There are a plethora of free resources CVBs offer that you cannot find anywhere else. Plus, they want to help you succeed. It’s a natural partnership that pays dividends to both parties.
Alison McIntyre, Vice President, Meetings with American Bankers Association (ABA) shares her positive experiences working with CVBs and the value they bring to planners organizing meetings of any size. After working in the industry for over 15 years, Alison has planned just about every size and type of meeting including political events, city-wides as well as smaller meetings. She truly understands the various ways a CVB can help create a successful event!
Suzzanne: What was your first industry job?
Alison: I like to say my first industry job was as a waitress in a small family-owned restaurant. It was there that I learned the value of customer service and the importance of working as a team. My experience there made me realize how important it is to treat everyone you come into contact with respect.
Suzzanne: What is the hardest/most challenging part of your job? What do you most enjoy?
Alison: The hardest part of this job is keeping so many balls in the air simultaneously. Few of us in the meetings industry have the luxury of focusing on a single meeting at a time so keeping them all straight can be tough. The best part? Hands down the people! You meet so many interesting and talented folks every time you roll into a new city, convention center or hotel. It’s great to be a part of an industry where all the participants want to excel! Not everyone gets to experience that professionally. We are very lucky.
Suzzanne: How did you first become aware of the services CVBs provided?
Alison: When I was working at the American Physical Therapy Association, we relied on the CVB to help us navigate all that the city could do for our meeting and our attendees. I’m not sure all planners realize that CVBs also help coordinate sites as well as do some serious legwork on your behalf. And what’s great, is that they are so happy to do it!
Suzzanne: What do you most value about your relationship with Visit Indy and/or other CVBs in general?
Alison: I’m happy to report that I’ve never had a bad experience with a CVB. These folks are passionate about the industry, the people employed in it and their cities. Visit Indy is an extraordinary CVB. The folks there support each other and are a true community of professionals who aspire to deliver the best possible experience for attendees. They are committed to your meeting’s success. The “baton passing” if you will from salesperson to convention services is just flawless. Everyone in Indy does their homework and they all clearly love what they do.
Suzzanne: What do you think is unique about the value CVBs provide compared to other planning partners you might use?
Alison: They know everything about the city. They are destination experts and can tell you which hotels are going through renovations, what restaurants are new, what’s happening at the airport, and more. They know the whole city – not just pieces of the hospitality community.
Suzzanne: What is most compelling to you as a planner about Visit Indy as a meeting destination? What do your attendees have to say about Indianapolis as a meeting destination?
Alison: Indy has a tremendous package. The connectivity of over 4,000 hotel rooms coupled with the size of the center creates a room and meeting space scenario that’s hard to beat. In addition, the affordability and charm of the city is extraordinary. There are tons of independently owned restaurants and shops. You get a sense of place in Indy. All of our attendees commented on the friendliness of the people. That Midwest hospitality really exists!
Suzzanne: Why did you choose not to go it alone on the Internet, or go direct to hotels, when planning your meeting?
Alison: There are a plethora of free resources CVBs offer that you cannot find anywhere else. Plus, they want to help you succeed. It’s a natural partnership that pays dividends to both parties.
Suzzanne: What would you like other planners to know about using a CVB?
Alison: Don’t think your meeting is too small to utilize their services. Planners would be amazed to learn how they can save you time and money regardless of your meeting size. They’re also all really friendly, well informed people!