Corporate event planners seem more reticent to contact the CVB in their host city compared to other kinds of meeting professionals. But a CVB or DMO can be a valuable resource for corporate planners (and your bottom lines). Here are four ways they can save you time, money and lengthy research efforts:
1. Streamlining the RFP process. CVB managers are experts on their destination. They work as advocates on behalf of planners to ensure the best options are presented to you for your meetings. Based on the needs of a corporation or meeting, they narrow the search by communicating what hotels and venues can accommodate your size and space needs. They also can collect all proposals for you and provide one comprehensive document outlining availability and options within the city.
2. Planning your site visit. Leave the work to them. The CVB can prepare an agenda including hotels, convention centers, off-site venues, restaurants and more by confirming appointments for areas of interest for your program. Once you’re on their home turf, they can serve as your host in an effort to assist with seeing all options that fit the needs of your program.
3. Sharing the master calendar. Some hotels and venues don’t know all the other events in town during the same dates as your event. But CVBs know all the events and festivals going on in the city at the same time that may impact your event or conflict with your program. For example, a CVB can tell you if a major festival will take up most of the city’s resources at the same time as your meeting, or let you know if a major competitor is holding an event in town over the same dates. This gives you the chance to make decisions early on instead of being surprised on-site.
4. Avoiding “voluntourism” missteps. I talked to one planner who took months to find the right CSR project for her trip. She said many of the programs she contacted didn’t need her company’s help, which was frustrating to say the least. CVBs know how significant CSR is and can assist you with finding the perfect match for your corporation’s mission. They have a comprehensive list of volunteer opportunities, from building a playground to donating books, and know which ones really need your team’s help.
Perhaps the best reason of all to work with a CVB: your company’s bottom line. A CVB’s services are offered at no cost to your organization. They want to partner with your company and be an extension of your planning team. Think of them as more boots on the ground.
Raquel “Rocky” Dufauchard Baptiste, CMP, is senior convention sales manager for the New Orleans CVB and a member of the Collaborate Marketplace Advisory Board. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.