The April 2021 Board Meeting can be downloaded for viewing here:

Meeting Minutes
Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau
Board of Directors Meeting
April 26, 2021 – 2:00 p.m.

PRESENT: Chip Boyles, Courtney Cacatian, Elizabeth Cromwell, Chris Engel, Chris Eure, Heather Hill, George Hodson, Roger Johnson, Pace Lochte, Ann Mallek, Jennifer Mayo, Diantha McKeel, Jeff Richardson, Gary Sandling, Gabe Silver, Nikuyah Walker


ALSO ATTENDING: Anthony Bessette, Susan Krischel, Rita McClenny, Thomas Penny, Travis Wilburn, Dean Andrews

Chairman Roger Johnson called the meeting to order at 2:01 PM.

a. Virtual Meeting Preamble and Roll Call: Chairman Roger Johnson introduced Anthony Bessett and invited him to read the Virtual Meeting Preamble and perform the roll call.

b.    Consent Agenda: Roger asked for input on the consent agenda. A motion was made to approve the consent agenda, and the consent agenda was approved. Roger turned it over to Executive Director Courtney Cacatian for the Director’s Report.

c.    Director’s Report: Courtney Cacatian invited Susan Krischel to present on the city-wide arts initiative. Susan presented on the Charlottesville Arts Excursion and took questions from the Board afterwards. Courtney presented the Director’s Report, which included a) Highlights; b) Hotel Performance and ADARA data; c) Marketing and PR Update; e) Sales Update; f) Visitor Services Update.

d.    Highlights: Courtney gave an overview of recent highlights, which included an update of the Black Cville initiative, an update of the DRIVE 2.0 survey, and an update on the Destinations International DEI committee’s work. 

e.    Hotel Performance and ADARA Data: Courtney presented a few charts indicating hotel performance and the ADARA Site Impact data.

f.    Marketing and PR Update: Courtney gave an update on the Marketing and PR efforts. In mid-March, social and programmatic display was relaunched, the visitor guide is finalized, and the website RFP is in progress. Hiring for a new Marketing Manager is in progress and the search for a temporary part-time graphic designer and videographer has begun. Courtney presented graphs on the click through rate, which shows triple the industry average, and gave an example of engagement on the paid social ads. Lastly, Courtney presented a graph on the website visitation trend, which shows a 40% increase from last year, even without taking into account COVID.

g.    Sales Update: Courtney gave an update on sales efforts, which included securing and distributing 6 leads to our partners, partnering with attractions for a VTC hosted virtual FAM, continuing site visits and renewing partnerships with Meeting Planners International, VSAE, and SGMP, working with the VA ABC to secure two hotels for their employees to get vaccinated, and working with accommodations and venues to gather information on the wedding business revenue loss during 2020.

h.    Visitor Services Update: Courtney gave an update on the Visitor Services team. Visitor Services has been managing the setup of the new office and streamlining the bulk order process. Visitor Services has also participated in in-person tours. The Mobile Visitor Centers are in soft launch phase and partners have been excited. The Visitor and Community Relations Manager is researching DMO best practices for mobile visitor centers.

i.    Board Development: Roger invited Heather Hill and Chris Eure to present their findings from the preliminary exploration of future board development. In the exploration, other DMOs with Boards were studied, feedback was gathered from industry representatives, and a suggested agenda format was presented. Chris and Heather also presented a suggestion that the Board members be responsible for a sector to facilitate representation. The Board discussed what was presented and Roger asked Anthony for his legal input. Roger suggested that he, Chris Engel, Courtney, and Anthony meet and return to the Board with a proposal. Roger asked that any input be emailed to him or Chris.

j.    State Tourism and Industry Presentation: Elizabeth Cromwell introduced Rita McClenny from the VTC, Thomas Penny from Donohoe Hospitality Services, Dean Andrews from the Easton Porter Group, and Travis Wilburn from Stay Charlottesville. Rita McClenny presented first on the tourism economic impact and took questions. Thomas Penny spoke next about marketing and tourism education needs. Dean Andrews spoke next about best practices for DMO Boards and took questions. Lastly, Travis Wilburn spoke about tourism industry representation and the Board closed with discussions.

k.    Board Announcements: Ann Mallek gave an announcement on the Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival. Mayor Nikuyah Walker closed with comments about diversity in tourism.  

Chairman Roger Johnson adjourned the meeting at 4:13 PM.