New leadership chosen for Destination ToledoWritten by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
Two local hotel professionals recently assumed the leadership at Destination Toledo Inc. with Richard Nachazel being named president and Tony Vetter named director of sales.
Nachazel brings 30 years of experience in the hotel business to his new position. He served on the organization’s board of directors for the past three years while working as general manager of the Crowne Plaza in Downtown Toledo.
“It was a pleasure to serve on the board and I am excited about the opportunity to lead Destination Toledo,” Nachazel said about his Jan. 31 appointment.
Nachazel has been involved with the former convention bureau since the mid-1980s, working for it from 1985 to 1993. He said his new position is “different in a good way from running local hotels and being involved on the board.”
“We have such a variety of high-quality facilities for all types of events here in the region,” Nachazel said.
The venues include three crown jewels of Downtown Toledo with the SeaGate Convention Centre, Huntington Center and Fifth Third Field. He also cited the Maumee River, access to Lake Erie and other historical attractions in the region “that are affordable, accessible and other communities don’t have.”
“All events are important whether they bring people here for a day or longer to spend their tourism dollars,” said Nachazel, who also managed the Toledo Hilton and Holiday Inn Maumee.
Events range from local shows, such as the recent Greater Toledo Auto Show, to regional and international conventions and meetings. Destination Toledo has facilitated the recent hosting of the U.S. Volleyball Championships and American Bowling Conference national championship.
The largest group for convention business has been the Midwest Conferences of Jehovah’s Witnesses for the past several summers. It includes six conferences during six weekends in June and July, this year attracting 5,000 to 7,000 people per event.
The International Flying Farmers Association will host its convention in Toledo this summer. The Ohio Association of Community Action will meet here in June.
The U.S. Senior Open golf championship will be at the Inverness Club in July, drawing as many as 100,000 visitors to the area that week. National television coverage on NBC will benefit the region, Nachazel said.
The Biggest Week in American Birding took place in Northwest Ohio in May, attracting 55,000 vehicles from 38 different states with people who spotted 225 species of birds. It will return this year from May 5-15.
The YMCA National Gymnastics Competition will be here in June and draw 4,000 to 5,000 people, Vetter said.
Casey Koenig, director of gymnastics for the YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo, and her husband Rob were instrumental in bringing this event to Toledo, he said.
The Ohio County Auditors Association will host its statewide convention in Toledo in June 2012 due to the efforts of two local county auditors. Henry County Auditor Kevin Nye, president of the association, was instrumental in bringing the group here.
Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez worked behind the scenes to make sure auditors who came to review the site met the right people in the area.
“We wanted to make sure we brought our group to Toledo,” Lopez said.
It’s not unusual for local business people or government officials to help bring their professional groups to the area for conventions, Nachazel said.
Destination Toledo is conducting a contest, “Bring It Home Toledo,” to encourage local people to bring their convention, meeting or sporting event to Toledo with a chance to win $2,500 and other prizes in 2011.
The goal of the sales staff is to bring tourism to the Toledo region and sell hotel rooms, said Vetter, who has 20 years of sales and marketing experience for local hotels.
Nachazel said he is working with the branding committee that is developing a “brand” for the Toledo and Northwest Ohio region. The best tool is to tell tourism success stories about the region’s many assets, he said.