Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVB) are one of many resources available to your reunion. Think of them as representing your reunion destination. Working with a CVB is like telephoning savvy relatives who can tell you what’s best about their city. CVB’s are one-stop-shops for information and ideas, well-versed about the destination area’s current status in facilities and attractions.
CVBs can help you decide upon your destination and provide lots of help once you’ve decided. If you still haven’t determined on your destination, let a CVB sell themselves to your reunion.
When contacting a CVB, ask for the reunion specialist. Introduce your reunion, including budget limitations. Ask for references from groups that have recently met in the city/area. Ask them to distribute information about your reunion to prospective hotels or work with you to develop a Request for Proposal for hotels. Once you have quotes from hotels or vendors, you can compare costs and amenities, locate tour companies, attractions and restaurants. Ask if they provide a site inspection or familiarization trip. Ask for brochures about area attractions, tours, restaurants, and if they have any promotional items (mugs, t-shirts, tote bags or key chains) available for visitors.
CVBs provide quick, unbiased help to locate the right ingredients in their area for a successful reunion. They are required to provide impartial information so you can be confident that the bureau representative will fairly represent all hotels, tour companies, attractions and restaurants in their city or designated area. Sometimes CVBs are membership organizations who represent just their members, so some locations (non-profit church and YMCA camps, county and state parks) may not be listed among their resources.
CVBs are the answer to a question from Ivan R. Scott, Columbus, Ohio, who asked if it’s possible to plan a reunion in Reno, Nevada, without visiting beforehand. Of course, the CVB can provide the help and assistance Mr. Scott needs. But we’d certainly encourage him to ask the CVB to arrange a site visit because while you can organize a reunion without visiting a place, it is much wiser to visit and confirm it is right for your reunion.
Many CVB’s include family reunion organizers in familiarization tours (FAM) if they meet criteria established for a designated FAM. Take advantage of an opportunity. Personalized site inspections can also be arranged. Usually, your only cost is getting there. Some CVB’s charge a deposit, refunded to those who attend, to ensure you’re seriously considering the reunion site.
If you must develop a Request for Proposal to solicit quotes from hotels, include these items.
- An introduction to the history and purpose of your reunion.
- Reunion dates or approximate dates.
- Estimate the number and ages of members attending.
- Budget range.
- Estimate of number and type of rooms.
- Special needs (handicapped access, no smoking space, special diets, recreational requirements).