The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) held its 2015 Annual Meeting today at the Duke Energy Convention Center in front of more than 600 business professionals, civic leaders and members of the regional hospitality industry.

Themed “The MVP Destination: Movement. Vision. Passion.,” the 2015 Annual Meeting highlighted the past year’s strong regional collaboration, which drove destination growth and brought new business, visitors and increased economic impact to Cincinnati USA.

Discussion centered around high-profile upcoming events, including the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and 2016 NAACP Annual Convention, as well as new initiatives being launched by the CVB in 2015, and the record-setting number of future room night leads generated in 2014. The meeting also recognized the work of pivotal industry partners and the 2014 Spirit Award winners.

Movement: Results-Driven Success
In a meeting filled with MVP moments, National Baseball Hall of Famer and Senior Advisor to the President and CEO of the Cincinnati Reds Joe Morgan provided the keynote address, sharing insights on his journey to success. Cincinnati Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini also spoke to the audience, providing an in-depth look at the events, excitement, and opportunities that the region can expect during the 2015 MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati.

Edgar Smith Jr., founder, president and CEO with World Pac Paper, was appointed as 2015-2016 Board Chair of the CVB, a position held since 2012 by Delores Hargrove-Young. The CVB president and CEO Dan Lincoln presented the CVB’s 2014 results and offered strategic vision for the upcoming year. Sheila Gray, host of Local 12’s Good Morning Cincinnati, acted as the emcee for the event.

Many of the CVB’s 2014 Sales and Marketing results were shared with the attendees from across the region, including the success of a new room night lead generation strategy designed to increase demand for the region’s growing number of hotels and venues. As a result of this strategy, 1,030,800 room night sales leads were generated in 2014, setting a CVB record for total leads from a single year and marking a 36% increase over 2013.
Definite room night production by the CVB, or total contracted convention bookings, also increased to nearly 229,000 hotel room nights for the region, representing more than $68.2 million in future visitor spending. These increases continued a year-over-year trend of upward growth, and included the booking of many high-profile national meetings, such as the 2016 NAACP Annual Convention, the Kroger Company’s 2015 Bi-Annual Meeting, and others. Full 2014 CVB Results.

Other guest speakers included Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, who provided the welcome address at the luncheon, followed by an update on Hamilton County by President of the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, Greg Hartmann. 

“When I travel to represent Cincinnati, I’ve been so energized and encouraged by all of the positive accolades and news about our city and how it's changing the way the world sees us,” said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. "We're getting positive work done together, and I look forward to continuing work with the CVB to help Cincinnati win more high-profile events.”

"Cincinnati and Hamilton Count is definitely on an upward trajectory," added Commissioner Hartmann. "Hamilton County’s hotel tax revenue has increased almost 40% from 2009 to 2014. This tax is contributing more money into our convention and tourism industry than at any time since the Great Recession, and we’re optimistic that number will climb again this year."

Vision: Looking Ahead to Destination Growth
Looking forward to a year of major conventions and continued destination growth, the CVB announced plans to continue strategic outreach and regional collaboration in years to come through the implementation of the following new initiatives:
  • The CVB, along with the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network (RTN) and Meet NKY, is leading the region through a Destination Assessment study to evaluate the state of our destination and determine future direction, including economic development, hospitality industry expansion and other improvements to maximize Cincinnati USA’s potential and cultivate growth.
  • Conducting a Future Study on our convention industry assets in collaboration with consulting firm Conventions, Sports & Leisure International to best evaluate the current and future needs of our convention district footprint.
  • Launching a new Certified Tourism Ambassador™ program in spring 2015. This nationwide certification program is designed to increase tourism by inspiring front-line hospitality employees and volunteers to work together, turning every visitor encounter into a positive experience. Program partners include the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network and Meet NKY.
“Our mission at the CVB is to drive destination growth and bring new business, visitors, and economic impact to the region every year,” said Dan Lincoln, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau. “New initiatives like the Future Study, Destination Assessment, and the CTA Program are essential to provide us with the strong foundation and clear vision needed to shape our region's future.”

The meeting also honored Cincinnati USA visionaries for moving the hospitality industry forward through the 2014 Spirit of Cincinnati USA Awards. A special “Spirit of Cincinnati USA Ambassador Award” was presented to Lauren Hill, the Cincinnati-area woman fighting a rare form of terminal brain cancer, for her cancer fundraising efforts, positivity, and strength of spirit while battling the disease.

Other organizations and people who earned Spirit Awards for exemplary service and contributions to the region in 2014 included the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Classical Roots Community Mass Choir; Molly Wellmann; The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati; John Barrett of Western & Southern Financial Group; Carl Satterwhite of The RCF Group; Julie Shifman and the Cincy in NYC Arts Initiative; Jack Whitmer of the Westin Cincinnati; Missie Schweickart of BB Riverboats, and Karen Beckley of The Millennium Cincinnati. Full list of award winners.

A Passion for Partnership
Delivering regional tourism marketing through an annual investment in the Cincinnati USA RTN, the CVB highlighted 2014 successes of the organization, including a redesigned website with increased visitor traffic. Recent studies provided by the RTN show that leisure travel marketing is having an impact, with visitors now indicating a strong intent to return to the region for longer periods of time.

The Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation also shared results coming off of its 25th anniversary in 2014. The organization has worked collaboratively with the CVB to generate more than 305,000 total hotel room nights and $89 million in economic impact in the past decade. 

“Every year, this event gives us the opportunity to thank all of those who partner with us and support the CVB’s work every day,” added Lincoln. “Together, we’re making real progress, and together, we’re making a difference in building an even better destination.”

For more information about the CVB’s 2014 results and its partnerships with the RTN, Greater Cincinnati Sports Corp., Meet NKY, and the Duke Energy Convention Center, view the CVB's 2014 Annual Report.