Posts Tagged ‘outsource a meeting planner’

Are You Memorable?

January 19th, 2010

We are all looking for business and ways to get the word out.

How can you be sure your message is being heard?

Get Aggressive with Your Marketing

  • Have a great website that really demonstrates your expertise
  • Create a weblog (Blog)
  • Toot your horn on what is so great about you
  • Have a great brochure
  • Have the best business card you can get

Focus on Customer Service

  • Be attentive to your customer’s uniqueness
  • Outline in clear terms what your agreement is
  • Ask for 3 things when you deliver a great product or service
    • Testimonial
    • Referral
    • Repeat business

Schmooze

  • Network
    • Get to know THEM first
    • Don’t “data dump”
    • Be ready with your elevator pitch
  • Build compatible partnerships and praise their work
  • Know your competition and when they might be a great choice

Get Involved

  • Don’t just be a card carrying member
  • Embrace every opportunity to be on panels or do public speaking
  • Join networking groups that stimulate growth
  • Volunteer your talents for the benefit of your industry

Sharpen Your Skills

  • Read journals on your industry and related industries
  • Join social online networks and contribute to group blogs
  • Learn a new skill that will enhance your product or service
  • Ask for advise
  • Attend webinars

Stand Out

  • Dress for success
  • Do your homework in getting to know them and allow them to “paint the canvas”
  • Be a problem solver
  • Tell them a story about how your product or service was helpful to another client

A Powerful Elevator Pitch
The goal of creating an elevator pitch is to craft a statement that explains to someone — without any experience in your industry —
what you do, how you do it, and who you do it for. It should be straightforward and easy to understand and digest.
Here is a really simple formula you can use as a basis for a powerful elevator pitch:

  • Part I: Ask the other person a question that identifies a common problem. This engages them and gives you a lead-in to Part II.
  • Part II: Give a boiled down version of what you do and how it solves the problem you identified in Part I.
  • Part III: Provide a call to action that specifically tells the other person what you want them to do now.

What’s your elevator pitch?

Tips to delegate tasks and keep control of what really matters

November 11th, 2009

I spoke with a corporate meeting planner recently and she said “I’m happy to have a job but I lost my assistant in the downsizing and now I am doing the work of two people. I feel as though I was demoted. There is not enough time to do it all and do it well.”

Did you know you can hire a professional meeting planner to do all the research, negotiate all components of the meeting, ensure the best rates at no cost to you or your company?

Regardless of whether your meeting is an intimate board meeting, an intense sales training meeting or a multi-day trade show, what you want and expect as your end result is the same…. a successful and well received event. As all professional meeting planners know, the key to a successful event is dependent upon the seamless execution of your details.
If you have experience in the meeting planning industry, you may be quite capable of managing the event yourself. Assistance with advance research may be all that you need to get the process started. If you do not have background in meeting and event planning, allow a professional consultant to lead you on the path to securing the right site with the right terms.
A professional meeting planner will save on your budget expense and add some cost effective enhancement ideas. They will partner with you and become an extension of your team. They can yield a more detailed site selection process along with a better contract, all the while insuring the needs of your event are considered.

Why isn’t there a fee for this service?
Independent meeting professionals do not charge any fees to our clients for hotel site selection services because we are compensated by the hotel you choose on each room they sell to your group. Hotels give us a placement fee, this does not inflate your room rate what so ever. Your buying power is increased because we book thousands of rooms per year, at multiple properties. Hotels compete for your business, benefiting you with the lowest room rates available. It is in the best interest of the hotel to offer great rates to our clients, so we may in turn book their hotel or their brand again for other business.

Will hotels raise their rates to compensate your placement fee?
No. The hotel rates that A2Z Meetings & Events receives are at least as competitive as those you might find on your own – with the placement fee already built in. A2Z is able to negotiate these great rates due to the large quantity of business we direct to the hotel industry. The added bonus is that we know the rates and seasonality of properties throughout the country so we can make recommendations of how and where you will get the best value for your dollar.

Are meeting planners biased when choosing a venue?
An independent meeting professional will have your best interest and needs as their first priority. You are the decision maker as to where the meeting goes. Our job is to negotiate the best overall value package so you can make the best decision. The placement fee is fairly standard within the industry, so the meeting planner’s “pay-out” is comparable wherever the meeting is booked. Professional meeting planners rely heavily on their reputations and the referrals they acquire so you can be confident they are going to work hard to earn both your business and your respect.
Enlist a planner that is honest about receiving a placement fee. We have over 27 years of experience in the meeting and event planning industry. We have earned a reputation by providing quality services based on an honest and ethical relationship with our clients and the properties you select. We work hard to gain and maintain your trust.

