WACO, Texas -- If you're an avid follower of collegiate athletics,
you know the Big 12 Conference.
However, you might not have heard of the Big XII Convention and
Visitor Bureaus, a marketing alliance of CVBs.
The CVBs of the athletic conference's cities came together four
years ago when four Texas universities joined what was then the Big
8 to form the Big 12.
Composed of the heads of the 12 CVBs, the group promotes to the
meetings market with the tag line "A Dozen Desirable Destinations"
and meets twice a year.
The Big 12 features university cities in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas,
Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
"Some cities are small, others much bigger, but we all have
benefits for the meetings market that other cities don't have,"
said Liz Taylor, who chairs the group and is the director of the
Waco (Texas) CVB.
The alliance, she said, "provides a marketing opportunity we
would not otherwise have. The cost of trade shows is too
prohibitive to participate in alone."
Taylor also explained that the alliance has brought cities and
their universities closer together and, for the colleges, has
opened up new meetings markets in addition to athletic and academic
"But the big advantage for us is the meetings leads we get at
shows," she said.
Taylor pointed to the range of the colleges' architectural
styles, their hometown but sophisticated atmosphere and the
prevalence of high-tech meeting facilities as attractions for
University facilities include auditoriums, arenas, athletic
centers, conference centers, classrooms and residence halls.
Iowa State University at Ames, for example, with Greek and Roman
architectural influences, offers 22 meeting rooms ranging up to
10,760 square feet.
Other examples:The University of Colorado at Boulder, which features elements
of Oxford and Cambridge universities in its design, includes a
2,000-seat concert hall.The University of Oklahoma at Norman, with a meeting facility
recently renovated in its original Gothic style, includes a
6,500-square-foot ballroom.The Georgian-style Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, one
of the smallest cities in the conference with a population of
40,000, has an 81-room hotel and conference center on campus.
The Stillwater CVB has placed links on its Web site, at www.come2stillwater.com, to the other 11 CVB
Other CVB members and their respective universities are:In Texas, Austin CVB (University of Texas), Lubbock CVB (Texas
Tech University), Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce (Texas
A&M University) and Waco CVB (Baylor University).In Missouri, Columbia CVB (University of Missouri).In Kansas, Lawrence CVB (University of Kansas) and Manhattan
Chamber of Commerce (Kansas State University).In Nebraska, Lincoln/Lancaster County CVB (University of