I served on a board of directors in the mid 1990’s for a large convention and visitor’s bureau. This is how I first became very aware of the services CVBs provide. I think I have always appreciated the basic value they provide planners, but it certainly has been fun to watch their services and offerings expand and become more sophisticated over the years to meet the demand of an ever changing meetings marketplace. In my role as a Director of Global Accounts at HelmsBriscoe, each year CVB’s have become bigger and better partners to me. I also see the comfort level growing with other HelmsBriscoe associates as they build relationships with their CVB partners in various destinations.
I value the support San Diego Tourism Authority gives to me, my company and most of all my clients. My business is relationship driven. SDTA and CVB’s in general enhance this relationship and make me look good to my clients. I am booking meetings everywhere and while my company provides me resources to know a destination, I can’t possibly be the expert a CVB can be in any specific destination. A CVB’s help with hotel knowledge, destination knowledge, site inspection assistance and execution, and more, are invaluable. It is a true partnership! They are an extension of me and my commitment to servicing my clients and they make me look good!
For example, in my experience working with the SDTA, Ted File, Director of Site Inspections and Conference Services, set the appointments, accompanied me on all of the hotel site inspections, and educated me about the specific areas of San Diego where the hotels were located and special things for the group to do, as we traveled the city throughout the day. He also pointed out things relevant to my group during the site inspections at the hotels to compliment the sales manager’s role. Ted is an extension of the sales team, but also understands my role and expectations. He provided a complete itinerary for the site inspection, including highlights of each of the hotels we were seeing.
Ultimately, I choose not to “go it alone,” because no matter how much technology is made available and experience I may have in a destination, this is where the CVB Rep lives and breathes. CVBs spend their time being fully educated about all their destinations have to offer, so I don’t have to. Very similarly to the service I provide my clients; I do the leg work and present the options to my clients, they make the decision. CVBs are able to do a lot of the legwork for me, and we jointly present the options to my clients and the CVB’s play a role in helping us make the decisions that are critical to a successful meeting.
I work as an independent contractor and CVB’s simply save me time and money. If I didn’t use a CVB, I would have to do the research on my own and rely solely on my colleagues to help me with hotel knowledge and destination knowledge. HelmsBriscoe does have an intranet product, InSite, in which all associates collectively share our experiences and client’s experiences with hotels all over the world. This is a great resource tool, but CVB’s provide real life, first hand current knowledge. I think the combination of resources really complement each other. It clearly doesn’t have to be one or the other.
I would like other HB Associates and planners in general to know, that in my opinion, the professionalism of CVB’s has grown tremendously over the years. In the past, some CVB’s might have sent leads to all hotels in their cities. Today the relationship can be so much more strategic and meet everyone’s needs specifically. You can build a partnership with your CVB destination expert to ensure we are all listening to our clients’ needs and finding the right solutions. CVB’s can help planners, and 3rd party planners, as part of a team dedicated to truly finding what they are looking for and not trying to put a square peg in a round hole. They are a resource that can be trusted to deliver destination specific expertise and to take a lot of the burden out of finding the right fit for any size meeting.