ConventionSouth

MAR 2018

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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M A R C H 2 0 1 8 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 15 2018 MEETING INDUSTRY TRENDS REPORT Challenges, Frustrations and …Praise While most meeting planners and destina- tion officials acknowledge the importance of developing working relationships, there are often differences about the way certain details are handled. One of the issues that tends to pop up concerns the handling of RFPs. This year, planners tended to be quite positive about this, as compared to previous years, possibly indicating that the two groups are growing more cooperative in this regard. Only 29 percent of the planners slightly agreed that "most CVBs share my RFPs with hotels/venues that are unfit for my events," while 71 percent strongly disagreed with this premise. The item that sparked the highest criti- cism was about FAM tours, with 15 percent strongly agreeing and 71 percent slightly agreeing that "most CVBs no longer offer site inspections or FAM tours." In specific comments about their frustra- tions with CVBs, one planner said CVBs are "sometimes too busy for my meetings," and another expressed concern about not getting enough follow-up or attention to detail from the host destination staff. There was also a planner who pointed out that frustration levels "greatly depend on how a CVB is funded" and whether groups have to "pay to play." But there were more good reviews than bad from this year's planner respondents. One planner stated "I love working with CVBs because they only send me what my RFP requests," while another remarked "I have nothing but praise for CVBs. I always find help when needed and I appreciate their educated knowledge on the city that they are representing!" When asked about the things they find challenging regarding planners, CVB offi- cials listed such things as "groups that solicit bids from 18 cities rather than coming up with a manageable list of three to four cities" and "getting us confused with another desti- nation." Lack of communication, including responses to emails and telephone calls was another item of frustration for CVB profes- sionals. Additionally, those from smaller, or second-tier cities pointed out that planners should not assume that smaller destinations will be difficult to reach by air. Creative Approaches Whether a group is meeting in a destination for the first time or returning to one of their favorite places, there is always an opportunity to provide new and unique experiences that will create lasting memories and good im- pressions. Several CVB professionals shared some of their creative approaches to group events. One CVB has done everything from a Big Texan 72-ounce steak team challenge to spray paint parties to welcomes from a tribe of American Indian dancers. Another helped an association plan a circus-themed party for an opening reception. And one CVB has a life-sized board game, with details about the destination, that can be used at receptions. n 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Direct Mail Direct Sales Industry Websites Industry Publications E-mails & Newsletters Industry Conferences Social Media We asked CVBs: Which methods best describe the main ways in which you are currently promoting your destination to meeting planners & groups? 21% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Facebook Google Plus Twitter LinkedIn You Tube Pinterest Other We asked CVBs: If you use social media to communicate with meeting planners & groups, which sites do you use the most? 86% 14% 36% 50% 7% 7% 21% 79% 50% 57% 71% 79% 58%

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