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Q&A with Jeff Hewitt, Senior Vice President, Visit Savannah 

In a city steeped with history, Savannah is a jewel of a location for meetings and conventions. With their dedicated services and comprehensive resources for meeting planners, the destination professionals at Visit Savannah are here to provide unparalleled service throughout the planning process. Today Jeff Hewitt, the Senior Vice President at Visit Savannah shares his thoughts about what’s happening in the destination, how working with a CVB can make life easier for planners and what’s trending in the industry.

What makes Savannah a great meeting destination?
Jeff: Our facilities, climate, culture and cuisine. Since Savannah is already on attendees’ bucket lists, attendance is always high. For groups that use 600 rooms or more per night, we offer an amazing package of incentives.

What is the one thing planners are always surprised to learn about the Savannah area?

Jeff: We have 22 historic squares in our National Landmark Historic District, each green and lush all year round, and all arranged on an easy-to-navigate street grid. The grid system our founder used to lay the city out makes Savannah the first “planned” city in America, and since the Historic District is so compact (only about 2.5 square miles) and easy to navigate, accommodations and meeting spaces are always within walking distance of the best dining, entertainment, shopping and attractions.

What might we find you enjoying in the destination on your day off?

Jeff: Golfing, fishing the Back River or going to the beach at Tybee Island are always great options, but every day I can walk down River Street and eat at incredible cafes while watching the enormous ships come and go to the port just upstream. It’s pretty spectacular.

What advice would you give to a planner who hasn’t worked with a CVB before?

Jeff: Let us help you accomplish more! We can take so many of your time-consuming projects off your hands: We’ll send out your RFP and collect the proposals. We’ll make sure your program fits in the facility. We’ll make sure that the suppliers understand what’s important to you. It’s like adding staff without any overhead expense. Who doesn’t need more help? And where else can you find it for free?

What do you see trending in the meeting’s market? How is your CVB proactively addressing this trend or staying current?

Jeff: Locally-sourced food product and unique, authentic venues. “Locally-sourced” has been a Southern tradition for generations. Our coastal cuisine includes local shrimp, oysters, flounder and blue crab, not to mention the locally-grown farm produce. The food in Savannah has been legendary for almost 300 years.

How does a planner benefit from consulting with you prior to sending out their RFP?

Jeff: We are your best source of unbiased local knowledge. We can connect you with the service providers that will offer you the most ideal solutions for whatever challenge you face.

What’s the latest news, developments, or events in your destination you’d like to share with planners? 

Jeff: Savannah is aging beautifully while constantly rising to meet the challenges of a changing industry. Savannah may be nearly 300 years old, but with the renovation of our old steam power plant into a new JW Marriott property, luxurious lodging concepts like the Perry Lane and The Alida, and the complete renovations of all four of our convention-size properties, we’re adding nearly 1,200 new rooms in one of the most sought-after locales and making our current inventory brand new again.

What differentiates your destination from your competitive set?

Jeff: Savannah is always an unexpected and evocative delight.

Plan your next meeting in Savannah, GA. Learn more here.