EventCheck Knox checked in with Visit Knoxville to find out exactly what the organization offers event planners. From assistance with venue selection to vendor referrals, Michelle Henry reports that Visit Knoxville is a full-service CVB.
Visit Knoxville is the official Convention and Visitors Bureau for Knoxville and Knox County. The nonprofit organization is responsible for showcasing our area as a viable destination for meetings and visitors, and, in turn, generate tourism dollars that benefit the local economy.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Kim Bumpas, president of Visit Knoxville, and two of her team members: Erin Donovan, communications director, and Kelli Gibson, director of convention services, to hear about resources the organization offers event planners. After nearly an hour of conversation, I realized they had only touched the tip of the iceberg.
“Everything we do is intended to enhance everyone’s experience of Knoxville – that includes local residents as well as out-of-town guests,” Bumpas said. “Our goal is for people to leave events held in Knoxville saying, ‘Wow.’ ”
Visit Knoxville services more than 120 events per year, so it stands to reason that the staffers would possess a depth of partnerships and wealth of knowledge relevant and helpful to planners.
“You wouldn’t believe some of the questions we get,” Gibson said. “And the funny thing is, we can usually answer them based on our prior experiences. Tapping into our resources is like opening up an encyclopedia of event planning in Knoxville that covers everything from large-scale items, such as event venue options, down to the minutest details, such as someone to sing the national anthem.”
Local event planners will be interested to know that Visit Knoxville offers a wide range of complimentary services and support materials, such as:
- Assistance with venue selection. Because of its ties to the City of Knoxville and Knox County, Visit Knoxville can assist with information about an abundance of local venues. In addition, Visit Knoxville’s partnership with the city makes it seamless for events that want to use the Knoxville Convention Center, Civic Auditorium and Coliseum and Chilhowee Park.
- An up-to-date referral list for recommended local service providers. Whether it’s a caterer, bartender, entertainer, rental company or sound provider, reputable vendors are a must-have for a successful event. Visit Knoxville maintains a complete list.
- Assistance arranging transportation and/or parking. Need a shuttle from one location to another? Visit Knoxville will price vendors and provide options.
- Uniquely Knoxville gifts and baskets. In search of the perfect gift for speakers, guests or VIPs? Visit Knoxville can provide ideas and help with sourcing and customization.
- Complimentary use of event equipment, such as coolers or tables and chairs. For example, the coolers used at the recent Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon came from Visit Knoxville.
- Event advertising. Visit Knoxville’s communications team will assist with social media promotion, press releases, email blasts, blog posts and articles. The team also will post events on Visit Knoxville’s calendar, which the organization sees as a complementary tool to the EventCheck Knox calendar. Visit Knoxville provides a listing geared for the public and visitors, as well as event planners. EventCheck Knox focuses on events, such as fundraisers and galas, intended specifically for event planners.
“Our calendar is much broader than the EventCheck calendar,” Bumpas said. “We see the two calendars working very well together.”
Another valuable tool Visit Knoxville offers is “Gotta Know Knoxville,” a half-day program that provides the opportunity for participants to tour and learn about Knoxville’s many tourist opportunities.
Attendees spend one hour in a class presentation, two hours on a walking tour and another hour on a driving tour learning about history, attractions, venues and retail outlets in the Knoxville area. There is no cost to participate in the program, but space is limited.
Visit Knoxville’s purpose is to make Knoxville look good so that people want to visit Knoxville. The resources they offer event planners will accomplish that goal while also making event planners look good and their jobs a little easier.
After learning about many of the services Visit Knoxville offers, this former event planner was saying, “Wow. I wish I had known more about Visit Knoxville when I was planning events.”
Stay tuned for a blog post that discusses services Visit Knoxville offers to out-of-town planners and learn which group had them researching how to ship ammunition.
Michelle Henry is a recovering event planner who now serves in a part-time role at Moxley Carmichael with a focus on writing. When not at the keyboard and with the return of warm weather, you’ll likely find her at the pool or somewhere with her nose in a book.