- CVBs defined
- Make CVBs your first point of contact
- Share in the local’s experience
According to Christine ‘Shimo’ Shimasaki, CDME, CMP, Managing Director of empowerMINT.com, “CVBs are non-profit organizations that represent hotels, meeting and convention facilities and a host of meetings’ service providers within a particular destination. Funded primarily by local hotel occupancy taxes, a CVB’s main purpose is to attract tourism, meetings, conventions and events to their destination.”
A CVB gives planners access to a wide range of services within their destination, including but not limited to: arranging site inspections, checking hotel and meeting space availability and linking planners to expert local service providers.
Shimasaki continues, “The CVB sales professional is the best first point of contact to help meeting planners find the right fit (hotel, venue, location) for any size meeting. They are uniquely qualified because of their local expertise, comprehensive view of the destination and extensive in-market relationships.”
Relying on that expert knowledge is something Candace Murray, Conference Planner with the International Association for Identification, has done for more than 10 years. It was that initial contact with a CVB that helped her realize what a wonderful asset it was to have a relationship with them and utilize them to research the viability of a specific city.
“The CVB is the first call I make when researching cities for potential venues,” said Murray. “Before I even submit an RFP I contact them to help me determine immediately if there is a fit or not.”
They remain her go-to for recommendations on everything from hotels, meeting space, convention centers and other local venues, vendors and attractions. “I simply contact the CVB in the city I’ve booked and tell them I need a list of all the local massage therapists or printers or whatever I may need and they get me the list right away,” said Murray. “Without this partnership, I would spend countless hours researching. Not only does the CVB save me time, I know I can trust their recommendations.”
Many of today’s planners want their attendees to share in the local’s experience. The CVB is an excellent resource for a planner to discover the local offerings, both at their conference and within the community. “Just last year we had a market within the exhibit hall where we brought in local vendors, allowing attendees and exhibitors the opportunity to shop and check out local artists and the products they provide,” said Murray. “Everyone loved it. The CVB was the main go to when it came to bringing in those vendors.”
When attendees are looking to head out and about in the city, the CVB can provide a network of volunteers to serve up that local knowledge. “Each city is unique in how they coordinate their volunteer efforts, but they are an excellent resource for dining and shopping recommendations, and must-see museums or historical events throughout the city,” said Murray.
Murray notes that she has been very lucky because there has never been a time when a CVB has been a disappointment. “I have had facilities and even cities that didn’t meet my expectations, but never CVB staff,” said Murray. “That is why it’s my first call in any destination.”