How to Work With a Destination to Plan Your Next Event

A local DMO or CVB can be the secret weapon to planning a successful event.

From sourcing speakers and curating educational offerings to coordinating sponsors, planning an annual conference is not an easy task to accomplish—let alone accomplish well.

Savvy meeting planners know there’s a resource they can have in their corner to help things go smoothly as they work to delight meeting attendees. Fostering strong relationships with destinations can help set your annual meetings apart from the rest.

You may be familiar with the work that destination marketing organizations (DMO) or convention and visitor bureaus (CVB) do to promote their destinations in order to increase the number of travelers to the area. While that is often a primary focus, these organizations do a lot more than marketing.

To get the inside scoop on the ways DMOs and CVBs can help when planning your next event, we turned to the team at Visit Reno Tahoe.

Unique Venues Make a Place Shine

The staff at DMOs and CVBs are experts on their destination’s venues and what makes their city unique. Depending on the size and tone of your event, they can help you choose a venue to fit your needs.

“You may be aware of the larger, more high-profile venues, but local staff can get to know your event, attendees and goals to help you choose locations that will lend to a more memorable meeting,” explained Charles Harris, president and CEO of Visit Reno Tahoe.

Many visitors may be familiar with larger recognizable venues in Reno Tahoe, like the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Reno Events Center or National Bowling Stadium.

While each of those venues are ideal for large groups, there are also lesser known venues like the M.S. Dixie II—a southern-style paddle wheeler that takes visitors on a cruise in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe—and the scenic Wilbur D. May Museum and Arboretum.

Local Experts With Local Connections

​​It’s only natural to want to work with teams and vendors you know and trust. But what happens when you’re looking to meet in a new area and you don’t know where to turn? The teams at a destination’s CVB or DMO are like a living rolodex. They know where to find the best vendors for everything from transportation vendors to catering to hotel rooms.

“To take things a step further, they also may know questions to ask you may not even be aware of,” Harris explained. “After all, they plan meetings with these venues year-round for a wide variety of group and visitor profiles.”

Need additional “feet on the ground” to greet attendees, work registration tables, or serve as tour guides of the area? A CVB or DMO can help provide this service.

These groups can also help you to become familiar with the resources in the area where you plan to meet.

For example, many may be familiar with Reno as a destination for gaming and a hub for travel to nearby Lake Tahoe. What they may not realize, Harris says, is that a diversified tech economy is booming in the area, allowing for new and exciting excursion opportunities, such as tours of the Tesla gigafactory.

A local team can introduce a meeting planner to these facets of a region that they may not otherwise be aware of.

More Than Just a Local Directory

As area locals, the staff at a DMO or CVB is able to offer objective suggestions with firsthand knowledge as to what works and what doesn’t in a property, venue or with an activity.

Let’s say you’d like to plan an event like a fun run as part of your annual meeting. They’ll be able to tell you why the route you’ve had your eye on will—or won’t—work out.

“In the same vein, DMOs offer unbiased recommendations and complimentary services based on extensive local experience and area knowledge, helping you get the most for your budget,” Harris said.

“A local team can also help because they’re aware of destination incentives, such as no attrition and any flexible cancellation policies that may come in handy for your event,” Harris explained. “They’ll also know a lot about the different area properties, and any group deals and preferred rates they may be offering.”

When it comes down to it, local destination experts at a CVB or DMO can offer more than just a list of suggested hotel properties and venues. They are truly a meeting planner’s best friend, valuable resource and trusted partner.

If you’re interested in checking out the Reno Tahoe area from the pros that know it best, you may qualify for an all-expense-paid site visit through Reno Tahoe’s Come See, Fly Free program. Learn more!