Convention Center Bookings Change

OCEAN CITY – Officials say they will be using new criteria to book events at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center.

Last week, officials presented members of the Ocean City Tourism Commission with a review of ongoing improvements at the convention center. As the third phase of renovations proceeds, officials say they are also working to revamp bookings.

“In the last three months we have implemented new booking criteria and we’ve been slowly bringing that on,” said Kim Mueller, director of sales. “Priority is given now to the level of economic impact on the community. It’s no longer you’ve been doing business here for 20 years so you can come back and book it for years out. It’s a hard conversation, but it’s about bringing that economic impact into town.”

Roland E. Powell Convention Center Executive Director Larry Noccolino said the new booking criteria would likely impact local, consumer-level shows, such as home and garden shows. He said factors such as projected revenues and room nights are also taken into account.

“We’re not talking about the car shows or BikeFest, even though they are consumer shows,” he explained. “They drive room nights like crazy. So we’re looking at room nights first, then time of year. We’re looking at everything … It’s difficult, but it has to be done.”

Noccolino said the change is one of many that are occurring at the convention center. He also highlighted the new paint, carpeting and artwork installed on the first floor of the building. He said work will continue throughout the winter months.

“We’re moving right along, and we’re really happy with the way things look so far,” he said.

For months, crews have been working on a phased project to modernize the Ocean City convention center with new paint and carpet in a color scheme that matches the town’s new branding. Officials told commission members last week that new wallpaper and simulcast screens would also be added to the Performing Arts Center.

This will give the PAC personality and create interest,” Mueller said.

She noted that the goal of the renovation was to create a visually appealing center that suited the needs of clients and community members.

“Overall, the main entrance and lobby, it’s a lot of color. It’s really fun and lighthearted,” she said. “The rest of the building is going to be a bit more monotone to allow groups to bring in their personality. And it’s a little more mature upstairs.”

Officials also highlighted the new screens located on the exterior of the convention center.

“They look fantastic,” Noccolino said. “You can actually see them from the road.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.