Sunday, February 8, 2004

Look Who's Talking

John T. Taylor
John T. Taylor, regional president of PNC Bank, is also the new chairman of the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau.
(Craig Ruttle/The Cincinnati Enquirer)

Banker, convention bureau chair

John T. Taylor takes over as chair of the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau as the organization faces the task of turning around the area's sagging convention business and filling Hamilton County hotels. But the 44-year-old Taylor says he views his new role as very similar to his day job as regional president of PNC Bank for Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. He's excited about the reorganization of the bureau, which he believes can renew interest in his adopted hometown. He is originally from outside Chicago, although his wife is a Northern Kentucky native.

WHAT'S A BANKER doing leading a convention and visitors bureau? They don't seem to have a lot in common.

No, they don't on the surface, do they. But there are a lot of principles that apply in both businesses. I am driven by wanting to be a help in marketing this great community that we have. In the banking business, I am driven by wanting to market and sell the great products and services of PNC. So if some skill sets cross over, it's a passion for selling and marketing the value-added benefits and meeting a need for people.

WHAT DO YOU THINK the bureau's role should be?

The bureau has limited resources so it needed to redefine itself and to determine how to focus and maximize the resources we have. It's all about focus; it's to market the region and Cincinnati in such a way that hoteliers specifically located in Cincinnati and Hamilton County benefit.

AS MANY HAVE POINTED out when the agency announced this new focus, the name of the organization includes the term Greater Cincinnati. Do you think you can focus on just Hamilton County and also work with the rest of the region?

Let me say that the bureau, the board and me personally are huge proponents of regionalism and marketing our community from regional perspective. The issue we have to understand is that our resources are coming from our core capabilities, and we need to make sure we're getting done what needs to be done from that core's perspective. But we can deal with the regional issue at the same time. That is why in December we approved the funding from a conceptual perspective for a new regional tourism marketing entity. I think we can accomplish both things at same time. We've gone further than anybody in the recent past for advocating the right resources and structure to truly market the region from a tourism perspective in a way that can benefit everybody.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHANGE people will see from this new focus? And are you concerned about the recent staff turnover at the bureau?

It will be my job literally to make sure the organization is true to its redefined mission, and all activities will be geared toward being accountable for the new and sharpened focus and more accountable at the end. What we are concerned about is making sure that get results that are expected from our stakeholders - members and hoteliers.

James Pilcher

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