How many times have we, as meeting planners, said, “I just don’t have enough time to do all I need to get done?”
Well, here is one way to add ‘staff’ without having to pay for it. Work with your local CVB representative. Many times, he or she can help in many ways – most free of charge – to make your job easier. Your CVB rep can help to identify more than just a hotel and potential meeting facility. I just finished a meeting in Raleigh. They get it! They do everything right! Starting with the initial RFP process, Kumi Anzalone, Regional Director of National Accounts, made sure she understood exactly what the meeting was all about, its potential for economic success for her city, and how my client’s meeting and the city would both benefit from working together.
The initial site inspection covered only exactly what would be important for this meeting. Kumi made sure we learned about only those resources of the city that would be important to the meeting. She involved everyone on her team. She made sure the hotels knew about the meeting, and what would be important for success. She helped the convention center staff understand how the meeting space would be used. She even got others on the Bureau’s staff in Raleigh to talk about local resources that could be a great value to help promote the city, especially to a local audience that might never have attended this particular meeting before.
Raleigh is a small city with a very well integrated support team. The hotels, the convention center, the restaurants, other businesses – they all know who is coming to town. In Raleigh, convention attendees are more than just convention attendees. They’re made to feel an important part of the city while they’re there. The people and businesses in Raleigh should be proud of the integrated effort put forth by the CVB to make this happen.
In the later planning stages for this meeting, we needed overflow hotel space. Who found it? The CVB. We needed off-site function space. Who made the recommendations for where to go? The CVB. We needed ideas and information for transportation. Again, the CVB just gave us the options, and we used them. Again, I stress how valuable this help is to a meeting planner – additional staff at no cost to the organization!
I have used CVB staff for over 30 years. This has always been a primary go-to resource for me. All CVB’s are in the business of helping to bring business to their city. But Raleigh has raised the bar. Raleigh not only works to bring business, Raleigh works with the planner every step of the way. And the bureau team in Raleigh, along with their partner businesses, will work even harder to make sure your meeting is successful on every level.