Do CVBs have an image problem? Outside of the meetings industry, they have no image at all. And that’s a problem.
The International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus has known that for some time, but it became painfully clear when they showed a videotape at the recent annual meeting in Boston, in which they polled the person on the street in Washington, D.C. Not a one knew what the acronym stood for, but even when they were told what it meant, most of them could not come close to guessing what a CVB does.
Comments like those were one of many reasons that the IACVB began its Brand Leadership Campaign more than a year ago, and announced preliminary findings at the annual meeting. The purpose of the initiative: "To identify, develop, maintain, and enhance distinctive CVB characteristics, which will translate into a unique perception and value by CVB stakeholders," according to the IACVB.
After interviewing some 1,000 consumers, meeting professionals, CVB professionals, and government officials, Duane Knapp, president and CEO of BrandStrategy Inc. and GMA Research, announced some highlights: Within the meeting professional community, respondents differ in their use of and loyalty to CVBs as a resource, with association planners feeling the most positive about their experiences. The next phase will be to develop "an official promise," which will become the industry’s "guiding star," said Michael Gehrisch, president and CEO of IACVB. Therefore, it is "likely" that CVBs and the IACVB, might face a name change, said Gehrisch. Tools for branding, including a Destination Brand Guide, will be rolled out by October.
Other highlights from the IACVB annual meeting, which had a record-breaking attendance of more than 900:
For more information about these initiatives and how they affect the meeting planning community, look for the August issue of iacvb.org., or visit the IACVB Web site at