Dan Fenton, president and CEO of the San Jose (Calif.) Convention & Visitors Bureau, acknowledges that the buyer-seller relationship was changing even before 9/11 complicated things. Because of the value of group business, “We as a destination are trying to take the long-term view” in strengthening those relationships, he says. Consequently, both infrastructure and marketing are getting a boost.

On the infrastructure side, the Fairmont Hotel, the city's largest full-service property, increased its room count to 805 and its meeting space to 65,000 square feet with the opening of its new tower in February. The San Jose Marriott Hotel, which is under construction, opens in January.

The city's hotels are considered “downtown” or “uptown.” To overcome the mind-set that the uptown hotels are remote (they're five minutes from downtown, the same distance as the airport), the CVB is marketing them as a package: the “Uptown Alliance.” The alliance has a lot of pluses for religious meeting planners. Rates are lower than at downtown properties; planners need to issue only one RFP and sign only one contract, no matter how many properties are used; and the CVB provides transportation between uptown hotels and the downtown area.

The CVB is a DMC for the entire city, handling housing, registration, event planning, and transportation.

Planners can call (800) SAN-JOSE to arrange for group tickets to events or area attractions.