April 24, 2018

Republican National Convention

Tampa 2012

The August 2012 convention should be a business bonanza for Tampa and Florida.

Amy Keller | 10/3/2011

The 2012 Republican
National Convention

Aug. 27-30, 2012
St. Pete Times Forum

» 45,000 to 50,000 — Projected number of visitors

» 15,000 — Members of the media expected

» 5,000-6,000 —?Number of delegates (including 2,500 alternates)

» $55 million —?Amount the Tampa Bay Host Committee aims to raise

» $175 million to $200 million — Projected economic boost to the Tampa Bay region

» $400 — Amount per day that the average convention-goer is expected to spend

» 75 —?Number of event venues already under contract

» 15,000 — Number of hotel rooms reserved under the name Ken Jones, president of the host committee

» $55 million — Federal government's share of convention-related security costs

» 7,500 — Number of volunteers

» $18,000 to $34,000 — Cost of broadcast suites at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul

» 350 — Number of charter buses that will be used during the convention week

» 10,000 — Estimated number of protesters organizers speculate could show up at the event

» 1972 — The last time either political party held its nominating convention in Florida. That year, both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention were held in Miami.

Business 'Sherpas'

Washington, D.C.-based GOP Convention Strategies hired consultants Renee Dabbs and Adam Goodman to help coordinate local events. [Photo: Brook Pifer]

Many think of a national party convention in terms of the prime-time activity within the convention hall — fiery speeches delivered to a sea of raucous red-, white- and blue-clad delegates in goofy hats. In fact, the scripted goings-on are just a small slice of the convention experience. For most attendees, the real action takes place at the brunches, lunches, cocktail hours, galas and soirees where convention-goers get to rub shoulders with lawmakers and hobnob with VIPs.

GOP consultants Adam Goodman and Renee Dabbs understand the business opportunity implicit in that fact. The Hyde Park bungalow that houses their political strategy firm is just a mile from where all the action will be when 45,000-plus Republicans descend on Tampa next August to coronate their presidential candidate. That proximity — as well as their political savvy and local connections — made them the perfect Tampa-based partners for GOP Convention Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based firm that provides strategic planning services for organizations and individuals attending the Republican National Convention.

"We see our job during this four-day event as sherpas, armed with an insider's perspective on what's hot and what's not, where to go and what to do and how to navigate through the political maze that's never spelled out in the official program," says Dabbs, who has been meeting with groups from around the country, taking them on tours of the city and scouting out potential venues for events.

GOP Convention Strategies offers an array of services to client attendees, including event planning, production assistance and setting up lodging, transportation, security and staffing. The firm also helps with convention budgeting and can handle event fundraising.

Goodman — who has worked for former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, former Gov. Jeb Bush and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, among others — says that in addition to helping his clients "navigate the process," he hopes to serve as a "matchmaker" for groups and organizations. A delegation from one state, for example, may want to host a cocktail event for 350 people, but Goodman says it can just as easily pool its financial resources with another group and throw a party for 1,000 people featuring a name-brand rock band. Ultimately, Goodman says, it's all about "building relationships."

Tags: Politics & Law, Government/Politics & Law

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