Tag Archives: steve moore

Hiking Adventures - EAZ Fall-Winter 2012

Increasing tourism shows importance of Arizona’s brand

The latest data on Arizona’s tourism industry says that business is on the upswing, which is good news for a state looking to put the Great Recession in its rearview mirror.

According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, the number of people visiting Arizona has surged back to pre-recession levels, providing a much needed injection of adrenaline into Arizona’s economy.

When we talk about promoting “base” industries in Arizona, look no further than tourism, which is the ultimate export-oriented industry. According to AOT, visitors to Arizona brought with them nearly $20 billion in direct spending last year on things like hotel rooms, meals and attractions.

That’s big money, and the nearly 200,000 jobs the industry supports are critical to keeping Arizona’s economy humming, which is why protecting Arizona’s brand is so important.

When there are state controversies, it makes it more difficult for our convention and visitor bureaus to succeed. There is no better place than Arizona for events and vacations, but there is fierce competition among the states for conventions and retreats.

Fortunately, the work of leaders like AOT Director Sherry Henry, Chamber board member and Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association President Debbie Johnson and Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau President Steve Moore has put one of our state’s most important job generators on solid footing.

What’s exciting is, as Director Henry told Capitol Media Services earlier this week, we still have room to grow. As Americans and international visitors (our neighbors in Mexico are our number one source of international visitors, Canada is number two) shake off the recession rust, more people are traveling. Attending the recent Governor’s Conference on Tourism gala dinner, I was struck by the level of talent possessed by the individuals assembled in the room who are so committed to growing the state’s profile and keeping Arizona at the top of the list for places people want to visit.

Next year is shaping up to be a big one for the state’s brand. The Super Bowl is coming to University of Phoenix Stadium for the second time (and to Arizona for the third time), and, thanks to leaders like Michael Bidwill, the NFL is bringing the Pro Bowl, too. Throw in the Waste Management Phoenix Open and Spring Training, and the state is poised to break visitor records. Don’t be surprised if your relatives in Minnesota, where AOT is ratcheting up its marketing efforts, call looking for vacation ideas when they’re snowed-in as they watch the best in football, golf and baseball enjoy our gorgeous weather.

I’m convinced that tourism plants the seeds for future business opportunities. My first exposure to Arizona was as a tourist. Years later, when I escaped the freezing cold of Ithaca, New York to head to Arizona to check out law schools, I was hooked. Wherever and whenever I go outside the state, I’m heartened that Arizona is regarded as such an attractive destination. Business executives around the country tell me about golf trips and the visits to the resorts that they’ve made here. Earlier this week when I was in Denver, someone wanted to talk Spring Training. Half a world away in Israel a few weeks ago, in between my snorkeling expeditions, people shared with me their stories of visiting the Grand Canyon.

But tourists and convention planners have plenty of choices of where to spend their dollars. All of this is a good reminder that we all need to be vigilant about our profile outside our borders.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans.

football

Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Announces Board

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee announces its Board of Directors for Super Bowl XLIX. The board of directors is comprised of business leaders that volunteer their time to drive the state’s efforts for Super Bowl XLIX.

The Host Committee is a private, non-profit Arizona corporation. The mandate of the Host Committee is to galvanize local stakeholders in a united approach to hosting the largest single-day sporting event by maximizing positive media exposure, fueling the economic engine of Arizona and leaving a lasting legacy long after the excitement of the Big Game. The board was assembled in 2013 to begin planning and to garner local corporate support and sponsors.

Board members include:
● Board Chair David Rousseau, president, SRP

● Brad Anderson, executive vice president, brokerage office services, CB Richard Ellis

● Michael Bidwill, president, Arizona Cardinals

● Jose Cardenas, senior vice president and general council, Arizona State University

● David Farca, president, ToH Design Studio

● Jim Grogan, chief operating officer, International Capital Investment Company

● Michael Haenel, executive vice president, Cassidy Turley

● Mike Kennedy, partner, Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A. (chairman, Super Bowl XLII Host Committee in 2008)

● Dan Lewis, senior vice president, Sovereign Finance

● Jeffrey Lowe, president, MidFirst Bank

● Mary Martuscelli, regional president for the private client reserve, U.S. Bank

● Andrew McCain, vice president and CFO, Hensley Beverage Company

● Patrick McGinley, vice president of property management, Vestar

● Steve Moore, president and CEO, Greater Phoenix CVB

● Jodi Noble, partner, Deloitte

● Jay Parry, president and CEO, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee

● Earl Petznick Jr., president and CEO, Northside Hay Company

● Ken Van Winkle, managing partner, Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP

● KJ Wagner, president and CEO, Willis of Arizona, Inc.

● David Watson, co-founder and managing partner, mybody and president and managing partner, Revolution Tea

● John Zidich, CEO, Republic Media Publisher, The Arizona Republic

“We have an impressive group of business leaders working together to meet the fundraising goals for Super Bowl XLIX and to maximize the opportunity to build the Arizona brand in this unparalleled global spotlight,” said David Rousseau, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee chairman. “We want to promote Arizona as an ideal destination for businesses and tourists well beyond Super Bowl XLIX.”

Super Bowl XLIX is scheduled to be played at University Of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015, marking Arizona’s second Super Bowl in seven years. In Super Bowl XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 3, 2008, The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 17-14. Arizona’s first big game, Super Bowl XXX, was held at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium in 1996, with the Dallas Cowboys beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17.

