We Didn’t Lose the GOP Convention Because of Hotel Rooms
The 2016 Republican Convention will be hosted in Cleveland. Kansas City was considered but not chosen. Kansas City leaders want you to believe it is because Kansas City does not have enough convention hotel rooms. This claim does not stand up to scrutiny. According to Derek Klaus of VisitKC.com, the Smith Travel Report’s (STR) numbers for April 2015 assess Kansas City with 290 hotel properties and 31,970 rooms. In downtown Kansas City, STR counts 15 properties with 3,993 rooms. According to a November 2014 piece in the Cleveland Plain Dealer,
The Cleveland metro area – roughly defined by STR, a hospitality research firm, as Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake, Geauga, Medina and Ashtabula counties – is home to nearly 22,000 hotel rooms, up about 4 percent from two years ago. In downtown Cleveland, the increase in room inventory is even more dramatic: up 16 percent since late 2012, to 3,945 rooms, according to STR.
Cleveland, which is considered a lower-tier market for conventions than Kansas City, has the same number of rooms in the downtown area. The Kansas City region has many more hotel rooms than Cleveland. Cleveland won the GOP convention likely due to other important political considerations that have nothing to do with the specifics of convention bids, including hotel room count. Keep this in mind next time you hear someone claim that Kansas City needs to spend tens of millions of dollars on a convention hotel.