CVB: The Best Kept Secret for Site Selection

by Jessie States, CMP, CMM | Head of Meeting Innovation at MPI


Meeting organizers have one top recommendation for their administrative professional peers for selecting the perfect destination and location for events—contact and engage with convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) early and often. Why? CVBs offer a plethora of free services that reduce significantly the time, effort, and expense of selecting a destination and venue—and so much more.

“The destination organization is the expert when it comes to planning meetings,” according to Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International, in an interview with The Meeting Professional magazine. “The destination organization’s role has evolved dramatically in recent years, and it goes far beyond marketing. We are now destination architects, imaginers, culture cultivators, and project engineers—as well as clever marketers. In many cases, the destination organization is the destination’s greatest champion—the driving force in facilitating a dialogue between its community and the customer—to ensure the event is successful for both the host city and the customer’s stakeholders.”

CVBs act as client vision advocates, community connectors, and destination influencers. They have information on what’s new or unique, and they have access to anything and everything administrative professionals might need to source venues, transportation, accommodation, and outside-the-box activities for meeting attendees and participants.

Here is a sampling of the types of services that CVBs provide for professionals looking to host meetings in any given city or region.

  • RFP distribution: CVBs intimately know the venues, properties, and providers in their cities. Share the goals and objectives of your meeting or event and rely on them to forward your request for proposals (RPFs) to appropriate and suitable partners within the area. In addition to traditional venues, convention, and conference centers and hotels, CVBs have access to alternative and non-traditional facilities with lesser visibility and they know who to reach out in order to book them.
  • Site inspection: CVBs can coordinate visits to multiple properties and venues. Let CVB partners know when you are visiting and they can set up appointments with your top choices—and may even accompany you on your trip. Some CVBs offer familiarization trips (FAMs) for organizers with group business throughout the year, showcasing the very best the destination or city has to offer. These FAMs are often hosted or partially hosted—but only attend if you have the potential for real business there.
  • CSR & Team Building: CVBs can aid administrative professionals in finding right-fit partners for social impact initiatives for upcoming events. CVBs are partners with local charities, nonprofits, and NGOs that can benefit from events and have pre-developed programs and team building activities that will enable attendees to leave a positive footprint on the local community.
  • Thought Leadership: CVBs have connections to local thought leaders. Administrative professionals can capitalize on these subject matter experts by sourcing speakers and facilitators locally in a wide range of areas to increase engagement and inspire imagination while creating a sense of place at their meetings and events.
  • Concessions & Services: Depending on the size and scope of your event, CVBs may be able to find discounts on venues, transportation, and services. They also might have access to subvention, which is financial support offered by host destinations or governments in exchange for the economic impact an event might have on the local community. If your dates are flexible, many CVBs also offer seasonal promotions that include a variety of concessions and discounts.
  • Marketing Support: CVBs offer dynamic, professional photos and videos to aid in marketing campaigns for meetings and events. Often they offer prepared print and digital ads, postcards, fun facts, email signature images, city logos, and more. Administrative professionals can use these to help promote upcoming events and create excitement among anticipated attendees.

IAAP has teamed with MPI to develop a specialty, Meeting and Event Planning (MEP), and you can earn it exclusively at  IAAP CAPstone 2020. CAPstone 2020 is only for those taking the CAP exam in 2020 or those who hold an active CAP and wish to earn a focused specialty certificate.

Join your peers March 16-18, 2020, at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, for this incredible opportunity. Class size is limited to ensure personalized learning, so register today!


The Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credential is a prestigious honor thousands have earned over the last 15 years. Adding the CAP after your name proves to the world not only that you have the knowledge to be great at your job, but also that you are committed to your profession, success, and lifelong learning.

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