Visit Indy CEO to Indianapolis: It’s a Small World After All

You know the events industry has started to turn a corner when the CEO of a major convention bureau says he doesn’t want a convention center expansion.

GenCon imageEarlier this week, Visit Indy CEO Leonard Hoops told the Indianapolis Business Journal the Indiana Convention Center did not need an expansion anywhere close to the one in 2011 that cost $275 million.

As it is, Hoops told the newspaper, “The south end of the convention center can be difficult to sell separately.”

His remarks were apparently inspired by suggestions at Indianapolis City Hall and in the local media that an expansion was necessary to keep Gen Con – a gaming event that drew 60,000 people to town earlier this month – coming back.

Comments left on the online version of the Indianapolis Business Journal article included nuggets like “Visit Indy needs a new CEO” and “He is completely out of touch,” proving only that old habits die hard.

This follows by less than a month the suggestion by Comic-Con International Board President John Rogers that San Diego likewise stop worrying about a convention center expansion: Comic-Con doesn’t need the extra space anyway.

Comic-Con and Gen Con fans, along with attendees at every other kind of event, no longer are satisfied with being herded like sheep into cavernous exhibit halls and ballrooms where they need a giant video screen to get a decent look at the keynote speaker.

This is the era of personalization in the events industry, in which less is indeed more. Some event organizers are starting to get it, as apparently is at least one convention bureau CEO: Leonard Hoops of Visit Indy.

Michael Hart is a business consultant and writer who focuses on the events industry. He can be reached at michaelhart@michaelgenehart.com.