The Strength in Numbers

How Collaborative Industry Partnerships with Cvent and HelmsBriscoe Help Maximize Your DMO’s ROI

Digital Edge recently had the pleasure of hosting a webinar on how destinations can leverage their partnerships with HelmsBriscoe and Cvent to aid in the recovery response for COVID-19. 

The recording of the webinar, The Strength in Numbers, is available on our site HERE, and the key highlights are detailed below for your reference. 

At HelmsBriscoe (HB), they use Cvent as their electronic platform for sourcing clients’ RFPs. They educate and encourage HB Associates to copy DMOs on RFPs since they are the local experts who can help with key recommendations to host a successful meeting in a particular location. HelmsBriscoe also works closely with Destinations International and, through their partnership with them, continues to educate Associates on the importance of including DMOs on RFPs.

HelmsBriscoe’s DMO partners show up for their 1,500 Associates at the top of the search by level and then alpha sort when searching for specific destinations. The hotel partners show up below that in alpha sort, followed by all non-partners. By highlighting destination partners first, Associates are more likely to include them on the RFP.

HB officially rolled out their four-level partner program in 2010. At the end of 2010, Associates included DMOs on 18% of RFPs, and that number is now nearly 80% today!

Tips for your destination’s listing:

  • Ensure listing accuracy
  • Accurate number/type of accommodations
  • Meeting space figures
  • Location details
  • Partnership level recognition and enhanced search result placement
  • Canceled space
  • Elevate exposure for cancellations, attrition or distressed inventory

Many times, the Associates at HB see older or very little content in the profiles. HelmsBriscoe builds a custom profile for partners in a separate area of the Intranet site for Associates to access contact information for each destination as well as descriptions, videos and any other relevant information.

The HB partner database for hotel and DMO promotions is filterable by partner name, location, brand and start/end dates. HB also includes promotions within HB InSite and within Cvent, so they are easily accessible and more visible throughout the sourcing process.

HelmsBriscoe recommends CVBs definitely offer something for the end-user client as this is a tremendous value to the HB Associate to offer something back to their clients. And, if you add something for the Associate, it is a bonus and shows appreciation for their part in sending the business to your destination.

HB sees offers ranging from rebates and credits back to the master bill, extra planner points, comp room nights, reduced or no attrition and simplified contracting process or even pick lists that can be customized to the client’s needs. Extending site visit assistance is another great way to reward both the end-user client and the third-party planner.

Helms Brisco Partner Buzz Newsletter Blog ImagePartner+Plus offers are exclusive, and HB also has an additional opportunity in a weekly e-newsletter sent directly to Associates highlighting these offers from partners. The monthly e-newsletter features articles on partner destinations. The articles typically feature new hotel inventory, renovations, destination awards or any other group and meeting focused topics that will bring the destination top of mind to HB Associates so they can, in turn, pass along to their clients.

In addition, HelmsBriscoe is always looking for social content for both the HB public pages and private pages. HB encourages DMOs and hotels within the destinations to submit photos from HB events, in-person presentations, site visits, client events, FAM trips, etc. to be promoted on their social channels. 

CVENT Relationship Building Blog ImageAssociate Engagement – Relationship Building

DMOs and hotels are getting creative with virtual options that are bringing clients together. And, including third-party clients on your invite lists provides even greater reach and exposure. Just within the HelmsBriscoe network of 1,500 Associates, on average, each third-party planner is working with 12-15 clients each, so they are touching many end-user clients.

HB Sponsorship Opportunities ImageFinal thoughts to be proactive in managing your HB relationship:

  1. Check accuracy of your Cvent listing and your HB listing
  2. Provide timely responses to RFPs
  3. Provide reasons for turndown
  4. Offer alternative dates
  5. Respond and respond completely
  6. Provide additional property info
  7. Leverage relationships with HB Associates who have booked your property/destination
  8. Build relationships with the local team in your backyard
  9. Follow up with HB Associate after client meeting completion
  10. Encourage HB Associate to post knowledge in HB InSite
  11. Develop HB-exclusive offers
  12. Host events/functions/FAMs for local HB Associates and their clients
  13. Offer a friends/family rate to HB Associates (based on availability)
  14. Understand individual Associate work styles and account loads
  15. Attend HB Annual Business Conference
  16. Consider supporting HB team/regional meetings

Recap of the Cvent Market Overview 

Jefferey Emenecker, Senior Director of Analytics with Cvent, shared the most up-to-date RFP data from Cvent’s platform to provide destinations with details on how the recovery is moving forward in terms of business being sourced via Cvent.

Key Findings from Cvent RFP Volume Data

  • September and October were the best months since the pandemic began
  • October RFP volume was up 14% to September
  • RFP volume in November was weaker than expected
  • The major metros had better RFP volume in November (76%) compared to October’s 62%
  • The booking window is creeping back up, and RFP volume is indicating a shift to the second half of 2021 for events
  • The meeting size is getting closer to normal recently for all arrival dates

Recap of How Destinations Can Elevate their Profiles in Cvent

Audrey Bascio, Senior Account Executive with Cvent, shared several best practices and tips for elevating your profile and utilization of the platform.

Only 45% of Cvent profiles have 90% or greater completeness scores, and of those who do, they receive 78% of the total RFP volume & 82% of all RFPs awarded. 

Profile checklist:

  • Tell your story
  • Visually represent your destination
  • Provide additional collateral to entice
  • Line up all meeting space
  • Boast about your accomplishments and awards
  • Promote what the planner is looking for

Key CVB & hotelier best practices for responding to RFPs on Cvent:

  • Personalization of proposal response
  • Address all of the planner’s questions
  • Inclusion of alternative dates
  • Default costs and responses set up
  • Communicate with the planner

In addition, communicate to your partners that they should check to see if the lead they received copied the CVB. 

CVENT Lead Inclusion Image


CVENT Lead Image

Ways to check CVB inclusion on the lead:

  • Beside the RFP name on the “Manage RFPs” tab
  • Within the RFP details

HB CVENT Lead ImageIf the CVB was not included, ask your partners to start following this best practice: 

  • See if the planner has permitted forwarding functionality. If so, forward the lead to the CVB. If not, send the planner a message asking if they can send it to the CVB as well.

Destination Guide Updates

  • Dedicated promotional campaign targeting the key audience of global event planning leaders and contributors 

Sales Enablement 

  • Sales collateral
  • Slide to include in sales presentations

Customer Marketing 

  • Webinar programs 
  • Monthly newsletters 
  • Community 
  • Email nurture 
  • Social

Prospect Marketing 

  • Webinar programs
  • Email nurture 
  • Social

Strategic Ads 

  • Cvent Celebrity program 
  • Third-party planner portal

Photos need to be included in your profile. This is especially important for how the Cvent database pulls imagery. Make sure your destination profile has:

  • Listing photo
  • Highlights photos
  • Things to do photos
  • Travel and transportation photos 

Reach Out to Digital Edge ImageReady to Work with Us?

Digital Edge has a long history of partnering with third-party organizations for our destination clients. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help manage your DMO Partner Program, or for any questions, reach out! We’d love to hear from you. 

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