Beth Witzak, Global Account Executive for ConferenceDirect, shares some great insights on meeting planning “intel,” and Destination Marketing Association International’s (DMAI’s) Terri Roberts gets the inside track.
The information gleaned from Beth was both honest and insightful. It’s clear she has one goal…providing the best level of service possible to her clients. She clearly feels that collaboration is key and that knowledge is power. She arms herself with local expertise gained from her CVB partners in the destination, considering them the most reliable source.
Beth has 12 years of planning experience with ConferenceDirect and both hotel and Visitors Association experience as well, making her a well-rounded source of information. It’s clear she takes pride in what she does and how she does it! Here’s a look at Beth’s perspective and how you can incorporate some of her expertise into your own planning repertoire.
TERRI: First, can you tell me a little about yourself and your planning background?
BETH: I started with ConferenceDirect in July 2012, prior to that I was with the Millennium Harvest House Hotel in Boulder for several years and have been in the industry for 13 years.
TERRI: How did you first become aware of the services CVBs provided?
BETH: I first began working with CVBs when I was on the hotel side of the business and we received leads from the CVB.
TERRI: How long have you been working with the Boulder CVB?
BETH: I have been working with the Boulder CVB in various capacities since 2000 and have truly seen all sides of how to work with them from being at hotels in Boulder, to being with a neighboring CVB where we collaborated on regional initiatives, to finally being a planner and placing meetings in Boulder.
TERRI: What do you most value about your relationship with the Boulder CVB or other CVBs in general?
BETH: I most value how easy the Boulder CVB is to work with. If I have a question, it is so painless to call or email them to get a quick answer. They make you feel like your meeting is important and they always follow up. On the front end of a meeting, I provide rate intelligence and a central contact point while the CVB keeps us up to date on the location; it is a true partnership.
TERRI: How would you describe the relationship? What would you compare it to?
BETH: The Boulder CVB is like a trusted friend because they always provide honest answers.
TERRI: Which specific services do you rely on?
BETH: I rely on the CVB to keep me up to date on what events are happening over meeting dates, what updates are happening with their properties, to coordinate site visits, and to provide collateral to share with clients when booking and for welcome packets upon arrival. I also use them to answer questions that pop up when comparing different locations.
TERRI: What do you think is unique about the value CVBs provide compared to other planning partners you might use?
BETH: CVBs are entrenched in the locations they represent. In my mind they are the experts on the scene.
TERRI: What is most compelling to you about Boulder as a meeting destination?
BETH: My clients typically come from all over the U.S. so they love Boulder’s central location and proximity to a major airport, but still feel like they get to enjoy the beautiful Colorado outdoors. Add that to the fabulous restaurant scene in Boulder and you truly have a fantastic meeting destination.
TERRI: Why do you choose not to go it alone on the internet, or go direct to a hotel, when planning a meeting?
BETH: I always include the CVB during my bid process just in case they know of something that I do not that will make my client’s experience better. Sometimes they even have incentives for your meeting beyond what hotels themselves offer. I believe that collaboration is the key to a successful meeting.
TERRI: How do CVBs make your job easier?
BETH: CVBs save me time by having all of a destination’s information in one easily accessible place. They are my go to resource for destination questions and welcome packet information.
TERRI: If you didn’t use a CVB, how would you replace their services?
BETH: If I didn’t use the CVB, the only substitute for the pre-meeting answers they provide would be a lot of work on my part. They are the Boulder experts with all of the answers in one place so it would take me a lot of work to hunt down those answers. Also, I don’t think there would be a replacement for the collateral they have.
TERRI: What would you like other planners to know about using a CVB?
BETH: I would like other planners to know that using a CVB is an easy and efficient way to get destination information with a personalized touch.