What information should a planner come to a CVB with? What questions should planners be asking CVBs to help utilize their services more fully? Midwest Meetings asked these questions so you, the planner, don’t have to. Here are some responses we received from Midwest CVBs
2016 saw many expansions to great Michigan destinations. Bay Harbor’s highly anticipated Great Lakes Center for the Arts opened in July, Port Huron’s Mariner Theater and Sperry’s Movie House re-opened after extensive renovations, and the Detroit Zoo opened the world’s largest penguinarium, the Polk Penguin Conservation Center.
And those are just a few of the great locations that your attendees will enjoy in Michigan.
• The must see, do, experience favorites of some Midwest CVBs • Why CVBs enjoy their role with meeting and event planners • Venue recommendations from people 'in the know'
Midwest Convention and Visitor Bureaus are a wonderful asset to meeting and event planners. Local CVBs can give you the inside scoop on venues, resources, dining, and even some outside the box destinations that can provided you and your attendees added enticement.
If you’ve worked in the industry for any amount of time, you already know that CVBs can be some of your most powerful allies as you plan a meeting or event, especially if that meeting or event is away from home. They are experts on their community and skilled at connecting you with the venues and services you need for a successful event.
Here are a few lesser known services offered by these organizations.
• CVBs can help you obtain volunteers for your event • Going the extra mile • Training opportunities keep volunteers 'in the know'
CVBs can help meeting professionals rest easy when it comes to many crucial aspects of their event. This is especially true when it comes to recruiting the best volunteer base.
Oftentimes meeting planners are planning events in cities they don’t have direct ties to and finding knowledgeable and dependable volunteers would be all but impossible without the help and expertise from CVBs.
• Memorable and effective attendee engagement • Interactive audio • Giving each attendee a voice
Attendee engagement during meetings and events is…(shout out your answer!)
In the events world, there are a variety of ways to finish that sentence. Think about your answer. Was it influenced by your style as a meeting planner? Or the type of event you were imagining? Or maybe a specific problem you have had in the past?
Whatever your answer, I bet it wasn’t “unimportant.” Whether you filled in the blank with “critical,” “fun,” “challenging,” or any other descriptor, it’s clear that you understand that audience engagement is an important part of meetings and events. As a meeting planner, you need engaged attendees in order to get your message across and gain feedback or information through interaction. As a meeting attendee, you want to be engaged in interesting and effective ways so you can leave with knowledge and information…and not fall asleep in the middle of the conference.
• Seemless transfer of duties when a speaker has to cancel • Know your attendees and options • Speakers Bureaus are an asset
Midwest Meetings asked the question, ‘What did you do when your speaker/entertainment was a no-show or had to cancel last minute?’ We received some great comments:
Anne Kagay-Lidster, MARCQI - Dept. of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI “When the guest speaker had to cancel at the last minute due to family member illness, we had to substitute with others who were attending the meeting to present an open-forum discussion.” Charlotte Calandro, Evans & Dixon, LLC, St. Louis, MO “We were in Jamaica for a rewards trip with 140 people, we grabbed the fitness instructor for the resort and cranked up the music for a limbo contest with prizes! That broke the ice and led to dancing in the sand on our own private beach area!”
Ohio has been known as “the Heart of it All” due to its location as a central corridor of transportation and trade. The rolling rural lands give way to vast cities, all with warm culture and hospitality. As Bev Rose of the Dayton CVB described it, “Once folks have visited Dayton they are impressed by the big city amenities and culture, the spirit of innovation, and the warm and friendly Midwestern hospitality, and as a result are often eager to return.”
• CVBs disclose hidden gems in their area • Off the beated path adds adventure for attendees • Old and new venues create unique experiences
Planners want to give attendees the best in every aspect of their event, but sometimes finding a new spark for attendees can be a hard to find. Luckily, area CVBs can help planners find the perfect locations for their groups and point you in the direction of unique venues and one-of-a-kind experiences. These hidden gems could be just the experience to add extra excitement to your next event.
• Donated clothing creates teambuilding/philanthropy hybrid • Invite others to join in on a good cause • Handbags and accessories are easy to travel with to out-of-town events
Imagine boxing up the pair of slacks that just doesn’t fit quite right, the skirt you swore you would wear more but didn’t, the pumps that always squish your little toe, and a few other accessories you can’t remember the last time you wore and taking them to work with you. But why, you ask? To participate in the Dress for Success® Showdown with your colleagues - that is exactly what team members of Radisson Blu Mall of America (MOA) in Bloomington, MN did during their 2016 Q2 Employee Rally.
• Learning to say 'no' • Creating work/life balance • Make life, outside of work, a priority
I have a secret to share with you: I don’t work on Friday afternoons (shhh…don’t tell!). If word ever got out, people might think I’m a slacker, or worse…that I have work/life balance!
There’s a strange badge of honor in our industry that comes from working ridiculous hours. Ask any planner how they are, and I’ll bet they respond, “Busy!” with a smile on their face, and an exasperated sigh.
I know how fulfilling it is to cross tasks off my list, and often you’ll find me on the couch, late at night, when it’s quiet and I can think. I get a lot done during those hours when the phone’s not ringing and I don’t feel compelled to check my email. I’m not saying the occasional late evening is a bad thing; on the contrary, it can be a peaceful time to accomplish quite a bit.
