As industry veterans, we know that once you can get a planner in for a site inspection, you have an increased chance of winning the meetings business.
All business is different, and like customizing your marketing message to your target audience, you should also customize site inspections for the needs and requirements of not only the type of group but the type of meeting program. Planners are tasks with delivering experience driven events for a variety of programs types. Planners utilize DMOs to learn about the destination as a whole which includes unique places and experiences available for the attendees. (This can also assist in building the bleisure market if attendees choose to arrive early or stay later with family or friends to experience the destination further.)
You know how important it is to understand the market segment being corporate, association or government, but it is also beneficial to know the type of meeting being held and the type of individuals that will be in attendance. By truly understanding the programs and the type of attendees meeting, you can customize your site visit with experiences for the types of programs the planners are trying to host. If it is a corporate team building event, take the planner to experience the team building offerings during the site visit.
Here’s an example:
Market Segment – Corporate
Meeting Type – Sales-Incentive vs. Training
Attendee Type – Executives vs. New Hires
Say you get leads for two corporate groups of the same size (“Corporate Group A” and “Corporate Group B”). Although they both are corporate, you automatically think they have larger budgets available than say an association group. The type of meeting and the type of attendees can be a major qualifier for how your hotel partners will respond to the lead and what preparation will be needed for the meeting planner when they arrive for a site inspection.
“Corporate Group A” is a sales and incentive program that will have sales executives and management in attendance will likely be more interested in upscale hotel properties, unique off-site venues, ground transportation options and possible DMC connections. Of course, they will also have a significant budget to incentivize the sales executives.
“Corporate Group B” is a training program that will have new hires in attendance and will likely be looking for midscale type hotel properties, ample meeting space with a secure internet connection and adequate on-site food and beverage options as well as evening activities within walking distance. Now the budget will be minimal as the only objective will be to get the new hires trained. The meeting planner’s needs and requirements will be contrasting and will need to experience totally different options.
With that said, one size doesn’t fit all. If you don’t do your homework and bring in “Corporate Group B” meeting planner for a site inspection, then discuss and showcase experiences to “Corporate Group A” options, you will probably have wasted your and their time—inevitably losing the business to another destination.
We know this may sound like Sales 101, but unfortunately, it happens more often than not.
Once you show planners you have the meetings package, you must show them how they can utilize the locations and options that are unique to your city to help them create a successful meeting for that particular program. Planners need you to show them the VIBE your destination can offer. So, get busy tailoring your site visits to win the business and make your destination more competitive.