GREATER HOUSTON CONVENTION AND
VISITORS BUREAU

2015-2016 ANNUAL REPORT


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Mission Statement

The mission of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau is to improve the economy of greater Houston by attracting national and international conventions, trade shows, tourists and film projects to the area through sales, marketing and public relations efforts.

Structure & Funding

The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau (GHCVB) is a 501(c)6 nonprofit corporation. The GHCVB is a marketing and service organization with a budget presently comprised of certain reserved funds and private funds raised through a variety of sources including investments in events, membership dues, advertising and in-kind contributions.

At the beginning of 2014, the GHCVB’s primary source of funding was from a contract with the City of Houston which was assigned to Houston First Corporation (HFC) in 2011; however, this contract expired June 30, 2014. This contract funded approximately 92% of the GHCVB’s budget from a tax on hotel/motel occupancy within the incorporated boundaries of Houston, Texas.

Upon expiration of the contract, the GHCVB and HFC boards approved a strategic realignment between the two organizations to create a more efficient approach to marketing and selling Houston to tourists and conventions. As part of that agreement, GHCVB employees became employees of Houston First Corporation while the GHCVB maintained its own board of directors and gained seats on the HFC board. With the realignment, the GHCVB has enhanced resources available — both human and financial.

City & County Officials

Mayor
Sylvester Turner

Controller
Chris Brown

City Council
District A - Brenda Stardig
District B - Jerry Davis
District C - Ellen Cohen
District D - Dwight Boykins
District E - Dave Martin
District F - Steve Le
District G - Greg Travis
District H - Karla Cisneros
District I - Robert Gallegos
District J - Mike Laster
District K - Larry Green
At-Large 1 - Mike Knox
At-Large 2 - David Robinson
At-Large 3 - Michael Kubosh
At-Large 4 - Amanda Edwards
At-Large 5 - Jack Christie

County Judge
Ed Emmett

Commissioners
Precinct 1 - Gene Locke
Precinct 2 - Jack Morman
Precinct 3 - Steve Radack
Precinct 4 - R. Jack Cagle

2015 Executive Committee & Board of Directors

2015 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

CHAIR
NICK MASSAD, JR.
American Liberty Hospitality Inc.

CHAIR-ELECT
DEAN GLADDEN
Alley Theatre

SECRETARY
NICKI KEENAN
Landry’s Inc.

TREASURER
TOM NETTING
Hyatt Regency Houston

PRESIDENT, GREATER HOUSTON CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU
MIKE WATERMAN

IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR
ALEX BRENNAN-MARTIN
Brennan's of Houston

CHAIR EMERITUS
DONALD J HENDERSON
DJH Consulting, LLC

CITY OF HOUSTON
MAYOR ANNISE D. PARKER

HARRIS COUNTY
JUDGE ED EMMETT

MEMBERS AT LARGE
SCOTT AUSTIN
American Liberty Hospitality Inc./Embassy Suites Houston Downtown

PHYLLIS J. BAILEY
3B Resources Group Public Relations, LLC

ROBERT W. HARVEY
Greater Houston Partnership

JOHN JOHNSON
Silver Eagle Distributors

DARRYL KING
Quality Hospitality Consulting Inc.

KEVIN O’BRIEN
Freeman

HOUSTON FIRST CORPORATION
DAWN ULLRICH

HARRIS COUNTY SPORTS & CONVENTION CORPORATION (NRG PARK)
MARK MILLER

HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION OF GREATER HOUSTON (PRESIDENT)
STEPHANIE HAYNES

HOTELIERS
JOHN KEELING
Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston (Chair)

JUDY ORLANDO
Omni Houston Hotel Westside

JOE PALMIERI
Hilton Americas-Houston

GREATER HOUSTON RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION (IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT)
REGINALD L. MARTIN JR.

RESTAURATEUR
CHRIS PAPPAS
Pappas Restaurants Inc.

