Working with a convention and visitor bureau (CVB): Interview with Stacy Thorpe, meeting planner
A convention and visitor bureau (CVB) can be quite an asset when planning a meeting or event. With the meeting industry going through a massive shift thanks to COVID-19, CVBs are becoming even more of an essential ressource. I interviewed Canadian meeting and event planners to find out how they are coping during the pandemic and how CVBs can further support the recovery. Read the second article of this serie, with Micky Lubek and the third one with Gail Brathwaite.
Stacy Thorpe has been in the meetings and events industry and with CWT Meetings & Events for over 20 years. Having worked in roles on CWT’s marketing, operations, account management, business development, and event solutions and sourcing teams, Stacy has a well-rounded knowledge of the industry.
She brings that insight into her current role designing creative programs, negotiating supplier contracts and developing comprehensive program budgets for our clients. Her portfolio includes various types and sizes of programs, such as conferences, sales incentive programs and meetings. Additionally, she has extensive destination knowledge as she has travelled to over 53 countries throughout her career.
Have you worked with CVB’s before?
Yes. I typically engage the CVB to see what, if any incentive offers they might have for my client and assistance they can provide for a site inspection. If I am not using a DMC, I might ask them for assistance with ideas for offsite venues, activities and entertainment companies.
Are relationships key to your process pre-during-post when you are planning events, conferences or incentive travel programs?
Yes, they are probably one of the most important elements of planning a program. When people have formed a solid business relationship, they care more and tend to be more willing to go above and beyond to exceed expectations.
What is the most important aspect of our relationship with a CVB?
Knowledge and relationships in the market. I want a CVB to be my expert in the field and assist me in bridging the gap with the suppliers located in the destination.
How has this changed during the pandemic?
I think because a lot of suppliers are working either limited hours or are completely closed down, CVBs’ assistance in getting responses from suppliers has been critical in helping me finalize proposals.
What resources are the most important to you that you feel the CVB can provide for you?
If we are not using a destination management company (DMC), then the CVBs in-market relationships, contacts and knowledge are very important to me. They are also a good resource when I am not familiar with hotels in a destination and would like some insight. I like to ensure that I have checked with CVBs regarding any special incentives they are offering to bring business into the destination because they can bring significant savings or add great value toward my client’s bottom line
What has been the most challenging for you during this pandemic, from the planning perspective?
I think the most challenging aspect is the fact that the future is still very much uncertain with potential additional waves of the pandemic and further lockdowns. Consistent communication with CVBs is crucial in understanding which venues are open and the latest health and safety measures at an event’s planned destination. During these unprecedented times, CVBs are definitely an event organizers eyes and ears on the ground!