PYM Town Hall: April 29, 2011
Table 1 Notes:
- National sales manager for a casino resort
- Conference logistics specialist for a government agency
- National sales manager for a suburban CVB
- National sales manager for a destination resort
Challenge #1: Procurement has become involved a lot more now that budgets are being looked at.
4: It seems to be at every level, not just with corporate bookings. I’m being told, “I cannot sign the contract until it is submitted through several other decision makers.” It just seems like it’s taking more effort to get in their budgets, and to get contract approval.
1: I agree, the whole process takes a lot longer. It is very much a dissected process.
4: Companies have to rationalize their meetings and their spending.
3: Especially with a new piece of business, which is really, heavily scrutinized.
4: The bosses just really need to make sure the spend is on par. This is the new post-recession norm, I guess.
2: It does take longer to get contracts signed. I try to remove the “cancellation clause,” and replace it with a “re-book clause.” This seems to help. And I have been combining my meetings. Three meetings I have previously coordinated are now combined into one.
4: People just aren’t signing off the way they used to.
3: Food and beverage revenue has really taken a hit, as these costs are heavily negotiated.
1: We’re seeing the business start to make a comeback, but it’s happening slowly, and the meetings are smaller.
2: I think it will probably be like this for a while. We have to accept that contracts just won’t turn around the way they used to.
3: It’s also a sticky situation having to tell potential clients and responding to RFPs that they are the “second option.” (In other words, when there are two pieces of business competing for the same set of dates).
2: That happens. If I were told that up front that I was a “second option,” I probably wouldn’t look at them for booking.
4: We’re also still not seeing a lot of large bookings a year or more out. Most bookings are four to eight months out. It’s happening slowly, but corporate business is starting to book further out again.
Challenge #2: I struggle with meeting planners and especially 3rd-party planners, who will not respond to follow-up inquires on proposals that they sent out as “urgent” and required immediate response from the hotels. I attempt to respond to all RFPs within 4-5 hours the day I receive them, and when “urgent” leads come in, I go through hoops to respond as fast as I possibly can. Unfortunately, it seems that when I follow up via e-mail and/or phone calls, a large number of planners will not respond, nor send updates or notification that their program has been placed, canceled, postponed etc. I believe that we need to become more respectful partners.
1: I just want to at least be told if we’re not in the running.
3: As a CVB, we get a lot of leads in which the planner specifically asks that the hotels not call them. I send the leads out to all of our hotels; and even with specific instructions outlining this request, they still call them anyway. I’m sure this is aggravating for the planner.
1: Lack of communication affects all of us, because everyone is so busy, with more responsibilities and more on our plates than ever before.
2: I get told by my “higher ups” that they have narrowed their decision down to the top three but “don’t let the others know yet.” Then, when my bosses change their minds – which inevitably happens – I’m glad I didn’t tell the other properties that they were out. In my RFPs, I am sure to always include the date we will be finalizing our decision, and I list all of the decision makers’ names.
3: It is all about communication.
4: I’ll even place a time frame back on the RFPs I respond to, so that I make sure I’m not holding up other groups and/or affecting other sales managers on our team.
1: It is a good idea to be more specific and more direct.
3: It applies to all forms of communication. Think about all of the voice-mail outgoing messages that say “I’ll call you back at my earliest convenience.” That sounds terrible.
4: It’s hard not to take it personally when you lose the business because you put so much of yourself in the relationship and the negotiations.
1: It does affect you when you feel as though you have been a thorough communicator. I have set goals for myself personally, and have found they apply well also professionally: Cultivate friendships. Be a better listener. Remind myself to have fun. Don’t take things personally. Do the Best that I can.
2: It is difficult for planners too. I don’t like to tell people “no.” Especially when I can see how hard they’ve worked at it. But, it’s definitely not personal.
3: We just like to try to find out why we weren’t chosen. This is oftentimes left unanswered, and would help us for future business.
1: I hate having to go back and tell the planner that I can’t match the rates they’ve negotiated with another property.
3: You have to always remember what generation you’re dealing with too, for most effective communication. They all communicate differently.
Challenge #3: We find an increasing competition with third-party planners and hotel cluster sales initiatives.
3: We have an initiative: “Keep it in …,” so that when one hotel cannot fulfill the business, they refer it to another hotel in our county. Hotel cluster sales, like Starwood Hotels, as an example, may refer the business to another Starwood property, as they are trained to do so, and as a result, we lose the business that supports our CVB.