2015 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Honorable Annise D. Parker
Mayor - City of Houston
The Honorable Ed Emmett
County Judge - Harris County
Scott Austin
American Liberty Hospitality, Inc./Embassy Suites Houston Downtown
Phyllis J. Bailey
3B Resources Group Public Relations, LLC
Alan D. Bergeron
Bergeron Management Services
John C. Binick
Hilton Houston Post Oak
Alison Birdwell
ARAMARK Sports & Entertainment
Susan Bischoff
Susan Bischoff Community Marketing
Helen Perrone Bonsall
DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Hobby Airport
Alex Brennan-Martin
Brennan’s of Houston
Tad Brown
Houston Rockets
Laurette Cañizares
Houston Museum District
Galen Cobb
Halliburton
Connie L. Cochran
Texas Southern University
Edgardo E. Colón
Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation
Gayden L. Cooper
Space Center Houston & Manned Space Flight Education Foundation
Scot Cotton
Marriott Marquis Houston
Joel Cowley
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Fernando Cuéllar
Hilton University of Houston
David B. DeVane
Sysco Houston, Inc.
John Ferrari
AFC Transportaton
William Fitch
Staging Solutions, Inc.
Terence H. Fontaine
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
Mike Giangrosso
Bay Area Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Mohamed Gire
Richmond Development Company LLC
Dean R. Gladden
Alley Theatre
Jonathon Glus
Houston Arts Alliance
Shawn Gracey
Hotel Derek
Ryan Gullion
Hotel Sorella
Vernita B. Harris
Impact Strategies Consultants, LLC
Robert W. Harvey
Greater Houston Partnership
Stephanie Haynes
Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston (President)
Janet Hobby
MKG Art Management
Willard Holmes
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Douglas M. Horn
The Houstonian Estates
Andrew Huang
Houston Galleria
Michael K. Jhin
Harbor Sky LLC

John Johnson
Silver Eagle Distributors
Tony Keane
International Facility Management Association
John Keeling
Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston (Chair)
Nicki Keenan
Landry’s, Inc.
Darryl King
Quality Hospitality Consulting, Inc.
Barbara Laken
United Airlines
Jerry Martin
KPRC
Reginald L. Martin, Jr.
Greater Houston Restaurant Association (Immediate Past President)
Nick Massad, Jr.
American Liberty Hospitality, Inc.
Alfredo Matos
Wyndham Hotel - Medical Center
Chris Miller
Wyndham Houston West Energy Corridor
Mark Miller
Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation (NRG Park)
Bob Mitchell
Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
Wade Morehead
Houston Marathon Committee, Inc.
Karen Mulville
GreenStreet
Tom Netting
Hyatt Regency Houston
Kevin O’Brien
Freeman
Judy Orlando
Omni Houston Hotel Westside
Sharon M. Owens
La Maison in Midtown, Bed & Breakfast
Kim Padgett
The Padgett Group
Jerry Paduano
Hilton Houston North
Joe Palmieri
Hilton Americas-Houston
Robert C. Robbins, M.D.
Texas Medical Center
Jamey Rootes
Houston Texans
Mark Sampsell
DoubeTree Houston Intercontinental Airport
Janis Schmees Burke
Harris County-Houston Sports Authority
Cissy Segall Davis
Miller Outdoor Theatre
Chris Shepherd
Underbelly
Nancy Sims
Pierpont Communications
Jaa St. Julien
St. Julien Communications Group, LLC
Stephanie Stegall
Houston Astros
Zaidi Syed
Del Frisco’s Restaurant
David Tagliarino
Houston Dynamo
Latha Thomas
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Jackie Traywick
Central Houston, Inc., Downtown Redevelopment Authority, Houston Downtown Management District

Rebecca Greene Udden
Main Street Theater
Dawn Ullrich
Houston First Corporation
Luther Villagomez
George R. Brown Convention Center
Mike Waterman
Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

CHAIR EMERITUS

Donald J Henderson
DJH Consulting, LLC

LIFETIME DIRECTORS

Sandy Hulver
Hospitality Consultant
Lance Livingston
Texas Rodeo Productions

HONORARY MEMBERS

Les Alexander
Houston Rockets
Kirbyjon H. Caldwell
Windsor Village United Methodist Church
James R. Crane
Houston Astros
Tilman J. Fertitta
Landry’s, Inc.
Rosemary Garbett
Los Tios Ltd.
Patricia Herrera
Main Connections
Howard Jefferson
NAACP - Houston Chapter
Don Jordan
Jordan Capital Management
Dr. Kase Lawal
CAMAC International Corporation
Carole Look
Jim McIngvale
Gallery Furniture
Robert McNair
Houston Texans
John L. Nau, III
Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P.
Dan Nip
Global Century Development LLC
Denise O’Connell
Joel Osteen
Lakewood Church
Chris Pappas
Pappas Restaurants, Inc.
Arthur L. Schechter
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Jack Sweeney
The Houston Chronicle

PAST BOARD CHAIRS

George A. DeMontrond, III
DeMontrond Automotive Group, Inc.
Ted Dinerstein
The Dinerstein Companies
Lupe Fraga
Tejas Office Products, Inc.
Sonia Garza-Monarchi
Garza Protocol Associates, LLC
William E. Harrell
Thomas Jones, Jr.
McConnell & Jones LLP
Donald McGregor, Jr.
McGregor Companies
Jim Mills
F.E.E.D. TX Restaurant Group
Robert Sakowitz
Hazak, Inc.
Milton L. Scott
The Tagos Group, LLC
Marshall Tyndall
Chris K. Wilmot
Glory Infrastructure, Inc.
Mark Yanke

2016 Executive Committee & Board of Directors

2016 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

CHAIR
NICK MASSAD, JR.
American Liberty Hospitality Inc.

