Wednesday, October 14, 2015
With a perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2014 index, Cincinnati is building a reputation as an inclusive, progressive American city for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality initiatives. To continue building upon the city’s positive cultural shift, the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau has implemented strategic initiatives to share the destination’s rapid turnaround story with the industry, led by a new LGBT-focused National Sales Manager.
The CVB’s inclusive sales strategies include the Bureau’s participation in three major national LGBT meetings market conferences in 2015, as well as providing the presenting sponsorship of the inaugural “Love Wins Weekend” in Cincinnati . The CVB is also assisting area hotels in becoming TAG Approved® for meeting six key LGBT-welcoming qualifications. The seven downtown properties that have already received their TAG certification include: the Westin Cincinnati, the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati, the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, the 21c Museum Hotel, the Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center, the Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel, and the Cincinnatian Hotel, with more properties in the process of certification.The Cincinnati USA CVB has also recently obtained membership in the national Gay & Lesbian Convention & Visitors Bureau, the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), and the Greater Cincinnati Gay Chamber of Commerce. A new LGBT meetings-focused webpage has been launched .
To drive awareness of Cincinnati as a leading destination for LGBT meetings and events, the CVB created a new National Sales Manager position and hired David Ziegler in January 2015. Previously employed as a Ticketing Director with Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds, Ziegler will use his more than 15 years of industry experience, community involvement, and relationship management skills to promote Cincinnati to LGBT meeting planners and convention groups.
During his first year with the CVB, Ziegler has built a strong foundation of local support from civic and social leaders, as well as increased industry awareness of Cincinnati at LGBT-focused conferences, including the LGBT Travel & Tourism Conference in New York .
National Recognition of Cincinnati’s Inclusive Culture Continues
With the June 26 historic Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges ruling guaranteeing all American citizens the right to marriage, Cincinnati welcomed back hometown activist and the lead plaintiff in the case, Jim Obergefell, just in time to appear in the city’s Pride Festival. The New York Times captured Obergefell’s story as well as that of the city’s remarkable cultural shift in “Gay Marriage Case Caps Cincinnati’s Shift from Conservative Past.”
The Human Rights Campaign’s 2014 Municipal Equality Index also recently bestowed Cincinnati with a perfect score of 100 for its inclusive laws, policies, and services provided to the LGBT community. Notable programs motivating the perfect score include the City of Cincinnati Domestic Partner registry, which provides equal employment benefits, including transgender health benefits. Cincinnati is the first city in Ohio to offer these benefits. The Cincinnati City Police, Fire, Sherriff, and Mayor’s offices have all added LGBT liaisons to their staff.
The Cincinnati region continues to receive positive regional and national media coverage for its inclusive culture and LGBT-friendly hotspots, with recent articles in publications such as Seattle Gay News, the New York Times, and Daily Xtra Travel, among others.