As event planners, one of the best ways to pick up ideas for corporate groups is to stay at a variety of properties both for business and personal travel. This provides an opportunity to experience events and hotel service from a customer's POV and get ideas to improve your own events.
I've been traveling non-stop, all month since Canadian Thanksgiving. Here are a few special touches that made an impression on me:
- A lounge to relax on arrival at the airport is welcome after a long flight.
In Jamaica, Sandals and Half Moon Resort have arrival lounges for guests. A cold beverage, champagne and a snack really does the trick. Even if your hotel does not provide this service, work with your DMC to see if this can be arranged for your group.
- Provide a cold towel and serve water. cold drinks and, if local regulations permit it, beer in the vehicle that transfers guests to the hotel or resort.
- Provide cold towel service and a drink upon arrival at the hotel.
- Arrange for luggage transfer from the bus or transfer vehicle to the guests' rooms. Some properties provide this service for free and others charge a small fee. It beats having guests lug their bags to their rooms.
- Provide private check-in in a lounge or guest room for staggered arrivals or during the arrival lunch for the group.
- Provide an arrival lunch or afternoon tea and orientation.
- Surprise guests with massage chairs during their arrival lunch.
- For late arrivals or arrivals after meal periods, provide the guests with a room service menu in advance and have them order a snack to be served in their room upon arrival.
- Provide chilled water and soft drinks in the guest room. For VIPs, a bucket of cold beer or champagne will usually be welcome.
- Call guests the day after their arrival to check in on how everything is going.
RIU Ocho Rios did this and it impressed me.
Alternatively, slip a note under their door checking to see how things are going and providing contact information.if there are any concerns.
- Surprise VIPs by setting a bubble bath for them when they return to their room to get changed for the group dinner.
Sandals Ochi Beach did this in Jamaica and decorated the bed with flowers. It certainly blew me away. I had returned to the room hot, sticky and behind schedule. This was an unexpected and most welcome surprise.
- Turn-down service is definitely an added touch and many hotels can offer this upon request.
Kick it up a notch by turning on music or switching the TV to a channel with music and scenery like Wynn Las Vegas does.
When guests get unexpected service that is not part of a hotel or resort's standard offering, it can really increase their satisfaction with the property and the event. Brainstorm with your vendors for low-cost, added touches to make corporate guests feel special.
For more added touches, consult Meetings 411: 11 VIP Treatment Tips.
Photo Credits: Anne Thornley-Brown, Executive Oasis International