CHAIR-ELECT
DEAN GLADDEN
Alley Theatre

SECRETARY
NICKI KEENAN
Landry’s Inc.

TREASURER
TOM NETTING
Hyatt Regency Houston

PRESIDENT, GREATER HOUSTON CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU
MIKE WATERMAN
IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR
ALEX BRENNAN-MARTIN
Brennan's of Houston

CHAIR EMERITUS
DONALD J HENDERSON
DJH Consulting, LLC

CITY OF HOUSTON
MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER

HARRIS COUNTY
JUDGE ED EMMETT

MEMBERS AT LARGE
SCOTT AUSTIN
American Liberty Hospitality Inc./Embassy Suites Houston Downtown

PHYLLIS J. BAILEY
3B Resources Group Public Relations, LLC

ROBERT W. HARVEY
Greater Houston Partnership

JOHN JOHNSON
Silver Eagle Distributors

JOHN KEELING
Valencia Group

RYAN LASKEY
The Westin Galleria & Westin Oaks Houston

KEVIN O’BRIEN
Freeman

TOM SEGESTA
Four Seasons Hotel

STEPHANIE STEGALL
Houston Astros

HOUSTON FIRST CORPORATION
DAWN ULLRICH

HARRIS COUNTY SPORTS & CONVENTION CORPORATION (NRG PARK)
MARK MILLER

HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION OF GREATER HOUSTON (PRESIDENT)
STEPHANIE HAYNES

HOTELIERS
SCOT COTTON
Marriott Marquis Houston

JACQUES D’ROVENCOURT
Hilton Americas-Houston

BARRY L. SHANK
Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston (Chair)

GREATER HOUSTON RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION (IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT)
REGINALD L. MARTIN JR.

RESTAURATEUR
CHRIS PAPPAS
Pappas Restaurants Inc.

2016 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Honorable Sylvester Turner
Mayor - City of Houston
The Honorable Ed Emmett
County Judge - Harris County
Scott Austin
American Liberty Hospitality, Inc./Embassy Suites Houston Downtown
Phyllis J. Bailey
3B Resources Group Public Relations, LLC
Alan D. Bergeron
Bergeron Management Services
Susan Bischoff
Susan Bischoff Community Marketing
Helen Perrone Bonsall
DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Hobby Airport
Alex Brennan-Martin
Brennan’s of Houston
Galen Cobb
Halliburton
Connie L. Cochran
Texas Southern University
Edgardo E. Colón
Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation
Gayden L. Cooper
Space Center Houston & Manned Space Flight Education Foundation
Scot Cotton
Marriott Marquis Houston
Joel Cowley
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Fernando Cuéllar
Hilton University of Houston
Jacques D’Rovencourt
Hilton Americas-Houston
Julie Farr
Houston Museum District Association
John Ferrari
AFC Transportation
William Fitch
Staging Solutions, Inc.
Terence H. Fontaine
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
Mike Giangrosso
Bay Area Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Mohamed Gire
Richmond Development Company LLC
Dean R. Gladden
Alley Theatre
Jonathon Glus
Houston Arts Alliance
Vernita B. Harris
Impact Strategies Consultants, LLC
Robert W. Harvey
Greater Houston Partnership
Stephanie Haynes
Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston (President)
Melissa D. Hensley
NRG Energy
Janet Hobby
MKG Art Management
Willard Holmes
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Andrew Huang
Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land
John Johnson
Silver Eagle Distributors
Tony Keane
International Facility Management Association
John Keeling
Valencia Group
Nicki Keenan
Landry’s, Inc.

Barbara Laken
United Airlines
Ryan Laskey
The Westin Galleria & Westin Oaks
Reginald L. Martin, Jr.
Greater Houston Restaurant Association (Immediate Past President)
Nick Massad, Jr.
American Liberty Hospitality, Inc.
Alfredo Matos
Wyndham Hotel - Medical Center
Chris Miller
Wyndham Houston West Energy Corridor
Mark Miller
Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation (NRG Park)
Wade Morehead
Houston Marathon Committee, Inc.
Tom Netting
Hyatt Regency Houston
Kevin O’Brien
Freeman
Sharon M. Owens
La Maison in Midtown, Bed & Breakfast
Kim Padgett
The Padgett Group
Kerry Ringham
Westin Houston, Memorial City
Robert C. Robbins, M.D.
Texas Medical Center
Jamey Rootes
Houston Texans
Mark Sampsell
Embassy Suites - Energy Corridor
Janis Schmees Burke
Harris County-Houston Sports Authority
Tom Segesta
Four Seasons Hotel
Barry L. Shank
Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston (Chair)
Nancy Sims
Pierpont Communications
Jaa St. Julien
St. Julien Communications Group, LLC
tephanie Stegall
Houston Astros
Zaidi Syed
Del Frisco’s Restaurant
Latha Thomas
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Jackie Traywick
Central Houston, Inc., Downtown Redevelopment Authority, Houston Downtown Management District
Rebecca Greene Udden
Main Street Theater
Dawn Ullrich
Houston First Corporation
Luther Villagomez
George R. Brown Convention Center
Mike Waterman
Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

