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Sales and Marketing Update




george brown convention center8 Reasons the Houston Convention District is So Attractive for Meetings

If you’re hunting for a place to host a meeting, the 60-city block Houston Convention District should rank high on your list. Heck, we think it should be at the very top.

Ric Campo, chairman of Houston First Corp., which runs the George R. Brown Convention Center, says the Convention District is evolving into “a vibrant neighborhood, not just a meeting place.”

Here are eight reasons you should seriously consider the Convention District “neighborhood” for your next meeting.

Read more here.


Enterprise Development
Partnerships & Events

No updates this month.


Visitors Center

No updates this month.

Cultural Facilities
Sales and Marketing

The following shows have been booked in the month of November:

  1. Aperio 10th Anniversary Concert featuring Ana Maria Martinez -- February 2, 2016, Cullen Theater
  2. Love, Jazz & Romance – February 14, 2016, Brown Theater
  3. Statoil OTC Reception – May 3, 2016, Wortham Foyer
  4. Houston Chamber Choir – May 22, 2016, Cullen Theater
  5. Baylor College of Medicine Commencement – May 31, 2016, Jones Hall
  6. Bayou City Jazz Series– Nick Colionne & Everette Harp – March 20, 2016, Nelson Rangell & Jonathan Fritzen  – April 24, 2016, Cindy Bradley & Michael Lington – May 15, 2016, Richard Elliot & Max Groove – October 9, 2016, Warren Hill & Karen Briggs – November 13, 2016.

The following shows have gone on sale in the month of November:

  1. Aperio 10th Anniversary Concert featuring Ana Maria Martinez – February 2, 2016, Cullen Theater
  2. 2016 Jazz Brunch – February 14, 2016, Wortham Foyer
  3. Love, Jazz & Romance – February 14, 2016, Brown Theater
  4. Bayou City Jazz Series at Cullen Theater– Nick Colionne & Everette Harp – March 20, 2016, Nelson Rangell & Jonathan Fritzen  – April 24, 2016, Cindy Bradley & Michael Lington – May 15, 2016, Richard Elliot & Max Groove – October 9, 2016, Warren Hill & Karen Briggs – November 13, 2016.
  5. Houston Cinema Arts Festival – November 12-19, Offsite. Sold 42% of capacity (74% of sales were online, 23% of sales were at the box office, 3% of sales were over the phone).
  6. Bayou City Jazz Series – Paul Taylor & Euge Groove – November 8, Cullen Theater. Sold 53% of the house (86% of sales were online, 6% of sales were at the box office, 8% of sales were over the phone).
  7. Bob Schneider’s Moonlight Orchestra – November 27, Cullen Theater. Sold 74% of the house (85% of sales were online, 13% of sales were at the box office, 2% of sales were over the phone).
Theater District Parking

Compared with November 2014, Theater District Parking collected $42,000 more in parking revenue in November 2015.

Capital plans and maintenance projects include a change of the color scheme which is currently under way and is slated for completion by the end of 2015. Additionally, the final phase of the Alley Tunnel entrance remodeling project includes the installation of lighted signage and is scheduled for completion December 21, 2015.


Sunset Coffee Building

Construction is very active at the Sunset Coffee Building and is anticipated to be complete by the end of January 2016, at which time the process can begin for Houston First to take ownership can begin.  The building should be fully opened and operational by May 2016.


Houston First Outdoors

Greater Houston Community Foundation has started construction on the Mosbacher Monument on Preston Street at Bagby Street. After completion, Houston First will be responsible for maintenance.

Mosbacher Monument Renderings

Miller Outdoor Theatre

Contractor J R Clancy has staged three sea and land containers at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Staff will store stage equipment in the containers while the original 1968 counterweight system is replaced as part of the CIP rail improvement project due for completion by March 2016.

Land Containers


Jones Hall

A total of 21,523 arts patrons attended 15 performances during the month of November, including the Symphony’s Sinatra Centennial concert and the Society of Performing Art's Ina Garten and David Sedaris. Of the 21,523 patrons, 5,134 were students attending two student matinees performed by the Symphony.

