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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Coming up in March 2018...

Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.