I just returned from a roundtable we hosted in New York with international tourist boards/convention and visitors bureaus and senior meeting managers who take their meetings outside the U.S. One of the most striking revelations of the morning came from Bobby Badalamenti, director of Siemens Event Management Services, who said she feels that tourist boards/CVBs often “miss the boat” by not becoming the go-to contacts for big companies like hers. For example, she said, they could be sharing hot dates and unsold room inventory from their members and she could be distributing it across her entire company.
In fact, CVBs are not even on the radar for many corporate planners. Instead of working with bureaus to figure out how to close a street, or how to hire security for an event, meeting pros reach out to their peers. Yet they are completely maxxed out, need all the help they can get, and would love to have a CVB partner! Meanwhile, the tourist boards/CVB attendees said they feel as if they can’t even get their foot in the door to speak to most meeting execs, and their phone calls are never returned.
As soon as we put these two sides in the same room, they left looking for ways to work together. They understood each other better because they had an opportunity to hear the other side of the story. Lesson learned: Take some time to step into the other person’s shoes and to understand what they need and the pressures they are under—and you will never walk away disappointed.
Look for highlights from the roundtable in our June Beyond Borders supplement and in video format at our Web site.