Visit Sacramento announced today that its President and CEO Steve Hammond will retire from the region's destination marketing organization on June 30, 2017 at the end of the organization's fiscal year.
Hammond joined Visit Sacramento in 1999 after serving in leadership roles at the Long Beach and San Jose's convention and visitors bureaus, as well as several major airlines. Throughout his 18 years in Sacramento, Hammond significantly expanded the organization's economic impact and scope. During his tenure, Visit Sacramento secured major, multi-year convention and sports business such as the Christian Congregation of Jehova's Witnesses, Juice Plus, the USA Track & Field Outdoor National Championships, the Junior Olympics, and The Almond Board of California. Visit Sacramento's convention and sports sales production has increased 78 percent since Hammond's arrival.
"Steve has played a pivotal role in putting Sacramento on the map within the tourism industry," said Visit Sacramento Board Chairman Brian Larson of Halo Hospitality. "Thanks to his leadership, he has created a sense of place that has laid a solid foundation to propel our convention and tourism business to the next level."
Just before Hammond was hired, tourism sales and marketing for the city had been privatized under Visit Sacramento. Throughout his tenure with the organization, Visit Sacramento's operating budget has grown from $2.2 million to more than $11 million, and the staff has doubled in size to more than 40 sales and marketing professionals. In addition, Visit Sacramento has taken over management of the Sacramento Sports Commission and launched the region's well-known America's Farm-to-Fork Capital program, drawing additional tourism impact, national media recognition and visitor spending to the region. The organization has also orchestrated some of the region's most popular and memorable local events, ranging from the summer Grape Escape, to the New Year's Eve Sky Spectacular, to the annual Farm-to-Fork Festival and famed Tower Bridge Dinner.
Hammond was asked by the Visit Sacramento board in 2014 to extend his contract through 2017 to maintain continuity through the opening of Golden 1 Center and the initial phases of the community center theater and convention center expansion projects. He will continue to play a role in the city's tourism landscape throughout his transition.
"I have enjoyed working with Steve Hammond for the past five and a half years, said Scott VandenBerg, former Visit Sacramento board chairman and general manager of the Hyatt Regency Sacramento. "I always admired Steve's tenacity and passion for growing Sacramento's hospitality industry as he led Visit Sacramento's efforts in bringing new business to our region. He has always been a great partner who really understood the convention and leisure travel business and worked with great pride to always best showcase our city's assets. Steve has strong integrity and has represented us well in the national marketplace. Thank you, Steve, for helping us grow our business and be a city where the hospitality industry stands strong and is successful, we will miss your tremendous impact and leadership."
Hammond's successor will be selected through a national search process conducted by a special committee of Visit Sacramento's Board members and other leaders in the Sacramento community. The Board hopes to confirm the name of Hammond's successor by the spring of 2017.
About Visit Sacramento
Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau dba Visit Sacramento is a private non-profit, destination marketing organization funded by the City of Sacramento, the County of Sacramento, and a local hotel self-assessment and business membership throughout the greater Sacramento region. Visit Sacramento develops and executes sales, marketing and customer service programs to help strengthen the regional economy, as well as the bottom lines of our member businesses and marketing partners. It is the premier economic development and services organization for the region's convention and tourism industry and plays a leadership role in helping the industry compete to bring events, conventions and business meetings to Sacramento. Brands operating under the Visit Sacramento umbrella include America's Farm-to-Fork Capital, Sacramento Sports Commission (Sac Sports), Sacramento365 (a joint partnership with Convention & Cultural Services and the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission), Sacramento Film Commission (Film Sacramento), and Sac Event Crew.