2: I don’t find that process to be too “customer friendly.”
4: You’re going to find that more and more in the major markets, like Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, etc.
2: The hotel cluster sales seem to be a result of the economy too. They’re having to circle the wagons, do less with more, and exceed higher sales goals.
4: It works, though. I actually have a piece of business coming to San Antonio that is out of Marietta, Ga., that came to me solely because the planner asked for a Starwood referral.
2: It’s also not always very efficient to the planner. In some hotel clusters, the planner is assigned a national sales manager. For one group of hotels I work with, my representative is out of Washington DC. It’s not very convenient for me (or him) to be able to meet face to face. Seems a little impersonal to be “assigned” a sales manager.
4: I am finding that third party planners can actually be good to build a relationship with. They may not be the person who makes the overall decision, but they are a good representation of my hotel to their prospective clients.
PYM: How do you feel about seeing third party planners (like HelmsBriscoe and Conference Direct) planners at PYM LIVE Events?
4: I don’t mind it. I know it’s not your target market, but having a few at the events is fine. Your events always coincide with my trade show philosophy of “quality over quantity.”
1: I think the third party concept is evolving. It is important to develop relationships with them.
3: It can make the RFP process confusing when going through third party planners because too many people get involved. It makes it really tough, especially for a CVB.
1: It’s just the way things are now, though. Part of the new business model.
3: Definitely choosing the “right” trade shows to attend helps me to meet the planners most likely to bring me business.
4: It’s also reciprocal. Referring business out will usually be remembered, and lead to referred business in.
Challenge #4: The increasing consolidation of hotel brands has been a challenge to me as a planner. Also, the escalating renovation and construction costs have been affecting my costs to book with them.
2: All of the increasing resort fees and add-on fees are affecting my booking decisions. Internet is always aggravating to me. I think hotels should across the board just go to free Internet. Add all of that into the cost of the room night if you have to, but don’t tack on a lot of auxiliary fees after the room rates have been negotiated.
4: I agree. Our resort fees just went up this week, and that was simply because all of our competitors increased their resort fees.
2: And, even with the hotel branding consolidation, their online RFP forms still don’t match my needs. There is always an acceleration of change and merging in meeting technologies, and I get that, but sometimes keeping it simple makes sense.
4 (to 2): How do you prefer to submit and receive your proposals? Online? By e-mail?
2: I prefer to place everything in a Word document, and send it via e-mail. Those online forms frustrate me.
PYM: What kind of trade shows do you prefer?
3: I like networking sessions.
4: I like any that deliver quality planners, which is more important to me than the quantity of planners, which larger trade shows always boast.
2: I like the reverse trade shows and appointments being preset at larger shows. It allows me to meet more people, but can be sometimes a little impersonal, and feel like speed dating. There is also nothing that irritates me more than when I sit in one of those five-minute meetings, and am told the entire time “You’re not my market. I’ll put you in touch with the person in my company who handles your market.” That is a complete waste of time to me!
Table 2 Notes:
- Sales manager for coastal golf and beach resort
- Senior sales manager, pharma market for downtown resort
- Corporate sales manager for airport hotel
- Sales manager for city-run convention center
3: Our challenge is our location. We’re in competition with other conference centers and our weekend business, transient, is limited. And rates…
1: Lack of clients and finding new ones is the challenge — [our property] does plenty of business as the only full-service oceanfront resort on coast of … We’ve been blessed with a max amount of business; it fell off in 2008 but it’s coming back up. A luxury resort nearby overpriced themselves and we gained their business. But now a lot of meeting planners are used to getting everything for nothing and want an incredible list of concessions. It’s all about negotiations, sometimes the third party can push for more concessions than I can accommodate, and I wonder if I should let the business walk, because they’re not allowing me to make money on the biz. I know that we have created the monster, but now I want to get back to the level that’s fair
4: We’re being pushed for too much and at some point you can’t cover your labor and food costs. Food is up and gas is up, and we’re doing budgets now. We have a standalone conference center and we get hit because I can’t discount my hotel rooms. We’re lucky in that we have two adjacent hotels, and they’re flexible with their room rates, we can bid out room rates can get $72/night but [planners] look at the hotel rate as separate and say, “OK, so what are you going to give us?” We’re constantly being pushed for everything to be free. Sometimes, I have to walk — I’ll take the family reunion, because they pay. But not corporate groups. And I have nothing but F&B and meeting space to negotiate with.
