Posted by Terrence Dalton
The Rotary Club of Akron had the privilege of listening to Jim Mahon, Vice President of Marketing and Brand Management at the Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau, John S. Knight Center, Greystone Hall and the Sports Alliance of Greater Akron, during our Tuesday, July 26 Club meeting.   View the recording by clicking here.
So what does the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau actually do?
As the community’s destination marketing organization, the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitor’s Bureau proudly advocates the positive impact the hospitality industry has on the local economy and our quality of life.
Established in 1973 to promote Akron/Summit County as an ideal destination for business and leisure travel, the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau is the clearinghouse for area travel and tourism information.  Funded solely by a percentage of the bed tax collected from visitors staying in Summit County accommodations, the Bureau is self-sustaining economic development organization.  Visitor expenditures on lodging, dining, entertainment, and retail represent “new dollars” for the local economy – money that would otherwise not be included in revenue and tax totals.  Mr. Mahon stated “Putting heads in beds” is an unofficial slogan that underscores the importance of marketing opportunities and experiences that require visitors to spend a night (or few) in Summit County.
Areas of responsibility within the organization include the Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau, the John S. Knight Center and Greystone Hall. Within the Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau are the Sports Alliance of Greater Akron and the Greater Akron Amenities, Inc.
What Impact Does the Hospitality Sector Have Financially on Our Community?
Hospitality expenditures include the following:
  • Overnight Accommodations
  • Dining
  • Retail
  • Entertainment & Recreation
  • Transportation
 The economic impact in Summit County in 2021 were as follows:
  • Direct Spending = $1.4 billion
  • $321.7 million in tax revenue
  • $163.7 million/Federal - $91.6 million/State - $66.4 million/Local
  • 13,986 direct jobs + 2,735 indirect jobs supported
  • $352.3 million in direct tourism employee wages
Who are the Stakeholders of the Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau?
  • Visitors – Leisure & Business Travel
  • Hotels & Hospitality Partners
  • Meeting, Event, Tour & Sports Planners
  • Board of Directors & Elected/Public Officials
  • Local Residents, Organizations, and Businesses
The Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau has many goals.  These goals address the following areas:
  • Vibrancy
  • Authenticity
  • Diversity
  • Accessibility
  • Affordability
  • Hospitality
  • Advocacy
Mr. Mahon shared with the Club how the Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau [Re]bounded and [Re]activated programs coming out of the COVID pandemic.  This included both In-Market and Out-of-Market initiatives.
What are some of the past and current initiatives?
  • Partnerships In Motion
    • Partner Networking
    • Destination Development Grant Program
    • Speakers Bureau
  • Hotel, Marketing & Sports Alliance Meetings
  • Print/Digital/Social Media Advertising & Messaging
  • Tourism Ohio Co-op Program
  • Summit Brew Path, New Again Akron, and The Drip Drive
  • Sales Missions & Industry Trade Shows
  • Fly2AkronCanton
  • GG9 Legacy & LGBTQ Marketing Strategy
The Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau benefits all the citizens of Summit County and visitors coming to our community for business or leisure. 
I encourage fellow Rotarians to access the following websites to gain additional knowledge on how we can utilize the services provided/coordinated by the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau, the John S. Knight Center and Greystone Hall and various other stakeholders who make this all possible.