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New Orleans CVB
Kelly Schulz
504-566-5019 / 504-421-0962

Weber Shandwick
Jorian Weiner

New Orleans CVB Booth 1820

Accelerated focus on customer service includes strategic counsel from 20-year meeting professional and new full-time PR position to market meetings

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– The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau unveiled today the “New Orleans Commitment,” its mission to become the most meeting planner-friendly city in America. The New Orleans Commitment includes new customer service positions, shifts in seasoned sales staff and the creation of new marketing tools to exceed expectations of all organizations planning meetings in New Orleans.

“The elements that have made New Orleans a top meeting destination for decades remain true today and are in many ways stronger than ever: our culture, hospitality, culinary offerings, the ‘walkablity’ and overall value of the city, and one of the best convention centers in the nation,” said Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans CVB. “We’ve received wonderful feedback from recent meetings–attendees tell us they have never felt so welcomed, that our partnership with meeting professionals is second to none and that their entire experience in New Orleans was extremely positive. Our aim with The New Orleans Commitment is for every client’s experience to echo these sentiments.”

Leading the New Orleans Commitment is Donna Karl, CMP, vice president of client relations, who joined the New Orleans CVB in 2004 when it became the first to create a senior-level position to serve as a strategic asset and advocate for all clients. A 20-year meeting professional with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Karl has first-hand experience and understanding of planners’ needs. Karl travels to visit New Orleans CVB clients to ensure they are supported at all levels, from marketing to logistics to post-conference reports. She also assists with the development of an emergency plan, an essential measure of preparation in this day and age for any meeting professional, no matter which destination is hosting their meeting.

An additional component of the New Orleans Commitment is the appointment of Tara Letort to the new position of director of group communications and public relations. Particularly benefiting smaller meetings clients without full-time marketing teams, Letort will develop and execute customized public relations, marketing and online plans to renew a sense of excitement about New Orleans among attendees, exhibitors and leadership, overcome misperceptions and ultimately boost attendance for all clients.

“The New Orleans Commitment is a fresh approach to how we conduct business in New Orleans. We are re-examining everything, from the way we sell, service, market and work with hospitality partners to how we measure post-conference results,” said Nikki Nicholson, vice president of sales of the New Orleans CVB. “Our mission is to become the premier meeting destination in America by setting best practices and achieving new levels of success for our clients.”

In addition to staffing enhancements, the New Orleans CVB has developed a new tool, “Meeting Expectations,” an online RFP and personalized meeting sourcing assistance. Aimed at new clients who have never worked with the New Orleans CVB or a CVB before, “Meeting Expectations” explains the bureau’s full spectrum of services and destination benefits while leveraging its overall focus on corporate sales.

In tune with the New Orleans CVB’s strong focus on sales, the bureau announces the shift of two of the most experienced senior convention sales team leaders, Sallee Pavlovich and Donna Glover, to focus exclusively on clients occupying the convention center. This change will allow for a seamless experience between the convention center and bureau for clients.

Rounding out the New Orleans CVB’s convention sales department is MaryBeth Danna, director of client services, who oversees a team of professionals for venue research and selection, registrars, staffing, housing, VIP amenities, and other services. Danna, promoted to the position in 2006, is responsible for the “We’re Jazzed You’re Here” campaign, a citywide welcome program featuring airport jazz bands, city signage and more.

About New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau
The New Orleans CVB ( is the driving force behind New Orleans’ most important industry, tourism. Today the cultural riches, sensual indulgences and unparalleled service that define the New Orleans experience continue to flourish, as they have for centuries. The most celebrated and historic core of the city - including the French Quarter, Central Business District, Warehouse and Arts District, Magazine Street and Garden District - not only remains intact, both physically and spiritually, but is thriving. The New Orleans CVB is proudly welcoming visitors and business travelers every day.