Bill Peeper retired in 2007 as President of the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Peeper has served in leadership roles for many national organizations, including: as a Board Member and Member of the Executive Committee of Travel Industry Association of America (TIA); as Chairman of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI); as Chairman of the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (IACVB); and as Chairman of the Florida Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (FACVB).
A native of Cleveland Ohio, Peeper attended Ohio University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree with a major in Public Relations. He then served four years in the United States Air Force.
He began his career in Dayton Ohio, in 1970, at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce as the first director of the Convention Department for three years. From 1973 until 1979, he served as the Director of Sales at the New Orleans Tourist and Convention Commission. In November of 1979, Peeper assumed the position of President of the Hartford Convention and Visitors Bureau where he served until coming to Orlando in May of 1981.
Peeper joined the fledging staff of the Orange County Convention Center with two roles, director of marketing for the Convention Center and director of the Convention Bureau which was then also a part of county government. Working with the private sector hospitality industry of Central Florida he helped form the not-for-profit Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Inc. and became it first CEO in 1984 where he has served as president until his retirement in January 2007. He has seen Central Floridas tourism industry grow from 35,000 hotel rooms, a handful of theme parks and attractions, 150,000 square feet of exhibit space to its current 115,000 hotel rooms, 99 attractions and 2.1 million square feet of exhibit space making it the second largest convention center in the United States, with the second largest market share of convention and trade shows in the country. During that same period Peeper also oversaw the growth of the convention and visitor bureau sales and marketing staff from two to its current level of 170 with offices in five countries and convention sales offices in four U.S. cities. He has traveled extensively both nationally and internationally to promote the Orlando region.
Peeper is recognized as an industry leader and has worked tirelessly to advance the tourism and convention industry nationally while growing the market on the home front. He has served in leadership roles for many professional organizations, including; The Professional Convention Management Association, The American Society of Association Executives. He is a former chair of the Florida Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, and Destination Marketing Association International (formerly The International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus) and recently served as treasurer of the Travel Industry Association, the nations umbrella travel-trade association. He is frequently sought after for comment on industry issues by various trade publications, including Meeting News which has also named him one of the top 25 most influential people in the travel industry for six consecutive years.
Believing strongly in the growth and advancement of the entire community Peeper has been an active participant, serving on the board of several local organizations including; the University of Central Floridas Rosen School of Hospitality Management, United Arts of Central Florida and the Executive Committee of Florida Citrus Sports, and the Orlando Museum of Art. At the same time he works collaboratively with the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Orlando Economic Development Commission and the I-4 High Tech Corridor to advocate for a diverse economic base for the Central Florida region.
He resigned his position in January 2007, and focused on completing a book he co-authored entitled, Managing Destination Marketing Organizations, The Tasks, Roles and Responsibilities of The Convention and Visitor Bureau Executive, which was published in January 2008. He is currently consulting with variety of companies in the convention and travel industry.
Peeper was inducted into the Florida Tourism Hall of Fame by Visit Florida in 2002. He was honored with the William C. Peeper Eminent Scholar Chair in Destination Marketing by the Rosen School of Hospitality Management, the Gene T. Hassett Hospitality Dedication Award from the Hospitality Sales and Management Associations Central Florida Chapter, the Charles Andrew Hospitality Award for Community Leadership from the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association and the Chairmans Award for Outstanding Service from the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus Foundation. He is one of two inaugural inductees into the University of Central Floridas Rosen School of Hospitality Managements Hall of Fame. And was most recently recognized for his accomplishments and service to community when more than 800 members of the community and industry attended a dinner in his honor.
Peeper has been married to his wife, Anne, for 35 years. They have two sons, Jay, 31 and Blake 30.