When Omni builds a hotel, it always does something new and original. It’s part of the company’s local color commitment and one of the reasons why the Omni Nashville is unique. After all, it’s all about Music City, Southern cuisine, and homemade Pimento cheese.
But that doesn’t make the Omni Nashville a one-of-a-kind meeting hotel.
It’s the people who do that. After all, anyone can build a beautiful building and serve a fine dinner. It’s the experience that makes a difference — and that comes from people. At the Omni Nashville, everyone is part of one team, with one goal: to make every single guest feel something special, so they want to come back again.
We spoke with Tod Roadarmel, area director of sales and marketing, and Cindy Berdan, director of sales, to pick up a few of the best practices driving their success as a Cvent Top Meeting Hotel. The verdict? It’s all about connecting with people in meaningful ways — and using technology to power that experience.
Q: What’s your ‘Top Meeting Hotel’ approach?
A: Collaboration and communication are the keys to learn how to move forward with group business. Here’s an example: Every single workday at 8:15 a.m., pretty much all teams go through every single lead that came in the day before — as well as interesting new business. In that daily review, we look at the business model of the hotel, the pattern, and history to understand the fit. It’s very strategic, very analytic, and very collaborative. We make decisions as a team; we train and teach, and we work together to create the right site visit and plan.
Q: What about the planner experience?
A: Well, we have a beautiful hotel. And that helps, especially with the site visit, which is the most important thing — having a transformative site visit that starts a relationship. Don’t just sell to them! You can’t just look at the RFP and give a quote. No. Sit down and spend some time with the planner. Understand their perspective and goals and get to know them a little … then follow up. If you make an experience special — if you make the planner feel special — they will remember.
Q: How does technology help you ‘grow and own’ your group business?
A: We remember the days when we would get faxed RFPs! And we find it very fortunate that the vast majority of all our leads now come through Cvent. Sales knows the platform, market research coordinators know it, and that familiarity helps us find options that cover open time slots.
Using technology gives us options. And options give us power.
One way technology helps us is by managing the business we currently have. And by managing our business, we mean making the most of our opportunities. For example, many times we get leads that seem like they won’t go anywhere … maybe we don’t have the availability, or there’s another factor we can’t solve. Technology helps us find a different pattern or an alternate solution. Then, we have a chance to make a connection, talk about the program, and see how we can optimize the group experience. Once we’ve engaged and we have created that next step — when they come in for the site visit — we want to create “wow” moments and show the uniqueness of the Omni Nashville experience.
Q: What’s best practice, Omni Nashville style?
A: When a lead comes in, drop what you’re doing. It’s simple. They’re sending it to you for a reason, so it should be your team’s No. 1 priority. Jump on it right away — no excuses! And when you do connect, offer solutions to the customer and respect their timeline. That’s the best way to build a relationship.