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 17 are looking for a seamless, easy experience that fully engages participants on a memorable lev- el. "Our sales managers put in the behind-the- scenes work to ensure there are as few steps as possible, eliminating potential distractions and complications, allowing for planners to shine and guests to enjoy their time in the Bull City," she said. Destination Appeal A first experience may go off without a hitch but a destina- tion itself must also appeal to the demographic being served to warrant a second look. For instance, a group composed of families primarily will seek much different destination offerings than a group of millennials. As such, destinations with a wide array of offerings have an advantage, said Debi De- Benedetto, group sales and marketing manager with the Naples, Marco Island & Everglades CVB. For instance, a combination of beaches, eco-tourism, golf and a variety of dining expe- riences enable the Southwest Florida region to appeal to both younger and older generations. "This area is not just Anywhere USA," DeBen- edetto said. "It is unique, lovely and special, and feels that way. Planners love to have breaks outside, sunsets and beaches, as well as health and wellness programs at our resorts." According to Tom Janicki, professor with the University of North Carolina Wilming- ton and meeting planner with the Academic Conference for College Professors, he chooses Norfolk, Va., because they deliver on a number of fronts: location, treatment of staff, flexibili- ty, price point and entertainment options within walking distance. Trust Relationships begin with trust, ac- cording to Allen, and destinations gain a meeting planner's trust by delivering on what they promise. Ellerbe agreed, adding that trust and credi- bility go hand-in-hand and are achieved by ful- filling commitments and presenting solutions. "Success is more about the work to maintain and deepen relationships over the years by always exceeding expectations, following ► ANNUAL CVB ISSUE 2 3 A Grand Welcome. Groups arriving in Amarillo, Texas are sometime greeted by The Coors Cowboy Club.

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