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