__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

2019 ANNUAL BUSINESS

Review

GRANT TAYLOR

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM


Dear friends in tourism, As we turn the page on a new decade in Buffalo, it’s worth reflecting on our past progress – and future opportunities for our destination. In the last 10 years, our waterfront developed into a top attraction that draws more than one million visitors annually. Architectural landmarks like the Martin House Complex and Richardson Olmsted Campus transitioned from states of disrepair into shining examples of restoration and adaptive reuse. Dozens of new hotels, restaurants, breweries and shops opened, reinvigorating once-ailing neighborhoods and providing visitors with a host of new amenities. Our destination’s transformation has enabled Visit Buffalo Niagara to drive more visitation here than ever before. The growth of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus prompted VBN to launch its Medical Meetings Initiative in 2019, as our state-of-the-art facilities make Buffalo a more enticing destination for medical association meetings. Our destination’s development helped our sales staff convince more international group tour operators to include time – and overnight stays – in Buffalo on their itineraries. And the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission continued to build on our reputation as a top-tier destination for college and amateur athletics by ensuring the success of signature events like last spring’s NCAA Frozen Four.

than one million views on our social media channels and website. And we told richer and deeper stories along our Buffalo Wing Trail by launching the “Lord of the Wings” podcast series in 2019. We’ve come so far in the last 10 years, but the work has really only just begun. The unprecedented public health crisis we’re currently facing has ground the travel industry to a standstill as we collectively do our part to end this global pandemic. When this crisis eases, VBN will be on the front lines of getting our regional tourism industry moving again, launching marketing campaigns, generating out-of-town media coverage and booking meetings, conventions, group tours and amateur athletic events that put heads in beds and generate tens of millions of dollars for the local economy.

Our destination’s transformation has enabled Visit Buffalo Niagara to drive more visitation here than ever before.

VBN’s marketing department continues to find creative ways to share Buffalo’s story with a growing audience around the world. Our media relations team hosted a record 53 travel writers in 2019 who generated travel coverage in more than 200 regional, national and international media outlets, from The Globe and Mail and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to Men’s Journal, AFAR and The Telegraph. VBN’s marketing staff produced more than 50 original pieces of video content in 2019 that generated more

In the years to come, we’re looking forward to the expansions of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, as well as the proposed new Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Each project presents incredible opportunities for us to bring new meetings, conventions and leisure visitors to Buffalo. If any city knows a thing or two about resilience, it’s Buffalo. We’ll come back from these current challenges stronger than ever, and Visit Buffalo Niagara will be there every step of the way to share Buffalo’s story with the world, drive visitation here and build on our collective progress. Very truly yours,

PATRICK J. KALER President and CEO Visit Buffalo Niagara


JUST THE FACTS: 2019 AT A GLANCE VBN CONVENTION, SPORTS & GROUP TOUR SALES

$124 million

742

495

Conventions, meetings, amateur athletic events or group tours booked

sales leads

166,140 Hotel room nights booked

BUFFALO NIAGARA CONVENTION CENTER

249,975

138

People attended events at the Convention Center

Events hosted

265

Days the Center was occupied

25,000

Hotel room nights utilized due to events at the Center

BUFFALO NIAGARA SPORTS COMMISSION

100,120 Attendance

Attendees serviced

Hotel room nights

73

Amateur sporting events serviced in 2019

VBN CONVENTION SERVICES

44,692 Hotel room nights booked

108

Meetings and conventions serviced

VBN MARKETING

228

Out-of-town media placements

95,290

Facebook followers

3

1,603,317 Unique sessions to the website

28,741

Twitter followers

53

press visits

34,724

Instagram followers

$4.8

million Media value of out-of-town media coverage

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

40,500

97,800

2019 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

Future economic impact


BUILDING THE BUFFALO BUZZ Visit Buffalo Niagara ended the decade with another one of its strongest years for media relations. VBN hosted a total of 53 travel media in 2019 that helped generate more than 225 stories about Buffalo worldwide in publications like Men’s Journal, The Associated Press, AFAR, The Globe and Mail and The Telegraph. VBN’s presence at media shows like the International Media Marketplace in New York City, ongoing work with MuchPR public relations firm and relationships with the Travel Media Association of Canada and I Love New York helped cultivate the media’s interest in Buffalo’s ongoing transformation. VBN capped the year with Lonely Planet designating Buffalo one of its “Best in Travel” destinations around the world in 2020, an accolade earned through VBN’s ongoing outreach efforts. •••

