COBO Conference & Exhibition Center

Components: Convention Center

SAG completed a feasibility study for expansion of Detroit’s COBO Conference & Exhibition Center and for a 1,200-room convention headquarter hotel. The market analysis revealed that there was not market support for convention center expansion or development of a new hotel. Nevertheless, a number of recommendations were made involving Center operational policies and improvements that needed to be made to the destination.

From an operational perspective, a key recommendation was to create a booking policy that favored events that generate overnight stays. No such policy was in place and room night generating events were often unable to book the center due to bookings by low room night generating events and events having longer than normal set-up periods. From the destination perspective, recommendations were made to create economic development policies that fostered the redevelopment of a number of abandoned historic hotels to provide lodging facilities to convention delegates.

SAG was also engaged to complete a benchmarking analysis of the COBO Center with comparable/competitive facilities throughout the country. Categories benchmarked included available function square feet, annual attendance, annual room nights generated by the facility, budgetary spending, and estimated economic impact. The analysis revealed the COBO Center was underperforming the majority of its peer facilities.

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