The August 24, 2020 Board Meeting can be accessed at the link below with the access code LLY0@c4?


Meeting Minutes

Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

Board of Directors Meeting

August 24, 2020 – 2:00 p.m.



PRESENT: Courtney Cacatian, Elizabeth Cromwell, Chris Engel, Chris Eure, Heather Hill, George Hodson, Roger Johnson, Ann Mallek, Diantha McKeel, Jeff Richardson, Letitia Shelton, Gabe Silver, Nikuyah Walker, Mary Blair Zakaib

ABSENT: Jennifer Mayo, Pace Lochte




Chairman Roger Johnson called the meeting to order at 2:03 PM.

  1. Virtual Meeting Preamble and Roll Call: Chairman Roger Johnson invited Richie DeLoria to read the Virtual Meeting Preamble and perform the roll call.
  2. Zoom Protocol: Richie turned it back over to Roger and Roger explained how the Zoom Board meeting would work. Roger invited Executive Director Courtney Cacatian to start with the consent agenda.
  3. Consent Agenda: Courtney went over the consent agenda and asked for a motion to be made. A motion was made and the consent agenda was passed.
  4. Director’s Report: Courtney presented the Director’s Report, which included a) Findings on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus; b) Hotel Performance; c) Highlights; d) Marketing Update; d) PR Update; e) Visitor Services Update; f) Strategic Plan Timeline; g) Postponed Retreat Discussions.
  5. Findings on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus: Courtney presented data on the impact of Coronavirus on consumer confidence. Some key findings that were brought to attention were how millennials were taking the Coronavirus more seriously, and how Charlottesville and Albemarle County are advantageously located near the Shenandoah National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway, where families will be invited to take trips in the fall.
  6. Hotel Performance: Courtney presented a few charts indicating hotel performance and noted the increase in occupancy and average daily rate. 
  7. Highlights: Courtney gave an update on highlights, which included receiving the $10,000 VTC WanderLove grant, assisting with Albemarle County’s small business grant, researching potential visitor center locations, posting and interviewing for the sales coordinator position, staff participation in Albemarle’s Let’s Talk About Race training, participating in UVA’s Hotel and Conference Center meeting (mainly focused on the exterior of the building), being interviewed for VTC’s drive 2.0 research plan, and launching a monthly consumer email. Courtney took some questions about the UVA Hotel and Conference Center and answered that the project timeline has not changed.
  8. Marketing Update: Courtney gave an overview of paid advertising efforts and the 30 second TV commercial that will air in those targeted markets. Courtney reported on the website traffic and visitation trends, noting the high click-through rate and the evidence of users staying on the website. Courtney explained that the WanderLove campaign is focused on road trips, will feature the “Space For Days” video, and will include digital ads with Blue Ridge Outdoors.
  9. PR Update: Courtney gave an overview of recent PR events, which included hosting travel writers.
  10. Visitor Services Update: Courtney gave an update on visitor services. The team is evaluating a Facebook plug-in for the website so visitors can be reached quickly, evaluating SimpleView for digitizing visitor center data, and working on industry trainings. Courtney debriefed on the pop-up visitor center trial run at Old Metropolitan Hall. Old Met did not see as much visitation as hoped, and the visitor center was moved to a tent outside of the transit center. Visitation has increased there, though Crozet has seen very little visitors. Courtney also gave an update regarding the recent use of promo codes.
  11. Strategic Plan Timeline: Courtney revisited the strategic plan timeline and proposed that the Board create a strategic action plan for this time (Coronavirus).
  12. Postponed Retreat Discussions: Courtney reviewed the retreat discussion topics that would need to be postponed. Of those topics, Courtney presented on lodging and visitor spending during this meeting and the Board discussed the event sponsorships. A motion was made and passed to suspend the sponsorships for the remainder of 2020 and regroup during the October meeting. Other topics included an equity and inclusion statement and a marketing campaign for returning UVA students.
  13. Lodging and Visitor Spending: Courtney presented on ADARA and Bandwango. A contract was signed with ADARA, a software that tracks the CACVB’s website performance (who comes to the website and how people engage with it). This will allow the CACVB to watch how advertising impacts booking, which will help inform how the CACVB should advertise. Bandwango, an attraction packaging tool, has not been invested in yet and Courtney presented it to the Board for thoughts. The Board would like Courtney to take next steps and come back with more information, which will also include some Board members to participate in a Bandwango presentation to gather more information.
  14. Board Announcements: Ann Mallek announced that the Blue Ridge Tunnel should be open before Christmas. Nikuyah Walker brought up concerns regarding the racial make-up of the 30-second TV commercial. Roger Johnson announced that out of 59 grantees, 22 of those grants went to the targeted industries (hospitality, tourism, and minority-owned businesses).
  15. Closed Session: Richie read the closed meeting motion and the motion was passed. The Board went into a closed session at 3:11pm and returned at 3:50pm. Richie read the closed meeting certification and a motion was passed.

Chairman Roger Johnson adjourned the meeting at 3:56 PM.