Our response was to establish a customer advisory board (CAB) to look beyond our own internal staff resources and context to evaluate our practices and programs.
CABs “foster deeper, more meaningful relationships with key customers and create widely respected and well-known evangelists for a destination,” according to industry icon and strategist David Kliman. He served as the architect of our first CAB meeting held September 18-20.
David has worked with a number of destinations in forming and nurturing their CABs. We selected him because of his experience in hotels, as an executive with Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company (Allianz Group) leading a team of over 135 and annual budgets exceeding $100 million and serving as a past international chair of Meeting Professionals International.
In addition, our Meet Minneapolis SVP of Destination Sales, Brent Foerster, was familiar with the power of CABs from his previous experience as a senior executive at Visit Milwaukee. Brent, and members of his sales team, shepherded the process from concept to execution.
With David’s help, we confirmed a total of 20 CAB members, 14 of whom were able to attend the inaugural event. This group was encouraged to provide candid feedback regarding ways in which Minneapolis can enhance its sales, marketing and services to meeting professionals, association executives, attendees and key stakeholders. The CABs role is vital, even though Meet Minneapolis has a very experienced and well-accomplished team of destination marketing professionals.
Our CAB members received briefings and provided feedback on subjects such as:
- Understanding Customers’ Marketing Journey During Destination Selection
- Key Sales Issues Impacting Meetings & Events
- Creating a Successful New Event in Minneapolis
- Minneapolis Convention Center
- Destination Services
- Enabling Effective Use of Technology During Meetings & Events
- Meeting Industry Trends & Peer-to-Peer Solutions Forum
- Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the Airline Industry and Delta Air Lines
Our team is currently processing the copious notes that our facilitator compiled. We expect to see the manifestation of this data in our 2020 annual plan and beyond.
We would also like to acknowledge and thank our partners who helped make our inaugural CAB meeting a success:
- Marriott City Center
- Kitchen Window
- Brit’s Pub
- Renee’s Limousines