Latest CVB/Chamber News...
St. Louis Continues to Build Major Momentum in 2015
May 22, 2015
As the summer leisure travel season begins and the second half of 2015 unfolds, St. Louis continues to build momentum with impressive hotel renovations and room remodels, world-class events, a transformative project including a big birthday celebration, and two exciting new openings.
“This is a whirlwind time in St. Louis and those winning winds are blowing in our direction,” said Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe, President of the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (CVC). “Momentum is definitely on our side and locals and visitors across the country are going to love all the new and exciting experiences awaiting them in our region.”
St. Louis annually welcomes 23.9 million visitors for leisure, conventions, meeting and business travel and the following new additions and improvements will make the region even more attractive in 2015.
A Room Boom in St. Louis
When it comes to offering meeting and convention guests the finest in accommodations, the St. Louis convention quarter is seeing a boom. With some of the most premier hotel brands in the industry, including Marriott, Four Seasons, Hilton, Embassy Suites, Drury, Holiday Inn and Hyatt, there are more than 7,000 available guest rooms in downtown St. Louis. By the end of summer 2015, more than 1,750 of those rooms will be new or recently remodeled and all within steps of America’s Center.
In addition to the room boom, the historic Mayfair Hotel was transformed into the Magnolia Hotel St. Louis last summer while exciting transformations continue this summer with the rebranding and renovation of the Renaissance St. Louis Grand into the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel and major renovations to the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Convention Center (formerly the historic Lennox Hotel) and the Holiday Inn St. Louis Downtown – Convention Center.
A National Museum of Note
Scheduled to open later this year, the National Blues Museum will include more than 16,000 square feet of highly interactive technology and artifact-driven exhibits, a theatre, special event space and classrooms. The Museum will explore and preserve the historic significance of the Blues as the foundation of American music and celebrate the musicians who both created and advance the art form.
Read the full release here.
Branson Salutes the Men and Women Behind the Badge
May 21, 2015
The City of Branson will celebrate current and past law enforcement members with a week-long celebration beginning Sat., June 13. Law Enforcement Recognition Week will honor active and retired law enforcement across the country.
“The purpose is to let these men and women, who protect and serve us daily, know we appreciate them and the job they do,” said Jeff Seifried, President/CEO, Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau. “These local heroes put their lives on the line to protect us, the least we can do is look for ways to let them and their families know how much their service means to our community and communities all across the country.”
Law Enforcement Recognition week kicks off June 13 with Billy Dean & Steel Horses at Starlite Theatre. Other events throughout the week will include an ice cream social, golf tournament, shooting competition, antique and DARE car shows, motorcycle rodeo, recruiting expo and training. For a full list of events, visit www.BransonSalutes.com.
“Branson will become the leader in law enforcement recognition,” said Seifried. “With this event, we’ll get a chance to see the best and the brightest law enforcement has to offer. Joining forces like this allows these men and women to see not only the opportunities that may be available to them, but also showcase their chosen profession. No other place in the country offers that.”
For more information about Law Enforcement Recognition week, visit www.BransonSalutes.com or email Laurie Hayes at email@example.com.
Sports Tourism Plays Important Role in Jefferson City
May 19, 2015
The Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureauand the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) will welcome top notch high school athletes from across the state this weekend for the Missouri State High School Track and Field Championships.Lincoln University's Dwight T. Reed Stadium will host the two weekend event. Classes one and two will compete on May 22 and 23, and classes three, four, and five will compete on May 29 and 30.
The State Track and Field Championship, which has taken place in Jefferson City for over 30 years, draws approximately 18,000 high school students and spectators and utilizes around 4,400 room nights. Hotels, restaurants and retail stores reap the economic benefits throughout these weekends. The total economic impact for the 2015 event is estimated over $1,000,000 from attendee expenditures.
"This is one of several citywide events that has a tremendous impact on our community," said Chris Wilson, Sports/Film Sales Manager at the Bureau. "The addition of the fifth class this year will help those numbers continue to grow."
The sports tourism market is surging and Jefferson City is not going to miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of its potential. "We are seeing more local sports planners utilizing the great facilities we have in Jefferson City to bring in events with thousands of participants," said Wilson.
Wilson also mentioned the Missouri State USBC Youth Championships wrapped up last weekend at Capital Bowl, which brought in over 1,000 youths over five weekends. Seventy-five percent stayed one night in Jefferson City, and the remaining spent two nights. Attendee expenditures for the bowling tournament totaled approximately $322,500.
The Bureau is optimistic about the growing niche of sports tourism and feels it plays a vital role in maintaining sustainability year-round. Wilson hopes to continue anchoring larger-scale sporting events leading to an even greater economic impact in the future.
