Five Reasons Why You Should Partner with Meeting Planners

By Marjorie Silverman Honorary President, UICH, Les Clefs d'Or | August 09, 2010

One of the natural synergies in the hotel world is the one that exists between concierges and meeting planners. Meeting planners value long-term relationships, demand local expertise, and rely on good networking to local vendors. The concierges can facilitate the delivery of services to the group inside the hotel as well as outside for group transportation, tours, restaurants and events. Meeting planners and concierges share the desire to introduce guests to new and memorable experiences; they are the perfect collaborators.

Reaching out to the group aspect of the hotel constituency offers several distinct advantages to the concierge:

1. The opportunity is created for repeat business for the hotel.

When the meeting coordinator, a travel professional, is happy with the concierge service, he lets management know about his pleasure. It is very easy for management to track this piece of business and to quantify exactly your level of service as well as how much revenue is generated for the hotel.

Every year for the past 30 years, the City of Chicago has been fortunate enough to attract a very lucrative convention at a good time of year for us-early winter, when not many visitors come to Chicago. RSNA (Radiology Society of North America) is one of the best medical conventions attracting radiologists and doctors, between 60,000 and 75,000, from all over the world. As concierges we were able to forge relationships with the meeting planners who coordinated the groups coming from Western Europe to this convention. We spoke many of the languages at the concierge desk and over the years made friends with many in the group. These guests came back to our hotel year after year, happy to see us and we equally happy to host them. Meanwhile they spent millions annually in our hotel and enriched the Chicago economy.

2. Knowing the meeting planner saves you and your hotel time, effort and money.

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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.