Black Meetings and Tourism

November / December 2016

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B M & T ••• November/December 2016 ••• 12 N E W S M A K E R S Erica Qualls-Battey was one of three new members scheduled to be inducted into the Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame during a ceremony Thursday, Nov. 10. The 18th annual event will be held at Flourish in Buckhead to honor Qualls-Battey along with fellow inductees Vincent Anthony and Phil Noyes as out- standing individuals in Atlanta's hos- pitality industry. Qualls-Battey serves as general manager for Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Georgia's largest hotel and one of the largest in Marriott International's property port- folio. As general manager, Qualls-Battey is responsible for ensuring guest and associate satisfaction, managing the hotel's finances and assets, owner relations and fostering business alliances that promote Marriott International. In addition to her roles with the hotel, Qualls-Battey is a member of many national and local organization boards including the Chick-fil- a Peach Bowl, Atlanta Hotel Council and Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Qualls-Battey's work has earned her multiple awards including Atlanta Business Chronicle's 100 Most Admired CEOs, Georgia Hotel Lodging Association General Manager of the Year and Atlanta's Top 100 Black Women of Influence. "This year's three inductees are among the very best our industry has to offer," said William Pate, president and CEO, AL HUTCHINSON SELECTED AS NEW PRESIDENT AND CEO OF VISIT BALTIMORE After an extensive national search, John Frisch, chairman of the Baltimore Convention and Tourism Board of Directors, announced the hiring of Al Hutchinson, 57, as Visit Baltimore's new president and CEO. Hutchinson will assume the position on November 14. Hutchinson brings more than 24 years of experience in the hospitality and destination marketing industry to Baltimore, most recently serving as president and CEO of Visit Mobile, where he was recognized as the 2016 Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Alliance's 'Tourism Promoter of the Year.' Under Hutchinson's leadership, Visit Mobile launched a new brand campaign, 'Born to Celebrate;' saw record visitor attendance; a large increase in visitor inquiries; and an increase in the city's hotel occupancy rate and revenue collection. As president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, Hutchinson will be responsible for leading the growth of the convention and tourism industry in Baltimore, overseeing the day-to-day man- agement of all sales and marketing programs and serving as the hospitality industry's liaison to the business, civic and local community, while demonstrating the impact of tourism on the City and State. "Visit Baltimore is a strong bureau well positioned for growth and I have great confidence that Al is the right leader to build upon recent successes of the organization," said Frisch. "From hosting a record 30 citywide conventions in 2015 cou- pled with multiple years of record visitation numbers, to the creation of a separate Visit Baltimore Education & Training Foundation, he is taking over the helm of a very strong organi- zation. I know that the organization, and in turn the City, the region and the State, will benefit from his sales and marketing experience and strong reputation as a collaborative, transpar- ent leader and effective communicator." Hutchinson takes over from Ron Melton who stepped in to serve as interim president and CEO at Visit Baltimore begin- ning May 6, 2016. Melton returns to his full time role as chief operating officer. "I would like to extend my gratitude to Ron for stepping into the interim role during this search process and thank him for his leadership during this time of transition," said Frisch. Prior to joining Visit Mobile, Hutchinson served as the vice president of convention sales and services at the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau where, for more than 11 years, he led the convention sales and service team, directed the advertising agency and worked closely with community lead- ers, industry decision makers, elected officials and tourism part- ners. Hutchinson has spent a good portion of his professional career in the hospitality industry also serving in leadership posi- tions with the Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Charlotte Convention Center, the Park Hotel in Charlotte and the Richmond Metropolitan CVB. "I look forward to leading Baltimore's tourism efforts and to working with the Visit Baltimore team, Convention and Tourism Board of Directors, the city's elected officials and the citizens of Baltimore to lead the City to new heights," said Hutchinson. "I'm excited by the opportunity to take the helm of such a strong organization." "Al is well-respected within the industry," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "We are lucky to have him and I am confident that he will serve as a strong advocate for tourism in Baltimore while also working to build relationships and part- nerships within the community. I was impressed by his passion and perspective on how tourism can further advance Baltimore's economy." th in H T e B a A s p s B B h B C p y a to Baltimore most recently ATLANTA'S HOSPITALITY HALL OF FAME WELCOMES ERICA QUALLS-BATTEY

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