GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Besides the scramble for artists to set up for Wednesday's start to ArtPrize, Grand Rapids hotels and the convention center are preparing for a rush of visitors.
Photos: Art before ArtPrize 2012
Experience Grand Rapids, the area's visitor's bureau, expects at least 5,000 convention visitors during the course of the world's largest art competition.
"From a meeting planner's perspective, it's a wonderful canvas of activities," said Janet Korn of Experience Grand Rapids.
Korn told 24 Hour News 8 more companies and organizations want to be a part of the ArtPrize experience, and some area hotels agree.
"We're seeing businesses start to just plan some of their small meeting around (ArtPrize) because it gives them a built in event their attendees can do," said Heather Emmons of the Holiday Inn downtown.
Emmons told us her location has seen at least a 10% jump in conference room reservations. Smaller venues like the Holiday Inn are not factored into the 5,000 convention visitors Experience Grand Rapids cites, so that number can be considered a conservative estimation.
ArtPrize comes at a time when there are many conventions anyway, Emmons said.
"We were already busy (before ArtPrize), but then to add on an event like ArtPrize increased it exponentially," she said. "We rest up when we can. Particularly in August."
Experience Grand Rapids cites certain travel indicators that show more visitors are choosing the area.
Through July, there was nearly a 10% increase in hotel room occupancy compared to the same time last year.
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