Jones Hall for the Performing Arts will celebrate its golden anniversary in 2016. The foundation for Jones Hall is taking the lead on planning the venue’s 50th anniversary and is organizing a committee and chairs. Some of the initial steps the committee will take are expected to focus on a physical evaluation of the venue by an architecture and design firm and the accumulation of archival information. The evaluation will look at minimal aesthetic enhancements that could occur prior to the gala in October 2016. Archival information will be used to promote the anniversary through media, possible book publication, program notes, etc.


Wortham Theater Center

A total of 28,890 arts patrons attended 25 performances during the month of November including Tosca by Houston Grand Opera and The Nutcracker by Houston Ballet.

The Anti-Defamation League Voices in Harmony-Houston in Concert Against Hate were honored by the Houston Grand Opera with their stories interwoven with musical performances; Father Nesti, Director, and Founder of the Center for Faith and Culture at the University of St. Thomas was awarded the Ecumenism Award, given annually to an individual who furthers greater harmony and cooperation in our communities.

Decorations have been placed on both the interior and exterior of the Wortham Theater Center and will remain throughout the holiday season. The 29th Annual Wortham Tree Lighting Ceremony, a free annual event, took place in November and was widely attended.

Renovations to the 24-hour Security Post at Wortham's stage door were completed to improve safety for security guards and to better serve guests entering the theater.

New Year Eve Event:  Houston First Corporation is the presenting sponsor for the New Year’s Eve event taking place in the Theater District. Admission is free and open to the public from 7 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. All HFC venues, the Wortham Theater Center, Fish Plaza, Jones Plaza, Alley Theatre and Hard Rock Café will be utilized during the event.  The main stage for headliner The B-52s will be located on Smith Street north of the intersection at Capital Street.


Convention Facilities
George R. Brown Convention Center

The George R. Brown (GRB) team directs facility operations, parking operations and event and guest services. The following is a summary of activity within these three areas:

Total event attendance at the GRB in November was 71,272.  Event and Guest Services hosted four major shows – the 56th Annual Autorama, 2015 World Weight Lifting Championships, Tank Truck Week 2015 and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The World Weight Lifting Championships show was an internationally televised event on CNN and welcomed international guests from 114 countries. Attendance was the largest in their history and the training area in Hall B3 was the largest ever assembled. 

In addition, the team hosted 19 non-convention events including Get Motivated, Howard Fuller Book Tour, Space Com Conference and Houston Mini Maker Faire.

Convention District Parking utilized 32,894 parking spaces in November for events, shows and meetings: Convention District Garage: 11,930; Lots 2, 4 and 8: 2,725; Hilton Garage: 12,730; and Tundra Garage: 5,509. Additionally, the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools heavily utilized the south transit Center. 

Although the transit center is primarily used for bus-related passenger pick-up and drop-off, it is also used by valet parking during non-scheduled bus activity. This month, the transit center was also used as the staging area for the Bike Houston Moonlight Ramble event.

Construction Status

Houston First is redeveloping the Convention District. The following is a full discussion of these important activities:

The pace of construction on the GRB continues to accelerate. New north drive lanes have been poured in front of Hall E. Waterproofing and paver installation has begun on the balconies. Glass is being installed on new Lobby C – south section. Construction continues on the bridge to connect to the GRB. Glass is being installed on the Rusk Street sky bridge which connects to the north office tower and parking garage. Glass installation on the North Office Tower continues and has now reached the 8th floor. Construction continues on the Marriott Marquis meeting room and ballroom levels.

Lastly, the chilled replacement project in the main plant has begun by dismantling old chillers to make way for the new equipment.




Destination Sales

The Destination Sales team continues to strive to successfully achieve the 2015 booking goals. The following represent November highlighted activity and accomplishments:

The citywide convention sales team continues to pursue new meeting and event opportunities for the convention campus. Overall tentative development for the month of November generated over 39,000 possible room nights for future years with conferences utilizing one of the major convention facilities.  The non-citywide sales team secured nearly 37,000 definite room nights for future conventions while adding an additional 63,000 new tentative room night opportunities.

