Great meeting planners research venue costs and availability, flights, airfare, and even weather when selecting the best meeting destination. Knowing each piece of the planning puzzle allows us to make decisions that best fit your event’s budget and overall success. Since the pandemic began, the entire hospitality industry has been affected. As your professional event partners, we think it’s important that you know the changes being made to move forward successfully. We are all in this together.
Here are things hotels and venues want you to know moving forward when it comes to meeting planning:
Most Things Will Return, Some May Not
Most services and features will come back as staffing returns, however, some may not. Some pre-pandemic things like minibars and daily room service just don’t make sense now. Minibars are considered non-essential room content, and most have been removed to prevent the spread of germs. Regarding daily room service, many hotels have changed it into being specifically requested by the guest only. Hotels and Venues all choose how they want to approach moving forward, but it is looking like these items specifically will change for good.
Planners Need to Throw a Wider Net
Planners need to throw a wider net and be more flexible with dates, location, and pricing. Here are some ideas and items Hotels and Venues are insisting on considering when planning:
Dates: If you are currently sourcing 1 year out, then you are behind; hotels are seeing requests as far out as 2023. The business has picked up tremendously and 2022 is expected to be just as busy.
Location: Consider second or third-tier cities, Louisville is a great alternative to Nashville or Austin. States that were opened last year such as Arizona, Florida, and Texas are less likely to have availability.
Pricing: June 2021 volumes were higher than June 2019. Rates are higher than 2019 because the demand is there, and properties are trying to recoup some of the 2020 losses.
Larger Events Are Now Done in Waves
Larger events, such as incentives, are being done in waves. For example, instead of one group of 400, you will see 4 groups of 100. According to Global Meetings & Events Forecast (2021), “21% of eventprofs believe small and simple meetings will be the most common type of meeting held in 2021, in all formats (in-person, hybrid, and virtual), followed by internal meetings at 18%.” Hosting smaller meetings is on the rise and will continue to become more of a trend moving forward. It is important to consider this as an option.
New Energy Among Staff
Many went through staffing problems. Sales teams that were previously 6-8 people are now a staff of 2. Be patient and don’t expect answers right away. Now, there is new energy among staff that was not there pre-pandemic. There is great energy because, in our industry, we all have a passion for the business. Everyone is excited to see business coming back.
Make Sure Everything Fits
Make sure everything fits, a meeting room that used to fit 150 no longer will. Engage your production people early in the planning stage so they can help you make sure that you have enough room. Production and AV equipment needs are different. People sitting further away, you will need bigger screens and more audio in the space.
Learn more about what hotels, venues, and other meeting industry professionals want you to know moving forward. Check out The LaClare Group’s industry conversation event, Meetings Moving Forward, where we discuss what was learned while in-person meetings were paused and what we bring with us as we move forward with in-person, hybrid, and virtual meetings.