Considering today’s challenging times and the industry’s competitive landscape, hotels and venues should welcome all the help they can get. The assistance of partner organisations like CVBs and DMOs become even more vital in unprecedented times such as these. However, most hoteliers misunderstand these organisations as their competition. However, in reality, they are one of their biggest allies. Let’s look at how CVBs and DMOs serve as meaningful partners for hoteliers, helping them to achieve their goals.
What are CVBs and DMOs?
As most hospitality professionals know, Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) and other Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) are nonprofits that help promote and facilitate business and leisure travel within the area. For most meeting planners, they serve as the first points of contact in a destination, as they provide a comprehensive overview of the geographic area, helpful insights about the city – including information about each hotel and venue, as well as an extensive network of local contacts and partners.
Consider them almost an extension of your sales and marketing team, because they’re always eager to promote the area – including your hotel. As such they’re especially valuable partners during the current challenges facing the hospitality industry. They’re updating travellers about developments on the ground in their area, like cancellations, closings, and reschedules. And, when the time comes, they’ll be ready to promote and encourage future travel planning.
CVBs and DMOs are serving as community organisers, connecting planners with updated information on their city’s current situation and pointing them to reliable resources.
How CVBs or DMOs can help?
The information provided by CVBs and DMOs helps planners save a lot of legwork by directing them to properties, venues, destination management companies and restaurants that work with groups. Some of them also have a request for proposal process in place that planners can use to save unnecessary time spent in contacting individual entities.
Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) across the globe are doing what they can to support their countries. Some, such as Tourism Australia, has become a source of support and information for the broader community. Their Covid-19 Coronavirus Response page mentions that “The Australian Government’s Economic Response is aimed at supporting households and businesses and addressing the significant economic consequences of coronavirus.” They are continuously updating this page with useful contacts and support related information from the Australian government.
When it comes to attracting future business from meeting and event planners, hotels and venues should lean on (and support) their local Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs). Destination organisations are acutely aware of the impact the pandemic is having on their business communities.
A recent study from the Destinations International Foundation and MMGY Travel Intelligence revealed that CVB and DMO expectations of “extreme impact” jumped from 8 to 79% during March. The survey found that close to 35% of DMOs surveyed are now creating a pandemic emergency plan. It reaffirms the role these organisations play in supporting the meetings and events industry through local insights and strategic partnerships.
Why Partner with CVBs or DMOs?
It has become more critical than ever to work hand-in-hand with your local CVBs as you plan to re-open and re-start your business. Partnering with a CVB or a DMO can prove fruitful for hotels in a number of ways. In times such as these, when most of the hotels are short-staffed, you can share updated information about your hotel’s meeting rooms along with an updated list of sales contacts with your city’s CVB or DMO. Doing so will put your property on the outbound communication that CVBs and DMOs share with the planners when they get in touch for reschedules or future bookings.
Additionally, CVBs and DMOs provide planners with access to directly get in touch with the right people at venues, hotels, and virtually anywhere else a group may need to be.
This means that the meeting and event business leads that come from CVBs have already been vetted and that the event has been identified as one that would be appropriate for your property. We all understand how such quality leads help in growing the meetings and events business. Even after you’ve made your pitch to the planner, the CVB can continue to help facilitate that partnership.
Here are a few ways you can partner with these organisations to restore planners’ confidence in these unprecedented times:
#1) SHARE RESOURCES FOR BETTER INSIGHTS
One of the best ways to build a strong relationship with your CVB or DMO is to make sure it’s a mutually beneficial one, irrespective of the size of your property. Aside from leads and reciprocal marketing, build a relationship based on resources. Leverage the destination organisation for the information travellers need, including safety updates and assistance with rebooking. As an example, VisitDallas is encouraging planners to reschedule instead of cancelling their events, and they’re prepared to help planners and venues juggle their bookings schedules during these uncertain times. Alternatively, you can also keep a track of the cancellation trends and reschedule updates and share your hotel insights along with the pace reports. This will help the destination organisation to create more effective and targeted advertising that boosts confidence in travel to the location.
Share data and feedback
As the event managers and sales reps at your property work more closely with the event planners, they have a better understanding of what’s going right or what could be better. Share this data and feedback with your CVB or DMO by proactively conducting a survey or an exit interview after an event has concluded. By making this data accessible to your CVB partners, you can help them address potential issues earlier in the evaluation process. That way, you’re more likely to be introduced to a planner that’s confident in their ability to successfully execute the event in your city, which makes for a much easier sales pitch, convincing them about your property.
#2) BECOME A LOCAL THOUGHT-LEADER TO YOUR CVB OR DMO
Since a CVB or DMO is the knowledge centre for an inside-out information about a city or destination, they create articles, videos, and guides that help convince meeting planners your city is the right choice. This poses an opportunity for your hotel or venue to help make all of that information more actionable and impactful. One way is to gather testimonials from your top clients, both about your venue and your city. Share these along for a CVB to use in their outbound communications. Try to get in touch with those
Keep in mind that CVBs or DMOs are unbiased when it comes to a hotel’s brands, or the services a property offers. Therefore, the mention about your hotel or venue in such a video testimonial can help your property stand-out. You will be surprised by how quickly the business will make its way to you.
#3) ESTABLISH A PARTNERSHIP, AND PLAN FOR THE LONG TERM
By sharing data and information, hotels and destination marketing organisations can create powerful partnerships that provide key insights for future planning. These organisations help you by providing a holistic view of the locale – which in turn showcases future trends and opportunities. For example, the Singapore Tourism Board has already created a Tourism Recovery Action Taskforce made up of public and private groups. The task force is charged with the job of “restoring confidence and providing assurance to Singaporeans and foreign visitors.”
Now, you have learnt how your Convention and Visitors Bureaus and Destination Marketing Organisations can help restore planner confidence by providing vital communication and updates, sharing local and innovative event ideas, helping in formulating strategic future planning, and offering assistance with rescheduled events. Smart hoteliers now know how to leverage a CVB or DMO to gain more meetings and events business and reduce friction in attracting quality leads during better times ahead.