There's a lot to be learned from just asking what our customers love about us.
Jason Weinstein, Director of National Events for AARP, shares about four things that he truly values in a DMO, which you can make come alive in your own destination.
Through his interview with empowerMINT, he was so eager to talk about the advantages of New Orleans as a meeting destination and share all the New Orleans CVB offers planners. In this excerpt, you'll discover Jason’s slant on the work he does and learn how you can incorporate some of his valued practices into your own sales and services strategies:
- Expand their organizational presence.
JASON: With most of our shows, AARP is not working in our home city. We might have a state office in the city. In Louisiana’s case our office is in Baton Rouge, but this local staff concentrates on engaging policy and legislators at city hall and through the media. DMOs serve as an extension of our local staff, but in a part of the business community where we don’t traditionally have a strong presence, travel and tourism.
What this means for you: Seek out organizations and industries that would benefit from driving local attendance to their event. As an organization with strong community ties, show how you can help the group communicate to their desired end customer.
- Give highly credible advice.
JASON: DMOs come to the table with skin in the game and a tremendous amount of clout. Their focus is to promote a specific geographic area and they have the support of the community to ensure success. The unbiased information and guidance we receive about the destination is invaluable when creating positive lasting memories of our event.
What this means for you: Watch your language. Be upfront about everything. Assume the planner knows nothing about what you can and cannot do for them, how you are funded, how you distribute leads, and how you work with your community. Only then will they be able to understand your information and advice comes from a credible place.
- Show that your city cares.
JASON: The resources available through the DMO are often a barometer for how the city values travel and tourism. The more forward-thinking DMOs seem to have a city wide level of support when it comes to programs and activities for visitors.
What this means for you: Help mobilize your community. Your destination’s support is a clear signal to the meeting planner how much the whole community values them and what they do. It’s not just good salesmanship, it’s good business. The more engaged your community is, the more likely they will support you in bringing in events like Jason’s.
- Be proud of what you do.
JASON: [Working with a DMO] is like taking people to the library for the first time after they have been buying books at the bookstore for years. First, you are going to find what you are looking for, and second, the people you deal with at the library don’t have to worry about whether you spend money with them. DMOs are the same way. You get unbiased opinions and access to tremendous resources in a business model that is built in the client’s favor.
What this means for you: Take ownership of the destination you represent. What we as DMO sales professionals do is important for the entire meetings industry, and in this day and age of automation, it’s critical to be proactive and clearly explain your value and deliver it to all our customers.
Jason is the Director of AARP’s Annual National Event. He works with a team of 15 remarkable full time event staffers in the production of our signature public event. His entire 10-year professional event planning career has been with AARP as a member of this dynamic team. Before AARP, he worked for Internet companies and has found that the entrepreneurial spirit in the tech world translates very well into event planning.
To read Jason’s post in its entirety, click here.
For more information on what planners have shared, 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.