Katherine Overkamp, Senior Manager, Strategic Meetings & Events with American Airlines shares a little bit about her meeting planning history and her appreciation for the services convention & visitors bureaus (CVBs) are able to provide with Suzzanne Ravitz of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI).
SUZZANNE: What was your first industry job?
KATHERINE: I was a “rolls and relish girl” in the Navajo Dining room a Marriott’s Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Arizona. I brought you the relish tray after you received your drinks and then warm rolls with your dinner.
SUZZANNE: Sounds interesting! Camelback Inn is one of my favorite resorts in Scottsdale. Outside the industry, what is your dream job?
SUZZANNE: I am with you on that one! What’s the hardest/most challenging part of your job? What do you most enjoy?
KATHERINE: I love the opportunity to be creative with events – bring in a little surprise and delight even if it is just a basic corporate meeting. The most challenging part is trying to balance all the different meetings and events we now have as the world’s largest airline! It keeps my whole team hopping.
SUZZANNE: How did you first become aware of the services CVBs provided?
KATHERINE: I served on the board of directors for Tempe, Arizona which provided me with great insight as to how a CVB operates and where their funding comes from. As an advocate of CVBs I make sure that every RFP is also sent to the local CVB to let you know I am looking to book a program in your area. Some CVBs are great with follow-up on services offered and we take advantage of them.
SUZZANNE: What do you most value about your relationship with Arlington CVB/other CVBs in general?
KATHERINE: Having a great point of contact who is available to help us find the right location. Being new to Texas I have relied on the expertise all CVBs offer.
SUZZANNE: It’s great to rely on the local destination expertise of the CVB, that’s for sure! CVB destination experts are out in the field so to speak every day and have a real pulse on the destination. They truly are vested in the success of your meeting.
SUZZANNE: Thinking about Arlington, if you’ve met there in the past, what are some of the unique attributes that the destination was able to bring to your meeting?
SUZZANNE: Which specific services do you rely on?
KATHERINE: Specifically, I rely on their support with hotels and venues with winning our business.
SUZZANNE: I agree, it’s nice to have the CVB understand the value of your event and be able to communicate it to the community. What do you think is unique about the value they provide compared to other planning partners you might use?
KATHERINE: What I really appreciate is their knowledge of their city/locations and that they are not biased to one company.
SUZZANNE: How do CVBs make your job easier?
KATHERINE: I have one point of contact, which saves me valuable time. Additionally, they make my job easier by providing support with venues.
SUZZANNE: If you didn’t use a CVB, how would you replace their services?
KATHERINE: Spend more time researching opportunities in each city.
SUZZANNE: What would you like other planners to know about using a CVB?
KATHERINE: It’s free!
SUZZANNE: It’s true! CVBs are free to meeting planners because their services have already been paid for by those vested in the tourism industry.