How CSMs Can Help Drive Higher ROI for Hotel Executives Looking to Grow Their Event/Meeting Business

By Julie Pingston President, Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) | September 21, 2014

If a successful meeting is a journey of exploration and discovery, the hotel convention services manager (CSM) and the event's meeting planner are the intrepid team who plan and guide the way.

Great meetings don't just happen. The hands-on partnership and heads-up synergy between a hotel CSM and a meeting planner are the catalyst for forging the foundation, structure and context of a meaningful and memorable event.

"It starts with a piece of paper, a contract, and then it comes to life." says Marilyn Healey, CMP, convention services manager at California's Hyatt Regency Long Beach.

Once a meeting is booked, the CSM functions as a meeting planner's in-house meeting planner-a supply side maestro orchestrating unique meeting options and customized services by working in harmony with the planner's needs to effectively achieve meeting goals.

Explaining her role as a CSM, Healey consistently makes reference to "my meeting planners," conveying the sense of ownership that drives her work as she shepherds meetings to fruition and success.

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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.