Dianne Killian, Senior Director, Global Accounts with Helms Briscoe is a veteran meeting planner and advocate for convention & visitors bureaus (CVBs). Throughout her career, she has seen the value that the CVB brings to the table when sourcing meetings for her clients. Dianne relies on the CVB and the Boise CVB in particular with being her feet on the ground. The sales professionals at the Boise CVB are destination experts. They help with anything from what’s new in the destination, to getting in touch with the right vendor, or assistance with an RFP, the Boise CVB is the best first option when planning any meeting. Read on to learn more about Dianne’s planning experiences and how she compares the CVB relationship.
SUZZANNE: Tell us, what was your first job in the industry? How did you evolve to where you are now?
DIANNE: I started in the meetings industry while working for Sarcom Inc. where I was the Vice President involved in the startup of The Training and Conference Center at Polaris (now, Quest Business Centers). After quick success we moved into the Sarcom headquarters and started hosting meetings for up to 250 attendees. I had already been a member of Experience Columbus from the days I worked with the computer rental division of SARCOM, Inc. and so really prior to opening the conference center I had experience renting audio visual and computer equipment to meeting professionals and groups. The relationships that I had formed while with the rental division helped me to get groups into the facility for meetings and many of those relationships continue today.
SUZZANNE: What is the hardest/most challenging part of your job? What do you most enjoy?
DIANNE: I enjoy my clients! My hard work has brought me to a point in my career where I can be a bit selective with respect to whom I choose to support, and I have the best clients in the world! I’m so blessed with amazing people whom I count as both my clients and my friends. It makes work fun when you are viewed as an indispensable member of the planning team. I also enjoy learning about all of the cities and countries I get to book.
The most challenging part is trying to be sure not to get too involved outside of the sourcing portion of the process. I am the type of person who wants to solve problems and help, but when you are on a commission basis it is important to protect my time, which is of course limited!
SUZZANNE: Outside the industry, what is your dream job?
DIANNE: I’d love to say something inspirational or exciting but truth be known, my dream job is retirement, and I say this with all sincerity. I hope to be with HB for another ten years or so, and then my goal is to retire in my early 60’s. I turn 52 in September of this year. In retirement I will travel, relax, enjoy my hobbies, and spend time continuing my volunteer efforts on behalf of children battling cancer. Time to live every single day to the fullest, and to explore the world! Hopefully spend time with future grandchildren!
Lisa Edens is a joy to work with, and is a true professional. It is always such a joy to hear from her and I know that she will advocate on behalf of the groups I bring into the city. During planning for a large annual conference I brought to Boise, she helped arrange all of the site visits, and was sure to assist me in every area where we had questions or concerns.
A CVB is like having vetted contacts in every city that I source. They are my go to with respect to what is happening on the ground in each city at the present time. I cannot possibly visit every city that I’m sourcing and so, in addition to my fellow HB associates who are local, I also have the CVB. They provide important sponsorships, discounts, visitor guides, activities/recreation, events, restaurants, sporting events, and field trip ideas.
In addition they have members who can then become vendors for my out of town clients filling their needs where necessary. Again, the assistance and expenses that they save my groups on site visits is a great savings of time and money!
According to Smith Travel Research we are now entering a time where supply is finally catching up with demand. This year will still most likely stay a seller’s market through the end of the year. I recently completed my Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) for Columbus and I feel a lot of cities will follow suit on this program. It is affordable and makes sense with a positive result for visitors, who have many ambassadors with knowledge of the place they are visiting. These individuals then leave and tell others how great the city is and how nice everyone is, you cannot beat that with advertising! Dare I say more mergers? Yes, I do predict that the mergers will continue, although I’m unsure of exactly who will be next. Electronics of course will forever continue to grow and change/perfect, which hopefully helps all of us do our jobs more efficiently.
Thank you Dianne for taking the time to talk with us today, and for being such a great supporter of CVBs and the Boise CVB in particular!