by Jonathan Vatner | February 01, 2005

Reint Reinders of the SDCVB

“What are these people thinking?”
asks Reint Reinders of San Diego’s
decision to drastically slash
its CVB budget.

Reint Reinders’ job hasn’t been easy. The San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, of which he is president and CEO, was granted $13.9 million in city funds in 2003. Then came an audit of the CVB. It showed nothing worse than excessively kind perks for bureau employees, but the resulting public outcry was damaging nonetheless. 
    The PR mess, combined with a severe budget shortfall in San Diego, meant the bureau’s public funding was cut by 10 percent, to $12.5 million. For fiscal year 2005, which started last June, the city lopped off another 21 percent, knocking the CVB’s funding down to $9.8 million. To remain afloat, Reinders laid off 31 staff members, almost a third of the total, and revamped the bureau’s business plan.
    “We had to circle the wagons,” says Reinders. “We focused very heavily on the sales and marketing we do and got rid of the extra stuff.”
The San Diego CVB’s position isn’t enviable, and it’s just one of many bureaus around the country that has struggled to make ends meet. City and state budget gaps, local audits and declining occupancies all have contributed to an epidemic of belt-tightening that already has begun to transform the way CVBs operate.