Finding that perfect hotel
Twenty years ago, searching for the perfect site to host your event was pretty easy.
There weren’t all that many hotels that could really handle conventions. There were only a handful of seasoned hotel representatives to reach out to for help as well.
Most of us probably didn’t care as much about the hotel property back then. If it was a 4 or 5 star property and had good customer service and in good condition, we were good to go. Finding the site was probably one of the least stressful parts of planning an event.
However, it’s a new day in site researching, and to find that perfect location for an event is anything but stress free.
Here are just a handful of hot topics that make it more critical and time consuming than it used to be to find that perfect location:
The Market – The market just isn’t soft anymore. Hotels are booking rooms years in advance at times. The trouble is that many of us are not prepared to contract events two or more years ahead of time. This leads to a lot of time invested in jockeying around event space with very little wiggle room. It’s the equivalent of pounding a square peg into a round hole.
Brand – we all know it…. brand is king. We all live and die by our brand and that carries over to event venues. What used to be “good enough” isn’t anymore. Hotels not only need to line up with a customer’s brand in appearance and aesthetic, but also in value and vision. And with over 53 thousand hotels in the U.S. alone now, why not find the one that matches your priorities and values. Some want to know if they are socially responsible. Do they recycle? Are they supporting Green Initiatives? The little details are important as well. Where are the plugs located in the sleeping rooms? Is there a coffee maker? Does the shampoo squeeze out of the bottle or do you have to shake it out like a ketchup bottle? (OK - maybe that one is just me).
Shenanigans – There was a day when we had one rep for a hotel chain. Now there are hundreds. Or, sometimes none…the big box hotel properties (we won’t name names) seem to have lost that personal touch and it’s tough keeping connected when the representative turn over is so high. Their constant restructuring has not helped either.
Contract negotiations – because the pen is mightier. Amenities, discounts, clauses of every shape and color…everything is up for grabs these days. It is more important than ever for a skilled meeting planner to leverage their buying power along with the customer’s book of business and work to get the best deal possible. No one, in our house, signs the first offer from a hotel or venue. Ever.
The Bottom Line
Now don’t get anxious – site searches are a big part of our job and if I do say so myself, we are the best. Between the members of our team we have something like a million years of experience and we literally know every property in the country and most around the world. We take care of all of the details and ensure the site search feels as easy for our clients as it did twenty years ago.
The industry changes and we change with it, that’s the way it’s always been. Sometimes I just get nostalgic for the old days.