The Georgia World Congress Center Authority announces the appointment of Damon Bell, a proven sales leader with more than two decades of hospitality industry experience, as the new sr. director of convention sales.
Bell joins the Authority at a time of historic growth as the agency’s downtown Atlanta campus undergoes a dramatic metamorphosis, including the addition of state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium, decommissioning of the Georgia Dome, major upgrades to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park – and development of an upscale, on-site headquarters convention hotel.
“These new and exciting things happening on the GWCCA campus cannot be ignored within the convention industry and are very exciting to see,” said Bell, who most recently served as director of sales and marketing at the JW Marriott Austin (Tex.). “With the expansion of the convention center, the addition of a new hotel, the addition of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the continued effort to improve the convention corridor, I have no doubt that the city of Atlanta will continue to attract and retain major events and conventions. I want to be a part of that and cannot wait to join the convention sales effort in Atlanta.”
Bell, who began his role with the GWCCA on March 16, will oversee sales and booking of one of the country’s largest convention center complexes, which features 1.4 million square feet of exhibit space, 106 meeting rooms, 12 exhibit halls, two grand ballrooms and various outdoor spaces and plazas. Bell’s resume includes eight years with Omni Hotels and Resorts, and the last seven years with White Lodging, one of the largest and fastest-growing hotel ownership, development and management companies in America.
“I’m looking forward to Damon building and leading a true sales culture – one where the customer always comes first, reinforcing the Georgia World Congress Center’s reputation for being proactive and easy to do business with. His ability to analyze what’s going on, build a plan and execute against it is a highly-desired skillset that he brings to the table,” said Joe Bocherer, the GWCCA’s chief commercial officer, who worked with Bell for four years at White Lodging. “He creates followership naturally – people want to do the right thing for him. He develops those key relationships that are instrumental in driving success and delivering overall excellence.”
Prior to joining the JW Marriott Austin, where he also served as director of sales before being promoted, Bell was director of group sales at JW Marriott Indianapolis. He received the Marriott International Western Region Sales Leader recognition, and his teams earned the 2012 and 2015 White Lodging Full Service Sales Team of the Year Award. Bell and his sales teams consistently remained in the top 10 of sales and planning satisfaction within the Marriott Convention and Resort Network.
Bell earned a Bachelor of Science in Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management from Indiana University. He recently relocated to the Atlanta area with his wife of 10 years, Jean, and his two daughters, Haley and Harper.
Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority now includes Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the 3.9 million-square-foot Georgia World Congress Center, the 71,250-seat Georgia Dome, and 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park. Additionally, GWCCA manages operations of the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. These public facilities represent the largest combined convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world. This past year, the GWCCA hosted 523 events and welcomed more than 2.7 million visitors, creating an economic impact of $1.51 billion. For more info, visit gwcc.com.