Hi, my name is Shimo with Destination Marketing Association International. In a previous post I talked about adaptability as one of my favorite success factors. And related to adaptability is the practice of being collaborative. I truly believe our success is not created by what we do alone, but by the partners we chose to engage. Sure if you need to complete a small task then you could certainly handle it yourself. However, if you need to scale or make a big impact, this is where collaboration makes all the difference.
So as planners you have a very critical decision to make, who to collaborate with? Who can you rely on and who will earn your trust? We all know that in order for a partner to be trusted they can’t just be transactional. These partners need to be the type of partner who will proactively educate you on areas where you may not have expertise and advocate for the value of your meeting.
In proudly representing the convention and visitors bureau industry, I firmly believe CVB sales professionals are the best first point of contact to help you find the right fit for any size meeting. I want to share just three of the many ways I think they deliver on this promise consistently.
First of all, I think the relationship begins around your RFP. It’s a good idea for you to have the CVB review your RFP, before you send it to hotels, for areas they know will be important for a complete and competitive hotel response.
CVBs talk to the hotels on a regular basis about business opportunities and can help you identify all the information needed in the RFP to get the best response. They can advise you about seasonality, transient demand factors that affect group business, city-wides and special events that may impact your response. They will also easily recognize, based on your requirements and desires, which hotels in their respective destinations will value your business the most. This will help you set your expectations and be a more proactive negotiator!
Site Inspection Planning
Secondly, CVBs are site inspection aficionados and can save you time, money, and a lot of aggravation. Perhaps one of your most important decision making activities, the site inspection is where you need to take in all the education the destination has to offer and not be consumed with the logistics of getting from point A to point B. Leave that up to your CVB.
Tracking Down Responses
And lastly, you have more important things to do than to follow-up with each hotel for their response to your RFP. Tracking down information is a specialty of your CVB. And It’s important to know that even if you are using other partners such as the major brands’ global sales offices, third parties or online RFP websites, this is not about exclusivity, everyone can assist and bring different value to the table, but remember to include your CVB from the beginning.
And did I mention they can do all of this for FREE? . Well I shouldn’t say free because their services are not free, only free to you, the meeting planner as their services have been paid for by local hotel taxes and assessments. Not including them in your collection of resources leaves both time and money on the table. In this economy, that’s something none of us can afford.
I hope you might think differently about your approach to your next meeting. And if you want to know who to reach out to in order to get the consultation started, visit empowerMINT.com and search by destination to find your CVB contact.