Redstone was invited to speak on last week’s Canadian Hotel Sales & Marketing Executives (CHMSE) industry panel, to discuss current trends and best practices in site inspections. Below are the key takeaways from the discussion:
Communication is Key
Just like in any new or old relationship, communication is a critical component to the success of a planner’s relationship with a hotel/venue (and vice versa). CHMSE’s panel of planners and site inspection professionals discussed the crucial questions all sales representatives should ask before showing off their space:
- How much time do you have? Both the planner and sales professional’s time is valuable. Staying on schedule helps to cultivate a respectful relationship between both parties.
- What exactly do you want to see? Sales representatives are often keen on showing all of their meeting space and venue’s features, while some planners are only interested in seeing the proposed contracted space. Asking the planner if they would like to see the additional highlights of the venue (spa, gym, etc.) is a necessary step in the site visit process. It ensures the visit is kept on schedule, and the planner and sales professional’s time is used most effectively.
- What is most important to you/your client? Learning what is most important to the planner’s event right off the bat (before the site visit) can often make or break the success of any site inspection. During the CHMSE event, panelists and attendees shared their top customer service experiences during a site inspection and each story had a common theme: the sales representative listened to their potential client’s key mission and delivered an experience that fit within that goal.
Experiences Over Gifts
As mentioned in point three above, and as discussed in detail during the CHMSE panel, planners value experiences over anything else. Multiple stories were shared with the audience describing contracts being awarded to venues because a sales professional delivered an experience above and beyond what was expected, even if the venues were not necessarily the best fit for the group. The client couldn’t help but select the venue for their event because the extraordinary experience outweighed any concerns they had.
This topic was really the central focus of the panel discussion, as most questions asked by the audience circled back to this idea of experiences over everything else. A sales professional asked the panel about the importance of gifts or a takeaway at the end of an inspection, and the panel agreed: gifts are not necessarily important anymore. All of the panelists noted that pens, mugs, notebooks, etc. play no part in their decision to select a particular venue. Planners would prefer venues to move away from branded merchandise and focus most on learning about the potential client and delivering an experience that meets their goals and objectives.
Have a meeting or event coming up? Want to discuss how to select the best venue for your organization? Taylor would be happy to chat! Contact her today.
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