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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

DMO + Planner = Happy Meetings

Let’s face it, no one person can single-handedly pull off even a small meeting without harnessing the power of partnerships. Whether it’s the local coffee vendor who supplies the best beans in town or the linen company who drapes your tradeshow, connecting with others builds relationships and enhances the overall experience.

While we might like to retain control over most of the details to ensure greater success, we all know that things typically go smoother if we do what we do best and trust others to fill in the gaps. Perhaps no greater partnership exists in the meetings industry than that of the planner and the destination marketing organization.

Imagine for a moment how much time you gain as a planner if your very first call is to the experts in that destination? Why bother scouring websites or industry publications for the perfect venue or a fun post-event tour for attendees when you can make one phone call, share your ideas and needs and ask the DMO to go to work on your behalf? Not only do you save time, but there’s a greater chance that the DMO will know all of the new spots, have an insider’s perspective and knowledge of current booking incentives you may otherwise have missed.

From the destination side, I can tell you that we are thrilled to be more than just registration assistance or goodie bag suppliers. We love it when we can start from the ground up to help planners build successful meetings and events. From venue recommendations to site tours at local hotels, catering selections to pre- and post-event tours, our CVB is standing by ready and willing to assist. I know if I were on the other side of the industry, I would definitely make the local DMO my first call once the destination has been selected. Trusting those who market a destination every single day is paramount to maximizing your time and budget.

For quite a few years now, a collaborative group known as Tour Kansas takes our “show on the road” once a year to a bordering destination so we can sell our destinations to tour planners in their city—think reverse tradeshow. We’ve been to Omaha, St. Louis, Oklahoma City and Colorado Springs. While some destinations have proved more return on investment than others, not one single destination came to light without some assistance from the DMO. In Omaha for instance, I made one phone call. I explained who were, what we were doing and other basic details. Within just two weeks, I had a list of properties to consider all within the budget and space needs for our group.

We landed a group block far below standard rates for our attendees and vendors; we selected the perfect venue and had a terrific showing of tour planners in that region. It all started with the Omaha CVB. I wouldn’t coordinate this showcase (or other events) any other way.

Maybe you’ve used a local CVB to supply guides and maps for attendees. Or, perhaps you’re already a believer and have them on speed-dial. Either way, I encourage you to consider enlisting the help of the destination experts to host your next meeting or event.


Karen Crane is the Director of the Merriam Visitors Bureau in Merriam, Kansas…next door neighbors to Kansas City! Learn more about Merriam at