by Jonathan Vatner | October 01, 2004


Nowadays, all participants at a well-executed meeting expect royal treatment. Even for an average-Joe attendee, a smart meeting planner and sharp hotel staff need to stay on their toes to provide executive-level attention to any issues that arise.
    But if the masses are treated like VIPs, how do you give the real executives service appropriate to their ranks?
    The answer, planners of the very swankiest events agree, can be boiled down to two words: personalized service. This means finding out what the VIP likes, providing it before he or she asks and maintaining unobtrusive contact to make sure nothing goes wrong.
    Read on for a comprehensive list of details to attend to in order to give a meeting’s Very Important People the very intimate care they deserve.

Gathering information
1. Figure out who the VIPs are. Are they the CEO and chairman of the board? The entire board? Top incentive winners? A special speaker or guest?
     2. Do your homework. Some tidbits to ask executives’ assistants:
    " Does he have a nickname?
    " Does she drink? What is her favorite kind of wine or liquor?
    " Does he like cigars? Which brands?
    " What is her favorite flower?
    " At what temperature should his room be set before check-in?
    " Any requests for in-room amenities?
    " What are her favorite foods?
    " What is his favorite kind of coffee?
    " Does she have kids? A spouse or significant other?
    " When is his birthday/anniversary?
    3. Find photos... Dig up snapshots of the family and put them in the VIP’s guest room in an attractive frame.
    4. ...and pass them around. For recognition and exemplary service, copy and distribute photos of attending VIPs to the hotel’s concierge, convention services manager, front desk manager, banquet captain and head bellman. If the VIP is checking in under an assumed name, find out what name she wants the staff to call her.
    5. Keep in touch. Periodically before the meeting, call the VIP to make sure no plans have changed.