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by Sarah J.F. Braley | January 01, 2007

chartFor a meeting to go smoothly, planners rely on their counterparts at the hotels they’ve chosen. To explore that relationship, M&C conducted an online survey in December. Of 240 meeting planners who responded, 77 percent said they always or sometimes try to meet at least one person at a property before their event takes place.

When choosing a hotel, 63 percent of those surveyed said their relationship with a property’s salesperson is very important to the process, and 30 percent said it is somewhat important. Similarly, 65 percent said their relationship with the convention services manager is very important when selecting a site, while 26 percent said it is somewhat important.

Of the 63 percent who regularly communicate with the same person in a chain’s national sales office, 56 percent have met that person face-to-face, and 51 percent have met him or her more than once. About 60 percent of respondents also have regular contact with convention and visitor bureaus or national tourist offices.

chartCircumstances have to be right for a planner to follow a hotel contact to a new property. When someone with whom they have a good relationship switches hotels, 24 percent of the planners surveyed would consider the new property for their meeting, while 70 percent specified that they would do so only if the hotel were right for their group.

Clearly, planners do not like to get cold calls from suppliers seeking their business. Only 10 percent of the respondents said they prefer to be approached over the phone. Nearly half (48 percent) like solicitations to come by e-mail, 20 percent prefer direct mail and 10 percent welcome in-person visits. The remaining 12 percent prefer not to be approached at all.

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