Do you ever pause to realize that the meeting planning decisions you make can save a neighbor’s job or add to the local tax revenue? In your busy professional life, local economic impact most likely is not at the top of your to-do list.
by Heidi Fendos
Allison Potter, SMERF Sales/Marketing Manager
If you’re looking for a way to educate your site selection committee or potential convention attendees about an upcoming meeting destination, you might consider beginning with a visit to a few popular social media websites. In a growing trend, many CVBs across the Midwest are utilizing more online resources for teaching groups about the exciting things to see and do in their cities.
According to Allison Potter, SMERF sales and marketing manager for the Dublin, OH CVB, “We utilize social media daily to interact with consumers and provide the latest information about our city as a meeting destination. Using sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr helps us to reach the meetings market with new arms and lead them to the Dublin CVB’s main website to discover more. The bureau’s blog also provides an ‘insider’s look’ to the different attractions, restaurants, and events attendees can enjoy. These social media sites tell stories about our meeting destination that wouldn’t necessarily be told on our bureau’s main site.”
Brent Foerster, vice president of sales and marketing for VISIT Milwaukee, agrees with Potter. “Two years ago, when we set up our strategic plan for how to utilize social media, we really focused on the leisure side of our market. However, we quickly realized that our social media outlets could also be a great way to educate potential convention attendees who are unfamiliar with Milwaukee about what there is to see and do. Social media helps us to bring this message to them in a timely and creative way.”
1. Attendance builders.
A CVB can send promotional materials to potential registrants including destination guides, brochures, reminder postcards, tourism information, and more, all designed to attract potential attendees to your meeting destination.
2. Attrition management.
Some CVBs will assist planners in managing attrition by actively promoting the room block to attendees, highlighting special group rates and the benefits - for the attendee and for the organization - of reserving rooms within the block.
During the process of selecting your meeting or event venue, an area CVB can act as a relay and assist in collecting bids from the facilities under consideration.
The essential element all CVBs have in common is working to bring outside visitors into their locales. A CVB exists to market a location’s hotels, meeting facilities, dining facilities and attractions in order to generate revenue for the community. This means marketing many different aspects of the area’s general tourism industry to people outside the community.
CVBs are funded in several different ways. In the US, a CVB is often funded by a hotel tax. Other sources of funding might include government allocations, dues and membership fees from local entities, corporate sponsorships or a combination of these.
Q: What is a CVB?
A: A CVB is a not-for-profit organization charged with representing a specific destination and helping the long-term development of its communities through a travel and tourism strategy. CVBs are usually membership organizations bringing together businesses that rely on tourism and meetings for revenue.
For visitors, CVBs are like a key to the city. As an unbiased resource, CVBs can serve as a broker or an official point of contact for convention and meeting planners, tour operators, or visitors. They assist planners with meeting preparation and encourage business travelers and visitors alike to visit local historic, cultural, and recreational sites.
What if you could get paid to bring your event to a particular destination? In essence, depending on the nature of your gathering and the city you’re considering, you can. Some Midwest CVBs offer grant programs to support new or existing groups in attracting or increasing attendance at events held within their borders.
As rough economic times continue to challenge many types of events, such longstanding assistance programs offered by some regional bureaus may be more attractive than ever for groups looking to get together. In a self-supporting effort to aid groups in bringing more visitor dollars to town, these grant programs are a common bureau strategy geared toward encouraging new events to get on their feet and to keep existing events coming back.
by Shadia Cook
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No… it’s the local CVB! In many circumstances, a Midwest bureau can come to the rescue - or just take an event over the top. When meeting professionals think of a CVB, they might think of the basic services: help with distributing RFPs, organizing site visits, suggesting itineraries, providing local maps, assisting with registration and welcome packets, and more. While such services are useful in planning and executing a successful event, there are many incidences in which CVBs go beyond the expected, much to the delight of meeting planners and attendees alike.
Jim Garrett, right, and Cole Carley, Fargo-Moorhead CVB
Jim Garrett, CDME, President/CEO of the Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau, was awarded the 2011 Bruce Riley McDaniel Award for Individual Professionalism & Lifetime Achievement by the Upper Midwest Convention & Visitors Bureau (UMCVB). Garrett received this award during the 2011 Fall Conference in Brookfield, WI.
The “McDaniel Award” is given to a tourism industry professional who has demonstrated and made a significant leadership impact, and furthered the economic growth of the hospitality industry. The award was established in honor and memory of Bruce McDaniel, one of the founders of UMCVB.
“Receiving the Bruce McDaniel award is an incredible honor,” said Garrett, “the passion for driving tourism to the Chicago Southland has always pushed me to work just that much harder during my career in destination management and marketing.”
Most meeting planners know what a CVB is, and most know a CVB can help out during the planning process. But perhaps not every planner knows just how much a CVB can help, or the vast array of valuable resources at their fingertips.
Midwest Meetings asked planners: When considering a new meeting location, how does the area CVB help influence your destination decision?
“CVBs are a tremendous resource. They know about the brand changes, the condition of hotels and the service levels. CVBs source the meeting for me and then they supply materials to boost attendance. They set up site inspections and all in all, save me a tremendous amount of time.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2010
Destination Toledo Selects TIG Global as its Exclusive Travel Internet Marketing Partner
TIG Global to Grow Destination’s Brand and Web Presence via New, Cutting‐Edge Website
Chevy Chase, MD – March 23, 2010 – TIG Global, subsidiary of MICROS Systems, Inc. and leading interactive
marketing company for hospitality and travel, was recently selected as the Internet marketing provider for the
Destination Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau (Destination Toledo). TIG Global will provide Destination Toledo