1. Are CVBs governed by a board? If so, what members of the community are typically included on that board?
    It varies according to the CVBs. Some are independent and similar to associations whereas others are part of a government entity. Typical members are suppliers who contribute to the success of a meeting or event… hotels, conference centers, convention centers, caterers, audiovisual companies, ground transportation, destination management companies, registration companies, meeting and event planners, etc.

  2. Can you expound on the relationship between CVB and suppliers? I have been told that they must remain objective and can’t recommend one over another unless they are exclusive.
    Representatives of CVBs are supposed to be objective and represent all members equally. However, some suppliers may be more reliable than others and it is to the advantage of the CVB for events to run smoothly. The advantage of meeting face-to-face with CVB representatives is that planners can pick up nuances and body language that can’t be put into print when discussing suppliers. Developing good working relationships with your counterparts is essential. I want to work with people who I trust and who will partner with me for the success of my meeting or event.

  3. Can you share the different levels of cities or an information source that may list these details?
    DMAI (Destination Management Association International) represents convention and visitors bureaus that may have different names such as Team San Jose or Visit Charlotte. You can get information from DMAI’s website, individual city’s websites or Meetings Focus publications and its website. Also, Meetings Focus Live! are events at which planners can experience a location personally and meet with representatives of CVBs.

  4. Can you repeat the hotel booking pattern again?
    Saturday to Wednesday/Wednesday to Saturday.

  5. Define FAM trip
    FAM is short for familiarization trips. CVBs invite prospective clients to their cities to learn about the location and experience it first-hand. Planners might be taken to hotels, convention centers, museums and attractions, and will meet local suppliers. Ethically, you should only go on FAM trips if you are able to book business in the location.

  6. Can you ask that microsites be customized for your specific organization’s interests?
    You can work with a representative in customizing microsites for your group at some CVBs

  7. Do CVBs prefer meeting planners to approach them directly or are they fine with intermediaries approaching them on behalf of their client?
    The CVBs will work with either meeting planners directly or with site selection companies. However, they don’t want BOTH the site selection company and meeting planner to approach them for the same piece of business. The site selection company is requested to provide the client’s name to avoid duplication. It’s a myth that CVBs don’t want planners to work with hotel sales offices or site selection companies. The CVBs want to be brought in at the beginning of the site selection process.

  8. I always thought that you had to be a member of a CVB to use their services.
    The CVB provides services to any group that wants to bring a meeting or an event to its location. There are no membership requirements for clients. The CVB might be membership driven and represent their members within their location.

  9. How do CVBs help with online registration?
    CVBs can help with micro-sites so that participants can register for your meeting or event on your site and book hotel rooms on their site. The services vary from CVB to CVB and it is recommended that you prepare a list of questions when approaching the CVBs.

  10. If you are going back to the same hotel that you have used before, is there value in using the CVB?
    Contact the CVB as well as the hotel to notify that you plan on returning to their city. There is no greater compliment that you can give than bringing repeat business. If you contact the CVB, you might be able to avail yourself of their services to build attendance at your meeting.


Bonus Questions!

  1. Is it okay to give feedback to the CVB?
    CVBs greatly appreciate receiving your feedback. I give feedback to all CVBs that I work with and acknowledge my positive experiences to everyone and negative experiences to the CVB rep directly. I may provide examples of negative experiences without identifying the particular CVB. How else are the CVBs going to learn what they did wrong?

  2. Is there a CVB directory that I could access?
    Meetings Focus publishes information annually about CVBs. You can get this information in print or online.

  3. What can I do if there is no CVB in a location?
    Contact your colleagues in an online discussion group or approach DMOs 

  4. What if I am a beginning meeting planner? Do I need a RFP for a leisure travel group?
    Absolutely! You can access RFPs from webinars or from websites for Convention Industry Council (CIC), MPI or PCMA.

  5. Are there international CVBs?
    There are definitely international organizations, more commonly referred to as tourism offices. Some of the tourism offices have representatives in major U.S. cities. Their services are similar to those of CVBs.

  6. What kind of costs are associated with meet-and-greet?
    It varies from location to location and that question should be included in your initial RFP that is submitted to the CVB. 

  7. Is there a cost for giveaways like water bottles?
    It varies. Some bureaus have funding to provide giveaways at no charge whereas others will charge for them. Ask for everything that you want in your RFP.