4

VISITING U.K. MEDIA ENJOY DUFF’S WINGS

THE LORD OF THE WINGS Visit Buffalo Niagara is always exploring new and inventive ways to tell the Buffalo story. In 2019, the team added podcasting to its storytelling arsenal, launching the “In the BUF: The Lord of the Wings” series. Communications Manager Brian Hayden and Director of Creative Services Matt Steinberg collaborated on the five-episode podcast. Hayden wrote and hosted the series, which outlined his quest to find the best wings in Buffalo along VBN’s Buffalo Wing Trail, and featured interviews with restaurant owners and wing experts along the way. Steinberg produced and edited each episode. The team created a rich, engaging audio experience that let listeners accompany Brian on his journey throughout Buffalo. The podcast is available at BuffaloWingTrail.com, or search In the BUF on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Google Podcasts. •••


INSPIRING PEOPLE TO VISIT

BUFFALO

We made an investment in equipment.

viewed videos as our most effective storytelling tool

We bought a state of the art Sony camera, along

and we have made a major commitment over the

with a steadicam, tripod and other tools of the trade

years to producing videos with engaging stories,

and challenged Marketing Manager Drew Brown and

dazzling imagery and high production values.

Creative Services Director Matt Steinberg to become

In 2019, we took that commitment to another level,

our in-house production team, with Drew assuming

producing 53 pieces of original video content that generated more than one million views across our social channels and website. Here’s how we did it.

the role of videographer and Matt doing the editing and post-production tasks. Among the highlights of their 2019 productions are “East Aurora: A WellDesigned Destination,” which received more than 90,000 views, and a pair of videos celebrating the

We continued our partnership with Paget Films.

Buffalo Bills road to the playoffs that attracted nearly

Working with talented local filmmaker John Paget,

150,000 views.

we produced a pair of stellar videos devoted to music

Communications Manager Brian Hayden contributed as

and food. “Buffalo: Come Out Tonight” is a fast-paced look at Buffalo’s eclectic music scene. “Buffalo: One of the Great Eating Cities” captures the creativity and inventiveness that’s found in Buffalo’s contemporary culinary scene. It’s another example of the quickcutting, dynamic style of storytelling that we feel is best suited to the short attention spans of Facebook and Instagram. Together, these videos garnered more than 70,000 views across our social channels.

host to our successful “Buffalo Live!” video series. Brian puts his training as a journalist to work as he comes well prepared to every interview (which are done in one take) with an opening monologue and questions that help put interviewees at ease and help to inform our viewers. The highlight of our 2019 Buffalo Live productions was Brian’s interview with legendary Buffalo Bills’ fan Pinto Ron, which was viewed nearly 70,000 times. •••

5

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

The Visit Buffalo Niagara marketing team has long

2019 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

PAGET FILMS


CURATING THE BUFFALO STORY In 2019, Visit Buffalo Niagara engaged CrowdRiff, a social media software company, to help us distribute usergenerated imagery across our marketing channels. CrowdRiff enables VBN to find photos shared by its fans and followers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. VBN then uses this imagery in our blog posts, newsletters, contests and image galleries on across our site. The Crowdriff platform also allows third-party media to seamlessly find, download and distribute our photographic assets in stories about Buffalo. •••

6

FINDING SOCIAL SUCCESS #INTHEBUF Visit Buffalo Niagara encouraged visitors and residents

VBN rounded up gifts from nearly 50 of Buffalo’s most

alike in 2019 to post their beautiful images of Buffalo on

iconic restaurants, shops and attractions, including $716

social media using the new hashtag #InTheBUF.

in gift cards to Walden Galleria stores, a Ted’s Hot Dogs

User generated photos shared by VBN’s fans and

“Golden Keychain” that provides lifetime discounts to

followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram reach a wider audience on social media than VBN could ever achieve alone. To incentivize more photo submissions,

the restaurant, a free walking tour for 10 people from Explore Buffalo, free ice cream every day for two months from Churn Soft Serve, and even two cases of Chiavetta’s

Visit Buffalo Niagara launched the Ultimate Staycation

chicken marinade.

