Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is among the leading hospitality destinations in the United States. The centers success history can be traced back to the year 1969 when the county government of Orange County began an intensive campaign to market the Orland area as a convention destination. As a result, the state government made several initiatives to raise resources for the construction of the facility (Orange County Government).Information on the official website of the convention indicates that the Florida legislature passed a law in 1977 that allowed counties to collect a Tourism Development Tax in addition to the sales tax on hotel stays to raise revenue for the facility. In 1979, Orland Central Park agreed to donate land on International Drive for the initial construction and gave the Orange County Board of Commissioners (BCC) the option of a 45-acre land for future expansion. Phase one of the project began in 1980 and ended in1983.In 1984, the BCC spearheaded enactment of further legislations that raised more money for the second phase of the project which commenced in February 1987 and ended in January 1989, adding a total of 250,000 square feet to the facility. Phases two A, three and four followed in the subsequent years beginning 1990 to August 1996 at a combined cost of $ 431.2 million. The final phase of the project started in 1998 and ended in 2003, raising the total space of the facility to 2.1 million square feet exhibition space.
OCCC is the second-largest convention destination in the United States after Mac Cormick Place in Chicago. It is located on International Drive, 15 minutes drive from Orlando International Airport. The facility offers 2.1 million square feet of space in exhibition space, meeting rooms, theater, 6227 parking slots, lecture hall, food courts, and loading docks. The building is divided into two parts: West building and the North-South part which are then linked at the top by a pedestrian sky-bridge. The roof of the South Concourse is fitted with solar energy panels that generate power, emphasizing the ecological objectives of the facility. There are also several business centers within the building. Major convention events hosted at the facility include International Builders Show, PGA Merchandise Show, ICAST (largest sports fishing show in the world), and International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), among other significant events. The latter event will continue to be held at the facility until 2025 as a result of the extension of the current contract. North America Veterinary Community (NAVC) has also booked the destination for its activities from the year 2017 to 2023(OCC).
The convention center has substantially boosted the local economy since its inception. Statistics indicate that the institution hosts about 200 events every year, translating into 1.4 million attendees. Since it opened its doors in 1983, at least 30 million people have visited the facility with 2014-2015 fiscal years recording the highest figure of more than 1.1 million guests. Customers of the facility include, but not limited to, professional associations, scientific organizations, medical associations, trade shows, educational associations, and religious groups. According to the Orange County Government, the center generates $ 2 billion worth of revenue to the local government. Also, at least 25,000 employees, 1,000 businesses receive a direct benefit, as well as yielding tax savings for Orange County households. Moreover, the clients and employees engage in outreach programs to improve the local communities (OCCC). Marketing strategies that include hosting public events to involve the communities in the promotion of the facility are part of the organizations community outreach programs.
The destination commands several strengths that position it for better prospects in the coming years. Its location at a distance of 15 minutes from the Orlando International Airport continues to offer business opportunities for international events. This is demonstrated in the 47% of visitors using air to access the facility. Also, the 30 years presence in the hospitality industry offers the perfect goodwill to navigate the competitive market. Millions of customers have been hosted in the facility and left to tell the good stories which have solidified the business in spite of the proliferation of new entrants. Furthermore, innovation offers a cutting edge for the facility due to its online service platforms that have been demonstrated through its award-winning innovations for exceptional customer service.
The upsurge in the number of customers is an indication that the OCCC is robust and command various opportunities. The company plans to expand to cater for increased demand for space. Besides, its innovative initiatives offer customers a variety of choices that take into consideration the changing tastes and preferences. Therefore, the decision to put resources into innovation can improve service delivery as well as attract more clients from different parts of the world. Currently, plans are afoot to begin expansion on the campus, a sign of more accommodation and increased business opportunities. Moreover, the eco-friendliness of the facility offer opportunities as customer needs are changing from the standard accommodation. Corporate social responsibility initiatives provide opportunities for local tourism. As competition intensifies, it is important to build community relationships and empower the locals to generate resources that would make them future clients of the facility.
The threats to the OCCC emanate from the proliferation of convention centers not only within the state but also across many regions in the country. Ted Constant Convocation center in Virginia poses a threat to OCCC due its emphasis on innovation which is focused on changing customer needs. The institution offers a variety of hospitality services that take into account the social-cultural diversity of its clientele, and therefore, better placed to adapt to modern hospitality challenges ("Ted Constant Convocation Center, Norfolk, Virginia"). Tampa Convention Centre (TCC) is also a possible threat OCCC competition due its location on the bank of Hillsborough River, offering the customers a feel that of the waters and the opportunity to experience the breeze. Its location in the same state also provides competition for local clients. For instance, TCC will host the Asia America Trade Show and the 46th Annual South Florida International show in August 2016 and October 2016 respectively ("Tampa Convention Center"). These happenings pose competition to the Orlando facility. Moreover, McCormick Place in Chicago continues to lead in attracting the biggest numbers to the hospitality business. Figures show that 2.4 million people visited the facility in the year 2015.It has 2.6 million square feet exhibition space (Ecker 1-2).The features pose a threat to the sustainability of the OCCC due to its superior ability to attract huge numbers as well tapping in on international clients who OCCC would have enjoyed. The massive architectural design, location, longer period of existence gives the facility a cutting edge in the market.
The country has witnessed a substantial increase in the number of hospitality centers in the last two decades. Indications are clear that more and more convention centers are being built. Adaptability to needs of the clients would be essential for sustainable income generation amidst many competitors. Customers no longer consider only the rooms but also want to experience a beautiful ambiance outside after the meetings .Thus, responsiveness to these new needs and preferences is essential to maintain and attract more clients. Besides, most conventions centers are located in urban cores, and as such, have little room for expansions to cater for the new customer needs (McMillin n.p). Constructing facilities outside the main facility may work against the expanding organizations. According to OCCC, the management is considering putting up structures outside the complex because of the limited space. The mentioned issue requires a lot of consideration so as to avoid losing customers to rivals who have been able to circumvent the situation.
OCCC has made significant progress since its inception in 1983.In spite of its success in the industry, the management plans to renovate parts of the facility, construct other facilities outside the campus as a way of dealing with the changing customer needs. Also, the focus will be on aesthetics, amenities, and corporate social responsibilities. These strategies give a promising future for the organization.
Ecker, Danny. "Mccormick Place Attendance Highest Since 2004". Crain's Chicago Business 2016: 1-2. Print.
McMillin, David. "5 Key Trends That Will Impact Convention Centers". Pcma.org. N.p., 2014. Web. 8 July 2016.
Orange County Convention Center". Orange County Convention center. N.p., 2016. Web. 8 July 2016
"Tampa Convention Center". Tampaconventioncenter.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 8 July 2016.
"Ted Constant Convocation Center, Norfolk, Virginia". Constantcenter.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 July 2016.
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