Visit OP’s new boss looks to future following pandemic years — ‘We have a lot to offer’

Visit Overland Park's new president Warren Wilkinson wants to create a sense of connectivity in the city. Photo by Lucie Krisman

Overland Park’s visitor and tourism department is officially under new leadership now that Visit Overland Park has brought Warren Wilkinson on as the organization’s new president. 

Who he is: Wilkinson and his family originally moved to the Kansas City area from Chicago in 2018, in part, to be closer to his children’s grandparents. (His wife is from here.) 

  • He had previously worked in travel and tourism for 20 years, including work as chief marketing officer for Visit Indy, the official tourism site for Indianapolis, Indiana. 
  • He officially started his new job with Overland Park in April. 

Why Visit OP: Wilkinson said part of what drew him to the open position at Visit Overland Park was how well it aligned with his previous work experience and the opportunity it provides to help define the Overland Park brand. 

  • “This is where we live,” he said. “This is where my kids are growing up. To be able to help steward the destination brand of our community is something that just doesn’t come around at all, so it was a great opportunity to help do that.” 

The job so far: In his first few weeks, Wilkinson said the role has involved a lot of talking to community leaders about what their vision is for Overland Park’s future. 

  • This includes navigating a post-pandemic world, he said and what that means for travel and tourism. 
  • Visit Overland Park also plans to move to a new office space in south Overland Park later this summer and sign on with a creative agency to work on new media strategies.
  • “In six weeks time, I’ve hit the ground running,” Wilkinson said. “I’m really pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish in a very short period of time.”

Early priorities: Wilkinson said some of his early priorities for Visit Overland Park are making sure his staff has proper guidance going forward and meeting with hospitality communities in town to find out how Visit Overland Park can be a good partner. 

  • On top of that, he said one of his early goals is creating a common thread through Overland Park’s assets, including the city’s parks, downtown area and growing arts and culture scene.
  • He said he wants to create a sense of connectivity among those different areas and emphasize the things that make them compelling to visitors.
  • “We have a lot to offer,” he said. “I’m very excited about what the future holds for Overland Park and equally excited about Visit OP and our role in our community.”