The hospitality business is a competitive and growing space. No venue, regardless of how trendy and in demand it once was can ever rest on its laurels. New properties are continually emerging, and existing properties work tirelessly to keep their venues up-to-date and attractive to event planners and their guests.
They judge you based on your commitment to excellence. Make the investment—you will not regret it.
Technology, flexibility, and convenience are the hallmarks of properties that are well positioned for 21st century business, says Cindy Y. Lo, DMCP, president and event strategist with Red Velvet Events, a Global DMC Partner, based in Austin. She offers a number of suggestions on how properties can create a fresh, modern feel that don’t have to break the bank:
- Offer complimentary Wi-Fi and a certain number of devices available to attendees, Lo suggests. “Beyond that charge, but don’t price gouge.” And, she adds, make Wi-Fi and devices available not just in meeting spaces, but also in sleeping rooms and the hotel lobby.
- Have wall spaces that are easily brandable, and offer removable vinyl clings or Velcro.
- Have large areas for networking without lots of columns.
- Have furniture that can easily be repurposed, such as ottomans and chairs without arms.
- Provide a good flow between registration desk and main ballroom.
- Have easy access to restrooms. If the area is shared with other groups, allow the area to be clearly divided.
- Make sure the back of house offers easy access so large props or deliveries can be readily added to an event space without disruption of the main event
- If you’re offering in-house bars, make them brandable so event organizers can put their own mark on the event
Saraí Flores, creative director and founder of Signature Event Consulting & Design, based in Mexico, agrees with these recommendations. Vendor access she says, “is a huge opportunity. Venues don’t typically plan the right access for vendors that won’t disturb guests but also allow vendors to do their jobs.” Having difficult vendor entrances, she says, will eventually hurt the client because of heightened labor fees. It might seem like a minor thing, she says, but adds, “it could jeopardize the sale if you’re competing with a venue that has it all.”
The flexibility to allow clients to brand the venue to fit their style or theme is also a great way to appeal to modern event planners, she says. “Planners and clients look for a space where their own signature could be added—where they don’t have to ‘fight’ for a specific look.”
“Quality really matters, from safety to service, it must be right,” says Paul Breslin, managing director of the Atlanta office of Horwath HTL, a hospitality advisory firm. “If you are in the meetings and events business you need to stay current, fresh, and appealing,” he says. “Most people book well in advance. They judge you based on your commitment to excellence. Make the investment—you will not regret it.”
Pamela Gould, an event planner for LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples, agrees. “By keeping an exceptional property with a full amenities list, planners enjoy returning year after year, knowing that their favorite place is always looking to sustain and allure future business and referrals.” Better yet, she says, earning clients’ business will ensure repeat visits, a big benefit to the bottom line.