Collaboration and Customization: The Key to Conferences
Satisfied customers equate to return business, loyalty and increased profitability
By Tom Santora Chief Marketing Officer / Senior VP Sales, Omni Hotels & Resorts | October 21, 2012
As a hotelier for the past 25 years, I have watched meeting trends rise, fall and often come full circle in an industry that prizes guest experience above all else. And behind every great experience is a great collaboration. Conference planning has evolved and planners and suppliers are now working more closely than ever before to create a successful and memorable event.
What was once unusual is now imperative: This collaboration is the key to creating and executing a unique event and ultimately a very memorable attendee and guest experience. Satisfied customers equate to return business, loyalty and increased profitability.
The bar is even higher for a luxury hotel brand in delivering an exceptional conference. Sales leaders must focus on customer collaboration, delivering on needs such as booking flexibility, technology, food and beverage selection, not to mention innovation, hotel amenities and service execution. With regards to booking flexibility, Omni created Be Collaborative, an innovative industry educational program designed to enrich and educate meeting planners on best practices as it relates to key contract negotiations items including cancellation, attrition and indemnification.
This six-city tour kicked off in Washington, D.C. last month, with almost 100 planners in attendance. The assembly features a point/counterpoint format that pits lawyers from the supplier perspective against lawyers from the industry perspective, who represent different viewpoints and in the end develop a collaborative approach for win-win contract terms. In addition, the program was value-added, allowing for qualification a CEU credit from Meetings Professionals International.
As organizations continue to scrutinize every dollar spent, the onus is on us now more than ever to deliver the expected and the unexpected, resulting in productive and beneficial events, from the small board meeting to the large international association conference.
Timing (and Options!) is Everything