Tempe Tourism Office Celebrates 35 Years of Destination Marketing

Annual Awards Luncheon Honors Local Partners

Media Contact:
KJ Philp / Director of Communications / [email protected] / 480-305-1372 / Download Photos


Tempe, Ariz. (Jan. 20, 2023) — Celebrating 35 years, the Tempe Tourism Office welcomed partners to its annual luncheon Jan. 17, 2023, at Culinary Dropout in Tempe.

Following a brief hiatus, due to the pandemic, this marked the first event held in-person since 2019. Each year, this event provides the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) an opportunity to share its past successes and future endeavors in attracting meetings and leisure travelers to the City of Tempe as well as its hotels, venues, restaurants and attractions.

“As we kick off 2023, I want to express my gratitude to our staff and our partners. This is an incredibly talented group of people who strive to ensure Tempe is always top of mind when it comes to attracting visitors to our city,” said Michael Martin, Tempe Tourism Office President & CEO. “From group and sports bookings to our seasonal ad campaigns and media presence, our efforts wouldn’t be possible without the support and enthusiasm of our amazing partners. And we’re excited to, once again, share the results of our work with you.”

Highlights of the 2022 recap included:

  • an increase of 69% in group sales leads, with a 191% increase (YOY) in definite bookings, as well as $11,256,014 in economic impact.
  • a total of 57 sports related leads, and 31 sporting events booked, resulting in $30,370,819 in economic impact.
  • advertising deployed in key markets totaled 56,017,510 in circulation and ad impressions in addition to 3,054,303 website impressions.
  • reaching a follower base of 75,833, social media efforts accounted for 4,556,233 impressions.

According to Martin, an important part of this annual event is recognizing those who have contributed to these milestones, and each year the annual Spirit of Hospitality and Impact awards are ways to thank the community for opening its arms to all visitors.

The Spirit of Hospitality Award honors an individual who exemplifies Tempe’s local culture of friendliness by consistently delivering exceptional service and creating a positive and lasting impression for visitors.

The 2023 award was presented to Dotty Odinez, Senior Sales Manager at Embassy Suites by Hilton-Tempe, where she provides the highest quality of service to guests and clients as well as mentorship to hotel staff.

Dotty Odinez accepts Spirit of Hospitality 2023 Award.
Embassy Suites Senior Sales Manager Dotty Odinez accepts Spirit of Hospitality 2023 Award on Jan. 17. (Photo by Fernando Hernández)

According to her nomination, Odinez is “committed to growing the hospitality and tourism industry in Tempe. She consistently looks for new business [in addition to] capturing repeat clientele and growing the business travel and corporate markets.”

The Impact Award honors an individual, business or organization that has made a significant impact in Tempe through hosting a meeting, conference or event in our community. The National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) was selected as the 2023 award recipient — accepted by Karen White and Kayla Forster from the Phoenix Veterans Administration.

The National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) was selected as the 2023 Impact Award recipient.
The National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) was selected as the 2023 Impact Award recipient — accepted by Karen White and Kayla Forster from the Phoenix Veterans Administration — on Jan. 17. (Photo by Fernando Hernández)

Thanks to more than 1,200 volunteers, Tempe hosted 490 athletes who participated in 15 different sports as part of the 41st annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games in July 2022. Ahead of bringing the world’s largest wheelchair sports event solely for military veterans to town, the planning committee teamed up with the Tempe Tourism Office and Downtown Tempe Authority to relay accessibility best practices to our local partners and hospitality staff.

The celebration of community partnerships continued, as the Tempe Tourism Office presented two local nonprofit organizations — Mulligan’s Manor and Tempe Community Action Agency — with donations of $1,000, respectively.

To conclude the program, Martin called on staff — past and present — to accompany him in one final recognition. After 30 years with the Tempe Tourism Office, Ginger Dude’s retirement party was scheduled for March 2020. Due to COVID-19, it was canceled indefinitely.

“Ginger was a multitasker. She managed our budget, operations, supplies, annual financial reviews, board meetings and visitor services,” Martin shared. “We all owe her a debt of gratitude for being both a cheerleader and an ambassador for all of Tempe — this is the least we could do to finally say thank you.”

With that, the Tempe Tourism Office will turn its attention to what’s on the next horizon for the city.

“As we look forward to 2023, Tempe will see a wave of new developments, including the Omni Tempe Hotel at ASU, hosting both ASU and Arizona Coyotes hockey, a special election for the Tempe Entertainment District and the Refresh Tempe programs,” Martin said. “These each provide us with new opportunities to further our efforts in bringing visitors to Tempe and share our ever-evolving city with the world. I look forward to seeing where 2023 takes us.”


The Tempe Tourism Office is a nonprofit organization devoted to marketing Tempe, Arizona, as a desirable visitor and group destination site. To learn more about Tempe, please call (480) 894-8158 or visit us at tempetourism.com.

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