by Lisa A. Grimaldi | November 03, 2017
If you've had the opportunity to work with a destination marketing organization (aka convention and visitors bureau), you already know such agencies can be an indispensable - and free - source of information about hotels, facilities, attractions, restaurants and activities. 

Their goal not only is to create awareness of their destination, but ultimately to book the meetings and events business that feeds the economic engine of the region in a very competitive marketplace. To that end, many DMOs today are going above and beyond typical services in their efforts to secure group business. Following, we highlight some of what these enterprising bureaus are offering to ensure that you, your attendees, sponsors and stakeholders have an outstanding event. 

Social and digital media services. For groups that don't have the resources or budget for media services, DMOs like the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau can fill the gap. The LBCVB can organize a whole campaign from start to finish, promoting the event across multiple social media channels and creating customized welcome videos, as well as free customized microsites filled with information - e.g., registration, meeting agenda, tips for entertainment and dining - a planner wants to share with attendees. 

Tailored marketing campaigns. Want to steer your group to - or away from - certain aspects of a destination? A DMO can help. For example, the marketing team at Visit Orlando recently provided social content and video blogs that focused on the destination's new non-theme-park experiences for an American Society of Hematology conference. 

True insider tips. Today's attendees want to shop, dine and experience destinations like the locals do - and CVBs can provide the inside scoop. For example:

• On its website, Visit Phoenix curates picks from the city's top chefs on topics like favorite Mexican food spots and where visitors can grab a late-night bite. 

NYC & Company has produced guides to each of the Big Apple's five boroughs - all packed with tips for off-the-beaten-path eats, shops and sites, so attendees can get out and explore the city like a real New Yorker. 

Travel Portland offers the hyper-local Perfect First-Time Trip Guide, the Outdoor Trailblazers Guide and more, all designed to give delegates a personalized experience in the Oregon city.

Cash incentives. Generous rebates are another way some DMOs are luring groups. The Boulder CVB Incentive Program offers approved organizations cash incentives to offset meeting-related expenses, while the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau will rebate up to $10,000 for events booked for 2018 that meet specified criteria. 

To find out more on destination marketing and related organizations, Destinations International offers comprehensive resources.