Facebook and Instagram presence
  • Driving visibility for the Sales Team and create lead-generation opportunities for them
  • Supporting the Savannah Convention Center’s presence on LinkedIn with organic posts to assist with meetings awareness
  • Leveraging top-performing trade media options to drive awareness and ROI
  • Developing new content for the website and market it specifically to drive readership and position Savannah with an authoritative voice
  • Email marketing to create awareness, inform planners of Savannah’s meetings offerings and generate leads
“When it came to writing for Savannah, there was no shortage of iconic attributes, charming characteristics and unique selling points to create content. We were to build awareness for their convention center expansion while marketing the bucket-list city as an ideal destination for meetings and conventions. The ‘Double the Convention Center, Double the Charm’ messaging, paired with the ‘Book Now, Meet New’ call to action was developed from the sole fact that the convention center would double its size upon completion. Mix in other messaging like ‘Expanded Meeting Possibilities’ and ‘A World-Class Facility in a Bucket-List City’ into the rotation, and we were not only able to market the expansion efficiently but showcase the experiential side of Savannah.”

The Results

As anticipation continues to build for the completion of the Savannah Convention Center expansion in 2024, Visit Savannah has already seen great results from the awareness campaign.

There is heightened awareness and interest in the Savannah Convention Center.  

Savannah Convention Center Director of Sales, Marketing & Event Services Angela Daniels says that while people have always loved going to Savannah from a leisure standpoint, the expansion of the Convention Center is putting the coastal destination on the map for meetings and conventions. According to Daniels, the Convention Center has already booked dozens of pieces of business as far out as 2030, at a more than $90 million economic impact. According to Northstar, the National Beta Club will host its 2024 national convention, a citywide event, in Savannah, with an estimated 14,820 room nights.

When we go to shows and meet the planners face to face, I mean, they know. We don’t run into a lot of planners who don’t know about the expansion.
Angela Daniels

As the Visit Savannah Sales Team has been out on the road more and in front of more customers, Digital Edge’s sales activity program has saved the Sales Team members time by sending pre- and post-show emails and helped them increase their presence on LinkedIn with personalized posts and graphics.

And there has been a record lead volume. Visit Savannah Executive Vice President Jeff Hewitt, CDME, reported in May 2023 that trends were tracking in a positive direction: Convention-specific room night volume was up 8% over quota (108% YoY), lead room nights for conventions were up 56% (156% YoY), and the number of citywide Convention Center leads was up 25%.

“The Sales Team has developed a stronger presence online and have been able to add a more personal touch. The Sales Team members have gotten a lot more active on LinkedIn. The big benefit was that due to increased travel, we were able to help dedicate time to writing personal posts about the expansion, news or events, so that’s where Digital Edge helped really bridge that gap.”

Sales Stats


Convention-specific room night volume up 8% over quota

(108% YoY)

Lead room nights for conventions up 56%

(156% YoY)

Number of citywide Convention Center leads up 25%

By-the-Numbers Metrics

(June 2022-May 2023)

0 M
Total Digital Media Impressions
0 K
Landing Page Views

Contact Digital Edge directly to learn more about how our B2B agency for the travel & tourism industry is marketing destinations’ convention center expansions and renovations—and how we can help you.