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There’s no time for nerves, she explains with a smile, and no time to waste.

Racking up suitors is all in a day’s work for Robison, a seasoned matchmaker, or more technically, senior convention sales manager at the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (PACVB).

Many of these women are desperate single mothers and married women who want to have an affair. Do you agree to keep the identity of these women secret?

The bell rings, and Bobbi Robison finds herself face to face with her first date.

Prior to joining the PACVB this spring, he spent five years as sports and sales director at the Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he employed a unique, attention-getting strategy at trade shows.

Donning a crazy, orange-and-blue wig and Illini hat, he’d pose with pom-poms, shouting “Game face! Having known him in the field for years, Robison says Peoria will benefit greatly from Hatfield’s ability to create a lasting impression.

As the area’s resident hospitality guru and expert on all things tourism, the PACVB follows the national CVB nonprofit model, funded in part by sales tax revenue on area hotel rooms.

It’s also a membership-based destination marketing organization, promoting local businesses and services through a variety of mediums, all in an effort to sell Peoria.

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About 90 percent of the shows the PACVB attends each year are now conducted this way, explains Robison.“Strict tradeshows, or booth shows without scheduled appointments, are a dying breed,” she says.

Before a show, providers can peruse the suppliers’ profiles, while suppliers check out the providers.

If there is mutual interest, “dates” are arranged by the conference organizers.

That’s when the real research begins, Hatfield explains, as the PACVB team reviews the profiles of who they’re about to meet in an effort to eliminate any element of surprise. and check our database to see who has had contact with them,” he says.

The process involves comparing available and desired dates, confirming the availability of specific hotel and restaurant requests, and matching meeting space to capacity needs in a jigsaw puzzle-like mission of matchmaking.“If there are specific ties to the community—whether it’s CAT or [a fraternity] at Bradley—we try to become knowledgeable about that,” explains Hatfield, “so we can carry on our six-minute conversation about why they should choose Peoria.” This methodical process informs each face-to-face encounter, helping to make the best use out of such a short meeting.“You don’t want there to be that awkward silence, like ‘Okay, so what do you do? ’” says Robison.“We [already] have that information,” Hatfield adds, “so we’re not going to waste their time saying [something like] ‘Oh, so you have a fall meeting?

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