For more information on the Board of Directors, please visit http://azsuperbowl.com/about-us/meet-the-team/

Hamer - June 2011-fornewsletter

Gap is Narrowing on Immigration Reform

Various Arizona Chamber and business leaders have made numerous visits to Washington, D.C. over the years to push for reform of our nation’s badly broken immigration system. As a border state, we understand this issue well. For years, the business community in Arizona has been pressing Congress and the Administration for a secure border, workable visa and guest worker programs, nationwide employee verification programs such as E-Verify, and a way for those who did not enter the country legally but are now contributing to our state to get right with the law, especially those brought to this country as children. The failure of the federal government to act resulted in Arizona and many other states trying to do immigration reform on their own, resulting in a patchwork of policies nationwide.

But it is obvious today that all roads to reform lead through Washington, particularly in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Arizona v. U.S., which held that state attempts to regulate immigration were preempted by federal immigration law.

This past Tuesday, when a group of about 20 Arizona business, faith and law enforcement leaders visited with all nine of our U.S. House members, we were not alone. Over 600 leaders from over 40 states took to Capitol Hill to urge House Members, with a focus on the Republican majority, to support bringing legislation to the floor this year.

I had the privilege to address the gathering on Monday night at the opening reception to discuss why reform is so important and beneficial to our economy and security. Our country’s greatest comparative advantage is that the best, brightest and hardest workers from across the globe desire to work in our country.

Before we hit the Hill on Tuesday, we gathered at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to prepare. The U.S. Chamber and their Senior Vice President Randel Johnson have been the lead business organization on this entire reform effort. At the kickoff meeting we heard from conservative icon Grover Norquist, who made the free-market case for reform.  Former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Rebecca Tallent of the Bipartisan Policy Center remarked that all credible studies of reform point to significant economic and budgetary benefits. Fresno County (Calif.) Sheriff Margaret Mims made a compelling case for the increased security reform could bring. Faith leaders offered a humanitarian case for reform, and our delegation was joined by a number of pastors working in coordination with a coalition called Bibles, Badges and Business.

While in Washington, we had the good fortune to run into ASU President Michael Crow, who is a strong supporter of reform. Our universities would benefit enormously from federal action. As Arizona Board of Regents President Eileen Klein says, “Our ability to produce a highly-skilled workforce and thriving research enterprise that stimulate a growing, vibrant economy for Arizona will be strengthened by balanced immigration laws that promote access to education and economic opportunities.”

Our conversations with our House delegation were positive. While it is fair to say that there were differences in approach, all of our representatives agree that our nation’s immigration system is badly broken, and I believe that they all want to have a hand in getting it fixed.

While we are very proud and thankful for the hard and good work of our two U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, in crafting the Senate immigration proposal, it is clear that the House, as is its right, will draft its own plan and proceed with a series of bills as opposed to an omnibus. In fact, five different bills ranging from border security measures to efforts to fix some of our visa problems in the high-tech and agricultural sectors have passed two different House committees.

All agreed that we need to enhance our border security. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery offered some suggestions on changes that would allow for him to be more effective in assisting in border security. Nationwide use of E-Verify, a system already in wide use in Arizona due to the requirements of the Legal Arizona Workers Act, is another common area of support. And all agree on the need for visa reform, although there are some differences in scope. There may be an effort in the House to expand on the number of lower-skilled visas available as compared to the Senate bill.

The most difficult issue is how to deal with the 11 million who did not enter this country legally. There is growing support for some type of legalization, and even citizenship for the Dreamers, those individuals brought to the U.S. as children. But it is hard to imagine the citizenship language in the Senate bill passing in the House.

Although there are differences between the Senate and House, those differences are narrowing. But as one of our congressmen told our group, if the House is faced with making an all or nothing choice when considering the Senate legislation, the House will go with nothing.

Hard work will be required to get a package passed. This is not naming a post office. This could be the first significant immigration legislation to pass since 1986. This will take real leadership from Congress and the White House, where our president needs to channel his inner Bill Clinton and put on the charm on Capitol Hill.

Leadership from the business community will be required, too. If the House considers reform this year, job creators from across the country should welcome the opportunity to help broker a deal between the House, Senate and President Obama. We’re doing our part in Arizona, and we’ll keep at it until a deal gets done.

Postscript: I want to thank everyone who joined our team to urge Congress to pass an immigration reform package.

Barry Broome, President and CEO, Greater Phoenix Economic Council
Lea Marquez Peterson, President and CEO, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Bill Montgomery, Maricopa County Attorney
Jack Harris, former police chief, City of Phoenix
Mary Ann Miller, President and CEO, Tempe Chamber of Commerce
Chad Heinrich, Vice President of Public Policy and Economic Development, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Vice Mayor Tony Rivero, City of Peoria
Steve Moore, President and CEO, Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau
Pastor Gary Kinnaman
Pastor Bob Hake, Orangewood Church, Phoenix
Pastor Dan Steffen, Pure Heart Christian Fellowship, Glendale
Nan and Dick Walden, Farmers Investment Co., Sahuarita, Ariz.
Russell Johnson, President and CEO, Merchants Information Solutions, Inc.
Adam Estle, Bibles, Badges and Business
Brett Hunt, Bibles, Badges and Business

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. 

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. 

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, second from left, joined city leaders March 14 at the American Animal Hospital Association’s annual conference to celebrate the millionth delegate to visit the Phoenix Convention Center since its $650 million expansion in January 2009. The millionth delegate, veterinarian Monique Weldon of Aurora, Colo., accepted a donation in her honor to the Rescue Operation for the Animals of the Reservation (ROAR). Pictured from left are Phoenix Convention Center Director Debbie Cotton, Mayor Stanton, AHAA President Mark Russak, ROAR spokeswoman Helen Oliff, Greater Phoenix CVB President Steve Moore, Weldon, and Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos.

