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Working With CVBs

Imagine having a personal travel concierge in every city in the United States, someone who knows the destination intimately, can get you into any place you want to go and give you ideas you never would have thought of on your own.

It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not: At convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) around the country, specialists are waiting and ready to help you with every aspect of planning great group trips.

Here are some of the key ways in which group travel planners and CVBs can collaborate.

Finding Inspiration

If you are tasked with planning multiple trips each year, coming up with destination ideas can be challenging. CVBs can make this easier for you by showcasing cities and regions you might not have considered for group trips. The group sales staffers at CVBs work hard to get their destinations on your radar, and if you pay attention, you’ll find yourself flush with travel ideas.

Gathering Information

Once you’ve decided on a destination for a group trip, there’s still a lot of work to do before you can start selling the tour. You’ll need to know the key attractions and activities in the city, the best options for meals and accommodations, and other nuts-and-bolts information. CVBs can provide information about attractions, restaurants and hotels that can meet your group’s needs and also stay within your budget.

Pursuing Innovation

The local CVB can be a big help in uncovering new ways to enjoy destinations that your travelers may have visited before. CVB staffers are often the first people to know about the latest and greatest tours, attractions and restaurants around town, and they can make personal recommendations for great group activities or off-the-beaten-path stops. Many can also help you arrange VIP activities not available to the general public.

Managing Logistics

Many CVBs offer a wide range of services that go far beyond destination sales. It’s not uncommon for CVBs to help group leaders arrange the details of their itineraries, book space at attractions and restaurants and even gather group price quotes from area hotels. Many CVBs will send a representative with gifts to meet and greet groups arriving in town, and some will even provide a staff member to come aboard the bus and give guided tours.

Tracking Visits

Most CVBs are funded by hotel tax or membership dues and provide their services to travel planners free of charge. If a CVB has been helpful to you in travel planning, the best way you can return the favor is by giving them information on your trips: the number of visitors you brought, the number of nights you stayed, where you visited and where you ate.

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.