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CVBs’ Count on Groups for Return on Investment

Visit Denver

“The CVB world is somewhat complicated or always in an ever-changing environment,” said Jayne Buck, vice president of tourism for Visit Denver.

Visit Denver has progressively involved its stakeholders, including the city council and officials in the mayor’s office, and “has done a good job of educating about the value of tourism and done a lot of work in educating residents and other groups,” Buck said. But small things can change perceptions about tourism in general, “so we’re always cognizant about the mistaken tourism perceptions,” she said.

Denver has seen 12 years of consecutive tourism growth and hotel rooms are still being built, so “we actually have a lot of hotel inventory,” Buck said. The city also hosted the U.S. Travel Association’s IPW international inbound travel trade show in June.

As a membership organization, Visit Denver relies on public and private funding and hotel tax, so it has to fill hotel rooms. Like other CVBs, Visit Denver focuses on need periods, and its strategies include boosting tourism in the first and fourth quarters.

The increase in tourism is due to many factors, Buck said, including infrastructure improvements like the train that runs between Union Station in downtown and Denver International Airport and city investments in light rail, bike lanes and pedestrian access.

When it comes to sales and marketing efforts for the group market, Visit Denver attends two major travel shows a year — the American Bus Association Marketplace and the NTA Travel Exchange — and Buck tries to keep group leaders updated about new attractions and activities via newsletters or meeting with them in person at the shows.

But group leaders can make the most of CVBs “if they can see us as a resource and not assume they know everything we have to offer,” Buck said.

Many Denver attractions have improved their amenities and offerings, and the growing city regularly has new things to do and places to see.

“I think sometimes you do what has been selling, and you don’t innovate your product,” Buck said. “I would encourage them to be a little more specialized and set themselves apart.”

For example, the Denver Art Museum will be the only U.S. museum to show the most comprehensive exhibition of Monet paintings in two decades. “Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature” opens in October 2019 and will feature more than 100 paintings spanning Monet’s entire career.

“If they incorporate those new items or attractions, they can help set themselves apart,” Buck said. “Sometimes they think they know the destination, and they’ve got their tried and true, but it takes work to know the product, and we can help them with that.”

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.