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Omaha Magazine

Omaha CVB: Event Planners Get Familiar with Omaha

Jan 18, 2024 11:02AM ● By Deborah Ward
Event Planners Get  Familiar with Omaha b2b february  Deborah Ward is the executive director of Omaha Convention and Visitors Buremarch 2024 omaha cvb

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Deborah Ward is the executive director of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In the tourism industry, a simple visit can create long-term economic gains. But a visit isn’t always simple. It’s often about playing the long game, especially when it comes to attracting conventions to Omaha.  

Hosting familiarization tours, or “fam tours” for short, is one tactic that Visit Omaha strategically employs to win convention business. The tours invite a select group of decision makers to Omaha to highlight the city’s attributes and show meeting planners firsthand why Omaha would be a good location for their meeting.

Last spring, Visit Omaha hosted a two-day tour for 10 national association CEOs with the Association Forum, an organization that represents more than 2,500 members in 1,600 Chicago associations. This was a first-time trip to Omaha for the majority of attendees. The visit revolved around a session on leadership at Gallup, Inc., known for its CliftonStrengths assessment. The planners were able to experience how an Omaha company could benefit their organization’s meeting by incorporating an educational session into their next conference. 

Our team welcomed the Trust for Insuring Educators (TIE) 50th Annual Meeting in September 2023. The milestone event brought 58 attendees representing 35 national education associations to Omaha. The visit included tours of education-focused locations such as the University of Nebraska Omaha Research Labs and Kiewit Luminarium. Attendees experienced the city and saw how Omaha could be a good choice for their upcoming meetings or conventions.  

Then, in November 2023, the Visit Omaha sports team invited 17 sports planners from across the country to tour Omaha sports venues and facilities. The tour gave the sports planners an opportunity to see what the city has to offer for their events.  

Fam tours plant the seeds for future business that can pay dividends in the form of booked businesses and new revenue for our city. While the dividends for these most recent fam tours may not be felt for years, the Visit Omaha team has secured more than $111 million in meeting and event business for 2024. And you guessed it, many of those event and meeting organizers originally learned about Omaha after a “simple” visit. 

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This article originally appeared in the February/March 2024 issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, 
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