CVBs across the country are jumping in on a rising trend that's getting rid of an outdated obstacle - their names.
More and more CVBs are looking at their names, even the words "Convention and Visitors Bureau," as a phrase that no longer portrays who they are or what they do.
A case study of six CVBs across the nation shows why they decided to make the change, and what name they thought was better.
Related Resource: CVB Directory
Executives of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (SFCVB) thought the word "bureau" was too, in their own words, "bureaucratic" so it will become the San Francisco Travel Association (or San Francisco Travel, for short) on January 11, 2011. A press release explained the thinking behind the decision:
"The name San Francisco Travel means that we are about every aspect of traveling to San Francisco. Whether its leisure travel, meetings and conventions, group tours, domestic or international, editorial or viral, we've got a hand in making it happen," said Matt Stiker, SFCVB executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
With the change comes a new logo (shown at left) and a new website (launching January 2011). Tourism generates $8.5 billion dollars annually for the San Francisco economy.
Interesting Fact: This isn't the first name change for the city's tourism arm. It was originally called the San Francisco Convention & Tourist League when established back in 1909. It evolved into the San Francisco Convention & Tourist Bureau in 1921 before changing to San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau in 1952.
Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. decided to chuck the mouthful and simply call itself "Visit Orlando." The name change was approved in December 2010. Executives here stated that simplicity was key:
"The bottom line is that 'CVB' doesn't have the same meaning as it once did in today's lexicon. It doesn't reflect the vibrancy of the Orlando experience or the focus of the organization," said George Aguel, chairman of Visit Orlando. "To ensure our ongoing global success, we wanted a 21st century name that would be easy to remember and enunciate, and ultimately communicate the desired action we hope consumers, meeting planners and meeting attendees take to visit Orlando."
A new "Visit Orlando" logo will debut early 2011. Tourism brought 46.6 million people to Orlando in 2009.
The Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau felt the average Joe just didn't understand what a CVB did so it changed its name in the summer of 2010 to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. Here is their public take on the change:
"We have discussed our public identity for quite a while," said Herb Malone, president/CEO of the CVB. "While the term CVB is well-known term within among other destination marketing organizations, most guests are not familiar with this cumbersome term and do not understand the helpful services and information that solely exist to better serve them and result in a better vacation experience."
The new logo can be seen at left. Interestingly, executives have chosen to remain Alabama Gulf Coast CVB legally.
A press release announcing the name change of the Fort Wayne Convention and Visitors Bureau to Visit Fort Wayne also referenced the desire to get away from the negative connotation of "bureaucratic."
Execs said the change would also clear up confusion that the tourism arm of the city was tied to the local convention center and that it would bring the organization in-line with its online presence of "Visit Fort Wayne," an identifier that's been in place for years.
In June 2010, the Norfolk CVB became VisitNorfolk (yes, the lack of a space was intentional). Tourism officials stated that research showed they needed fresh, "user-friendly branding":
"Tourism is vitally important to Norfolk," points out Anthony DiFilippo, president and CEO, VisitNorfolk. "It is our job to successfully market Norfolk as a competitive destination to the potential consumer, the meeting planner, the business traveler and those looking for a vacation get-away. To be successful, we not only need to keep our brand fresh and recognizable, but our marketing efforts need to utilize all of the tools and technology at our disposal."
A new website launched ahead of the announcement.
After 83 years, the Grand Rapids/Kent County CVB is now known more succinctly as Experience Grand Rapids. City execs are dedicated to using social media to help spread the word about Grand Rapids as a tourist destination. (They even prominently display a social media "lounge" on their official website.)
A press release regarding the change said it best - "...three words are easier to Twitter than eight."