Event planning takes a village, and the more you include your destination experts, the better your events will be. The hospitality industry has made a major focus shift toward the experience economy, moving farther away from purely transactional relationships. This means that destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are more involved and more valuable than ever. Here are some easy ways to work with destinations and CVBs to make your planner relationships stronger and attendee engagement more meaningful.
Event programming has expanded to include charitable work that ties in with an organization’s mission statement or commitment to certain causes. Planners are incorporating events such as “build-a-bike” activities or food drives as part of their meeting, and a great way to work with your DMO is to find local charities in the city where you meet. Many DMOs have programs in place to help their community, and may even be willing to participate in philanthropic activities or match donations to certain charities. Visit Anaheim works with Caterina’s Club, a globally-recognized charity that feeds underprivileged children in the Orange County area. Some of the largest conventions that meet in Anaheim now contribute financially or with labor to this organization to help the very people in the place in which they convene each year.
Co-op your spending to leverage buying power and get greater exposure. Individual organizations’ budgets may limit the size and scope of marketing availability, but if hotels work together with a DMO as well as other non-hotel partners in the destination, the buying power increases. Consider a small graphic on an industry website could be a huge cost for a hotel, but a full-page ad in print or an email blast from a destination (supported by several hotels with similar vested interests in that market) could have a much larger audience and return on investment without much increase in cost.
Reach out to get a free visitor guide! Check the DMO’s website for information in advance such as sample itineraries or discounts. Locating the visitor center and call in advance, then visit in person to get customized recommendations. Follow the DMO’s social media channels to get inspiration for your trip, and read blogs for itinerary ideas or successes from other travelers. Trip planning is now an interactive experience and you can rely on past experiences that are shared visually on social media to paint a picture of YOUR perfect trip.
Written by Jessica Rienecker, CTA, CTP, CMM, HMCC.
All information provided by Visit Anaheim.