For 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.
Circumstances 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.