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January 13, 2013

It’s halftime for fiscal year

NORMAN — The calendars turned to 2013 on Jan. 1 and it also marked the halfway mark for our fiscal year.

Now that our holiday decorations are put away, the second half of the year has started for the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau and we are getting ready to hit the road to encourage travel to our city to both the group and leisure markets.

The first big trip will be to Minneapolis later in January as one of our sales managers and a hotel partner attend the annual Religious Conference Management Association gathering. RCMA — which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012 — is a professional, nonprofit, multi-faith organization of more than 3,000 members who are responsible for planning and/or managing meetings, tutorials, conferences, conventions, and assemblies for their religious organizations. Norman’s central location — near the intersection of major interstate highways and close to the geographical center of the continental U.S. — is a point of emphasis to these planners.

Successfully booking just one two-night conference of 300 people could mean a windfall of more than $175,000 of new dollars into the Norman economy which makes the hustle and bustle of standing at a booth for hours on end, setting up appointments and rubbing elbows during networking events a successful venture.

In February, the CVB will be attending two different weekend events to encourage leisure travel to Norman throughout the spring and summer travel seasons. The first will be Fort Worth’s three-day Vacation, Leisure and Outdoor Show followed by a three-day Women’s Fair in Wichita, Kan.

Efforts and initiatives like these to encourage overnight travel to Norman in both the group and leisure markets are on the upswing. During the first half of this fiscal year, occupancy rates in Norman reached 67.1 percent, which represented an increase of 7 percent during the same time period in FY 2012 (60.1 percent) and a whopping 12.3 percent increase versus FY 2011 (54.

Stefanie Brickman, CTA, is the communications manager of the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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