International sales generated nine leads representing 13,885 possible room nights for future years. Significant bookings include the 6th Congress of the International Human Microbiome Consortium (IHMC) with 700 attendees from around the globe.

Additionally, members of the destination sales team participated in Rejuvenate Marketplace as well as the Professional Convention Management Association Global Summit. These events feature meeting executives from around the country that plan significant events in the corporate, association and specialty markets. International staff participated at IBTM Barcelona, hosted by the United Airlines Belgium Top Meeting Planners trip and supported Delta Airlines Lagos, Nigeria Top Corporate Agents trip.


Destination Services

Destination Services conducted 4 site visits including TrueValue (Feb 2016), Intermodal Association of North America (Sept 2016), NCAA (April 2016) and SkillsUSA (Jun 2021). SkillsUSA was in conjunction with the sales presentation. In addition, the team participated in a promotional attendance trip for HealthCare Design (Nov 2016) and attended the Annual CTA Summit.

Destination Events provided support for Sales and Partnership Development. Sales: OTC Customer Golf Tournament, Skills USA site visit and FOREward Meeting Tradeshow (Austin).  Partnership Development: Hard Hat Tour and Partner Appreciation Event in addition to the SpaceCom Expo VIP Reception.

Employee Engagement delivered a successful “Houston Legends” Executive Event for employees with keynote speaker Hank Moore.


In the month of November, the Tourism Department continued the promotion of Houston as a leisure destination in top markets around the world, with the following activities:

Local Initiatives: The team continues working on the improvement of the information centers at Bush Intercontinental Airport Terminals E and C. The Marketing Matching Grant Program responses exceeded all expectations with 27 proposals received. Final award winners were endorsed by the Joint Tourism Committee at their December meeting. In addition, thirteen area CVB's have expressed interest in joining the Houston and Beyond initiative. Advertising placement has already been identified.

Domestic Leisure Travel: The team continued work with online travel agencies to increase travel by targeting specific markets. The Orbitz.com campaign that promoted the Texas Renaissance Festival (linked to their ticketing system) ended Nov. 27. On Expedia, the team focused on Midwest and upper Midwest markets and offered 30% off booking a Houston hotel between November 15th and January 15th.

Mexico and Latin America: The team conducted a Sales Mission to Mexico City and Monterrey with local hotel partners Crowne Plaza River Oaks, Westin Oaks/Galleria and the Woodlands Resort and Conference Center, to introduce the new Director of Tourism and conduct sales and media calls. Media trips included Hyatt Regency Galleria (two publications from Mexico) and United Airlines Brazil Trade with 10 travel agents.

North America: The Tourism team participated in the Texas Tourism Canadian Sales and Media Mission conducting four days of presentations to travel agents and travel media in Toronto. Media trips included Quebec TV “The Rebel Chef” and Calgary’s Uniglobe ONE Trade.

European Trade Shows: The team attended the Brand USA Halloween event for 150 travel agents and tour operators in Frankfurt, Germany, the World Travel Market in London with 40 appointments, (19 media & 21 trade), DERTOUR consumer & trade show in Hamburg with 1,500 travel agents from Germany and the IBTM Trade Show for meeting planners in Barcelona with 22 appointments and one media visit with The Mail Online UK.

Additional Media Visits: Sanlih E TV ”The Borderless World” from Taiwan, 3.5 million viewers; Time Out Magazine Australia; Simply You Magazine New Zealand.
International Media Value for November: $ 574,419; International audience:  5,834,548.

Corporate Affairs

The Membership Appreciation Holiday Open House took place in the month of November at the Wortham Center Grand Foyer.

