You’ve heard of the “power nap,” “power lunch,” or “power work-out.” ”Power” denotes the ability to get the most accomplished in the least amount of time with maximum effectiveness using the right people, tools and resources. With eight tips specifically designed to help you get the most from you site inspection, you can streamline your agenda and put a plan in place to involve the right partners from the beginning.
The current high demand and seller’s marketplace has everyone in the meeting’s industry scrambling. Hoteliers are having difficulty handling the heavy influx of leads, and planners are frustrated with lengthy response times and lack of availability, and that’s before the site inspection process even begins.
We reviewed the communication processes and the key components to be considered before, during and after the site inspection; to make sure you see the right properties, secure the best offer, and find the right meeting location to attract your attendees and please your stakeholders. In fact, we discovered just how much of this happens prior to the actual site inspection! Therefore, preparation, in this case, is key.
- It’s a balancing act.
It’s important to consider both the organization’s goals and your meeting needs, along with the booking parameters of the hotels and venues you are considering. It’s a lot like match making. There is a right fit for every meeting and knowledge is power for the planner. Understanding the dynamic considerations hotels undertake based on seasonality, arrival/departure patterns, historical demand factors, special events, and even transient demand help planners to be less frustrated in their search and streamline the most ideal properties for site inspection. Why waste time considering properties that are not a good fit with your goals and objectives?
- Break it down.
Think a particular destination is too expensive or complex for your group? It may be necessary to break it down and examine the destination as compilation a of districts, boroughs, or regions. One is sure to be right for you. Every destination has distinctive areas that are priced differently and offer amenities and venues appealing to a variety of meeting and attendee needs. Don’t make assumptions that prevent you from investigating a destination with high appeal and the potential to increase your attendance just because you judge too quickly. Take the time to explore.
- Over communicate.
We can’t stress this enough…it’s so important to over communicate! Especially in the current high demand seller’s market, many leads are being evaluated based on the information communicated initially on the RFP. It’s possible to receive a turn down or no availability response simply because you did not include enough information about your group and there were so many leads, the hotel sales staff didn’t take the time to investigate further for clarification. So, this is a case where less is not more! Articulate everything up front that is important to you and your decision making and prioritize it, in order to have the right list of properties on your short list at site inspection time. Nothing is worse than wasting time touring properties that, when you get right down to the details, can’t meet your most important requests!
- Discuss attendee demographics
The recent Phase I Decision to Attend Study gauged the top factors contributing to the attendee’s likelihood to attend a meeting. Top among them – the appeal of the host destination! However, discussion of attendee demographics, preferences, and interests don’t often make it into the discussion when scouting potential sites for a meeting. In reality, this is critical information. The more you reveal about your attendee’s profile, the better a destination, hotel, or venue is able to personalize the options to entice your group to make your meeting a priority in their schedule and enjoy it too. They might even decide to bring a friend or spouse or tack on a vacation.
- Challenge creativity insisting on show not tell.
With either a lavish or tight meeting budget, it is possible to spur creativity from your vendors and not get stuck in the rut of just doing what you did last year. Sure, keep what worked, but the site inspection is a great time to explore new options. Think of your contacts as curators of the meeting experience. They have seen it all! Put them to task and have them show you what works, not just say, “Oh sure, we can do that!” Photos, videos, demonstrations, taste testing, mock set ups, introductions to other planners with similar needs, and prearranged meetings with critical staff are all examples of how you can ask the destination under consideration to show you how it’s done their way.
- Address the hard stuff up front.
This one is hard and easy at the same time! No one wants to talk about the difficult things while being wined and dined! So get them on the table early. Prior to the site inspection, discuss attrition, cancellation, concessions, and food and beverage minimums, even negotiate room rates up front with your top choices. That way you don’t fall in love with a property during a site visit that isn’t going to be flexible on areas that may be deal breakers for your meeting.
- Outline time frames for responses and decision making.
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s competitive out there! Hotels and venues are applying stringent booking polices and narrowing the timeframes for planners to hold space on a first option while making a decision. Also, your email box tends to fill up after returning to the office with lots of questions about when and how you will narrow choices and make your final decision. Make it easier on everyone by discussing time frames, yours and theirs, during your site visit. It will make everyone more comfortable and allow for less frustration all around.
- Don’t go it alone
There is a lot that goes into identifying and selecting a meeting location, doing due diligence and making a final decision. This is all made easier with the help of a destination consultant for FREE. Or should we say FREE TO YOU. Meeting destinations are represented by Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs or CVBs) just for this reason alone. Those vested in tourism growth want to provide you with competent council.
The destination sales professional is there, without bias, to guide you through the process. To help you identify and eliminate options. To help you understand the lay of the land. To help you meet your budget and communicate your needs to their stakeholders. To help everyone understand how to entice your attendees and get creative. To be a sounding board for negotiations and what is possible. To make sure everyone understands time frames and meets important deadlines. And lastly, to make sure you are never alone in their neck of the woods. After all, it’s home to them and they want to make sure you are fully satisfied with you meeting and eager to come back. Simply put, it’s their job.
To research destinations, find out what’s new, and connect to CVB experts at more than 150 top meeting destinations, visit empowermint.com.