Hotel Conference and Small Business Meetings
2011, in my opinion, is not going to be easy for hotels at whatever level. However, I believe small, independent luxury hotels have an opportunity to outperform their larger competitors by being more active locally. Conference business has been knocked for six in the economic downturn but as things improve, many will be turning their attention once again to conference budgets…and this is when they might well be in the market for change.It’s always important to appreciate that, when chasing new conference business, you’re asking companies to switch from hotels that are tried and trusted. Why should whoever makes the decisions put their heads on the block for you by giving your hotel a try? They’d be in serious trouble if you cocked up. However, they might have suspended their conference activity over the last 12 months and so might be in the market for somewhere new, somewhere that’s not so corporate, somewhere that’s run by passionate owner/managers who really care.
You now need to ensure that EVERY potential conference/board meeting/partners meeting/etc client knows you exist and why you would be such a good choice. Someone needs to visit every company/firm/organisation within a given radius with a presentation package for each individual director/partner…yes, I’m talking about cold calling. (Trying to make appointments over the phone can be a waste of time.) You won’t get to see the people concerned but your research will tell you their names and handing over a personally addressed envelope in reception is far more likely to hit the target than a letter which could well be regarded as junk mail.
I was once in the offices of the biggest solicitor in the area and created quite a stir in reception with the hotel’s brochure and what I wanted to do. One lady was very interested in the hotel as a wedding venue for her daughter and she hadn’t known the hotel even existed and several expressed interest in the restaurant!
My message is simply, there is an opportunity for you over the next few months but you need to get out there and seize it.
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