Hotel Distribution Strategy: How to Avoid Business Meeting Glitches

Having a good hotel distribution strategy can help increase your business meeting bookings. But how do you prepare to make those meetings great? Business meeting planners spend months—maybe even all year—planning and preparing for what will hopefully be a productive annual meeting. When they book their meeting dates at your hotel, they have a right to expect you and your staff will devote the same level of professional attention to making their meeting a success.

When it comes to preparing for your business guests’ arrival, it all comes down to the details.

 

Make their agenda your agenda
Obtain an up-to-date meeting schedule to make sure the correct meeting spaces will be available when needed. If two conferences are scheduled at the same time, having a detailed schedule for each will help keep noisy events from being assigned adjacent rooms.

 

Make like MacGyver
Duct tape – don’t leave home without it! A little tape over doorjambs can help keep heavy conference room doors from clattering when someone exits or enters a meeting in progress (Caveat: Make sure you aren’t breaking any fire safety codes).

 

Light or dark?
Have a full understanding of the events to take place so that meeting spaces are fully equipped – including blackout shades for any conference room with windows. Nothing ruins a carefully prepared PowerPoint presentation quicker than a leaky window shade.

 

Make sure everything works
All meeting room equipment should best tested ahead of time. Wi-Fi, Ethernet hookups, lights, audio/visual equipment—it’s all indispensable.

 

Maintenance issues
Be prepared to deal promptly with dead TV remote batteries, bad light bulbs, plumbing issues, all those little annoyances that could color a business guest’s stay negative.

 

Personnel preparation

  • If you don’t have a concierge at your hotel, consider assigning a staff member to take this role exclusively for the conference guests.
  • Schedule adequate bell staff to help the conference planner unload and transport what will inevitably be boxes and boxes of meeting materials and supplies.
  • Empower the front desk staff to deal with minor emergencies. If a reservation is lost, give staff the authority to not only immediately book a room, but compensate the guest for the inconvenience with a room upgrade or voucher for free breakfast.
  • For not-so-minor emergencies, make sure at least two staff members are trained in first aid and CPR. Also consider keeping an AED machine in the office, and have every staff member trained how to use it.

 

Security concerns
Particularly for the increasing number of female business travelers, safety and security are of prime importance. If a guest’s instincts are telling him or her that something isn’t right, be willing to address those concerns quickly and without question, which could include a move to a different room or a few extra walk-bys from the security guard on duty.

SmartEHotels.com can help you adjust your hotel distribution strategy to increase business meeting traffic. Contact us today!

Hotel RFPs: What Do Corporate Meeting Planners Want?

It’s true that corporate meeting planners often prefer to deal one-on-one with hotel event coordinators. However, it’s also true that planners are increasingly making use of the Internet to screen potential venues.

As the owner or manager of a small or independent hotel that’s looking to increase corporate meeting business, it’s up to you to make sure your facility pops up on planners’ web radar—and to make sure your facility has what they’re looking for. How should this affect your hotel RFPs?

Just the Details, Please

Many planners use an online database like hotelplanner.com to quickly narrow down the list of venues to contact with a hotel request for proposal (RFP). So it’s critical that when you upload your hotel’s information into one of these databases, the information is as complete and accurate as possible.

You’ll need:

  • Complete and accurate measurements of each conference room, boardroom, and ballroom, including ceiling height.
  • Number of people each can accommodate, depending on table configuration
  • Features such as video screens, windows, number of outlets, etc.
  • Equipment provided (TV/DVD/VCR, podium, video conferencing, flip boards, sound system, dry-erase boards, etc.)
  • Amenities provided, like coffee, tea, and food service, Internet, and even things you might take for granted, like air conditioning.

Contact!

Let’s say that a corporate planner has used an online database and your facility has landed on their ‘top ten’ list of hotel venues. Now they’re going to visit each hotel’s website to quickly compare those facilities—including yours.

It’s no longer enough to have a single page of your hotel’s site dedicated to meetings and events, containing only a brief description, a couple of photos, and a phone number or email. A corporate planner will quickly move on to your competitors’ sites.

Turn your hotel website into a virtual tour with interactive content; photos of facilities, rooms, and amenities; video; downloadable e-brochures; and most importantly, an opportunity to submit a hotel RFP online, or even book a small event right from the website.

Know What’s Hot

Pay attention to the deal breakers for today’s corporate planners. It wasn’t so long ago that Internet access of any kind was a luxury. Now, high-speed Wi-Fi is a must-have. Special rates for on-site restaurants, spa visits, and other amenities can also be the enticement that puts your hotel RFP at the top of the list. Don’t forget that the growing buzzword in the corporate world is “green”; pointing out your hotel’s efforts to be environmentally responsible will put a star by your hotel’s name on many a corporate planner’s short list.

Don’t let corporate meeting business slip away. Let us help you make the hotel RFPs pour in. Contact us today.

