Published on: Sun, Oct 21, 2018
They clustered along the sidewalks. They wandered in groups. Here and there, they gathered at tables and browsed in shops. They crowded Armadillo Ale Works for live music, Twilight Tunes having moved to its rain location. Downtown was full of them this past Thursday night, easy to spot with bright red Discover Denton lanyards around their necks. They were visitors, some 600 delegates attending the 2018 Texas CASA Convention at the Denton Convention Center.
Denton playing host city to the Texas CASA Convention is the fruit of Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) labor. The economic impact of this group on our local economy is an estimated $252,000 and it is just one of 50 the CVB has put on Denton venue books.
Getting their Denton decision is just the first step, however.
CVB Director of Sales Dana Lodge started servicing the CASA Convention when the contract for their October 17-19, 2018 convention in Denton was signed two years ago. “Closing the deal is just the beginning of our relationship with meeting planners and where our work really gets underway,” Dana said.
Servicing is the part of the sale where we actually deliver our product: Denton. Every group’s mission and delegate demographics demand unique servicing requirements.
As many groups do, CASA opted for an off-site event (away from the convention center) so delegates could experience Denton’s sense of place. Among many details the CVB covered, we coordinated motorcoach transportation to move the entire delegation between the convention center and downtown and assembled welcome boxes with info about local eats, shopping and entertainment. We partnered with the Denton Main Street Association to prepare for the larger-than-average crowd at Twilight Tunes and encourage stores to stay open later than usual. And we prepared all those lanyards plus staffed an information booth at the convention center throughout the conference.
Our philosophy is that delivering on our brand is every bit as important as promoting it, just as much so with smaller groups. Take the 12 VIPs from Olathe, Kansas for instance. Their study tour of Denton happened to overlap giant CASA’s Denton dates exactly.
Olathe is on a mission to assess their community assets across the board against like cities. The primary criteria for a “like city” are similar population, suburban in a metropolitan region and the County seat. From there, they narrowed the field by individual city amenities, statistics, recognition and media coverage. When they identified Denton as a match, their Chamber of Commerce reached out to ours. We put feet to their plan, hosted a site visit for the organizing team back in August, and rolled out the red carpet on Olathe’s dollar when the full group arrived last Wednesday.
The mayor, city council members, ISD Superintendent, and Chamber officials and staff, including the Convention & Visitors Bureau and Economic Development directors, comprised the Olathe delegation. Their study honed in primarily on Denton’s tourism and economic development success, workforce development, and community relationships.
By strategically allocating resources, the CVB and Chamber handled coordination of their entire 3-day itinerary while simultaneously servicing Texas CASA. With help from Chamber leaders and volunteers, we supplied welcome bags, led guided city tours, lined up meeting space, speakers, dining locations and opportunities to experience the Denton vibe.
In the meetings industry, servicing is part of the package. But our Denton CVB team takes servicing a step farther. It’s a critical component of every CVB initiative taking many creatively, customized forms. The Mean Green Game Day campaign demonstrates this perfectly.
The now five-year-old Mean Green Game Day partnership between the CVB and UNT Athletics targets alums, enticing them to visit and rediscover Denton. Delivering on the campaign promise means expanding game day beyond the game to include a fuller Denton experience. Our solution for delivering that product is transportation and downtown business participation. The Mean Green Game Day shuttles and a game day-engaged city-center are the servicing pieces that complete the expected experience, in turn generating spending downtown and more fans in the stands at Apogee.
Big business like Texas CASA is fun for our team because it is so obviously visible. Smaller conferences’ delegates blend into populated areas more easily. Individual visitors meld in even more, like visiting Mean Green fans among game day crowds. Regardless of the category in which they arrive, our CVB goal is to manage every guest’s visit for the best possible #dentoning experience through servicing.
Our brand lives up to its reputation, our city coffers reap economic benefits and visitors become ambassadors.
We are original, independent Denton, at your service.