In the hotel industry, first and last impressions are critical. Here are a few tips to make sure that when your hotel hosts a business meeting, the customer’s experience is positive from check in to check out.
- Make use of a Central Reservations Office (CRO)
If you don’t have a hotel CRO service, seriously consider adding this to your front desk operations. When a hundred or more business meeting participants are descending upon your hotel at roughly the same time while overnight guests are attempting to check out, nothing will spoil that critical first and last impression than a staff who must turn away from a customer standing in front of them in order to answer the phone.
A CRO’s voice service will catch those calls, keep you from losing potential customers, and keep the staff engaged with the customer in the lobby.
- Give the person in charge of the meeting an upgraded room or a few extra amenities.
Planning and running a business meeting is stressful. Providing a suite with plenty of room to spread out, Wi-Fi and Ethernet outlets, 24-hour access to a fax and copy machine, mini-fridge, extra coffee for the coffeemaker, and maybe a voucher for a free drink at the bar will go a long way toward winning repeat business.
- Bilingual staff
If you have staff members that are bilingual, let them know their services may be needed for a multi-national conference. It also might be a good idea to compile a list of local people willing to serve as interpreters should the need arise.
- Keep the customer looking sharp.
No one wants to appear at an important business meeting looking rumpled. If your hotel doesn’t have them already, consider tucking small steam irons and compact ironing boards into the closets of business-class rooms. A mini sewing kit to fix a dangling button or torn hem is also a much-appreciated amenity.
- Loo switcheroo
Anticipate the needs of the meeting attendees. For example, if the meeting is to be attended primarily by women, consider converting a nearby men’s restroom into a women’s by hanging a temporary sign on the door. Those who would otherwise be standing in line will thank you.
SmarteHotels.com can help you make your hotel a business meeting mecca. Contact us today to get help with setting up your own hotel CRO or for other tips.
Providing a designated wedding and event planner for your small or independent hotel is not quite as simple as pointing at a member of your existing staff and announcing, “You’re it.” If you’re serious about increasing the number of wedding, business meeting, and private event requests for proposal (RFP) coming across your desk, you need someone with a specific skill set – including hotel internet marketing savvy.
Here are a few qualities to look for in a good event planner for your hotel:
- Training and Certification
It doesn’t take a bachelor’s degree to become a wedding and event planner, but the possession of at least one certification indicates someone who is dedicated to attaining and maintaining high standards. Look for someone who has completed an apprenticeship program, online program, or college-based certification.
- Professional Membership
Membership in a professional organization is always a plus. Look for membership in Meeting Professionals International (MPI), International Special Events Society (ISEC), or the Convention Industry Council (CIC).
- Industry Knowledge
A good weddings and event planner should know where the brides are – online! A well-placed hotel PPC (pay-per-click) ad on just a few of the most popular bridal web sites will not only boost your visibility to your target audience; it will boost your rankings in internet search engine results. It’ll be some of the best advertising dollars you’ll ever spend.
- Organizational Skills
Someone who is detail oriented – and the ability to lay hands on the right detail at the right time – is essential. A thorough knowledge of spreadsheet programs and filing systems, not to mention commonly used hotel systems, is a must in order to produce the exact event the customer is paying for. It is critical that a planner know how to coordinate perhaps dozens of different vendors to bring the event off on time and within budget.
- Business Savvy
Clients want good value for the money their spending, even if they’re throwing a lavish wedding celebration. A planner with the business skills to negotiate prices will increase your profit margin and give you the flexibility to bid competitively for lucrative events.
- Creative Genius
Creativity doesn’t just mean taking a bride’s ideas and making them reality. It’s taking those ideas to the next level… and having a backup plan when things inevitably go wrong. Like a DJ that doesn’t show, a cake that falls, or table decorations that are nothing like what was ordered.
- Customer-First Attitude
“Never let ‘em see you sweat,” is a top-notch planner’s mantra. A client must feel that she can pick up a phone or send an email, and have her concerns addressed in a calm, professional manner.
When interviewing candidates to take the reins of your wedding and event business, ask yourself, “Would I want this person planning the most important event of my life?” Your answer will help you choose the right planner.
Whether it’s through hotel internet marketing or PPC, let us show you ways to say “I do” to more wedding events at your hotel. Contact us today!