I made it. Six months in and I’m still here, albeit consuming a significant amount of coffee in the process. I’ve been to St. Louis (a few times), Jefferson City, Paducah and Louisville, KY and Washington, D.C. in the last six months and look forward to my travels in the remainder of this year.
All this travel is for you, Cape Girardeau. From training to sales opportunities, the open road or air is where you can find me at least a few days out of every month. I attended Sales Academy II in Washington, D.C. in March and enjoyed every minute of it. Sales Academy II is all about learning how to better represent and sell your destination. Sales Academy provided attendees with an open session and educational class to discuss issues and concerns facing our destinations. You’d be surprised by how many things we have in common with locations across the United States and internationally.
The great thing about Sales Academy and the organization that hosts it, Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), is that they help sales directors, managers and associates understand that we are all part of a larger network. We are the first point of contact to help you find the right fit for any size meeting. We have a comprehensive view of our destination, local expertise and in-market relationships that planners can utilize. And, we are free to the planner.
Sales Academy discussed strategies for better prospecting, developing a strategic sales plan and developing presentations (BIDS) that are more effective in the destination marketing industry. Sales Academy was very educational, and I look forward to continuing my education in the field with DMAI.
My first sales trip was the Working Women’s Survival Show in St. Charles, MO in late February. Despite the winter storm, attendance was great. (This show is the Leisure Travel market.) I met hundreds of women and a few men who showed an interest in Cape Girardeau. The response to Cape and what we have to offer our visitors here was very positive. Our close proximity to St. Louis is a great asset, and the St. Louis market is a major feeder for Cape Girardeau. At the show, I collected participants’ information to enter in to a drawing to win a ‘Girls Getaway Weekend’ in Cape Girardeau basket. The winner was from Kentucky, and she was thrilled to get the chance to come to Cape. This show is a great place to showcase Cape Girardeau, and I look forward to returning in 2014.
In late March I attended a Group Travel event in St. Louis. This event was smaller, with about 50 participants, but it proved to be very successful. I’ve received several leads from this show. The event is geared towards Group Travel leaders in the St. Louis area who are interested in learning a few ‘tricks of the trade’ and meeting face to face with destination representatives.
The following week I headed back to St. Louis for the Missouri Bank Travel Conference. This conference was great because destinations set up appointments beforehand with bank travel group leaders. This proved to be very useful for me, since I am still settling in to the position. I was able to set appointments and research each bank travel group to see where they were going in the future and where they have gone in the past and could form a preliminary plan of action in selling Cape Girardeau to the group. I’ve received one confirmed booking of a tour group for November and received some leads. Something I do after every show, like Bank Travel and Group Travel, is send out thank you letters and a visitor’s guide to each attendee.
I most recently returned from the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) Symposium in Louisville, KY. To prepare for NASC, I met with the City of Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department for a great tour of all of our sports facilities that are City run and got a general idea of the types of events we would like to recruit. The NASC Symposium is both a selling and professional development event. I set up appointments with event organizers beforehand and met with them over the course of three days. I also participated in several educational sessions regarding sports events and sports tourism. This event helped me gain a better insight into the sports marketing portion of my job here at the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).
I took away with me some great contacts in the industry, both peers and event organizers, and I look forward to following up with them in the coming weeks. I also took away valuable knowledge and am planning on starting a more formal strategic plan in recruiting and maintaining sporting events in Cape Girardeau.
In the coming months, I will be attending the Missouri Meeting and Events Expo and the Joint Meeting Planners Trade Show. These two shows are both for the conferences and conventions portion of my job. I’ll also be attending Missouri Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (MACVB) conference and the DMAI Annual Convention.
Every day I’m learning something new, and the team I work with here at the CVB is great. For all of these shows I attend I take collateral materials with me, and since February we have done some rewriting and reworking of my sales collateral pieces. Everyone in the office pitches in to help with content, editing and design ideas. Teresa, our graphic designer, turns our emails and edits into sales pieces that other markets are jealous of in the industry.
I’ve enjoyed every aspect of my job here at the CVB as Director of Sales since starting in October. Something not mentioned above was our Capitol Days on Tourism trip to Jefferson City. I really enjoyed this trip and speaking with our legislature about the importance of tourism both for our individual communities and for the state of Missouri as a whole. I even met a fellow Cubs fan here in Missouri…but I won’t mention any names.
The past six months have been great and I hope to keep everyone updated on future projects and progress I’ve made in the coming months.
Go, Cape, go!
Director of Sales
Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau