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Omaha Magazine

Omaha CVB Column

Apr 15, 2020 11:38AM ● By Keith Backsen

Last year, Resonance Consulting ranked Omaha as one of the top 10 best small cities in the U.S. We ranked second, right behind Honolulu. Yes–Honolulu, Hawaii.  

Omaha earned the No. 2 spot thanks to its culture, nightlife, dining, and shopping options. All of these attributes help sell our city to meeting and event planners.

Even as a top city, there is a lot of competition. Visit Omaha’s sales team travels the country scouting for meeting business that might be a good fit for the city. The team qualifies the business, builds relationships with the decision makers, and sends business leads to local hotels and venues. Then the sales team compiles a compelling proposal, negotiates back and forth, and waits for a decision. One way to convince the site selection team is to invite them to the city; we know if we can get them here, we have a better shot at closing their business. In 2019 Visit Omaha hosted 44 site visits for meeting and event planners, and 65% of those visits resulted in booked meeting business for the city.  

Once the event is confirmed, it is coordinated by the Visit Omaha Convention Services Team, which serves as a concierge for the event planner or organizer. The services team connects planners with local vendors and businesses, helps organize transportation needs, coordinates restaurants, provides registration assistance, and manages hotel reservations for attendees.  

The marketing team is the promotional fuel that supports the city’s brand as a successful meeting and event destination. It’s a lot harder to sell Omaha to those who don’t know it.

The sales and services effort goes beyond Visit Omaha; it includes the city’s convention centers and arenas, hotels, venues, and attractions, all working together toward a common goal. Many people worked hard to compete for each event. And with each time the city wins, Omaha builds a better resume. 

This column was printed in the April/May 2020 issue of B2B Magazine.