Complicated contracts…shorter lead times…a barrage of new technology…
No wonder there’s increasing demand for third party meeting sourcing to bring relief to event planners – and who would have thought? – conference hotels, who are just as desperate for a professional site selector’s specialized skills throughout the RFP process.
Thankfully, a lot more meeting sourcing specialists have entered the business in recent years, but that brings up another challenge: how to select the right person for your group?
Here’s a Few Things to Look For
1) Clout. Today, this is a big reason to use a third party in the first place. The hotel industry is undergoing consolidation and prices are rising, so having someone on your side with market power can help. Sometimes this means simply finding a hotel with space available for the dates that are needed or help in getting the best rates. However, most of the time, it means more.
“It always depends on the specs for the kind of hotels the client is looking for,” said Jerry Rosenthal, CHA a 16 year site selection veteran of ConferenceDirect based in Chicago who recently placed a group in the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago where several attendees arrived by private jet.
That’s why a hotel site sourcing professional will take the time to evaluate the complexities of a planner’s needs against current market conditions and use their clout to realistically negotiate for what’s most important. Adds Lori Stickley, CMP, CASE, Senior Director, Global Accounts at HelmsBriscoe: “HelmsBriscoe will not only save the planner time in securing the hotel but assist with the best concessions and contract terms.”