Experience Colorado Springs, the convention and visitors bureau, on Monday named Doug P. Price as its new president and CEO.
Price will start in January, replacing Terry Sullivan, who is retiring in December after 20 years with the agency.
Price is currently the senior vice president for professional development for the Destination Marketing Association International and is a former Marriott International executive.
Susan Edmondson, chairwoman of the convention and visitors bureau’s board, said Price’s national experience with destination marketing made him stand out among the applicants for the position.
“He’s the complete package,” Edmondson said of Price. “He’s a brilliant sales person and a strategic thinker and a proven leader in the tourism industry. We’re thrilled to have someone of this caliber.”
Price said he always thought Colorado Springs would be an attractive career destination. He said he’s attended meetings at The Broadmoor and also come to the city for pleasure trips.
“I’m excited about taking my national experience and being able to apply that to a mature destination like Colorado Springs,” Price said.
Price, 54, is a native of Ohio who has lived in Virginia for the past 20 years.
Sullivan announced his retirement in April and the board formally began its search in June, Edmondson said. The board received about 50 applications for the position and narrowed the list to a handful of finalists who interviewed in person over the past month, Edmondson said.
Steve Ducoff, executive director of the Pikes Peak Lodging Association, said Price seems like an impressive choice.
“Obviously, we hate to see Terry Sullivan go, but it seems like they’ve made an outstanding choice,” Ducoff said. “This fellow is well-connected and well-respected.”
Experience Colorado Springs has 16 employees and a $2.8 million budget, the bulk of which comes from the city’s lodging and auto rental tax.
Price said one of his key challenges will be touting tourism’s importance to the local economy to both leaders and residents.
“The economic impact that tourism has on the local economy there, it’s tremendous,” he said. “$11 every second comes into the Colorado Springs economy because of tourism. I want to be part of that and want to see that grow.”
Hotel occupancy rates in the Springs have risen for seven straight months compared to last year, but local hotels say the meetings business is only beginning to recover from a recession-induced slide.