by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | August 01, 2007

David DuBoisBACVA’s Tom Noonan

Tom Noonan, left,
and David DuBois

One is landlocked, the other is a major seaport. It might seem like an unlikely combo, but the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association have formed an innovative two-city sales partnership, which they believe will enhance the reputation of each as a top-tier meetings destination.

According to David DuBois, president and chief executive officer of the Fort Worth CVB, his talks with Tom Noonan, president and chief executive officer of the BACVA, on the new selling strategy began back in January, shortly after each man took up his newly appointed post. The agreement “will allow both cities to aggressively market themselves to groups that typically book on a geographic rotation,” said DuBois.

The bureaus will share the expenses of two sales managers: One will target corporate groups on the East Coast, the other will focus on corporate and incentive business in the greater Midwest region.

“The cities primarily are focusing on corporate business in industries such as pharmaceuticals, financial services and high-tech,” said DuBois, who added that goals will be established for the new sales team, which will be contingent on booking business in both cities. Included in the partnership will be joint client events and shared marketing.

By joining forces, DuBois said, Fort Worth and Baltimore now have the ability to be more competitive by offering meeting planners discounts for booking both cities, a sales model that mirrors that of hotels offering groups more attractive rates for multiple contracts.

The two cities have roughly the same number of hotel rooms near convention centers of similar size, as well as a similar number of new hotels under construction.

“We would like to add a third partner,” DuBois noted, and the two bureau chiefs are in talks with several West Coast CVBs they feel would be a good match.