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original article posted on MPI New Jersey on the benefit to collaborating with the local DMO/CVB.

 

Collaboration: The Cure for Chaos

 

By: Michelle Moore, CDME, CMP, HMCC, CHIA | Dec 2, 2022

As we count down the final weeks of 2022, the meetings industry shows clear signs of recovery after the severe damage inflicted by the pandemic. With the revitalization of group travel came some unpleasant side effects: staffing shortages, flight disruptions and changes to the supply chain and hotel availability. Besides the unpredictability of travel schedules and service levels, meeting planners must also address new client needs and meeting trends including an increase in smaller meetings, considerably shorter booking windows, continuation of hybrid options, and more demand for in-person gatherings to foster and maintain human connection amidst the work from home shift.  This new business climate demands flexibility and creativity to navigate ever-changing challenges.  

For so many of us in the meeting and event industry, daily life is summed up in one word – chaos. We struggle to adjust to the new norm in our profession, while maintaining high service standards and relationships with colleagues and peers.  One thing is for sure –we are all in this together, affected in some way by the chaos. 

From a DMO/CVB perspective, we’ve seen the changes across all segments of the service industry. The key to finding success in the chaos is collaboration. Internally and externally. For meeting organizations that operate with a small staff, partnering with a DMO/CVB can reduce the amount of time required to find and connect with vendors and overall logistics of planning. Whether you are a team of 1 or 100, there’s always a benefit to collaborating with the local DMO/CVB, from the earliest planning stages to the final execution and wrap-up. 

When considering meeting locations, sourcing hotels and event venues is no small feat! Copy the local DMO/CVB in Cvent to learn about all the options available, including the newest and most innovative meeting venues, respected brands, and independent options in the city. We’re always excited to share news about upcoming or recent renovations and new products in our destination. Maybe the clients have their hearts set on a location, but budget is a factor.  A DMO/CVB may offer a meeting incentive or provide local deals and need dates you can present to your decision makers, making you look like a rock star!  

It's never too late to start working with a CVB.  Once contracts are signed and meeting clients need content to include on their conference website or in their “Know Before You Go communications,” DMO/CVBs can help. Most are producing daily content about their destination that can be used by meeting groups, usually at no fee. Using what is already available saves time and money while promoting the destination where the meeting will be held.  

Getting back to in-person events, can be challenging when contracting for rooms, increasing the need for overflow room blocks. This usually happens closer to the meeting start date, which can be stressful. CVB’s can help! If a group is working with a specific hotel brand, they may not be aware of all the other brand hotels in the destination that can accommodate additional rooms. Working with the DMO/CVB can help the meeting planner quickly identify options and additional rooms. And, because the DMO/CVB has members or partners in all segments of the industry, they can provide information on transportation options with the overflow hotels all in one request.  

Once the meeting accommodations and space are booked, there’s even more reason to have conversations with the CVB.  Clients are looking to planners now more than ever to help curate experiences for their attendees. Working with a group interested in technical tours, CSR, or local give back activity? The DMO/CVB has strong ties to intellectual assets in the surrounding area as well as key contacts and community resources to find the right fit for your groups. Looking for companion activities to keep family members or friends engaged while attendees are in session, or in need of itineraries to excite attendees to drive attendance? This is another area where the DMO/CVB excels – we provide options based on other group requests and from our own experience in the destination. This additional information can help build excitement amongst attendees, encouraging early arrival or staying a few days post meeting.  

What about those special touches, like custom amenities to leave a lasting impression? From locally made to sustainable and eco-friendly, we can also connect you with businesses aligned with the meeting organization’s goals.  Adding the wow-factor to events is our specialty!  

Another bonus to working with contacts at the local DMO/CVB is one you may not even prioritize – personal wellness.  Whether you need staffing for registration to allow you to attend to other areas, or just recommendations for various vendors to help with planning logistics. Relying on the local experts in a destination can save you time and reduce your overall planning stress levels. And, looking for a little R&R before or after the meeting, we’ve got you covered with suggestions on spaces and experiences to enjoy yourself.   

At the core of the DMO/CVB’s role, we curate resources and solutions to fit the needs of each group client to save them time, money, and ultimately reach their goals. Knowing our destination product and vendor partners is key to providing help amongst the changing landscape. Count on your DMO/CVB partners to connect you with the current contacts at hotels, venues, and other meeting service vendors based on your specific meeting needs. Take advantage of resources offered, from marketing content, to site inspection support, creative solutions, and incentives to help offset the overall cost of meeting such as Experience Kissimmee’s It Pays to Meet in Kissimmee, which offers meeting organizations up to $10,000 cash back per meeting. Make a New Year’s resolution to collaborate with a DMO/CVB from the start – and learn how a DMO/CVB can be your cure for chaos. 

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