"Visit Lubbock staff is the planner’s local expert and we are always able to help find alternatives that meet the planner’s needs."
Recently, we sat down with Amy Zientek, Director of Sales with Visit Lubbock to find out what’s happening in her destination as well as what makes it a fabulous choice for just about any meeting. Amy has been with Visit Lubbock for almost 15 years. She started as an intern while at Texas A&M, then worked her way to Sales & Services Coordinator, then Services Manager and has now been Director of Sales since 2008. It’s clear Amy loves representing her destination and truly takes pride in being a destination expert.
SUZZANNE: What makes Lubbock a great meeting destination?
AMY: Lubbock has so much going for it! This city offers planners first class facilities and accommodations at an affordable price. The cherry on top is the customer service you receive while in Lubbock. I truly feel that the people in Lubbock are the nicest you will find anywhere. They take pride in what they do and will work their hardest to make sure an event goes wonderfully.
SUZZANNE: What is the ONE THING planners are always surprised to learn about Lubbock?
AMY: When I meet with planners that are unfamiliar with Lubbock, they are always surprised to learn about all that Lubbock has to offer. As a city of 240,000 people, Lubbock has unique off-site venues, special events and performances happening year round that really give attendees a sense of all the great things Texas and specifically Lubbock, have to offer. And, with 263 days of sunshine on average per year, there is never an excuse to not get out and explore!
SUZZANNE: What concerns/complaints/frustrations are you hearing from planners lately? How do you think the services CVBs provide support them specifically?
AMY: A lot of the planners we work with prefer to have their events under one roof. While this may not always be possible, the Visit Lubbock staff is the planner’s local expert and we are always able to help find alternatives that meet the planner’s needs.
SUZZANNE: What do you see trending in the meetings market? How is your DMO proactively addressing the trend or staying current?
AMY: Right now, technology is key in the meetings industry. Currently, every hotel in Lubbock offers complimentary Wi-Fi in guest rooms, which planners and attendees really appreciate. Additionally, along with the AV offerings at our hotels, Lubbock has numerous local AV companies who can provide top-notch services to planners.
SUZZANNE: In what way do you think CVBs are most misunderstood by planners? What one planner perception would you like to change about CVBs in general?
AMY: I think planners don’t always understand the true purpose of a CVB We exist to be the meeting planner’s local expert. We are the planner’s eyes and ears on the ground in our community.
SUZZANNE: What do you think are the advantages to reaching out to a CVB first when planning a meeting?
AMY: There are several advantages to reaching out to a CVB first. Number one, we are your local expert. By making one call to Visit Lubbock, a planner can save themselves the time of calling multiple hotels and meeting venues, researching caterers, locating AV companies, etc. In addition, we strive to help save the planner time. Our servicing department will pre-print name tags, provide welcome bags that include not only Lubbock information but any other materials the planner provides, coordinate with city leadership for welcome ceremonies, and so much more.
SUZZANNE: What size/type of meetings best fit in your destination?
AMY: With over 5,300 sleeping rooms and the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center boasting 100,000 square feet of meeting space, we can host meetings of all sizes, up to about 12,000 attendees.
SUZZANNE: What are the latest developments/happenings/events in your destination you’d like to share with planners?
AMY: The Lubbock Memorial Civic Center is working on renovations that should be complete early spring 2016. Additionally, the Arbor Hotel & Conference Center opened in early December 2015. This hotel features 100 sleeping rooms and 3,000 square feet of meeting space. There are also 5 hotels currently under construction in Lubbock that should open in 2016 – Best Western, Staybridge Suites, La Quinta, Hyatt Place, and Hilton Garden Inn.
SUZZANNE: Why are your services free?
AMY: Visit Lubbock is funded by a hotel occupancy tax. Because of this we are able to provide complimentary services to groups utilizing hotel room nights.
SUZZANNE: What motivates you to provide the excellent service you are known for?
AMY: I want others to understand why I love Lubbock as much as I do. Every time somebody visits Lubbock I want them to leave thinking about the next time they get to come back.