We get it.  The economy has improved and is looking better than it has for the past several years, yet planners/travel managers/organizers are still charged with getting more for less.  However, the hotel/hospitality industry is not manufacturing.  We don’t sell parts by the millions we service individual guests each needing something completely different in order for the outcome to be successful.  The overall value in a proposal/experience especially at a hotel contains multiple layers of numbers, not just the rate.  Let’s get beyond the rate conversation and delve into what generates the value of choosing a hotel for events.
Speaking of locations, there are several factors that determine overall value and that can add or lower costs.   A hotel for events can do many things but the one thing it can’t do is move its location. Consider total travel time and additional cost.  Some of the questions to discuss are:
  • How far is a location from the airport?
  • What are the transfer costs?
  • Do you need cars when you get there?
  • Are there things to do around the hotel (restaurants, nightlife, shopping, attractions)?

It is our job as partners to ask the right questions and listen so that we can work together and then generate the right proposal.  That’s value number 2.  Make sure that you are speaking with someone that cares as much about your needs as you do.  The value in a companies’ sales team is important and can determine the outcome of your experience at the hotel/venue.  They are there to help you determine the right fit so that your objectives/goals can be met.

Beginning the proposal process, there are several key values to look for.  A couple of basic places to look include:
  • Value dates – every hotel for events/venue has them.  If you have any flexibility, it will help.  If you have a lot of flexibility and you are set on the location, ask for their specific dates.  Sometimes it’s as easy as moving your arrival day up or back a day.  Pattern is as important as the actual dates.
  • Concessions – Make sure that they have put a dollar value on each concession that you are requesting.  That way when you are comparing hotel for events, you have a better understanding of the total package that you are being offered.  This is a direct difference to your bottom line so it’s important to make the choices that will make the biggest impact.
  • Food & Beverage – there are a lot of ways to look for value with Food & Beverage.  There is a difference between taxes & gratuities.  When you are able to work with the chef to create a menu based upon your budget, that’s also an added value.
  • AV – make sure that you understand the total needs of your program/attendees/travelers.  It may be perceived as a value to have complimentary wifi in guest rooms/meeting rooms, but not if it’s too slow.  That could end up and ruin your event/program and then you have to do something last minute that could end up costing you a lot more.  Look for a complete package up front that includes everything you need.
  • On property contacts – make sure that you have access to a team, technology, or a key contact that will be there to assist you at any time.  It’s invaluable to be able to make real time changes/requests.

The above list is just the beginning.  Once you have determined the priorities for your needs, you will be able to look for and realize the values that are most important to you and your company.    Remember, in order to receive a value packed proposal it is imperative that you communicate and include all the same pertinent information with each sales manager.   As you know, your relationships are invaluable.   There is inherent value in creating partnerships.  The value of hotels/venues understanding your Business/programs/travelers needs is priceless.  Your time is worth a lot and how you spend it makes a big difference.   Start creating value now!