Low hanging fruit, I mistakenly let rot.
5 ways a CVB is easy pickings, with BIG results for your next meeting.
I love to shop.
Although I like nice things, I am a thrifty gal to.my.core.
I break for yard sales, I frequent goodwill and spend my free time at obscure funky flea markets. It’s all about the thrill of the hunt, nabbing that unicorn of a deal, and more about what I saved versus what the discovered treasures cost.
Likewise, in my professional life as a meeting and event planner, I am a shrewd negotiator always on the lookout for savings and never afraid to ask “is that the best you can do?”.
You can imagine my parsimonious delight when I received an unexpected credit for $2,500 from the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) for a corporate program I had hosted in Concord, North Carolina.
I immediately called them up to understand what was behind this unforeseen endowment. The outcome was more than I bargained for.
I was warmly greeted by the Destination Services Manager, Chacara Harvin, and thoroughly educated on the inner workings of a CVB and its many benefits to an event and meeting planner, a leisure traveler, and the community at large.
What is a CVB? Harvin summarized,
“a CVB markets the destination to bring people to the area and provides complimentary services that are designed to save groups time and money, and to enhance their overall destination experience.”
She cleverly referred to a CVB as “The concierge to the destination. The destination SIRI.”
As she rattled off benefit after benefit of a CVB, it became apparent the low hanging fruit I had been letting sit and rot.
Here are 5 standout examples Harvin disclosed where a CVB could support your next meeting or event for FREE:
1. Shop the hotels
Their goal is heads in beds. They don’t care where you stay, just that you stay. Since they are unable to show favoritism and don’t take commission, this is a remarkable local resource to help find the best property that’s right for YOU and your group’s needs.
2. Find ideal activities for the group outside of the hotel
Your group wants to have an offsite dinner in a city you have never dined in before…Who better to ask than a neutral party that knows the ins and outs of everything the city has to offer!?
3. Contribute destination branded Swag
Often times a CVB will provide complimentary items for your attendees to welcome them…destination guides, small souvenirs like chapstick, koozies, pens, and/or a cool reusable bag. Harvin said typically, this is unassembled, but still worth asking what free local swag the CVB would offer to provide your guests, and at no cost to you.
4. Supply VIP Amenities
Have a few VIP’s in attendance that you want to wow upon welcome? Harvin put together a stunning collection of local treasures for our VIP’s that included items like a Nascar branded lunch bag and coffee mug, local BBQ sauce, and regional homemade chocolates.
5. Provide Monetary Incentives
As an added incentive to get your group to their destination, CVB’s have sponsorship level support, offering a financial commitment based on a group’s size. This could be in the form of a credit to the hotel balance, money towards transportation, and/or footing the bill for a site check. Harvin advised the most benefits will come if you reach out to them before you have booked a venue and that there is a formula to determine the assisted percentage or amount.
Harvin did warn, “not all CVB’s operate the same as there is no standard bar of service.” Regardless, one way or another they still serve an advantageous purpose, especially for a meeting and event planner.
As event professionals, we are constantly tasked with doing more with less and always in need of more hours in the day and an extra set of hands. Don’t let this resource go to waste for as long as I did.
There is a CVB in your next meeting and event destination just waiting to help you, and at a price, we bargain hunting planners can’t refuse. FREE!
Low Hanging Fruit. Easy picking. Big results.