Iowa’s Meeting & Event Incentive PROGRAM
It pays to meet in iowa. your group may qualify for up to $25,000 toward eligible event expenses.
The people of Iowa are ready to welcome and host your group’s meeting, conference, tradeshow, or exhibition. We’re confident that once you’ve been introduced to the beauty, amenities, and culture of Iowa, you’ll want to return. In fact, we’re so sure you’ll want to come back that we’re willing to offset up to $25,000 of your meeting costs. The Meet in Iowa program, brought to you by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Tourism Office, is designed to introduce and incentivize you and your group to discover Iowa. Incentives are available for groups of any size in communities of any size. All we ask is you stay a night or two. What’s best? As you put together your Request for Proposal (RFP), we can provide you with an estimate of how much you could qualify for under our program. The quality of applications will be judged on event type, out-of-state visitation and economic impact, community partnerships, tourism activity, and the industry you’re inviting to see Iowa. Give one of our beautiful communities the opportunity to win your heart and business. Questions or ready for the first step? Call us at 515-276-1454 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Your Iowa adventure awaits.
Meet in Iowa is an incentive reimbursement program that awards one-time cash reimbursements toward hard costs for eligible meetings and events. The goals of the program are to create an enhanced appeal to Iowa communities as meeting/event destinations, generate out-of-state overnight visits and additional economic impact, promote “bleisure” travel by encouraging Iowa’s lodging properties to collaborate with local tourism attractions and organizations, and to expose visitors and businesses to Iowa as a place to live and work.
The Meet In Iowa program is highly competitive. Application review/pre-approval is not guaranteed.
- Meeting/event must occur in Iowa between January 1, 2024 and December 31, 2025.
- Must add a pre- or post-event (before or after event agenda) tourism experience to encourage 33% of attendees to book an extra night in a lodging establishment.
- Attendees must have at least one overnight included in the regular schedule of events.
- Applicant must be the primary organizer of the event and incur eligible expenses. Individuals may apply on behalf of multiple events, however, checks are issued only to the primary organizer.
- Incentive reimbursement must meet a minimum award amount of $2,500. Maximum award is $25,000.
- Final reimbursement will not exceed the pre-approved maximum potential incentive amount.
- Recipients of the Tourism Marketing Grant, Regional Sports Authority District, Sports Tourism Grant, or any other program administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority are not eligible for this program.
- State-funded facilities and/or entities are not eligible for this program.
- Previous recipients of Meet In Iowa reimbursement funds are not eligible for the 2024 program.
Budget & Room Nights
Eligible events must be connected to overnight stays to qualify for reimbursement. Requirements vary based on the population of the host community.
- Events taking place in RURAL communities (less than 10,000 population based on the 2020 US Census) must have a total budget of at least $10,000 AND generate at least 10 overnight room nights.
- Events taking place in URBAN communities (greater than 10,000 population based on the 2020 US Census) must have a total budget of at least $10,000 AND generate at least 25 overnight room nights.
- Overnight stays connected to eligible events must take place in a property that has achieved certification with Iowa’s Human Trafficking Prevention training.
- Event organizers will be required to provide a Post-Event Room Night Written Verification confirming that overnight room stay minimums were met. If room minimums are not met, the incentive will be forfeited.
Eligible Hard Costs
Approved applicants receive cash reimbursement against eligible hard costs. Eligible hard costs include:
- Ancillary Pre-/Post-Event Tourism Opportunity
- Event Space/Venue Rental
- Event Rentals
- Entertainment/Speakers/Program Content
- Food/Beverage (excluding alcoholic beverages & gratuities)
- Audio/Visual Support
Non-Eligible Hard Costs
Hard costs not eligible for reimbursement include:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Lodging and resort fees
- Event planning and management fees or costs
- Sales tax
- Print and web design work that cannot be taken home by individual participants
- Limousine/luxury vehicle rental, party bus rental, taxi or rideshare service fees and school bus rental
- Print and merchandise items including, but not limited to, programs, handouts, lanyards, and event swag.
- Temporary help including, but not limited to, photographers/videographers, cleaning services, and event planner/organizer.
- If a hard cost is not specifically listed in the “Eligible Hard Costs” section, it is not eligible for reimbursement with this program