Did you know Grand Rapids and Kent County has an organization solely dedicated to promoting the area as a great place to visit? That organization is Experience Grand Rapids, and it is what the hospitality industry calls a destination marketing organization (DMO). As a DMO, Experience Grand Rapids encourages people who don’t live in the area to come to Kent County for fun, for business, and oftentimes, for both.
Experience Grand Rapids has two main goals. The first: Inspire people to come to Grand Rapids for leisure travel or for a business meeting or convention. The result of the organization’s promotional efforts are millions of dollars in direct and indirect revenues and taxes. These funds are an outcome of their second goal: Strengthening the economic vitality and quality of life for the people of this region.
The people who work for Experience Grand Rapids understand that a visit can be a powerful thing—not just for the visitor but also for the place visited. As Maura Gast, a travel industry leader, said: “It all starts with a visit.” She explained that sentiment by saying:
“If we build a place where people want to visit, we will build a place where people want to live.
If we build a place where people want to live, we will build a place where people want to work.
If we build a place where people want to work, we will build a place where business has to be.”
Of course, these economic benefits aren’t only due to Experience Grand Rapids’ efforts. The organization works with local businesses, attractions and organizations to make the Grand Rapids area a better place to live, work and visit.
Its work and that of many other community partners are part of the reason why investment continues in the area, even with the ongoing hardships presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also why Grand Rapids enjoys a national reputation as a premier destination for meetings and events.
To follow Experience Grand Rapids’ work in improving the local economy by attracting meetings, conventions and leisure travelers to the area, sign up for the quarterly Friends of Experience Grand Rapids newsletter.