CHAIR EMERITUS

Donald J Henderson
DJH Consulting, LLC

LIFETIME DIRECTORS

Sandy Hulver
Hospitality Consultant
Lance Livingston
Texas Rodeo Productions

HONORARY MEMBERS

Les Alexander
Houston Rockets
Tad Brown
Houston Rockets
Kirbyjon H. Caldwell
Windsor Village United Methodist
James R. Crane
Houston Astros
Tilman J. Fertitta
Landry's, Inc.
Rosemary Garbett
Los Tios Ltd.
Patricia Herrera
Main Connections
Howard Jefferson
NAACP - Houston Chapter
Don Jordan
Jordan Capital Management
Dr. Kase Lawal
CAMAC International Corporation
Carole Look
Jim McIngvale
Gallery Furniture
Robert McNair
Houston Texans
John L. Nau, III
Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P.
Dan Nip
Global Century Development LLC
Denise O'Connell
Joel Osteen
Lakewood Church
Chris Pappas
Pappas Restaurants, Inc.
Arthur L. Schechter
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Jack Sweeney
The Houston Chronicle

PAST BOARD CHAIRS

George A. DeMontrond, III
DeMontrond Automotive Group, Inc.
Ted Dinerstein
The Dinerstein Companies
Lupe Fraga
Tejas Office Products, Inc.
Douglas M. Horn
The Houstonian Estates
Thomas Jones, Jr.
McConnell & Jones, LLP
Darryl King
Quality Hospitality Consulting, Inc.
Donald McGregor, Jr.
McGregor Companies
Jim Mills
Cherry Pie Hospitality, LLC
Robert Sakowitz
Hazak, Inc.
Milton L. Scott
The Tagos Group, LLC
Marshall Tyndall
Chris K. Wilmot
Glory Infrastructure, Inc.
Mark Yanke
Hotel Emma

Letter From The President





Dear Members,

There’s no question about it. This is a great time to be in Houston’s hospitality business and its related sectors.

Our town and the entire Gulf Coast region are enjoying growth despite the downturn in the energy sector. Some have experienced job loss, for sure, but to be certain this kind of inevitable economic cycle is something we know how to endure. In fact, some businesses have found ways to thrive.

Houston continues to experience new hotel construction and that benefits our membership and better positions us to sell Houston as a destination. Residential construction, both downtown and in the surrounding areas, will create additional retail and restaurant offerings, which are key elements for attracting visitors.

The media is also recognizing our city as one of the top cultural and culinary destinations in the nation. Houston has a long history of blazing new trails and leading through innovation. This passionate drive, plus our remarkable collaboration between the public and private sectors, is making Houston a better place to live, work and play.

As you will read in the ensuing pages, 2015 was another year with positive year-over-year results in all departments. Nevertheless, technology continues to alter both business and leisure pursuits in ways that require daily monitoring. And, as each member can vouch for, the speed at which these changes take place can be confounding.

That is why Visit Houston continually works to establish, and then refine, metrics to define success. We build and develop strategic plans by segment and then adjust our benchmarks based on results. I want the Visit Houston team to be recognized as one of the most progressive, innovative, nimble and customer-centric sales and marketing organizations in the country. I firmly believe that our resources, talent, vision and alignment give us a competitive advantage against other cities.

As we elevate our game, I ask that our members, partners, hoteliers and board members follow suit. Now is the time to further demonstrate the value of tourism in Houston. To enhance that visitor experience, we have to improve transportation, better connect areas of our city, and continue to market the total Houston brand. Unveiling the new assets around the George R. Brown Convention Center will continue to be a priority.

The future could not be more exciting for our city. Everyone knows the Super Bowl is coming here in a few months. And just like the NCAA Final Four held here this year, Houston will shine as few other host cities have. Houston is a premier destination. Let’s enjoy the spotlight!

Your team is poised and ready to serve you, our board, our members, our customers and our city.


