Maybe you've already had personal experience with Convention Bureaux. Or maybe you're new to the event industry, and you're not sure what a Convention Bureau can offer you in terms of support.
We live in an extremely fast-moving world - nobody knows this better than event managers. They are under constant time pressure and need to get the right information quickly and without any diversions in order to successfully hold their events. And of course, you have to be able to rely on your source of information. There is nothing worse than an unreliable source.
Convention bureaux play an enormously important role here. We have summarised what you can expect from a Convention Bureau, or actually what you should expect, in a checklist.
What is a Convention Bureau actually?
A Convention Bureau is typically a non-profit organisation in major cities and tourist destinations that is responsible for providing information regarding a location and supporting event planners. The Convention Bureau is often part of the regional tourism organisation, is a department or completely independent, or is otherwise supported by the city or country.
This also makes a lot of sense, because a region profits considerably from the revenue that the tourism industry brings in (e.g., jobs or tax revenue). Another reason why the advice and services of Convention Bureaux is usually free of charge. So, there is no need for you to have a bad conscience if you use the support of the Convention Bureau.
Additionally, you should make sure that the Convention Bureau is independent in its advice - because this is the only way you can ensure that you are indeed being recommended the best location, the best hotel or the perfect service for your needs!
10 points for event planners when working with Convention Bureaux
1. Expect a personal contact person
Of course, you can research a lot of things online nowadays. But one thing is lacking in intensive search engine research: the personal advice, the exchange of information with someone who knows the destination thoroughly and can give you tips that you cannot find online. A good Convention Bureau will provide you with a contact person, who will accompany you from the beginning to the end of your event.
2. Have the site inspection coordinated (beforehand) by the local Convention Bureau
The time comes at every event where you need to get a picture of the site. The most important tasks for your site inspection are:
- Checking the locations and hotels
- Personal impression of a place as well as the distances
- Meetings with local event agencies (DMCs or PCOs)
- Service providers for technology, catering and everything else you may need for your event
Time is money, and getting in touch with all the service providers, convention centres and hotels, and then coordinating meetings, can be a hassle.
A good Convention Bureau does this for you. It will even accompany you to the appointments and stand by your side as an advisor. You can relax and look forward to the day of the on-site appointment. Afterwards, you will receive offers and can peacefully put together the perfect combination of hotel, venue and service provider pool.
3. Expect comprehensive information about the destination
Flight and train connections, hotel and meeting room capacities, ideas for supporting programmes and the right providers, up to information about the business location and science location. You need comprehensive insights into the facts and figures, so that your corporate event, incentive, congress or seminar is successful. You can then estimate the feasibility of your event at the destination and evaluate the logistics and accessibility.
4. Looking for sponsors? Get connected to local businesses
Many event planners rely on local business contacts to be potential sponsors or partners. The Convention Bureau arranges contacts and connects you with decision-makers - valuable leads to acquire sponsors.
5. Benefit from contacts to science, research and start-ups
Not only pharmaceutical or industry and science congresses need contacts to local universities and research institutions. These often create exciting start-ups or can connect you to high-ranking speakers. A well-connected Convention Bureau knows researchers, developers and start-up incubators.
6. Gain access to free photos and videos for event marketing
During the selection process, but at the latest when you start marketing the event, you might also want to show the event venue in a perfect light. For this purpose, you need high-quality photos, videos or infographics. First contact point: The Convention Bureau. This will save you the cost of expensive stock material and give you the usage rights at the same time.
7. Expect creative input for your event planning - from artists to unusual locations
If you don’t exactly have the budget to fly Rihanna in as a special guest for your gala evening, you'll need access to the creative local community. Your Convention Bureau should know all about and be able to connect you to musicians, artists, actors, and local acts.
The same applies to creative and unusual locations for evening events or other event elements. It is particularly important here that the Convention Bureau does not work on commission and can really offer independent advice.
8. Win political decision-makers as patrons
When trying to contact local politicians, you sometimes feel like you’ve been given the run-around. It takes a lot of time to get through to those responsible persons. It is easier if the Convention Bureau takes care of initiating these contacts.
9. Outsource the event management
Sometimes, not only time but also staff is scarce. And if you are unfamiliar with a city, you should rely on professionals. So, ask your Convention Bureau for a suitable local event agency (DMC - Destination Management Companies) that can take some of your work off your hands. Also, DMCs have the necessary experience to implement creative ideas within the budget. They often also have a better base for negotiations, as they hold events for clients several times a year.
10. Get to know local influencers and press contacts in your industry
Media coverage in local media underlines the importance of your event. Many industries actively incorporate online influencers and opinion leaders in their communication strategy. A well-connected Convention Bureau must be able to help you find these local multipliers and build partnerships.
Watch our explanatory video
A good Convention Bureau takes a lot of work off your hands. Especially when looking for information on choosing the right destination, hotels, locations and service providers, you should contact the respective Convention Bureau.
A brief summary of the convention bureau checklist:
- Does the Convention Bureau provide you with a personal contact?
- Does the Convention Bureau coordinate on-site appointments for you?
- Do you receive all relevant information, facts and figures about the destination?
- Does the Convention Bureau communicate with local businesses?
- Can the Convention Bureau connect you to local science and research partners?
- Does the Convention Bureau offer use of photos and videos free of charge?
- Do you get creative input for your event planning (artists, locations, etc.)?
- Does the Convention Bureau arrange contacts with local decision-makers?
- Do you get support for the local visitor promotion?
- Can the Convention Bureau provide you with contacts of local media and influencers?
- A little extra question: Does the Convention Bureau work independently of agency commission fees?