by Terence Baker | September 01, 2004
The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau this summer established a 15-member task force of local hospitality suppliers in an effort to streamline the bureau and boost conventions.
    “The bureau wanted us to come up with a list of best practices for the city,” said task force member Tom Faust, vice president of sales and marketing at the Wyndham Anatole.
    Phillip J. Jones, new president and CEO of the DCVB, opened his bureau’s books to the task force, which suggested ways to improve goals, marketing and sales incentives.
    In the past few years, the city’s four largest hotels the Adam’s Mark, the Fairmont Dallas, the Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion and the Wyndham Anatole have regularly discussed concerns with the DCVB, said Michael Spamer, general manager of the Adam’s Mark. But only now has the DCVB asked suppliers to inspect its books and suggest improvements.
    Although bookings this year are up 10 percent over last year and hotel occupancy has increased 6 to 7 percent to the low 60th percentile, the bureau’s performance is far from where it wants to be, according to Jones. He expects news this fall on the task force’s top two priorities: securing a headquarters hotel and appointing a permanent director for the Dallas Convention Center.
    Deidre Ross, CMP, director of conference services at the Chicago-based American Library Association, said she has seen improvements at the DCVB. “Dallas did a fabulous job persuading me that the city would be the right choice for our 2006 Conference of Librarians of Color,” she said. “I could see the bureau was listening to us.”