Religious conventions flocking to Fort Wayne

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The staff, he says, has been “intentionally marketing” to religious groups for about two decades, routinely attending the trade show of the Religious Convention and Meeting Association, where booking business is done, to sell the faithful on Fort Wayne.

Church groups make up only about 25 percent of the city’s convention business, O'Connell says, but about half the groups have returned after booking once.

“Our business, the hospitality business, is all about relationships,” he says.

That’s also true with churches, says Josie O’Donnell, group sales manager for VisitFortWayne. Even though technology is increasingly used during meetings of religious groups, it hasn’t supplanted the need for people to meet, she says.

“People still do want to see people in person and meet people and talk to people face to face,” O’Donnell says. “It’s the fellowship, and that’s important to church people.”

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Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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