Convention Center welcomes millionth delegate

A huge milestone at the Phoenix Convention Center arrived last week in the form of a petite veterinarian from Colorado.

Dr. Monique Weldon, owner of Loving Family Animal Hospital in Aurora, Colo., was the one millionth delegate to visit the Phoenix Convention Center since it emerged four years ago from a $600 million expansion.

Weldon, a veterinary professional in town for the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) annual conference, was honored by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and City Manager David Cavazos in the convention center’s palatial North Ballroom during the AAHA’s May 14 opening general session. Phoenix Convention Center Director Debbie Cotton and Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau President Steve Moore also participated in the celebration.

“One million delegates is a testament to the drawing power of our city, our airport, our remade downtown, and this beautiful convention center,” Mayor Stanton said.

Cavazos pointed out that one million convention delegates visiting downtown Phoenix equates to nearly $1.5 billion in estimated spending for Phoenix’s economy.

The Phoenix Convention Center welcomed its first convention attendees in January 2009. With a glass-and-stone design inspired by the turquoise waters and red rock of the Grand Canyon, the convention center boasts nearly 900,000 square feet of exhibition and meeting space.

Mayor Stanton characterized the new convention center as a game changer, and called attention to several other developments that either dove-tailed with the facility’s construction or followed in its wake:

* METRO Light Rail began operation with 20 miles of line and 32 stations
* More than 60 new restaurants have opened downtown
* Every major hotel in downtown Phoenix is either completely new or has undergone multimillion-dollar renovations.
* CityScape was built, adding 2 blocks of new dining and entertainment options within a short stroll of the convention center’s doors.

On a more whimsical note, in the four years since expansion was completed, the convention center’s catering staff has served nearly 400,000 chicken breasts and 68,000 gallons of Starbucks coffee.

In addition to honoring Dr. Weldon with an array of gifts that included a return visit to Phoenix, representatives from the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau and three downtown hotels—the Hyatt Regency Phoenix, Renaissance Phoenix Downtown and Sheraton Phoenix Downtown—donated $1,000 to the Phoenix branch of AAHA’s charity of choice, the Rescue Operation for the Animals of the Reservation (ROAR).

The AAHA matched that donation to ROAR, and another $2,500 was given to the group’s cause by BlogPaws, a collection of bloggers who write about pet-care information.

ROAR is a nonprofit that provides food, shelter and medical care to dogs and cats rescued from American Indian reservations. According to the organization’s website, extreme poverty and limited access to medical care lead to tens of thousands of animals being orphaned on Indian reservations each year; there are at least 1,500 stray dogs and cats roaming the Navajo Nation alone.

On hand Thursday to help ROAR accept the donations was Lucy, a German Shepherd mix who was found in a roadside cardboard box in a New Mexico pueblo. Lucy now lives in a mountainside home in South Phoenix, where she enjoys daily walks and swims in a backyard pool.

triathlon store

Sporting events pump billions into Arizona economy

If you build it, they will come.

We did. And they have.

Over the last decade, the Valley has added Jobing.com Arena, University of Phoenix Stadium, built new spring training facilities, upgraded old ones and visiting sports fans have responded by pumping billions of dollars annually into the economy. And when the Super Bowl returns to Arizona in 2015, the big winner will be the Valley, which will score an economic impact $600 million.

“If you take a look at the economic-impact studies that have been done for events such as spring training and the Fiesta Bowl and the Phoenix Open, the numbers are impressive,” says Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. “For example, the last time the Super Bowl was here, in 2008, if you added its economic impact to that of annual events like Cactus League, the Phoenix Open, the Fiesta Bowl, and the NASCAR events at PIR, you’re looking at a number approaching $2 billion.”

But economic-impact studies alone don’t tell the whole story, Moore says.

“The enormous media value of hosting Super Bowls, college bowl games, NASCAR events, and NBA and (Majore League Baseball) all-star games simply cannot be purchased,” Moore says. “These big-time events also bring in corporate executives who use the games to entertain clients, and those executives and clients often return to town with their own corporate meetings.”

Arizona tourism leaders have utilized and marketed some its the state’s best features — sunny weather that guarantees no delays, desert scenery, excellent facilities and hotels — to become a major player in the world of sports. And the impact on the industry is staggering.

“Huge and immeasurable,” says Jesse Thompson, director of sales and marketing for Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale. “Every traveling team spends a night in town. Every team has loyal followers who travel to see their teams. And more than just the team travel, you have sportscasters, television crews, medical teams, referees, and not to mention the hundreds of employees at these venues that service everything from security to bathroom cleaning. Also, all the ancillary travel revenues from cabs and taxis, airlines and airports, food and beverage, entertainment, and retail are huge considerations.”

Consider this:

> Cactus League baseball will have an economic impact in excess of $350 million this year; the average stay for fans will be four days; and most will spend $350 a day while they are here. “Spring training typically offers the biggest sporting-related economic boost we see every year,” says Ron Simon, general manager of Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort.
> The 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open pumped $222 million into Arizona’s economy — with direct sales tax revenue estimated to be $8.2 million — and non-local attendees spent an average of $300 per day.
> When the Super Bowl rolls back into town, 85 percent of the 73,000 fans at the game will be from out of state; 65 percent of them will be key company decision-makers; another 50,000 fans will visit without tickets; and the average Super Bowl visitor will spend $2,000 while they are here.
> Glendale alone draws between 4 million and 5 million people annually to sporting events that take place in Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District, which contribute to the city’s increased hotel occupancy and sales tax collection throughout the year.