MIKE WATERMAN
President, Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Letter From The Chair





Dear Members,

What a ride we are on! As you know, Houston enjoyed tremendous exposure from hosting the NCAA Final Four earlier this year and now we are currently readying the city to host Super Bowl LI in February. I cannot think of another time during my decades in the hospitality business when Houston has had more opportunity to spotlight our great city to the rest of the world.

Gone are the days of feeling second to other destinations. With increasing strength in everything from attractions to the arts, culinary to lodging, Houston’s hospitality sector can hold its head high. I hear it among my peers in the hotel industry and beyond, this is an unprecedented time. And as you will see in this report, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau is taking advantage of this chance to make our city even better. New records were achieved in many departments last year and I know, with Mike Waterman’s continued leadership, even more great things are still to come.

As this organization continues its record of achievement, I ask that our members, partners and board members follow suit. Now is the time to further demonstrate the value of tourism in Houston. To enhance that visitor experience, we have to improve transportation, better connect areas of our city and continue to market the total Houston brand. I believe re-imagination of the convention district, which will be complete later this year, will help us to market and sell the Houston experience like never before.

Thank you for your service as a member of our organization. These days, Houston’s star is shining brighter than ever. And I’m confident that the team we’ve put together will continue to capitalize on the great opportunities that lie ahead.


NICK MASSAD
Chair, Board of Directors
Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

2015 Key Accomplishments

732,967
Convention & Meeting
Room Nights Booked

140 Members
Added to the City's Largest Network of Hospitality Businesses

6 Million
Visitors Through The
Visit Houston Network of Sites

144,590
Room Nights Booked Through
International Leisure & Reunions

$54.4 Million
Generated for the Local Economy Through
Film & Commercial Projects

Highlights

Houston just might be the most surprising city in America.

PRESERVATION MAGAZINE

This big-business town has always had a soft spot for world-class art: Its oak-tree-lined Museum District has 20 institutions, including the privately assembled Menil Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the non-denominational Rothko Chapel.

TRAVEL + LEISURE

There is no shortage of beautiful weirdness in the country’s fourth-largest city.

WASHINGTON POST

A city that pleases everybody sounds too good to be true, but with endless dining options that will satisfy any foodie, vast brewery selections, colorful theaters and drama productions of every genre, a fierce music scene and an architectural history that’s unmatched, Greater Houston just might be that place.

SMART MEETINGS

Houston is one of the great eating capitals of America.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Once the domain of 10-gallon hats and plate-sized belt buckles, Space City now has an edgier vibe. These days you’re just as likely to glimpse suede Gucci driving loafers, Lilliputian pocket squares and fedoras as you are cowboy dude regalia. Groundbreaking chefs, pioneering artists, hipster farmers and denizens with a yen for ecology stir life into the mix.

DESTINATIONS OF THE WORLD

Houston will surprise you. The city has been referred to as a modern day Ellis Island, where more than 145 languages are spoken.

YAHOO NEWS

Houston is the city of the future. By about 2040, most Americans will trace their ancestry to somewhere other than Europe—that’s already the case in Houston. the city’s blend of Latinos, Anglos, and people of African and Asian descent is a glimpse into the nation’s demographic destiny.

SOUTHERN LIVING

Destination Sales

The mission of the Destination Sales department is to generate and convert the greatest possible number of hotel room nights from trade shows, conventions, meetings and special events while promoting and selling the Houston area as a world-class meeting destination. The Sales team strives to reach its annual goals through direct sales activity and meeting planner networking during attendance at major industry events and trade shows, direct marketing and city hosted visits.

In addition to citywide conventions, the sales team also facilitates single-hotel, in-house groups. In 2015, the Destination Sales team contracted 460 groups for a total of 732,967 room nights, achieving 118% of its annual goal.

Groups using convention facilities afford the opportunity to place business in multiple hotels and among our hospitality partners. This year, the Sales team secured 69 contracts for groups with meetings convening at the George R. Brown or NRG convention centers.

SIGNIFICANT NEW BOOKINGS IN 2015
Rotary International +25,000 attendees
National Association of Drug Court Professionals +5,000 attendees
American Nurses Association +8,500 attendees
Association of Equipment Manufacturers +7,000 attendees
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages +7,500 attendees
American Association of Diabetes Educators +4,500 attendees
American Society for Blood & Marrow Transplantation +2,500 attendees
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals +5,500 attendees


SIGNIFICANT MEETINGS HOSTED IN 2015
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, +13,800 attendees
Microsoft AES 3,268 attendees
ABB, Inc. +8,000 attendees
Shriners International +8,500 attendees
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology +5,000 attendees
American Bar Association +3,600 attendees
Passion Conferences +14,000 attendees
Texas High School Coaches Association +10,300 attendees

