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County courts conventions

Ray Gillen, chairman of Metroplex announced Friday, Feb. 6, that the organization has been working with the Chamber of Schenectady County to recruit conferences and meetings to the downtown Schenectady area.

With 14 events scheduled for the coming months, Gillen said, the entire county will benefit financially from the increased activity.

Meeting planners are looking for different venues, said Gillen, adding that Schenectady has the unique spaces people are looking for.

Last year, Metroplex provided $45,000 to the Chamber of Schenectady County to help support efforts to attract more conference and meeting business to the area.

According to the National Convention and Visitors Bureau, meeting visitors contribute about $200 per person per day to the local economy.

"These small groups are coming in for two to three days, and they have 100 people," said Gillen. "You can do the numbers. It's significant and it's nice to see that activity."

The joint effort of Metroplex and the Chamber is designed to create additional economic activity for county restaurants and hotels, as well as increasing sales tax and "bed tax" revenue.

Area hotels, as well as restaurants and entertainment venues, have also done their part to attract meeting business.

"Both the Holiday Inn and the Hampton Inn have booked some great meetings, conferences and banquets this month and through spring of this year," said Greg Schahet of Schahet Hotels in a written statement. "And most of these groups are not from the immediate area so we're seeing a real good diversity in the groups staying with us."

Gail Kehn, vice president of visitors services for the Chamber of Schenectady noted that this is something that benefits all of the properties.

"If you had one of those meetings come in, every one of our hotels would be booked," said Kehn.

As an example of how multiple venues in Schenectady would benefit from these conferences, she said that Glen Sanders Mansion might have an opening dinner and the Schenectady Museum might have an opening reception.

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