Bureau Pooleing Resources
One good thing is the two are tied together. Once the city becomes better known, it’s all but certain to be serviced by a discount airliner. Both are being worked on.
But one thing that doesn’t need work is the city’s affordability factor, at least compared to many of the first-tier markets the Convention and Visitors Bureau has been bumping heads with since
“The first-tier cities are so expensive for middle-range associations. Most middle-range associations are volunteer associations, and the individuals pay for their rooms. They just can’t afford to go to
“Two things happen. One, the meeting department of a trade association will look for an affordable location. Two,
JSP Marketing has provided CVB with convention leads for two years. Having a consultant in the nation’s capital, where 4,000 associations are located, has paid off for the bureau. CVB Vice President of Sales George Helmstead told the Operations Committee of the Convention and Arena Authority that leads coming from
“We’re bidding against groups in
“We just booked the National Association of Retired and Active Federal Employees, and that is a huge meeting for us. We’re working on the postal masters convention. There is an association for everything.”
“Often, it’s like picking a needle out of a haystack. There is a lot out there yet to be identified that we haven’t identified, and we’ll continue to do that. I think it’s a bright outlook for us, especially with the new JW (Marriott) coming on, as long as they give us the type of rates that we need,” he said.
“For us to be attractive without the airfare — and that’s one of our major hurdles — is that our (hotel) rates need to be lower enough where we overcome (the airfare). They have to switch planes, and it costs this much more. So we have to be very competitive on a rate to stay attractive.”
Another way the bureau stays competitive is by sharing its national advertising cost with the three other cities that JSP Marketing represents. The current print ad — Four Great Cities, One Phone Call — is running in a national trade publication. It features
“What you have to understand right now is the business that we book doesn’t want to stay at the airport and doesn’t want to bus. They want to be able to walk to any meeting, so we’re limited by the hotel rooms that we have downtown,” he said.
“With the new JW, we’ll be right around 1,000. The total room nights for a group may be around 2,000 for a convention. So we’ve got to book a lot of those, and you’ve got a lot of challenges there. But in a rough nutshell, the more we bid, the more we get people’s faces down here, and maybe the next time we get it. It’s an awareness thing. It’s being active here in D.C.”
The Affordability Factor
An industry source reported last summer the city is more affordable for convention delegates than many of the markets the local Convention and Visitors Bureau competes against for meetings.
Source: Runzheimer International, August 2006