Branding Via Events & Group Meetings
By Ralph Salisbury Senior Vice President, Impact Enterprises, Inc. | September 03, 2017
After providing ‘creature comforts’, conveniences, and an impressive selection of nutritious foods in order to increase their competitive edge in the event and group meeting business, hotels and event planners now find themselves even more challenged to stay competitive. These ‘creature comforts’ are important in order to be in the competition, but today are not enough to gain a competitive edge; these do help to make attendees comfortable, but comfort has become expected, it is now a standard that is only noticed if it is missing. The competitive edge sought by hoteliers is gained through increased brand recognition which requires lasting or “impactful memory”.
Hoteliers now need to look beyond creature comforts and ‘invest’ in the psychology or consciousness of their guests and meeting attendees. Understanding that a meeting’s true (long term) success is determined by valuable knowledge gained and retained by attendees should direct investment into research that may determine what will help maximize this. The goal is to create “impactful memory”, a memorable experience, by ensuring both the physical setting and atmosphere provide opportunity to maximize the attendees ability to focus on the essence of the meeting; to gain knowledge and hold on to it.
It is a given that the sponsor of the meeting and the ‘presenter’ are responsible for the value of the knowledge; the hotel provides an environment that will help to enable absorption of the knowledge offered, resulting in a contribution to that unique experience that leads to lasting memory.
"Offering these unique meetings and events experiences is really how we can differentiate ourselves (from) other like-minded hotels," says Paul Whetsell, president and chief executive officer of Loews Hotels & Resorts.
So what is this “environment” that makes a meaningful contribution? The key word here is meaningful; an environment that allows for an ‘emotional connection’. Emotions are personal and can be powerful memory generators that effect ‘impactful memory’.
So memory becomes impactful when an emotional or personal connection to an event can be made, and it is this type of connection that event planners need to aim for. It can be attained when attendees acknowledge not only the comfortable physical surroundings and amenities provided, but acknowledge the value of the meeting itself; valuable information had been gained and held. This valuable information is a personal benefit that leads to a personal connection to the event and brand. It is however, the combination of ‘acknowledgements’ that are important; acknowledgement of comfort, amenities, and knowledge gained.
So how do hotels and event planners reach their wished-for goal of generating impactful memory that they believe may lead to brand recognition which puts them in the forefront for capturing more event business? Well, maybe they should consider using what already exists in their corporate culture, their Social Consciousness / Corporate Responsibility initiatives. These are real, meaningful, important, and are put into place for several reasons, one of which is to generate business; management may not want to admit to this one reason, however, socially conscious initiatives are viewed most positively by today’s business and pleasure travelers who now look for ‘responsible’ hotels/resorts.
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