Thursday, February 23, 2012

5 Ways for Destination Management Companies and Event Providers to Become Local Area Experts

Succeeding as a Destination Management services provider or Events Services company and handling large groups requires a special set of skills - expert people-management, superior organization, an altered sense of timing (things take longer with large groups), and the desire to achieve the best experience for each and every participant, no matter how large the group. And while there are many companies that handle large group logistics, relatively few have dedicated the time to become local area experts and really delve into all their local region has to offer. Doing so will not only set your services apart and add to your company's credibility as a logistics expert, but will also enhance marketing opportunities by allowing you to offer new excursions and activities for all of your groups.

Becoming a local area expert and developing the personal relationships to back that up is a time-consuming quest and requires a commitment to stay on top of things, but some pre-planning and organization can go a long way toward maximizing your time investment. Here are 5 ways to get started in your local area:

1. Set up Google Alerts - This service allows you to monitor the web for interesting new content about a subject matter of your choice - a great way to stay current on activity trends, or be informed about what your competitors are doing. (Be sure to use quotation marks around your search term if it's more than one word - otherwise the search engine will give you any results it finds for any of the single words you type in)

2. Subscribe to your area's top Events Calendars - most have a feature now that allows you to select your areas of interest, then subscribe to e-mail postings/alerts. And while you're at it, set up a new e-mail account that is just for these notices so it won't clog your regular Inbox, but you can still have handy access to the listings at any time, without having to search each Calendar every time you need to know what's going on locally.

3. Harvest the local associations and Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) websites. For example - have a wine region nearby? Chances are there is a vineyard association or a winery marketing association with a wonderful website full of great events info for groups. Don't rely just on your local Convention and Visitors Bureau for info, since most of them now use a paid advertising model for their listings and you could miss some great local venues worth discovering.

4. Become a local tourist. Get out there and drive around! Go see things in person, take a guided tour if any are offered in your area, and personally check out the local events and activities - there is no better way to see if you can recommend something for your clients than to experience it yourself.

5. Meet & Greet. New people, not the same ones over and over! Make appointments with new venue managers, go see the local wineries, make it a point to dine out at a new restaurant each month. Meet the people and establish new relationships - you'll have fun doing it, and your business and your groups will benefit from all of your efforts.

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