Government Connections - Fall 2012 - (Page 30)

THE MEETING MINUTE A CVB Can Be Your Most Valued Resource in Meeting Planning By Robert J. Casias, CMP I WAS INVITED to take part in a focus group of meeting planners to discuss meetings and their requirements from a meeting planner’s point of view. When the focus group concluded its survey, I was astonished to learn that many meeting planners do not use or seek assistance from convention and visitors bureaus (CVB) and they are not familiar with the benefits of partnering with a CVB when planning meetings. It is during these lean times, when planners are being asked to do more with less and to be more creative with meetings, that planners should seek out assistance from CVBs. A CVB can help planners stay within their budget by assisting with site visits, request for proposals (RFP), onsite conference support and financial subsidies to offset conferences expenses. Once the RFP is ready for distribution, CVBs can forward it to hotels and offsite venues. They can specifically disseminate to the planner’s preferred hotel brands or geographically preferred hotel locations. Planners can opt to have all RFP replies sent directly to the CVB by a specified cut-off, after which time the CVB will forward proposals to the planner. While CVBs are not in the business of negotiating rates or sharing this information with competing properties, the CVBs can go back to hotels and get clarifications regarding types of rooms, and meeting room specifications. The bottom line is CVBs can go a long way in assisting the planner with the RFP process. If the planner’s association or organization is short staffed, a CVBs can help by providing registration personnel (based GOVERNMENT CONNECTIONS | FALL 2012 on the number of room nights booked) to assist with onsite registration, or manning an information desk that can provide information to attendees about the city’s venues and attractions. CVBs can also provide city maps, brochures and promotional items. A CVB’s convention service manager can assist planners by recommending ideas or suggestions for offsite venues and entertainment options. Last but not least, many CVBs can assist a planner’s group by providing them with financial incentives to bring a group to their city. These incentives can range from subsidies to assist with transportation of attendees during the meeting, rebates to offset rental expenses at convention centers and sponsorship for entertainment. For one of my city-wide meetings, the CVB paid for my musical entertainer and that saved our organization thousands of dollars. I could not plan or execute my meetings without the assistance from the CVB. I think one reason why planners do not use a CVB is because of their mistaken understanding that bureaus are only there for planners of large meetings. A CVB will assist you no matter the size of the group; the goal of each CVB is to promote its city and entice groups large and small to visit and stay. The next time you are searching for a location for your meeting, make sure to contract the CVB. You will find that every CVB’s staff consist of experienced and customer service friendly professionals that are committed to the overall success of your meetings. Go ahead, look them up for your next meeting, you will not be disappointed. 30

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Fall 2012

President’s Letter
Editor’s Letter
Going Places
Dieting on a Per Diem
Plan Green
Education Edge
Demonstrate the Value of Your Meeting
Good to Know
Supplier Strategy
That’s Technology
Conference Connection
Freeze of Per Diem Rates is not a Hotel Freeze out for Government Business
Membership News
Travel Tips & Trends
Continuing Education Now Includes New ADA Rules
SGMP Nation
Advertisers’ Index
The Meeting Minute

Government Connections - Fall 2012