“The Fiesta Bowl and spring training are tremendous economic engines for Glendale and the West Valley,” says Lorraine Pino, manager of the Glendale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Both of these events bring hundreds of thousands of fans to the region. The hotel occupancy rate also reaches near capacity during spring training.”

But it’s not just high-profile athletes that drive sports tourism in Arizona. Beyond being known as a mecca for golfers, the Valley hosts high-profile events for amateur athletes that translate to big bucks for the tourism industry.

Events like Ironman Arizona and the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon are huge economic drivers because they bring not only the athletes, but their families and friends out for support which drives room nights and retail dollars for the entire community,” says Tori McLaughlin, regional director of sales and marketing, West Coast for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which includes both Hotel Palomar and FireSky Resort & Spa.

But beyond the beautiful golf courses, hiking trails and weather, Arizona has built its sports tourism empire by creating its own “Field of Dreams” story and epitomizing the “If you build it, they will come” strategy.

“There has been a major investment in the construction of spring training stadiums, including the development of new stadiums and enhancements to existing ones,” Simon says. “We’ve also seen great development and growth of the entertainment and shopping areas surrounding Chase Field in downtown Phoenix and Jobing.com Arena and University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.”

With improving infrastructure and venues, Phoenix is extremely well positioned to successfully bid for even more mega sporting events in the future, experts predict.

“Arizona’s success has created destination envy, particularly in Texas, which actually enjoys an advantage over us because they have legislation in place that allows them to provide hosting-obligation funds based on incremental visitor spending at these events,” Moore says. “In fact, both Houston and Dallas were chosen over the Valley during the last bids for the NCAA Final Four. But we’ve become a better competitor due to the metamorphosis of downtown Phoenix. We stressed this in our most recent Super Bowl bid. The fully expanded convention center, the 1,000-room Sheraton, light rail, CityScape, the new Westin and Hotel Palomar — none of these things were around in ’08, when the Super Bowl was last in Arizona. The NBA and MLB got a taste of the new downtown when they held their All-Star festivities here, and the NFL will get an even bigger taste in 2015.”

106477373

Tourism groups’ merger gives industry more strength and unity

Call it strength in numbers, or strength in unity.

“With the challenges that the tourism industry has faced over the past several years, our industry has had to come together to better vocalize the importance of tourism to Arizona’s economy,” says Debbie Johnson, a longtime advocate of Arizona tourism. “In doing so, it became evidently clear that the Arizona Tourism Alliance and the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association had virtually the same missions and goals and could have a stronger, more cohesive voice if united; so the conversations of mergers began amongst the two organization’s leadership.”

Those conversations led to the two groups combining forces early in 2012 to form the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association (AzLTA), with Johnson leading the charge as the group’s president and CEO. The new organization has a combined membership of almost 500 and has helped broaden the reach and scope of the tourism industry’s branding and message.

“Arizona must continue to think globally as well as act locally,” says Doug Yonko, executive vice president of communications for Hensley Beverage Co. and chairman of AzLTA’s board. “We are a premiere destination. However, competition for tourism dollars is fierce so we must stand together by working closely with the private and public sector and our legislature to ensure continued growth and increased market share of the tourism dollar.”

AzLTA’s leaders say the new supergroup will give the tourism industry the ability to speak from one unified voice, particularly on the legislative front, which will strengthen the industry.

“AzLTA unites hoteliers with key segments of the tourism industry — including Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, many state convention bureaus, private business and the Arizona Office of Tourism,” Yonko says. “The economic impact of the tourism industry affects most businesses at some level and — very importantly — our state tax revenue stream. The tourism and hospitality industry represents the second leading driver of our state’s economy, subsequently it is crucial that the business community and our legislature continue to recognize and support this pillar of our economy.”

Along those lines, the goal of the AzLTA is to work with and educate state legislators, offering training to those in the industry through workshops and seminars, and uniting those industries that are impacted by tourism. Its specific mission, Johnson says, is “to unify, protect, educate and promote the interests of the Arizona lodging and tourism industry.

“This mission is a combination of the missions of the former two groups, which were similar in structure and tone prior to the merger, but now have greater value after the merger,” she says. “AzLTA, and the Super PAC that the organization recently created, is now recognized as one of the leading industry voices in the state.”

AzLTA PAC is the state’s 25th Super Political Action Committee (PAC), which is expected to send a message to lawmakers about the strength and impact of tourism across the state. A Super PAC requires a minimum of 500 people to donate a minimum of $10 each. The funds can then be used to show support for candidates who understand the value of tourism to Arizona.

“AzLTA will have a seat at the table where policy is shaped that could directly or indirectly impact our ability to attract visitors and businesses to our state,” Johnson says. “It will ultimately raise the awareness that Arizona tourism is the catalyst to economic development,  job creation and tax revenue generation that positively impacts every Arizona resident.”

Masiulewicz

Masiulewicz takes leadership role in MPI

Donna Masiulewicz, a native of Chicago, was named president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International for the 2012 – 2013 year.

Masiulewicz earned her BA from Northern Illinois University in Spanish Translation and International Marketing.  She began her career in the hospitality industry working in association meetings management and tenured in corporate meeting and event operations.  A move to Arizona in 2001 carried over her role in corporate meetings and introduced her to incentive travel programs.

As president at Timeline Meetings and Events, LLC, Masiulewicz manages programs and events in domestic and international destinations with delegations from 12-2500.
Over the years, Masiulewicz has earned several industry awards, including the Rising Star for MPI (both Chicago and Arizona chapters) and the MPI Special Commendation award in Arizona. Masiulewicz won the prestigious 2008-2009 AZMPI Planner of the Year.
She recently sat down with Arizona Business Magazine to talk about the state of the hospitality industry in Arizona.

