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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor
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For Immediate Release
New Convention Center Program Aimed At Bringing More Business To Knoxville

March 5, 2004 - Mayor Bill Haslam is encouraging Knoxvillians to get behind a new Knoxville Convention Center program called Think Knoxville! aimed at attracting more business to the city and the facility.

"We are aggressively marketing our state-of-the-art convention center," Haslam said. "This is an opportunity for everyone in Knoxville to join in that effort."

With Think Knoxville!, the mayor is asking Knoxvillians to use their business and professional connections to bring conventions and meetings to the city.

"If your business, professional association, or other organization is planning a convention or meeting, I highly recommend our first-class facility for events of all types," Haslam said.

Knoxvillians work in businesses with nationwide reach, serve on corporate boards, and are members of professional, educational, religious and civic organizations - all of which need excellent meeting space from time to time.

"We want people to know that Knoxville is a great place to visit and that the Knoxville Convention Center is a great place to hold a meeting or convention," Haslam said. "I am proud that the facility won the 2003 Prime Site Award from Facilities and Destinations Magazine."

Haslam encouraged anyone interested in booking a convention or special event for their organization to call the Knoxville Convention Center at (865)522-5669 or visit the Web site at www.knoxvilleconventioncenter.com.

"You will be helping generate economic activity for our community, from filling hotel rooms to drawing diners to our local restaurants," Haslam said.

In addition to national and regional conventions and company meetings, the center is available for wedding receptions, banquets, and fund-raisers.

Susan Eaton, acting general manager of the convention center, said the Think Knoxville! program will include a series of newspaper ads, meetings with business and community leaders to build support, direct mail, and information on Web sites and in publications.

"'Southern Hospitality, All Day Every Day' is our new slogan," Eaton said. "The Knoxville Convention Center wants to let visitors know that they can expect a friendly, customer service-oriented reception when they bring their conventions or meetings to the convention center."

The theme 'Southern Hospitality, All Day Every Day.' will be placed on everything from contract proposals, ads, notepads, buttons, and Web sites.

"Southern Hospitality evaluation forms will be placed throughout the convention center to measure our success," Eaton said. "Employees will be recognized for superior customer service."

The Knoxville Convention Center opened in 2002 and hosted more than 240 events and about 350,000 people in the first 12 months.

The convention center's 120,000 square-foot exhibition hall could hold the lower level of Neyland Stadium, and the 30,000 square-foot ballroom is the largest in East Tennessee.

The Knoxville Convention Center is a state-of the-art facility with $1.75 million in technology infrastructure, including more than 50 miles of cable to support high-speed, high-quality voice, data and video communications, nine 50-inch plasma screen video monitors; and hundreds of programmable phones, many with data ports for Internet access.

Guests who use the facility overwhelmingly rate their experience as a high-quality one. The 2003 Prime Site Award from Facilities and Destinations magazine was based on the opinions of meeting planners and trade-show managers.

SMG, the manager of the facility, is the world's largest public management group managing more than 45 convention centers.

For Immediate Release
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