Unlike leisure travelers, meetings and events planners come to destination management organization (DMO) 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.”
Terri Roberts, program manager at 2Synergize, a Simpleview consulting company, conducts extensive buyer insight interviews with planners to understand their needs when kicking off the research process for picking a destination.
“It's clear from a myriad of conversations with planners that when they head to a destinations meetings page, they are very intent on finding out if their meeting fits in the destination and who they should connect with on the DMO sales team,” she said.
Here are six ideas for including purposeful content on your meetings microsite to help planners put your destination on the shortlist and request an RFP:
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 a 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.
One of the first things they need to know is simply whether your destination can accommodate their requirements for meeting space. Visit Cincy offers an interactive tool where planners can input the number of meeting rooms they need, the minimum square footage, and their preferred venue location. A list then populates with options that fit the criteria.
Visit Spokane has a “Will your event fit?” feature on its website to help planners see if their event will fit in the city’s convention center. The convention center map includes an interactive floor plan and a virtual tour, along with virtual tours, as well as a printable map with capacity information.
Let planners hear from colleagues who’ve chosen your destination in the past.
Hearing from colleagues gives 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.
Visit Salt Lake shares a video featuring meeting and convention planners who discuss their experiences discovering Salt Lake and how it is suited as a world-class destination for their upcoming events.
Once you’ve built your meetings site to be practical, it’s time to make it pretty.
Make the site come alive with video and User Generated Content (UGC) specific to meetings. Not only are they visually interesting, but they also 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 Indy’s comprehensive and colorful meetings site includes plenty of UGC to help planners picture their attendees in the destination enjoying events and leisure activities:
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a virtual tour worth? Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau includes a meetings-focused virtual tour on its convention district page that takes viewers into venues and helps them understand the distance between hotels and meeting spaces. SKYNAV, a Simpleview partner, created the virtual tour.
Personalize your pitch to different niche markets.
Visit Lex put a lot of effort into offering information tailored to different intellectual capital. From equine and medical to religious and technology, planners can dig deep to see how Lexington can work for them.
Offer a meeting planner guide that can be studied in depth.
Because planners are collecting information from multiple DMO websites, having a downloadable planner guide allows them to compare destinations more in-depth and to have a handy reference. Ideally, you’ll want to track via the download button.
Visit Corpus Christi’s meeting planner guide is available for downloading, viewing online, and sharing. In addition to including information on incentives and event spaces, it capitalizes on travel trends by giving reasons why attendees might want to turn their attendance into a “workcation” and enjoy local attractions such as the beach, fishing, and golfing.
Help planners understand who their contact is with a robust staff listing, including geographic territories, markets segments, and size of groups
Visit Salt Lake provides its staff, their titles and photos, market segments, size of groups, and phone and email information. Each staff member also shares their favorite hidden gems of the Salt Lake area, which is a nice way of sharing a bit of their personality.
Another example of providing good contact information for sales staff is Visit Denver, which includes contact information based on region, specialty markets, and peak room size. This saves planners the inconvenience of having to contact a generic email address to be referred to the right person.
For more information about the buyer insights program and to help your destination make the planner shortlist, watch this short video to learn about the buyer insights program and the process Roberts follows to gather buyer insights.