Based on my affiliation with ConferenceDirect, I am often asked to share best practices for hotels and other industry partners to work with meeting management companies. I have shared these tips in the past and believe these same points apply to working with any meeting planner within the hospitality industry.
If you are in a role where you work directly with meeting planners or with meeting management companies and want to gain a greater share of their business, the following are ‘7 Quick Tips’:
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate – make sure they know your product/service, your value proposition, what business you are looking for and (if applicable) your availability.
2. Make it easy to do business with you – respond to leads via all channels (with online currently being the most popular), provide a dedicated sales resource and make it easy to find and reach you (phone number, email address, website, etc.).
3. Respond to leads – by (even better if you can do it before) the due date requested.
4. Submit your best offer the first time – You want to make sure you address all of their needs, questions and hot buttons in your response. In addition, you want to put your best offer on the table from the start so you are in consideration and not eliminated from further evaluation.
5. Offer creative solutions– it is not just the lowest rate or most concessions that earns the business. It is the proposal that addresses all of the needs, questions and hot buttons…and gets creative with solutions that will solve the customer’s ‘pain points’.
6. Ask for the business – it is amazing the statistics that demonstrate how many people send a proposal and then never follow-up and ask for the business. If you want it, you have to demonstrate your desire to work together and ASK for the business.
7. Follow-up – reach out to your planner throughout the booking process…and keep in touch after this active opportunity is completed. Many of these meeting planners handle multiple events or multiple clients that could use your product or service.
I hope these ‘quick tips’ help you work with all meeting planners to earn more of their future business.