August 6, 2008 BACVA
BACVA ANNUAL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS SALES SUCCESS
Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts Honored as Tourism Visionary
(Baltimore, MD) - The Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA) shared convention and leisure sales and marketing results from Fiscal Year 2008 (July 2007-June 2008) with hospitality partners and stakeholders during its annual business meeting at the Hilton Baltimore today.
During the meeting, Mayor Sheila Dixon formally introduced members of the newly formed Baltimore Convention & Tourism Board. This new joint Board, created by the Mayor, provides oversight to both BACVA and the Baltimore Convention Center. The new structure is enhancing an already close relationship between the two organizations while leading to greater efficiency, a seamless sales process and a better customer experience. In a review of the year, BACVA President and CEO Tom Noonan highlighted sales and marketing activities that included the organization's strongest sales performance in years, new marketing and communications promotions and initiatives, and new strategic and corporate partnerships. For the fourth consecutive year, sales bookings have increased over the previous year's production. The sales team booked 451,608 future room nights in Fiscal Year 2008, topping last year's bookings by more than 70,000 room nights, an 18 percent increase.
Other key accomplishments from Fiscal Year 2008 included:
Launched new strategic convention sales initiatives aimed at booking additional business for Baltimore including a three-city sales partnership with Fort Worth and Sacramento, "Meet Local," and the Baltimore Citywide Alliance with our hotels.
Increased national media coverage of Baltimore with stories on "Good Morning America," the "CBS Early Show," Southern Living Magazine and the New York Times, to name just a few.
Implemented and marketed the first citywide "buy two nights, get one free" summer hotel packages for consumers.
Increased Restaurant Week offerings with addition of Winter Restaurant Week which increased revenue generated by 57 percent compared to the summer of 2007.
"Progressive thinking, innovative ideas, aggressive sales strategies and partnerships were the key to our success this year," said Noonan. "With the support of Mayor Dixon, our tourism partners and our strategic partners, we are committed to bringing continued growth and success to Baltimore."
Noonan also reviewed several sales and marketing initiatives for the new fiscal year including increasing the sales goal to 475,000 future room nights; targeting new leisure markets; growing the new Certified Tourism Ambassador Program; and increasing marketing efforts to niche markets including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and multicultural travelers.
The annual meeting also presented the opportunity for BACVA to recognize a number of outstanding contributions to the tourism industry. The William Donald Schaefer Baltimore Tourism Visionary Award was presented to the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts for its unwavering dedication to producing arts and cultural events and programs that bring locals and visitors to Baltimore.
Other awards presented included:
Customer of the Year
Presented to Rite Aid, a citywide convention that met in Baltimore from 1996-2001 and returned to Baltimore in 2007, 2008 and will meet here again in 2009. The group utilizes all major hotels in Baltimore and multiple meeting and event venues. They are also currently a tentative group for 2010-2012.
Baltimore Salesperson of the Year
Presented to Shepard Exposition Services for its assistance in booking a convention group - Access Business Media, Inc. - for April 2009 and possibly March 2010.
Charlyene E. Grimes Customer Service Award
Presented to Dottie Kmoch, Holiday Inn Inner Harbor, for 40 years of dedicated service.
The meeting concluded with a keynote address by corporate comedian Greg Schwem.
The Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA) is the official sales and marketing organization for Baltimore that generates economic benefits for stakeholders through the attraction of convention, group and leisure visitors. For more information, please visit www.baltimore.org.
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