Those immortal words were often spoken by legendary Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi at the start of every football season camp, to rookies and veterans alike. Coach Lombardi felt that it was the fundamentals that made a team, and that a team will succeed if it relies on sticking to the basics of, in this case, football.

In honor of the inauguration of football season, I would like to take the opportunity to offer a similar introductory course of Convention & Visitors Bureau operations. Consider this the right hand of friendship to introduce us, along with what we do, to you. We would like to give you a peek into our playbook…

Not a week goes by that someone I meet for the first time has a puzzled look on their face when I say where I work. Some ask questions, but most just say, “That’s nice,” and carry on with little or no inquisitiveness. Why should you care that the Peoria area has a Convention and Visitors Bureau anyway? In a word: money. And lots of it. Visitors to the Peoria area bring millions of new dollars to our doorstep with one purpose and one purpose only: to spend it with us.

But back to what we do. Convention & Visitors Bureaus, like many businesses, have evolved over time. In fact, the term CVB is hackneyed and outdated. Today, we are known as the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), a term that more accurately depicts what we do on a daily basis. In short, we are the designated organization to showcase, promote and market the Peoria area (which includes eight central Illinois counties) to the world to bring about an increase in economic impact and vitality through a propagation in visitors from conventions, meetings, sporting events, motorcoach visits and leisure overnight excursions.

Our Peoria-area DMO is the primary intermediary between meeting and event planners, as well as our 30+ area hotels, dozens of restaurants, numerous meeting facilities and our 400+ dues-paying partners. It is our job to investigate, discover, understand, develop and confirm the growth of visitors who will come to pay us a visit each week.

But our job does not end with finding the potential visitor. We are also a vital link in the planning process for visitors, who come for a day or a week. It is our responsibility to make the day tripper or meeting planner’s pending visit to the Peoria area as painless and effortless as possible.

Among the other tasks that our organization regularly takes on for visitors include handling special requests such as street closings, VIP receptions at select venues, housing, entertainment selections, unique agenda and money-saving choices, tours and spouse programs, and off-site banquets, along with connecting the dots to unique services and hidden gems that are not readily apparent to the visitors and guests.

And, we provide all of this client service at no charge to our groups and visitors. What the Peoria Area CVB does is of great value to the hundreds of groups and events we bring into the local economy on a regular basis. Planners and visitors alike agree that there is no replacement for the intimate destination knowledge that the Peoria-area DMO possesses. And that is a touchdown for the Peoria area. iBi