The 2015 Member Supporters Recognition included: 1st Response Medic Services, Adam Aronson Photography, Antone's Famous Po' Boys, Balloon Lady Houston, Bovine and Barley, Buller Photography, Cacao & Cardamom, Hughes Hangar, Lexis Florist, JM Productions, JSAV, Mr. Peeples, Odyssey Limousine Services, Original Ninfa's, Painting With A Twist, Peli Peli, PRP Entertainment, The Fish and Towne Park Valet.


Marketing and Communications

During the month of November, several stories ran as a result of public relations pitches and GHCVB activity including pieces in Global Traveler USA, Washington Post, Houston Chronicle here and here, Great Day Houston, Papercity, Savoirethere.com,Texas Meetings + EventsKUHF’s Bauer Business FocusSmart Meetings and TMC News.

The GHCVB's network of websites generated over 900,000 visits in the month of November. Media Value was $861,000 with an audience of 822 Million people nationally.

In addition, the Marketing team relaunched Visit Houston's website with a new design. The site is now a responsive website which means that it adapts to optimize the viewing experience based on the size of the screen viewing it (Desktop, Tablet, Phone). Listings are now presented based on the geo-location of the user. Additionally, users can now build out a custom itinerary by adding listings to their “cart” while they browse the site (the cart can be seen at top right and it is called “My Trip”). Lastly, the team has switched providers for booking hotels from ARES to Expedia. The switch is anticipated to boost conversions due to increased trust in the Expedia brand.

Multiple videos were finalized in November including a video chat with the King of the Texas Renaissance Festival (part of a monthly series with Houston celebrities and attractions), the new Visitor's Center video, and a documentary style promotional video of the HUE Mural Festival.

Lastly, the team hosted 5 press visits to promote Houston including media with Chicago Tribune, Midlife Road Trip, Consequence of Sound, BBC America and Ranch & Coast.

Film Commission

During the month of November, Houston hosted 20 film and video productions resulting in 48 filming days with direct expenditures of $1,433,500 and an economic impact of more than $4,300,500. Some of these projects include:

Commercials: Reebok, Papa John’s, Honda Civic and Taco Cabana.

Television Series: Sisters In Law, Historically Incorrect, Livin Lozada, Genealogy Roadshow, Cuisinier Rebel Prend L’Air, and That’s Genius.

Feature Films: Eli’s Room.

The Houston Film Commission (HFC) attended and networked during the American Film Market in Los Angeles, CA. The HFC attended and networked during a presentation of Houston Film Commission’s Texas Filmmaker’s Showcase by the Austin Film Society, Austin, TX.  Attendance and sponsorship of CineSpace: NASA Imagery film competition and screening. Attendance and sponsorship of Houston Cinema Arts Festival.



New members joining the GHCVB in November included: Al's Formal Wear, Black Rose Agency, Little Dipper, Poison Girl, Antidote Coffee, Black Hole Coffee House, MATCH - Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston, Safeway Drivers, Inc., Texas Beer Bus, The Spearhead Group Inc., Trinity Media, Inc. Click here for a complete list of GHCVB members.

Finance & Administration

Community Outreach / November 2015

Houston Minority Supplier Development Council Expo, Houston Minority Supplier Development Council Membership Meeting, National Hispanic Professional Organization Membership Meeting, Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala, Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum Presentation, Greater Houston Partnership State of Metro, Houston Minority Supplier Development Council IT Group Meeting and City Wide Club of America, Thanksgiving & Christmas Feasts.

Technical Outreach / November 2015
Companies provided Technical Outreach this month includes the following:

SLC Contractors, Diverse Consulting Enterprise, L.A. Williams Law Firm, Diversegy, Status Construction, Ipsum General Contractors, Garcia Clinics, Excel Global Partners – Recruiting, Kacal’s-Auto & Truck Services, 24 Hour Notary Houston, Payton’s Blend, Allied Associates Commercial Floors, Inc., Lyncverse Technologies, AACANN, Inc., Aztec, Ursin’s Energy, Beal’s Legacy, Town & Country Luxury Limousine, Best Health Solutions and RdlR Architects.

For the full financial management and accountability report for November, click here.



No updates this month.