As the home of Mall of America and nearly 8,000 hotel rooms, the Bloomington CVB educates planners on a number of services to make planning easy. With an overwhelming number of resources available to you as meeting planners, it can be difficult to determine which one(s) to utilize. Even if a planner has their job mastered, they may not have a clear understanding of what a CVB can do to make their job easier. And for those who aren’t meeting planners, but planning a meeting suddenly comes your way…where do you turn for help?
Our Bloomington CVB team has come up with several unique initiatives to educate planners on what we do as an organization, and even more importantly, how we can make the planning process run a bit smoother, before, during and after the meeting.
Before the meeting
- Web-based RFP Service to streamline the hotel selection process
- Assistance in choosing the best hotel including online hotel reviews
- Online Housing Bureau to track room blocks, rebates and commissions
- Assistance in finding speakers, entertainment, audio-visual services, catering and transportation/city tour information
- Meeting/Event promotion information
- Online attractions and venue information, photos and video
During the meeting
- Mobile messaging service to attendees
- Meeting/Event micro site for attendees
- Assistance in creating an event page, Flickr and YouTube
- Mobile app for area attractions, dining, shopping (future)
After the meeting
- Online survey to gather feedback on improvement opportunities
Personalized Site Visits: Understanding the Bloomington Destination and our CVB Value Proposition
You might often assume you need to be focused on a specific meeting to schedule a site inspection. Not so! We offer individual or group site inspections that focus on educating you on all Bloomington has to offer. We will work to familiarize you with hotels, conference facilities, and event venues, and at the same time help you understand how to fully utilize all of the free services we provide to assist you in the full spectrum of planning. Think of it as pre-planning: the ability to know what the destination has to offer along with all of the services the CVB provides before you really need them. This exploratory opportunity may open your eyes to possibilities and present you with solutions that will remain top of mind, even before you are called upon to provide them for your company or meeting attendees.
Keeping up with the ever-changing technological front, Bloomington CVB has shifted many of our complimentary services offered to online or mobile applications. Our Technology Tuesday presentations are shared in a “lunch and learn” format, as you meet and learn from our technology experts.
These informative but informal presentations over lunch, headed up by Bloomington CVB Sales Managers, are a great way for us to share with meeting planners what is available to simplify your lives. Educating you on technological advances and current trends, introducing you to our tech staff and how they can serve you, and inviting experts on relevant topics to speak, are just a few of the things in store during these informative sessions.
We have expanded our technology reach with a brand new, meeting planner friendly website with the capabilities to simplify a meeting planner’s life. You can modernize your RFP submission process through an online form or by uploading one you’ve already prepared. Our sales team will then collect rates and proposals from the hotels that best fit your event needs, saving you hours of research and outreach. With 38 hotels, the Mall of America and many restaurants, it could take an entire day’s work to just understand the potential meeting venues in Bloomington alone. A personal login to our system allows you to simply log in and view all proposals, 3 or 37, in one aggregated place when you are ready.
Let us also help you stay in touch with your attendees to build excitement and boost attendance. The bureau can set up a Facebook, YouTube, or Flickr page for those who may not have internal resources to create them on their own. A custom landing page can be created featuring the event’s agenda, hotel & attraction information, discounts and more; simply sharing the link can provide event details to all attendees. A text messaging program can be set up during an event, allowing attendees access to anything from last minute changes in the schedule to a list of restaurants in the city offering specials. Bloomington CVB stays connected so you can connect with attendees.
The Planner Lifestyle Publication
Our lifestyle publication was launched in 2011. This online magazine is written specifically for meeting planners as a resource for better meetings and events, but also for you to benefit from on a personal level. Features may include how to handle catering trends like the sudden demand for gluten free menus, activities for groups to partake in during their stay in the Twin Cities area, or it may highlight services in a section labeled “Savvy CVB” to inform readers of the many planning tools available from the Bloomington CVB.
We also survey our readers, after each issue, and based on what they liked, didn’t like, and what they would like to see in future issues, plan our upcoming issues. It is important to us that we are putting together content that is meaningful—we want our publication to be one planners look forward to, benefit from, and enjoy. Take a look yourself: http://www.destinationbloomingtonguide.com/bloomingtonguide/ThePlanner#pg1
Planner Trends Webinars
Our webinars began as a way to educate and train new hotel staff members on the CVB’s role in promoting the hotels and the destination. They have been so well received, we now have plans to conduct planner focused webinars on topics related to planning meetings & events. In 2012, we will focus on topics such as, attrition clauses, trends in occupancy and average daily rates (ADR) so planners can plan for expected changes in rates for budgeting purposes, and even a webinar that will focus on the subject of per diem rates for those who plan government meetings.
It’s been said “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but rather those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn (Alvin Toffler).” The meetings industry is no exception here. The Bloomington CVB wants to be a tremendous learning and planning partner to our customers. We take our job seriously. We want to be your preferred resource for knowing all there is about executing a meeting in our destination, and we will continue to learn, unlearn, and relearn right along with you!
Technology is the forefront for every client- our commitment is to continue to educate you on our full range of interactive services before the meeting, during the meeting, and after the meeting to make your job easier and your meeting a success.
To find out more about our hotel products and services to make your life easier- schedule a webinar, and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.