Implement Meetings Marketing Now and Restore Planner Confidence to Meet in Your Destination

By Mya Surrency, Digital Edge

Investing in Meetings Marketing Now

When the economy is in a recession, building a solid foundation for meetings and conventions marketing can ultimately carry a destination’s marketing organization through cataclysmic dips. Unlike leisure travel, meetings are not whimsical economy-driven purchases. The success of the travel and tourism industry is typically heavily dependent upon meetings to drive weekday business, and most often, they are crucial for economic growth beyond the meeting. So, why should CVBs invest in marketing for meetings and conventions business now?

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In an April 2020 encore posting by LinkedIn, Peter Field’s article Advertising in Recession — Long, Short, or Dark? championed the importance of brands advertising in a recession. In it, the esteemed author, public speaker and B2B Institute Research Fellow wrote that “Brand advertising is not about profiting in recession, it is about capitalizing on recovery.”

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The article sourced evidence that marketers who invested in media spend and seized their market opportunity during the 2008 recession “saw 5 times as many very large business effects (such as profit, pricing, share, penetration, etc.) and 4.5 times the annual market share growth.”

CVBs can take data findings and lessons from 2008-2009 and adapt to our current crisis. It may seem like the wrong time to begin or ramp back up meetings marketing, but it is more costly to go completely dark. It is important to change your approach to meetings marketing and focus on where your marketing dollars can have the most impact.

To paraphrase, meetings marketing during COVID-19 is more about giving the planners exactly what they want. During this timeframe, we have had unprecedented access to free research from industry partners like Northstar, MPI, PCMA, and Destination Analysts, among others. The research is clear— planners need to hear from you, need to know how your destination is responding to the crisis and need a CVB’s help. This is why your destination simply can’t wait.

Restoring Meeting and Event Planner Confidence

Planner confidence might not be prevalent right now, but there are ways that CVBs can help restore it. Think of these as companions to your meetings marketing efforts, because without consumer confidence and trust, your marketing can’t thrive.

Be transparent, honest and authentic.

It’s key to be honest, open and resourceful regarding your destination's current situation so planners understand what the possibilities are for meeting today, next month or next year. Develop the information your audience is asking for and distribute to them with an integrated content marketing plan. This plan should be developed in conjunction with your sales team’s direct sales efforts, providing a one-two punch to communicate to planners in your target audience.

Communicate when and how it’s safe to start planning and meeting again.

Planners are hungry for information and safety is a top priority as they look to resume meetings and events. Provide helpful content that informs your audience about safety standards, protocols and best practices moving forward. When possible, show them how your venues have adapted with imagery, video footage and 3D renderings.

Sales teams have uncomfortable conversations. Ask uncomfortable questions.

Having uncomfortable conversations can be difficult, but if you venture to ask sensitive questions, you will be rewarded with details that reveal the pain points that can be addressed and resolved in your meetings marketing campaign. Uncovering needs like this enhances trust and nurtures the relationship to develop brand trust.

Digital Edge has developed a suite of solutions to help CVBs develop appropriate meetings marketing strategies. Utilize the free resources or reach out to let the agency help you on the path to recovery.

About the Author

Mya Surrency headshot
Mya Surrency
Co-Founder
Digital Edge Marketing
Digital Edge is an agency focused on working with CVBs with a specialty in meetings marketing. Mya utilizes her 10+ years of CVB experience create cutting edge meetings marketing techniques from her work with San Francisco Travel, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and Visit Park City (among others). Mya has led the agency to be honored as Inc. Magazine’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America in 2019 and made the Jacksonville Business Journal’s list of 50 Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row.