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CVBs’ Count on Groups for Return on Investment

Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

Like in any industry, economic and political forces — both national and global — can affect CVBs, said Jim DePhilippo, tourism sales manager for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. For example, rising gas prices and how that affects group motorcoach tours might come into play when operators are planning their routes.

“Although we are not immune to changing conditions, our team is adept at planning for the moment,” he said. “That means being judicious with budgets during any given year.”

The Philadelphia CVB tends to spend its sales and marketing dollars on tour operator conferences, trade shows and travel for sales missions.

“The key to our business is always going to be getting in front of the tour operator because we have a B2B model,” he said.

But the CVB also invests in new media. Recently, the Philadelphia CVB launched a new campaign and destination video called “Frankly Philadelphia” that showcases the city’s historic attractions, culinary offerings, art exhibits and “the people who make Philadelphia such a captivating city.”

The best way for group leaders to partner with CVBs is to communicate and connect with them.

CVBs exist to provide information and localized expertise, DePhilippo said. If tour operators are looking for support, the CVB is set up to deliver another level of guidance for them.

“We have the insight to determine when hotel prices may be surging and can navigate groups through construction projects that could snag an itinerary,” he said. “We typically can qualify different groups and create the best experience tailored to their needs.”

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.