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Groups Vying to Be First Conference at New Hotel

"We Will Move Forward Aggressively,"
Says Shirley Roberts

November 4, 2002       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Shirley Roberts - Executive Director of the Bay Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Dignataries were on hand to turn the first shovel of dirt at the grounbreaking - Photo by Tom Kaekel

The recent groundbreaking for the $34.6 million Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center in Bay City has generated a burst of enthusiasm for community development unmatched by any project in recent years.

The phone virtually rang off the hook whenthe hotel/conference center bonds were sold and construction was assured, said Shirley Roberts, executive director of the Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"Everybody wants to be first with their group to have a conference at the center,"she said enthusiastically. "We received a lot of calls from people in Bay City and Bay County who are involved in reunions, state organization meetings and conferences. The C-V Bureau is collecting names and addresses and generating leads to be referred to Hotel Investors Service (HIS), the firm which is to be the operator of the center.

What do Bay City and Bay County have to offer that amounts to a destination attraction package?

"We have so much to offer besides the facility itself, which will at least in the short term draw new business here," she said. "We are located in the center of the state and are easily accessible and we have many leisure time activities, the planetarium, museum, boat trips on the river. We can createa real inviting package and destination for these folks. We have real creative options they can't get in other communities."

Mrs. Roberts and her staff will meet Nov. 6 with HIS to coordinate marketing plans and inquiries. "We will move forwardaggressively," she said.

Between the two properties downtown, the new building and the Bay City Holiday Inn, the C-V Bureau will have 250 rooms to sell beginning in 2004, she noted.

"We also will attempt to recruit groups larger in sizeand assist them in finding accommodations," Mrs. Roberts said. The Americinn and Fairfield Inn and Bay Valley Hotel and Resort are other places which have large numbers of rooms, along with numerous smaller motels, she noted.

One exciting prospect for attraction involves BaySail, which operates the Appledore vessels on sailing cruises. Mrs. Roberts explains: "For some time BaySail has been interested in developing a team building program including a land-based component and actual sailing. They would partner with a professional facilitator and offer 1-3 day experiences to meeting and conference planners and corporations."

The C-V Bureau is funded under Public Act 59 which provides that hoteliers may assess themselves to fund a destination marketing organization. A two percent tax on overnight guests in all hotel rooms in Bay City, Bangor, Monitor and Frankenlust townships provides 100 percent of the costs of the C-V Bureau, or about $110,000 a year, she said. Monthly revenue fluctuates according to occupancy and the level of room rates.

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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