New position to encourage more people to ‘Visit Visalia’
Visalia Convention & Visitor’s Bureau hires industry leader Demea Metcalf to promote convention center and tourism in Visalia
VISALIA – Conveniently located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Visalia is quickly becoming a hot spot for conventions catering to everything from ham radio operators to gymnastics competitions. And the trend should improve after the Visalia Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (VCVB) announced it has created a new position to encourage even more people to “Visit Visalia.”
Last month, the VCVB and Tourism Marketing District announced the hiring of Demea Metcalf to serve as its first ever executive director. In her role, Metcalf will be tasked with promoting Visalia to domestic and international markets as a preferred overnight destination through a strategic program of initiatives that will reach new meeting planners and travel buyers. By formalizing and implementing aggressive marketing and sales efforts for tourism development, she will lead the current team to widen the scope and focus of performance to make a greater impact for the Visalia community. This in turn, will attract more conventions to the area by differentiating Visalia’s market position from its central valley competitors.
“Demea’s high level of strategic and tactical expertise in developing, expanding and improving relationships within organizations and among stakeholders will be an asset to our team,” said Carrie Groover, Chair of the Visalia Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Board. “Her industry experience will be instrumental in developing the annual strategic plan and outline our new tourism marketing district’s framework.”
Metcalf brings more than 16 years of hospitality experience to her new role. Previously, she was the Director of Sales for Destination Irvine, the tourism division of the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce; in on-property sales for Hilton Irvine, Embassy Suites Irvine, Fullerton Marriott at Cal State University; and a National Sales Partner with Hilton Worldwide Sales offices in Dallas. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Systems, a Master’s degree in Education Online Learning, a Master’s degree in Tourism Planning and Development, is a member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), and holds a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation through the Events Industry Council organization.
In 2017, the convention center played host to 16 events attended by more than 113,000 people, up 3% from 2016, according to VCVB’s 2017 annual report. Those in attendance staid an average of 2.8 nights per trip, which VCVB estimates that the conventions had an economic impact of more than $2.4 million. This year along, VCVB is estimating nearly 14,000 bookings, about half of which are already in contract discussions.
VCVB is a non-profit organization that positions Visalia as a destination for visitors, meetings and groups. Through direct sales efforts including database marketing, lead generation, trade show participation, and familiarization tours, sells the destination. In addition, the bureau promotes Visalia through marketing, advertising and public relations efforts. For more information, visitvisalia.org.