The municipal body that runs the Boise Centre convention center and funds the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau has decided to bring its destination marketing dollars in-house, leaving the future of the CVB uncertain.
The board of the Greater Boise Auditorium District, which runs the Boise Centre, voted in June not to fund the Boise CVB for the upcoming fiscal year, which began September 1. That means the CVB will be operating without the $1.3 million it usually gets from the GBAD to market the destination, according to an article in Boise Weekly. The GBAD decided to spend that money in-house and market the destination through the Boise Centre, according to the article. Since the board voted not to fund the CVB, three CVB staffers have been hired by the Boise Centre with a fourth person joining the team in September, explains Pat Rice, general manager at the Boise Centre. The Centre also hired a director of sales and marketing and now has a staff of seven, says Rice. Salespeople are going to go out and market the entire area and try to focus on meetings and conventions, says Rice. And not just for the Boise Centre, but the entire destination, he adds.
Meanwhile, in August the CVB received a $328,000 grant from the state-run Idaho Travel Council to promote the destination. The Boise CVB staff of approximately 12 continues to work pro bono, according to the Boise Weekly story. That’s because the grant from the ITC can be spent only on marketing the destination, not on staff salaries. That means Boise was able to spend the money to exhibit at the August annual meeting of the American Society for Association Executives for example, but some of its staff, including longtime CVB Executive Director Bobbie Patterson, staffed the booth and attended the meeting as unpaid volunteers.
The CVB will receive an additional $280,000 from the ITC once it is able to confirm the stability of its funding, according to a press release issued by the CVB. Patterson testified before the ITC in early August and assured the council of the CVB’s commitment to continue to market the destination and bring meetings and visitors to the region. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter also stated his support for the CVB to the ITC.
The Boise CVB brings $30 million worth of meetings and events every year, according to the press release. In a statement, George Manning, chairman of the Boise CVB, added that the board will vigorously pursue other funding options.
As it currently stands, both the CVB and the Boise Centre will be marketing the region. ITC Chairman John May hopes the CVB and the GBAD will find a way to continue the partnership they’ve had for more than 20 years, according to the statement.
So does Mayor Bieter. He has stepped in and asked both the GBAD and CVB to work out a compromise. Both sides have agreed to sit down with a mediator and discuss a way forward that best serves all parties and the destination, according to reports.