732,967
Total Room Nights Booked
Exceeding 2015 Goal by 18%


459,197
Total Room Nights From
Citywide Conventions
104% of 2015 Goal


2.9 Million
Tentative Room Nights
Up From 2.4 Million in 2014


1,268
Tentative Leads
Up From 1,100 Leads In 2014

Tourism

The Tourism department is charged with the promotion of the Greater Houston area as a destination with the goal of increasing leisure travel to Houston. These efforts are measured in increased returns for area hotels, attractions, restaurants and others in the hospitality sector. The department is also tasked with working with the Houston hospitality industry to assist in leisure promotional efforts and encourage the creation of new leisure products.

Tourism actively works with domestic and international travel trade, including wholesale, retail, online agencies and tour operators in order to reach the traveling consumer. The Tourism team participates in travel and consumer trade shows and organizes sales missions and familiarization trips to reach key clients in its top markets. The department also handles visits to Houston by international media and manages the Spanish website and social media presence to generate exposure for Houston in Spanish speaking countries. Additionally, Tourism manages agencies representing the city in its top five international markets: Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, China and Germany.

Tourism secured 144,590 leisure room nights from international markets by working with wholesalers, tour operators, receptive operators and retail travel agents as well as focusing on the reunions market.

On the international PR front, the department secured 748 media placements, with a total of 9.8 million impressions which generated $11.3 million in positive media value for the year. The Spanish-language website VisitaHoustonTexas.com logged more than 442,000 visits in 2015, a 78% increase over the prior year. The accompanying Twitter and Facebook accounts grew to 5,263 and 13,680 respectively through in-house efforts and help from Visit Houston’s Mexico office. Tourism also trained 5,005 travel professionals around the world on how to sell Houston as a leisure destination, more than double the department’s annual goal.

In 2015, Tourism developed and executed the first Houston Tourism Summit, giving members the opportunity to interact, find out more about Tourism’s new direction and to learn about marketing opportunities to promote their products to leisure travelers.

The Tourism Summit further served as an opportunity to unveil the Houston First Matching Grant Program. The program allows hospitality partners to partner up to apply for funding for initiatives that could directly bring travelers to Houston from beyond a 150-mile radius. In total there were 27 applicants for the program of which 14 groups received grants to promote their products. A total of $250,000 in grants were awarded.

Finally, the Tourism department led an effort to create a cooperative marketing initiative for regional destination marketing organizations under the Visit Houston umbrella. Visit Houston and Beyond includes the cities of Alvin, Beaumont, Conroe, the Woodlands, Galveston, Baytown, Deer Park, Sugar Land, Huntsville, Bay Area Houston, Tomball, Pearland, Port Arthur and Brazosport. Partners have already come together on a new marketing effort and plans are underway to attend major trade and consumer shows.

144,590
Total International
Leisure & Reunion Room Nights
Exceeding 2015 Goal by 44%


442,000
Visitors to the Spanish-Language
Website, 113% of Goal


4,000
New Spanish-Language
Social Media Followers
A 26% Increase Over 2014


5,005
Travel Professionals
Trained In Selling Houston
500% of Goal

Destination Services

The Destination Services team is comprised of Destination Events, Destination Services and Employee Engagement.

The Destination Events team coordinated more than 43 events throughout the year, expanding their reach to additional internal departments at Houston First (Marketing, Tourism, Membership, Human Resources and Partnerships and Event Development) establishing the department as the “go to resource” for event logistics.

The team supported Sales in the organization and coordination of pre-planning citywide site inspections, familiarization visits, special events, sales missions, sponsorships and key industry shows, achieving over a 97% excellent/good rating from participating industry partners. Booths for Services' promotional trips, Tourism and Sales events were updated to showcase the Convention District’s participation in upcoming NCAA Final Four and Super Bowl LI events.

Employee Engagement executed a total of 21 employee events, maintaining an overall Excellent/Good rating of 92%.

The Destination Services team conducted 84 planning sessions, exceeding the 2015 goal. The team continues to expand the Destination Awareness Program, exceeding the 2015 goal of 23 events. This program helps connect the GHCVB with members, city departments and the community to more effectively communicate the economic impact of conventions.

In 2015 the team conducted numerous attendance promotional trips representing 183,999 room nights and 173,360 attendees, with the goal of showcasing Houston as the host for their next meeting. Services provides education and insight into Houston and promotes the city as a meeting destination.

