Tough times have meeting planners relying more heavily on their close industry contacts, reveals a recent survey by M&C Research. Of the 167 meeting planners who responded, more than half (52 percent) say their relationships with supplier partners have become more important due to the recession.
Fully 95 percent of those surveyed cited their bonds with salespeople as very or somewhat important in the selection process. Similarly, 89 percent say their relationships with convention services managers play a role in decision-making. In fact, if a favorite hotel contact moved to a different property, 89 percent say they would be more likely to book a meeting at the new location. Yet, noted one planner, "Our policies sometimes require getting more bids and going with a new supplier based on cost rather than past relationship. This is unfortunate."
Planners like to put a face to a name when they do business. Just 5 percent say it's not important to meet their industry partners.
How do they like to forge new relationships? Forty-two percent of the respondents prefer to make contact and introduce themselves to key personnel at potential meeting venues.