"Utilizing CVBs can expand your service capabilities, adding value for both you and your customer."
Mia Monroe, Conference and Event Manager for All Points Logistics, LLC/NASA-Johnson Space Center, recently shared her thoughts with Suzzanne Ravitz at Destination Marketing Association International on the value she sees from utilizing a convention & visitors bureau (CVB) in the destinations she plans meetings.
Mia provides some great insight into not only how she came to know about the services CVBs provide, but also how she utilizes them to save her time and frustration. Read on for an inside look from Mia’s perspective.
SUZZANNE: What’s the hardest/most challenging part of your job? What do you most enjoy?
MIA: The most challenging part of my job is ensuring compliance with all government rules and policy as it pertains to meeting and event planning. It’s very different from planning events in the corporate or non-profit world. It can be frustrating because many of the policies created were based on fear of negative public perception and not actually negligence.
I enjoy that despite all of the challenges government meetings present, we still have the opportunity to produce an amazing meeting or event for our customers. It’s not easy, but like all other planners, we just have to use our knowledge base and resources!
SUZZANNE: Outside the industry, what is your dream job?
MIA: Well, it’s still in the industry, but I would LOVE to be the host of a travel show that highlights global culinary excursions and incentive trips that allow guests to travel to remote, exotic locations and experience the world and its cultures through food, beverage, and adventure. Yes, I’ve put a lot of thought into this….
SUZZANNE: How did you first become aware of the services CVBs provided?
MIA: While taking the course to sit for the CGMP exam, I befriended an amazing sales representative, Proscovia Mattas, CGMP, from Louisville, KY’s CVB. She taught me so much about how CVBs can benefit planners from every industry in every aspect of planning. I truly absorbed everything she told me on the benefits of utilizing CVBs. I can’t believe I had been in the events industry that long and hadn’t truly utilized CVB services until now!
SUZZANNE: How has your relationship with all CVBs grown/changed over time?
MIA: Now that I understand how and why CVBs exist and understand the services they provide, my relationship is vastly different. Whereas before, I looked at CVBs as more of a tourism resource that was specifically utilized by large conventions, attracted and secured major sporting events for the city and assisting tourists, I now see CVBs as my event partners.
I see huge benefits for planners from all industries. The request for proposal (RFP) process for venues/ hotels and event vendors can be streamlined and managed by the CVB in a way that saves the planner time, but also allows the CVB to tap into resources you may not have access to or even be aware exist.
SUZZANNE: What do you most value about your relationship with the Galveston Island CVB?
MIA: The team at the Galveston Island CVB has truly become my partner in one of the large meetings I plan. With limited resources and a content-heavy program to contend with, the GICVB works so hard with us and for us to create opportunities for our meeting attendees to have the best experience in the city as possible. Whether it relates to the physical comfort of the meeting venue or the availability of specific services for special needs attendees, the GICVB is our knowledge and resource expert on the ground providing the extension we need to execute a memorable experience for our customer and attendees…..and they do it at no cost to the planner/organization!
SUZZANNE: How would you describe the relationship? What would you compare it to?
MIA: We are partners-hands down. They continue to be my secret weapons in destination management for our attendees.
SUZZANNE: What do you think is unique about the value they provide compared to other planning partners you might use?
MIA: There are a few things. The expert knowledge of the destination as a whole, not just a focus on one or two particular venues. CVBs usually have a relationship with every major (and not so major) event vendor in their cities. The amount of time and resources spent to secure certain relationships or vendors is cut completely when you utilize CVB resources. The vetting has already been done, the quality and standard has already been set. Some also have the ability to provide onsite support for your meetings, such as registration staff and badging services.
SUZZANNE: How do they make your job easier?
MIA: They can be your “Switzerland” when you work together through the RFP process.
SUZZANNE: If you didn’t use a CVB, how would you replace their services?
MIA: Lots of time researching, meeting with potential vendors, shopping around, etc. It would be time consuming and would certainly add to the planning process.