84
Planning Sessions
Exceeding Goal by 16%


28
Convention Awareness
Program Events


13
Housing Program Events
Exceeding 2015 Goal


150%
Of Goal for Conducting
Sales & Service Calls


13
Attendance Promotion Trips

18 / 20
Major Association
Planners Evaluated
Reaching 90% of 2015 Goal

Membership

The mission of the Membership department is to develop and implement programs that support membership growth, revenue and retention, through education, engagement, and economic opportunity.

The Membership department works with all other divisions to support and promote the organization’s overall objective of attracting convention, meetings and visitors to Houston. This collaboration enhances the membership program, helping retain existing members and grow the base. The alignment with Houston First has continued to expand business opportunities for members and make membership more attractive.

The primary Membership goal is to increase the core membership base of 1,200 organizations by implementing a strategic plan to actively identify and convert business prospects into members.

A total of 140 new members were added in 2015. Membership met their membership engagement goals with 6 engagements and member connection business opportunities. This included a Houston Super Bowl Business Showcase, a Summer Connection, Certified Tourism Ambassador Rally and membership involvement with the inaugural Houston Tourism Summit. The Annual Membership Appreciation Holiday Open House recognized 19 members for being event supporters and contributing goods and services throughout the year.

95%
Membership Retention
Exceeding 2015 Goal by 11%


20
Member Engagement Activities
Meeting 2015 Goal


6
Membership Newsletters
100% of Goal


140 / 180
New Members Recruited
77% of 2015 Goal

Partnership & Event Development

In 2015, Partnerships & Event Development showed healthy growth with its current portfolio of invested events and launched its latest collaboration – the Space Commerce Conference and Expo (SpaceCom).

SpaceCom, executed in collaboration with NASA-Johnson Space Center, kicked off in November 2015 with great fanfare and a tremendous response. With more than 50 credentialed media, attendees from 32 states and 23 countries, it’s clear that there is a market for the next generation of space. The more than 1,700 attendees were treated to keynotes from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and other CEO leaders from the rapidly expanding space commerce field.

Comicpalooza continued to be an economic engine with a 25% increase in attendance to 40,000 for the Memorial Day Weekend event, while producing over 16,000 room nights during a traditional need period for the city.

Medical World Americas (MWA) increased its attendance to over 2,300 and strengthened the relationship and partnership with the Texas Medical Center, which continues to serve as an anchor for this event in Houston. With medical meetings being a key growth opportunity for Houston, MWA continues to be a flag in the ground to highlight Houston’s medical assets and relationship with the TMC and its institutions.

$20 million
2015 Economic Impact to
Greater Houston Area
Exceeding Goal by 33%


17,000
Room Nights Generated
Exceeding Goal


1,700
Spacecom Attendees

40,000
Comicpalooza Attendees

2,300
Medical World America Attendees

Marketing

The Marketing department promotes the Greater Houston area as a convention, business and tourism destination. These efforts include advertising, public relations, sponsorship, special events, promotions, website and collateral development.

The more people the organization is able to reach, the greater its influence. In 2015, just over 6 million people visited the Houston CVB’s web network, which includes: VisitHouston.com, HolaHouston.com (Spanish-language, previously VisitaHoustonTexas.com), MyGayHouston.com, HoustonCulinaryTours.com, IDoHOU.com and HoustonReunions.com, representing a 30% increase over the previous year.

Moreover, the network of websites generated 187,000 room nights in 2015 and direct spending of $116 million from the leisure visitor market.

The 2016 advertising efforts included a national print campaign in the Wall Street Journal and digital placement in New York Times’ news, lifestyle and dining sections. The local TV and cable broadcast ads aired in the Texas and Louisiana markets featuring the My Houston campaign. New in 2016 and also part of the My Houston campaign, a new TV spot was created and aired featuring Kam Franklin and The Suffers. The TV spot showcased Market Square Park and the Downtown Mural, as well as referenced iconic Houston landmarks.

The international advertising efforts increased with dedicated media buys targeting key markets in Mexico, including Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexico City. Marketing’s domestic public relations efforts placed Houston in the national spotlight with more than 300 media placements generated by pitches and media visits. These placements contributed to $18 million in positive publicity for the city in 2015. High profile placements included pieces in the Washington Post, Forbes Travel, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure.

6 Million
Visitors to the Visit Houston
Network of Sites
Exceeding Goal by 7%


315
Media Generated From
Journalist Visits or Pitches
Surpassing Goal by 80%


62 /90
Coordinated Interviews
Exceeding Goal by 33%


187,000
Room Nights Generated From Web
Reaching 94% of 2015 Goal

Houston Film Commission

The mission of the Houston Film Commission is to increase the number of film and video projects shot in the Houston area and build a sustainable film infrastructure. A healthy film industry puts heads in beds, creates jobs, expands the tax base and enhances the image and visibility of the greater Houston community.

