Upcoming ACOM Event Calendar

April 2008

Idea Network
April 17, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Hotel / Center Track: How to Deal with Outside Vendors
CVB Track: Community Outreach and Special Events Planning

May 2008

May 15, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
How to Deal with Difficult Conversations / Complaints

June 2008

2008 Summer Education Conference
June 26-28, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Palmer House Hilton

July 2008

Idea Network
July 17, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Hotel / Center Track: Procedures from Start to Finish for CSMs
CVB Track: Procedures from Start to Finish for CSMs

August 2008

August 21, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Revenue Management

September 2008

Idea Network
September 18, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Hotel / Center Track: Emergency Management
CVB Track: Housing Updates

October 2008

October 16, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
APEX Update

November 2008

Idea Network
November 20, 2008
1:00 PM EST
All Tracks: Discussion on Industry Article

January 2009

2009 Annual Conference
January 9-11, 2009
New Orleans, Louisiana
Westin New Orleans

A special thank you to the Annual Conference Sponsors:

Don’t miss the opportunity to have your name listed above. Please check out all of the sponsorship opportunities available. If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring ACOM, please contact ACOM Headquarters.

Today’s CSM – It’s a Whole New World

Material provided by:
Bob Desautels, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association and
Vikki Kelly, Denver Convention & Visitors Association

A little more than a generation ago, convention service managers (CSMs) took a back seat to the pervasive role provided by sales executives. The sales manager was the key agent with input to not only sell the client on a city/venue but assist them on its promotion and use. The role of CSMs was relegated to a behind the scenes function, acting in a reactive more often than a proactive fashion. The service manager was not paid to be a creative agent as much as he or she was to be responsive to a clients needs. It was a function that was innately passive in its discipline.

Not any more!

Today, the CSM is both engaging and creative—a source of ideas and suggestions, a purveyor of facilities, themes, props, entertainment options, personnel, and an assortment of vendors. In short, the CSM and the role it plays today is becoming the ‘in-house meeting planner’ for the customer. As a result, given the changes in meetings, conventions, special events, and the customer’s need today, how does the CSM, service today’s customer? The answers were discussed by ACOM members and partners at this year’s 20th anniversary convention held in Seattle, Washington in January. Below is a condensed list of talking points together with duties and trends that need discussion and interaction with our clients. The list, though not complete, opens the door to discussion with the client and provides a more complete servicing solution to the customer. Collectively, they will add style, substance and purpose in meeting planning and execution.

A CSMs Role:

A meeting planner’s event planner / Enhancing the visitor experience
A meeting planner’s event planner looks into what the client wants and envisions. Will specialized tours encourage participation and enhance the attendee’s experience? Developing customized and unique experiences will draw interest and help reinforce the value of your property, venue, or city. Further, looking at new ways to welcome your client to a city will personalize the feeling between the locale and attendees as well as show appreciation for coming to your city.

An advocate for green meetings
How do we help the planner be a “green planner?” Providing both information and resources will help them achieve success in this exploding trend in meeting planning.

A portal of information
Promotion-Promotion-Promotion – Digital tools that allows the client access to images, and a variety of information through a city’s or property’s website is becoming more critical to properly service the client. Don’t assume your client knows your city or property. Things change quickly. Let them know what you have conveniently, easily and quickly.

Small meetings require more developing tools – not paper – Guide them to sources where information can be passed on to the client in an efficient manner.

Access and knowledge of off-site venues
Off-site Venue Assistance – Provide unique and on-line search tools that will provide quick and easy ways to open the door to new locales for special events.


Look again at how you welcome your client. Surprise and please them. Make them feel and be important. Today, some venues and city’s use counter cards, window clings, buttons, and banners. New ideas include:

Gobos (project images on walls, floors, sides of buildings interior and exterior).
Window wraps and bus wraps
Building and wall graphics
Themed menus for clients (e.g. specifically designed and named microbrews for the client)
Electronic pole signage
Customized attendee micro-sites for pre-promotion.

A CSM’s Role in the Future:

• Forget standard venues
• Find out what the client is seeking
• Be Creative – Don’t be afraid to be “out there”
• Get a feel of cost constraints before jumping in the pool
• Make it fun and memorable
• Keep time and distance in mind
• Keep ahead of your planner – give them time to react
• Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility
• Always look for the WOW!

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