Big business: Master tips on how to attract and retain corporate events

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by Lisa Nehal

Group business, specifically corporate meetings, have become a profitable sector for the lodging industry. Over the past few years, the demand for intimate breakout sessions and all-inclusive (dining, lodging, and meeting space) venues has led to a shift where, according to Hotel Management, 56 percent of profits for the $316 billion industry occur at hotels and resorts. With this key profit-builder in mind, hotels and resorts are employing key tactics to attract and maintain group sales.

Market to corporate event planners as you would to guests

The cornerstone of hospitality is taking care of people – not profits – and this is to be remembered when courting group sales. Treat potential groups like your neighbor. If local, visit them to introduce yourself and invite them to stay and try your menu items. This will give them the opportunity to experience everything as a whole.

When guests are able to experience everything from the atmosphere and food to the customer service and hospitality, you are giving them the opportunity to witness the type of service you provide. The interaction between staff and guest, attention to detail, and delicious food offerings are all key factors to securing business. If distance poses an issue, send personalized care packages that highlight the hotel’s unique offerings. Think personalized menus, recipient-branded swag, and event renderings. These help potential clients feel and see what their event would look like and help seal the deal.

Volume should not affect quality

Each member of a corporate group is not just a number, but rather a guest, and no matter the number of guests, each should have the same amazing experience. To ensure consistency, all management and kitchen leads should be on hand and make themselves known and visible throughout a convention. Take the time to introduce yourself, shake hands, and consistently ask if there’s anything you can do for them, and then deliver on those needs. Beyond that, all staff – management included – should take ownership and pride in each event to ensure the best guest experience.

Go beyond job titles, whether you’re the general manager picking up garbage or the maintenance staff passing along a guest request, everyone can make a positive impact on guests, especially when there are so many moving parts. Making each guest feel important and providing a boutique luxury feel, regardless of hotel size or caliber, is essential to turning happy customers into frequent customers.

Adopt a “we’ll take it from here” attitude

From the minute a client steps into the hotel, before they even sign on the dotted line, ensure they have nothing to stress about. Take note of small details and aspects that will make their time at your property positive. Ask yourself the following: What do they like to drink and eat? What have they mentioned they would need in an event space? Then deliver these elements without them having to ask. This proves to them you’ll do the same during their event. This feeling helps to secure repeat business in a competitive market and gives the guest peace of mind.

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