November 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline

Bureaus Face Budget Woesimage
William Talbert The drop in tourism has led many convention and visitor bureaus to rethink their 2002 budgets and revise marketing plans.

"A lot of bureaus will be looking at less revenue from hotel taxes next year," said Dan Fenton, president and CEO of the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau. While changes will have to be made, he said, "We don't plan on laying anyone off."

The Greater Miami CVB cut its budget by 20 percent. All employees took a 5 percent salary cut, and no merit increases or performance bonuses will be given out this year, said William Talbert, president and CEO. "We're trying to recognize the reality of what's happening in the marketplace," he said. "I thought it was prudent to make the adjustment now."

"We're still going to have a presence at all the shows we usually go to," added Ita Moriarty, Miami's senior vice president of convention sales, "but instead of sending three people, we'll send one. Instead of having a large booth, we'll have a smaller one."

Bureau travails have not gone unnoticed by planners. Theresa Garza, CMP, managing director of Tucson, Ariz.-based Amigo Meeting Solutions, noticed spotty service at one CVB while placing a meeting with 650 room nights for June 2003. The bureau rep "didn't work very hard for this booking," said Garza. "I know they have had cutbacks; maybe that's why I'm having problems."

Others have reallocated ad dollars, with some cutting back but others stepping up their efforts. The Greater Phoenix CVB just launched a campaign first slated for spring 2002.

In Salt Lake City, marketing efforts are easier, said the CVB's president and CEO, Diane Binger. The upcoming Winter Olympics serve as a ready-made ad campaign for the city.


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