You’ve probably heard how important it is to make a great first impression. It’s an important guideline for CVBs wanting to attract more meetings and events business, too.
One resource CVBs use to persuade potential clients is a “toolkit,” often an online folder full of PDF city guides, maps, photos, videos, and logos.
While there’s nothing wrong with simply providing information, it’s also possible CVBs are missing an opportunity to really showcase their personality to potential business. To provide some inspiration, here are three CVBs and event management companies thinking outside the box to impress clients with their creative flair.
1. Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (Montgomery County, PA)
When deciding how they would stand out among the competition, Valley Forge Tourism decided to add a touch of nostalgia. Instead of keeping business online, their potential clients receive a box that puts a spin on the old school game of rock, paper, scissors.
The box contains three items:
- Rock candy. To assist potential clients in getting a “solid start” when perusing the 75 local hotels and 1,600 restaurants.
- A notebook. To help make the meeting or event “noteworthy.”
- Scissors. Because Valley Forge is “cutting edge.”
What Valley Forge Tourism is tapping into is a concept called “experiential marketing.” Notes Associate Director of Sales, Scott Higgins, “We feel this is beneficial as it helps create a unique memory that sets our materials apart from the numerous distractions everyone receives each day. Meeting planners will remember receiving this toolkit, where most can’t recall the last promotional item that they received.”
And they’re already seeing a positive response to their creativity. As Caryn Taylor Lucia, from SEI’s Corporate Event Marketing team explains, “We receive a ton of email, regular mail, and sales calls. But this package stands out. It’s clever, thoughtful, and useful…this package gives you pause to want to check out what they have to offer.”
2. New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (New Orleans, Louisiana)
New Orleans taps into the ever-growing trend of video.
Specifically, the CVB has launched a nine-part video series called “Let’s Talk NOLA!”, showcasing local celebrities that offer a taste of local culture, from gumbo to voodoo and beyond.
The videos come in two formats — contest and non-contest. Planners can use them to run weekly or monthly contests leading up to the event to get the group excited and game-ify the experience.
Explains Erica Taylor, Communications Coordinator at the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, “We’ve seen it used on a monthly basis where the contest started shortly after the annual meeting and ended just prior to the next annual meeting. But this could be done on a variety of timescales depending on the planner’s preference.“
3. Events DC (Washington, DC)
Sticking with the tech trend, Events DC — the city’s official convention and sports authority — has turned to virtual reality to draw in new business. Instead of a one-dimensional PDF, they’ve created 3-minute, 360-degree videos to immerse potential clients in their meeting and event venues. Additionally, they engage potential clients via a library of 360-degree photos and simulated events to bring offerings to life.
“Events DC is taking event engagement to the next level with the unveiling of fully immersive virtual reality experiences across our three lines of business,” said Greg O’Dell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Events DC. “We are committed to enhancing and delivering amazing customer experiences. Further, we continue to showcase Washington, DC as a tech-focused community that will help propel our city’s economic footprint.”
Here’s a great example of how Events DC has used this in the wild. At South by Southwest in Austin, they featured a virtual reality bike tour of DC using a stationary bike and VR headset. Cyclists were able to tour the experiences of the city, including visiting the stadium and event spaces. They also gamified the experience by making it a race against the clock.
What tools can you utilize to tell potential business the story of your city?