#InTheBUF contest. Throughout May, June and July,

By the time the contest finished in August, more than

VBN selected weekly winners from the pool of all

7,000 images of the destination had been posted using

#InTheBUF photo submissions and entered them to win

the #InTheBUF hashtag. To date, more than 12,000

a $5,000 Buffalo-themed prize package – perhaps the

images have been uploaded using #InTheBUF and the

largest prize package of its kind ever created in Buffalo.

hashtag continues to assist VBN in amassing usergenerated imagery. •••


2019 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

7

Websites are the most critical part of any destination

embarking on this process. A total of 190,000 additional

marketing strategy, yet they invariably become out-

visitors came to the website (16% percent increase year

of-date and need to be refreshed and updated. In 2019,

over year) and time on Page increased almost 10 percent.

Visit Buffalo Niagara engaged Madden Media to assist

The re-design of VisitBuffaloNiagara.com will continue

us with re-designing our website using an innovative

in 2020 with additional sprints designed to upgrade the

process Madden calls “Growth-Driven Design.” This

look and feel of the site.

approach calls for continual, incremental improvements

VBN also brought digital advertising opportunities

to be made to a website on an ongoing basis. Instead of completely redesigning the entire site in 2019, we identified 20 “sprints” that would immediately improve the aesthetics, content and performance of pages of visitbuffaloniagara.com that experience high traffic. VBN achieved a number of measurable results since

back to VisitBuffaloNiagara.com in 2019. Working with Destination Travel Network, we implemented ad-serving technology that allows advertisers to target their best prospects and tap into the buying power of the more than one million visitors to our site. •••

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

THE NEXT GENERATION OF VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM


PLANNING MADE EASY It’s never been easier for tour operators who plan group trips to Buffalo to organize a visit here, thanks to the new digital Visit Buffalo Niagara Trip Planner. The trip planner replaced the printed Product Guide VBN used to produce and provides a dynamic, easy-touse experience for group tour operators considering Buffalo. The planner allows customers to create a “choose your own adventure” Buffalo experience – enabling group tour operators to select from a variety of group-friendly venues, hotels, events, restaurants and attractions. The digital planner then plots their selections on an itinerary and map than can be emailed, printed and shared to social media. VBN staff have shared the planner with hundreds of contacts since its launch and received positive feedback. The Trip Planner received more than 3,500 web hits in 2019. •••

8

VISIT BUFFALO NIAGARA LAUNCHES

MEDICAL MEETINGS INITIATIVE

Buffalo’s recent transformation has presented

of-the-art meeting

new opportunities for Visit Buffalo Niagara’s sales

facilities with cutting

team to bring additional meetings and conventions

edge technology at

to our destination. The expansion of the Buffalo

the medical campus,

Niagara Medical Campus – including the University

and the hundreds

at Buffalo’s new medical school, the Jacobs School

of medical experts

of Medicine – has made Buffalo a more attractive

working in Buffalo

destination for hosting meetings for medical groups

that can serve as

and associations.

guest speakers and

Visit Buffalo Niagara worked to maximize this

panelists. The VBN team has developed printed

opportunity in 2019 by launching the Medical Meetings Initiative. The initiative touts Buffalo’s

collateral and launched a microsite promoting these assets, and is actively pursuing leads for future

many assets to medical groups and associations who

medical meetings.

might consider our destination for their meetings

The groundwork VBN laid in 2019 will pave the way

and conventions. These assets include the state-

for future success in the medical meetings market. •••


BRINGING THE BEST TO BUFFALO The Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission held its inaugural Speakers Series in April to coincide with the NCAA Frozen Four Tournament that took place in Buffalo. The panel discussion at Canisius College’s Montante Center focused on the economic and community impact of amateur and collegiate hockey tournaments in Buffalo. Panelists included veteran ESPN Anchor John Buccigross, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Commissioner Rich Ensor, and NCAA Director of Championships and Alliances Kristin Fasbender. The Speakers Series will continue in the future as an opportunity to bring some of the best and brightest in amateur athletics to Buffalo, and to build community awareness of the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission’s role in making Buffalo a top-tier destination for collegiate and amateur sports. •••