• 25 questions to ask CVBs • Gaining knowledge to accurately choose a destination for your meeting or event
No one can think of everything, but with this handy list, you’re well on your way to a productive conversation with a CVB. Remember, the goal of the CVB is to share area expertise and to earn your business, so make sure you utilize their wealth of knowledge to the fullest.
• Meet Maria R. Davis, CMP, Director of Meetings and Partner Relations at Missouri REALTORS® • Planning on regional, state, and national levels • The smallest detail can make the biggest difference
Born and raised in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, Maria R. Davis earned her Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management from the University of the Philippines - Asian Institute of Tourism. The adventurous spark that would lead her on her career path began with family summer trips to beach resorts, Europe, and the Sultanate of Oman. “All these [places] opened my eyes to the valuable education travel provides…I truly enjoyed interacting with people from different cultures, hearing and learning a few words from their language, and being able to sample a variety of dishes. During one trip to Oman, it was a visit to the Al Bustan Palace, now part of the Ritz Carlton Hotels, which ignited my interest in the Hotel/Meetings industry,” Davis reminisced.
Staying active in industry organizations, such as MPI, SGMP, and ASAE, have allowed Davis to enjoy ongoing training and education and helped her to earn her CMP in 2009. Davis stays active within her local community and truly enjoys time with her husband, nine year old son, and family Lab. She also takes every opportunity to travel the 22-hours to Manila to share time with family and friends there.
• FUNdraising • Budget successfully • Casino night charity events
Raise your hand if you’ve ever volunteered to work a charity fundraising event thinking it sounded like lots of easy fun and a good cause, until the part about “Oh by the way, let’s make sure to keep our costs at absolute minimum!” It’s a tall order many planners constantly face, and in this article we’re going behind the scenes to a typical casino night event done just for this very purpose to see what some best practices might be involved in the process.
• Work with your CVB to understand the city • Give your attendees a chance to really see the area • No need to rush when enjoying a tour
How many miles have you flown this year? How many cities have you been to? How many cities have you actually seen? Many of us experience little beyond the path from the airport to the hotel and back when traveling for work. You may be able to say you’ve been to a particular city multiple times yet you may know virtually nothing about it beyond cabs and room service.
• Compete while you meet • Break the ice with appealing endeavors for groups
Meetings don't have to be boring - in fact, they can be productive and energizing if they are held in the right location and participants are provided the necessary tools for success. Hotels and resorts across the Midwest provide unique opportunities for groups to engage and meet, all you have to do is ask.
Located in the picturesque Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, Hotel Lincoln offers a "Joy of Meetings" program to create a relaxed environment in order to increase team productivity during meetings and between sessions.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) originated in the form of financial donations to key causes. However, in recent years, CSR has taken on a variety of new forms beyond traditional philanthropy. Once considered a novelty, everyone from small mom & pop shops to mega-corporations are looking for ways to give back.
The opportunities are as varied as the companies pursuing them. Gone are the days of simply writing a check and sending a press release. Today’s CSR programs are creative and an integral part of the business plan. More importantly, strategically planned meetings or events can meet your primary business goals, as well as, your CSR targets.
These are some key concepts and strategies to keep in mind as you build CSR into your meetings or events.
• Creating an experiene just outside the door • Street food with flare • Curb appealing variety
The Old Market Eatery + Bake Shoppe + Bar, a refurbished bank in Brookings, SD, has become a well-known hot-spot, in large part, due to their exceptionally talented Chefs, Devin Anderson and Michael Siegel. Their fun, fanciful, and delicious cuisine turned this restaurant by day, into a pairing dinner events location by night. Old Market is feeding the hearts and souls of its neighborhood with everything from Whiskey, Beer, or Dessert pairing dinners to its new fusion of street food fare.
• CVBs can help from pre-planning to post event • Look into promotions and incentives that help your bottom line • Get the 'complete picture' of an area from one source
Your boss announces that the next meeting you’re tasked with planning is to a place you’ve never been. The expectation is a budget and event storyboard will be delivered by this time next week. You’re expected to be an aficionado in a few short days so it’s time to get to work and do some research.
• Planning a dine around or pub crawl with help from a CVB • Creating memories with local cuisine and beverages • Build your event around your attendees
“Food is said to trigger memories, the challenge is to trigger the right memories in the right people.” Truer words were never spoken by Phillip Wanke, Director of Group Sales, Explore La Crosse, La Crosse County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Dine arounds can be the perfect way to trigger those right memories with attendees. People may not remember everything from an event, but when it comes to food, people are known to talk about a good or bad experience for years. And, what better way to create positive memories than working with the local experts at the CVB.
• Event planning - a top ten most stressful job • Quick tactics to tackle stress
CareerCast.com releases an annual list of top ten most stressful occupations, in 2016 it’s easy to see why once again it was topped by soldiers, firefighters, airline pilots, and police officers. What may come as a surprise to people outside the industry, however, is number five on the list: event coordinator. The position doesn’t usually require running into burning buildings or safely landing 450-ton airliners, but there’s a reason that event coordinator has not only made it onto the list again, but actually moved up three spots from its 2015 ranking.