For us, it’s always about the visitor and planner experience, and those in this industry get a high level of satisfaction when we deliver on what we promise.
There is nothing small about Texas! From the size of the state or the warmth of the people, holding a meeting in Texas brings attendees a larger than life experience. Recently, we talked to Marla Roe, Executive Director with Visit Frisco about what makes her destination a unique and memorable meeting destination with Suzzanne Ravitz of Destination Marketing Association International.
Marla has been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years, with 21 of those years in Destination Marketing Organizations. Eleven years ago, Marla had the privilege of opening the Frisco CVB where it has grown from a one person shop to 12 employees, offering a full range of services to their clients. She is truly passionate about the industry and loves representing her home town.
SUZZANNE: What makes Frisco a great meeting destination?
MARLA: Frisco is a great meeting destination because it’s so easy to get to from both DFW International and Love Field Airport. And we are only minutes from downtown Dallas. Additionally, we have a 330 room all-suite hotel with a conference center attached and a resort style hotel with a championship golf course. Plus, there is so much to do here! With over 9 million square feet of retail and dining, a growing museum district, and four professional sports teams, there is plenty to do when not in meetings.
SUZZANNE: What is the ONE THING planners are always surprised to learn about Frisco?
MARLA: Frisco currently has the 3rd largest formal ballroom in Texas at the Frisco Conference Center. For a destination our size, having a column free ballroom of over 41,500 square feet, I think surprises planners, and is a great resource for a variety of meetings.
SUZZANNE: How do you see the value you provide to planners as a CVB?
MARLA: One stop shopping has always been a phrase used by DMO’s, and while it may sound over-used, it actually fits us perfectly! From the first sales call, to convention services and public relations assistance, to final pickup, the Frisco CVB really does offer a full range of services to our clients with little if any cost involved.
SUZZANNE: What do you think are the advantages of reaching out to a CVB first when planning a meeting?
MARLA: We are passionate about our destination, and take the time to not only know everything we can about our city, but we work closely with our partners every day so that it makes it easy for us to connect the dots quickly and efficiently for a planner.
SUZZANNE: What size/type of meetings best fit in your destination?
MARLA: Our ideal group to stay under one roof is about 250 on peak night max, with an attendance of about 1,500 max. Our top group markets are corporate, state association, faith based meetings and newly emerging is the gaming market. If groups have larger attendance and don’t mind overflow properties, we have accommodated groups as large as 600 rooms on peak and we utilize the Arena next door to the Conference Center for ancillary space.
SUZZANNE: What are the latest developments/happenings/events in your destination you’d like to share with planners?
MARLA: The greatest development currently under construction and due to open in summer 2016 is The Star, home to the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters & Training facility, which will include a 12,000 indoor multi-use event center called The Ford Center. In spring of 2017, the attached Omni Hotel will open. This development will have over 30 rentable spaces, and in 2017 will grow to include unique retail and dining, all easily walkable from the hotel and event center. Very exciting!
SUZZANNE: Why are your services free?
MARLA: Our job as DMO’s is to bring economic impact to our cities, and we are funded by hotel occupancy tax, so our main focus is to first provide an exceptional experience for our clients and second, to provide value back to our stakeholders in the community.
SUZZANNE: What motivates you to provide the excellent service you are known for?
MARLA: For us, it’s always about the visitor and planner experience, and those in this industry get a high level of satisfaction when we deliver on what we promise. If we weren’t client oriented, there is no way we could be in the roles that we have.
SUZZANNE: What would you like all planners to know about Frisco?
MARLA: Frisco is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and you really have to visit to truly appreciate how unique we are in the DFW area. With the new Cowboys facilities and other new developments, groups will enjoy brand new hotels, walkable retail and dining experiences, and get to “meet and play” where the Dallas Cowboys will be headquarted! A great way to experience Texas.