2019 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

DREW BROWN

9

THE FUTURE OF THE

In 2019, Erie County continued to move forward with planning for a new Buffalo Niagara Convention Center after previously determining that the 42-year-old current center was “functionally obsolete” and in need of replacement. By early 2020, the county determined that a new site bound by Delaware Avenue, West Huron, West Mohawk and Franklin Streets was the best location for a state-of-the-art 450,000 square foot facility that could generate an additional $30 to $35 million in annual economic impact for Buffalo’s hospitality industry. The new facility’s completion is at least a few years away, so the current center’s staff continues to do its

best to attract meetings, conventions and events to downtown Buffalo. In 2019, the center hosted 138 events that occupied the facility on 265 days. These events drew nearly 250,000 attendees to the center, generated 25,000 room nights at downtown hotels and created $34 million in economic impact for the surrounding area. Erie County also continues to update its existing facility – including new lighting, renovated bathrooms, and other improvements – to ensure it continues to remain a hub for meetings, conventions and events until the completion of a new center. •••

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

BUFFALO NIAGARA CONVENTION CENTER


SHOWING OFF BUFFALO ON FAM TOURS JUNE 2019 FAM TOUR

Visit Buffalo Niagara’s sales team employs a variety of strategies for bringing meetings, conventions, and group tours to Buffalo. But to seal the deal and make the sale, nothing beats the opportunity to bring clients and customers to Buffalo for a familiarization tour to experience our destination firsthand. Last June, VBN hosted 20 meeting planners and group tour operators for a three-day tour that highlighted unique venues around Buffalo and the walkability of the downtown business district surrounding the Buffalo

10

Niagara Convention Center. Highlights included an evening walking tour around downtown that included dinner at the Curtiss Hotel and entertainment at Hatchets and Hops axe throwing bar before returning to the Hyatt Regency, the host hotel. These familiarization tours provide an invaluable opportunity for Visit Buffalo Niagara to build relationships and generate future business for Buffalo. •••

GROWING BUFFALO’S INTERNATIONAL TOURISM Each year, a high volume of Asian tour groups arrive regularly for overnight stays in our region on their way to Niagara Falls. But they’re often on a tight itinerary – getting here late at night, leaving the next morning, and not seeing much of Buffalo. Visit Buffalo Niagara, seeing an opportunity for Buffalo tourism, has continuously worked to change that – and those efforts paid off in 2019. Director of Tourism Sales Leah Mueller met with officials from Mayi Tours in New York City last summer, then hosted a group of several VBN’S LEAH MUELLER TOURS company representatives on a familiarization BUFFALO WITH MAYI TOURS STAFF tour that showcased many of our attractions and assets. The initiative was successful; Mayi then altered its itineraries to include sightseeing time in Buffalo, and attractions like the Double Decker Bus Tours noted a resulting uptick in business. Visit Buffalo Niagara is eager to continue building international visitation to our destination once the current global public health crisis eases. •••


RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS

DREW BROWN

The tournament, which brought the top four collegiate hockey teams in the United States to Key Bank Center, generated 5,300 hotel room nights in downtown Buffalo and created approximately $3.9 million in economic impact. In between games, VBN President Patrick Kaler and other staff members visited a number of restaurants surrounding the arena and worked with their staffs to identify patrons at each location who were visiting from out of town. The VBN team then stepped in to pay for those visitors’ meals. This unexpected hospitality and the goodwill it creates will help ensure that signature athletic events like the Frozen Four keep returning to our destination for years to come. •••

2019 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

Visit Buffalo Niagara launched its Random Acts of Kindness program several years ago as part of our larger effort to leave a lasting positive impression of Buffalo with visitors during key meetings, conventions and amateur sporting events. The NCAA Frozen Four Tournament held in Buffalo last April provided VBN and the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission with the perfect opportunity to once again implement the program.

