"A CVB is like having a business partner because they are there to make the job a bit easier and to make you look good."
Lauren C. Chelf is the Director, Meetings & Expositions for AOAC INTERNATIONAL. When an industry or community has need for analysis, they turn to AOAC as the forum for finding science based solutions through the development of standards. In this blog post, Lauren shares her experience based findings about working with CVBs to get things done faster and make her job easier. Maybe not a completely scientific approach, but one that is tried and true for Lauren. Read on to put some of her meeting planning expertise to work for you!
Terri: First, can you tell me a little about yourself and your planning background?
Lauren: I have been with AOAC for eight years and have been in the industry since 1993. I worked in a hotel for one year and I’ve been with three associations throughout my career.
Terri: What’s the hardest/most challenging part of your job? What do you most enjoy?
Lauren: The most challenging part of the job is time management. There are certain times of the year when 24 hours in a day is all you need, but there are three months out of the year when I wish for many more hours in the day. The most enjoyable part of the job is the people I get to meet and new experiences I get to have. No day is boring!
Terri: How did you first become aware of the services CVBs provided?
Lauren: My exposure came through attending industry events. I became aware of the many, many services that CVBs provide. Also, through word of mouth.
Terri: What do you most value about your relationship with Discover The Palm Beaches and /or other CVBs in general?
Lauren: They make my job easier by providing so many services at my fingertips.
Terri: How would you describe the relationship? What would you compare it to?
Lauren: A CVB is like having a business partner because they are there to make the job a bit easier and to make you look good.
Terri: When you reach out, what is your litmus test for a quality CVB partner?
Lauren: I am looking for someone to do their homework! Have they been to my web site and know the basics about AOAC, or do they ask me all the questions that can easily be found on the site?
Terri: What do you think is unique about the value CVBs provide compared to other planning partners you might use?
Lauren: Their job is to make their city as attractive as possible. With a good CVB, you can tell it’s a complete effort to make that city shine. Not one or two suppliers that stand out, but all the parts that make the whole.
Terri: What is most compelling to you as a planner about the Palm Beaches area as a meeting destination? What do your attendees have to say about the Palm Beaches as a meeting destination?
Lauren: The choices!! There are so many different hotel options and it is a diverse and large destination that has something for every attendee. Our attendees loved the location. I was nervous because we normally meet in downtown hotels, not resorts, but the feedback we received was all positive.
Terri: Why did you choose not to go it alone on the internet, or go direct to hotel, when planning your meeting?
Lauren: Why would you? If an expert team that knows their city and their jobs, wants to help you out, OK sure, please do!
Terri: If you didn’t use a CVB, how would you replace their services?
Lauren: It would be back to Googling everything and hoping that things got done and arrived at your show.
Terri: What would you like other planners to know about using a CVB?
Lauren: Absolutely use them. That is why they are there! They know their stuff and they are more than happy to help and to make your job easier, so you have time to put out other fires.