Not only was Cleveland selected as host of the 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC) and as LeBron James’ new home, but the momentum created in local and national media (USA TODAY cited Cleveland's new attitude as one of the five reasons why it won the RNC) has helped perpetuate the new branding. This was an important first step in changing how outsiders, as well as Clevelanders, see the city.
In addition, the city of Cleveland's rebranding and advertising campaign took home the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International's "Best in Show" award at the Adrian Awards in February 2015. Since the brand launch, the city has earned a number of accolades from publications such as The New York Times, Travel + Leisure and Fodor's Travel as a destination of choice in 2015.
Overall, interest in visiting Cleveland in the next two years rose, going from 18 percent in 2015 to 21 percent in 2016, a statistically significant increase. This is up from only 9 percent as recently as 2013. For Millennials, the increase is even more dramatic. In 2013, the percentage of Millennials expressing a desire to visit Cleveland sat at just 14 percent. This year, that number is all the way up to 37 perent.
Additionally, tourism officials in Cleveland released 2015 visitor performance measures. The destination welcomed 17.6 million travelers, up 3.7 percent from 2014. Analysts note that Cleveland's increase surpassed the increases for both the state of Ohio as well as domestic travel in the same time frame.