Q: What makes an effective Convention and Visitors Bureau? (Part One)

“With 27 years in the convention, events and business tourism industries, I have been asked this question many times. It is probably one of the most challenging questions to answer as everyone holds his own opinion.

I have held positions on advisory boards, assisted local convention bureaus, watched change after change from some, all trying to find that magical formula that puts them ahead, makes them better and achieves the ultimate goal for their destination. 

I believe that this will continue, as markets become the flavour of the month and then simply dissolve back into the growing mass of destinations all bidding on what is, at the moment, some say, a shrinking market.

For me, it comes down to some very basic ideas and challenges to overcome. Firstly, the CVB needs to truly understand what it is selling and to whom. It needs to know the destination, its potential, strengths and weaknesses.

Additionally, the members, locals and the industry need to  form alliances so that a perpetual message is delivered to the world stage.

Ensure that the venues and products are aligned with what the CVB is selling. Major players in the market should meet regularly to invest, to share, align strategic development of the destination and ultimately support the CVB.

Of course, all of this is pointless if the CVB itself is confused and unbalanced. In some cities, private CVBs are developed and alliances formed between products and venues to encourage similar objectives that can both help and sometimes confuse the market and destination.

In summary, a CVB is the voice for a destination, an information resource, a marketer and builder of that destination. Most importantly, a successful CVB has the full support of the industry and partners.”

Peter Hassall is managing director of Off-Site Connections Macau


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