On April 7, 2021, our Director of Sales, Kristin Schneider, and our Director of Convention Services, Jenna Snyder, attended Destinations International’s annual discipline-focused summit geared toward meetings industry professionals.
The summit was full of great information and insightful, forward-thinking content. Each team member attended relevant breakout segments, and these are their take-aways on what CVBs should start implementing now, what selling points are here to stay post-pandemic, as well as what initiatives CVBs should offer planners moving forward.
First up, it’s all about community. CVBs are uniquely positioned to tell the story of the destination. They know the area, the people, the amenities, the ins-and-outs of the meeting spaces and can identify – and understand – the pain points planners face. As the destination expert, CVBs can then provide valuable solutions and insight. This has been more important than ever during the last year when CVBs were able to drive value to destinations and fill in the gaps brought on by budget cuts seen throughout the industry. Also, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are critical and should be top of mind when communicating with planners. CVBs should be able to speak to how their destination is actively applying these principles in their community in a genuine, authentic way.
Sales & Services
As far as selling, prospecting is a large part of how we move forward as an industry. Services also needs to know more about their community beyond the standard, more traditional, information. Health, safety, women-owned businesses, Black-owned businesses – progressive details are selling points and important to telling the whole story of a destination. Incentive Packages are also increasingly popular. With hybrid events on the rise and less attendees for in-person shows, smaller meetings mean smaller room night totals, so CVBs need to get creative, optimize their bandwidth for virtual meeting capabilities, and incentivize planners. This is the time for CVBs to step up and provide answers before planners even have the opportunity to ask the questions. Research the group demographics and know the needs of the attendees before pitching to planners. Impact over intention will go a long way.
The best news – and biggest takeaway – is that recovery is in sight! Leisure travel is expected to be back to 2019 levels in 2022 and business travel is expected to reach 2019 levels in 2024 – hence, virtual and hybrid events being more popular than ever as meetings begin coming back. It’s also crucial to be transparent on what is happening in your destination and to be up to date on what is happening at the city and state level regarding safety measures and precautions. Sales and services should be able to educate planners, identify the event spaces that can accommodate groups with social distancing, and provide details on the best meeting spaces with technology abilities. Also, covid resources should remain up to date and easily accessible.
Flexibility is your best friend right now. Stay in constant contact with existing contracts and potential new business on safety measures and be as accommodating as possible on event dates and room blocks. Also, touchless is here to stay, so embrace QR codes, online resources, and virtual platforms to conduct site visits and guides.
As the destination experts for the ATL Airport District, we are excited to offer you the best experience when planning your next event. We have our finger on the pulse of industry expectations and we are ready to get to work. Contact us today to get started!
Here is an example of a hybrid event that took place right here in the District that is featured on U.S. Travel Association’s dedicated website where safely executed meetings are posted. College Park’s Renaissance Atlanta Airport Gateway Hotel is featured here.