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Meetings and Conventions to Support Recovery Efforts

Published: April 26, 2021

In convention sales and services at Travel Lane County, we are all about working with meeting planners to host their events here in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region of Oregon, so it stung with each cancellation that was made this past year due to COVID-19.  We have worked with many planners to postpone their events with best efforts to keep events in the region.  

To support the region’s economic recovery, a group that we had worked with in the past was restarted and named the Booking Business Taskforce (BBT). 

The primary focus of this group is to generate short-term revenue by booking events into the Eugene/Springfield metro area in the second half of 2021 and first half of 2022. To achieve this goal, the BBT, which consists of representatives from Lane Events Center, Venue 252, University of Oregon Conference Services, Merete’ Hotels, Valley River Inn, Graduate Eugene and the Travel Lane County Conventions Department, came together to discuss strategies and incentives.  

The first strategy the group adopted is a cancellation risk incentive that offers no cancellation fees for any event that is postponed due to COVID-19 that reschedules with the same venue. This encourages meeting planners to book their event even if the current health and safety guidelines may fluctuate and cause the event to be postponed.

Valley River Inn Safety in meeting rooms

The second strategy is to provide confidence in the planner that our venues and local businesses are following health and safety protocols. This will be accomplished through communicating the widespread community adoption of the #LOVELANEBIZ safety pledge and stressing that the hospitality industry and business community are working together to ensure the safety of event attendees.

Providing a financial incentive for new business that brings in over 200 hotel room nights within the targeted timeframe is the third strategy. This incentive will be funded by Travel Lane County and must be offered and booked through Travel Lane County. 

The final strategy is to offer planners a way to view the largest venues in the region without having to travel to the region. This will be accomplished through short videos that highlight the properties and show socially distanced room setups so the planners can get a feel for each venue. Travel Lane County is producing the videos for the BBT member properties.

These strategies will be promoted through a robust marketing campaign that will include paid Google search and display ads, media buys from leading industry trade publications, emails, newsletter articles and social media—all funded and supported by Travel Lane County. 

All members of the taskforce are hopeful that our efforts result in helping the local economy recover in the coming year. “It’s nice to have our hospitality partners committed and working together for a common goal,” said Juanita Metzler, Senior Director of Conventions with Travel Lane County. “I look forward to continuing to work with the taskforce to build value for the community long after the pandemic,” Metzler added.

Interested in booking an event or wanting additional information?  Contact Juanita Metzler, CMP, Senior Director of Conventions with Travel Lane County at Juanita@eugenecascadescoast.org.

Author: Juanita Metzler, CMP

A native Oregonian, Juanita Metzler loves business and event planning. When not working an event or visiting with planners she enjoys traveling, anything with the Oregon Ducks, trips to the beach and volunteering, with a cup of tea in her hand. She is the Senior Director, Conventions for Travel Lane County. Juanita@EugeneCascadesCoast.org