Introducing the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee

Introducing the Cleveland 2016 Host CommitteeLexi HotchkissDestination Cleveland

If you live here in Cleveland and you’re excited about our city hosting the Republican National Convention in 2016, you’ve probably heard of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee. But who exactly are they?

David Gilbert, the CEO of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee explains what the organization is, who is involved, how they are preparing the city for the Convention, and what tasks lie ahead.

“The way the Convention works is that a non-profit Host Committee is formed – by law – to be the host and represent the community. So, technically, a Convention is not necessarily awarded to a city or CVB [Convention & Visitors Bureau], but rather to a Host Committee,” Gilbert explains.

The Host Committee is a non-political organization made up of leaders from the community’s top public, private and civic organizations all working collaboratively to provide the necessary resources and support to ensure a great Convention. This team of local experts has assembled into six subcommittees, each focused on applying their expertise to a different area of Convention marketing.

“First and foremost, the goal is to maximize Cleveland’s opportunity to shine in front of the 15,000 credentialed media who’ll be in town,” Gilbert says. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to showcase Cleveland to the largest group of media at any single event outside of the Olympics.”

So, while we all know the media will be in town to cover the Convention, the Host Committee is focused on maximizing if, how much, and what the media covers specifically about Cleveland.

And, right now that means the organization is conducting a lot of qualitative and quantitative research, as well as setting strategic plans in motion for the next nine months.

There is expected to be $200-$250 million in direct spending right here in Cleveland as a result of the Convention. The majority of that spending is done by outside groups who are holding roughly 1,200 smaller events all throughout Cleveland during the Convention timeframe.

These groups include all 50 state delegations who’ll hold breakfasts, lunches and dinners. There’ll be caucus gatherings, as well as political, corporate and other legislative organizations interested in hosting meetings, receptions, conventions and special events.

“We want to do everything we can to encourage these folks to spend with local vendors,” Gilbert says. “So, we’re creating a list of local suppliers who fall within different categories for which spending is likely to happen. We’ll work with the Republican National Committee to get this directory into the hands of those groups who are likely to be planning events.”

If you’re a local business who’s interested in learning more, visit

Visions for the Future

Looking forward, Gilbert notes that it’s important to recognize the tremendous benefits the Republican National Convention will have on the community in the long term.

It’s critical to remember the lasting impact of being in the international media’s limelight. It’ll also create an opportunity for major business leaders and policy makers to invest in the community and help develop business.

“It’s really important to help the Republican National Committee run a wonderful Convention, but we need to examine how we do it in a way that positions Cleveland for the best long-term benefits,” he says.