Cincinnati USA CVB Celebrates Diversity with New Multicultural Sales Team
The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau has created a new multicultural sales team to help build on its success in attracting multicultural meetings and conventions to the region.
The move, which is a strategic allocation of CVB resources to attract and win more diverse business, comes in response to industry trends and changing national demographics indicating strong and continuing growth in the multicultural sector of the tourism and hospitality industry in the coming years.
“We are committed to making Cincinnati the most welcoming city in America,” said Mike Laatsch, COO of Cincinnati USA. “The creation of our multicultural sales and development team allows us to be more fully invested in this important initiative moving forward.”
The new multicultural sales and development team includes:
• Jason Dunn, Vice President of Multicultural Sales and Community Development
• Tamara Whiting, Director of Multicultural Sales
• Kariuki Epps, National Manager of Multicultural Sales
• Alexis Thomas, Multicultural and Community Development Coordinator
Utilizing targeted sales strategies with this specialized team, Cincinnati USA will focus its efforts on coordinating and fostering relationships with diverse organizations on local, state and national levels.
Besides continuing to build on the CVB’s already strong foundation by working with the many faith groups that have hosted events in Cincinnati in the past, the team will also work to broaden the CVB’s diversity focus by increasing activity with Asian, Hispanic, Indian and LGBT groups and other emerging markets, thus expanding the CVB’s pipeline of potential business.
Additionally, Cincinnati USA will explore new leisure marketing opportunities through its affiliate, the Regional Tourism Network.
“Our sales team has been diligent in attracting some of the top multicultural and religious groups in the nation, and we’ve seen great success,” Dunn said.
He continued, “By capitalizing on our strengths in this sector with our experienced and ambitious team, and through continued partnership with our supportive community and corporate partners, we expect to see continued growth and increased visibility of Cincinnati as a top destination for groups of all races, religions, sexualities and backgrounds.”
Throughout the last decade, the CVB has shown its commitment to diversity by taking a dedicated approach to reaching and working with diverse groups, resulting in the city hosting or booking 19 of the top 25 multicultural groups in the nation, according to Cincinnati USA officials.
In 2015, the CVB was the charter sponsor for the inaugural “State of Black Tourism” event hosted by the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, where Dan Lincoln, president and CEO of Cincinnati USA, served as the first CVB panelist.
Last year, the CVB increased its commitment to diversity with the creation of Vibe Cincinnati, a multicultural platform focused on connecting visitors of all backgrounds to the Cincinnati region.
Through this platform, the CVB has begun work on the Cincinnati USA Institute for Hospitality Leadership, an educational initiative designed to propel the growth of a more qualified, diverse workforce in the hospitality industry through collaboration with local schools and workplace development programs.
Additionally, Cincinnati USA has hosted two Multicultural Travel and Tourism Forums and coordinated Cincinnati’s hospitality community to come together during local Pride festivities.
“Innovative hospitality teams are recognizing growing markets and are incorporating them into their organizational plans and practices,” said Tyronne Stoudemire, global vice president of diversity and inclusion for Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
He continued, “The Cincinnati USA CVB has been a beacon for the industry by broadening its efforts to include all market segments and demonstrating sincere values for inclusion, diversity and appreciation of all cultures.”
Going forward, the CVB’s efforts in the multicultural sector include hosting several prominent diverse groups in Cincinnati in the coming years, including the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in 2018; the National Association of Free Will Baptists in 2019; the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority in 2022 and the American Methodist Episcopal Church in 2024.
Ongoing collaborations through Cincinnati USA’s Vibe platform, including greater involvement with local organizations to reach new audiences, is expected to continue furthering the region’s reputation as a welcoming destination for all.
“In Cincinnati, diversity is celebrated and supported,” said Daniel Rajaiah, executive director of the Indian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky.
He continued, “We, in addition to the several other multicultural and diverse organizations throughout the region, look forward to working with the CVB to bring in more groups and visitors of diverse backgrounds and continuing our work in making them feel welcome.”