has made use of the Georgia Dome, home
football stadium of the NFL’s Atlanta
But the Georgia Dome was being
phased out in favor of the shiny, new
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, complete with
a retractable roof. The new stadium construction was originally slated to be completed on March 1, 2017, three months
before Primerica’s convention date. But 15
months before it was due to open, it was
clear the stadium would not be ready (
today, it’s open for business).
Meeting planner Lynn Williams calmly
began looking for a replacement venue.
She and Debbie Thomas, executive vice
president of meetings and conventions
for Primerica, were considering three to
four alternatives, but were immediately
impressed with how fast representatives
from Indianapolis got back to them.
Within days of Garcia’s return phone
call, Williams and Thomas had a full pro-
posal on their desks. One week later they
were in Indy for a site visit.
Everything continued to move quickly.
Visit Indy’s Arnheim says the city was
able to lock down a room block within
a week and a half — about two to three
times quicker than is normally possible.
“We knew this wasn’t a typical negotiation
— there wasn’t time,” Arnheim says. “But
we’re fortunate to have strong, ongoing rela-
tionships with our partners in the city. There
were a lot of follow-up emails, and we got it
That impressed Primerica’s Thomas. “We
really noticed the teamwork that exists with
their hotels,” she says. “They’re all competi-
tors for business, but they all worked together
as a city to get our convention business.”
Indeed, the economic impact of Primerica’s
convention is estimated to be $34 million.
Some perspective: Indianapolis has 7,200
downtown hotel rooms ( 4,700 of which are
connected to the 750,000-square-foot Indiana
Convention Center and the 63,000-seat Lucas
Oil Stadium). Primerica blocked 5,500 of
those downtown rooms.
You can do the math — Primerica was
coming in with 43,000 attendees. The convention wound up being spread across 87
hotels — some located 60 miles out from the
primary venue of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Interestingly, Thomas says some of the
Primerica attendees made use of rental
homes found on Airbnb. It’s the first time
she’s noticed that.
“Our people were adaptable,” Thomas
says. “This is a meeting for our sales force
and they came in work teams, and many of
those teams stayed together in the hotels on
the outskirts, and rode buses or took Uber
Thomas says Primerica’s convention is
a combination between a rock concert and
a business convention. Everybody fills the
stadium venue each day for high-energy mo-
“We kick it off with a DJ or music and
people go crazy,” Thomas says. “It’s excit-
ing and fun. There’s a [civilized] mosh pit in
front of the stage as people run up while we
“We really noticed
that exists with
hotels. They’re all
business, but they
all worked together
as a city to get
— Debbie Thomas,
Boise’s recent $48 million investment in its convention
center has allowed it to better serve larger groups