Two California destinations, San Jose and San Diego, have combined convention center and convention & visitors bureau functions under one roof.
In San Jose, city officials created a new entity, Team San Jose, to manage and operate convention and cultural facilities. “It’s the only model of its kind,” says Dan Fenton, president of the San Jose CVB and chairman of the board for Team San Jose.
The newly formed Team San Jose corporation—authorized by the city council at the behest of the CVB—will be governed by representatives from the CVB, convention center, hotel community, organized labor, and arts and cultural leaders. Leonard Zerilli was tapped to manage the day-to-day operation of Team San Jose.
“It creates a single point of contact to navigate the city and was designed with the customer in mind,” says Fenton. It’s set up so that meeting requests will come through the CVB and then get funneled to the new entity for other event service and booking needs, explains Fenton. Previously, planners had to go through the various channels depending on their requirements, whether they wanted to hire labor, use the convention center, or access cultural venues.
The new structure will result in costs savings for the city as well as provide better customer service and more economic impact to San Jose, says Fenton. Team San Jose will become effective in July or August.
A week earlier, San Diego city officials announced a similar arrangement, which calls for bringing all sales and marketing efforts for the San Diego Convention Center under the auspices of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation. Presently, the SDCCC and the San Diego CVB co market the 2.6 million-square-foot facility through a joint effort. Pending approval by the city council, sales professionals that currently co market the facility will be asked to become SDCCC employees.
Going forward, SDCCC staff will focus on selling the convention center while the SDCVB will concentrate on marketing the destination and selling single hotel property and leisure sales.
Carole Wallace, president of the SDCCC, says the new plan will be seamless for clients. “In many respects, this will help us provide better customer service,” said Wallace in a release. It will also provide “clarity to our clients and throughout the marketplace,” she added. While enhanced service is the primary goal, cost is also a factor. “Cities across the country face tighter budgetary environments and this restructuring is a reflection of those circumstances,” said Wallace and Reindt Reinders, chief executive officer of the SDCVB in a joint statement.