In 2021, more than 7,000 energy professionals will come together for the Windpower Conference & Exhibition in Indianapolis. Hosted by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the four-day event includes educational sessions, keynote speakers, networking events, and tours and site visits throughout the city. The organization, which is made up of wind power researchers, project developers, equipment suppliers, service providers, and other industry professionals, wanted to choose a destination for their annual event that had connectivity, giving attendees as many opportunities as possible to meet and share ideas.
“Indy has a compact downtown with a lot of housing connected or in close proximity to the convention center,” Stefanie Brown, AWEA’s vice president of education and conferences, tells Convene. “Our attendees will feel like the ‘big fish’ in the city and will easily bump into one another around town during the event.” She added that the organization is especially looking forward to Indy’s “restaurant scene, various outdoor spaces, and museums.”
Brown is referencing Indy’s 4,700 guest rooms at 12 properties directly connected to the convention center via enclosed walkways – the most you’ll find in the United States. In addition, there are more than 300 restaurants and attractions within walking distance.
AWEA is just one of many groups drawn to Indy. The city broke a lot of records in 2017, including in tourism, tourism impact, and consumed group room nights. More than 28.6 million visitors came to the city, with $5.2 billion visitor spending and 836,600 consumed group room nights. Visit Indy also booked 874,473 future group room nights, which equates to about $1 billion in future economic impact.
“With record-setting growth and continued development, Indianapolis is well positioned to be the best in the country for meetings, conventions, and major events,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Our city’s vibrant culture, unique neighborhoods, and critically acclaimed culinary, arts, and entertainment venues make Indy a one-of-a-kind destination. And thanks to the 80,000 hospitality employees who go above and beyond to deliver our city’s signature hospitality, Indianapolis is a place people want to keep coming back to.”
Visit Indy booked 732 groups in 2017, including the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), one of the largest communities of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. ASM is hosting its Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Indianapolis this year. In November, more than 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, program directors, and exhibitors will come together for the four-day event.
Other first-time groups booked in 2017 include the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology for 2022, and Jack Henry & Associates for 2020. And the city will welcome back a wide variety of returning large groups—from scientists to activists to sports fans.
“Indy is on an unprecedented run of convention, sports, and tourism success,” said Leonard Hoops, president and CEO of Visit Indy. “We’ve become a 12-months-a-year travel destination, topping $5 billion in visitor economic impact for the first time. And we’re confident through our ongoing tourism master plan efforts, that our best is yet to come.”
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