When it comes to attracting business from meeting and event planners, hotels should welcome all the help they can get. And in the industry’s competitive landscape, they may be overlooking one of their biggest allies: their local CVB or DMO.
As most hospitality professionals know, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) and destination management organizations (DMOs) are nonprofits in the business of providing information and educational services that help promote and facilitate business and leisure travel in the area. Though arrangements vary from state to state, all CVB and DMO services are “prepaid,” usually through a combination of hotel and occupancy taxes, regional and state fiscal allocations, and, for some, membership fees, all of which enable them to support planners without charge — while also benefiting the region economically.
What hoteliers may not understand is that CVBs and DMOs aren’t the enemy or the competition.
Quality Leads Help Grow Your Group Business
Whether planners are thinking about one destination or have several under consideration, their initial connection with the CVB or DMO immediately taps into a wealth of local expertise and relationships, letting them get much of the initial legwork done quickly and efficiently. That connection also paves the way for a destination deep-dive with just a few calls or emails — and a lot less time spent Googling.
Additionally, CVBs and DMOs provide access, putting planners directly in touch with the right people at venues, hotels, and virtually anywhere else a group may need to be.
What does that mean for hotels? The group business leads that come from CVBs have already been vetted, meaning the event has been identified as one that would be appropriate for your property. Even after you’ve made your pitch to the planner, the CVB can continue to help facilitate that partnership. Says Debi DeBenedetto, group sales and marketing manager at the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau: “We can assist planners with site visits to the destination and, in many cases, pay for a site flight, coordinate the itinerary with the hotels and airport transfers, as well as touring the destination, providing contacts for offsite venues, transportation, destination activities, and more.”
Not Just for Big Convention Hotels
Even for hotels that don’t have huge ballrooms and thousands of guest rooms, CVBs are a helpful connection. While these organizations do handle many large citywide conferences, they are also a planner resource for other types of functions. For example, at the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, there are two teams in place — one that handles large events and another for smaller, high-end events. So don’t think you can’t get any leads to fill your smaller meeting rooms or boardrooms.
No matter the size of your property, the best way to keep a strong relationship with your CVB or DMO is to make sure it’s a mutually beneficial one. While the CVB is sending you hot leads, you can help them sell not only your venue in particular but the destination as a whole. Pool your content, resources, and expertise to bring in more group business. You can also keep your CVB updated on any new features and services that you’re offering to help them attract more planners.