For city tourism, meetings mean business

Feb. 21, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by the Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau is tasked with finding the best opportunities to sell Sioux Falls as a destination for conventions, meetings, events and tourism. The CVB sales team will travel 10 to 15 times a year, meeting face-to-face with hundreds of organizations and associations that hold meetings throughout the United States. Careful consideration is given to groups most qualified — based on factors such as size, budget and facilities — who are looking for a destination like Sioux Falls.

Next week, the CVB sales team will travel to Connect Chicago on Feb. 25 and 26 in Itasca, Ill., at Eaglewood Resort & Spa. More than 75 qualified meeting professionals will gather under one roof to do business with a variety of destinations. The annual event focuses on drawing national association, corporate and international meeting professionals through the extensive network of Connect Meetings.

“Connect Meetings keeps moving the meetings industry forward through relationships by providing networking opportunities at more than 30 events,” said Chris Collinson, president of Connect Meetings. “Connect Chicago is a perfect example of how we provide value. High-level association and corporate planners from the greater Chicago area will meet with destinations like Sioux Falls, which can share their stories and book new business.”

Chicago is a market that has shown potential off and on for several years as home to the second-largest number of organizations and associations that plan meetings in the country. It also happens to have the largest convention center in the country, McCormick Place. Believe it or not, McCormick Place competes with business that also will come to Sioux Falls, so the competition is fierce.

“Connect Chicago is a smaller niche trade show we are attending for the first time,” said Jill Niedringhaus, sales manager for the CVB. “It will allow us to gauge the interest from that market as well as any potential for new lead opportunities.”

Connect also produces print publications and marketing opportunities to reach over 100,000 qualified meeting prospects across all verticals interested in Sioux Falls. The CVB does five to 10 media placements across print and digital in a given year, with varying levels of engagement dependent upon the tactic.

This year, the CVB is using a “Plan to Win” marketing campaign message to entice and engage meeting professionals across all meeting and convention sales activities. At one-on-one trade shows, the team brings a sales sheet and pre-printed postcard to connect each prospect back to the website for a free gift to continue moving them through the sales funnel, along with additional follow-up communication specific to their level of interest.

In fact, “Meetings Mean Business” to the Sioux Falls economy, creating thousands of jobs and millions in tax dollars. In 2018, the CVB sales team booked 141 events that will be held in Sioux Falls through 2023, totaling over $29 million in estimated economic impact.

Look for the CVB’s complete annual report in May in celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week.

 To see more visitor industry updates from the CVB, click here.

For city tourism, meetings mean business

Did you know Sioux Falls competes with places as large as Chicago to host organizations’ meetings? Next week, a team from the Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau will head to Illinois with the goal of landing more sought-after business.

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