Ottawa Innkeepers To Cooperate

    GRAND HAVEN — The Grand Haven-Spring Lake Area Visitors Bureau has launched two initiatives to expand commercial business.

    The bureau says it proposes building business by hosting more business meetings and banquets and by promoting the area as a travel destination through stronger ties between local lodging establishments.

    The formation of a new lodging committee seeks to bring motels and hotels in the area served by the Grand Haven-Spring Lake Area Visitors Bureau closer together to work on issues of mutual concern.

    Among those issues, according to bureau Director Marci Cisneros, are common policies on referrals, improving an online reservation system that travelers coming to the area can access, and developing packages for groups that are planning a visit and need a large block of rooms.

    On a broader level, Cisneros added, the lodging panel will enable the bureau to put a little more focus on a key element of the local tourism economy and help to better coordinate marketing efforts for the Grand Haven-Spring Lake area

    “They have business expertise and we would like to be more open to that,” she said.

    “It’s a huge destination builder and a relationship builder when we all come together.”

    The visitors bureau’s membership includes 21 lodging establishments in northern Ottawa County offering 621 rooms. For participants, the new organization will provide a good networking vehicle within their own industry.

    The formation of the lodging committee complements a new effort to better market the Grand Haven-Spring Lake area as a destination for events such as corporate retreats and strategic planning sessions and other business gatherings or banquets.

    The bureau recently joined the Michigan Society of Association Executives that will provide access to a database of meeting planners and corporate personnel statewide who make decisions on where to hold business meetings.

    The membership is part of the bureau’s work to give higher priority to the meeting and convening market, which provides a strong complement to the leisure tourism trade in town, Cisneros said.

    “It’s a market that hasn’t been pursued in our area,” she said.

    “We want to at least be in the playing field and the arena.”

    Driving the bureau to increase efforts to attract more meeting and convening business are improvements at a variety of facilities in the past year or two and future developments.

    The Spring Lake Holiday Inn and Grand Haven Golf Club have undergone renovations of late to better accommodate banquet and business meetings.

    A major expansion is planned for the City of Grand Haven’s Community Center, and a new facility being built in Ferrysburg — the Trillium Banquet and Conference Center on Van Wagoner Road, west of U.S. 31 — will handle events involving up to 600 people.

    Grand Haven’s attractiveness as a leisure travel destination “is one of the key factors” in promoting the area to the meeting and convening market, Cisneros said.

    The idea is that after a daylong business meeting or strategy session, attendees can then enjoy a relaxing afternoon or evening in town.

    “We want to implement the community into their agenda and we have the community to do it,” Cisneros said. “You have to have the image to compete in the meeting and convening market and we’ve got that.”   

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