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Ask the Expert - The Value of Convention Bureaus

Posted by: By: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

Question: I am a corporate planner and book meetings of 50 to 250 people. What value does a convention bureau give me?

Answer: Booking meetings of your size can be very time consuming if you do not know which properties will best fit your needs. A convention bureau represents all of the hotels in the city and can send your meeting requirements only to the hotels that can meet your needs. The bureau does not have a hotel brand preference and will also sourcing hotels that are independent and do not have a flag.

Question: As a corporate planner I tend to use the national sales office for my hotels. If I also include the convention bureau am I creating friction between these two sources?

Answer: Not at all. Depending on the city you will find not every national office team has visited every city or hotel. They can get your requirements out quickly but may not have the individual hotel knowledge in that city. This is where including the convention bureau can help you refine your search. They have first hand knowledge of each hotel and of the various areas of the city. Ultimately you want as many people helping you as possible.

Question: Does using a convention bureau have a user fee associated with their services?

Answer: Definitely not. The convention bureau normally receives their funding from tax revenue associated with the bed tax. So the guest room rate will not be increased to pay for their services. Also you will find that the convention bureau can help you with many services including giving you options for airport service, access to venues for your events and many times local speakers who can talk to your business environment. They may also have some financial incentives for you based on when you hold your conference.

Question: If I only want to include certain hotels or areas within the city can the convention bureau be that selective?

Answer: The convention bureau is Not Required to send every meeting request to every hotel. The area hotels would actually prefer you to be very specific in your search. They do not want to receive business opportunities that they need to spend a lot of time putting together an offer when they are not going to be considered anyway.

Question: I received several good offers from national hotel companies. How do I arrange a site inspection as each national sales manager only wants me to see their hotel?

Answer: This is where the convention bureau is the best source to have working for you. They can arrange the site inspection schedule to show you the hotels or venues that interest you the most and allow you to see your top choices or help you narrow the areas in the city. Once you agree on the schedule they can advise the national sales staff of your itinerary to help secure overnight accommodations if required.


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