2: Meeting planners expect free room rental. They say, “We absolutely don’t pay room rental”; they expect to get it free. Starwood has said, “We are pushing room rentals, it is the focus right now.” So we are reintroducing the customer to the charges that we saw in 2007, 2008. My challenge is lack of face-to-face interaction, lack of desire for meeting planners to want to pick up the phone and so hard to get things done over e-mail. The conversation is extended over days and days instead of minutes, and we still have to do prospecting calls. I’m trying to find a way to get in front of the client. And I don’t travel as much because the budgets, so I’m trying to find a way. A lot of times, I don’t get any response. And I’m not finding that prospecting is working. How do you prospect and talk to clients on the phone? Second issue is the bottom line. We have a wonderful product, we’re locally owned, we offer complimentary high teas and dark chocolate at check in and they say, “What can else can you give me for free?” You don’t want to take it away, but those things cost. You want to educate them. Another challenge is working with third-parties. I have a client who doesn’t deal with a third party and I asked why. They said they tried several. But once the third party sent a very nasty e-mail degrading the hotel, misrepresenting the client. Threatening them.
4: We’ve tried selling food in the meeting package.
1: They just want you to be an order-taker. You give away so much, you feel like you drop down and become a prostitute.
PYM: That’s really interesting you say order-taker because it seems that term has changed meaning. When we started doing Town Halls in 2007/2008, salespeople were bemoaning the fact that when times were good, they were just order takers and now they were having to hustle to get business. Yet now, being an order taker isn’t a good thing, it’s because the relationship has become impersonal.
1: One solution we’ve found is to introduce charges to them in small increments. For example, there will be a $50 tear-down fee. Not everyone buys it, maybe 60 percent, but it helps. Also, I try to keep a small charge in there and find a way to give them a break, so that it’s $7.99 on Internet instead of $15.
Challenge #1: Standalone conference center is getting nickeled and dimed without much to negotiate with.
- If you have a break in each of the rooms or one big breakout that services 5-6 rooms, get the mark-up on the food. (Right now they only offer sit-down banquets and are not counting coffee breaks as food. And they have an all-inclusive price that includes the breakfast, lunch and dinner, hotel and attractions: Not having that much luck with it.)
- Be at the table with the hotel to work on the contract so that the planners don’t see item 1 vs item 2 and play the vendors off each other. They need to see the conference center and the hotels as a unified source.
- Have the contract come directly through the CVB (client still responsible for heads in beds, but CVB presenting a unified value and negotiating power).
Challenge #2: Price integrity
- Starting to reintroduce the need to charge for meeting room and educating planners that it’s more than just a room, it’s money that covers the labor, etc. Challenge because not a lot of people charge room rental.
- If you do F&B, we don’t charge room rental, but sales started calling it a set-up fee instead of a meeting room rental (one-time set-up fee), and adjust it for the size of room and needs of housekeeping/service. By saying it that way it becomes easier to get compliance and changes the perception – they understand the labor, etc. that goes into it.
- From resort: Eliminated the resort fee and don’t charge for workout rooms or parking, have tried to eliminate the little fees, so let planners know that all the things are complimentary. So think about everything you offer for free that other hotels charge for. Mark internet and some of those smaller fees into your room rate. Planners hate being nickeled and dimed so you’re better off lumping those little fees into the room rate- but sometimes the finance department gives some push-back because it’s not as easy to separate revenue streams.
- Moving room rates up in price is difficult for the corporate markets, but not for the association market, because it’s individual registration rather than a corporate account. Do your homework and find out what the other guys are charging and find out what your website is showing as a deal. Because sometimes they really mess sales teams up. If a client asks why the hotel is offering rooms on the website for less than I’m offering the group, I tell them that’s just 3 rooms that are available at that rate, and they’re asking for 100. At [my resort] there’s one screen with all the numbers on the various rates — what’s being charged on other channels. So, sometimes you have to take a deep breath and say let me research this and get back to you before you get a pie in the face. Sometimes I don’t like to let them off the phone, but …
- Fourth-quarter we’ve found that all the people in the market were going up in their rates, so we have it marked on our calendar that in September we can go up a little bit.It’s like being the first person at the buffet, as soon as one hotel raises rates, it will free the rest to follow.
Challenge #3: Getting traffic to an out of the way hotel, 20 miles south of the airport
- Sales pitch is we’re getting you out of the city and we’re very close to the airport, which meeting planners like. They completely avoid traffic. We’re a golf course community, recreation-wise, we compete with Stone Mountain/GA Tech, places that have attractions.
- At the very start, ask your client: “What are your goals and objectives for your meeting?” Asking them to talk and see how to customize sales pitch.
- Look at partnerships with innovative companies that can help with CSR and green initiatives — create a brand that people want to follow.
- Look into being a test hotel for the brand’s cutting edge initiatives.
- They have a lot of outdoor trails, but no corporate wellness packages – the hotel’s brand is a “wellness” brand — look and see what the corporate brand has so you can develop those amenities and push those corporate wellness packages for groups. That will really differentiate your product.
Challenge #3: How can we get in to meet with meeting planners face to face?The pond is smaller and they’re overwhelmed. So how can we get them to respond and meet so we can build a rapport?
- We opened that question up to the planners in attendance – they suggested sending an invitation to meet for coffee. Food works. As does putting on the bottom of your e-mail signature the dates you’ll be in town.
Table 3 Notes:
- Sales manager for island resort
- Independent meeting planner
- Sales manager of destination resort
- National convention sales manager for a CVB
4: Locations with an abundance of hotel and meeting rooms are throwing rate integrity out the window and have lowered rates to a point that many destinations cannot compete against.
PYM: What planners do you work with who are your best customers. They pay the rate. They love [your city]. Can they help you get the word out?
3: Shifting focus to a client that is not so rate-driven might help. The more money you put in, and the dollar down. All we can do is focus on the planner who is less money conscious. We started by saying, “we are not going to compete again our normal competitors, we are going to compete again those that are a step above us, and then go after them as this great value. When things get good again, go after the broader spectrum again.”
4: My biggest competition is Orlando. They have a glut of rooms. We don’t have this. Our hotels are at the breaking point. They can’t discount without losing integrity, and going out of business. Orlando keeps adding rooms; they have 3,000 more. Their price has gone from $149 to $89 dollars. We have tried to pick out unique elements, but it has not worked. We have tried to find a higher end client, but we also, as a CVB, have a spectrum of clients. In Florida, it’s always been this competitive. I wonder, when a property drops, how do they stay in business. 1: We do a “Destination Preview”: What we call FAMs now. We talk with the planners and find out what is important. We are still hurting from the “Spring Break” mentality. We do advertise.
2: You can pick out what’s attractive to your location. Do you build value into the pitch? Buyer/ seller scenario: “You get what you buy. The lowest rate is not always going to work out for your group. Something is going to blow up.” I do look at the rate, but also at the property, the value. Orlando, for me, is about leisure, not group. You need to keep them focused on learning. I need a quiet area to meet and not have the distractions. Have you asked planners why you are losing out to competitors? Do it and you might find out why. Surveys are critical in finding out the truth.
1: We’re located on a private island, we are a small, all-inclusive operation with 16 guest rooms that may be reserved in whole or individually. We are looking to generate more full-island rentals that will take advantage of our newly completed conference facilities and unique setting.
PYM: Who are you most like? What do you want to be? Find out how they market. Create a “Letter to a Planner” type video that introduces you.
3: You should join PCMA. You would be a good destination for a corporate board retreat. You may want to identify what the target customer is for you.
4: Are you in MPI? HSMAI? NACE? Kellen Meetings is an association management company. They get their boards aware. The people you will meet at these networking events can help greatly. There’s always 6 degrees of separation. And use social media, Twitter, Facebook…
1: We converted the old horse barn to conference space. The reason we are here is to get the word out to planners. Because we are such a small place, we don’t have the budget to do all of these things.
2: ISES is good too. And Smith Bucklin: They have hundreds and thousands of associations they represent. It’s 2 degrees of separation.
2: My challenges as a planner are tight budgets, sponsorships and event partnerships
3: You still want the best value for your client. I am always selling the value, value, value. Spreadsheets help for analytical-minded clients. That works a lot because they see that “overall” it might be less expensive, because of all the extra fees that pop up. But putting it on paper is important. And quit looking at the rate (client). Sometimes I get someone to call me, but it doesn’t matter what I say, they are going to get sticker shock. I will keep in touch with them and wait until they are ready.
4: Do you want to know exactly how much it’s going to cost? Ask the salesperson: “Tell me the rate, tell me the truth, I don’t want to be popped with a resort fee I didn’t know about.”
2: I work with a lot of different groups and they all have tight budgets. Half of the budget is made up of sponsorships and half is the money you can spend. I’m trying to get across that, even though budget is tight, you can’t look cheap. When you start cutting corners, it’s going to show up in some way. So what I am seeing is my clients are looking at the rate (many times inclusive), not looking at what you are actually getting. I do present everything you get, and then they start nitpicking. I try to explain, you get what you pay for. I find the people with the most money want to get the most for the least, like high-profile celebrities. Regarding the sponsorships: It has become the newest thing. I have been asked to call my contacts to get sponsorships. I try to stay away from that and partner with an event marketing company. I had one guy in Atlanta with a huge corporation sponsor. He was on my case more than the client! I prefer packages. That way, I know what I am getting and there are no surprises.
Other questions submitted:
- The online RFP process does not allow a personal touch. It prohibits a conference center from accurately representing its price structure. For instance, as conference centers are unique in their price structure (compared to a hotel) how can we get the planner to accurately evaluate the cost effectiveness through an online response? If we are able to speak with them directly, we can explain the value of the discounts in the package.
- How important are reward points for meetings?
- How does a meeting planer make decisions for who they give face time to? (and accept appointments from)?
- Do planners want conference guides or online marketing material information (hard copy or web or attachments)?
- Does a hard marketing piece in snail mail work better than an e-mail?What can we, as hotel sales people, do to make an impact on a meeting planner?
- More and more, suppliers are responding to attend one on one appointment type tradeshows verses a booth exhibit tradeshow. From a meeting planner’s perspective, which is more valuable to them?
- Does a meeting planner take time to open an e-mail from a supplier or just click delete? Does the subject line make a difference if it does not come from a hotel you are not currently doing business with?
PYM: Sales has always been about differentiation. Can’t do this with digital third party. Putting “Please Advise” at the bottom of your e-mails works. Have a Town Hall for your clients and make their time that much more valuable. Planners work at night and on the weekends. They can’t always call a sales manager. Your story NEEDS to be on your website.
3: You just can’t differentiate through an RFP. You HAVE to get on the phone. otherwise you will get compared to $ xxx who just give a room. People are just printing the RFP and guessing off of that, not doing prior research. In other words, is there a certain way to ask or approach a meeting with a planner. How do I get in front of a planner I really want to meet with? (To 2): It sounds like you are interested in the culture as much as the size and space. I never thought about it but you “our story” needs to be on the website.
PYM: And ask “What is the goal of this meeting?” The ever-important question.
4: CVENT is very frustrating. It’s not user-friendly for CVBs. It’s not a deal breaker, though. In the body of the e-mail I send to planners, I say, “I am going to be in town, at this time”. I hate phone calls. It cuts my day in half. And bringing food! Food will always get you in the door.
1: What is CVENT? iPad is the midpoint. You still work with it as you would a print piece.
2: I will go on your website anyway. I will not just trust what I get from CVENT or STARCITE. Why would you have a meeting somewhere just based on money? The location and product might achieve none of the goals of the meeting. You should find who the executive is at CVENT and tell him what you think; you are paying money. I find glitches in CVENT all the time and always let them know. I have seen changes. I try to keep it on the hush-hush. It is a good meeting product, but needs to be more user friendly. In terms of points: It’s not a deal breaker. I have to let the client know if points are coming from a meeting. You have to be ethical. It is a perk. And for communication, I prefer e-mail. It’s quicker and easier and I will respond quicker. My iPad is cool and works well in my presentations, once I do get in touch with the client. “I want it all”. When I get on a website, I look for history, location, size space. I like stories, it helps me sell to my planners. I like print. I like to hold it in my hands. And I love my iPad.If we talk, it should take 20 minutes. Tell me about your hotel. What’s close by, attractions, located near what? Do we connect on some level? Hotel person should know something about me and my business. They worst thing is when they have no idea about what type of meeting I am planning.
- When I can speak directly to the planner and personally educate them on my property and find solutions for their meeting needs.
- It all goes back to maintaining relationships. “People buy from people they know”. I try to connect with my Planners on a monthly, if not more often, basis.
- Much of our business comes from word-of-mouth, repeat guests and nature awards/groups.
- Marketing- I have received a lot of exposure for my company and events by using social media, such as, blogging, tweeting, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to drive up meeting attendance
Table 4 Notes
- Director of sales and marketing for suburban hotel
- Sales manager for sports venue/special facility
- Owner of an event marketing firm
Challenge #1: When we receive a RFP and it is very short term, how do we make the best of our proposal opportunities (sometimes not even knowing the ultimate decision maker)?
- Asking the right questions. Example: “Besides yourself, who else will be making this decision with you?”, “What is your budget for this meeting?”
