Corporate groups often have VIPs in attendance for meetings and conferences; and certainly, CEOs fall into that category. From time to time, groups may also have royal family members, Government representatives, dignitaries, community leaders, or celebrity entertainers or speakers.
My company has had the brother of the ruler of a Middle Eastern country in a session, royalty, and, recently, a First Nations chief and some of his council members attend corporate retreats.
A few extra steps will ensure that all members of the group are comfortable and minimize the possibility of embarrassing situations.
- Clarify expectations based on the local culture. Expectations can include type of transfer vehicle, who greets the arriving VIPs, dress code, etiquette and protocol. In some cultures, room categories need to be assigned based on the person's status within the group. it would be embarrassing for a junior team member to have a larger room with a nicer view than the CEO, for example. The bottom line is, if you aren't sure ask.
- Try to select a property where executive floors with lounges and, better yet, butler category service is available.
RELATED: Corporate Groups Can Say "The Butler Did It"
- Always request complimentary room upgrades for VIPs in the group.
- If available, opt for executive floors or butler category rooms. If it isn't, an amenity like complimentary ironing would be of value.
- VIP amenities should never be once size fits all. Be sure to verify what would be appreciated with your contact.
- Look for ways to add special touches. For example, if the VIPs favourite magazine, a CD or DVD by their favourite artist, or a book that they have expressed an interest in reading is waiting in the room, this shows a high attention to detail and customer service.
RELATED: Food for Thought: In-room VIP Amenities and Their Consequences
- Arrange private return transfers for celebrities or royalty. Provide light refreshments in transit. Food and beverage choices should be customized based on the preferences of the VIP.
- Provide in-room check-in with hot towel service and a welcome snack. Some properties have this as standard but I have found that many properties will do this for VIPs upon request. It can be scones with Devonshire cream and tea or a customized snack based on the guest's preferences.
- The option of in-room dining for breakfast, afternoon tea, or an evening snack is always appreciated. In room spa treatments are a sure-fire way to add the wow factor.
- Be attentive to cultural nuances when it comes to in-room bars. In some cultures this would be appreciated. In others, it would be frowned upon.
- Assign a member of your team to check in from time to time to determine if the VIP requires any additional services.
With VIPs at your conferences, sometimes you have one chance to get it right. If there are glitches, ensure that they are fixed quickly.
Photo Credit: Ian