The Convention and Visitors Bureau industry became classified as the “Destination Marketing” industry about 15 years ago. Inherent in this catch phrase is the idea the CVB is responsible for selling the combined assets that comprise the area it represents to a variety of target markets. The target markets traditionally include meetings and conventions, sports and athletic events, group leisure travelers (motorcoach), and individual and family vacationers. The combined assets of the area represented by the CVB can include everything from the convention center to festivals and special events to agricultural and ecotourism opportunities.
The intent is to sell the destination first and then the related businesses can benefit from the influx of short-term visitors who need hotels, retail, restaurants, entertainment, etc., providing increased spending, tax dollars, job, and investment in the region.
During the past five years or so, there has been an increasing awareness of the need to balance the traditional marketing role of CVBs with a more proactive participation in the product development process. Product for CVBs is more than just expanded convention centers, improved air service, a museum/cultural center project, or additional shopping opportunities. Product development and management needs include improving the hospitality and customer service attitude of the entire destination, looking at signage and overall visitor information dissemination, providing information for potential developers in tourism-related projects, and aggressive communication to funding sources and the business community at large regarding the value of tourism product development.
The most recent focus for the management of destination marketing has been the increased focus on expanding the awareness of visitors to the range of possibilities to include in their visits once they’ve made the determination to visit the area; providing extra value to guarantee repeat customers and referrals; and more effective packaging to assure value, ease, and diversity in more frequent, shorter duration vacations standard in today’s fast-paced lifestyles.
On a day-to-day basis, CVBs wrestle with balancing the amount of time and resources invested in external marketing, advocating and supporting product development in facilities and attractions, as well as community preparation for excellence in hosting visitors, and communicating the efforts and results of the aforementioned initiatives. The Destination Marketing field has become the Destination Management field as the mandate to make certain both marketing and product development are managed at optimal levels became clear with increased competition and a tighter economy.
As the Peoria area moves forward with development, PACVB will play an active and integral role as the primary outside marketing force for the region and as an outspoken advocate to develop projects and programs that will be of the greatest benefit to the most people in our area. In this way, we fulfill our obligation to be a Destination Management business. IBI