News & Views

Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall: The Key To Successful DMO Events

The first step to planning a standout event is selecting the perfect venue. As America’s top media market, there is no doubt that New York City is a strategic target for many tourism events. One venue in particular seems to stand out among DMOs.

Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall proves to be a travel marketer favorite, with eight different DMOs hosting events there in the last five years! It boasts more than 6,000 square feet of flexible space available seven days a week. Yet the venue is perhaps most valued for its prime location in Midtown Manhattan, in one of the busiest transit hubs in the country. Grand Central Station welcomes more than 750,000 visitors daily and 1,000,000 during holidays.

DMO’s should keep the following in mind when hosting an event in Vanderbilt Hall:

  • Creative activations will draw in the crowds;
  • Interactive experiences will keep your audience’s attention and help tell your story;
  • Social media elements and active engagement will allow your destination to reach even more consumers and keep the conversation running long after the event has ended.

Read on for a few examples of successful tourism events.


Japan Week: This past March, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) celebrated the fifth consecutive year of Japan Week. JNTO partnered with 30 sponsors to bring Japanese culture to Vanderbilt Hall with events, food and giveaways. JNTO’s credits Japan Week for helping to spur record growth in visitor arrivals. More than 1 million American travelers visited Japan in 2015, a historic achievement for the Japanese tourism industry.


Take a Break in Chile: In 2014, Turismo Chile invited New Yorkers to #TakeABreakInChile with a four-day interactive tourism promotion in Vanderbilt Hall. The event featured a giant cube where visitors could step inside and take a break from their normal routines and experience Chile’s tourism experiences. The event included a social media promotion with the opportunity for guests to win a 7-day trip for two to Chile.


Taiwan Excellence Showcase: In September 2014, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economy Affairs, through the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT), carried out by Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), held a five-day, free interactive event allowing visitors the chance to sample more than 150 award winning Taiwanese products from more than 65 brands across the consumer electronics, home & décor, home care medical, sporting and lifestyle industries. The event included hands-on experiences, along with special performers and presenters in efforts to increase consumer awareness of how Taiwanese brands can enhance their lifestyles.


(Courtesy of NY Daily News & Caribbean Tourism Organization)

Caribbean Week: In 2012, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) held their annual Caribbean Week in NYC with multiple tourism events held across the city. In Vanderbilt Hall, the CTO held a day long festival of food, fun and romance titled the “Travel and Cultural Fair Wedding and Travel Mart.” The festival included various booths showcasing a delicious palate of food, vacation experiences and cultural presentations. Most notable was the live Caribbean Wedding where a couple exchanged vows in Vanderbilt Hall in front of the live audience, and received a free honeymoon in a Caribbean destination along with special gifts on behalf of the CTO and Bridal Media Group.

If you know of any additional events tweet us @aboutdci.

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