DREW BROWN

11

Visit Buffalo Niagara staff went above and beyond to give back to the community they help promote in 2019. VBN staff raised more than $3,000 in 2019 for a variety of charities through a new, optional payroll deduction system. The beneficiaries included Upward Design For Life, which helps furnish the homes of Buffalo’s economically disadvantaged; the Kevin Guest House, which serves as a home for families whose loved ones are patients in Buffalo hospitals, and Journey’s End, which assists recently resettled refugees in Buffalo. More than half of VBN’s staff also participated in the United Way’s annual Day of Caring last August by painting the offices of the Buffalo Urban League in downtown Buffalo. •••

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

VBN GIVES BACK


BEING PREPARED Visit Buffalo Niagara invited representatives from across Buffalo’s tourism industry to attend an active threat preparedness workshop in October. Recent active shooter incidents across the United States underscored the need in Buffalo for a coordinated prevention and response effort between the private and public sectors. VBN organized the workshop at the request of a number of employees in Buffalo’s tourism industry; the three-hour presentation was an opportunity for more than 100 attendees to hear from law enforcement experts on how to respond to active threats. Presenters at WNED studios included the Buffalo Police Department’s SWAT team, the Department of Homeland Security, Border Community SERVICE of Niagara University, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Events/Mass Gathering department. The workshop was made possible by our sponsors Bond Schoeneck & King attorneys, with media support from The Buffalo News. •••

12

INFORMING OUR PARTNERS Visit Buffalo Niagara continued to build on its destination development program in 2019. The initiative keeps VBN’s coalition of tourism industry partners who directly interact with visitors – from front desk staff at hotels to restaurant employees and personnel at local attractions – informed of upcoming events, new developments and other information about our destination through a series of e-communications, training sessions and networking opportunities. Attendance at VBN’s 26 collective industry meetings, networking nights at local attractions, training sessions, and Beacon Awards exceeded 1,500 in 2019. And Buffalo Niagara This Week, a weekly email with event recommendations, has nearly 1,000 subscribers; the e-newsletter made more than 1,250 recommendations of things to do last year. Frontline staff members who receive these newsletters can then relay this information directly to visitors, helping create a positive first impression of Buffalo. •••


2019 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

13

Buffalonians celebrated National Travel and Tourism Week with Visit Buffalo Niagara’s “Be a Tourist in your Own Hometown” promotion: a buy one, get one free promotion at 15 Erie County attractions from May 4 to 11. The promotion provided local residents the perfect opportunity to go to museums, galleries and other cultural amenities they had never experienced before, and to revisit old favorites. The promotion’s timing – just before the beginning of high tourism season – provided Buffalonians with ideas and inspiration for upcoming visits from out-of-town friends and family. VBN announced the promotion as a part of its weeklong celebration of tourism’s contribution to the Buffalo economy. Other highlights included the annual Beacon Awards, which celebrate excellence in Buffalo’s tourism industry; a delivery of sponge candy packs to airline and airport employees that contained fun facts about Buffalo; and lighting prominent Buffalo buildings red, the color of hospitality. •••

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

BEING A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN HOMETOWN


A BEACON OF EXCELLENCE

14

TRAV EL

&

TO

ISM UR

In May, we celebrated National Travel and Tourism Week, bringing attention to the economic impact of tourism in Erie County. Activities included our 9th annual Beacon Awards luncheon, attended by more than 400 industry partners, elected officials, volunteers and local vendors.

Working with the former WNY Hospitality Association, we continued the Hospitality Scholarship – the 2019 recipient was Jackson Richert, a graduate of Springville-Griffith High School. The 2019 Beacon Award recipients are in the chart below.

P R E S E N T E D

B Y

OUTSTANDING LODGING EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR

OUTSTANDING TOURISM VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Elizabeth Pietrzak Red Roof Inn Buffalo Airport

Cindy Gorski Explore Buffalo Tours

Dave Myers Girls Fastpitch, Aunt Rosie’s Tournament

OUTSTANDING LODGING MANAGER OF THE YEAR

OUTSTANDING TOURISM INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

BRING IT HOME AWARD –

La-Toya Williams Hyatt Place Buffalo/Amherst

Sarah Nichter Shop, Rock-n-Stroll & Halloween on Hertel

OUTSTANDING LODGING G.M. OF THE YEAR

Karen Oleszak Reikart House

OUTSTANDING TOURISM EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

Beverly Halligan Buffalo Niagara International Airport

BRING IT HOME AWARD – SPORTS

CONVENTIONS

Ingram Micro Annual US Kickoff, President’s Club Awards RESTAURANTEUR OF THE YEAR

