When the Butler County Visitors Bureau needed someone to fill a newly created role, it turned to a person intimately familiar with the hotel industry and economic development efforts in the region.
Shawn Stidham worked for Concord Hospitality for 11 years, the vast majority of that time as the general manager of Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton. He started as BCVB’s vice president of sales in March, according to Mark Hecquet, the bureau’s president and CEO.
His move comes as the county works to boost its tourism industry as another economic driver for the region and as work continues on the large Spooky Nook sports facility that is expected to open in 2021 as what officials say will be one of the region’s premier destinations for tournaments and events.
“It is an exciting time for Butler County travel and tourism,” Hecquet told this news outlet. “With the continued growth of the Butler County hotel community, the opening of new attractions, sports facilities and meeting spaces in the not-too-distant future, it was imperative for the BCVB to further expand and enhance our sales efforts to be in the best position to continue to secure new event and meeting opportunities and drive more visitors into our county.”
Stidham, in his new role, will provide leadership and direction in the areas of convention sales, meeting sales, sports sales and services, association sales and group tour sales, Hecquet said.
The visitors bureau hired Stidham for the newly created role because of his “extensive work experience” in the Butler County hospitality community, knowledge of the county’s travel industry and the BCVB, the bureau’s experience working directly with him and “Shawn’s passion for the success of Butler County,” Hecquet said.
Stidham, who recently moved on from the general manager role at Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton to director of sales for the Marriott at the University of Dayton, started in the new role in March.
“Over the years, I have been fortunate to make many friends in what is a very competitive industry,” he said “The opportunity to work with all of the hotels in Butler County to help their business is one of the most exciting parts on my new job. Also, the chance to help craft the future for travel for our entire county was intriguing.
“It was an emotional decision as Concord is a wonderful company and this chance with the Butler County Visitors Bureau would not have been possible without the opportunities Concord afforded me for over a decade. That said, the chance to develop this new position felt like a dream job.”
Stidham said BCVB is “an accomplished organization” that he has partnered with in the past and one for which he has “tremendous respect.”
“To now work alongside this team is, quite simply, an honor,” he said. “My family and I felt this allowed me a chance to use my 22 years of hospitality experience and relationships in a new and exciting way.”
Stidham said Concord Hospitality officials were “very understanding and supportive” since he told them about departing the company in early March.
“I will always be appreciative to so many there, and if I’m being honest, the emotional pull of leaving Butler County was a bit stronger then I realized it would be,” he said. “So to come back, even after just a few months, is gratifying.”
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