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CVBs and DMOs: A 5-Point Checklist to Market Your Destination

March 29, 2015

Group organizers and meeting planners are reliant on your CVB and DMO staff to sell them on all the things your city and region have to offer. Besides the convention space and guest rooms, what else do you need to do for marketing  CVBs online? The answer is: plenty!

Here is a step-by-step guide to put together the right information when marketing for group travel business. Some of these things you are probably already doing, others will require some work.  

Here we go: 

  1. Understand and be able to articulate ALL of your transportation options. 

    When marketing to a group, you need to know the number of attendees and where they will be coming from. Most organizations think meeting participants drive or fly, but this is not always true. Give attendees all the options available, including: flights, driving time and directions, train, subway, and bus schedules. Once onsite, let them know about taxi service and public transportation options. 
     
  2. Rank meeting venues by location, size and technology offered. 

    While meeting location and size of the hotel are important, this is the year of technology. If your meeting doesn't have enough bandwidth for the group and if it isn't free, chances are you are not going to increase hotel group bookings at your destination.

    Don't rely on the hotel sell it, you need to know this information because it will most definitely come up in the conversation.
     
  3. Make certain you know all the hotel brands and their reviews before you meet or talk with a prospect. 

    The Internet is grand...isn't it? All that data floating in the cloud and accessible to anyone in an instant. It is wonderful but it is something you need to keep on top off. Because a hotel, restaurant or attraction is only as good as their last review. So do some research yourself and if you see something amiss, get with the hotel marketing staff immediately.

    In addition, group meeting planner's have affinities to certain hotel brands. Find out what chains they prefer and why. If you have that brand, great! If you don't, talk to them about why "Hotel X" is very comparable to the brand they like. 
     
  4. Have a listing of attractions and make certain you and your staff have visited them. 

    In Cleveland (where I am from) most visitors want to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. How would that work if I never visited myself, or haven't been there in years? What would that say about my love of my city? People want to know what you think and whether or not the attraction is worth it. 

    Remember the natural and historical attractions as well, such as your park systems, special landmarks and museums. 
     
  5. Highlight special events and your cultural happenings. 

    Every city and region of the world has certain cuisines, music, art and special events that make their area...well...special. Encourage groups to experience all the nuances of your area and promote those experiences on your website, blog postings and social channels. 

    Always have a listing of your sports teams and schedules, concerts and festivals. Make sure to know the cost to get into each event as well as group rate pricing. 

Always keep the group coordinator in the loop every step of the way and you will help get more people to your destination and increase hotel group bookings! 

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