Louis John and Mary Beth Billittier Chef’s Restaurant

BUFFALO AMBASSADOR(S) OF THE YEAR

NYS RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION WNY CHAPTER SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS

Helen Brady

Lena Zmijewski, Phoebe Beiter, Steven Williams, Shayann Caber, Nadiera Sanders, Bobby Strait

Explore Buffalo Tours

John Dubreville

Hale Northeastern

Tim Tielman

Campaign for Greater Buffalo

PRESENTED IN HONOR OF PETER LONGO, TWO-TIME PRESIDENT OF THE NYS RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION WNY CHAPTER AND FOUNDING MEMBER OF LOCAL RESTAURANT WEEK


ALL BOOKED UP! MONTHLY OCCUPANCY PERCENTAGE

Buffalo’s hotel industry had another strong year in 2019,

2019

according to key indicators compiled by Smith Travel Research. The average daily rate of $106.92 remained near

2019 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

an all-time high, while total revenue at hotels countywide set a new record, at $266,269,853.

SMITH TRAVEL RESEARCH ERIE COUNTY HOTEL REPORT OCCUPANCY

AVERAGE RATE

HOTEL REVENUES

2019 61.7%

$106.92

$266,269,853

2018 61.9%

$107.10

$257,343,449

2017 63.7% $104.32

$249,243,982

$102.74

$239,710,239

2016 61.7%

15

TOP MEETINGS & CONVENTIONS IN BUFFALO Below are major conventions and events that came to Buffalo in 2019, in order of the most significant economic impact. NAME

ESTIMATED ECONOMIC IMPACT DATE

$4.7 million

July 28

New York State Bureau of Emergency Medical Services

$3.3 million

New York State Board of Law Examiners

$3.2 million

National Association for Campus Activities - NACA American Legion, State of New York

6,200

3,000

October 22

1,555

2,000

February 24

3,800

1,800

$1.9 million

October 15

1,000

1,200

$1.8 million

July 15

1,852

1,500

American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE)

$1.5 million

April 26

1,550

800

M.W. Hiram Grand Lodge Ancient Free & Accepted Masons

$1.5 million

August 8

2,209

400

Church of God and Saints of Christ

$1.4 million

April 9

1,923

800

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) $1.1 million

September 2

1,847

1,100

Delaware North

$1.0 million

November 10

1,620

500

National Star Route Mail Contractors Association

$998,699

August 1

605

500

New York State Elks Association

$935,740

May 13

968

650

Nickel City Con

$762,041

May 16

110

5,000

Contemporary Ceramic Studios Association

$734,830

September 10

843

500

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

New York State Board of Law Examiners

ROOM NIGHTS ATTENDEES


DREW BROWN

2019 VISIT BUFFALO NIAGARA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

16

Cindy Abbott-Letro

Law Offices of Francis A. Letro

John O’Connell

Hyatt Regency Buffalo

Jonathan A. Dandes

Rich Products Corporation

Edward A. Rath, III

Erie County Legislature

Dottie Gallagher

Buffalo Niagara Partnership

Mary F. Roberts

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House

Lesley Haynes

Erie County Legislature Appointment

James T. Sandoro

The Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum

Donald Spasiano

Trocaire College School of Hospitality and Business

Huseyin Taran

Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER

Toni L. Vazquez

Urban Family Practice

Gail Wells

Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor

Leslie H. Zemsky

Larkin Square

Thomas R. Hersey, Jr Erie County Commissioner of Environment & Planning

Patrick J. Kaler

Visit Buffalo Niagara

Randall Kramer

MusicalFare Theatre

Thomas M. Long

The Westin Buffalo

Michael G. Murphy

Shea’s Performing Arts Center

Bridget Niland

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

2019 COMMITTEES Executive Committee CHAIR:

Mary F. Roberts

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House

SECRETARY:

COMMITTEE MEMBERS VICE CHAIR

Cindy Abbott-Letro PRESIDENT & CEO:

Patrick Kaler

TREASURER :

Huseyin Taran Toni L. Vazquez

Law Offices of Francis A. Letro Visit Buffalo Niagara

IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR:

Jonathan A. Dandes

Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER Urban Family Practice Rich Products Corporation


Budget/Finance/Audit Committee CHAIR:

Huseyin Taran STAFF: Patrick Kaler

David Marzo

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER

Donald Spasiano

President & CEO

Trocaire College School of Hospitality and Business

Toni L. Vazquez

Urban Family Practice

Chief Financial Officer

CHAIR: Thomas Long The Westin Buffalo

Matthew Freeman Tru by Hilton Williamsville Buffalo Airport

STAFF: Mike Even VP of Sales

Olivia Galante

Candlewood Suites

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Melissa Harrison

Mansion on Delaware

Clorissa Bapst

Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER

Thomas Keane

Hart Hotels

Chrystie Barker

Buffalo Lodging Associates, LLC

Kimberly Kelly

Hampton Inn by Hilton Buffalo Hamburg

Marni Bator

Radisson Hotel Niagara Falls-Grand Island

Kaila Kise

Buffalo Lodging Associates, LLC

Kim Bauer

Residence Inn Buffalo-Galleria Mall

Thomas Molenda

Ellicott Hotels

Sarah Bishop

Ellicott Hotels

Jen Noble

Mansion on Delaware Avenue

Mark Brown

Buffalo Lodging Associates, LLC

Russ Papia

The Westin Buffalo

Melissa Burke

Buffalo Niagara Convention Center

Susan Pieri

Holiday Inn Buffalo Airport

Missy Byrne Doctor Ellicott Hotels

Megan Porter

Millennium Buffalo

Laurie Carroll

Reikart House

Monica Rapini

Embassy Suites by Hilton Buffalo

Mark Cornwell

Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center

Shannon Ruth

Hart Hotels

Joyce Curry

Buffalo Niagra Marriott

Jennifer Sparcino Curtiss Hotel

Linda D’Agostino Aloft Buffalo Downtown @ 500 Pearl

Renee Stupski-Pundt Wyndham Garden Buffalo Downtown

Dierdre Dieter

Visions Hotels

Steve Walsh

Michael Dobell

Hyatt Regency Buffalo

Courtney Weiser

Ann Dugan

Buffalo Lodging Associates, LLC

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Buffalo Airport

Elvira FortunatoLashomb

Mansion on Delaware Avenue

Danielle Zoyhofski Hyatt Place Buffalo/Amherst

Kelly Fox

Aloft Buffalo Airport

Hotel @ The Lafayette

Hilton Garden Inn Buffalo Downtown

Marketing Committee CHAIR: Leslie Zemsky

Larkin Square

Maria Morreale

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

STAFF: Ed Healy

VP of Marketing

Michael G. Murphy

Shea’s Performing Arts Center

Diana Principe

Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center

Mary Roberts

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

James Baker

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Jim Charlier

Gardens Buffalo Niagara

Jill Clark

Canalside Buffalo

Joel Dombrowski

Buffalo Double Decker Bus Tours

Dora Kukuliatas- Wisniewski

Tom’s Restaurant

17

James T. Sandoro Buffalo Transportation/ Pierce-Arrow Museum

Renata Toney

Burchfield Penney Art Center

Sandy White

Freelance Writer

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

Sarah Zeis

2019 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

Sales Committee


2019 BUFFALO NIAGARA SPORTS COMMISSION ADVISORY COUNCIL CHAIR: Bill Maher

Canisius College

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Ann Brooker Buffalo News Mike Buczkowski Buffalo Bisons Stephen Butler Niagara University Charlie Cannan Pegula Sports & Entertainment Chris Catanzaro Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. Brian Cavanaugh D’Youville College Drew Cerza National Buffalo Wing Festival Rob Crean Pegula Sports & Entertainment Stephanie Crockatt Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy Jonathan A. Dandes Rich Products Corporation TJ Day STAR Swimming Therese Forton-Barnes Events to a Tee Sean Green Buffalo RiverWorks Kathleen Gregoire Skating Club of WNY Eric Guzdek Northtown Center at Amherst Thomas Hersey County of Erie

