Every group is different. Every meeting or event planner is unique. Every event comes with its own set of objectives, attendee patterns and complications.
Why then do most group sales managers continue to sell their hotel the same way, over and over again, no matter the group?
Here’s the kicker: Meeting planners know when they are being sold to.
They see it when you insist on showing them your spa renovations and trekking them out to the golf course during a site inspection. They see it when you fail to ask them the right questions or when you give biased answers. They see it immediately in your proposal.
Instead of presenting the same proposal repeatedly, win the hearts and group business of corporate event planners by proving you are there to help them achieve their goals, not your hotel’s.
Stop selling and start advising
Meeting planners don’t want to be sold to — it feels contrived. They don’t want to be manipulated or pressured. Even if you’re not intentionally doing any of those things, the stigma remains.
What event planners really want is a partner and advisor — someone who understands how vital it is to select the right venue and avoid the pitfalls of ending up with the wrong one. Become a trusted partner who is going to help formulate and execute a shared vision for their event planning. Help corporate event planners get what they want and need to make their event work well. No persuasion tactics or pressure tricks. Instead, offer insight, transparency and well-rounded suggestions.
Help them get the lowest available rate
A venue can be a meeting planner’s largest investment. So, show them how they can achieve their goals at a lower price. What can be tweaked or rearranged to bring the rate down? Is their event program too space intensive? Can they move their dates? By giving them options to cut expenses, you’re positioning yourself as a true business advisor, winning their trust and favor in the process.
Include conference service managers
Conference service managers (CSMs) usually don’t enter the fray until negotiations have been made and contracts have been signed. Our advice: Bring them in earlier in the process. Event planners trust CSMs, as they aren’t afraid to tell meeting planners what can and can’t be done. CSMs can also help planners manage setup costs outside the rooms and advise how to leverage each square foot of space to achieve meeting goals.
Be their go-to destination expert
Meeting planners understand the power of a destination and its impact on attendance. Help them sell your destination to their attendees. Let them know about fun off-site venues and activities, suggest what to do before and after the meeting, divulge local favorites, and recommend memorable team-building activities that can re-energize the group.