A CVB can take a look at your overall needs and put together a customized package that will serve the planner and the attendees from start to finish.
We recently had the pleasure of talking with Tracey Burkey, Vice President of Sales & Services at Visit Syracuse about what makes Syracuse a great meeting destination. If you haven’t thought of Syracuse for your meeting before, you might just change your mind after reading her answers to our 10 Questions.
Q1. First tell me a little bit about yourself and your CVB background:
Tracey: After graduating from Niagara University, I worked as a travel agent for a short period before beginning my career at the Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau, now known as Visit Syracuse. I began as a Convention Sales Manager before moving into the role of Director of Sales & Services and then into my current position.
Q2. What makes Syracuse a great meeting destination?
Tracey: Our location in the center of New York State and within 350 miles of every major city in the Northeast makes getting here convenient and easy for attendees. We are affordable and a smaller destination which allows groups more individual attention. It is fun to bring meeting planners in for a visit because we are an unknown destination to many and once they see the many activities and passions they can explore here they can’t wait to return!
Q3. What is the ONE THING planners are always surprised to learn about Syracuse?
Tracey: We are a very progressive city while still rich in history. From outdoor enthusiasts who will enjoy four seasons of activities to art and culture lovers, there is an opportunity for everyone to DO YOUR THING! Our neighborhoods are charming and eclectic, our craft beer and wine along with so many wonderful restaurants and shops are fun to explore and our residents love to share in the experience of welcoming visitors to Syracuse!
Q4. How do you see the value you provide to planners as a CVB?
Tracey: Our biggest value to our planners is our Visit Syracuse Team! They are a group of true professionals who always go the extra mile for our visitors. From start to finish planners and attendees will get specialized attention and 24/7 assistance while here. Our team truly cares about our guest and our community is very welcoming as well!
Q5. What do you think are the advantages to reaching out to a CVB first when planning a meeting?
Tracey: A CVB can take a look at your overall needs and put together a customized package that will serve the planner and the attendees from start to finish. Many CVB services are free to the planner and it is well worth the call. That call can save time, expense and effort since the CVB team knows their destination best and can guide you with site selection; housing; tours; media; transportation and so much more!
Q6. What size/type of meetings best fit in your destination?
Tracey: We have a wonderful Convention Center; Arena and Theaters all in one complex called the Oncenter. This facility is versatile and can accommodate several thousand people depending on needs. Our ideal hotel block in the downtown area is currently 600 rooms but all of our hotels are within ten minutes of our venues so we have great flexibility!
Q7. What are the latest developments/happenings/events in your destination you’d like to share with our readers?
Tracey: Downtown Syracuse is in the midst of an urban renaissance, with more than $313 million in new development underway. There are also new hotels under construction as well as several major renovations.
Q8. Why are your services free?
Tracey: All visitors to hotels in most destinations pay a room tax which is how we are funded. Therefore our mission is to use those dollars to fill hotel rooms. We offer the complimentary services to assist groups coming to town who will be staying in hotels.
Q9. What motivates you to provide the excellent service you are known for?
Tracey: Our team is very passionate about our community. Many of us have lived here our whole lives. We truly enjoy showing off our area and seeing the smiles on visitor’s faces when they have a good time and leave with great memories.
Q10. What would you like all planners to know about Visit Syracuse and/or Syracuse?
Tracey: We have a new brand and a new attitude in Syracuse. Our brand promise is “Syracuse. Do Your Thing”. Whether it’s stopping at the country’s only upside-down stoplight in our Irish community; climbing the largest indoor suspended ropes course inside Destiny USA, New York State’s largest shopping, dining and entertainment center; or experiencing our downtown urban renaissance, Syracuse provides the backdrop for you to put on an event that your attendees will remember for a long time to come! With our first-class facilities and accommodations as well as our accessibility our Visit Syracuse Team will help you shine!