More than two decades ago, Barry Moskowitz, vice president of sales and industry relations at the Greater Miami
CVB, fell in love with the Florida city. Now, he is celebrating 23 years of working at the bureau, which recently reported record-breaking numbers for overnight visitors in 2017—15.9 million—and recently celebrated the completion of $650 million renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center. Moskowitz discusses Miami’s growing popularity and events scene with us.
You’re a Boston native. How did you end up in Miami?
Right after graduating from Southern New Hampshire University, I was hired into the Marriott hotels management training program. I was with the company at multiple properties for about 10 years and ended up here. As they typically do in the hotel world, they move you around often. I was in Miami for a couple of years and they were getting ready to move me again to another city, and I didn’t want to part ways because Miami had me at hello. The opportunity came along with the Greater Miami CVB. It was perfect timing, it was a perfect opportunity and the rest is history.
You were recently promoted to vice president of sales and industry relations. What does the job entail?
We’re out there promoting and representing the destination domestically and internationally. Selling Miami, selling Miami, selling Miami—that’s the sales role. The industry relations role is interesting. Our industry really is based on relationships. I think sometimes we overlook that, and it really is the bedrock of who we are and what we do. My philosophy is we really need to continue to focus on the basics—strengthen the relationships that are already existing and nurture new ones.
How has Miami changed over the past 20 years?
The development that I’ve witnessed over these 23 years has been absolutely phenomenal. It’s not only the development—we’ve become a more sophisticated city. It’s great to have the natural resources, that beautiful sand and beautiful surf and beautiful sun, but in addition to that, we’ve become well known for our arts, culture, cuisine, nightlife and our unique neighborhoods. People from Miami are from around the world and I think that adds so much energy, and vibe and color to a city. It creates creative thinking, it gets people’s juices flowing. Because of that, now we have the most amazing museums throughout the city. Every top chef has a restaurant located here. We have the hottest clubs from around the world. Some of our neighborhoods are one-of-a-kind. There are just so many nooks and crannies and things to do.
What’s new in the events world?
We’re getting a new show called “Grand Basel” in 2019, which is going to be the art of automobiles. We host the largest boat show every year: the Miami International Boat Show. We host an amazing wine and food festival annually: South Beach Wine & Food Festival. An amazing tennis tournament, the Miami Open, is moving from its current location on Key Biscayne and we’re building a new facility in Miami on the grounds of the Hard Rock Stadium where the Miami Dolphins play. Those are annual events, and on top of all the annual events, we’ve got some incredible, very high-profile events that are scheduled to take place in the city. We may very well be hosting the highly coveted Formula One race, in 2019. In 2020 we’re going to be hosting the Super Bowl once again. In 2021, we’re going to be hosting the College Football National Championship. In 2026, we’re part of the World Cupp bid, and we’re looking forward to hosting multiple matches in Miami in 2026. You can see why I never sleep, because there’s something going on 24/7, 365. We’re the only city in the United States that combines a tropical atmosphere and a cosmopolitan setting.
What are some of the challenges the CVB industry is facing?
There’s a lot of competition out there. Even though we feel like we’re one of the premier destinations, we’re always wanting to make sure we continue to stay on top of it, because all of the other cities want to keep up, and so we always want to continue to reinvent ourselves. It’s one thing to be the leader in the industry, it’s another thing to maintain that high level.
What are some of the ways the Greater Miami CVB does that?
It’s listening to the customer and finding out what’s important. These days, technology seems to be one of those areas that everyone wants the newest and the finest. The other thing these days that’s important is art. Everyone wants a sense of place and we want to create a sense of place for people coming into the city. Art is very big in Miami, so everywhere you go you’re going to see art. We call it art in public places. It’s in the park, on the streets, in our venues and part of our convention center renovation. The other important thing these days to our customers is how are you as a city, as a bureau, as a hotel community, at taking care of the environment. The convention center has a whole sustainability program, the hotels all have sustainability programs, so everyone’s really focused on that.