The first two days of the event are geared toward group business professions and will allow them to discover the art of securing group business with fellow Hoteliers, Hotel Chain & Brand Executives, Hospitality Advertising Agencies, Property Management & Ownership Groups, and Destination Marketing Organizations.
Michael will be joined on stage by Howard Feiertag, CMP, CHA, CHME, who is currently on the faculty in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business.
Their session, entitled Group Sales Next Practice: Stop Selling, Start Listening, will highlight a Socratic approach to selling that asks for a salesperson to use the power of active listening in order to thoroughly understand a client’s needs. One of the greatest skills a salesperson can learn is to listen and attendees will learn the tips and benefits of this approach.
In preparation, Michael discussed a few key topics influencing the modern meeting planner:
How is marketing to meeting planners different than reaching transient or BT Travelers?
Make it easy for planners to do business with you. This means providing quick responses to RFPs that address their needs.
Make sure your website allows the planner to find, fact sheets, imagine space and ease of sending RFPs.
Compelling planner offers- 5% off the master account just doesn’t work anymore.
Design offers around the planners needs: concessions to help the attendee (i.e. free internet); a flexible attrition policy; or no attrition at all, if it make sense with history.
How can you capture the interest of Gen Y meeting planners?
These planners are tech savvy so you need to communicate with them through the digital platforms they are used to.
This means communicating through all social channels, including blogs.
You must identify what works for your property and stick to it. Be consistent in your messaging.
Storytelling through your web experience is key. A social lounge is a great way to keep the communication up-front and center.
What is the main deciding factor that makes customers/planners choose to hold their event at a specific hotel?
Customers are going to do business with whom they feel most comfortable.
We in sales must become consultants — asking discovery questions that get the planners talking about their needs.
We must become excellent listeners and deliver on the promises that we make.
Ultimately, the customer wants to get the best-value deal possible. Once they settle on a destination, then you must set yourself and your product ahead of the competition.
Don’t miss Michael’s presentation on Monday, June 15th, at 10:15am.