(Photo: The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Nick Schweers)
I had the pleasure this week of attending the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism, held at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center. It was my first time at the conference, and I picked a good one!
Monday morning George Zimmerman, vice president of Travel Michigan, gave an inspiring presentation on the importance of brand reinforcement. The brand in question, of course, was Pure Michigan, and Zimmerman had data and anecdotes showing the nationwide permeation of our state’s multi-year campaign. Last year, 3.8 million out-of-state visitors spent $1.1 billion in Michigan, according to a new report by research firm Longwoods International. That’s the highest spending figure yet recorded.
Zimmerman had another exciting announcement: new funding to help Michigan destinations lure major meetings and events. This year $500,000 will be available for such efforts; next year, that figure will double. The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau is managing the process but the funding is available to all destinations.
Tuesday the conference wrapped up with the unveiling of the 2013 list of AAA Four Diamond hotels. Fifteen hotels in Michigan earned the distinction this year. According to AAA, the agency’s rating system is the only one that conducts professional, on-site evaluations using published guidelines weighted by member priorities. (Note: If you’re attending our Best of Awards party May 16, that’s a perfect night to check out one of the two Grand Rapids hotels that made the list!)
Here are Michigan’s 2013 AAA Four Diamond hotels:
- Birmingham - The Townsend Hotel
- Dearborn - The Dearborn Inn and The Henry Hotel Autograph Collection
- Detroit - Westin Book Cadillac, MotorCity Casino Hotel and the MGM Grand Detroit
- Grand Rapids - Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and JW Marriott Hotel Grand Rapids
- Kalamazoo - Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites
- Mackinac Island - Grand Hotel
- Mount Pleasant - Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort
- Plymouth - The Inn at St. John’s
- Rochester - Royal Park Hotel
- Romulus - The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport
- Southfield - The Westin Southfield
I plan to make it my mission to visit each one. It’s a tough job, but someone has to report from the front lines.
Michigan Meetings + Events