Question: What motivated you to become a meeting and event producer?
Masiulewicz; I started working the association market as an internal meeting/registration coordinator for a national nursing council. I truly loved the job and all the facets of the meetings industry. Wanting to learn more, I moved to the corporate side of meetings and conferences, got involved in MPI and continued to grow, learn and focus on perfecting each event.

Q: What are your duties and focus as president at Timeline Meetings and Events, LLC?
M: I am an independent senior meeting planner who is proficient in operations management for conferences, events and incentive programs. I manage all facets of program logistics including on-line registration support team, housing, custom program itinerary, ancillary meetings/activities, food/beverage selection, implementation, budget management, client relations, on-site execution and production, accounting and financial reconciliation.

Q: How did you become involved in the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of MPI?
M: I joined the Chicago chapter of MPI in 1997 and served on several committees; also receiving the Rising Star award in 2001. I transferred my membership to the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter when I moved in 2001. I was going to sit back and take it all in, but quickly jumped onto two committees. Over the next few years, I served on several committees including host and hospitality, membership, holiday party, special events/fundraising, and education forum. I joined the board of directors as director of special events/ fundraising in 2006-2007 and served as vice president of finance for a year before becoming president-elect in 2011-2012.

Q: How have some of the political and social issues — SB1070 and the lesbian couple being asked to leave a downtown Phoenix hotel restaurant — impacted the meeting and events industry in Arizona?
M: While we continue to be sensitive to the special interests of all our clients, we have a responsibility to remain focused on the task at hand which is the organization and execution of the best event we can produce. At times this may entail distancing that task from any group’s social or political views. While some may protest such an approach, the resultant neutrality assures both the organizers and the clients a well-run event without the distractions of any alternate agendas.

Q: What are your goals as president of the chapter?
M: My theme for the year is “Meeting Momentum.” We have the energy and resources laid in the foundation for the hospitality industry and it’s up to us as the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter to keep the movement and mobility in motion by doing four things:
* Offering top notch education to our membership.
* Encouraging members to live MPI and share the message throughout the industry and beyond.
* Paving the path for our future leaders.
* Having fun with networking events and helping others via our community outreach efforts.

87690275

Technology expands meeting and conference industry

We don’t catch up over coffee anymore, we catch up on Facebook.

Technology has changed the way we date, invite people to parties, and even watch TV. It’s only natural that technology will change the face of business meetings and conferences.

“As a chapter and in addition to our website, we utilize social media outlets — Facebook and LinkedIn — to promote our meetings and events and to share information industry-wide,” says Donna Masiulewicz. president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “We also use these means to educate those outside the industry about the power of meetings.”

Mara Weber, global marketing and communications director for Honeywell Process Solutions in Phoenix, has taken the use of technology a step far beyond Facebook.

“We held a global sales and service kickoff meeting on a virtual platform, with live broadcasts of a general session in two time zones,” Weber says. “The objective was to align our global team on growth initiatives, portfolio offerings, key messages and how to sell the value to our customers.”

While Weber says virtual meetings — which experts expect to triple in the next five years — give companies the ability to create a global footprint and bring content to an audience when and where it’s convenient for them, there are logistical challenges that need to be overcome.

“To be honest, the time and energy required and cost is far more than people realize,” she says. “You need to start with a very specific plan of attack, keeping goals and results in mind and making sure you are creating the right content in the right format. Video format, platform format, firewalls, testing in varied browsers and software versions, ability to convert files and stay flexible at all times is just the start. You also need to think past the technical to the end-user experience and also branding to create a visual environment and help messages that guide attendees or they quickly get frustrated and jump off. It’s not like being lost at a trade show and being able to view a map and ask people for directions. The audience is largely on their own and you have to think about their experience every step of the way, how they behave, how you want them to behave, download, ask, engage.”

Weber believe the best use of virtual meetings are as a component of a live, face-to-face event, extending the value of the content through the web to attendees who cannot travel or have abbreviated schedules.

“We chose to do a fully virtual kickoff meeting because we have over 3,500 sales and service team members in more than 100 countries,” she says. “The cost and logistics of face to face meeting is not reasonable.”

Weber says Honeywell has piloted virtual meeting a couple of times with customers when they can focus on a specific, targeted topic. And even in the high-tech world that Honeywell does business in, change isn’t embraced easily.

“Our customer base does not seem to be accepting,” Weber says. “By nature, they are engineers and like live demonstrations, talking face to face with experts and networking.”

TECHNOLOGY IMPACTS THE MEETING INDUSTRY

Here are five way ways experts say the use virtual technology is changing the face of the convention, conference, meeting, event, and trades how industries: ways he says you can use virtual technology to enhance your meetings.

WEB CONFERENCING: Connects meeting attendees and speakers in different locations by using VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), which allows real-time streaming of audio and video. More hotels and business centers are also adding high-definition virtual conference rooms that can be used to host hybrid sessions.

ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS: Open source your meetings and events by allowing virtual participants to share documents, Web pages, whiteboards, slide decks, audio, and video … all in real-time. Some Web conferencing systems allow you to record your events, thereby creating a collective knowledge base. These tools can be used for small meetings or for larger groups of thousands.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS: Often called the “backchannel,” social media represent the virtual conversations taking place in the background before, during, and often long after your live meeting or event. Take the time to set up and promote social media activity through things like assigning a specific Twitter hashtag for your event, creating event-specific Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and setting up Foursquare check-in locations.

