Critical Hotel Data for Meetings Leaders

By Debi Scholar President, The Scholar Consulting Group | November 13, 2011

For more information on Strategic Meetings Management, read the first article in this series titled: Learn How to Gain More Business with SMM Services

Corporations, associations, government agencies and contractors, hospitals, and colleges are transitioning their meetings and events into Strategic Meetings Management Programs (SMMP). Defined, Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) provides direction for organizations to guide the strategy, operations, and tactical activities of meetings and events in order to improve business processes, quality, and return on investment, and reduce costs, risks, and inefficiencies. Initiating an SMMP enables an organization to save millions of dollars, comply with regulatory requirements, gain productivity through efficiency, and reduce contractual and financial risks. The cliche "You can't manage what you don't measure, and you can't measure what you can't describe" is true for meetings leaders who oversee their programs. Meetings leaders rely on data intelligence from hoteliers to validate their return on investment and meeting analytics. If hoteliers understand the expectations of meetings leaders, and produce those metrics, then client communications will be improved because the in-depth discussion topics offer opportunities for the hotel to excel.

A global or national sales organization can provide both macro and micro data metrics for its clients' meetings and events. For example, a chain-wide global sales organization should collect client data across all of its brands and locations whether the property is corporate-owned, franchised, or managed by another method. In contrast, an independent property or local hotelier may only have the micro metrics for its location. Regardless, the data metrics below can be tailored, collected, and reported at the chain-wide, local, or independent property level to provide meetings leaders with the data intelligence they need to manage their program.

Meetings leaders want selected information immediately and other information quarterly from hoteliers. In fact, meeting leaders expect that hoteliers will come to the table with transient and meetings data, a deliverable that may be a paradigm shift for some hotels. As a meeting leader who was responsible for over $200M in meeting spend, I experienced angst when a hotelier would schedule a meeting with me and not know the answer to the question, "Of our organization's total spend with your hotel, what is the percentage of our group business to our transient business with you?"

Information that meetings leaders want immediately when the information becomes available to the hotel:

• Notification of any unauthorized contract signer* who requests a meeting
Your client may have a Meeting Policy that lists the authorized contract signers; ask your client for a list of these approved signers and do not accept contracts from unauthorized signers
• Penalty information (cancellation or attrition)
• Key hotel contact names and updates when changes occur
• Hot dates/space availability
• Any issues, complaints, concerns that arise from the hotelier's perspective, from guests, from meeting planners, or from meeting planning companies regarding the client's meeting

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.