In Contenttrends

Unlike leisure tourists, meetings and events planners come to DMO (Destination Management Organisation) websites with one mission in mind — to discover if this destination is the right destination for their particular meeting or event.

You want to make it easy for them to say, “Yes, it is.”

Here are some ideas for motivating event planners to put your destination on their shortlist and request an RFP after visiting your website:

1.  Planners are on a mission. As you strive to be the central source of information, give them 'the needed stuff but not too much fluff.'

Planners arrive at your site with purpose. Yours is one of several websites they’re likely visiting that day, and they’re looking for a logistical, nuts-and-bolts framework for their meeting or event.

The items they need to find easily include:

  • Facts and figures, including information about facilities, accommodation and transportation
  • A list of services and suppliers for events in your destination
  • Information about sustainability and accessibility
  • Information about meeting incentives
  • Local restrictions and policies around the COVID-19 pandemic; how will you ensure their attendees will be safe and feel comfortable?
  • Who is their sales contact, are they assigned by size of group, market segment or region of the country, and how can they quickly and easily reach them by email and phone?

2.  Make it easy for visitors to search and filter information

Visit Bergen’s Venue Finder functionality was launched last Autumn to allow the Bergen Convention Bureau to handle the large volume of enquiries from event organisers.  Event planners can perform sophisticated searches based on venue type (eg. exhibition centre, museum, restaurant, hotel etc.) to find venues to meet their exact needs, eliminating the need for the team to handle time-consuming enquiries.

The product search results show all the information that event organisers would need.  So, if it’s a hotel, the number of bedrooms, maximum theatre, classroom and banquet seating are all clearly displayed.

3.  Once you’ve built your microsite to be practical, it’s time to make it pretty.

Make the site come alive with video, User Generated Content (UGC) specific to meetings and virtual tours. Not only are they visually interesting, they help considerably with average time on page. Every minute they’re spending on your website is a minute they aren’t on the competition’s site.

Visit Cheltenham has included virtual tours on its site for a number of its key event venues.

4.  Just as planners are on a mission, so are you. Provide a strong call to action and reap the rewards.

Make it as easy as possible for planners to make an enquiry by including prominent calls to action such as phone numbers, dedicated email addresses and online enquiry forms.

5.  Offer a meeting planner guide

Because planners are collecting information from multiple DMO websites, offering a planner guide (that can ideally be downloaded) allows them to compare destinations more in-depth and to have as a handy reference.

Visit West’s guide includes information about travelling to the region, sector specific information, accommodation details and an introduction to venues in both Bristol and Bath.

Visit Bergen’s Toolbox is a great resource which offers planners a range of media including downloadable photos, logos, useful videos, brochures and maps, plus information on writing bids and hiring banners.

6.  Let planners hear from colleagues who’ve chosen your destination in the past.

Hearing from colleagues gives event planners reassurance that choosing your destination is a good decision. This serves not just as a client testimonial but as social proof, too. Offering other planners’ experiences means, first of all, that the destination has planners happy enough to be willing to recommend it. Second, it gives planners a glimpse of the process others went through while researching, planning, and executing their event. 

For examples, check out the Visit West Testimonials page and Visit Bergen also includes videos featuring experiences from previous event organisers, plus future events to inspire confidence. 

7.  Leave planners in no doubt that your destination needs to be the place for your event.

Several of our destinations have included dedicated 'why choose' resources which aim to set their destinations apart from the rest:

Why Cheltenham features a '10 Reasons to Meet in Cheltenham' section.  Or there's Why Exeter and the Conference Plymouth Blog which promotes the latest developments in the city.

For more information on developing an events microsite, or if you would like to know more about adding any of the above features or content to your site, please contact your Account Manager.

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