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Doug Bennett was recently hired as the senior vice president, content development for the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
1. What are you most looking forward to in your new role as senior vice president, convention development for the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau?
The people I have met are passionate about Louisville, Ky., and bringing its story to a growing number of planners and organizations. This is a dynamic and unique city, poised for a lot of growth, and I’m excited to be part of it.
2. How do you think your past industry experience has prepared you for this role?
Over the course of 32 years, one thing that is consistent is change. Louisville is in a great position because it already has a lot to offer, but it is changing; I believe it’s moving in a positive direction. After working in so many areas of this industry, from hotels to CVBs to trade shows, I hope to use that experience to identify challenges and turn them into opportunities.
3. What goals do you have in mind for the CVB for this year and next year?
The city will grow to have more than 18,000 rooms by the end of 2018. With the renovation of the downtown convention center and the new Omni Hotel, my goal is to position Louisville as a premier city for hosting any future event. In the meantime, I don’t want people to forget that it already is an incredible place to experience with one-of-a-kind attractions, a very hot culinary scene and an expo center with 1.2 million square feet of space—making it the sixth largest in the country.
4. How did you get into the industry?
I was a high school junior when I took my first job at a hotel. I worked in the restaurant but quickly began to learn about other departments. It was very clear the service industry was going to be a good match for me. As luck would have it, Purdue had a strong hotel and restaurant program and was just up the road. I continued my education when an internship in Dallas cemented my suspicion that I had found my career. I’ve been in the industry ever since.
5. What do you enjoy most about the organization?
Employees have a tremendous mutual respect for each other and the work they do. I quickly realized how much everyone truly loves what they are doing, and that enthusiasm is brought to work every day. A very close second are the people of Louisville. They buy into the importance of tourism on the local economy and work hard to support the bureau’s efforts.
6. Any additional comments?
My start here in Louisville coincides with $1 billion currently being invested into our local tourism infrastructure. I cannot think of a better time to start in this position. It is exciting to be a part of a citywide effort to raise the tourism profile of Louisville.