by By Sarah J.F. Braley | January 01, 2009

Andy DolceThis past November, Dolce Hotels and Resorts launched Rebuild Your Meetings, a free service to help planners rework their events following cost-cutting mandates from higher-ups, no matter if they end up placing the meeting at one of the chain's properties.

Andy Dolce, right, chairman and managing director of the Montvale, N.J.-based chain, recently explained the concept to M&C.

M&C: How did the program come about?
Dolce: We've had a lot of discussion over the last six months on how we could add another dimension to our planning function. When we started to think about this, we weren't in the economic crisis we are in today, but then the idea emerged: Why don't we offer services in this distressed market for companies that don't have a lot of resources? The crisis makes it more compelling to go ahead with it.

Why is it important to take on this role?
Dolce: I think everybody's under a lot of pressure. A lot of companies have downsized and outsourced. There's a whole range of companies and divisions of companies that don't have the capacity or capability to do this role, and we pick it up to do service for them.
M&C: How does the process work?
Dolce: Calls come in to our sales associates, who do some preliminary sorting out to understand location, product and size. One of our sales managers will call back within four hours.

M&C: What's in it for Dolce Hotels & Resorts?
Dolce: To be top of mind, to maintain leadership and generate new revenue. To provide value-added service that the client would respect. I think it's pretty creative, don't you?
M&C: There were no qualms about offering the free service, even if the planner is not using a Dolce property?
Dolce: I don't think I had a hesitation offering that. Most of the people who call are responsible and are looking for help. By going through the process and helping them with the meeting, we might be able to refer them to one of our properties. I don't worry about wasting a lot of people's time.