If You Pre-promote It, They Will Come

By Lynn McCullough Director of Meetings & Association Management, CMA Association Management | May 06, 2010

Those of us who represent hotels or convention centers should know that promoting attendance for a conference, convention or tradeshow-without getting to know those you're trying to lure, is like playing poker blindfolded: You can bet all you want, but you won't win anything.

The same holds true for "pre-promoting" these events. Pre-promoting is more than just providing copies of your facility's brochure, or promoting the main attractions and sites to see in your host city. Pre-promoting is also about asking yourself the following questions: Who? Where? What? When? Why? - and How?

Below, members of the Association for Convention Operations Management (ACOM) offer some tips to help you find out the answers to these important questions and explore other ways to conduct a pre-promote to better service your meeting-planner clients.

There's No Substitute for Being There

If possible, Devon Sloan, CMP, director of events for the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, suggests actually attending the group's event the year prior. "Whether it's just to schmooze with the attendees and get to know them a little better, or to have an actual trade show booth set up in their exhibit area, we have found this to be a great attendance builder," says Sloan. "It helps attendees get to know the city and the resort because we can answer all of their questions in person-and of course, we can build excitement by doing a little sales job while we are talking. Who knows the property and the city better than those of us who live there!"

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.