MAR 2012

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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2012 Sneak Peek Directory Subscribe Advertise Contact ANNUAL CVB I SSUE with the convention's website" in order to pro- mote the destination to attendees, said Andrew Wilson, senior vice president and general man- ager of And, Wilson shared that the CVB is working on increasing their online offerings to mid-sized groups as well. CVBs across the South are also becoming more tech savvy in order to assist groups in planning their last-minute meeting as well as executing meetings with high-tech components. In February of last year, Visit Savannah (Ga.) launched the website that makes research and submitting an RFP an "easy and painless operation for busy, time-restrained planners." The new site also features links to special promotions, a tool kit for event organ- izers that includes a virtual meeting planner guide, interactive floor plans for the Savan- nah International Trade and Convention Center, hotel data broken down by numbers of rooms and meeting space, and an interac- tive Historic District meetings map with hotel meeting space information. Jeff Hewitt, vice president of business development for Visit Savannah, said, "It's all about anticipating your guest's needs and providing solutions before they're needed— our new website delivers Savannah's best!" Likewise, Visit Winston-Salem (N.C.) launched a new website, www.VisitWinston, in October of last year, which communicates that the CVB "cares and wants to ensure that the vacation and/or convention experience in Winston-Salem is a care-free and customer-focused one," said Richard Geiger, president of Visit Winston-Salem, adding that the site is more technologically- forward and includes more social media, video and easier access to an online hotel booking engine. "These upgrades enable Visit Winston-Salem to more effectively communi- cate and update visitors as well as meeting and sports event planners about annual events and festivals, special offerings by hotels, attractions and other promotional informa- tion," he said. In March of last year, the Dallas CVB launched, a new website for planners organizing small meet- ings, in an effort to make the process "quick and painless," according to Phillip Jones, president/CEO of the CVB. With the tool, he said, planners follow easy digitized steps to book their meetings, have the ability to com- pare a large inventory of hotels and meeting If you use social media to communicate with meeting planners and group organizations, which sites do you use the most? 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 84% venues that fit their specifications, and book their rooms immediately online—all without ever leaving the meetings site. "The tool is designed for planners booking 25 rooms or less, making it ideal for small sales or execu- tive committee meetings, family reunions and even weddings," Jones said. Casandra Matej, vice president of sales and services for the Dallas CVB, emphasized that "planners will still have access to one of our salespeople whenever needed, but we think this will appeal to the younger generation, those who have been online shopping their whole lives and expect to be able to book meetings online as well." ■ When asked, do you offer familiarization (FAM) tours to meeting planners? of CVBs said yes, of CVBs said sometimes, on a by-request basis. 69% 31% Does your CVB offer a visitor app for mobile devices? 56% 56% 16% 12% 50 40 30 20 10 45% 32% 23% Yes No Not at this time, but planning on doing so www.con v MARCH 2012 ConventionSouth 15 Percentage of CVBs Percentage of CVBs

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