Posted by Terrence Dalton on Jan 06, 2021
The Rotary Club of Akron had the privilege of listening to Gregg Mervis, President and CEO of the Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau and John S. Knight Center during our Tuesday, January 5th Club meeting.  His presentation was about the hospitality industry pre-COVID, during COVID and post COVID. The presentation was recorded and can be viewed by clicking here or viewing below.
Beginning his professional career in 1981, Akron native, Gregg Mervis is an active member and advocate of the travel and tourism industry. After 14 years of employment with the Quaker Hilton, Gregg left his position as Director of Sales in 1995 to become Director of Sales for the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau and the John S. Knight Center. Fast forward and in 2012, Gregg was named President & Chief Executive Officer, where he is responsible for the management and oversight of the organization’s three (3) business units: Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau, John S. Knight Center, and Greystone Hall.
Prior to the March shut-down because of COVID-19, the business units had a $7 million budget and 36 employees.  Over the next several months, all programs affiliated with the Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau and John S. Knight Center saw drastic reductions in revenue and programs due to the pandemic’s impact on the service and tourism industry.  Through out all of the struggles the past 10 months, Gregg and his staff have continued to be champions for the greater Akron/Summit County communities.  He is an eternal optimist and feels the service and tourism industry will come out stronger in late 2021.
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.  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.
The Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau has a huge impact benefiting all the citizens of Summit County.  I encourage fellow Rotarians to access the website at to gain additional knowledge of how we all can utilize the services provided by the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau and the John S. Knight Center.