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CouricHouston Featured in New Cities Rising Series

In mid-February, a team from Yahoo News paid a visit to Houston to film an installment of a new series called Cities Rising: Rebuilding America.

The goal: showcase cities that have overcome adversity to become leaders in various industries and a place people are flocking to as residents and visitors.

Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric led the coverage and took a close look at the industries that are driving the city today.

Read full article here.

FACILITIES

Enterprise Development
Partnerships & Events

In February, the partnerships and events team announced in February partnerships for Medical World Americas (MWA) with Memorial Hermann Health System, UTMB, Texas A&M Health Science Center and Texas Children’s Hospital. Additionally, a co-located meeting and media partnership was secured with Texas Tribune on a healthcare focused meeting alongside MWA.

Comicpalooza announced headline stars such as Eliza Dushku and Kate Beckinsale. The marketing and tourism departments are collaborating to promote the event with customized hotel and ticket packaging to drive more visitors to Houston for Comicpalooza.

Visitors Center

Gross sales were $33,592, a 44.3% increase from February 2015.

Hotels

Hilton Americas-Houston received the 2015 Award of Excellence within the Hilton Hotels family. Hilton has been ranked No. 1 in guest satisfaction for five consecutive years.

Hilton Worldwide announced the appointment of Jacques D’Rovencourt as General Manager of Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel.  Jacques will take over for Joe Palmieri after his retirement.

Ruffy Sulaiman, executive chef at the Hilton Americas, received the Hilton’s Worldwide CEO Light and Warmth Award 2015.

Miscellaneous

Retail Opportunities on Avenida de las Americas: No updates this month.

 

Cultural Facilities
Sales and Marketing

The following shows were booked in February:

  1. Avon Breast Cancer Crusade: Walk to End Breast Cancer – April 24, 2016, Root Memorial Park & Sabine Promenade
  2. JP Morgan Chase Bank: Town Hall Meeting – April 27, 2016, Wortham Center
  3. Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation: Kick and Roll Open Run – April 30, 2016, Root Memorial Park
  4. Allegro Ballet of Houston: Dance Recital – May 1, 2016, Wortham Center
  5. Houston Latin American Philharmonic: Mother’s Day Serenade – May 8, 2016, Wortham Center
  6. Houston Grand Opera: The Root of the Wind is Water – May 10-13, 2016, Wortham Center
  7. Arthritis Foundation: Walk to Cure Arthritis – May 13, 2016, Fish Plaza, Sabine Promenade and Sesquicentennial Promenade
  8. Indo-American Assn: Hariharan & Zakir Hussain– May 14, 2016, Wortham Center
  9. Vim Publications: That’s the Way of the World– May 28, 2016, Wortham Center
  10. Radio One of Texas: Majic’s Live After Five – June 7-August 19, 2016, Jones Plaza
  11. Christopher Mitchell: The Chris Mitchell Experience – July 2, 2016, Wortham Center
  12. Live Nation: Weird Al Yankovic – July 14, 2016, Wortham Center
  13. Dance Houston: No Limits Summer Dance Camp – July 18, 2016, Wortham Center
  14. JDDA Group: Sumi Jo – October 30, 2016, Wortham Center

Tickets for the following shows went on sale in February:

  1. National Assn of Basketball Coaches: Guardians of The Game– April 3, 2016, Wortham Center
  2. Indo-American Assn: The Flowering Tree – April 15, 2016, Wortham Center
  3. No CA Chinese Culture & Athletic Foundation: National Beauty – April 17, 2016, Wortham Center
  4. Indo-American Assn: Hazir – May 14, 2016, Wortham Center
  5. Live Nation: Weird Al Yankovic – July 14, 2016, Wortham Center
 
Theater District Parking

Each of the seven LED message signs at entrances to the Theater District Garage are now activated.

Sunset Coffee Building

No updates this month.

Houston First Outdoors

No updates this month.  
 

Miller Outdoor Theatre

No updates this month.
 

Jones Hall

Jones Hall hosted a total of 31,775 arts patrons at 17 performances during February.

Wortham Theater Center

The Wortham Theater Center hosted 20,169 patrons at 26 events during February.

Da Camera presented its monthly concert in the Foyer. These noontime concerts are very well attended by senior citizens from various Houston communities.

For the second year, Al Wash Teco Theatrical Productions presented a Valentine themed Bayou City Jazz Series and Jazz Brunch. It was a sold-out event.

The Houston Ballet Ball, themed “From Russia with Love”, raised close to $1 million with 420 guests in attendance.

Talento Bilingue de Houston
No updates this month.

 

Convention Facilities
George R. Brown Convention Center

The George R. Brown (GRB) team manages facility operations, parking operations and event and guest services.  The following is a summary of activity within these three areas:

A total of four major conventions were held at the GRB during the month of February; the National Title 1 Conference, the North American Prospect Expo (NAPE), True Value and Anime Matsuri. Overall attendance for all conventions was 49,294.

There were 13 non-convention events at the GRB attracting a total attendance of 26,065. Some of these events included the Houston Hispanic Forum, Houston Small Business Expo, Hess Town Hall meeting and the Comcast Employee meeting.

Additionally, the Event and Guest Services team conducted nine site visits during the month.

Parking continues to be an important business sector for the GRB. Convention District Parking utilized 19,032 parking spaces in February for events, shows and meetings (Convention District Garage:  3,044; Hilton Garage:  10,731; and Tundra Garage:  5,257). Additionally, the North American Prospect Expo (NAPE), Houston Hispanic Forum and True Value all utilized the new south transit center for event drop-off and pick-up. 

Construction Status

Installation of the Hall E pavers continues and will be completed by the NCAA Final Four. Work continues on the loading lane for Discovery Green. Red stairwells now flank each side of the new Lobby C. Two of the five new chillers in the main plant are now installed and are cooling the building in a test phase. The ceiling tile, lighting and banner bars have been installed in the new concourse for halls D and E.   

Additionally, construction of the Partnership Tower is now focused on the installation of the ceiling area on the Greater Houston Partnership balcony.

GRB construction Partnership tower

 

 

SERVICES

Destination Sales

The Destination Sales Department continues to pursue new meeting and event opportunities for Houston.  

The citywide team generated over 160,000 possible room nights for future conferences.

The non-citywide team secured 17,347 definite room nights for conventions while adding another 92,824 tentative room night opportunities.

The international team generated seven leads with over 35,742 possible room nights for future years.

Additionally, members of the sales team attended multiple conferences and events to promote Houston as a meeting and convention destination including the Conference of Engineering and Scientific Societies Conference, Meetings Africa and the ICCA MFC Meeting in Johannesburg, and the Destination Marketing Association International Foundation event.

 

Destination Services

Top Taxi Houston rolled out in February with over 150 certified taxi drivers.

The Destination Services team conducted planning site visits in February for upcoming conventions including: International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (6/16); United We Dream (6/16 ); National Trust for Historic Preservation (11/16); NCAA Final Four (4/16); Anita Borg Institute (10/16). The team also hosted NAPE, Franchise Expo, True Value Hardware, and CERA Week.

In preparation for upcoming conventions and events the team traveled to San Francisco for Super Bowl (2/17); Los Angeles for American Heart Association (2/17); and San Antonio for Texas High School Coaches (7/17).

The Destination Events team assisted both sales and tourism on the following events: “Secrets of Travel" (2/4), The Lunar New Year Trade Show (2/12); Destination Marketing Association International's Annual Destination Showcase in Washington DC, Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives sponsored breakfast in La Jolla California (2/22), Sales Tele-Marketing Blitz at the George R Brown Convention Center (2/22-24), and the Sales Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo Cook-off Client Event (2/26).

The Employee Engagement team showered employees with “love” by delivering cupcakes for Valentine’s Day. Employees returned the love by donating food items to the Houston Food Bank.

Tourism

The Tourism Department, with a hand from the Membership Division, hosted a training session on February 4, 2016, for local hospitality industry, “Destination Houston, Secrets of Travel Packaging Success with Joe Veneto”. The free all-day training program focused on creating effective travel packages.  More than 65 representatives from hotels, attractions, transportation companies and other travel services attended.

Destination Houston

The 2017 Matching Grant Program will launch in July, 2016. More information can be found here.

In addition, the second Houston Tourism Summit will be held September 7, 2016, at the GRB. The Summit will include presentations related to travel topics, trends and marketing in our industry.

The team was involved in the following travel trade promotion and marketing for February:

  • Participated in the Lunar New Year event
  • Joined the State of Texas at the ANATO 2016 Trade Show in Bogota, Colombia
  • Hosted a group of travel agents and media from Singapore on a joint project with EVA Airways

International media value for February: $185,191; International audience: 2,156,500.

Corporate Affairs

New members joining the GHCVB in February included 8th Wonder Brewery, AA Global Transportation & Security, Amalfi Ristorante Italiano, Capitol Bar Midtown, Fresh Tap Tours, Hampton Inn & Suites North Houston Spring, Hilton Garden Inn North Houston Spring, Holiday Inn Express Medical Center, Ken Jones Photography, Luxor Limousine & Transportation Services, Quality Inn Pasadena, Quality Suites North, Revelry on Richmond, Skyhawk Video & Photography, Sound Connections, Inc., SpringHill Suites The Woodlands and Tourbillon Boutique. Click here for a complete list of GHCVB members.

The Community Relations team participated in the following outreach events for the month: Greater Houston Partnership State of the County Luncheon, Know Autism Foundation Gala, Discovery Green Biennial Gala, Camara de Empresarios Latinos de Houston Breakfast, Houston Bar Foundation Annual Meeting, Asian Chamber Luncheon, Teco Theatrical Bayou City Jazz Concert Series, Houston Lodging Association of Greater Houston Luncheon, The Links Incorporated Boots & Bling Scholarship Gala, The Houston Ballet Ball, T2 Systems ReConnect Event, Texas Travel Association Unity Dinner, High School for the Performing & Visual Arts 10th Annual Encore for the Excellence Luncheon, Houston Super Bowl Host Committee Biz Connect Event, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum Gala and Houston Arts Alliance Elected Officials Reception.

Public Affairs

In February, the Public Affairs Department focused on several policy initiatives at the federal, state and local level including:

  • Presentations on policy issues affecting tourism and served as a resource for the Mayor’s Quality of Life Transition Team
  • Developed and tested Houston First Corp. Crisis Management Plan
  • City Council unanimously approved of the allocation of civic art funds for artwork in the interior of the George R. Brown Convention Center.
  • Team members facilitated meetings with stakeholders and CVB Board members serving on three new task forces addressing infrastructure and connectivity issues.
  • Robert Jackson, senior vice president of public affairs, made plans to attend “Destination Capitol Hill” in Washington, D.C.. The event is the largest annual national advocacy gathering for the travel and tourism industry. During this event, Rob will meet with members of the Houston congressional delegation to discuss issues related to Houston First’s federal legislative agenda.  
Marketing and Communications

During the month of February, several stories ran as a result of public relations pitches and activity including pieces in Southern Living, New York Times, Travel +  Leisure, The Street, Space.com, Abroad.com, Citi.com, Oyster.com, Gogobot, Houston Chronicle here, here and here, Houston Business Journal here and here, and Houston Public Media. Additionally, multiple stories ran in anticipation for Houston's Super Bowl including pieces in KHOU, Great Day Houston, Houston Chronicle, Defender Network and FOX 26.

Our network of websites generated over 426,527 visits in the month of February. Media value was $1.9 million with an audience of 7.5 million people nationally.

February's video chat was conducted in partnership with Houston Rodeo and featured well-known rodeo announcer Boyd Polhamus. This is part of a monthly series with Houston celebrities and attractions.

Lastly, the team hosted nine press visits to promote Houston including media covering the Houston Rodeo, LGBT travel, Spring Break in Houston and more.

Film Commission

During the month of February Houston hosted 23 film and video productions resulting in 55 filming days with direct expenditures of $1,115,000 and an economic impact of more than $3,345,000. Some of these projects include:

Commercials: National Acura, Stow N’ Vac, Phatom Screens and WalMart.

Television Series: The Entrepreneur, American Pickers Season 8, Prisoners, Paranormal Witness, America Divided, Botched, Full Frontal, My 600 Lbs. Life, My Giant Life, NCIS: New Orleans and That’s Genius.

Additionally, the One Direction music video filmed at NASA won British Artist Video of the Year, which can be viewed here.

The Houston Film Commission presented the Texas Filmmakers Showcase and sponsored the 2016 Boomtown Film Festival in Beaumont, TX,  presentation of First Thursday's short film program and local film industry networking event and officiated the meeting of the Texas Association of Film Commissions to elect new board members and discuss strategic planning for the 2017 Legislative Session in Austin, TX.

General Counsel

No updates this month.
 

Finance & Administration

Community Outreach activities for February 2016 included:
National Hispanic Professional Organization Membership Meeting, Final Four Transportation Garage Pre-Bid Conference, Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum and Super Bowl LI Business Connect.

Technical Outreach activities for February 2016 included:
Johnson Petrov LLP, Couture Lifestyle Magazine, MEB Construction, American Lightning Protection, Star Realty Services, Deliberate Changes, LLC, ABM System Recycling Surplus, Sunshine Personnel Solutions, LLC, CloudSec Networks, LLC, Live Mobile Technology, Pride Staff, Corporate & Executive Transportation, The Rothschild Corporation, Facility Interiors, CMH Construction, BVI Resources, Luxor Limousine & Transportation, Perez Albert & Linh, BSD Enterprise, Realm Estate Professionals, Wealth Development Strategies, LLC, Construct-Ability and Beja Supply.

For the full financial management and accountability report for January, click here.

IT

Information Technology (IT) completed two projects in February including the Storage Area Network (SAN) upgrade and the Ungerboeck upgrade. The SAN storage unit expansion allows for at least three to five years of growth depending on Houston First’s future plans.  All applications housed on HFC infrastructure are now on the new SAN. An upgrade to the Ungerboeck system, which utilizes web-based architecture consisting of three primary components including a client-side web browser, a web server and a database server, was also completed.

Additionally, a free Windows 10 upgrade is now available and a 15-minute Windows 10 course is being offered through the Houston First University to all employees.

 

 

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