How do destination sales professionals create better relationships with third party planners?
Clearly, according to Kathleen Hedlund, Director of Global Accounts, HelmsBriscoe, it’s about building a strategic partnership to serve all with destination solutions. Take a look at what Kathy values most as it relates to the DMO-HB relationship.
Taken from Kathy’s empowerMINT blog post on behalf of the San Diego Tourism Authority, we have extracted five significant roles you can provide any third party planner.
- Provide local expertise.
I value the support the San Diego Tourism Authority gives to me , my company and most of all my clients. My business is relationship driven. SDCVB and CVB’s in general enhance this relationship and make me look good to my clients. I am booking meetings everywhere and while my company provides me resources to know a destination, I can’t possibly be the expert a CVB can be in any specific destination. A CVB’s help with hotel knowledge, destination knowledge, site inspection assistance and execution, and more, are invaluable. It is a true partnership! They are an extension of me and my commitment to servicing my clients and they make me look good!
- Tout your site inspection assistance.
In my experience working with the SDTA’s, Ted File, Director of Site Inspections and Conference Services, Ted set the appointments, accompanied me on all of the hotel site inspections, and educated me about the specific areas of San Diego where the hotels were located and special things for the group to do, as we traveled the city throughout the day. He also pointed out things relevant to my group during the site inspections at the hotels to compliment the sales manager’s role. Ted is an extension of the sales team, but also understands my role and expectations. He provided a complete itinerary for the site inspection, including highlights of each of the hotels we were seeing.
- Save your independent contractors time and money.
I work as an independent contractor and CVB’s simply save me time and money. If I didn’t use a CVB, I would have to do the research on my own and rely solely on my colleagues to help me with hotel knowledge and destination knowledge. HelmsBriscoe does have an intranet product, InSite, in which all associates collectively share our experiences and client’s experiences with hotels all over the world. This is a great resource tool, but CVB’s provide real life, first hand current knowledge. I think the combination of resources really complement each other. It clearly doesn’t have to be one or the other.
- Technology doesn't trump all; provide the human touch.
Ultimately, I choose not to “go it alone,” because no matter how much technology is made available and experience I may have in a destination, this is where the CVB Rep lives and breathes. CVBs spend their time being fully educated about all their destinations have to offer, so I don’t have to. Very similarly to the service I provide my clients; I do the leg work and present the options to my clients, they make the decision. CVBs are able to do a lot of the legwork for me, and we jointly present the options to my client.
- Ask your planner partner to spread the word and for referrals to others.
I would like other HB Associates and planners in general to know, that in my opinion, the professionalism of CVB’s has grown tremendously over the years. In the past, some CVB’s might have sent leads to all hotels in their cities. Today the relationship can be so much more strategic and meet everyone’s needs specifically. You can build a partnership with your CVB destination expert to ensure we are all listening to our clients’ needs and finding the right solutions. CVB’s can help planners, and 3rd party planners, as part of a team dedicated to truly finding what they are looking for and not trying to put a square peg in a round hole. They are a resource that can be trusted to deliver destination specific expertise and to take a lot of the burden out of finding the right fit for any size meeting.
To read Kathleen’s post in its entirety and to check in with more planner perspectives, visit the empowerMINT blog.
To create a blog post for your own destination, contact Terri Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Terri is in charge of training and communication for DMAI's empowerMINT initiative and interviews meeting professionals and their DMO partners twice monthly. Gain valuable insight into their minds at the empowerMINT blog.