Nolan seeks new ‘Destination’ for DowntownWritten by Julie Ryan | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Six months into his presidency of the Greater Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau (GTCVB), Dave Nolan is making sure changes happen. The latest change for the public’s eye will be announced May 10, when the bureau changes its name to Destination Toledo Inc.
“The reason for the name change is a better connotation for what we do and to create a renewed sense of excitement for the industry. The ‘Greater Toledo CVB’ was a little difficult to understand and harder to pronounce,” Nolan said.
Scott Shook, chairman of the GTCVB board of directors, said the new name will help the organization stand out from other cities.
“We’re trying to brand this correctly,” he said. “The title of the Greater Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau seemed to us to be non-plus. Everybody has a convention and visitors bureau. It’s like saying the Grand Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau or the Akron Convention and Visitors Bureau — it doesn’t stand out.”
Shook said Nolan took it upon himself to begin branding Toledo and giving it a new, marketable image. He said Nolan has been impressive since he began Jan. 5.
“He’ll do very well. He’s a very versatile guy; he’s easy to get along with and we think he’ll do a great job. We wouldn’t have selected him otherwise,” Shook said.
Nolan was selected from a nationwide pool of applicants by a search committee and approved by the GTCVB board of directors. Nolan was working in Cleveland at the time and came to Toledo with a long history in the tourism business.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1976, Nolan worked for Marriott International for 13 years. He worked in nine different cities — from Los Angeles to Boston — and he gained experience in the private and public sectors of the tourism industry. He served as president of the Greater Milwaukee CVB for six years, president of the Positively Cleveland CVB for 10 years and in the private sector in Cleveland for three years.
Nolan said he wants to continue getting things done in Toledo. He plans to invite tourists to Toledo to generate sales, stimulate the economy and allow guests to see the city and have a great experience.
“The long history that proceeds my arrival with world-class attractions like the museum of art, The Toledo Zoo, the symphony, the performing arts with the Stranahan, the Valentine, are all played very well,” he said. “If you complement that with the fact that the environment works for us here, being on water, with water and that our sheer location to major metropolitan hubs, it gives us tremendous potential.”
Nolan said Toledo is also attractive because of the trifecta of Fifth Third Field, the SeaGate Convention Centre and the new arena.
“My view of it is that there’s tremendous opportunity and one that may ultimately shift market share sales over to Northwest Ohio versus being scattered throughout the state of Ohio,” he said. “The CVB needs to rise and become more of a leader and a team participant in the economic destiny of greater Toledo.”
Shook said the board of directors wanted to keep business coming into the SeaGate Centre. For that reason, they wanted to find a president “who is energetic and dynamic and knew the convention and tourism business inside and out” — able to bring in more conventions.
As president of the GTCVB, Nolan will invite business conventions to the SeaGate Centre — which Shook said is the building’s purpose — and family-oriented events, such as the circus and concerts, to the arena.
“It will be a challenge, but we feel he has the talent and the insights within the industry to do so,” Shook said. “This can be a great economic benefit within the Toledo area.”
Nolan said he sees opportunities in many areas. One future opportunity would be a casino Downtown. A casino would benefit the entertainment district and keep the large entertainment venues conveniently located nearby.
“In the event that the public decides to move that through, that needs to be located Downtown,” Nolan said. “If the location is off of Downtown — that won’t serve us as well. If we have that option; if it’s the feeling of the public that they like this, then at least put it Downtown with the same rationale as we put the arena right next door.”
Nolan said he wants to bring lead economic development agencies together to discuss what makes Toledo unique, how they would like to position it domestically and internationally, and Toledo’s brand purpose and promise. Then he will be more enabled to fill the Hotel Seagate with guests and utilize the Fort Industry Building.
“The vision of the future, to me, is exciting,” Nolan said. “When you have a plan of substance on the ground — from Downtown development to leadership rallying around the cause — those are the right environments for success. And for CVB to be successful, clearly it’s the sum of the parts, not the end as just the organization itself. We will be as good as we are allowed to be.”