Destination marketing organizations have many names – convention and visitor bureaus, travel bureaus, visitors’ bureaus, welcome centers, tourism bureaus, travel and tourism bureaus, information centers and more. Regardless of the name, these institutions offer many great services to the traveling public and journalists.
A convention and visitor bureau is a “destination marketing” organization. Both in Ohio, and nationally, most convention and visitor bureaus are not-for-profit organizations that work independently under the auspices of a board of trustees. The fundamental mission of a convention and visitor bureau is the promotion of visitor and business travel, which generates overnight lodging for a destination. Convention and visitor bureaus are the most important tourism marketing organizations in the State of Ohio. They are directly responsible for travel and tourism “product awareness” to visitors. Billions of direct and indirect revenue, and taxes are generated into the state and local economy due to the prevailing marketing expertise of Ohio’s convention and visitor bureaus.
How is a Convention and Visitor Bureau Funded?
The primary funding source is usually derived from a tax (transient lodging tax) that a hotel guest pays on lodging in the community of the convention and visitor bureau. In some communities, the convention and visitor bureau also offers a membership program to enhance its revenue. Because bureau funding is directly linked to how many hotel rooms there are in a community, budget sizes vary greatly. The underlying mission, however remains the same – destination marketing.
How Does a Convention and Visitor Bureau Work?
A convention and visitor bureau’s marketing initiatives typically are achieved through some or all of the following: trade association marketplaces, advertising, distribution of promotional and collateral material, direct sales, hosting familiarization tours and other hospitality functions. The target decision maker of the marketing initiative is not typically a resident in the community. Most often, if the visitor is going to spend the night in a hotel, they are from at least 100 miles away. Therefore, the marketing activity usually takes place or is directed outside the convention and visitor bureau’s community.
How can you use a CVB as a resource?
A convention and visitor bureau is designed to provide information to tourists, the local community and the media. A local CVB can be a great resource for a story you are writing, offering local insights, area photography and events calendars, trend identification, tourism-related business contacts in the community, industry education, and legislative awareness. “We try to anticipate what each contact may be interested in and tailor information to meet their needs,” says Joan Van Offeren, OACVB’s President and Executive Director of Lake Erie Shores and Islands. “Our goal is to provide the best area resources and advice to get people where they need to go and have a positive experience during their visit.”