Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki, CDME, CMP, managing director of EmpowerMINT for Destination Marketing Association International, would like to clear up a few misperceptions some planners have about working with convention and visitors bureaus. “Oftentimes, CVBs are stereotyped as being only interested in large meetings,” she says. “There’s also a big misperception that CVBs would just send (leads) to all of their hotels and not qualify them. We, as an industry, are trying to get over those two stereotypes.
“CVBs have really stepped up to be the best first point of contact for planners who are looking to find the right fit for their meeting — .for any size meeting,” she continues. “When you look at what’s going on in the industry, a lot of RFPs are hitting the hotels. You hear a lot about that. Technology provides a real opportunity for efficiency, but then sometimes technology doesn’t really provide us what we want. The net effect of that convenience is that hotels have seen this huge increase in the number of RFPs hitting their desks, and so that is kind of providing a response problem. So unless planners have their RFP well-articulated and well-targeted, they may not get to the top of the priority list at the hotel level.”
That, she explains, is one area in which seeking the advice of a local expert can be of value. “We need to target the number of hotels or the hotels which the RFP should be sent to. But if the planner is not knowledgeable about a particular destination, not knowing the lay of the land of that destination can be a disadvantage, so we encourage a conversation to occur prior to sending out a full RFP.