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The marketing of meeting destinations is a challenging and sometimes strenuous marathon

Yet again we stumble upon the standard deep-rooted question when it comes to meeting and event destinations. Are regional, city and national convention bureaus solely the promoters of a destination or is their main role to create sales? Just when I think we’ve gotten to the bottom of the dilemma, new patients arrive. Most of the time, they are impatient hoteliers, who break under the pressure of greedy hotel owners expecting overnight results.

My typical answer is: “Marketing in the meetings industry is not a sprint with instant results, it is a challenging and sometimes strenuous marathon” Those who understand this, reap the most success in our industry. A textbook example is a regional and global champ – Vienna, which has been operating with this mindset for the past 50 years.”

What comes first, marketing or sales?

If you want to compete in the marathon, you have to have an answer to the chicken or egg question.

Luckily, in our digitalised world, everything can be measured, especially when it comes to marketing and sales. With new technologies on the rise, proving to someone that putting money into your marketing services is a good investment has become considerably easier. Nevertheless, one dilemma still remains, which channels are the most efficient generators of true sale leads.

The biggest delusion advocates of sales representatives and conquistadors of new markets on white horses get caught up in is that sales calls are the only thing that work. In the process of selling MICE services you rarely come across a company where there is only one decision maker. Usually 5 or more people are involved in the process with the number increasing with the size of the company. In an average sales meeting you only meet a few of these so called decision makers. Simply put, sales without serious marketing support don’t bring results. Worse, things can come out as obtrusive and counterproductive.

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The most important thing to know is which are the most powerful sales channels, through which one can generate leads. And no, copying other successful practices won’t work.

Fitting into the story is also reckless glorification of certain events, which are highly reputable among salespeople, despite not having proper ROI measurement. Their success is mostly based on taking advantage of the participants’ weaknesses, who are convinced by the exotic host destination more than sales leads. For them, form is more important than content. Later on, a problem occurs. Cheap contacts from unproductive events start to gather dust, as the great and the good of the meetings industry just aren’t interested in your beloved region.

The money you invest today will bear fruit in the future. This is especially true for meeting planners, which is why general event and marketing evaluation is a challenging role. A B2B event that you attend this year might bring results no earlier than in a year or two.

Experts in content marketing

Considering everything that we’ve mentioned above, playing a remarkably important role when it comes to marketing and sales success are experts in content marketing, SEO masters and digital ninjas. The best of the best have something in common, they understand the connection between sales and marketing and know how to draw a complete 360° marketing-sales circle.

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