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What can a CVB do for you?

Left to right, Faye Davis and Anne Williams, by Dilcy Hilley, courtesy Greater Birmingham CVB

It was a complaint Anne Williams, senior servicing manager for the Greater Birmingham CVB, had heard one time too many.

Some independent cab drivers had hiked fares as they transported visitors who were attending an annual medical meeting at a Marriott hotel on the city’s outskirts.

The situation had gotten so bad that the event planner, Williams’ client, had started arranging his own transportation for some evening events.

Before the conference came to town most recently, Williams called the local Yellow Cab Co., which had not inflated its fares and had worked well with the CVB in the past. Yellow Cab has the largest fleet of cabs in town.

“Within a very few minutes, they had faxed us a flyer that was a customized offer for that group,” said Faye Davis, the CVB’s servicing director. Yellow Cab offered the group a reasonable, flat rate for one to four passengers.

Williams sent the information to the planner, who sent it to attendees.

After the conference, for the first time, taxi service for the meeting was rated “good,” according to Davis.

“People were complaining and if that was the only thing they were complaining about, darned, we were going to see if we could do something about it,” said Davis.

Communication with community partners is one of the unseen aspects of service provided by CVBs.

For example, each month Davis sends an email called “Rolling Into Town” that alerts restaurants, merchants and hoteliers about the various meetings and conventions, including number of attendees, in Birmingham that month.

So, although planners and attendees don’t realize it, thanks to Davis and her team, Birmingham will be ready for them.

Racing for a cause
A recent run to benefit victims of the Sandy Hook shooting shows just how far a CVB can go to assist.

The Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau (CTCSB) was a key partner in the March 23 Sandy Hook Run For the Families. More than 13,500 people ran in support of the victims of the Newtown shooting and their families.

The event was pulled together quickly after it grew so large that it had to be moved from its original site in Danbury, Conn., to Hartford.

The CTCSB worked alongside the run’s producer, the Hartford Marathon. CVB staff called it one of the fastest turnarounds and most meaningful events that the organization has worked on.