Everyone loves a venue with breathtaking design and decoration. However, venues without soft skills often leave a bad taste in event planners’ mouth.
Event planners are often tasked to conduct site inspections of shortlisted hotels. This allows the client and its event agency to further assess the venue’s suitability before signing the contract. Also for the fact that event briefs change between the time of enquiry and the time of contracting, and site inspections allow venues to instil product and service delivery confidence in clients.
On one occasion, my client and I travelled to the conference location to view two hotels managed by two different international chains.
Our preference was a beautifully appointed uber luxury hotel where everything was refined and has its place. On arrival, the general manager greeted us and said, “I am quite busy today but thought I'd come to say 'hi'”.
Then like a repertoire, our sales contact further insinuated how connected the general manager was to the rich and famous. He also stated that the hotel was highly capable of handling large events, therefore they are “so expensive”, and left little time to seek further understanding of our needs. The arrogant tone of the general manager and the sales person made the client feel uneasy.
The second option was certainly not as luxurious as the first hotel. In fact, it was rather dated. This hotel's general manager was personable and insisted on conducting the entire site inspection himself. He was friendly and humble. We were appreciative that he chose to spend quality time with us.
At the end of the site inspection, the general manager offered a complimentary transfer to our next appointment and to any activities we may have planned for the evening.
His parting words were: “I know our rates are stiff over your event dates. Our hardware may be dated. Whether you select our property for your event, we are delighted with the opportunity and sincerely want you to have a good impression of our destination.”
The sincerity of this general manager secured the conference. The client signed the contract before leaving the country. The experience with the second hotel made the client and I feel that they will take care of our delegates.
Our industry is known to be service-oriented. Whether you are working for an agency or a venue, we must not forgo our humility and hospitality spirit, but let our sincerity move hearts.
Theresa Lee is a Singapore-based event professional with years of travel, hospitality and event management experience. She was the former Head of MICE for FCm Travel Solutions and is currently a freelance event producer.
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