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Chamber highlights conference services

Officials from the Greater Binghamton Convention and Visitors Bureau visited campus last week to talk about the ways they can help people who organize meetings and conferences in the area. Louis Santoni, vice president of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce and director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, emphasized that this assistance is free and that a range of services are available, whether people are planning a meeting for 50 people or a conference that may draw more than 1,000 participants.

“We want to show you how we can make that entire process simpler,” he said.

Santoni and Thomas F. Kelly, vice president for external affairs, arranged the lunch meeting.

Santoni, with help from Judi Hess and Gina Kress of the visitors bureau, outlined time- and money-saving services such as help with booking hotel rooms, creating name badges and transporting people from where they’re staying to the meeting site. Visitors bureau officials will even go to an organization’s meeting elsewhere in the country to promote Binghamton and an upcoming conference.

Betty Anne Gaube, assistant athletic director for marketing and promotions, has already taken advantage of the visitors bureau’s services. She said officials there were enormously helpful when she was planning the America East men’s basketball tournament last spring.

“They put together packets for us that had maps and brochures and lists of what to do in the area,” Gaube said. “It just saved us a lot of time. They’re a really good resource.”

The visitors bureau offered advice about local officials and businesses that could help with event planning and even went to area hotels to put up welcome signs.

“The key thing is it’s free,” said Gaube, who expects to call on the bureau again this year as she plans for the 2006 America East tournament. “The biggest thing in my mind is they saved me a lot of time, a lot of phone calls and leg work.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08