By Beth Buehler
The world seems filled with acronyms, those pesky-yet-handy abbreviations formed from the initial letters of a group of words. Sometimes an acronym like NASA become more commonly used than the full name: National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The meetings and events industry, like many industries, has plenty so here is a brief insight into deciphering some of the alphabet soup combinations so you can communicate like a pro and know how Colorado CVB’s, DMO’s and DMC’s can help.
What is a CVB? A convention and visitor bureau (CVB) is a local tourism marketing organization that specializes in developing convention, meeting and group business as well as leisure travel to a city, county or region. The Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau, and VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau are a few examples of CVBs in Colorado.
VISIT DENVER, for example, describes itself a private, nonprofit trade association that is responsible for marketing metro Denver as a convention and leisure destination. The Bureau is contracted by the City & County of Denver to act as the official marketing agency for Denver, governed by a board of directors and employs a staff of more than 60 professionals, including several employees who specialize in convention sales and service and assist other groups as well. As is true for most, the CVB is funded through a voter-approved lodging tax, membership dues and fundraising efforts.
What is a DMO? A destination marketing organization (DMO) often is the local CVB, but not every DMO is a CVB. Why the difference? Some destinations don’t have extensive meeting and event facilities or it isn’t a big focus for the local tourism office, even if a decent amount of space is available. In several smaller mountain towns, much of the function space is mainly at the ski resort, so that entity handles most of the convention and conference sales.
Chambers of Commerce in some towns are the DMO, with examples being the Aspen Chamber Resort Association and Visit Greeley (also the Greeley Chamber of Commerce). In Vail, the organization is Vail Valley Partnership, which focuses on destination sales and marketing, Chamber activities and economic growth and advocacy.
How do CVBs and DMOS help? Both offer many services for free to meeting and event planners and should be among the first points of contact in a destination, as they can offer a helpful overview of their geographic area, insights and an extensive network of local contacts and partners. Staff can help planners save a ton of legwork by directing them to properties, venues, restaurants, outfitters and destination management companies that work with groups. Some also have a request for proposal (RFP, yes another acronym!) process that planners can use to avoid all the time necessary in contacting individual entities.
What is a DMC? A destination marketing company (DMC) is totally different than a CVB or DMO. DMCs are businesses that specialize in meetings and events, work in particular destinations and charge for services. The Association of Destination Management Executives International defines a DMC as “a professional services company possessing extensive local knowledge, expertise and resources and specializing in the design and implementation of events, activities, tours, transportation and program logistics.” I also like ADMEI’s description of DMCs as “architects and general contractors for meeting professionals.”
What is Destination Colorado? Now you are probably asking, how does Destination Colorado (there is no acronym!) fit in? Destination Colorado is a nonprofit organization designed to provide Colorado resources and information for meeting and event planners. Among Destination Colorado’s more than 120 members (including several CVBs, DMOs and DMCs) and within the organization’s website, planners can find solutions to every requirement and planning challenge. So essentially, Destination Colorado is Colorado’s CVB!
Don’t get too bogged down in the acronym jungle. Use this brief overview to understand some of the key ABCs of the meeting and event industry in Colorado and beyond.
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado in all seasons.