Meet Chicago Northwest announces Officers and Board of Directors for 2015-2016
May 14, 2015
Meet Chicago Northwest, the official destination marketing organization promoting and selling the Chicago Northwest region, announced its 2015-2016 Officers and Board of Directors elected during the bureau’s annual meeting on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at the new destination venue Level 257.
Lisa Timbo, of the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel, will serve as Board Chair. To see the full list of Officers and the Board of Directors, visit chicagonorthwest.com.
Deb Archer Celebrates 20th anniversary as President & CEO of Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau
May 12, 2015
The Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) congratulates Deb Archer on 20 years of service as the President & CEO of the GMCVB. Archer was recruited to the GMCVB as the VP of Convention Sales in 1994. In 1995, she took the reins as President & CEO. During Archer’s tenure in Madison, the GMCVB secured IRONMAN Wisconsin, ESPN Great Outdoor Games, National Kidney Foundation’s U.S. Transplant Games, US Conference of Mayors, World Stem Cell Summit, along with hundreds of other prestigious events. She also was integral in the creation of the Madison Area Sports Commission. During her time at the GMCVB, she has earned several awards including Downtown Madison Inc.’s Community Asset Award in 2013 for securing the WIAA tournaments for Madison.
“The GMCVB has grown tremendously under Deb’s leadership. She and I have worked closely over the past two decades and I congratulate her on this milestone anniversary. I look forward to continuing to work well with her and her organizations,” said City of Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.
“The city has changed dramatically since I began with the GMCVB more than two decades ago. From the building and opening of Monona Terrace®, the Kohl Center and the Overture Center, to all the new construction in our region, it has been an exciting time. It is an honor to serve the community throughout all of these milestones. I look forward to what new developments the future may hold,” said Deb Archer.
Prior to her arrival in Madison, Archer had already begun to make her mark in the tourism industry. Archer had served as Associate Director of Sales at the Kansas City CVB for 7 years and Executive Director of the Park City Utah Convention & Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. While in Park City, she served on the founding board of the Park City/Sundance Film Festival.
Archer is a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME). Archer is a past chair and continues to serve on the Governor’s Council on Tourism and the WI Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Directors. She has served as Past Chair of the CVB’s international trade association’s Foundation and on their Board of Directors. She holds a B.A. from Michigan State University in Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Management with an emphasis in tourism.
Photo credit (L to R): Rob Crain, Alliant Energy; Jamie Patrick, Madison Area Sports Commission; Mark Clear, City of Madison; Gregg Frank, Food Fight, Diane Morgenthaler, GMCVB; Mark Clarke, Alliant Energy Center. *All are members of the GMCVB Community Relations Committee
DuPage County CVB Hosts Illinois Tourism Director at National Travel & Tourism Week Event
May 11, 2015
The DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau’s annual hospitality industry event was held on Tuesday, May 5, at The Morton Arboretum. This year’s event was dubbed “Eat & Meet,” because it combined a networking event featuring local culinary delights with a guest appearance by Illinois’ Director of Tourism, Mr. Cory Jobe. This marks the thirteenth year that the DuPage CVB has hosted such an event during National Travel and Tourism Week.
Great food, lively conversation and plenty of networking opportunities were just part of this popular annual event that showcased 35 restaurants, attractions and service providers to about 200 attendees.
After spending the afternoon touring DuPage County with DuPage CVB Executive Director Beth Marchetti, Jobe took the podium to state that “tourism is vital to DuPage County and Illinois,” and to extol the many assets of DuPage County.
“We are thrilled to have Director Jobe join us for this event,” stated Marchetti. “We are so pleased to be able to show off our members and highlight the great food and service they provide for our region.”
“National Travel & Tourism Week provides awareness for the travel industry on a broad scale, while our Eat & Meet event promotes the strength our region has to deliver on a local level,” according to the DuPage CVB’s partner relations manager, Beth Gaucher, who organized this year’s event. “We have the opportunity to bring together so many great venues, restaurants, attractions, communities, accommodations and more under one roof to showcase what they do best. It was a huge success and an honor to have Mr. Jobe here!”
Study Highlights Strength of Cincinnati USA Travel & Tourism Industry, Impact on Regional Economy
May 6, 2015
To kick off National Travel and Tourism Week (May 2-10), the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau, meetNKY, and the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network (RTN) jointly present findings from a study on the size and strength of Cincinnati USA’s travel and tourism industry and its impact on the regional economy.
The study – commissioned by the three organizations and based on a survey of visitors to the region conducted by Tourism Economics in conjunction with Longwoods International – revealed that the industry continues to be a significant contributor to the Cincinnati USA economy, in terms of revenue, employment, and state and local tax revenues generated. The industry generates visitor spending at hotels, restaurants, shops, attractions, parks and other venues, and supports – directly and indirectly – tens of thousands of jobs. Study highlights include:
“The results of this study prove just how vital the travel and tourism industry is for our thriving regional economy,” said Dan Lincoln, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Convention and leisure business is strong, and economic development and urban renewal projects continue to flourish. It’s all working together to create and sustain new jobs, drive visitor spending, generate tax revenues and position Cincinnati USA as a world-class destination.”
Read the full release at www.CincyUSA.com.
Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metropolitan Area Visited by 30.9 Million in 2014, an All-Time Record
May 5, 2015
The Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area saw 30.9 million total visitors in 2014, a 5 percent increase over 2013’s 29.4 million convention and leisure travel visitors, which is an all-time record for the area. Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Association, announced that a study conducted by D.K. Shifflet & Associates, Ltd., shows that both the number of visitors and visitor spending increased again in 2014. This news arrives as the hospitality industry prepares to celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week (May 2-10, 2015).
Those visitors spent $7.4 billion in the area, an increase of 4 percent over 2013, when spending was $7.1 billion. The number of leisure visitors alone also increased 2.8 percent to 22.3 million in 2014 from 21.7 million in 2013, with their spending increasing to $5.1 billion, or 2 percent over $5 billion spent in 2013.
“We announced back in January that 2014 was a record year for Minneapolis hospitality,” said Melvin Tennant, president and CEO, Meet Minneapolis. “So, while not surprising, this new data is further evidence of the health of our industry, which supports nearly 33,000 jobs in Minneapolis alone. It is also a strong indication that the efforts Meet Minneapolis and our partners put forth to attract conventions and leisure travelers is having the desired effect.”
Visits to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area are expected to continue to increase with a goal of 10 million more visitors, from 26.8 million in 2011 to a projected 36.8 million in 2017.
The U.S. travel industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has recovered far faster than other economic sectors from jobs lost to the recession. Travel supports one out of nine jobs and generated $2.1 trillion in economic output in 2014. This did not only affect places like New York, Orlando and Las Vegas – Minneapolis-Saint Paul and communities across America are reaping the benefits. National Travel & Tourism Week gives the industry an opportunity to shine a light on what travel means to jobs, economic growth and personal well-being.
In the set of cities Minneapolis competes for convention business with, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area’s 30.9 million visitors in 2014 put it just behind metropolitan area visitor counts in Chicago (50.2 million) and Dallas (44.1 million). Visitor counts lower than Minneapolis’ were Indianapolis (26 million), St. Louis (23.9 million), Kansas City (17 million), Denver (13 million), New Orleans (9.52 million) and Milwaukee (7 million). The competitive cities’ data have been made available publically; however, they may not be comparing the same criteria and were not part of the study commissioned by Meet Minneapolis.
Jeff Holcomb Honored for 20 Years with Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau
April 29, 2015
The Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) would like to congratulate Senior Convention Sales Manager Jeff Holcomb on his 20th anniversary with the organization. Holcomb joined the Bureau in 1995 as sales manager just as Madison was adding and augmenting its existing convention facilities. The Alliant Energy Center was beginning the construction of its new Exhibition Hall. The Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, Madison’s downtown convention space still had not yet been approved by city leaders.
While the landscape in Madison may have looked very different 20 years ago, Holcomb’s dedication to serving the diverse needs of his clients is a constant.
Holcomb is a certified Meeting Planner and well-known amongst his peers for embodying the GMCVB’s brand promise of “Going >Beyond>Visit” for each and every one of his clients. He has been known to go the extra mile for groups, even going so far as to write and perform an original song for a visiting group during their opening remarks.
Never one to steer away from a challenge or get thwarted by hiccups in the planning process; Jeff is a consummate professional says GMCVB President and CEO Deb Archer. “I’ve worked closely with Jeff over the past 20 years and the experience, knowledge and passion that he brings to the table for each and every client is truly a wonderful asset, she added.
Director of Sales Rebecca Ramsey agrees. “Jeff’s knowledge, skill and passion for selling Madison are a critical element to his success. But more importantly, Jeff’s day-to-day enthusiasm for the work he does benefits all of our sales team.
Photo: President and CEO Deb Archer (Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau and Madison Area Sports Commission) stands with Jeff Holcomb Senior Convention Sales Manager at his celebration of 20 years of excellent work. Holcomb is holding a guitar, gifted to him by the organization, as Jeff, a hobby musician, has been known to use all of his skills—including his considerable songwriting talents to help groups.
PHOTO CREDIT: Photo taken by Erica Rykal courtesy of Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau