Meeting planning often involves coordinating hundreds of tasks. If you’re not using the services offered by a Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), you could be missing out on expertise that’s invaluable.

Here are ten reasons to call the area’s CVB first:

1) Collecting and keeping updated information on a city’s venues, opportunities and activities is the job of the CVB’s.

2) They can truly give personal advice. The people who work at CVB’s are usually long time residents of the city or have become experts concerning city facilities. These people not only know the best restaurants, museums and entertainment, but have probably eaten at these restaurants, visited the museums and taken advantage of entertainment their city has to offer.

3) The CVB might also be able to advise about conflicts that might occur such as other conventions, city construction or city events. With the CVB as a first source of such information, headaches can be avoided both for the planner and the convention attendees.

4) They can be an accurate lens when researching new markets for conventions and for matching groups to that market.

5) CVB’s can often get the best deals or can alert a planner to special services provided by venues in the city. They can also arrange group tours to historical or other attractions.

6) Think of using CVB’s as gaining a partner when planning. This partner can complement your work in organizing events and the bigger the project, the more reason to collaborate with a CVB.

7) A large city like Chicago has a website specifically designed to help in the initial phases as well as the on-going work of the meeting planner.

8) They have the “inside” information. When planning a convention three years out or more, the CVB is more likely to know if the city has not approved of a new hotel conversion or street renewal.

9) They’ll help you promote your event – in the media and to your attendees. The materials that they provide will supplement you own registration materials.

10) It’s free! Convention and Visitors Bureaus are supported by their cities or in some cases membership fees; as a meeting planner, their materials, staff work and enthusiasm for your event is offered without charge.