A Letter from the Chair and President
"Collaboration. Community. Connections." The theme for our 2011 Annual Meeting captures both the strength and essence of our region and the philosophy of the convention and hospitality industry that contributes to its success.
Successfully winning and hosting meetings and conventions of all sizes takes more than just a strong CVB with an effective sales and marketing strategy. It takes more than a dynamic urban infrastructure with constant, new development. It takes more than just a deep menu of visitor-friendly attractions. More than just a vibrant network of engaged government and business leaders working to best position the destination for success. It takes all of those elements, and in Cincinnati USA, we've built a team of interconnected people from across social, civic and business circles, working in growing collaboration to raise our profile and drive new visitors and new dollars to the region.
In 2010, the positive momentum that started 5 years ago continued unabated. The region tallied its sixth consecutive year of growth in hotel room night bookings and related economic impact, which hit nearly $60 million. Construction was completed on The Great American Tower at Queen City Square and unprecedented progress was made on The Banks and Over-The-Rhine. Construction is planned or underway on three new hotel properties in downtown Cincinnati and work continues on the Sharonville Convention Center expansion. The Cincinnati Reds enjoyed their finest season in more than a decade, and ground has been broken on the new Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cincinnati.
It all adds up to positive momentum, and we're excited to see that momentum continue into this year. In fact, 2011 is shaping up to be one of our best convention years in recent memory. We'll host more than 150 conventions, including LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens National Convention, the International Shrine convention, and the Elks. Cincinnati USA has come so far that the meeting planners themselves are meeting here. In March, more than 300 Experient meeting professionals will hold their annual conference in Cincinnati. These planners manage site selection for more than 3,000 meetings a year, representing revenue of more than $1 billion. And they, too, chose Cincinnati for their meeting.
In 2011, we'll also have some spectacular events that will appeal to both convention prospects and leisure travelers, including the debut of the blockbuster Cleopatra exhibit at Cincinnati Museum Center, the first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Kentucky Speedway, the grand openings of several new entertainment venues at The Banks, and the return of Cirque du Soleil.
So many terrific leisure tourism options, and our Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network will be doing its part to drive new visitors to all of them as part of its marketing efforts in 2011. Under the leadership of Linda Antus, the RTN returned a record $31.74 for every dollar invested in promoting the region to leisure visitors in 2010, underscoring the success of Cincinnati USA's unique tourism delivery model.
As we celebrate the community spirit that makes up the foundation of Cincinnati USA's success, we thank you for your support and your contributions to the region. We look forward to your continued partnership as we live out our collaboration philosophy and take Cincinnati USA to bigger and better heights.
Chair of the Board of Directors
President & Chief Executive Officer