• 2017 USA Weightlifting National Championships
• Dynamic partnership in DuPage County CVB
• Community and Clubs are a driving key
When it comes to creating a true success with national sporting events, it takes a commitment, from not just the planners, but the entire community!
This was proven by the 2017 USA Weightlifting National Championships, which took place from May 11 – May 14 in Lombard, IL.
Pedro Meloni, Events Senior Manager, USA Weightlifting, had “heavy” goals that the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center and the DuPage County CVB were prepared to handle from every angle with the common vision of creating a memorable event for everyone involved.
By using a facility, like the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center, the group was able to delight everyone with the ease and access from onsite hotel accommodations at the event venue. The hotel ballroom was able to handle the weightlifting championship and as an added bonus, guests were just steps away from the ballroom to their hotel rooms. This convenience was ideal for the athletes and coaches who can sometimes find themselves on a longer commute when using an arena or detached convention center.
Meloni shared, “Membership really appreciated that they could be so close to the event facility because of the convenience of training nearby.”
At this event, they were able to house most of the attendees at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center, along with a few other preferred hotels offering group rates. With this year’s facilities, they did not have to dictate where people stayed and were able to offer the flexibility of letting people choose their own accommodations based on their needs and preferences.
When considering bids from a host city, a close relationship and a proactive, involved Convention & Visitors Bureau is a key decision making factor. The CVB usually puts everything together, with their end goal of offering groups the best overall experience for athletes, support staff, and the spectators.
“The DuPage County Convention & Visitors Bureau partnered with the Westin Lombard and Charleston/Mattoon Weightlifting Club with a well-thought out site visit welcoming USA Weightlifting,” Justin Roach, Director of Sales, shared, “Also, the Charleston/Mattoon Weightlifting Club acted as one of the heavy weights in the CVB’s corner, playing an instrumental role in helping DuPage host this event as well as assisting with a lot of the logistics.”
In addition to the perfect venue with the right amount of space and hotel rooms, food and attractions are equally as important. In this case, guests had access to attached dining at Harry Caray’s and the Yorktown Center nearby. With a focus on the vibrant local area, the participants were also close to the local Metra station, which is only 11 minutes from the Westin Lombard and is able to get interested guests directly to downtown Chicago.
Roach believes, “One of the most important things we focus on here at the CVB is that it’s not just about assisting in hosting a successful event, but providing athletes, spectators, and visitors with a unique DuPage experience. From the Yorktown Center and surrounding attractions, to visiting tourist sites in downtown Chicago, we want to provide a unique and memorable competition and experience visitors will remember.”
Here are some tips on partnering with a CVB from Roach and Meloni:
• Don’t skip the site visit or overlook its importance. This is the time to determine the very best fit for your group and allow the in-person opportunity to share the event’s must-haves and wants. It will also help everyone negotiate on the things that matter most.
• Partner with the CVB and take advantage of the value they can bring. The CVB can give you a comprehensive list of options based on your needs to help find the very best site.
• Some of the crucial things CVBs can provide: maximizing partnerships with their members and coordinating group friendly options - from event vendors, attractions, accommodations, entertainment, and more.
• Work with the CVB on making your event a part of their community. They can help make connections with local media, send press releases, provide ideas for unique welcome receptions, and assistance with finding different advertising and marketing in the area to bring awareness to the event.
As Roach notes, “We were in a great position to be able to help the event become part of the weekend and community, as well as integrate the attendees into our community and have a great overall experience!”
When it comes to creating the stage for success, a sporting event needs to find the right community and partners to generate the kind of enthusiasm that will be felt by the athletes, to elevate an event from annual to exceptional.