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How CVBs Are Surviving in the Age of COVID-19

With revenues from hotel occupancy taxes down severely, convention and visitor bureaus are examining alternate ways to find funding and stay relevant. COVID-19 has forced DMOs around the world to rethink its financial model and service offerings. Did you know that one of Meeting Escrow’s many financial service offerings includes start-up financing to Local Organizing Committees that are hosting international events?

When Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International, kicked off the group’s annual convention last month, he laid out the hard truths of what destination marketing organizations are facing today. “We all entered 2020 with great hope, vision and enthusiasm,” he told 3,000-plus online participants. “However, Covid-19 changed and halted this momentum for all of us… Our world was rocked.”

The pandemic has taken a particularly devastating toll on DMOs (also known as convention and visitor bureaus): A DI/Northstar Meetings Group study conducted in April revealed that 42 percent of CVBs faced budget cuts of 50 to 100 percent. Many bureaus had to furlough or lay off employees. San Francisco Travel, for example, reduced its ranks by 60 percent, and NYC & Company furloughed 55 percent of its team. DI’s 32-person staff was cut in half.


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