You don’t have to market your meetings alone.
Marketing meetings can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have a marketing background or access to designers to create advertisements and collateral. But if you find yourself in this situation, destination experts around the country are ready to provide professional marketing materials to help you drive interest in and registration for your meetings and events.
Convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), also known as destination marketing organizations, are an indispensable resource for meeting planners. From the beginning of the planning process, CVBs can assist, providing planners with all the materials, guidance and contacts they need to organize a successful event.
To learn more about ways that CVBs work with planners to promote their meetings and create an impactful marketing plan, we spoke with CVB professionals in conference destinations across the country. Here’s what they had to say.
Some CVBs offer registration incentives, which planners can use to boost attendance. For example, Explore Asheville in North Carolina provides gift cards from local businesses and specialty shops to those who register early. Many of these venues or services are located near the convention center, such as the popular French Broad Chocolates and the historic Asheville Trolley, making the prizes even more desirable for attendees.
After event planners settle on a host city or destination for a meeting or conference, they can collect welcome bags, brochures and other materials from the CVB to begin promoting the destination to attendees. This is a chance to highlight everything the city has to
offer beyond the conference content and venue, such as attractions, entertainment or other selling points.
In addition to providing these materials, the CVB service team will often work with planners to turn the content into e-blasts, save-the-date cards, flyers and more. Some CVBs will even ship tabletop banners, promotional magnets, visitors guides and other giveaway items for planners to use at their conferences the year before they are scheduled to meet in that destination.
Planners can also use resources and content available on the CVB website and incorporate that into marketing materials. As they send out registration reminders and other e-blasts, planners can remind attendees to visit the site and connect with the CVB to make the most of their visit.
Convention and visitors bureaus make online marketing easy by giving planners access to top-quality images, videos and written content aimed at the meetings market, highlighting the destination’s best features from both a tourist and attendee perspective. In some cases, CVBs have a dedicated social media specialist who can work directly with planners to market this information online through social media channels like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter. As the event’s marketing campaign begins to roll out, these specialists can help monitor online activity, create catchy hashtags and cultivate new ideas on how to reach a wider online audience.
Another online service that many CVBs offer is building a customized landing page or microsite for the event to welcome attendees and provide additional details about local hotels, restaurants and attractions. The site typically features a personal welcome to the group with a provided logo, along with any other content the planner would like to include. Planners can email the link to attendees during e-blast campaigns, as well as showcase the link on registration homepages.