It's no secret that many companies are opting for smaller meetings and incentives. This presents event planners with a challenge. For large groups, it's possible to share total expenses and reduce the per person price to an affordable level. For small groups, per person prices can be significantly higher. Unless it's a luxury event with a huge budget, it may be challenging to avoid sticker shock and keep clients happy.
Often, DMCs establish 20 - 25 as their minimum group size. When a DMC is out of reach for a smaller group, by accessing the services provided by hotel concierges, meeting planners may deliver corporate events that please participants and the pocket book.
Hotel concierges are a great find for event planners. Concierges can:
- coordinate airport transfers
- suggest local attractions and excursions
- give information about hot acts coming to town
- suggest restaurants and make dinner reservations
- book tee times, theater, ball games, and concert tickets
- give tips about shuttles and hop-on-hop-off transportation options
- offer advice about the proximity of attractions to streamline itineraries
- provide advice about transportation services and, in some cases, book it
Once the group is onsite, concierges can:
- provide maps and directions
- assist in getting photocopying done
- get reminders and messages to guests
- communicate with butlers and butler concierges
- coordinating room drops and delivery of special amenities
- get a nurse or doctor if a guest needs medical attention
- provide support for guests who decide to extend their stay
- make arrangements for special surprises like birthday cakes or flowers for anniversaries
When a meeting planner won't be accompanying a small group on their trip, concierges can provide support while the group is onsite. The best news is that the services of hotel concierges are free. For an affordable VIP event, meeting planners who are not accompanying a group may want to opt for a dedicated concierge.
How can concierges help bring small meetings and incentives together?
I recently had to plan a small incentive trip for a client. In this case, due to the size of the group, I would not be accompanying the group.
I obtained information and contracts so that the client could remit payments. Once I had researched all options and put together an itinerary. I conferred with a couple of DMCs. They cautioned that they would not be able to provide a cost effective solution for such a small group and quoted $3,200 - $5,400.
I consulted the hotel concierge. In less than an hour, all dinner reservations had been secured and concert tickets had been booked. The concierge provided information about the fastest way to obtain the All Access passes I had located. This freed me up to pull the full itinerary and information packages together and brief the client. The cost ended up being almost 33% less than the lowest DMC quote. (50% if they decided to add professional guides or rent a couple of SUVs for 1 day.) Bringing the concierge into the loop will make it easy for the group to make changes onsite.
If a group is large enough, DMCs can add tremendous value. For small meetings and events, concierges are a fabulous find. Be sure to tip all concierges well for their contributions.
To identify hotels and resorts with concierges, consult their professional associations including Clef D’Or or the National Concierge Association.
For more information about the services concierges can provide, also consult Dedicated Meeting Concierges: A Triple Win to Reduce Stress, 9 Tips for Using Dedicated Meeting Concierges,
Photo Credit: Ben Dalton