Pursuing the Meeting Planners of Today
Hotels can no longer attract meeting planners with simple cookie-cutter products
By James Gelfand Director of Sales & Marketing, Turnberry Isle Miami | December 30, 2012
The corporate meetings segment has become an increasingly perplexing market that still dictates the success or failure of many new and established hotels. Gone are the conference travel norms of yesteryear; today, this segment is made up of a diverse group of consumers who can no longer be defined as one homogenous population. In addition, the lines between business and leisure are becoming increasingly blurred, due to the current economic climate.
Taking all this into consideration, hotels can no longer attract meeting planners with simple cookie-cutter products that are delivered in an uninspired format. There is a distinct need to have consistency in all aspects of programming that emphasize the core values of a property, ensuring that those experiencing a hotel from both a business and leisure standpoint grasps the true essence of the property.
Despite economic uncertainty, conferences are a robust market segment which is still proving popular with bookings across the US steadily increasing, the market is ripe for hotels to attract new business. In order to benefit from this trend, hotels must reevaluate their business philosophy to garner new clientele, strengthen relationships with meeting planners and appeal to a diverse range of corporations looking for greater value in the luxury market.
The Art of Listening
Today, communications are no longer a one way dictation from the hotel to meeting planners. With the prevalence of social media and increased transparency, maintaining a consistent dialogue is paramount to ensuring that expectations are met and exceeded. While it is the industry standard for hotels to provide meeting planners with services such as on site liaisons that are able to address the needs of a particular event, there needs to be a constructive forum that goes beyond the ordinary. Given the importance of the corporate meeting segment, there must be a stronger partnership and open dialogue between hotels and meeting planners that lay the foundations for greater synergy.
At Turnberry Isle Miami, we have set up director committees that allow meeting planners to share what keeps them up at night. We invite meeting planners to express their needs, concerns, difficulties and worries directly to the resort's senior management staff prior to events. This ensures that all issues are alleviated by members from all departments of the property. Furthermore, the property's internal "Rest East Committee" is an important tool for members at all levels of the resort to provide feedback on what meeting planners and corporations are demanding and where there is scope to improve service. By introducing these panels, we hope to gain crucial insights that will allow us to be better partners to meeting planners and enhance the corporate meeting experience which will lead to a greater market share
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