As I sit on a plane for the 21st time this year, I am thinking about the importance of knowing the hotels we recommend in the top 75 or so cities throughout the US.
Helping Shape Your Diamond In The Rough
As a professional meeting manager as we are, it is vital we have knowledge of each property we are discussing with our clients. I can’t believe how many site selectors/meeting planners I talk to, don’t believe they need to visit the hotels they are discussing with their clients. They hate to travel. How in the world can they know whether property “a” is the right location for a client? Are they giving their client the information from a website and just hoping that it works out? Or, worse yet, do they even care?
I am fortunate I had managers in my early years in the hotel business who believed you should handle the client from the first call to the last moment on a property. We were trained in all facets of the sales and service process: the presale and sale, the meeting, and the final billing. It was a different time.
No different from a pitcher in baseball….
Back then they pitched a 9-inning game. It was on their shoulders to make it right, now, a pitcher makes it three innings and you end up having five people do the job that was done by one. The hotel business is the same way. Sell it to the client, turn it over to the catering team who turns it over to the operation’s team, then accounting gets involved and poof. The meeting is done.
I am one who always believed it was important for my talent’s show through and be sure that the client was taken care from the beginning to the very end. This is why I developed CMP Meeting Services in 1986. I can’t tell you how many times when I was selling for hotels in my early days the question would come up, why should I come to your property? The answer was as simple then as the questions “why should I use your services?
Today, when you pick my property/company, you pick working with me. Hoteliers can’t say that today because of the above – but our staff can say that, and we are proud of that distinction.
I have digressed.
My point is knowing the hotel, area, and city that is best for the client. This week it is Tucson. An interesting city with eight top-rated resort properties (my apologies to the specialty resorts in the area) with a completely different feel in each one. Each a unique feel; The Loews Ventana Canyon, The Westin La Paloma, Westward Look, Omni Tucson National, Hilton El Conquistador, The Ritz Carlton at Dove Mountain, Casino Del Sol and the JW Marriott Starr Pass. None of these are like the other, possibly in a number of rooms they may have, or if they have golf or not on property, other than that, each has its own personality.Thus, the need and the requirement that you understand the nuances of each, good and not so good, and then compare it to the clients needs to match the two together.
Clients beware, ask your independent meeting planner if they have been to the property, do they know the staff, town, etc. or are they going on the hotel chains reputation?
Be sure the people who are representing your interests, KNOW your interests and your needs and know the properties they are recommending have some thought put behind it so that you can feel comfortable in the decisions you are asked to make.
I have said for many years that putting on a good meeting is not hard at a top-rated hotel. However, if there are problems, does your independent meeting manager know how to make it right? Or, better yet, are they there to be sure it doesn’t go wrong?
Tucson, for example, is one of those Diamonds in the rough. People think of Scottsdale, Phoenix, Palm Springs, and the like. However, for the dollar, Tucson can be a great alternative to these cities and should be considered for the right group.
If your planner hasn’t been there, they may not know and would either pick other cities to consider and may, under many circumstances, leave thousands of dollars on the table not to mention missing out on some of the qualities of this fine city.