River barge dinner along San Antonio's River Walk.
The San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau, Visit Baltimore, and the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau recently announced a joint program called Synchronicities, a three-city marketing partnership. It is designed to offer meeting professionals—particularly those with associations considering East Coast, central U.S., and West Coast convention rotations—competitive pricing and enhanced marketing and customer service options, including knowledge transfer, when choosing all three.
The destination marketing organizations of Anaheim, Baltimore, and San Antonio knew what they would be getting from the alliance, said San Antonio CVB Director Casandra Matej in an interview at the recent American Society of Association Executives annual meeting in Nashville, but they wanted to ensure that the customer “was getting the best value proposition.” So the three cities hired Minding Your Business, a Chicago-based strategic meetings industry agency to conduct in-depth research with meeting professionals via focus groups, including each city’s customer advisory board, and surveys. The results helped to shape Synchronicities’ offerings.
The research showed that association meeting professionals want good value, consisting of discounts based on the multiple-city buy, said Tom Noonan, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, but the execs were surprised to learn that planners were also intrigued by the multiple-city approach to their customer service needs, including having the CVBs’ operations executives at each annual meeting in order to better service their upcoming meetings when booking all three.
Offering regional marketing andoutreach in the different communities for attendance-building and sponsorship opportunities also provided value to the association executives, added Jay Burress, president and CEO of the Anaheim Orange County VCB.
Of course, the three cities can combine their marketing power, too.
“Aligning under this partnership allows us to combine our resources and increase marketing reach, while offering a united sales and services platform across three destinations,” added Matej, effectively tripling each CVB’s sales force. The alliance is also sponsoring education and networking events for industry associations such as the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and the Professional Convention Management Association.
The tri-city partnership has enjoyed one early success: the National Postal Forum has selected Anaheim, Baltimore, and San Antonio to host its annual conference in 2015, 2017, and 2018, respectively.
“I was initially drawn to Synchronicities because meeting professionals are increasingly finding themselves doing more with less, making the partnerships that we have all the more valuable,” said Maureen Goodman, executive director of National Postal Forum.
For more, visit www.synchronicities.us.