VisitKC looks to salvage Kansas City's convention biz soon, if it can

KMBZ News Staff
April 30, 2020 - 12:20 pm
a view of downtown Kansas City, Missouri from the south looking north

Getty / tomofbluesprings

Kansas City, MO - There are a few constant things about Kansas City in springtime - storms, dandelions, and conventions.  

With pandemic emergency orders restricting travel for both business and pleasure, and with concern over the actual virus, the Kansas City hospitality industry has taken a hit.

Late-spring and early-summer is usually prime conference season, says Derek Klaus, communications director for Visit KC.

There have been "about 70 cancellations to date, and that’s for the impacted period so far from March to today," said Klaus. "That’s about 140,000 room nights, which is essentially 140,000 bookings.”

That translates to about $123 million in lost revenues for convention halls, hotels and other hospitality services.

Some hotels, popular with convention-goers, like the Adams Mark and the Crossroads Hotel, have shuttered indefinitely.

And there's the Loews. A brand new, $367 million, 800-room convention center anchor hotel that was set to open back on April 2.


“We’re working with the Loews day-to-day, because there are groups that were attracted to specific hotel properties such as the Loews' and the Crossroads Hotel, that while they’re on pause, they’re hoping that they’ll be open at a safe time," said Klaus.

Klaus says of all the cancelled conventions, conferences, traveling groups and shows, Visit KC is in talks with nearly 50 to make arrangements to come to Kansas City later this fall or early 2021.

That would equate to about $55 million in clawed back or delayed revenue, he says.

But will people feel safe enough to travel, and attend large conferences in just a few months’ time? That remains to be seen. 


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