REMOTE PRESENTERS: Use a streaming video feed of a speaker who is in a different physical location. This can be done as a realistic 3-D hologram, or a live feed of your guest speaker. Remote presenter options can be a great way to attract high-profile speakers who may not have the time to travel to a physical event.

LIVE WEBCASTS: Broadcast your keynotes, general sessions and breakouts by streaming your live audio and visual presentations via the Internet in real-time.

p

Meetings and conventions drive tourism industry

Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau, knows his industry is big business.

“If Arizona’s tourism industry were a publicly traded entity,” he says, “it would be the third-largest company in the state—just behind Avnet and Freeport-McMoran, and just ahead of US Airways and PetSmart.”

Despite the economic downturn and the hit that the state’s tourism industry has taken because of human rights concerns, the numbers back up Moore’s statement. According to a study released this year by Dean Runyan Associates:
* Total direct travel spending in Arizona was $18.3 billion in 2011. Travel spending increased by 5.4 percent in current dollars compared with 2010.
* The tourism industry employs 157,700 people in Arizona. Combined with secondary employment that is generated through this direct travel spending, total job generation for Arizona is nearly 300,000. Tourism-related employment increased in 2011 by 1.7 percent – an addition of 2,700 jobs. This is the first increase in employment since 2006.
* The re-spending of travel-related revenues by businesses and employees supported 136,000 additional jobs outside of the travel industry, with earnings of $5.4 billion.
* The biggest economic boost came from conferences, conventions and business travel, which accounted for more than $6 billion in spending, or the equivalent economic impact of hosting a Super Bowl every month.

“Conventions and meetings are essential to Phoenix’s economy,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says. “Their attendees stay in our hotels, go shopping at our local businesses and eat in our restaurants, which generates revenue and creates jobs.”

In many ways, experts says, conventions and meetings are a key indicator of the state’s ongoing economic recovery.

“Our industry is in a unique position in that our economic recovery has a direct effect on the recovery of the country as a whole,” says Donna Masiulewicz, president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “For most organizations, the first step in such a rebuilding phase is to regroup, reorganize and set out plans for the future. What better place to accomplish these things than at a company-wide event or convention? That means, in essence, that when we are hired to set up these events we are not only helping our own industry get back on financial track but we are serving as a conduit for other organizations to do so as well.”

The gross domestic product of Arizona’s travel industry was $7.3 billion in 2011, according to the Runyan study, making it the state’s top export-oriented industry, ranking above microelectronics, aerospace, and mining.

A big chunk of that revenue comes from meetings and conventions, which account for about two-thirds of the total revenue at Phoenix hotels and resorts, according to Douglas MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“That’s higher than the national average,” MacKenzie says, “because our destination holds great appeal as a meeting destination.”

MacKenzie is quick to point out that when a big event like Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game or the Super Bowl comes to Arizona, the public hears about the economic impact it has on the community because those events get a lot of media attention. But people often don’t realize that big conventions similarly bring thousands—and in some cases tens of thousands —of visitors to Phoenix on a regular basis.

“When a large convention comes to the Phoenix Convention Center, it’s like entire small town moving into downtown for a week,” says Douglas MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. “And each one of these temporary ‘residents’ directly puts dollars into the economy and generates tax revenue. By a very conservative industry estimate, each convention attendee who comes here spends more than $1,500.”

Meetings not only play a critical role in Scottsdale’s $3 billion tourism industry, according to Kelli Blubaum, vice president of Convention Sales & Services at the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, they are economic catalysts that extend beyond the singular event.

“Meetings and events not only help fill thousands of resort and hotel room nights each year, but also provide an opportunity to introduce new visitors and business decision makers to the area,’ she says. “These events often lead to repeat visitors and even economic development opportunities for the city.”

Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane says that meetings and conventions sometimes open the attracting new industry to Arizona.

“Sometimes, people who get a taste for Scottsdale end up buying a home here, or even moving a business here,” Lane says. “In fact, (convention-goers) may represent larger groups and businesses who may ultimately do more business in Scottsdale based on an initial stay here.”

MacKenzie says Arizona’s robust meeting and convention industry brings people into the state who might not otherwise be exposed to the benefits of doing business in Arizona.

“Many conventions and corporate meetings deliver to our doorstep the very manufacturing and knowledge industries economic developers want to attract to the city,” MacKenzie says.

And while meetings and conventions represent about one-third of the tourism revenue in Tucson, city officials have used their success as an attraction in the meetings industry to attract more revenue in the future.

“Many of Tucson’s larger resorts and hotels rely exclusively on group business to maintain occupancy and revenue throughout the year,” says Graeme Hughes, director of convention sales for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We are also very successful in converting meetings attendees into leisure visitors.”

Since 2008 and 2009 — the low point for Arizona tourism in the wake of the economic downturn — tourism-related tax revenue has risen across the state and as much as 60 percent in some regions of Arizona.

“The hospitality industry is a primary driver of the Arizona economy,” says Andy Ernst, regional vice president of Robert Half International, a professional staffing and consulting service. “We anticipate that Arizona will continue to experience healthy growth in the coming years as hotel occupancy continues to rise, and business comes back to the state.”

With a bright financial outlook for the meeting and convention industry nationally, experts expect Arizona to ride the momentum.
“At this point, Arizona is positioned to follow the national trend,” Hughes says. “As the economy improves, travel increases. Organizations will soon be willing to reinvest in the positive outcomes that meetings and conventions provide.”

