The meeting planners we work with have wrapped up a busy conference year and are coming back to life. Getting through the season was harder for some than others. Several shared their insights on how they rate their hotel experience. As our gift, here are some insider tips on how to get a five-star review.
Jessie (all names have been changed to protect identity) called me after being MIA for a few days. She was drained after her national conference. She said it took five days for the blood flow to return to her feet … let alone her brain. The event and its Banquet Event Orders (BEOs) consumed Jessie for months. Now she faces a mountain of ignored, crisis-state ‘to do’ tasks …due tomorrow.
During our recap, she gave me a quick list of helpful details that go into a five-star rating. In very particular order, just as meeting planners do, here’s a list:
- Ensure you have the space you sold: Turns out the salesperson (no longer with the hotel) sold space that was not available. In the end, the hotel found a meeting room. However, it was in another business tower and the delegates required complex instructions. Rating: Zero-stars
- Be connected at the hip: Within 30 days, there are a lot of details to confirm. From four weeks out to arrival, the client wants you to be ‘there for them’. If the planner doesn’t get a call back within 72 hours, ratings decrease significantly. Rating: Four-stars if call is on the same day and within an hour, five-stars.
- Have sufficient, efficient staff: It turns out that Jessie’s onsite team was often out of sight, taking care of other meetings. Good chance you have other responsibilities – however, a meeting planner loves to feel ‘exclusive’, sort of like dating. Rating: Five-stars for a daily check in with correct BEO details.
- Coffee, snack and wine delivery: Instant five-stars with a bonus for wine. Be prepared to be paraded around on top of a meeting planner’s shoulders for that gesture. Rating: Over the top!
- Invoices: Clean and concise invoices save hours. They also add years to a meeting planner’s life. Make the payment process swift and seamless and you’ll get a five-star-rating and a life-long fan. The way to a planner’s heart is to not nickel and dime them for every charge. Review the BEOs daily. This way everyone knows that fees are properly allotted and there are no surprises on the final bill. The only surprise party that a meeting planner likes IS THE ONE THAT THEY PLAN.