At the start of each fiscal year, the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau sets ambitious goals for its sales team. This year, the team achieved and exceeded expectations two months before the deadline.

The CVB sales team was charged with booking 70,000 group room nights. This chunk of business represents much more than just heads in beds; it represents more than $48 million in economic impact to the island. That’s because these meeting and convention attendees do more than just participate in morning coffees and breakout sessions. They go shopping during free time, dine at local restaurants and visit island attractions, on their own and as part of receptions and convention functions.

Peter Ochoa, director of events for The Bryan Museum, said the museum benefits greatly from the CVB’s group sales efforts.

“Group business gatherings and corporate functions represent a healthy portion of event business here at The Bryan Museum,” Ochoa said. “The CVB plays a vital role in procuring a steady flow of the right type of clients to us. They have brought a wide range of interesting groups to the museum, from Texas Realtors to American Bee Keepers! We value our connection with the CVB in that it affords us the opportunity to introduce a very large group to The Bryan Museum’s venues in a single day.”

In order to accomplish their group sales goal, the CVB made some strategic tweaks to its sales department that helped set it up for success. In January, the CVB filled a vacant position for a national sales manager who was tasked with positioning Galveston, a relatively small destination, in an attractive light to those who plan and book meetings for corporations and national associations. This market has paid off big time for the island, already having produced a 76 percent increase in room nights from last year.

Another move for the organization was to drill down on the sports tourism market. A current staff member was devoted to this effort full-time and has brought in new beach volleyball tournaments, gymnastics meets and softball tournaments that will make Galveston their home during the next year. Room nights in the sports tourism market have increased 150 percent from last year.

And, the CVB continued its efforts to attract meetings and conventions from state associations, which remains the dominant market for Galveston group business.

Of course, it takes the entire team working together to achieve sales goals. Throughout the year, the team attends trade shows, conducts site visits and devises ways to enhance its convention services offerings among other tactics.

“Hard work, developing relationships and consistent outreach to prospective and past clients are hallmarks of our success over the years,” CVB Director Meg Winchester said. “And having a great product to sell is icing on the cake!”

Park board meetings are open to the public and the public may address the board of trustees during the meetings. Park board meetings are typically held at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 601 Tremont St. If you are interested in seeing a park board issue discussed in this column or if you have any questions, please send them my way. I can be reached at mbassett@galvestonparkboard.org.

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.

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