The Short List: Tips to Make Sure Your Hotel RFPs Are Top Notch

Online hotel request for proposal (RFP) sites are a convenient nexus that bring together corporate meeting planners looking for venues and hotel venues looking to connect with corporate clients.

In this mutual weeding-out process, the last thing you need is a reason to be the one weeded out. The number one reason this happens? Missing information.

Treat your online hotel RFPs with the same care you would take with a paper submission. That means dotting the i’s, crossing the t’s, and leaving no field unfilled. In addition to nuts-and-bolts information such as number of meeting rooms, room sizes, equipment provided, etc., the following is a list of the types of questions you may get from a potential corporate client looking for a meeting venue:

  • Hotel age and history
  • Completion dates and types of recent renovations
  • Dates of planned renovations
  • Details about the current hotel management team, such as how long the current team has been in place
  • Names and length of service of the employees who are designated convention and meeting planning contacts
  • Names and contact numbers/emails of up to three other corporate planners who have held a meeting or event of similar size at your hotel
  • Any other groups (and what kind) already scheduled for events during the potential client’s proposed dates. After all, a corporate client holding an important meeting requiring intense concentration won’t be a good fit if there’s a noisy toy company meeting in the next room.
  • Make sure your staff convention and meeting liaison is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)
  • A short description of your hotel’s management policy
  • Examples of how your hotel has creatively met a client’s particular needs
  • What is it about your facility of which you are most proud?
  • Name your three biggest competitors and explain what sets your facility apart from the competition

Don’t let your hotel RFPs get weeded out; be the last venue standing! Contact Smart eHotels™ today to learn how we can help.

Hotel RFPs: How to Put Your Small Hotel On The Map

If you run a small or independent hotel, you may think you can’t compete with the big hotel chains for corporate business meeting contracts. However, remember when we talked about finding your hotel’s niche and sticking with it? If you do it right, and target the right audience, your hotel request for proposal (RFP) is more likely to pop to the top of potential clients’ short lists.

What does your hotel have that the big boys don’t? The ability to focus a higher percentage of your resources on a smaller group of people. By targeting smaller meeting events of 100, 50, or even 20 people, you’ll attract businesses that are looking for personal service in a setting that won’t make them feel like they’re getting lost in the crowd.

Ever been to a meeting at a giant hotel or conference facility? No one likes spending all day in a meeting—much less having to compete for tables and seating against a thousand attendees of six other meetings!

Great Facilities

There are a few must-haves for appealing, effective meeting spaces. These include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • Offer meeting rooms in a range of sizes
    Even if your meeting space is limited to three to five rooms, make them great places for small groups of people to spend long hours.
  • Décor that doesn’t bore—or worse, is wince-worthy
    There are few things worse than spending all day in a cold, grey, impersonal room. Neutral carpets, wood paneling, and tasteful artwork that reflects the local culture can really warm up a meeting room.
  • Comfortable seating
    Don’t skimpy on the chairs! Padded, rolling, office-style chairs with armrests will be much appreciated by those who would rather not be distracted by sore posteriors.
  • Sturdy, laptop-friendly tables
    These should be heavy enough that minor bumps won’t send everyone diving to save their expensive gadgets from puddles of coffee. Built-in outlets would also be a nice touch.
  • Adequate lighting
    No one wants to feel like they’re stuck in an interrogation room. Warm-glow bulbs are easier on the eyes. Provide a dimmer switch for audio-visual presentations.
  • Climate control
    If possible, install individual climate control in each room.
  • High speed Wi-Fi
  • Telephones with speakers for teleconferencing
  • Plug and play audio/visual equipment, including presentation screens
    Make sure the room’s ceiling height will accommodate larger screens.
  • Extra wall outlets
    Don’t make your guests fight over limited outlets. Provide one or two power strips per room, as well.
  • Privacy
    Removable walls make a larger space more versatile, but they’re seldom soundproof. Nobody wants to deal with sensitive corporate problems while a cocktail reception is going on next door.

Great Service

  • Dedicated event planner/concierge onsite
    Having one go-to person to keep things running smoothly will bring back repeat customers.
  • On-site technical support
    Don’t let your client’s meeting get hung up over a glitchy projector or broken Wi-Fi. Problems will happen, but have the proper staff in place to quickly resolve them.

Attractive Amenities

  • Indoor and outdoor break areas
    Even if your hotel is located in an urban area, try to find an outdoor space for guests to step out and get some air during meeting breaks. Leave no rooftop unturned! Many city hotels make use of roofs for patio socializing spaces.
  • High-quality food
    Look at the reviews on any hotel RFP site: what is one of the top three items guests remember? The food! Whether you work with caterers or prepare food onsite, make sure it’s something you’d be proud to serve at your own table.
  • Workout and relaxation facilities
    Savvy business travelers always appreciate a place to sweat off on-the-road meals or enjoy some after-meeting social time. If your hotel doesn’t have an onsite restaurant or bar, a cozy lounge area is a nice touch.

Let us show you how to increase your hotel RFP submissions PDQ! Contact Smart eHotels today.