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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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.