Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New Durham Hotels Earning Great Coverage

As Downtown Durham sprouts new opportunities to live, work, and play, it's exciting to see two recently opened hotels earn national recognition. The 21c Museum Hotel and The Durham are abuzz in the media.  And well they should be.  

These two properties are great examples of adaptive reuse architecture - a hallmark of Durham's unique sense of place and something that makes a visit here distinct. 

"Welcoming new hotel projects to Durham is exciting for both the business community and those visiting," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB). "But remember," Green cautioned, "When a new hotel opens, all of their rooms come empty and it takes a lot of marketing, promotion and sales activity to fill them."

Construction is also currently underway or on the horizon for the yet-to-be-named Jack Tar and The Graduate hotels.  That means the current number of hotels (including B&Bs and inns) and hotel rooms in Downtown Durham is eight with 676 rooms and will soon be 10 with 901 rooms.

And that doesn't count other newly-announced  mixed use developments such as the 12-acre Hendrick Auto Mall site which is slated for an additional hotel.

What the national media, such as those below, are saying about these two boutique properties will certainly help.

21c Museum Hotel

CNN recently named the 21c Museum Hotel Durham among "America's artsiest new hotels."

The Huffington Post said that Durham has "one of the fastest-growing cultural scenes in the nation." mentioning the historic hotel building's "pedigree.'

Curbed said that the 21c doesn't have "your average hotel art,"

Forbes Life noted that "Durham has signature penguins—in fuchsia—which mysteriously move around the hotel throughout your stay."

Hotel Chatter proclaimed that "21c Museum Hotels Will Shake Up The Durham Hotel Scene Next Year"

The Durham

The New York Times reported on the hotel's opening, saying that the hotel "draws on local talents, from a celebrated chef to an indie record label, breathing new life into a former bank building downtown."

Condé Nast said, "The 53-room luxury boutique property features a buzzed-about restaurant helmed by James Beard Award–winning chef Andrea Reusing,.."

Travel & Leisure magazine, which named Durham one of the best places to travel in 2015, "loves the hotel's 'commitment to all things North Carolina.'"

In addition to the two above, the Residence Inn Durham Duke University Medical Area is also now open on Main Street between Watts and Buchanan and The Aloft  is now open adjacent to DPAC, the Durham Performing Arts Center.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

DCVB Hires New Director of Sales

A familiar face has returned to the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau in a new role.

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) has announced the hiring of April Ellerbe as Director of Sales. Ellerbe will return to DCVB after two years of owning and operating her own event management company, New Century Planning.  Ellerbe previously served at the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau from 2006 to 2009 and again from 2011-2013. Ellerbe has been serving as the Interim DOS since March, 2015.

DCVB used Searchwide, an executive recruitment firm specializing in travel, tourism, hotel and venue management, which launched a national search beginning in March.  Local, regional and national applicants were evaluated.  

"April has proven to be creative, diligent, customer-focused, and everything that we were looking for in a DOS," said President & CEO Shelly Green. "Although there were many strong candidates, April emerged as the clear choice."

There will be exciting new programs and promotions as Ellerbe settles into her new role. She plans to take DCVB into new markets and bring even more group business to Durham.  

To lean how to plan a group meeting in Durham, visit the Meetings & Events page online or email April directly at April@durham-cvb.com.

Durham CVB Now The Global Leader

Durham's destination marketing organization (DMO), the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), has earned an exciting bit of recognition.

With 25 exemplary citations, DCVB is now the most lauded organization in the world for their work after undertaking an exhaustive review of best practices during the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) accreditation process.

In 2007, DCVB was one of the first 27 DMOs out of thousands across the globe to earn accreditation by the Destination Marketing Association, International (DMAI). In that bid, DCVB earned 11 exemplary citations for its best practices in destination marketing. An additional citation was earned during accreditation renewal in 2011. Today, DCVB is announcing it earned 13 more during its 2015 re-accreditation. 

The rigorous accreditation process destination marketing organizations must undergo with the Washington D.C. based Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) takes several months of preparation culminating in a thorough evaluation of almost a hundred aspects comparing a CVB to the highest standards and best practices of destination marketing.

Accreditation includes best practice evaluation in 54 mandatory and 33 voluntary standards including governance, finance, management, human resources, technology, visitor services, group services, sales, communications, brand management, destination development, research/market intelligence, innovation, and stakeholder relationships.

"We work very hard to be a cutting-edge and trend-setting organization in our field. To be recognized as a leader in best practices for destination marketing is tangible validation of that work," said Shelly Green, President & CEO of DCVB. 

“DMAP accreditation requires DMOs like DCVB to truly evaluate and define not only their policies and procedures, but also determine their guiding principles and solidify their importance to their communities in all they do,” said Jack Wert, DMAP Board Chair.

DCVB remains in the ranks of only about 200 DMOs worldwide that have obtained this recognition which is considered the highest achievement in destination marketing and management excellence.

DMAP is an independent, international accreditation body and a leader in defining quality performance issues in destination marketing. DCVB's accreditation credential is valid through 2019.

Monday, June 1, 2015

DPAC, Others Honored by Trip Advisor With Certificates of Excellence

Durham has long been known for its visitor-friendly features and attractions. Now some of these places have been recognized by a leading travel website.

Trip Advisor has announced the 2015 recipients of its Certificate of Excellence designation and fourteen Durham sites are included. The TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is awarded to properties that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. A Certificate of Excellence celebrates the accommodations, attractions and eateries that make these perfect trips possible.

Now in its 5th year, the prestigious Certificate of Excellence award recognizes establishments that consistently earn great TripAdvisor reviews from travelers. Many Durham attractions have consistently been recognized by this award, such as DPAC, Durham Performing Arts Center which received its fourth consecutive award this year.

The Durham attractions that were recognized included:
  1. Sarah P. Duke Gardens
  2. DPAC
  3. Duke University Chapel
  4. Museum of Life + Science
  5. Durham Bulls Athletic Park
  6. Duke University
  7. Cameron Indoor Stadium
  8. Duke Lemur Center
  9. Carolina Theatre
  10. Eno River State Park
  11. Streets at Southpoint
  12. Bennett Place Historic Site
  13. Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  14. Ninth Street
To see more Durham Certificate of Excellence recipients, including restaurants and places to stay, visit Trip Advisor's Durham page. Visit Durham's Must Sees or Local Favorites pages for more places to make sure to see!

2015 ACC Baseball Tournament Sets Records

It was a heck of a tournament, really. The crowds were decked out with their team's colors, the spirit of sportsmanship was in the air as rivals co-mingled in the name of the game, and attendees struck out on the streets of Durham to take in a city many had previously not visited.

However, since the ACC Baseball Tournament is making its home in Durham for three more years, the success of this year's tournament is an important indicator of things to come. News flash - it was really successful.

The championship game, held on Sunday, May 24, was completely sold out with standing room only for some ticket holders. The gate counted 9,759 fans, the highest attendance ever recorded by the ACC at one of their championship games. In all, the tournament drew a total of 64,140 fans, the third largest crowd in the history of the tournament.

"A tournament like this brings a quantifiable economic impact, and it's valuable to Durham not only in prestige, but also in dollars and cents," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), the organization charged with marketing Durham to visitors. "At $2.5 million in impact, this tournament is important financially, as well as for promotion of Durham," Green added.

One key to the success of this tournament was promotion, In addition to the ACC's promotion of the tournament, as well as those teams attending, DCVB sent a representative to many potentially attending schools to distribute information about the tournament in Durham. Those game visits were supported in social media with the hashtag #CatchMeInDurham as a way to leverage the similar sentiments teams use to rally fans about their efforts to get to the NCAA College World Series held annually in Omaha. While at the games, DCVB's representative distributed collateral and signed people up to win four tickets to all of the tournament games, as well as a cash prize. The giveaway was intended to drive visitation, as well as start a conversation with those in cities likely to send their respective college baseball teams again in the future.

Sports fans are encouraged to use the Durham Event Calendar to stay up to date on all the games happening here, as well as more than 5,000 events annually.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pompieri Pizza to host Lambrusco Fest 2015

If pizza, wine, Italian food, music and fun for the whole family sounds like a perfect combination, make plans to attend the first annual LambruscoFest. That it's being held in Durham, the Tastiest Town in the South, well, just take that as insurance that it will be awesome.

Durham's Pompieri Pizza will host a family-friendly food and Lambrusco wine festival on Durhams City Hall Plaza June 20, 2015 from 2 until 7 PM. The street will be closed for this outdoor event celebrating the breadbasketregion of Italy called Emilia-Romagna.

Festival goers can purchase a tasting punch card and then go around the festival tasting and trying authentic foods such as Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, real gelato (Italian ice-cream), Balsamic vinegar from Modena, various salumi (cured meats), olive oils and of course Pompieris Neapolitan-style pizza to name a few items. Adults can purchase a wine punch card to sample Lambrusco wines of all sorts. Food and wine will also be available to purchase as a meal during the festival.

The music at LambruscoFest will feature A Cappella singers. A Cappella comes from the Italian “in the manner of the chapel” performed by a group of voices without instruments. The festival will have a stage with sound system to allow the various vocal groups to perform that afternoon. The music is free for everyone to enjoy.

There will be a children’s play area staffed by the Schoolhouse of Wonder. Everyone of all ages is welcome to enjoy the food, beverages and music. The event will benefit Schoolhouse of Wonder and will donate a portion of the event’s proceeds to this nonprofit that develops kind, curious, and confident kids through nature-based outdoor adventures.

Like many of Durham's other culinary festivals like The World Beer Festival, The Doughman, and Bull City Food and Beer Experience, LambruscoFest is listed on the Durham Event Calendar.

Historic Russell School Plans Events in June

The history of public education in America is intricate with details, some of which are not that well known. For instance, it is unlikely that many readers know the history of Rosenwald Schools, or what they have to do with Durham.

Rosenwald Schools provided education for African-Americans in the rural South during segregation. Durham's Historic Russell School  is the last surviving Rosenwald School in Durham County and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Coming up in June is a chance to learn more about Durham's Historic Russell School at a Durham History Hub exhibition and Summer Starlight Jazz Soiree.

The exhibition coincides with the National Rosenwald Schools Conference being held in Durham June 17-19 and tells the story of the Rosenwald schools, with particular focus on Historic Russell School.

The Historic Russell School will also host a relaxing, starlight evening of jazz. This fundraising event will be held on June 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There will be music by the Stanley Baird Group, dinner, and a silent auction. Tours of the Historic Russell School will be given throughout the evening. The price for the event is $50.00 per person before June 5. Funds raised from the Jazz Soiree will benefit program development, restoration, and operations at the Historic Russell School. Tickets may be purchased online here, or by calling (631) 800-3487.

Learn more about Durham's African-American history with the African-American Heritage Guide or through the Black History portal