By providing memorable service, sharing best practices, proactively solving problems, and leveraging social media to make less work for your client, you can position your hotel as customer-focused venue that meeting and conference planners are anxious to work with. Use these four tactics to show prospective clients how committed you are to the success of their program.
Face-to-Face Before the PreCon
Pre-Conference meetings are standard procedure prior to an event, where hotel and event organizers meet one another face-to-face, learn about one another’s roles and exchange contact information. It’s an important step, but one that could be made more efficient if your hotel is willing to provide a lookbook that can be reviewed before the PreCon and used as a one-stop directory during the event.
Creating a personalized lookbook is easy. First, compile a list of your hotel staff who will be on-site at the client’s event, include their titles and contact information, identify their role, and upload their photo. Follow that by requesting the same content from your contact on the event side, and compile it all into one color document. Send it to all necessary parties before the PreCon.
Provide Proactive Solutions to Common Problems
The ability to pivot or enhance your event at the press of a button used to be nothing more than a meeting and conference planner’s dream. Thanks to Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR), that idea is now a tangible reality.
When Marriott Hotels introduced Red Coat Direct, the adoration and praise for the hotel chain was immediate. This innovative app literally puts event adjustments into the palm of a meeting and conference planner’s hand, allowing them the ability to order additional coffee, change room temperature, dim lighting or update timing from their chair, without disrupting the program or having to communicate on a phone or walkie-talkie.
If your hotel isn’t already building an application that mimics this app, you will soon find yourselves an unattractive brand in the developing sea that is our forward thinking, mobile-minded industry.
Discounted coffee. Free WiFi. Parking vouchers. Early check-in. Late check-out. The list of items that hotels are routinely asked for from meeting and conference planners reads like a chocolate chip cookie recipe: everyone knows what the ingredients are before opening the cookbook.
Hotels know that when it comes to these conference add-ons, experienced event planners always come to the table ready to negotiate. Why not proactively present traditionally a la carte items in a tailored, economically friendly ‘Meeting Planner Toolkit’ that has a flat, transparent fee up front? Add a section that shows the value of each item should they be purchased individually to drive home the discounts you are voluntarily providing.
In doing so you show your clients that you not only understand their needs but also have a solution to their problems. This small gesture will be appreciated, saving you both time and the headache of negotiations.
Make their Social Media Work for You
In today’s social media-driven world, any self-respecting event has a hashtag, a Facebook page or a Twitter handle. Let’s say your hotel is hosting an event that has 800 attendees. That means you have 800 opportunities to obtain personal testimonials of your services without spending a dollar on marketing.
How do you capitalize on these opportunities while simultaneously adding value to your customer? Take lessons from the company that provides the most magical customer service on earth: Disney. By offering planners “complimentary marketing services” that include customizable marketing tools and social media content, Disney is able to obtain additional exposure for themselves while taking work off of the shoulders of the planners. Think #ungerboeckgoestodisney complemented with scheduled tweets and Facebook posts that advertise the event and keep attendees informed throughout the program.
This post was written exclusively for Ungerboeck by Claire Harrington, CMP, Public Relations Manager at Social Tables.