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Charleston CVB ahead of meeting yearly goal

Business is good for the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Halfway through the fiscal year, which begins in July, CVB has already reached 73 percent of its goal for booked hotel rooms for the year. As of last week, CVB had booked more than 17,000 of its 24,500-room-night goal.

"We are slowly climbing out of a slumping meetings environment with large city-wide meetings in the government and association sectors dramatically curtailed," said Alisa Bailey, CVB's president and CEO, in a press release. "Our sales team is doing a great job adjusting to this by pursuing other market sectors that are growing such as booking medium-sized meetings and sporting events.

CVB's most recently booked the American Cornhole Organization, which will host more than 700 people and have an estimated impact of $520,000 on the local economy, according to CVB's press release.

Vice president of sales, Tim Brady said the numbers didn't come as a surprise but it's a good feeling to be that far along in their goal for the year.

"I can say that the last two years the numbers have been a lot stronger than they have been in the previous few years," Brady said. "We had a great fiscal year last year and we are halfway through what I think may be an even better year from a sales standpoint."

He attributes the increased business to great leadership and a sales team that shares common goals and works well together.

Each year the team sets a sales goal. This year's goal was at least a 10 percent increase in sales.

"We go into each year trying to achieve a higher level," Brady said.

In October the CVB announced it was moving into a new, larger office at Appalachian Power. CVB also opened a new visitor center at the Capitol Market that same month.

Annually, tourism has a $649 million economic impact in the Kanawha Valley, employing more than 5,000 people and generating $53.4 million in taxes, the release says.

Last year, CVB booked 25,671 room-nights through 2017.

CVB has less than 10 employees and a sales team staff of four. Brady said selling hotel rooms takes a special kind of buy-in from sales staffers to be successful.

"Everybody that works in our office lives in Charleston, calls Charleston home and would want to see positive things for the city of Charleston," Brady added.

Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.cook@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.


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