Michael Meyers, general manager of the Greater Richmond Convention Center, says the authority's recent financial report included a misprint. (See our story this week.) The total number of convention attendees in 2010, he says, was actually 296,718, a 13 percent decline from 2009. A little better than the financial report indicates, but still down considerably.
What this year holds is an open question. In an interview Monday, Meyers told me he expects 2011 to remain relatively flat as far as revenue and attendance growth, but in an email Tuesday says the center is forecasting an “8.6 increase over FY2010.” Meyers says the convention center is anticipating 322,099 in overall attendance by the end of June. “This projection is fluid as we have a lot of potential event activity in the remainder of the year which has yet to be confirmed,” he says in the email.
Meyers is in charge of running the center's day-to-day operations, and he's made up much of the shortfall by cutting expenses 5.7 percent on the year. Hosting fewer conventions and conventioneers also means less expense.
Fewer conventions results in less food service revenue, as well. In fiscal 2010, the convention center's primary operating revenue source -- food and beverage service -- declined 42 percent, from $779,364 in 2009 to $448,137 in 2010.