New convention center hotels all across the country, either attached or adjacent, are under construction or have recently opened. Pittsburgh lags far behind its competitive set; the Indianapolis Convention Center currently has 12 attached hotels, Minneapolis has 15 and Columbus has four, just to name a few. Not only is Pittsburgh missing that critical marketing tool of a contiguous hotel, but our stunning convention center lacks a "front door," as the headquarters hotel. This was an integral part of the original plan that has yet to be built, as well as the shell of a ballroom yet to be built out and external escalators that have never been utilized.
While many in our area are aware of the number of new, and in most cases, limited service hotels that are now part of the landscape. The challenge, however, for the convention and meeting industry is the lack of a large, attached hotel that meeting planners require. This continues to limit the size of groups that VisitPittsburgh's convention sales team can reasonably pursue. Although the convention center has tripled its capacity, the lack of this hotel translates into millions of dollars in lost revenues.
We have proved to the world what an incredible transformation has occurred in our remarkable city; let's not lose the opportunity to maximize that exposure by adding our support to the SEA's efforts. To remain competitive in an increasingly competitive industry, Pittsburgh must have an attached convention center hotel with a minimum of 500 rooms.
DORIS CARSON WILLIAMS
Chairman, Board of Directors