Black Meetings and Tourism

January / February 2018

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B M & T ••• January/February 2018 ••• 10 N E W S M A K E R S Ronnie Burt, president and CEO of Visit KC, announced recent- ly his resignation, effective Jan. 31, 2018. Over the next few weeks, Burt will assist the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors with a smooth, seamless transition process to ensure the important work of Visit KC continues. In a statement to the Board of Directors, Burt said, "It is with mixed emotions that I submit my resignation as your President and CEO. I have made the decision that now is the best time for me to move on and consider other opportunities. I am proud of the achieve- ments made since 2014 with the support and hard work of the Visit KC Team." Burt has served as president and CEO since 2014 when he joined the organization from Washington, D.C., where he served as vice president of Sales and Services for Destination DC, the convention and tourism organization for the nation's capital. Below is a summary of key successes generated under Burt's lead- ership, which helped the organization achieve many important mile- stones: • Adopted the organization's new name (Visit KC) and marketing platform focused on the call to action: "Visit". • Re-opened the KC Film Office to the region, which has gener- ated $29 million in direct spending and secured "American Ninja Warrior" twice in the last three years. • Implemented an effective government affairs strategy that enhanced relationships with elected officials and defeated legislation that could have negatively impacted the local tourism industry and business community. • Implemented key changes to selling the city, focusing on per- formance accountability and high performing culture. Convention sales performance has exceeded goals every year from 2014 to 2017. • Strategically implemented a finance and administration review, which led to a revenue-growth strategy and transitioned the organi- zation to a stable financial position with the establishment of a reserve fund. • Built a sports acquisition strategy with the KC Sports Commission to secure the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and renewal of the Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship through 2020. • Executed a sales and marketing strategy that assisted in leading occupancy and average daily rate in 2017 to a 10-year high, as well as increasing visitation in 2016 to more than 25 million visitors and $5.5 billion in economic impact. • Implemented a new marketing strategy and platform that led to the organization's highest return on advertising effectiveness at $93 for every $1 invested. The Board of Directors of Visit KC would like to thank Mr. Burt for his leadership and commitment to enhance the hospitality industry in the Greater Kansas City region. 2018 Board Chair (b)CiCi Rojas(eb) said, "Ronnie has set Kansas City and Visit KC on a path to success for years to come. Under Ronnie's leadership, Kansas City has experienced increased business and leisure tourism, and thus tax receipts, due to his focus on per- formance and accountability. I would like to thank him for his service and wish him the best in his future endeavors. On behalf of the Board, we also want to thank all Visit KC employees for their hard work and dedication in realizing many achievements over the last few years." Visit KC will appoint an interim President and CEO in the very near term to allow for a smooth transition and a search committee will be appointed to identify a permanent replacement. VISIT KC ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION OF RONNIE BURT

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