by Valerie Verkamp
Kansas City is focused on sending out a bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Behind the scenes, a scramble is going on.
The scramble deals with the need to come up with another 1,000 available hotel rooms to meet the bid requirements.
It is estimated the event would bring in more than $250 million in new spending.
Kansas City would seem an attractive location to host the event due to its central location and time zone. It is said that anyone in the country can arrive by air within 3½ hours of flight time and 55 million Americans are within a day's drive to Kansas City.
But bid proposals are due Feb. 26 and Kansas City is vigorously trying to meet the demands of the Republican National Committee.
Specifically, Kansas City is trying to come up with those additional 1,000 hotel rooms.
Pursuant to the Republican National Committee's guidelines, qualifying hotels must provide 90 percent of their rooms to the event's participants.
Jennifer Goering, executive director of the Platte County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said 104 hotels in the Kansas City metropolitan area have signed the agreement.
Goering said cities from all over the metro area are providing hotel rooms. To the east, cities like Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit are participating and to the west, there is Kansas City, Kan. To the south, Olathe and Overland Park and to the north, hotels as far as Platte City have submitted contracts.
Unfortunately, as of today Kansas City is still about 1,000 rooms short of meeting the RNC's guideline. However, this has not deterred Kansas City from continuing to put together its bid to host the 2016 event.
Goering has reached out to hotel managers across Platte County to see whether they could each possibly produce a few more room nights.
Goering has also called upon several smaller hotel chains that have thus far been off the Kansas City CVB's radar.
In Platte County, only a single KCI hotel opted against participating at the direction of their sister hotel property, said Goering.
Of the participating hotels, many airport hotels were unable to provide up to 90 percent of their available rooms since they have pre-existing contracts with airlines or government agencies.
Despite this challenge, many remain optimistic that Kansas City will be able to put together a solid bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.
“I think we will meet the need,” said Goering. “We will get the 16,000 rooms needed to submit the bid, plus 1,000 suites.”
An equally difficult demand Kansas City must meet in the near future will be providing sufficient transportation to the event.
Some observers question whether Kansas City has the necessary transportation infrastructure, since the Kansas City metropolitan area is so spread out.
A competing city announced that all of its available hotel rooms are one mile from their proposed convention arena.
The Republican National Committee will announce the selected city sometime this summer and the RNC convention will be held in June of 2016.