Press Releases


Trace Ward begins his tenure as Flagstaff CVB Director

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ (November 23, 2015) – As the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau Director, Trace Ward brings more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality/destination marketing arena.  His career includes senior-level sales & marketing positions with iconic brands such as Starwood, Hilton and Marriott. In his previous position he led the team as the Interim Executive Director for Experience Kissimmee, the convention and visitors bureau for Osceola County, FL, a department of more than 40 employees with a budget of $19 million and home to the world-famous theme parks.

At Experience Kissimmee, Ward oversaw all aspects of the bureau and was responsible for all sales and marketing deliverables. With a solid approach to sales and marketing, and a blend of strategic, creative and analytical skillsets, Ward and his team, along with the partnership of the community, were able to increase the bed tax collection in Osceola County from $36 million to $42 million in his tenure. This increase was accomplished through building awareness and inspiring both domestic and international visitors to experience their destination. Furthermore, the team took a targeted approach to the meetings & conventions market nearly doubling qualified leads to their meeting facilities.

Ward noted that his passion and enthusiasm for driving economic impact through tourism is a lifelong endeavor. He enjoys working with the industry partners and community in which he serves to bring about positive change. A native of Omaha, Neb., Ward received a degree in business management from Bellevue University, has earned certificates of sales training from Starwood, Marriott and Hilton, as well as has earned his Certified Destination Marketing Executive (CDME) degree from DMAI.

When he is not spending time strategizing on tourism development, Ward can be found playing tennis, hiking, skiing, traveling to new and exciting places or spending time with some of his 30 nieces and nephews. He is the youngest of fifteen siblings.



Flagstaff CVB receives DMA West Best Idea Recognition
for #VisitCool/Flagstaff Cool Zone promotion

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ (DMA West Best IdeaSeptember 24, 2015) – The Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) was honored by the Destination Marketing Association of the West (DMA West) for their work developing and implementing the #VisitCool campaign and Flagstaff Cool Zone. The CVB was presented as a Best Idea Award recipient this past Thursday, September 23rd at their Annual Marketing Summit in Ogden, Utah.

Four destination marketing organizations received achievement awards in the recent competition. Sponsored by DMA West, the annual Best Idea Program showcases innovative projects and creative marketing strategies as submitted by members. Winners are selected by a Board-appointed Task Force with winners presenting their best ideas during the annual summit.

The CVB launched their newest initiative, #VisitCool over the July 3-4, 2015 holiday weekend. The marketing campaign focuses on the climate difference between Flagstaff and its top inbound market – the Phoenix-metro area. During the launch of the year-long campaign, frozen interactive features were placed throughout the Valley as high traffic, public areas including malls, professional sporting events and Fourth of July celebrations. The features included cruiser bikes, trekking poles, a snowboard, telescope and Northern Arizona University (NAU) gear.

Each interactive feature was supported with Flagstaff brand ambassadors, talking about travel to Flagstaff and collecting email data through an enter-to-win program. The three bikes that were encased in ice, along with a trip to Flagstaff and telescope were the winning prizes for the contest. Over the two-day launch nearly 100,000 people were reached.

A special website,, was developed to highlight program partners and drive people to Flagstaff deals and events. The overall campaign was supported with online video advertising, social media advertising and a strong media presence. Headlines such as “frozen hiker” and “epic fourth of July freeze” were used to generate additional publicity of the locations.

In addition to the holiday launch, the CVB wrapped an outdoor courtyard in the Legends Entertainment District, dubbed the Flagstaff Cool Zone. This is the second iteration of the Flagstaff Cool Zone and the new wrap was highlighted with a relaunch activation this past August 7th featuring two frozen trekking poles as a photo op.

#VisitCool will continue through next June with regional activations, online advertising, email marketing campaign along with social and traditional media efforts, increasing awareness of Flagstaff and its seasonal climate.

All 2015 DMA West“Best Idea” award winners include:

  • Flagstaff, Arizona – #VisitCool/Flagstaff Cool Zone
  • Lane County, Oregon – Mobile Information Kiosk Explorer, MIKE the Bike
  • Marina del Rey, California – Beach Buddies
  • Salt Lake City, Utah – Mobile Attractions Pass

The mission of the CVB is to develop, promotion and maintain Flagstaff as a premier year-round visitor destination with professional visitor services that benefits the community economically, socially and environmentally. For more information visit or email Joanne Hudson; For more information regarding DMA West and their Best Ideas program visit


Flagstaff Selfie Trail Released for Selfie September

15-16 Web.selfie.mapFLAGSTAFF, ARIZ (September 4, 2015) – The first known selfie was taken in 1839 by Robert Cornelius, yet it wasn’t until 2002 that the term “selfie” appeared at an Australian conference. The now popular trend extends beyond Earth to the Curiosity Mars Rover, which shared a selfie with the world. Now Flagstaff has joined the ranks of these self-portrait pioneers with the Flagstaff Selfie Trail.

The Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau developed the Flagstaff Selfie Trail and coinciding map to help visitors find iconic locations throughout town to snap their selfie and share with #FlagstaffSelfie. The newly created trail features twelve locations ranging from the Coconino County Courthouse downtown to The Museum Club on Route 66, in addition to three “seasonal selfie” spots to capture year-round imagery.

Throughout the month of September Flagstaff is celebrating everything selfie during Selfie September. In addition to the Flagstaff Selfie Trail locations, look for the #FlagstaffSelfie icon at participating locations and events including the Coconino County Fair, Movies on the Square, Aspen Sports, Karma Sushi Bar Grill, Mountain Sports and more.

Visit for details on each location and to download a printable map.



Weatherford Hotel wins 2015 Arizona Governor’s tourism award

FLAGSTAFFWeatherford Award, ARIZ (July 1, 2015) – Henry Taylor and Sam Green, owners of the Weatherford Hotel, were honored with the 2015 Arizona Governor’s Tourism Award for Arizona Preservation during the annual Arizona Governor’s Tourism Conference on June 23, 2015; for their 40 years of restoration efforts and the successful preservation of this Flagstaff landmark.

Designed to celebrate tourism best practices the awards are presented in 12 distinct categories. The Arizona Historic Preservation Award is granted to the individual, organization or community that has made the most significant contribution toward the historic preservation of some aspect of the natural, cultural or aesthetic legacy of Arizona.

Taylor purchased the hotel, located on the corner of Leroux Street and Aspen Avenue, in 1978 with the desire to restore it to look just as it did on opening day 1900. With the help of his wife and business partner, Sam Green, they have taken the once declining hotel back to its original glory, transforming it into one of the iconic cornerstones of downtown Flagstaff.

Taylor and Green’s diligent dedication to restoration has extended The Weatherford Hotel’s 115 year long tradition of hospitality, Flagstaff’s deep historical roots and Arizona’s tourism legacy. They have preserved the Weatherford Hotel to function as a destination getaway for tourists, a social hotspot for locals, and the home of Flagstaff’s largest New Years Eve celebration. Their determination to preservation has created a place for all to experience Flagstaff’s irreplaceable culture, community and history.

“The Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau congratulates the Weatherford Hotel on this outstanding achievement and thanks Henry and Sam for their 40 years of commitment to Flagstaff’s tourism industry,” said Heidi Hansen, Economic Vitality Director.


Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau Wins
Two Gold Hermes Creative Awards

Hermes Creative AwardsFlagstaff, AZ (May 8, 2015) – Hermes Creative Awards announced winners for the 2015 international awards competition for creative professionals involved inthe concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. The Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau (FCVB) received two Gold Awards; one for the Flagstaff Cool Zone in the Advertising/Outdoor category, the second for the Flagstaff Advent Calendar as a Facebook promotion.

The Flagstaff Cool Zone is located in the heart of the Legends Entertainment District in downtown Phoenix, AZ and features a courtyard wrapped with imagery highlighting Flagstaff and the surrounding area. Cooling misters and shaded areas provide a respite from the heat and regularly scheduled events bring in attendees to view the scenery. The Flagstaff Cool Zone has become a popular destination in the area and is being extended for another year.

To celebrate the holidays and draw attention to not only winter attractions but also local retailers, the FCVB created the Flagstaff Advent Calendar. Each day in December leading up to Christmas, users were able to access coupons and promotions by opening up a virtual door in the calendar. The Facebook promotion was so successful the FCVB will be continuing the tradition.

“The Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau is continually developing unique and creative ways to promote Flagstaff as the destination for all seasons,” said Jeff Meilbeck, Interim Flagstaff City Manager. “Due to their efforts and promotions such as the Cool Zone and Advent Calendar, Flagstaff has increased tourism-related revenues and continues to set the bar for destination marketing initiatives.

