"Planners have come to know whenever they work with us, they will have a personal connection to our destination."
James Tevault, Director of Sales with Tempe Tourism Office shares how partnering with a CVB is really about building solid relationships with destination experts who are there for you throughout the meeting planning process with Destination Marketing Association International’s Suzzanne Ravitz.
You could say James grew up in this industry, having started his hospitality career as a teenager. After many years in the hotel industry, building community relationships, James moved to the CVB industry more than seven years ago. He has been with Tempe Tourism for a little over a year and absolutely loves it! Besides being a great place to hold meetings, Tempe is also a great place for those who love the outdoors. And that is certainly James! We asked him where we might find him on a typical Saturday, and his response was, “On my bicycle or a long run! One of the great things about Tempe is Tempe Town Lake. You could very well find me on a lunch break going for a ride or a quick run.”
SUZZANNE: What makes Tempe a great meeting destination?
JAMES: There are so many things! But, I’d say planners are always so happy to learn Tempe is so convenient to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. It’s within only a 5-10 minute drive/shuttle from the airport. Tempe also offers a great before and after meeting experience for attendees with a lot of options including the fun and lively Mill Avenue.
SUZZANNE: What is the ONE THING planners are always surprised to learn about Tempe Tourism?
JAMES: How convenient it is to get to! Besides being within 5-10 minutes of the airport, Tempe is also easily accessible via Phoenix’s light rail system. You can literally be almost anywhere in the destination and have access to Downtown Tempe.
SUZZANNE: How do you see the value CVBs provide to planners?
JAMES: The value is in all of the free services we provide and the relationships we help build between our meeting planners and destination partners. We help get the RFP in front of the right person. We also are always on top of the latest venue and restaurant openings and newest destination offerings, giving our meeting planners relevant and current information. The planners we work with use us as a key resource instead of the long hours it might take them to find the same information on the Internet.
SUZZANNE: What do you think are the advantages to reaching out to a CVB first when planning a meeting?
JAMES: We can assist you through the whole process and will always help if there are ever any bumps along the way. Our sales professionals help save a planner’s valuable time by following up with hotels and service providers. Additionally, it also really helps to reach out first before sending the RFP, so that we can assist with site inspections. It really makes such a smooth process for the planners.
SUZZANNE: What size/type of meetings best fit in your destination?
JAMES: We are great for any small to mid-sized meeting. We can accommodate up to 220 on peak and traditionally we host meetings in the 50-125 peak room range. What planners often find is Tempe has a lot of options for hotels and amenities.
SUZZANNE: Why are your services free?
JAMES: The Tempe Tourism Office’s services are provided for free to meeting planners because our budget is based off of the transient tax visitors pay when they stay in our hotels. Tempe Tourism contracts with the city and funds are allocated so all of our services for meeting planners are pre-paid. It is a win-win for planners and the destination!
SUZZANNE: What are the latest developments/happenings/events in your destination?
JAMES: We recently held a FAM for some of our meeting planners and they all had some great things to say about Tempe! They agreed how convenient and unique Tempe is for meetings and we had a fabulous time showing them our destination!
SUZZANNE: What motivates you to provide the excellent service you are known for?
JAMES: I’ve always been service-minded and will always work hard to find a solution for whatever the problem is and I will connect you with the right resources to help. I have a real passion for what I do and love the destination I represent.
SUZZANNE: What would you like planners to know about Tempe Tourism and Tempe, AZ?
JAMES: That we are all really passionate about what we do. We have an amazing team that has a real pulse on what is going on in the destination. We believe in what we are doing and truly enjoy helping to bring meetings to Tempe. Planners have come to know whenever they work with us, they will have a personal connection to our destination.