Perry Jenkins Peter Jerebko D’Ann Keller Tom Koeller John Lambert Joe Lojacono John Maddock Lynn Marinelli

USATF Erie Community College University at Buffalo Buffalo State College SUNY at Buffalo Valmark Associates

Canisius College

Empire State Development Corporation

Tracy Murphy Daemen Collage Ron Raccuia AdPro Team Sports Edward Rath, Jr. Erie County Legislature Nicholas Salvatore Salvatore’s Hospitality Bob Schell Amherst Youth Hockey Lisa Scherer Scherer Event Management Timm Slade Section VI Charles C. Swanekamp Bond, Schoeneck & King

2019 VISIT BUFFALO NIAGARA STAFF 18

Kathy Benzel Drew Brown Michele Butlak JoAnn Blatner Karen Cox Denise Drews Michael Even Karen Fashana Charles Giglia Jennifer Gregory Pete Harvey Brian Hayden

Information Technology Manager Marketing Manager Accounting and Benefits Manager Industry Relations Assistant Convention Services Manager Visitor Center Manager Vice President of Sales & Services Director of Marketing Director of Sports Sales National Sales Director Director of Sports Development Communications Manager

Ed Healy Vice President of Marketing Patrick Kaler President & CEO Cindy Kincaide Director, Industry Relations and Destination Development

Tracy Martell David Marzo Leah Mueller Heather Nowakowski Judy Smith Matt Steinberg Lauren Vargo Dionne Williamson Meaghan Zimmer

Convention Services Manager Chief Financial Officer Tourism Sales Director Administrative Assistant Director of Administration Director of Creative Services Sports Services Manager National Sales Director National Sales Manager

2019 BUFFALO NIAGARA CONVENTION CENTER STAFF Richard Arnold Sous Chef Melissa Bean Convention & Event Service Manager Tom Beiter Controller Melissa Burke Senior Director of Sales and Marketing Lorna Cullen Executive Assistant Andre Callus Food & Beverage Manager Susan Kimmins Sales & Catering Manager Nicole Lysek Loading Dock Attendant MaryAnn Martin Accounting & Benefits Manager Paul Murphy General Manager

Terry O’Brien Heather Petrino Keith Pitman Kenneth Sandford Raymond Thom Amy Trautman Lisa Vega Cory Watson Michael Will Danielle Winiarski

Director of Operations Sales & Service Coordinator Electrician Chief Engineer Executive Chef Convention Sales Manager Lobby Receptionist Banquet Manager Assistant Operations Manager Convention & Event Service Manager


WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT BUFFALO CHECK OUT SOME OF BUFFALO’S ACCOLADES AND OUT-OF-TOWN MEDIA COVERAGE HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2019:

Best in Travel 2020: Top 10 Value LONELY PLANET

“After so much time flying under the radar, the city is undergoing a slow, steady, and altogether remarkable transformation.” FOOD & WINE

“This under-appreciated, marvelous city is filled with unexpected surprises for the whole family—add to that its affordability and Buffalo can’t be beat for a family adventure.” FORBES.COM

“A road trip to a revitalized Queen City yields warm hospitality, rich heritage, vibrant art and landmark architecture.” IN MAGAZINE

“Refurbishing old buildings for some newfangled purpose, called adaptive reuse, is a trendy term these days. But few places are pulling it off as seamlessly—and charmingly—as Buffalo.” Men’s Journal

“Canadians who think Buffalo is only good for cross-border shopping and watching sports have got it all wrong. I’ve been going since the early 2000s for completely different reasons. Architecture is a big one. Micro museums. Memorable meals. Waterfront innovations. Quirky Americana. Grain silos. Let me count the ways that I love our American neighbor.” O.CANADA.COM

403 Main Street

»

Suite 630

»

Buffalo, New York 14203

VisitBuffaloNiagara.com

»

716.852.0511

Profile for Karen Fashana

Visit Buffalo Niagara Annual Business Review 2019  

Annual report of Visit Buffalo Niagara's operations in 2019

Visit Buffalo Niagara Annual Business Review 2019  

Annual report of Visit Buffalo Niagara's operations in 2019