Every group is different. Every meeting planner is unique. Every event comes with its own set of objectives, attendee patterns, and complications.
Then, why does your hotel’s group sales managers continue to sell the property the same way, over and over again, no matter the group?
Here’s the kicker: Meeting planners know they are being sold to. They see it when you insist on trekking them out to the golf course during a site inspection, even when golf isn’t relevant to their group. They see it when you fail to ask them the right questions or give biased answers. They see it immediately in your cookie-cutter proposal.
Instead of presenting the same proposal over and over, win their hearts and business by proving you are there to help them achieve THEIR goals, not your hotel’s.
Here’s how to do it:
Stop Selling and Start Advising
Planners don’t want to be sold to – it feels contrived. They don’t want to be manipulated nor pressured. Even if you’re not doing any of those things, the stigma remains.
What they really want is a partner and advisor. Someone who understands how vital it is to select the right venue and avoid the pitfalls of selecting the wrong one. A trusted partner who is going to help plan and execute a shared vision. Help them get what they want and need to make this event work. No persuasion tactics or pressure tricks. Instead, offer insight, transparency, and well-rounded suggestions.
Include Conference Service Managers
CSMs usually don’t enter the fray until negotiations have been made and contracts have been signed. Our advice: Bring them in earlier in the process. Meeting planners trust CSMs, as they aren’t afraid to tell meeting planners what can and can’t be done. CSMs can also help planners manage set-up costs outside the rooms and advise how to leverage each square foot of space to achieve meeting goals.
Help Them Get the Lowest Rate
A venue is a planner’s largest investment. So, show them how they can achieve their same goals at a lower price tag. What can be tweaked or rearranged to bring the rate down? Is their meeting program too space intensive? Can they move their dates? By giving them options and insight on how to cut expenses, you’re positioning yourself as a true business advisor, winning their trust and favor in the process.
Be Their Go-To Destination Expert
Meeting planners understand the power of a destination and its impact on attendance numbers. So, help them sell your destination to their attendees. Let them know about fun off-site venues and activities, suggest what to do before and after the meeting, divulge local secrets, and recommend memorable team building activities that can re-energize the group.