CVBs and DMOs: A Hidden Resource for Meeting and Event Professionals
As a meeting and event planner, do you ever feel a little stuck? Maybe you can’t find the perfect spot for your next unforgettable event. Or perhaps you did find a location but you are overwhelmed by all the details to create a great experience for your attendees. It might be time to take advantage of a hidden gem of a resource, one that is sure to feel like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — and it’s closer than you may think.
Turn to the local convention and visitors bureau (CVB) and destination marketing organisation (DMO) to hit an event planning jackpot. These organisations can provide you with the following information and more:
- Suggestions and help facilitating event activities, entertainment, and speakers
- Offer a wealth of knowledge on convention centre specifics, including floor plans and tours, to dining choices and lodging options
- Specifics on accessibility throughout the destination
- Itineraries and suggestions for attendees extending their visit beyond the convention
- With ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions and mandates, CVB and DMO websites are a good source of the latest information
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Let’s dive a little deeper by learning from Cara Frank, chief of staff at Simpleview and former director of convention services at Destination Madison.
Q: How should meeting and event professionals utilise CVBs and DMOs to enhance their planning capabilities?
A: If a planner is just starting a search, the CVB and DMO can provide support when looking for a venue or hotel by consolidating and bridging communication with these properties. If they already have a site selected but want to make the event extra memorable, the DMO and CVB can help create an amazing experience for the attendees beyond the parameters of the actual event and bring the local feel to the attendees. CVBs and DMOs can provide the best recommendations for every event type.
Q: What resources do CVBs and DMOs have to help planners with their events?
A: Every destination has something unique to offer meeting and convention attendees — something that will make the event memorable so attendees will share with friends, family, and co-workers. Sometimes, these top locations are very well known but often they are hidden gems known only to people intimately tied to the destinations. This is where CVBs and DMOs come in, which can help planners with their events by:
- Finding offsite locations for parties, dinners, etc. Everyone is looking for a unique venue to fit their audience
- Referrals to members and businesses for transportation, local gifts, etc.
- Informing local restaurants and shops nearby about the event so they can prepare their staff to provide exceptional service
- Offering attendance marketing tools on the DMO and CVB website, like toolkits for venue searching and booking, to make sure planners have resources to help their event thrive
Also, CVBs and DMOs publish the most relevant mapping tools for event planning, giving a better idea of the destination and how to prepare their attendees for seamless transportation. Punta Gorda Englewood Beach’s meetings microsite is one example; Pisgah National Forest uses Map Publisher on its microsite to help visitors navigate the destinations.
Q: How can meeting and event planners and CVBs and DMOs work together more effectively?
A: Making connections to the destination should be a top priority. While many planners visit the destination during the sales process, that could have been years before their actual event and many things could have changed. Event planners should check in periodically with the CVB or DMO as a local partner, aligning goals, and sharing event and attendee details will help create the best experience for the attendee and event planner.
“The DMO or CVB is a concierge of sorts; from steering meeting planners to the transportation companies they need for an offsite event, to navigating the best group dining options, they can match your attendees to the attractions that will resonate the best with them.”
— Cara Frank, Chief of Staff, Simpleview
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