Have you ever wondered who's behind
We recently sat down with the folks from Destination Cleveland and got all the answers.
Destination Cleveland's sharp and intentional focus on celebrating our city for all that it is, as well as all of its potential, is illustrated in its event attraction and execution. Collaborating with the team at DC has been exciting, and we couldn't be more enthusiastic about participating in NEOCycle.
1. What is Destination Cleveland and how did that name evolve?
Destination Cleveland is the convention and visitors bureau (CVB) for Greater Cleveland. This private, non-profit organization's mission is to drive economic impact and stimulate community vitality for Greater Cleveland through leisure and business travel. The organization was established in 1934 and was one of the first CVBs in the country.
Attracting visitors to Cleveland is the core of our business. We consider a “visitor” to be anyone who comes to Cleveland to stay at one of our hotels or with a resident or drives more than 50 miles for a day trip. Simply stated, that means anyone who comes to Cleveland on a temporary basis for business or leisure.
In addition, Destination Cleveland is the primary advocate for the travel, tourism and hospitality industries here in Cleveland. The organization supports the 63,000+ jobs and $7.4 billion of economic impact from the tourism industry in Cuyahoga County. The organization is more than 90 percent funded by the hotel bed tax paid by the guests who stay in Cuyahoga County.
In previous years, our organization was known as the “Convention & Visitors Bureau for Greater Cleveland” and “Positively Cleveland.” Last year, we changed the name to “Destination Cleveland” in an effort to more closely align our name with our goal of making Cleveland more of a visitor destination by increasing travel and tourism to our city.
2. Tell us about some recent projects or initiatives that have been exciting and successful.
Destination Cleveland has seen so much success within the travel and tourism industry in 2014. It’s truly been a banner year for all of us in Cleveland. It was through joint partnerships with stakeholders, civic allies, business leaders and the community that the RNC chose Cleveland as its 2016 destination. We’re expecting 50,000 visitors including 15,000 international media, which means Cleveland will have the spotlight it so deserves. The event could have an economic impact reaching $200 million – a monumental win for the entire city.
Cleveland’s hospitable spirit was on showcase when it welcomed 20,000 international visitors for the Gay Games in 2014, which we – as well as many other organizations – worked on for five years leading up.
Also in 2014, Cleveland earned the honor of hosting the 2017 American Bus Association Conference. The conference draws 3,500 members including group tour operators who generate as much as $11,000 into the economy for each motorcoach group they bring to the city.
Additionally, we implemented several destination development initiatives in 2014. We worked with both private and non-profit organizations on a project that boosted the curb appeal of a Downtown city block with additional planters, public art murals and two “parkmobiles,” which brought temporary, usable greenspace to the corner of East 4th Street and Prospect Avenue.
Another initiative that we developed and implemented in 2014 was the first phase of a Downtown wayfinding system featuring unique pedestrian-friendly signs throughout Downtown.
And, in an effort to find ways to improve local perceptions of the city, Destination Cleveland hosted a young professionals summit, which successfully brought together the expertise, fresh ideas and young minds of more than 150 millennial residents.
3. What are your goals for 2015 and beyond?
In the past few years, we’ve watched downtown hotel occupancy rates soar, new hotels dot the skyline and a number of dining and entertainment additions burst onto the scene. Add to that, Cleveland secured the coveted Republican National Convention.
And, we’re just getting started. Our focus moving forward is to maximize the current momentum surrounding the travel and tourism industry. This is just the beginning.
Destination Cleveland will work tirelessly to change the narrative about Cleveland both locally, as well as on a national scale. We’ll do this by continuing to attract major events to Cleveland like the Republic National Convention, the American Bus Association Conference and major sporting events.
Additionally, our focus on enhancing the reputation of the city will come through netting additional national media attention. In the past year, we’ve earned some great coverage ranging from Travel + Leisure magazine to the New York Times. Our goal is to continue that upward trend.
4. Tell us about the Destination Cleveland Team.
Led by our President/CEO David Gilbert, Destination Cleveland is comprised of several teams that work collaboratively to attract more visitors to Cleveland, as well as to ensure a positive visitor experience.
Our convention sales team does just that – sells Cleveland as a convention destination. And, with the new Cleveland Convention Center in place, several new hotels on the way and the huge asset that is the I-X Center, our ability to bring more conventions to Cleveland increases by the day.
Our convention services team, which is comprised of certified meeting planners, provides free meeting planning assistance to conventions. Our team can help convention planners with everything from booking hotel blocks to ensuring all attendees have a warm welcome at the airport.
The marketing team’s purpose is to attract more visitors to Cleveland, while upholding the reputation of travel and tourism in the city. The team is comprised of a variety of experts including those covering interactive media, web development, media relations, advertising/creative strategy and even our very own publications manager who publishes several printed visitors guides throughout the year.
Unlike other CVBs around the country, our organization has an entire department devoted to what we call destination development. Beyond simply marketing Cleveland to visitors, we make it our mission to work with the community to improve how Cleveland looks, acts and feels as a visitor destination. We want to make sure that once the visitors get here, they have a world-class experience from start to finish. This department oversees the Cleveland Visitors Center, as well as our facilitating wayfinding and connectivity initiatives for the city.
5. Do you have any thoughts about the 'yoga scene' in Cleveland?
Watching Clevelanders rapidly embrace all the health benefits of yoga is certainly something that makes us proud. Believe in CLE is an important catalyst for improving perceptions of the city by locals in a healthy and fun way. We love that Believe in CLE positively showcases underutilized or often overlooked locations throughout Northeast Ohio to thousands of residents.
We also love that many yogis are utilizing Cleveland’s one-of-a-kind landscape and exceptional assets in their practices. In fact, we wrote about the uniqueness of our yoga scene on our visitor website: Namaste While.