The groups that met at the Phoenix Convention Center in 2011 accounted for more than 240,000 attendees and $350 million in estimated direct spending, according the MacKenzie. That surpassed the previous year’s direct-spend total by nearly $10 million, and it reflects the drawing power of the renovated and expanded convention center and additions to downtown, including CityScape.

“However, that’s a performance that likely will not be repeated soon,” MacKenzie says. “The number of convention attendees we’ve booked for 2012 is down 20 percent compared with 2011.”

MacKenzie attributes the decline to the recession, a 30 percent cut to the CVB’s budget, the removal of half of our Prop 302 marketing funds, and client backlash from Arizona’s role in the immigration debate, and the “A.I.G. effect,” the tendency of corporations to cut down on lavish expenditures and luxuries in areas like travel and meetings to avoid appearing wasteful in times of economic downturn. The A.I.G. effect became a reality because of the negative publicity generated by some practices of the insurance giant A.I.G.

“Keep in mind: This year’s and next year’s conventions were booked from 2008 to 2010, during the depths of the recession and during the first year of the immigration debate,” MacKenzie says. “The typical booking window for citywide conventions is two to five years out—i.e., a group usually selects the site of its 2012 convention by 2010.”

Despite some challenges, experts agree that the long-term appeal of Arizona should allow the state’s convention and meeting industry to fluorish.

“We’re seeing an increase in business from third-party planners, and the corporate segment is strengthening as well,” Blubaum points out. “Plus, healthcare continues to be a strong segment. Canada also is a growing market for Scottsdale, which is why we are increasing our efforts to drive additional meetings business from key Canadian cities.”

convention center

Phoenix Convention Center Cracks National Top 10 List

It is perhaps fitting that a convention center inspired by one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World has been selected by a national business magazine as one of the seven best convention centers in the United States.

The Phoenix Convention Center comes in at No. 7 on a list of the “Top Ten U.S. Convention Centers” in the April issue of Business Review USA.

The article ranks the “best of the best” among the nation’s “modern, immense and historically rich convention centers.” Its assessment of the Phoenix Convention Center states:

Downtown Phoenix’s convention center is a true multi-functional space. It hosts everything from national and regional conventions to consumer events and theatrical productions, and has attracted increasing amounts of tourism and financial support to the city since it opened in 1972. A recent expansion tripled the center’s size and further enhanced its regional aesthetics.

Five years and $650 million in the making, the expanded Phoenix Convention Center welcomed its first meeting groups in January 2009. Its architecture—dramatic angles, towering glass, earthy stone—is inspired by the colors and textures of the Grand Canyon, and its nearly 900,000 square feet of flexible exhibition and meeting space can accommodate more than 80 percent of the conventions in the U.S.

Since the debut of the fully expanded center, it has hosted nearly 800,000 delegates and generated more than $1 billion in direct spending for Phoenix’s regional economy.

The new convention center’s presence has helped the city host the Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Weekend, and Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. Large conventions that have met at the center include the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting and Exhibits, the VFW Annual National Convention, the U.S. Green Building Council Annual Conference and Expo, the Benevolent & Protective Order of the Elks Annual Meeting, and the General Council of the Assemblies of God.

“The new convention center has been a game changer for Phoenix in the truest sense,” said Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Its size has allowed us to pursue business we simply couldn’t accommodate before, and its beauty and practicality have made that business want to come back.”

Included within the Phoenix Convention Center’s striking environs are three ballrooms (two at street level), 99 meeting rooms, an IACC-certified Executive Conference Center and $3.2 million worth of public art.

Thoughtful touches include air-conditioned loading bays, exhibit halls with pre-scored floors, an adjoining performance hall that seats 2,400, and outdoor meeting areas that capitalize on Phoenix’s sunny weather. The convention center’s catering staff can feed 360 people every eight minutes, and its bright and airy food court features five themed eateries.

The article in Business Review USA’s digital issue includes a video that highlights the Phoenix Convention Center’s green features. The campus’ newest buildings were designed with energy efficiency in mind, and its sustainability program encompasses recycling, solar power and water harvesting. The convention center’s commitment to environmental sensibility helped the conference center earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Steve Moore

Steve Moore To Serve On The U.S Travel Association

Phoenix’s very own Steve Moore, the CEO and president of the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, has been asked to serve on the U.S. Travel Association’s 2012 Executive Committee.

Moore has also been appointed and asked to serve on the board of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), where he will represent the nation’s CVBs.

The U.S Travel Association is the nation’s largest advocacy group for the travel industry, which generates $1.8 trillion in economic output and supports 14 million jobs. Its Executive Committee members includes representatives of the largest hotel brands, auto rental companies, credit card companies, tour operators, theme parks and CVBs in the United States.

The CEIR, on the other hand, is a not-for-profit association whose missions focus on the promotion of the national exhibition industry.

Steve Moore has previously been a board member of the U.S Travel Association and has 37 years of experience in the travel industry. He was a key player in the expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center, in bringing Super Bowl XLII to Greater Phoenix, etc. He continues to serve on the Executive Committee for the 2015 Super Bowl.

Steve Moore has also had executive positions in the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association, the Valley Hotel and Resort Association, the Destination and Travel Foundation Board, etc.

For more on the companies and associations Steve Moore serves on, visit the “Visit Phoenix” website at visitphoenix.com and the U.S Travel Association at ustravel.org.

Steve Moore, GPCVB, AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Q&A Steve Moore, President & CEO of Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau

Steve Moore
President and CEO
Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau

What is the outlook of tourism in Arizona and the Valley as you see it?

Tourism is a $17 billion industry here, and it is strong enough to have absorbed some body blows over the past couple of years. The recession hurt. The “AIG effect” hurt. Backlash from SB 1070 hurt. People are still worried about the economy, and large groups are still a little trigger shy.

