If you’ve never tapped the services of a
convention and visitors bureau, you might be missing a golden
opportunity to delegate some of your meeting chores to experts at
Often confused with a chamber of commerce, a CVB is
fundamentally different, although both are community cheerleaders.
The key difference: The chamber exists to get businesses and people
to move to town for good. The CVB wants you to come to town and
then leave but come back again and again.
What We Do
The CVB’s purpose is to support a wide variety of travelers and
travel influencers meeting professionals, travel managers,
procurement types, trainers, third parties, volunteers, the media,
meeting attendees and people on vacation. That support comes in a
wide range of services, beyond visitor guides, maps and other area
brochures. And most services provided by CVBs are
Many CVBs serve as the “meeting planner’s meeting planner,”
filling in the gaps on an as-needed basis. We provide vendor
recommendations, name badges, imagery, registration assistance,
pre-event marketing, local dignitaries and more. A good bureau
knows the meetings experience must be customized; a
one-size-fits-all solution seldom works.
The CVB knows the resources in a community and how best to access
them. While that knowledge gets tapped most often for vendor
recommendations (think limo services and local sign shops), it’s
also useful for many other needs.
Did your keynote speaker cancel at the last minute? The CVB can
round up a local expert to fill the gap. Looking for a
community-service project to use as a team builder? The CVB can
point you to community organizations in the most need. Have a posse
of antique fire trucks you’d like to bring through Main Street? The
bureau charms the path at City Hall for parade permits, street
closings and police escorts.
Don’t let the following misperceptions deter you from using a
CVBs are only for citywide conventions. This
simply is not true. We’re ready to serve any size group.
CVBs get kickbacks from vendor
recommendations. While member-based bureaus will steer you
toward their members, they do not receive a commission when you do
business with someone they have recommended.
CVBs have to send your specs to every member.
Nope; in fact, if you want only preferred brands or vendor
categories, give the CVB that direction so we can provide a
targeted list of contacts.
Planners working with hotels’ national sales offices often overlook
the CVB as a resource. But part of your end-decision on a
destination is about the grounds surrounding that brand. Who better
than people who know the city to provide this insight?
Involve the CVB in your site inspection. Meet the CVB staff,
especially the services staff, in addition to people at the
properties you’re evaluating. Even if you’ve already identified the
hotel you want to book, the CVB will work in partnership with that
property to get your business.
At the end of the day, the CVB provides consistent and complete
destination information. With no ownership in the various assets it
represents, the CVB does its job best by being service-savvy
“information brokers” bringing the right buyers at the right time
to the right sellers with the right resources.
You can find a listing of CVBs around the world at the website
of the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus