Messenger Inquirer reports on how conventions should be modeled

The Owensboro Messenger Inquirer published an article yesterday, July 4, 2017, on how conventions should be modeled. Check out the article below.




Chick-fil-A should be model for conventions, Ross says

By Keith Lawrence

Messenger Inquirer



Tim Ross, the City’s Public Events Director, wants to see Owensboro become the “Chick-fil-A of the convention business.”

“Conventions can get lost in Louisville and Cincinnati,” Ross, who serves on the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said at a recent board meeting.

At Chick-fil-A, he said, workers and managers are very welcoming and attentive to customers, unlike some other chains.

Owensboro residents need to be that way when they see someone wearing a convention badge, Ross said.

“We need people to leave town feeling that they were wanted and valued,” he said.

More than 1,000 members of the Kentucky Bar Association were in town in June for the annual KBA convention and more than 4,000 attended the OMG!con convention earlier in the month.

And ROMP Fest sold more than 26,000 tickets to people in 39 states and four other countries.

Ross’ comments came as the CVB board adopted its 2017-18 budget, calling for revenues of $808,450 and expenses of $823,455.

In recent years, the agency has taken in more money from its 3 percent tax on hotel room rentals than it had predicted in its budget.

Although CVB budgets typically show more expenses than revenue, the budgets have always balanced in the end.

The new budget predicts that the agency will collect $746,750 from the tax — a 3 percent increase over the fiscal year that just ended.

Through the first 11 months of the 2016-17 fiscal year, the agency was running 3.05 percent ahead of the previous year.

“It’s a conservative budget, but there’s room to be flexible,” said Larry Kirk, a CVB board member.

The budget cuts marketing by $57,000 ad sports marketing by $10,000 — a combined $67,000.

But Mark Calitri, the CVB’s president and CEO, said it’s not really a cut.

That money, he said, has been moved into the special projects account, which has $81,000 this year.

The last budget saw $70,000 in that account — all committed to marketing Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.

The airport is hiring a private firm for marketing this year.

Ruth Ann Dearness, board chairman, said the special projects money hasn’t been committed.

“We need to look at how much we’ll need to spend to promote the opening of the bluegrass museum next year,” she said. “That will be under special projects.”

Other things can be added when the need arises, Dearness said.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, [email protected]