Picking an offsite can be extremely stressful. Not only do you need to find a hotel that is within budget, but you also need to make sure the hotel is a proper representation of your company and manager. However, it isn’t always clear-cut what makes an appropriate hotel choice. Here are the top 6 things to look for when conducting a hotel offsite inspection.
1. First Impressions: When coordinating offsite meetings and events, make sure the hotel properly represents your own personal brand messaging. It doesn’t matter how well the meeting itself goes, if the hotel has a run-down feel, that will be the lasting impression with guests. Questions to ask yourself:
- How you are greeted upon arrival by the bell staff?
- Is this area well-staffed and there are plenty of employees greeting guests and carefully driving cars through the valet area?
- Are their uniforms updated, clean, and fitted?
- Are they pleasant and friendly wearing a warm and welcoming smile
2. Hotel Management: The best hotel directors of sales train their sales managers on the “meet and greet” technique. Well-trained sales managers will be ready and prepared to meet you upon your arrival at the hotel. Nothing goes further than the feeling you get knowing your arrival was anticipated and planned for and that you are the most important thing happening in that sales managers life on this day at this moment. This little, but effective, touch will let you know how well management is training their staff and in turn, how well your guests will be looked after during their offsite stay.
3. Presentation: Has the sales manager prepared in advance to show you exactly where your meeting and banquets will take place as well as the variety of guest rooms and suites you need for your guests? So often hotel sales managers don’t take the time to go through your agenda prior to the offsite visit and you end up seeing meeting spaces you’d never need and room categories you don’t want. A well-trained sales manager has done his/her homework prior to your arrival through the many conversations you’ve had as well as taking the time to research your organization to completely understand who you are and why you are having the meeting. This will show you how valuable your business is to that hotel, or not.
4. Hotel Quality: How recently was the hotel renovated? Are the guestrooms, suites, meeting rooms and public areas updated? There are some hotels who could use some renovating; however, their cleanliness and level of service can be so top notch that one can overlook some worn-out upholstery. When it comes to cleanliness there are no excuses. If I saw a dirty hotel I would end my site visit then and there. Dusty baseboards, hair in the bathroom, film on TV remote controls, stained room service menus and musty odors all fall into the category of unacceptable. This is closely tied to the first step. Remeber, the hotel you choose will be part of your branding for this event and you should pick the highest quality of hotels to represent your company.
5. Food Quality: Always sample the cuisine and the service you and your guests will receive and spend time with your sales manager who will help you plan an effective and cost-conscious event. You can share your needs and expectations, past history as to what has pleased your executives and what to avoid, and work out any potential situations that could make or break the success of your meeting. Make sure that they can accommodate all types of diets so every attendee can feel equally cared for.
6. Hotel Staff: Does your sales manager introduce you to department managers who will serving you and your guests such as conference service, audio visual, front office management and security? Meeting these individuals while you are there will help you establish a rapport with the employees who will be working together with you before your group’s arrival, while planning the meeting, and onsite when you are there with your guests. Making “friends” in advance will make for smooth conversations and built-in comfort of talking with someone you have already met and established a relationship with. Hotel employees enjoy pleasing their guests. You just have to let them know exactly what you expect and most often they can deliver it just as you like.
And, if you personally can’t make the visit to the hotel, ask a colleague or trusted friend in the city where the hotel is located to go and take a look around for you. Give that person a check-list of items so they can give you a report about the place. Better yet, have this person meet with the hotel sales manager on your behalf to answer your questions and overcome any concerns you may have. After all, you want to please and impress your guests with the hotel you select to host your offsite meeting.
About the Author:
Nancy Nachman is a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) and Certified Meeting Manager (CMM) with 30+ years in hospitality management. Nancy is the owner of The Meetings Concierge where she supports Executive Assistants and Meeting Planners with hotel site selection & contract negotiations for offsite meetings. She’s a “secret agent” to her clients and her service is 100% complimentary. Prior to founding The Meetings Concierge, Nancy held sales position with Four Seasons Hotels, Hyatt Resorts, L’Ermitage Hotel, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, and Small Luxury Hotels of the World. One call is all you need, the rest is handled by The Meetings Concierge. Find and connect with Nancy on LinkedIn and at her website.