Editorial: Pigeon Forge wise to create housing bureau for event planners

Mar. 27, 2013 @ 11:50 PM

If you’re going to be a player in the tourist game, and go after those big conventions that attract thousands, you have to stay up with your competitors fighting for the same events and same dollars. The city of Pigeon Forge has done that with its approval of a housing bureau that will make it easier for event planners to book rooms.

The bureau, discussed for a year, passed unanimously during Monday’s City Commission meeting. It could have been controversial or sparked opposition. It didn’t. It was a new concept so there were lots of questions as the process evolved, but frankly the idea makes sense and won over any skeptics.

Landing the National Quartet Convention while construction of the convention center was under way convinced local officials that the housing bureau had to become a reality on a faster track. In fact, the organizers of the quartet convention insisted on it.

The housing bureau will be a one-stop shop for all things lodging. If you own a hotel, motel, cabin rental firm or condominium complex in the city, and you want a piece of a major convention, then this is for you. When an event planner wants the best deal he can get for his guests, he’ll ask the housing bureau, which will then send the word out to members and nonmembers. You send along a proposal, all proposals are sent en masse to the event planner, who looks through them and decides what he’ll recommend to the people signed up to attend the event.

Of course, the housing bureau will be only as good and effective as the people who put it all together. City Commissioner Randal Robinson asked some pertinent questions before he voted yes, seeking to be sure that the process will be fair to all. The contract sets out how it will work, and there are assurances from all involved that anyone who wants to make a proposal to an event planner will have that proposal sent along with the others. If things are not run properly, those aggrieved parties are sure to make their displeasure known.

For now, though, let’s be glad the lengthy development of the bureau is over. It’s an important step in putting Pigeon Forge up there with the big boys in pursuit of and service to the kinds of conventions any tourist area would want.