The theme of this year’s annual meeting - “Rebranded & Reenergized” - reflects the transformation of the Northern Kentucky Convention & Visitors Bureau to a new brand identity, meetNKY, along with enhanced collaboration with key partners and the re-positioning of the destination to harness the strengths of this exciting and incomparable region.
“meetNKY had a very successful year in 2014 attracting visitors to our destination,” said meetNKY Board Chairman Alan Bernstein, the owner and operator of BB Riverboats. “Northern Kentucky is place where meetings get connected with first-rate service, the best value, and exceptional meeting experiences. We are looking forward to continued success this year thanks to increased regional collaboration and some exciting new initiatives for 2015.”
Held at The Northern Kentucky Convention Center, the annual meeting included remarks by Bernstein; keynote speaker Bob Stewart, Kentucky Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Arts & Heritage, who spoke about the transformation of tourism and how it pertains to Kentucky; and meetNKY President and CEO Eric Summe, who led the meeting and shared details of the rebranding.
Highlights of the banner 2014 year included:
• The total economic impact of visitor spending on Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties increased by $11 million over 2013 to $340 million.
• Hotel occupancy was 63.56 percent, an increase of 4.49%, while room demand increased 3.22 percent.
• Every hotel room night generated $219 in visitor expenditures.
• A strong indicator of economic impact and return on investment, the return per $1 of marketing investment provided $16.92 in visitor expenditures, a jump of 19.5 percent over 2013.
• meetNKY, along with the best group of hospitality partners in the business, continues to receive outstanding feedback for the service provided to group and convention customers with an overall satisfaction score of 98.6 percent.
• 95.5 percent of all groups that visited Northern Kentucky last year have expressed their intent to return.
“The meetNKY team continues to lead in ensuring our region has the right products & resources in place to sustain and enhance our destination,” Bernstein said. “For instance, last year, we began discussions with our public officials and community partners on a Covington Streetscape initiative that will keep our riverfront vibrant, safe and inviting to our guests. This year, meetNKY will work with our partners to make this happen.”
Other exciting 2015 initiatives include:
• In 2014, the meetNKY name was launched and became a recognized destination brand. The rebranding process will be fully implemented in 2015 with the development of a new website for meetnky.com along with a revitalized initiative to recognize local convention & meeting champions through the Northern Kentucky “Legends” program.
• Vibrant regional partnership is evident in a number of key initiatives over the last year and continuing into 2015 and beyond. In 2014 the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network (RTN) contract was renewed and will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2015. The RTN represents an extraordinary regional partnership between meetNKY and the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) to promote and market our regional destination.
• In 2014 meetNKY, the Cincinnati USA CVB and the RTN undertook a regional Growth Modeling assessment that will focus the area’s collective tourism assets and attributes, and devise a specific plan to make us more competitive as a place to visit. Watch for more information to come in 2015.
• The establishment of the Certified Tourism Ambassador program is another successful undertaking that started in 2014 and will take shape this year. This program ensures our frontline hospitality professionals can be tourism experts in assisting visitors with the best things to do in our region.
• meetNKY is honored to have the continuing support of the KY Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet under the leadership of Secretary Bob Stewart. Last year was the second year of Visit KY USA, which is a statewide initiative to attract more international visitors to our Commonwealth. MeetNKY is proud to be major investor and supporter of this important program.
• meetNKY continues to support the efforts of our partners at The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, which continues to bring new air service to our area while maintaining its excellent performance. Just last week, the airport received the prestigious World Airport Award as the Best Regional Airport in North America for the fifth consecutive year.
“meetNKY will continue to build and promote our destination by working with our partners in Northern Kentucky, the Cincinnati region and throughout the Commonwealth to advocate, to maximize the economic impact of the visitor and to be an active participant in state and regional tourism policy,” said Eric Summe, President and CEO of meetNKY.
Also during Thursday’s meeting, meetNKY presented its Star of Tourism award to Kathryn “Kittie” Dupps in recognition of 25 years of service as a meetNKY Registration Ambassador.
“Kittie has been a smiling face and knowledgeable source of tourism information for thousands of convention and leisure visitors to Northern Kentucky,” Summe said. “Her extraordinary work ethic, deep reservoir of local knowledge and sincere love for the region have made Kittie a vital member of the meetNKY Convention Services team for two and half decades.”
The mission of meetNKY is that of an aggressive sales, marketing and service organization whose primary responsibility is to positively impact the Northern Kentucky economy through conventions, meetings and visitor expenditures.