"They are partners who work with you every step of the way from start to finish. They are professional problem solvers.."
Kim Partridge, CMP, Executive Board/Conference Coordinator NYS Public Employees Federation shares some great insights and tips on using a CVB as a resource for the logistics of planning and executing successful meetings, and Destination Marketing Association International’s (DMAI’s) Terri Roberts acts as interviewer.
Kim chose to continue the CVB partnership her predecessor had in place and finds that each year it brings greater depth of knowledge and experience to support her meeting. She has found tremendous value in working with Niagara USA, if you are looking to drive record breaking attendance for your meeting in a breath taking destination, read on!
TERRI: How did you first become aware of the services CVBs provided?
KIM: My predecessor always utilized CVBs when planning events. So, in working with her, I became familiar with the services they provide.
TERRI: How long have you been working with Niagara USA? How has your relationship with them grown/changed over time?
KIM: I have worked with Elizabeth Davis and Reanna Darone of Niagara USA for the last several years. During that time, they have come to know our group very well. Each time we go back, they remember what worked and what didn’t, then based on that information, they try to anticipate our needs regarding housing, transportation and other support services.
TERRI: What do you most value about your relationship with Niagara USA or other CVBs in general?
KIM: There are two things I value most. First, I know I can call anytime, for any reason and there is always someone to help. Second, I value their honesty. It has been my experience that if I ask a question, I get a truthful answer. Even if it isn’t the one I would expect to hear.
TERRI: How would you describe the relationship?
KIM: To me, working with a CVB is like working with any essential supplier. As planners, we hire professionals for their expertise in a particular area. Could we do our job without them? In some cases, maybe, but without question, it would be infinitely more difficult. CVBs are experts in the destination in which you are going to be hosting your event. Why wouldn’t you utilize their services?
TERRI: Which specific services do you rely on?
KIM: We use CVBs to distribute RFPs and set up site visits (which they usually make every effort to attend). During the planning process, they are the best source of information on local suppliers and vendors. Once the event kicks off, they are there from pre-con to the final day, always checking in. In many cases, the CVB will staff an information table at our event to assist attendees with everything from questions about area attractions to dinner reservations. Afterward, CVBs work with the hotels to provide final pickups and follow-up on any issues that may have occurred during the event.
TERRI: What do you think is unique about the value CVBs provide compared to other planning partners you might use?
KIM: No matter how much you plan, there is always something unexpected that comes up during an event. CVBs can assist in so many different areas. So, if something does happen, they are often my first call. I know if they can’t help, they will work with me to find a solution.
TERRI: What is most compelling to you about Niagara USA as a meeting destination?
KIM: The meetings we have held in Niagara USA have been some of our highest attended events. We consistently get positive feedback from the attendees and many requests to hold future events there. Of course, it goes without saying that the Falls are breathtaking, but our members also appreciate that everything is close by. The hotels, conference center, restaurants and entertainment are all within walking distance.
TERRI: Why do you choose not to go it alone on the internet, or go direct to hotel, when planning a meeting?
KIM: You could spend days searching the internet to find what is already put together in one package. CVB’s have done the work, they know what is available and what would best suit the needs of your group. Over the years, I have developed relationships with hotel staff members I rely upon and trust. For our events, I will always need to use multiple properties, so, it just makes sense for me to make one call to get things started.
TERRI: How do CVBs make your job easier?
KIM: They are partners who work with you every step of the way from start to finish. They are professional problem solvers.
TERRI: If you didn’t use a CVB, how would you replace their services?
KIM: With many phone calls, emails and hours of research online.
TERRI: What would you like other planners to know about using a CVB?
KIM: If you haven’t worked with a CVB, you are not taking advantage of a service that can truly make your job easier!