The Austin (TX) Convention and Visitors Bureau became a private, nonprofit corporation instead of a city department as of November 1996. The purpose of the change is to allow the bureau to raise more money so it can better compete with Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, says Karen Jordan, the Austin CVB's former president and current president and CEO of the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (IACVB).
The bureau will still be supported by a bed tax, but its new status frees the CVB from city regulations that restricted its ability to generate revenue from alternative sources. Now the bureau will be able to obtain sponsorships for events, and work more cooperatively in other ways with the hospitality community, explains Linda Atkins, director of convention services at the CVB. The change will not affect costs or services to meeting planners, Atkins adds. Board members include representatives from hotels, the convention center, and organizations such as Meeting Professionals International and the Society of Government Meeting Planners.