- What do planners expect from CVBs
- Partnerships with CVBs
- Midwest CVBs continue to deliver
Through her continuing partnership with the Council Bluffs CVB, Mathis found the value in her event not just to her client but to the local community as well. “Interestingly enough, one of my significant roles with her is to help her see the value that the conference/client is bringing to the community, and then one of her significant roles is to pass that along to the community. I always rely on her for accurate info for the program book on local issues such as restaurants that are close to the venue, maps of the area, etc. It has been a great partnership.”
What does Mathis expect from CVBs?
1. Knowledge of local vendors - restaurants, retail, and event specialists such as DJs, photographers, sound and lighting companies, event managers, etc.
2. Knowledge of venues with good contact names and numbers.
3. Good relationships with hotels for the best quotes on room blocks, etc.
4. Assistance with RFPs as needed.
5. Local experts - from maps to offering tourism info (group tickets to attractions/museums, etc.).
6. Knowledgeable about local transportation - shuttles, airport service, limos, etc.
7. Seeking to bring business to town and offering incentives to groups who are interested.
8. Community liaison - making the community look good to the client and the client and their event look good to the community.
Not every person planning an event is a professional planner.
Many groups depend on local staff to help coordinate events, and the people in these positions can be in a precarious predicament
undertaking such a big responsibility without the benefit of experi- ence - the perfect place for a CVB to step in.
Jon LiDonne, the Outagamie County, WI Veteran Services Of- ficer (CVSO), found himself in such a situation when submitting a bid with the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers (NACVSO) in Appleton, WI. “I felt that it was a big undertaking but was assured by others that I would get plenty of help,” said LiDonne. And it was help he received from the Fox Cities CVB.
Alison Hutchinson, Convention Sales & Marketing Representative, Fox Cities CVB, explains that they are clear from the beginning on what they can offer planners, “We provide a guide that explains all of our services, so they know upfront what we will do for them, complimentary. This is common practice for CVBs. Most importantly, planners expect CVBs to be the experts on the area. They look to us to make recommendations on restaurants or attractions in the area that their attendees will enjoy.” All of which made LiDonne’s job easier and his event a success.
With minimal experience in events, LiDonne was uncertain of what help a CVB could offer. He shares, “It was quite comforting knowing that they were there to help and would often suggest that I not worry, that details would be worked out. I always found them readily available, quick to reply, and that there was follow through with whatever coordinating aspect came about. They made very helpful suggestions in terms of companion activities and coordinat- ed getting some information for us from the Appleton Downtown Organization, like maps and parking information.”
With the dedicated work of everyone involved their conference brought many accolades throughout the week. “I had the feeling sometimes that we must be the only conference they are helping with because the attention was prompt and individualized,” said LiDonne. “The NACVSO President said it was the best one ever, and that is considering other exotic locations like Atlantic City, Reno, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Biloxi. I quite honestly do not feel that I would have been able to pull all these resources together for this conference without the CVB’s diligent assistance.”
LiDonne is not alone in praising the Fox Cities CVB. Margaret Draheim, Past President Wisconsin Association for Language Teachers (WAFLT) has had great success with services for their Annual Event including a coupon book for downtown businesses that was popular with their volunteer run association, “We rely on others, such as the support staff of the hotel and the CVB to help run our conference in a professional manner. We are very proud that our conference is one of the best-attended world language con- ferences in the United States.”
Whether it’s helping print 1,000 badges for the WAFLT, sending out RFPs, or connecting a planner to local services, expectations remain high for CVBs and Midwest CVBs that continue to deliver.