Planning 101: Knowing Your Key Hotel Players During Your Event

You've spent months (or even years!) planning your upcoming convention and the time has finally rolled around for you to check into the hotel site and execute the event you've put so much hard work into. Prior to arriving on site, you probably only had one or two contacts with whom you planned the event; your Catering Services/Event Manager, a Reservations Agent, and possibly another individual here or there who assisting you in the planning phases. These wonderful folks have set you up for success and now it's time for you to welcome 5 more key players into the mix: your Banquet Manager(s), Audio Visual Manager(s), Front Desk Manager(s), Event Service Manager(s) and the one who leads the pack, the Director of Event Management.

Banquet Manager: the Banquet Manager(s) will primarily responsible for the food & beverage aspect of your event. Know who this individual is prior to each function so you can touch base with them regarding and expectations or changes of food timing, service, or quality. At smaller hotels, the banquet manager may also oversee room set-up, so be sure and get that clarification from the get-go.

Audio Visual Tech or Manager: the Audio Visual Manager is a key resource. This individual will help you connect all of the equipment in various rooms and help troubleshoot when necessary. Having a positive relationship with this person is important due to the high-stress that dysfunctional audio-visual can cause.

Front Desk Manager: many oversee the importance of a Front Desk Manager. Introduce yourself during check-in to avoid having to do so when an issue rolls around. Exchange contact information (you likely won't cross paths with him/her again) so you know who to contact in the late hours of the evening when your CEO was put in the wrong room type. The manager can assist you with upgrades, rooming list changes, no-show reports and room transfers.

Event Service Manager: the Event Services Manager oversees room set-ups, temperatures, noise control, room turns and signage. Introducing yourself to him/her will help expedite changes and last-minute requests. Many planners defer directly to their Event Manager to communicate this requests, but going straight to the source will eliminate any delays in the outcome.

Director of Event Management: the boss of (nearly) everyone above, it's always smart to make yourself known to the Director. If your experiencing a wildly negative or positive experience at the hotel, he/she will be involved whether you know it or not. He/she would appreciate your feedback on the success of the event, and is the "powerful" figure in the mix. Keep in mind, though, that it's always wise to go to the management players above first, as they are the wheels behind the operation.

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