Great news for Cincinnati’s tourist economy: The moose are coming.
After a year of isolation, the International Moose Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center — which is, just to be clear, a five-day meeting of people involved in the Loyal Order of the Moose and not a caucus of forest-dwelling ungulates — is bringing thousands of people into the region’s hotels, restaurants and businesses.
“Certainly we're going to go to the ball park, there's going to be various entertainment programs,” said attendee Mark Klein, who came to Cincinnati from California for the event. “We want to see the riverfront."
It’s a heartening sign for the local hospitality industry, which struggled and scrimped to survive a locked-down 2020. Some Cincinnati-area hotels saw their occupancy rates drop to 16%.
“Hotels that typically run 70% occupancy dropped down to about 20%,” said MeetNKY CEO Julie Kirkpatrick. “If you’re gauging how far the decline was, it was worse than 9/11. Worse than the financial disaster of 2008. It was unprecedented.”
Randie Adam, VP of marketing for the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau, estimated that Moose International brought 5,000 attendees to the Tri-State.
“They’re staying in 22 different hotels in the region,” she added. “So they are from here in downtown out to the airport. We’ve got 40 buses shuttling them to downtown and back.”
Adam said the Duke Energy Convention Center has hosted two smaller conventions since the start of 2021, but the International Moose Convention kicks off a series of much bigger engagements through the end of the year. Other conventions listed on the center’s calendar include the Mennonite Church USA Convention in early July, multiple bridal shows, and the two-day Cannabis Industry Summit & Expo.