- Show me you know me, research the database you have to see if you know another planner within the same company, google company to learn more about it.Utilize all resources and partners’ (like PYM) information
- Have each segment (i.e. business travel) working parallel with each other
Challenge #2: What are the best methods to generate new leads and sales?
- Being members of organizations such as PYM, SGMP, PCMA, etc.
- Using all resources, partners and social networking without spreading yourself too thin
- Attending trade shows and getting face-to-face time
- Using resources that deliver relationships
- “Bottom Up Planning”- more power on a local level
- Knowing who your best client is
Challenge #3: There’s a new set of meeting buyers (and structure within organizations), it’s challenging attracting attendees, educating meeting owners and attendees alike how to use new media effectively, and proving event ROI.
- Doing pre-event surveys (such as this one) and using that data to identify the best location/event flow.
- Measuring ROI, which involves getting the executives to really focus on the actions they want to create after the event, actually gets better content and overall focus.
- Go to trade shows, google search (for those planners that don’t know PYM)Form alliances and partnerships with neighbors and same flag hotelsWith a strategic plan, take customers from competitors
- Know which businesses have the most opportunity (i.e. organizations that are growing and thriving, look at Wall St Journal and see who’s buying what companies? What companies are merging?
- Follow trends through media, and start with fishing in your own backyard.We all used to be order takers, but now it’s the same meeting at half the cost.Educate yourself. (i.e. Kristi Casey Sanders, PYM Editorial Director and Chief Storyteller’s “Proving ROI” on PYM website) so you can educate your clients.
- Include all avenues: “What was our own turnover for __ part of the year?, What was our internal growth?”
Table 5 Notes
- Sales manager of a CVB
- Independant meeting planner
- Catering manager of a suburban hotel
- Director of sales and marketing of a luxury resort
Challenge #1: Hotel trying to book meetings
1: Planners are hesitant to give leads to CVBs. We offer lots of incentives and even go on sales calls with our hotels.
PYM: What about undercutting?
4: Because of the economy there is still a lot of uncertainty.
1: Our rates are not increasing in Ft. Myers.
2: Did the undercutting start because of the economy?
3: Yes, the most I have ever seen. Everything has become negotiable.
2: I heard a planner say if the place does not offer free Wi-Fi they would not book there.
3: It’s a big issue now. They can get free Wi-Fi at a lower tier hotel, but not higher tier.
2: At a conference the hotel did not have free breakfast so we will not stay there again. I would prefer the breakfast and Wi-Fi fees to be included in the room price. I wouldn’t notice the charge. Only thing people recognize is the word free.
4: Our industry takes advantage of the economy. They began the fees when the economy was good, but now people won’t stay with them. They did it to themselves.
2: I wish it were a hidden cost in the room price.
Challenge #2: Short lead-time for booking and executing events. Perception issues with high caliber hotels
4: We started April with half on the books then last year, but ended booking more then last year. Is there a way to get people to think long term?
1: Corporate planners do not want their money out there, so they will not book in advance.
PYM: I think people are given last minute money.
3: The Internet makes everything go so fast. Planners expect everything to go quickly.
4: People plan within the month at a frantic pace. No prior planning. Before the economy it was 8 weeks before an event, now 2 weeks. It makes it really hard to staff.
1: I had a hotelier e-mail saying they had not booked anything this quarter.
Challenge #3: Getting face-to-face time for sales calls with decision makers and planners. Promoting a hotel to the right people that work with hotels in any company
1: I just call and tell them about the incentives. Since we are so green it’s a big drawl.
PYM: How as a planner would you like to be contacted?
2: E-mail helps. I work with the ones who stay in touch.
1: I viewed a webinar that said only contact planners via LinkedIn.
4: The challenge is getting to the decision maker.
2: It has a lot to do with the budget.
4: The association planners are the most difficult.
PYM: Is it rude to ask whom the decision maker is?
4: I always find out the process each company has.
2: I don’t think it’s rude.
Challenge #4: Getting clients/business during this tough time. (Anesia Jordan)
2: We did so much while I was at SunTrust, but the last year everything changed and was cut like travel.
PYM: I did read that corporate booking is back on the rise.
1: I see it very little.
4: We are up 10 percent; we are not back to 2008 levels yet.
1: As a CVB it is so frustrating.
PYM: How do you incentive a corporate meeting that came once to come back?
1: Guarantee the same rate over the years.
3: I think it’s the relationship and not nickel or diming them