If you aren’t familiar with Franklin, Tennessee as a meeting destination, think again! Located only 17 miles south of downtown Nashville, Franklin offers meeting planners flexible and affordable meeting space, as well as great accommodations. Attendees will appreciate its sophisticated charm and southern hospitality. Today we hear from Tommy Keown, Account Manager with Arrowhead Conferences and Events about his experience working with the destination experts at Visit Franklin and what his attendees had to say about meeting in Franklin.
empowerMINT: Tell us, what does your job entail?
TOMMY: My primary responsibility is to find venues and hotels for the event(s) that are sponsored by my client. I negotiate contracts and see them through to signing, allowing my client to focus their energies on the content of their meeting/conference.
empowerMINT: Tell us a favorite meeting planner hack (time savings tip)?
TOMMY: One of the best time-saving things for me has been my introduction to Cvent as a tool for searching out venues and hotels for my clients. Once I prepare the RFP and put it in Cvent it is just a matter of selecting appropriate locations and when the responses come back I can gather the information in a grid. It saves me hours of independent research. I also copy my CVB on the Cvent lead so that they can ensure the lead gets to all the right hotels and can assist with response. CVBs and Cvent work together and the CVB adds the human touch of consultation.
empowerMINT: Any favorite words to live by?
TOMMY: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” –Niebuhr
empowerMINT: What is one of your significant job challenges that working with the Visit Franklin team helped you solve?
TOMMY: They convinced some of the hotels that do not normally contract for Friday night only to do so. Most of my events are for one night only and in that town the hotels like to book for both Friday night and Saturday night. If they had not done this, we would not have found enough rooms.
empowerMINT: What are some of the distinctive attributes/destination offerings of Franklin that helped to make your meeting great?
TOMMY: There are a lot of great attributes to Franklin including:
- Great shopping-most of my events are for women
- Lots of restaurant choices
- Hotel prices that are more reasonable than downtown Nashville
- Convenience to the interstate
- And a great CVB staff that is willing to help in any way!
empowerMINT: How would you describe the relationship you have with the CVB? What would you compare it to?
TOMMY: I have always looked at my relationship with the CVBs as almost like a family. They take care of you when you need the help. There is frequent communication that allows us to keep up with “life” related to our personal families, as well as our professional families. I like that feeling of family and the fact that they do truly care about me and what is going on with me.
empowerMINT: What did your attendees say about your overall experience in Franklin?
TOMMY: Our attendees love Franklin – it is such a neat little town with that “small town” feel, yet with so many things to do and see. It allows them to get away from the “rat race” for a few hours.
empowerMINT: What do you see as innovative or trending in the future of the meeting’s industry?
TOMMY: There is more and more use of technology. I am not sure that is all good, yet, I do know that since I first started in the industry the way we use technology has exploded. One of the biggest aspects of this trend is the move toward more and more meetings held with video streaming, etc. There are going to be more and more times when a person will not have to leave their office to attend a training session or attend a board meeting. Everyone will be able to do it through the use of technology. I am not sure I like this as I like the personal touch and the opportunity to develop relationships one-on-one, but I see this happening more and more.
Thank you Tommy for talking with us today! To find more information on Franklin or any other top 150+ meeting destinations, visit empowerMINT.com.