Are there other services available besides site selection and contract negotiation?We are experienced in all avenues of professional meeting and event planning and have a team of service providers that assist us when a group chooses to have us work the meeting. The fee based services available are listed on our A2Z Meetings & Events website. Many independent meeting planners only provide the complimentary site selection and contract negotiation services while we will see you through from A2Z!

Now serving number 44 …

August 16th, 2009


Do you ever feel like just a number?

So many hoteliers are wondering why group business is so far behind last year. The canned answer is the economy. Groups are smaller in size because fewer people are allowed to attend; they are not spending as much on training and development; there are fewer employees because sales are down; groups can’t go to places that have spa or resort in their name; non-essential travel has been cut. While all of these things may be true for several markets, there are markets that continue to travel and the hotel sales team should be prospecting for new business on an ongoing basis.

As an independent meeting planner, I am amazed by the lack of passion and sense of urgency I have experienced in the site selection process. Frequently I have to call the hotel to ask if someone would please respond to my request for a proposal. Once I receive the proposed bid, I have to call back to address several key points that were requested and not addressed. My request for a proposal has not been examined to see how they can best accommodate MY needs … it is just a matter of offering space, rates and dates without satisfying any emotional needs. It is rare that I encounter a benefits sales approach or even a genuine interest in the “pain” that I need help solving … I am simply a number.

I have spent my adult life in the hospitality industry. I love working with my clients and so many become dear friends. That doesn’t happen simply responding to requests with the “take it or leave it” quote. If business is so bad out there, what is the sales team doing that is more important than responding to a request in a memorable way? It isn’t about the lowest rate or the most attachments to documents that I have to sift through to get answers to my questions. It is about being excited to create a lifelong relationship, being thorough in responding to specific needs that are mentioned, asking valuable questions that let me know you understand my goals and being creative in presenting the additional benefits that put the icing on a well thought out proposal.

Because of the experience described above and my lifelong network of professional colleagues throughout the world, I saw a need to design a sales training program for hotels. What would it take to ignite the sales team? Just as the needs of each meeting planner is different, so are the needs of each hotel sales team. first analyze the needs of sales organization.

Phase one is a mystery shopping service where we contact the hotel with 5 different types of groups from various areas of the country and varying market segments in an attempt to shop 5 different group or catering sales managers. These 5 leads all come through different lead sources to also shop the effectiveness of 5 major revenue streams. The results are given on a standards scorecard as well as the complete written dialogue of the mystery shopping experience. Each shop experience gives a written recommendation on ways to enhance the marketing tool and suggestions for how that proposal could have been improved.

BONUS ~ At least two of the shopping experiences will also include competitive responses to the same lead. Here you will see how quickly primary and secondary competitors are responding as well as the way they have addressed the specific needs and to what degree they engage in a benefits sales approach. The results do not reveal competitor rates that were quoted.

Phase two is a customized on-site training program. Based on the results from Phase One, we know which areas required the greatest amount of attention and each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Some of the training is done on an individual one-on-one basis and some can be conducted as a group. Several support pieces are required from the hotel prior to arrival to point me in the right direction. A complete checklist is requested in my initial proposal to the executive responsible for deciding on engaging my services.

BONUS ~ The sales staff helps to write a living training program that can be used as a refresher course or taught when new members join the team. The standards that are set and tools that are designed truly clarify the roles, goals and responsibilities of each team member and it gets them back on course in a positive uplifting environment. The sales staff recognizes the investment in their training and it stimulates new excitement for the property and several new, creative ideas.

All of this training impacts the customer experience in a positive way. The client will recognize the smile and the genuine interest in the response they receive. If they need to leave a voicemail for the sales manager at your hotel, the client will smile at the creative prompt to leave a message rather than groan until they hear the beep. If a voicemail is left for them, the client will want to get back to that sales manager because they respect one another and are building a bond. The client will look forward to booking business at your hotel this time and in the future. They become part of the sales team and look for other opportunities within their organization or will provide outside introductions and referrals if asked.

Selling is not just taking an order. It’s not about getting to the “close”. Selling is step one to building a relationship. It is about finding the need and genuinely responding to the “pain” in a way that encourages a partnership ~ not just for this time but for a lifetime.