The value we bring to planners is to consult and educate them about the destination in every phase of their meeting – inception, RFP, planning and execution.
Lisa Lopez, Director of Sales, Midwest & Incentive for NYC & Company shares how the largest city in the US is perfectly poised to welcome any and all sized meetings into its destination with Suzzanne Ravitz of Destination Marketing Association International.
Lisa joined NYC & Company in 2008 and now directs their Midwest and Incentive Market from their office in Minneapolis. Lisa loves to consult with planners about how working with the CVB when planning their meeting is a team approach with an end result of increased attendance and a memorable meeting experience for their attendees.
SUZZANNE: Outside the industry, what is your dream job?
LISA: Stylist! I love style in many forms – fashion, home décor and on my plate. I am inspired by artists and artfully designed people, places and things.
SUZZANNE: What makes New York City an ideal meeting destination?
LISA: In my biased opinion, New York City is the greatest city in the world. When you host a meeting in NYC you have the City’s five boroughs as your backdrop and springboard for ideas, inspiration and expertise. The energy of NYC should infuse every meeting experience. And the dominant presence of so many industries – medical, technology, media, fashion – provides resources, content, sponsorship, and speakers for any conference, making it the ideal place to hold every kind of meeting.
SUZZANNE: What is the ONE THING planners are always surprised to learn about New York City?
LISA: New York City drives attendance! Attendance numbers for NYC meetings, tradeshow, incentives and events are through the roof – and anecdotally, I’ve heard from planners that meetings in New York City get higher attendance numbers than those held in other destinations. New York City welcomed 6 million total meeting and convention delegates last year, and we expect this to grow to 6.1 million delegates in 2015. This really speaks to the desirability of the destination and correlates with the impact the destination has on attendance, which is highlighted in the recent Decision to Attend Study.
SUZZANNE: How do you see the value you provide to planners as a CVB?
LISA: The role of the DMO is now largely one of consulting and marketing. The value we bring to planners is to consult and educate them about the destination in every phase of their meeting – inception, RFP, planning and execution. We are instrumental in aligning the goals and objectives of the organization’s meeting, tradeshow, convention or incentive with the strengths and resources of the City and the community we represent.
SUZZANNE: What do you think are the advantages to reaching out to a CVB first when planning a meeting?
LISA: We can be such a huge time saver for planners, as New York City is very dynamic. If planners reach out to us before an RFP is sent out, we can offer advice on key logistical elements that will ensure the best rate of success for their RFP, advise them on compressed dates, patterns, properties and venues that are the best fit for the meeting, and gather much needed historical data to share with our partners.
SUZZANNE: What size/type of meetings best fit in your destination?
LISA: I think people would be surprised that most meetings taking place in New York City are small meetings. With that being said, we are a good fit for meetings of any size. The sheer number of options of hotels and venues in every category ensures that we can accommodate anything from board meetings to large conventions.
SUZZANNE: What are the latest developments/happenings/events in your destination you’d like to share with our readers?
LISA: We have been talking a lot about the “new” New York City, due to the sheer number of demand generators that opened this spring and summer. From the new Whitney Museum of American Art which opened May 1, to the brand new One World Observatory (opened May 29), to the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration (May 20), the City’s tourism sector is more diverse than ever. This, in addition to the City’s booming hotel industry, infrastructure improvements, dining scene and more, are all new reasons for travelers and planners to Make it NYC.
New York City has experienced an unprecedented growth in hotel inventory in the past several years, to approximately 105,000 rooms today – an increase of more than 30,000 rooms since 2007. The growth continues, with several new development projects still to come online in the next few years. By the end of 2015, New York City is expected to have more than 110,000 hotel rooms, and 125,000+ rooms by 2018. This increase in inventory offers more options in location, style and, most importantly for planners, price points, ensuring that a trip to NYC is more accessible and affordable than ever.
These new developments are just some of the reasons people continue to visit and book meetings in New York City. With world class hotels, attractions, parks, museums and more, people can do more in NYC in just a few days, than in any other destination. This value of experience is what makes New York City a frontrunner in a competitive marketplace.
SUZZANNE: Why are your services free?
LISA: I think this goes back to our mission statement that NYC & Company is dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide. Our mission is first and foremost, one of service. We exist to ensure that our meeting planners, delegates and visitors have the best NYC experience possible. It is hard to put a price on happiness!
SUZZANNE: What motivates you to provide the excellent service you are known for?
LISA: New York City is such an iconic, bucket-list destination. Every person who comes to the City comes with images that have been formed over their lifetime of seeing the destination in the media and pop culture. The team at NYC & Company has immense pride in the City and feels a responsibility to ensure that each of our 56 million visitors leaves having fulfilled their NYC dream and is eager to return to make more memories.
SUZZANNE: What would you like all planners to know about New York City and/or working with NYC & Company?
LISA: I would love every planner to know that New York City has something for every person and every price point. We have meetings, tradeshows, conferences and incentives that are hosted annually with a range of budgets. Working with the team at NYC & Company can help you create an experience that is world-class and affordable. The City is also constantly re-inventing itself. It is a destination that you can return to frequently and always have a new experience.