Mr. Douglas “Doug” Small is President & Chief Executive Officer for Experience Grand Rapids, the Convention & Visitors Bureau. Small began his tenure with the organization on September 8, 2008. Small has acquired thirty-three years of experience in the hospitality, tourism and destination marketing industries; specifically working for several large-to-midsize destination marketing organizations throughout the country.
Experience Grand Rapids provides destination marketing and visitor services for the Greater Grand Rapids region. This non-profit, private corporation operates with an annual budget of $10 million generated through private and public partnerships.
With a primary mission of economic development through the attraction of tourists and conventions to the area, its’ staff of 29 full-time industry professionals provide public relations, marketing, sales and visitor services to accomplish its’ mission of increasing “new” revenues for Kent County and the Greater Grand Rapids region.
Since Small’s arrival to Grand Rapids in 2008, hotel performance has seen record level attainments in room revenue and occupancy for seven consecutive years. Upon Small’s arrival, annual hotel occupancy stood at 48% and currently is out-pacing the national average at 66.7%. During this same period, hotel room revenue grew from $96 million to $197 million in 2016.
Previous to his current role in Grand Rapids, Small served as Senior Vice President for VISIT DENVER. Prior to Denver, Small served as President of the Syracuse (NY) Convention Bureau and in sales and marketing capacities for destination marketing organizations in Palm Springs (CA) and Dayton (OH).
Small’s community and industry involvement includes serving on the board of directors for the Economic Club of Grand Rapids (Executive Committee), the Downtown Market Grand Rapids, Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association, West Michigan Sports Commission and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.
Small is a 1982 graduate of Siena Heights College (Adrian, Michigan) where he majored in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management. While at Siena Heights, Small was also a two-time, national championship qualifier as a record-setting collegiate track and field athlete, competing in the high jump.
A native of Napoleon, Ohio; Small and his wife Kimberly, have two children; Alexandra and Davidson and reside in Grand Rapids Township, Michigan.