The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced the creation of a new multicultural sales team. From left are Jason Dunn, vice president of Multicultural Sales and Community Development; Tamara Whiting, director of Multicultural Sales; Kariuki Epps, national manager of Multicultural Sales; and Alexis Thomas, Multicultural and Community Development coordinator. Photos provided
The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced the creation of a new multicultural sales team to build on its success in attracting multicultural meetings and conventions to the region.
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; and Alexis Thomas, Multicultural and Community Development coordinator.
Industry trends and changing national demographics indicate that the multicultural sector in the tourism and hospitality industry will continue to show strong growth in the coming years. In response, this move is a strategic reallocation of CVB resources to attract and win more diverse business.
“We are committed to making Cincinnati the most welcoming city in America,” said Mike Laatsch, COO of the CVB. “The creation of our multicultural sales and development team allows us to be more fully invested in this important initiative moving forward.”
Utilizing targeted sales strategies with this specialized team, the CVB will focus efforts on coordinating and fostering relationships with diverse organizations on local, state and national levels. The team will continue 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. Emphasis will be placed on broadening the CVB’s diversity focus to increase activity with Asian, Hispanic, Indian, LGBT groups and more. Engaging and concentrating efforts on emerging markets will expand the CVB’s pipeline of potential business.
Additionally, the CVB 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,” said Jason Dunn. “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 taken a dedicated approach to reaching and working with diverse groups. In that time, Cincinnati has hosted or booked 19 of the top 25 multicultural groups in the nation.
In 2015, the CVB was one of two charter sponsors for the inaugural “State of Black Tourism” event hosted by the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, where Dan Lincoln, president and CEO of the CVB, served as the first CVB panelist. Guided by Lincoln’s leadership and Jason Dunn’s involvement as a member of the national board and co-chair of the event, the Cincinnati CVB’s impact and engagement is heralded across the country.
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 that will propel growth of a more qualified, diverse workforce in the hospitality industry through collaboration with local schools and workplace development programs. Additionally, the CVB 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. 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,” said Tyronne Stoudemire, Global Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Moving forward, the CVB’s efforts in the multicultural sector include hosting several prominent diverse groups in Cincinnati in the coming years. Major groups coming to the region include Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (2018), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (2018), National Association of Free Will Baptists (2019), Zeta Phi Beta Sorority (2022) and American Methodist Episcopal Church (2024), among others.
Ongoing collaborations through the CVB’s Vibe platform, including greater involvement with local organizations to reach new audiences, will continue to further 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. “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.”