Meet Ellen Brown, Director of National Accounts, with the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau. Ellen is passionate about representing her native city and is excited to introduce to those that may not be familiar with Arlington, the many attributes that make it a unique meeting destination.
SUZZANNE: First tell me a little bit about yourself and your CVB background.
ELLEN: I am from Arlington! I went to Junior High, High School and College in Arlington. It’s great to be back in town, especially with all the recent changes to the city. I have one son who is almost 21, who attends the University of Alabama.
I have been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, including two years at the Irving CVB and 7 years at the Dallas CVB. I have been here in Arlington for just over four years and loving every minute of it!
SUZZANNE: What makes Arlington a great meeting destination?
ELLEN: The people we have working in our city. I really think that the people working in the hotels, convention center, and our venues are happy to be in Arlington and happy to sell what they have. Many of my colleagues have long tenures at their respective work places, and that is what I want for myself as well. I know people move and change jobs every few years, I’m not like that. I wanted to find a place to work where I want to stay put. That place is the Arlington CVB.
SUZZANNE: What is the ONE THING planners are always surprised to learn about Arlington?
ELLEN: How willing we are to help them make their meeting in Arlington a success. We are all about going above and beyond, including our services after the meeting is booked. We have a new video out with the phrase, Making the Impossible, Possible, which is what we strive to do.
SUZZANNE: How do you see the value you provide to planners as a CVB?
ELLEN: Our job is to make the meeting planner’s job easier by being their central resource to all aspects of planning a meeting. Our job is to be the local expert on Arlington! Our relationships with our partners will help our clients put together a great meeting. Our job is to help the client and our partners find each other.
SUZZANNE: What do you think are the advantages to reaching out to a CVB first when planning a meeting?
ELLEN: Start with the CVB destination expert for access to incentives that are offered before the meeting is booked. We also offer insider information on things to do in the city for attendees that the meeting planner may not be aware of.
Additionally, we are selling ALL of Arlington and will do all in our power to provide you with several options whether it be to stay in the hotel for an evening event or procuring proposals to take your evening event off-site. Our job is to help you find the best option for your group.
SUZZANNE: What size/type of meetings best fit in your destination?
ELLEN: Our goal is to help planners with meetings from a 10 person Board of Directors meeting to a 50,000 Jehovah’s Witness convention held at AT&T Stadium. Our Arlington Convention Center is the ideal space for a group of 1200+ with flexible space for exhibits, general sessions, meals and breakouts.
SUZZANNE: What are the latest developments/happenings/events in your destination you’d like to share with planners?
ELLEN: We have been very lucky in Arlington to host events like NCAA Final Four, Super Bowl XLV, 50th ACM awards, 1st Annual College National Championship game, College Football Playoff Semi-Final game and the upcoming WWE WrestleMania in spring of 2016.
Recently our Hilton Arlington underwent a $13 million dollar renovation, which included guest rooms, meeting rooms, the hotel restaurant as well as changing the front entrance and lobby. The client response to the renovation has been overwhelming!
SUZZANNE: Why are your services free?
ELLEN: To our clients, our services are complimentary! We receive funding from the hotel occupancy tax and we use that money to service our clients who are looking at Arlington, without additional fees passed on to them. If we can help the planners in planning the meeting by sending leads to our partners asking for proposals on behalf of our client, it saves them time and money in getting their meeting planned.
SUZZANNE: What motivates you to provide the excellent service you are known for?
ELLEN: I want our clients to be happy they chose Arlington. We want them to have a successful meeting so that their attendees and bosses want to come back to Arlington again and again! The hospitality business is all about relationships and I want the clients I have built a great relationship with to be able to ‘shine’ because they chose Arlington for their meeting.
SUZZANNE: What would you like all planners to know about Arlington?
ELLEN: We want to earn their business. We have a great number of partners who work with us to provide a great experience to the planners looking at Arlington as a potential meeting destination. We work together to ensure the clients have a memorable meeting experience in Arlington!