Meetings are on the rise this year with the resurgence of corporate retreats that were almost non-existent for the past three years due to the Great Recession.
Welcome to the special Meeting Planners issue of LCT Magazine.
Given that I am a meeting planner also, for the purpose of writing this column I decided to put on that hat and Google search the places I go to first when I am booking a convention or conference — the host city’s Visitor & Convention Bureau site. If you didn’t know already, this is the first thing most meeting and convention planners do when they start arranging an off-site function.
Meetings are on the rise this year with the resurgence of corporate retreats that were almost non-existent for the past three years due to the Great Recession. As I pointed out in my 2011 State of the Industry address earlier this year at the International LCT Show, this is a major growth area for our industry.
Starting with Boston and working back to the West Coast, I made stops on the CVB websites of all major destination cities in the U.S. The findings were. . . let’s just say we have much room for marketing improvement.
Here’s what I found:
- Most CVB sites listed companies in alpha order, so if your name doesn’t start with an A, you don’t get on the landing page. That’s bad!
- In Boston and Chicago, only one company bought a banner on the landing page: Allegra Town Car. That’s good for them. They got my attention anyway!
- On the home pages of all bureaus that I checked (Boston, New York, Chicago, Miami, Washington, D.C, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles), no chauffeured car service ads were found on home pages. That is missed opportunity!
- Descriptive wording didn’t get fast enough to the key points that meeting planners truly care about.
- Dallas has a special tab just for planning a meeting. Alas, no chauffeured services found in that section. What’s more, under TRANSPORTATION they list rentals/shuttles/taxis — you have to dig deep under that subcategory to even find sedans and limos. And if that isn’t bad enough, there is only one company listed! Someone needs to give Dallas a wake-up call!
- I spent 15 minutes looking on the Miami CVB site for a “transportation” listing and came up with nothing — and that is more time than the average meeting planner would spend. I was on a mission. And, mission NOT accomplished!
- San Francisco doesn’t appear to know that meeting planners need ground transportation either. Can someone advise their CVB that we need to be sync’d up in the Golden City?
- Discoverlosangeles.com is a slick website, which does have a transportation tab. It’s just too bad that the only listings on it are Super Shuttle and one car rental company! I think you get the point.
If you haven’t already put this magazine down and contacted your local association or gone directly to your CBV, you need to. We’ve been missing sales lead opportunities and overall exposure for our industry. Meeting planners are coming your way. As one who knows, they appreciate any vendor that makes their off-site planning easier.
At the very least, you need to make sure it’s a no-brainer to find you!