CINCINNATI, OHIO – MARCH 30, 2021 – The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) today presented its annual meeting to set out the vision for 2021 and beyond. Typically held in front of hundreds of regional leaders and industry professionals, this year’s meeting – in the midst of the pandemic – was released in video format. The meeting also introduces the CVB’s new incoming Chair Jeff Berding, president and CEO of Major League Soccer franchise FC Cincinnati and a former three-term Cincinnati City Council member.
“Simply put, there will not be a recovery for Cincinnati, for the region, for the nation, until tourism and hospitality recover,” said Berding. “It has been and will continue to be the critical engine that drives our regional economy. To meet the moment, we need clear goals and objectives for our Board and for me as Chair.”
Berding identified some of those strategies, from building a strong collaborative culture that brings back tourism business to building firm financial footing coming out of COVID, including diversifying and expanding funding sources to ensure long-term success. He also addressed the long-debated issue of updating Cincinnati’s core convention district assets.
“We’ll work with partners in the public and private sectors to develop and finalize plans for our convention headquarters hotel, then create a strategy for building consensus around a plan to upgrade our convention center, with a clear goal to longer-term expansion,” Berding added. “We’ll also develop a strategy to engage the region’s larger business and civic community on how a new arena can support CVB growth.”
The annual meeting concluded with a State of the CVB address by CVB President & CEO Julie Calvert. She described the pandemic’s unprecedented and devastating impact on travel, conventions and the entire hospitality industry, then lays out an aggressive and proactive strategy for Recovery, Powered by We.
Framed by a three-stage approach to Reset, Renew and Recover, Calvert reviewed the economic and emotional toll of the past year. She then shared a 2021 strategy designed to unlock travel inertia through a combination of sales, marketing, development, equity and partnership initiatives.
“We will ramp up advocacy and keep inclusion and diversity efforts at the forefront,” said Calvert. “We will rebuild our CVB staff and capability while continuing to streamline the organization toward better efficiency, implement best practices, and strengthen collaborative partnerships.”
Calvert also echoed the importance of a decisive, long-term plan for a headquarters hotel and convention center upgrade and expansion.
“The Millennium is just now in the process of being demolished. It’s critical to remember that our convention booking and sales cycle is typically 3-5 years, so a development and site plan with urgency and purpose must be a primary focus of the CVB and our board,” she added. “It is the biggest opportunity for conventions in Cincinnati in a generation and will impact our results and regional success for a generation to come.”
Produced by longtime CVB annual meeting partner Prestige AV & Creative Services, the meeting recognized Mario San Marco for completing his term as CVB Board Chair.
“No one could have predicted that a pandemic would disrupt the lives of so many,” said San Marco. “The dramatic halt of travel and meetings presented challenges like we had never known. The lack of hotel business reduced our operating revenues, and we had to make painstaking decisions to safeguard the CVB’s budget for
the upcoming recovery.”
The CVB annual meeting can be accessed via the CVB’s website at CincyUSA.com/2021meeting and its social media channels.
About the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau is a sales, marketing and service organization whose primary responsibility is to positively impact Hamilton County's and the City of Cincinnati's economy through convention, trade show and visitor expenditures. Visit www.cincyusa.com for more.