Hermes Creative Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. There were more than 6,000 entries from throughout the United States, Canada and several other countries in the 2015 competition. Hermes Creative Awards recognizes outstanding work in the industry while promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals. Only 22% of entries received Gold awards in categories grouped under seven types of media. A list of winners can be found on the Hermes Creative Awards website at

For more information on Flagstaff or the FCVB’s marketing initiatives, visit or contact Heather Ainardi at


Flagstaff Tourism Industry Generates 7,311 Jobs

Flagstaff, AZ (April 29, 2015) – The Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau recently completed a year-long (Feb. 2014 – Jan.  2015) visitor intercept study through the Arizona Hospitality Research and Resource Center at Northern Arizona University to learn more about the visitors traveling to Flagstaff. Surveys were collected at partner locations throughout the city including: Arizona Snowbowl, Best Western Pony Soldier Inn and Suites, Drury Inn and Suites, Flagstaff Extreme, Flagstaff Visitor Center, Fort Tuthill County Park, Little America Hotel, Lowell Observatory and the Museum of Northern Arizona; developing a large data set from a diverse pool of visitors.

The new study revealed that 4.6 million annual visitors to Flagstaff contribute more than $575 million each year (combined direct and indirect impact) to the local economy, creating 7,311 jobs in our community. Along with the overall economic impact of the industry, in 2014 Bed, Board and Booze (BBB) tax revenues reached an all-time high of $6.2 million.

Key findings from the study include:

  • The average age of the Flagstaff visitor is 52 years and they travel with family
  • Average household income of more than $99,000
  • 75% of visitors stay overnight, on average 2.5 nights
  • Flagstaff is the primary destination of 53% of all visitors
  • 40% of visitors travel from within the state of Arizona; 11% from California
  • 11% of visitors are international with the top five markets being the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France and Germany
  • 42% are return visitors, traveling to Flagstaff an average of twice per year
  • Top attractions visited include Historic Downtown Flagstaff (49%), the Grand Canyon (39%), Lowell Observatory (19%), Arizona Snowbowl (17%) and Sunset Crater (14%)
  • Top activities include dining, shopping, Route 66, hiking and enjoying the Flagstaff nightlife
  • Visitors spend $553 per party per day generating more than $38 million in state and local taxes

This new information regarding the typical Flagstaff visitor is used alongside online analytics, Visitor Center usage and industry research each year to develop a comprehensive advertising, sales and media relations schedule. For information regarding the Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing plan contact Heather Ainardi, Marketing and Public Relations Manager at

Information from the Flagstaff Visitor Intercept Study has been compiled and released in conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week, May 2-10. An infographic of the information is available at


Joanne Hudson Named AzLTA Tourism Employee of the Year

Flagstaff, Ariz (December 12, 2014) – The Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association recently held their annual Stars of the Industry Celebration to honor hotel properties and leaders in the hospitality and tourism industry throughout the state for their dedication and hard work. This year Joanne Hudson, public relations specialist at the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau was awarded the Tourism Employee of the Year Award. This award recognizes Joanne’s professionalism and work ethic, going above and beyond her job requirements to promote Flagstaff as the premier destination for all seasons.

Joanne has been an integral part of creating and supporting Flagstaff’s award-winning promotional efforts, including coordination of the I Found Flagstaff marketing initiative to launch the new imagery this past year and hosting multiple social media campaigns. Her public relations efforts garnered more than $1.7 million in media coverage reaching 1.5 billion readers. She has been a key component in Flagstaff receiving multiple national designations, from Best Places to Work and Live to Best 4th of July Town.

Please join us in congratulating Joanne Hudson for her exceptional work and state-wide recognition. For more information on the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau visit


Flagstaff CVB receives 2014 Pinnacle Award for best CVB in Southwest

Flagstaff, Ariz. (September 18, 2014) –The Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has been named one of the best CVBs, DMO or Tourist Boards in the Southwest and has received a prestigious Pinnacle Award from Successful Meetings. The 2014 Pinnacle Awards are the mark of excellence for meeting destinations, hotels and conference centers.

Organizations receiving this award have done an outstanding job servicing their meetings, incentive travel programs, trade shows and conventions during the previous year. All winners were nominated anonymously and selected based on their overall professionalism and outstanding service.

Readers of Successful Meetings, professionals who are decision makers for planning meetings, events, conferences, and incentive programs, voted for the winners of the Pinnacle Awards via online ballots and gave feedback based on their professional experiences worldwide for the top hotels, conference centers, and CVBs. All 2014 winners are listed in Successful Meetings’ annual Pinnacle Registry, published in August – and online at

Flagstaff’s High Country Conference Center was also awarded in the Conference Center category for the Southwest region. These winners continually excel in many valuable areas of venue service and have impressed their clients by meeting the industry’s toughest standards.

For more information on the Pinnacle Award contact Pete Ciriello at

For more information on planning an event in Flagstaff, visit or contact Jessica Young, Sales and Marketing Specialist, Meetings & Events at 928-213-2920.