SD: So what other stuff should we talk about? Should we talk about your hotel partners? Because you know, that's such an important component of any CVB area is the support that they get from the hotels.
MM: Yeah. So there's actually this grouping of hotels down here in Seattle Southside is actually the second largest grouping of hotels in Washington State, second only to downtown Seattle.
MM: So there are a lot of hotels in this area. There's almost 60, I believe. Not all of them are appropriate for military reunion groups and because of banquet space or, you know, some of them don't have a lot of meeting space or aspects like that. So there's about 20, I would say, that are very nice for a military reunion group. And it it spans the range of hotels.
MM: There's a Doubletree, there's a Hilton, there's a Marriott, full service hotels. But then there's also some not full service hotels like the Hampton, and then there's a Coast Gateway that have really nice options for military reunion groups. They don't have an onsite restaurant, but they have complimentary breakfast and they have a small space that can be used for a hospitality room that they usually will give you for free or not very much at all. And then there's nearby restaurants that can be used for the banquet space. Or you could have a banquet at the Museum of Flight or any other location.
SD: That would be so cool!
MM: Yeah, yeah. The Museum of Flight has, not to go back to that subject, but...
SD: Yeah, that's okay!
MM: They have two rooms that are large enough for banquets on the second floor that are lined with windows and overlook the runway. And then they also have all of their exhibit areas are rentable for banquets. So that's a really nice option. And when you when you rent a room for a banquet, you get free admission.
SD: So they can actually blend, they can go and do their hour tour and then come back and have their banquet.
SD: Perfect. So I have one last question for you, and then we're going to let you go and get back to helping all of the people that you've put on hold since we've had you on the phone. The last question is to talk about the importance of contacting the Convention Visitors Bureau or the Tourism bureaus first. That, we've gotten into conversations with military reunion planners where they've just gone directly to the hotel in the area, which is fine. And then something happens and then they contact the CVB after the fact.
SD: And get them involved afterwards. So I'm giving you the floor to kind of share your preference and talk about why. And there's just other thoughts for people to think about as they're planning.
MM: Well, like I was saying with the hotels, I am very familiar with all of the hotels and all their meeting spaces and all their capabilities. So when I have a military reunion planner contact me first, then I can steer them to the to the military reunion friendly hotels. So I think that's a big thing, if you contact the hotel first and it doesn't happen to be one that's particularly geared towards military reunion groups you might not have your expectations met.
SD: Yeah, yeah.
MM: Besides that, there's a lot of other things that I can help with. Like, for example, I can put together a suggested itinerary for the group with the specific details of how long your reunion is, what kind of things you're interested in. So I can help kind of form your schedule. If a military reunion group is already scheduled for this area, I'm still happy to help. One of the things that I like to do is put together a welcome letter for everybody. That is, whatever hotel you're at, it's specific to the hotel. So it welcomes everybody and then it tells you how to do things around the area based on your hotel. So, for example, if your group is not going to the Museum of Flight, but an attendee individually wants to go to the Museum of Flight, it'll say, okay, so here's how you get there. The Doubletree will take you to the light rail station for free, just ask them, and then you get on the light rail and that's how you get there. So it's kind of specific information from your hotel so that if somebody wants to do something, one of the most common attractions in the area, they'll have direct instructions. And then I also like to put together a welcome bag that has a visitor guide and a little lapel pin that says Seattle Southside Honors Our Military...folks? I don't remember exactly what it says.
SD: I don't know. But when I see you next, because I'm going to see you next week. And when I see you next, I'm hoping that there's an extra one in your bag. And so I can wear it proudly on my lanyard.
MM: But you know what? I'm just here to help, and I can help most when they contact me first. But if if it's already booked here in the area, I'm still happy to to help as much as I possibly can.
SD: And, you know, one of the one of the last last points with this about contacting the CVB's first and this is my this is my big push over and above everything else, you know, besides all of the the the ability to save them so much time and expense. If they book with a hotel and let's say there's a change at that hotel, they they you guys will often call and reach out to the military reunion planner saying, "Hey, I just want to let you know that the Hampton is changing its flag We're still here. We're on it. We're watching for you." And you know, you know what I mean? It just, there's more boots on the ground for them.
MM: That's right. Yeah. We we keep an eye out for for everybody that we know is coming to the area. And if you are through us, then we know that you're coming to the area. Whereas if if it's not necessarily... if you went to the hotel directly, we don't have you on our radar.
SD: Yeah. Yeah. And they do not (although it's preferred) they do not need to be Seahawks fans to come to Seattle Southside. So we should just probably share that one as well.
SD: So anyway, Meagan, thank you so much for..
MM: Thank you!
SD: ...for joining us today. I know we've kept you a little longer than expected, but it's it was all cool stuff, great stuff. And thank you for joining us. This is Sharon Danitschek with Reunion Friendly Network Radio. And we were joined today by Meagan McGuire, Business Development Manager with Seattle Southside Tourism Bureau. Thanks so much!