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Group Travel 101: Working With Local Experts

When you begin planning trips for your friends to places around America, you’ll find great allies in the CVBs that represent cities and towns all across the country. Here’s how to make the most of CVB services.


What Is a CVB?

CVBs are Convention and Visitors Bureaus. Virtually every large city and mid-sized town has one, as do many small communities. Sometimes they have slightly different names, but like tourism boards, state travel departments, regional promotion organizations, and even some chambers of commerce, their job is to promote travel and tourism to their specific destination, area, state, region or country.

If you are interested in bringing travelers to visit a particular city or town, the CVB will usually be happy to talk with you and provide as much assistance as possible to help make your trip happen.

How Can CVBs Help?

CVBs exist to provide information and on a wide variety of tourism companies in their cities, ranging from hotels and restaurants to museums and attractions. Many CVBs will also be pleased to provide sample itineraries and advice on how to design great travel experiences, as well as suggestions on great hotels and restaurants for groups, based on your and preferences and price range.

A CVB is also a good source for contact information on local “receptive” tour operators and “step-on” sightseeing guides. These are local companies that provide tour guides and other services to groups visiting the area.

Finally, a number of CVBs offer educational trips that will allow travel planners to visit and tour the community personally, in order to provide them with the knowledge to be able to plan their own specialized itineraries.  Known as “familiarization” trips — or FAMs for short — these are offered in conjunction with a professional tour operator that is featuring programs to that specific destination.

CVB Tips

You should never feel shy about getting in touch with a CVB and asking for advice or help on a trip you’re planning for your friends. After all, the job of CVB employees is to encourage travelers of all types to come to the community and spend money there, so your calls will always be welcome.

From a practical standpoint, once you establish a relationship with a CVB representative, you improve the chances that they will give you insider information and tips on hotels, dining and other experiences in their cities. They might even come out to greet you personally when you bring your friends to town.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.

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