In 2015, the Houston Film Commission recorded 210 film and video projects representing 855 shooting days. Direct spending locally by the film industry in 2015 totaled $18.5 million with a total economic impact of $54 million.

Major projects filmed in Houston in 2015 included commercials for Vodafone, Nike, Ford, Bose and Taco Bell. The latter being voted one of the 10 best commercials during Super Bowl 2016. The Johnson Space Center was the location of the international One Direction Drag Me Down music video. The video was tweeted about 22,000 times per minute the first day of release and won Best Music Video during the 2016 British Music Awards.

The Houston Film Commission also continues to have a strong presence at major industry events including the Los Angeles, Austin, Dallas and Sundance film festivals, the American Film Market and SXSW. These events allow the Commission to connect with producers and filmmakers and more effectively market the Houston region as a film and video destination.

TELEVISION SERIES SHOT IN HOUSTON 2015
–Married to Medicine
–H-Town Hustle
–Sisters in Law
–The Little Couple
–House Hunters International


FEATURE FILMS SHOT IN HOUSTON 2015
–Good After Bad
–Border Town
–Be Not Afraid
–Pizza Joint

$54.4 Million
Economic Impact
Reaching 91% of Goal


855
Days of Filming
Exceeding Goal by 6%


$18.5 Million
Direct Expenditures in 2015
Reaching 91% of Goal


249 / 250
Project Specific Presentations


23 / 25
Film & Marketing Events Attended


210 / 200
Film & Video Productions

Visitor Information Services

The elements of the Visitor Information Services/Retail Operations include information mail request fulfillment, the Houston Visitor Center/Gift Shop at Hilton Americas and the Explore Houston gift shop located at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

The mission of the Visitor Information Services department is to increase visitor attendance as well as length of visitor stays and encourage repeat visitation by providing relevant visitor information, attractive retail merchandise and a quality visitor experience. The department is also responsible for increasing revenue and maximizing profit generated by the Houston First retail operations.

In 2015, this department generated net sales of $138,725, a 22.8% increase over the previous year. Visitor contacts, including walk-ins, phone calls and mailings, came to 79,458, 120% of goal.









$138,725
Revenue Generated in 2015
Achieving 96% of Goal


17,102
Walk-In Visitors
86% of 2015 Goal


40,884
Social Network Reach
Exceeding Goal by 36%


13,328
Mailings
144% of Goal


8,144
Phone Calls
103% of Goal

Finance & Administration

GREATER HOUSTON CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU

*STATEMENTS OF REVENUES, EXPENSES AND CHANGES IN FINANCIAL POSITION
FOR THE YEARS ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2015 AND 2014
  ** 12/31/2015 12/31/2014
REVENUES    
Public Sources $                 — $ 10,386,188
Private Sector 1,543,869 2,029,820
TOTAL REVENUES 1,543,869 12,416,008

EXPENSES

 

 
Operations & Administration 507,868 2,335,585
Convention Sales/Services 1,916,702 3,832,915
International Group Sales and Tourism 1,008,365
Private Sector Services 5,335 440,989
Film Commission 229,753
Protocol Alliance 220,324
Advertising & Promotional 3,134,894
TOTAL EXPENSES 2,429,905 11,202,825

NET ASSET (DECREASE)

$ (886,036)

$ 1,213,183


*Unaudited Report- Audited report available after September 30, 2016
**GHCVB realigned with Houston First Corporation July 1, 2014 (see Structure and Funding). Calendar Year 2015 reflects the realignment being in place for 12 months while Calendar Year 2014 reflects only six (6) months of the new structure.




GREATER HOUSTON CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU

*STATEMENTS OF FINANCIAL POSITION DECEMBER 31, 2015 AND 2014
  12/31/2015 12/31/2014
ASSETS    
Current Assets:    
Cash and Cash Equivalents $                9,536,415 $               10,556,073
Accounts Receivable 591,071 676,400
Prepaid Expenses 80,499 83,974
Inventory 6,758
Total Current Assets 10,207,985 11,323,205
Non-current Assets:    
Property and Equipment - Net 369,367 590,312
Investments in Other Entities 1,052,200 435,000
Depositsy 66,100 66,101
Total Assets 11,695,652 12,414,618

LIABILITIES & NET ASSETS

 

 
Current Liabilities:
 

 
Accounts Payable ( 41) 91,089
Deferred Revenue 264,221 7,500
Accrued Expenses 140,649 140,757
Total Current Liabilities 404,828 239,346
Agency Obligations 105,403 103,815
Unrestricted Net Assets 11,185,421 12,071,457
Total Liabilities & Net Assets $ 11,695,652 $ 12,414,618


*Unaudited Report- Audited report available after September 30, 2016