But we are seeing a few positive signs. Business travel is inching upward. Room rates are rising a little. In Phoenix, the metric we use to assess the financial performance of our hotels indicated improvement in 2010 versus 2009. So far this year, the BCS Championship Game gave the Valley’s hotels a boost in January, spring training provided its annual injection of visitors in March, and the MLB All-Star Week is going to be a huge asset for us in July. But the outlook is not as rosy as it’s been painted in some media accounts. We still have a lot of ground to make up.

How is the Greater Phoenix CVB performing in this environment, and how would you define the CVB’s role in the local economy?

In fiscal year 2010, our sales staff booked over 400,000 future delegates into the convention center and hotels across the Valley. These delegates will spend over $525 million when they get here — that’s direct spending, and it doesn’t include what the family and friends who accompany them will spend. If you were to look at the CVB’s future bookings in terms of corporate portfolio, that “portfolio” would be valued at $2.4 billion. That’s how much direct spending is attached to the future delegates we’ve booked, and that’s the price you could expect to get for the CVB if it were “sold.” Of course, we’re not for sale — we’re a nonprofit. But I think the analogy helps people get their heads around how vital the visitors industry is to the local economy.

What obstacles are currently facing the visitors industry, and what are some future challenges for the Greater Phoenix CVB?

The economy’s signs of recovery give us reason for optimism — but that optimism has to be tempered with a measure of caution. Group business may gradually climb back to pre-recession levels, but spending probably will rise at a slower rate. In that way, this recovery will somewhat mirror the industry’s post-9/11 recovery, albeit with a more gradual climb out of the bottom, because the recession affected all industries, not just ours.

Also, as the cost of oil continues to rise, so does the cost of air travel. Airlines have gradually decreased their capacities, switching to smaller planes and fewer flights. This can increase the cost of air travel and inflate travel times, both of which factor into a business’ decision about where to hold a meeting or convention. It’s something we play close attention to because Phoenix is a fly-in destination. Another challenge for us arose this past September, when the GSA recommended that federal agencies substitute teleconferencing and webcasts for face-to-face meetings whenever possible. Suppliers will likely follow suit, and that’s not good for our industry.

Within the CVB itself, one of our greatest challenges is budgetary. The formula funding we created back in 1998 will yield a million dollars less for us in the next fiscal year than it did in this fiscal year. We have lost four sales people this year, and we have not been able to replace them. We also lost half of our Prop 302 funds to the Legislature, which hinders our ability to market the destination to a national and international audience.

Has the Greater Phoenix CVB seen improvements since the passing of SB 1070? How so?

It’s been about a year since SB 1070 was passed, and in that time we’ve lost six definite conventions. We’ve lost only two since last July, when (federal) Judge (Susan) Bolton’s ruling blocked some of the bill’s most controversial provisions. Our sales team spent a lot of time and energy holding onto some of our large conventions and rebooking others. It’s the pipeline we are most concerned about, and at the close of the calendar year, our booking pace had slowed by 36 percent over last year’s pace — and last year was a recession year.

The fact that 19 other states have introduced immigration bills similar to SB 1070 has taken a little of the heat off us. It’s hard to quantify how much convention business we aren’t even getting considered for due to concerns over the bills. We do know that large, diverse associations are more risk averse than smaller, corporate meetings. Those smaller meetings have started to return to the Valley.

How will the All-Star Game and the MLB FanFest at the Phoenix Convention Center impact Phoenix’s economy and tourism?

The All-Star Game and the events surrounding it — the Home Run Derby, the Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, and FanFest at the convention center — are expected to inject $67 million of direct spending into Arizona’s economy. This estimate does not include local production expenses by national and international broadcast media, nor does it take into account hospitality expenditures by sponsors for receptions, parties and banquets.

The fact that All-Star Week arrives in town during summer, our traditional low season, magnifies its economic benefit to the community and provides us a grand-scale opportunity to show leisure travelers and meeting groups that visiting Phoenix in summertime is fun. And it’s the latest in a growing list of mega sporting events whose presence here proves that large and diverse groups and events are welcome and successful in Arizona.

What are your thoughts on the Arizona Office of Tourism’s “In One Word — Arizona” marketing campaign that launched in November?

Well, using just one word is economical, and that’s a good thing. Seriously, though, it’s a beautiful campaign that dramatically captures the beauty of our state. The existence of such a campaign is absolutely essential. Tourism is a $17 billion asset for Arizona. That asset must be trumpeted; that asset must be leveraged; that asset must be cared for. We all know AOT has been devastated by state budget cuts. If there’s one word that should be applied to AOT’s funding, that word is “restoration.”

What are your thoughts on the new Westin Phoenix Downtown and the rest of the downtown hotels and how they can potentially attract more tourists and business travelers?

Westin is a trusted brand, and the new hotel is a wonderful addition to downtown. Many of the conventions we book at the CVB are what we call “citywide conventions.” What that means is, they are big enough so that their attendees and their families spread out to multiple hotels. With the addition of the Westin, there are now more than 2,700 guest rooms within walking distance of the convention center. And more are on the way: A boutique Kimpton hotel — another trusted brand — is scheduled to open in CityScape early next year. So we’ll have the Sheraton, the Hyatt, the Wyndham, the Westin and the Kimpton right in the city’s core, all near the convention center, all near stops for the light rail, all near CityScape. For years we tended to talk about downtown in the future tense — as in, “It’s going to be great.” Downtown is now all about the present tense. It is great, and the catalyst to making it that way was the visitors industry.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011