Cadillac, Michigan.  The Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau (CAVB) & Cadillac Area Festivals & Events (CAFÉ) held their joint Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet last night at the Evergreen Resort in Cadillac, April 12, 2016, with over 70 in attendance from the region.   The Rotary Club of Cadillac and Dave Foley were awarded Recreation Excellence Awards, while Jim Neff and Sharon Flewelling were awarded Volunteer of the Year Awards. 

The Recreation Excellence Award is annually awarded by the CAVB recognizes area businesses, organizations or individuals who demonstrate Excellence in providing Recreational Opportunities to our visitors.

Recreation & Volunteer of the Year Award Recipients: (left to right) Dave Foley, 2016 ‘Alan Green Memorial’ Recreational Excellence Award, Jim Neff, 2016 CAVB Volunteer of the Year Award, Doreen Lanc, President of the Rotary Club of Cadillac, 2016 Recreation Excellence Award for an Area Organization

The Rotary Club of Cadillac and its members were awarded the 2016 CAVB Recreation Excellence Award for an Area Organization that has continually supported and provided recreational opportunities to our visitors and community – siting their support of the construction of the Sound Garden, Keith McKellop Walkway, Rotary Performing Arts Pavilion, and the Clam River Boardwalk as tenants to their continued support.  And further noting their financial support of the current renovations of the Pavilion.   Doreen Lanc, President of the Rotary Club of Cadillac said, ‘I know our members are very proud of our accomplishments, but it isn’t without the support of the community that we are able to get these projects done, we are a catalyst for the community, and it is icing on the cake when we are recognized for the things we do- Thank you!’

Dave Foley, educator and adventurer, received the 2016 CAVB Recreation Excellence ‘Alan Green Memorial’ Award for an individual that has for his entire life-time supported recreational opportunities to area visitors and the community – siting his involvement in Silent Sports such as foot races, bicycling, river and lake kayaking/ canoeing, and his journalistic flair with recreation based articles in publications across the nation, many touting the great backyard we get to play in every day.  Dave contributed his abilities to do what he loves, support from his wife Cindy, and noting “where else other than northern Michigan, could we be snow shoeing, cross country skiing, bicycling, and kayaking all within a few days of each other, I Love it Here!”

The Volunteer of the Year Awards are bestowed upon individuals who offer their passion and time to assist, and sometimes lead the way, to offer festivals, activities and administrative support to further the missions of the respective organizations.

Jim Neff,  a retired CAPS teacher, journalist and our ‘When Cadillac was KISSed’ connection was recognized as the 2016 CAVB Volunteer of the Year.   During the introduction by Joy VanDrie, Executive Director of the CAVB, she said, “We want to make sure ‘This guy’ fully understands the gratitude we have for his continued support in bringing a ‘crazy bunch’ of visitors to our community.”  Siting his involvement and leadership of initially bringing KISS to Cadillac in 1975, managing the relationship with the band and management team, several Kiss Tribute Band concerts over the years, personal Kiss Fan Tours, the assistance in design of the permanent Kiss Monument, and helping spearhead the Kiss Cadillac Homecoming Event.  He continues to work with the CAVB staff to keep them abreast of the related news and updates from the band and fans around the world. 

2016 Cadillac Area Festivals and Events (CAFE) Volunteer of the Year Award Recipient(s): Sharon Flewelling (center) and her fellow North American Snow Festival (NASF) and Cadillac Winter Warriors volunteers.

Sharon Flewelling, a retired administrator from downstate, who retired to the Cadillac area, is now a professional volunteer, and a true winter warrior was recognized as the 2016 CAFE Volunteer of the Year.  The award is to ensure that Sharon fully understands the gratitude the Cadillac Area Festivals & Events Board has for her continued event leadership and support in bringing visitors to our community – siting her involvement, committee and financial leadership, and over-all event management of the North American Snow Festival.  In addition to NASF, she also is very active as a leader with the Cadillac Winter Warriors – both COLD weather activities for a retiree.   In Sharon’s acceptance speech she noted that her ‘passion for winter is only because she has surrounded herself with great people who also love winter, which includes her husband Bob, the NASF Committee and the Winter Warriors Club members.’  She is stepping down from her leadership role with the NASF and she encouraged others to get involved and make new friends.

Annual Meeting Summary

During the Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet, the Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau also presented an impressive five-year overview of tourism and marketing success in the area:

 Cadillac Area Hotel Occupancy in Cadillac – 2011-2016

  • In 2010/2011, 15 area hotels sold 73,655 total room nights, or where at a 28% occupancy rate based on 670 rooms available then.
  • In 2015/2016, 14 area hotels sold 89,000 total room nights, or are up at 37% occupancy rate based on 611 rooms available now.
  • The annual economic impact of these room nights equate to $13.4 million in residual revenue to the area (non-hotel revenue) – on an average each hotel night equates to $150 of other money spent by that visitor at area restaurants, gas stations, shopping, etc.

Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau Revenue Investment – 2011-2016

  • In 2010/2011, the CAVB invested $40,000 in marketing efforts
  • In 2015/2016, the CAVB will invest $290,000 in paid marketing efforts, with additional public relations value non-paid social media and editorial captured.  The increase is in part made possible by PA58 legislation amendment from 2011 that allowed CVB’s across the State to increase from a 2% room assessment to 5% room assessment.

The CAVB is focused on touching visitors throughout the entire ‘Visitor Experience’ that starts with Dreaming – to Planning & Booking – to Experiencing (while on vacation) – to Sharing (before & after the visit) – to Recall – then to Repeat.    Brandon Jensen, of Right Side Design, contracted with the CAVB and presenter, said, ‘many CVB’s focus on the Dreaming and Planning/Booking phase, and fall short of the Experience – Share – Recall.  The plan in place, and the level of depth of content in Cadillac’s Visitors Bureau marketing sets Cadillac up to hit the visitors throughout the entire process – which is definitely showing in the results over the past few years.’

Past Award Recipients

Recreational Excellence Award Past Recipients

2012 – Caberfae Peaks Ski & Golf Resort (Business)

2014 – Cadillac Winter Promotions (Volunteers)

2014 – Cadillac Pathway (Volunteers)

2015 – Cadillac Garden Club (Group)

2015 – Alan Green (Snowmobile Advocate)


Volunteer of the Year Past Recipients

2012 – Brian Chapman (CAVB)

2013 – Mike Townsend (CAVB)

2014 – Steve Birdwell (CAFÉ)

2015 – Carol Hill (CAVB)

2015 – Derek Anderson (CAFÉ)