DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Downtown Des Moines Hilton will celebrate its one-year anniversary later in the month. In the year it has been open, Catch Des Moines says it has been an effective recruiting tool for some big-name conferences they can bring to the city.
“When they opened up the new space at the Iowa Events Center, we went back and reached out to a number of groups that we thought would use that space, and they just would not use it without an attached hotel,” said Catch Des Moines VP of Community Engagement Vicki Comegys.
Now that it is up and running, Catch Des Moines has been able to land groups that were once off limits.
“We have Christian Church Disciples of Christ that will be bringing in their group. They’ll be in for a long time. Over 1,200 rooms are used each night, and to have them in is a fabulous group. We have [also] booked Lions International for 2021,” said Comegys.
In addition, Catch Des Moines has gotten a board meeting with the NAACP to try and get the conference to the city in 2021 or 2022. That would mean 5,000 delegates coming to the metro.
“When these people come to our community, they go everywhere. They’re going to Jordan Creek, they’re going to West Des Moines, they’re going to Ankeny, they’re seeing all these new and vibrant places that are out there. They’re spending their money, so they’re supporting our locally owned businesses,” said Comegys.
It’s not just major conferences, the hotel has been used by people like Tom Toycen, who has a booth at the Iowa Deer Classic.
“Proximity is everything. It’s a five-minute walk or less to get from here to there. My booth is maybe 200 yards. I can get there in just a few minutes, it’s great. It’s a brand-new place, all the amenities, Wi-Fi, charging ports, everything. A little bit farther away is kind of a long walk, you do it, it’s OK, but you always want to stay some place that’s as close as possible,” said Toycen.
Catch Des Moines says they are actively pursuing 25 major conferences for the coming years, and Hilton has their own sales team which also tries to book events for the city.