Bauer Business Focus

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John Bowen | March 12, 2010

Published on March 10, 2010

Dean John Bowen of the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at UH, left, discusses Houston hospitality with KUHF’s Ed Mayberry.

On Bauer Business Focus – A conversation on hot times in the hospitality business with Ed Mayberry, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

In Houston, you don’t have to own a pair of boots to know when the rodeo is in town. A 20-day long event, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo boasts the world’s largest livestock exhibition, championship rodeo action and sell-out concert performances. It attracts 1.8 million attendees each year with more than 60,000 out-of-town visitors, 2,000 of which hail from other countries.

Within the 300 acres of Reliant Park, visitors flock to art shows, petting zoos, food and beverage vendors, carnival attractions and seemingly endless exhibitions – all of which generates a surge of spending in a short amount of time. The show is known for its generous scholarship donations and the more than 22,000 volunteers that make it happen.

The economic impact of such a monstrous event is felt citywide, but perhaps nowhere as much as in the hospitality industry, says Dr. John T. Bowen, Dean of the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston.

“The Houston rodeo brings in significant dollars from other areas of the county and other areas of the world; and certainly, that helps our local economy,” Bowen says.

“There is a trickle-down effect, particularly in the hospitality industry. Whether visitors spend money in a restaurant, a hotel or with a cab driver, that money stays within Houston and goes into the pockets of Houston employees. Those employees go out and spend money elsewhere in the community – perhaps take their own families out to eat.”

The amount they spend, Bowen says, is no small number.

“The rodeo estimates visitors spend over $80 million in the community. With a two and a half multiplier, that’s more than $200 million generated from hospitality and tourism alone.”

Houston is a city of opportunities for someone who wants to learn hotel and restaurant management Bowen says, noting that the Hilton College celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The school gives students the chance to gain hands-on experience in guest services and hotel operations and has evolved as one of the top hospitality education programs in the world.

Click here to hear the full Bauer Business Focus interview.

Visit the Houston Rodeo website for more information on the financial and community impact of the event.

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