We are all trying to determine exactly how things will be when we return to our “new normal” and for CVBs, what group sales and services will look like post COVID-19. It is going to be key to clearly communicate to planners how your destination and facilities have adapted and responded to this new reality. Not only will planners require new information before choosing your destination, but their attendees will want assurances as to what has been done to keep them safe and healthy while traveling for meetings and conventions.
As an industry built around shaking hands, gathering in tight spaces, like buses and venues that creatively fit a group, we need to reevaluate how we host groups moving forward and ensure once the dust settles planners know how our destinations have made the attendees’ safety a priority.
Convention centers, large group hotels, facilities and arenas along with unique venues should evaluate their head counts for meeting rooms and how they configure meeting spaces, develop sanitary station measures and make changes to the way they serve food. In addition, we may find ourselves succumbing to temperature checks before entering conventions or sharing antibody test results.
CVBs are on the front line to communicate these measures beyond just a page on your website. To effectively communicate, your message has to resonate and be delivered in more than one format/time. It will be important for group sales teams to showcase your responsiveness and lead the way for your destination to feel like a safe choice. From the Global Meetings Industry Day virtual discussions, it was clear that CVBs who can effectively leverage bringing their community partners together will stand out above others.
- Share best practices with your partners to guide them to responding better and provide added value for your organization
- Lead them on how to adjust their room head counts, food serving, sanitary stations
- Bring in industry leaders or resources to provide them with tools and insights on how to adapt
- Tell their story after they have developed new plans
- Utilize content marketing tools like evergreen content blogs, social media posts and email campaigns
- Consider adding the measures they have taken to their listing information on your site, adding it to your online proposal and/or bid books
- Add details to your services communication tools
- Develop attendance building tools that speak to how the facilities are making groups feel safer moving forward
- Communicate directly with booked groups
Hosting groups in the future will bring a new wave of responsibilities onto the CVBs and require them to provide new tools, insights and details to help the planners effectively do their part. We will continually be evaluating the situation to see how we can help DMOs adapt to what sales and servicing will require moving forward. Stay tuned for more as we work through this situation with you to help guide the industry to recovery when the time is right.