"In reality, destinations and hotels understand the value small meetings bring to their city and how vital they are to the city’s overall occupancy and want to work with you to find solutions."
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is the opportunity to get out around the country and listen to meeting planners. Large or small, planning a meeting can be a frustrating experience, which is why I love being able to lend an ear and sometimes, the opportunity to offer solutions that can be provided by Convention & Visitor Bureaus (CVBs). Planners of small meetings can sometimes feel like they get lost in the shuffle of larger meetings and citywide conventions. In reality, destinations and hotels understand the value small meetings bring to their city and how vital they are to the city’s overall occupancy and want to work with you to find solutions.
Your small meeting has value to hotels and destinations. In fact, according to HotelExecutive.com, more than 80 percent of all meetings have 50 attendees or fewer, representing more than $10 billion a year. But we also know that small meetings can be a challenge to book because of their shorter booking window and needing to fit around larger meetings and citywide conventions. By understanding the value of your small meeting and how to work with it, not against it, you will be able to find service and savings, as well as the right people to help you.
Here’s a look at some of the small things you can do to help make your meeting a success…and less frustrating:
Be Flexible: If your meeting requires more space relative to its hotel room requirements, finding the right fit for your meeting can be a difficult task. If possible, be flexible with your dates and day of the week pattern. You will have more success finding dates and rates as well as save your organization money by holding your meeting over need periods for the hotel.
Include a Complete RFP: Be sure to include a complete RFP. Yield the best rates by including food and beverage (F&B) components and auxiliary spending in your RFP. If your meeting does not include a lot of F&B, encourage your attendees to dine at the hotel by making reservations for them. Hotels will look at the total meeting package when negotiating rates and you’ll want to arm yourself with complete meeting intelligence to increase your negotiating clout.
Small or Large Hotel?: There are pros and cons to holding your small meeting in a large hotel with a lot of amenities and space options or a boutique hotel where meeting attendees will experience a more intimate meeting experience. Take a look at your meeting’s objectives to determine what works best for your meeting.
Make a Shorter Booking Window Work for You: Make a shorter booking window work for you by talking with your CVB sales professional and learning about the destination’s unique demand factors which include; historical occupancy and seasonality, special events, citywide conventions, and business transient and leisure demand. The CVB sales professional understands where there are need dates and will work with you to find the best fit.
Find Opportunities to Save: Get creative with your RFP and understand the value of your meeting. Small meeting planners are in a much stronger negotiating position when they come armed with complete information about their meeting. Talk with your CVB sales professional about any need periods or cancellations in their destination. Additionally, when possible, you might want to consider destinations beyond 1st Tier cities. There are amazing cities with wonderful amenities ready to provide a memorable meeting experience.
Remember, small meetings are important to destinations and hotels. And no one knows that better than your Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). In fact, every destination has sales professionals at the CVB dedicated to small meetings. They understand the unique needs of these meetings and will work with you on not only this meeting, but all of your organization’s meetings to ensure a successful outcome.
To get in touch with a CVB sales professional, please visit www.empowermint.com.