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CVBs’ Count on Groups for Return on Investment

Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Greater Green Bay CVB works with the group market every day to help leaders plan their itineraries, and “we obviously enjoy that part of the sales process, but the thing that’s difficult for us, is sometimes they’re very self-sufficient, and they don’t let us know when they’re coming,” said Brenda Krainik, director of marketing and communications for the CVB.

“If we don’t know their itinerary after they’ve booked, it’s hard for us to go out and greet the group and thank them, and if they don’t let us know, it’s virtually impossible to keep track of them.”

And keeping track of groups is imperative because it helps the CVB not only prioritize their sales and marketing efforts, but also justify the investment.

While group leaders know their business and can certainly build their own trips, “sharing an itinerary is so valuable to us in so many ways,” she said.

It allows the CVB to elevate its service by providing a group greeting or giving travelers a goodie bag. If the group leader runs into a problem, the CVB can help remedy any issues that arise, often with a simple phone call.

“Knowing they’re here allows us to provide a higher level of service,” Krainik said.

The Green Bay CVB’s first priority in group sales efforts is meeting tour operators at trade shows because “that one-on-one, face-to-face sales process is a necessity,” Krainik said. “We have to get to know them. It’s relationship building and trust building.”

The CVB also invests in its product to make sure the destination has diverse offerings.

“If the product is new and fresh, the tour operators will bring their groups back,” she said. “That’s how we believe we can expand upon our market.”

The Greater Green Bay CVB plans to launch a new program in October that will feature experiences available only in Green Bay. The CVB partnered with eight area attractions to come up with group-specific activities with the Oneida Nation, the Parallel 44 Vineyard and Winery, the Neville Public Museum, the National Railroad Museum, the Green Bay Botanical Garden, the Heritage Hill State Historical Park, Let Me Be Frank Productions and the New Zoo and Adventure Park.

“It kind of gives you an adventure; it gives you something different that you’ve never experienced before,” Krainik said. “We’re looking to elevate our destination for tour operators, so the return trips are always different.”

Communication also helps the CVB because then it can track motorcoach visits, room nights and economic impact, so “it validates our trips to trade shows and our advertising and the time we spend with the planners,” she said. “Without that validation, those types of things go away.”

The Green Bay CVB has been active in pursuing the motorcoach market over the past several years, but that wasn’t the case 20 years ago because officials didn’t see the value of putting funds from the budget into FAM trips, face-to-face meetings, advertising and trade shows.

“In the past several years, we’ve been ramping that back up, and we have to continue to see the value from the sales process and how we spend the budget,” Krainik said. “If we don’t have the communication back from tour operators, what they’re doing and where they’re going, that makes it more difficult to say ‘Let’s go to another show to connect with them.’”

Rachel Carter

Rachel Carter worked as a newspaper reporter for eight years and spent two years as an online news editor before launching her freelance career. She now writes for national meetings magazines and travel trade publications.

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