As a meetings or events planner, you already know you can find everything you need to plan a successful meeting or spectacular event online. You may not realize that what customers are saying online about a venue is just as vital as the information you find about a location’s available meeting square footage, costs and amenities.
Check Their Reputation
A hotel or meeting venue’s online reputation should be a key consideration as you prepare to select the ideal setting for a particular client. What past customers are saying about a hotel or other setting—both good and bad— can actually influence the level of service your client will receive. Meeting venues are familiar with what reputation management companies like Reputation.com emphasize all the time: knowledge is power, and knowing what your customers have to say about you gives you the energy and opportunity to make a difference for your business. Complimentary reviews of a hotel incentivize the staff to maintain the property’s online reputation; negative reviews often motivate the staff to quickly resolve problems or make systemic changes to improve or enhance the experience of future guests.
When trying to determine the reputation of prospective properties, visit Tripadvisor.com, search for a particular property and read plenty of helpful reviews. You can also:
- Look for a venue’s presence on Facebook and Twitter.
- Visit Yelp.com or similar review websites, to see what others are saying about a venue you’re interested in.
- Check whether any or all of your choices are part of cvent.com’s list of the top 100 meeting hotels in the U.S.
- Look at venuevault.com, to see if the properties are listed under Featured Venues.
When you’ve narrowed down your list of potential sites and it’s time for visits to properties that have piqued your interest, be on the lookout for these five elements: image, impression, appeal, amenities and availability/accessibility. At the venue, consider the style, ambiance and size. See if it fits the corporate image your client is trying to portray. That segues right into impression: what are your takeaway impressions of the site? Do you sense a commitment to professionalism and accommodation among every staff member you meet?
The appeal of the property often springs from the overall impression and the extras—the little perks that are promised as part of the meeting package and, especially, the partnerships the hotel might have with local attractions to add some fun to the meeting. Consider how large the conference rooms are and whether the hotel offers adequate audio-visual services. Is there an updated, well-equipped business center and a spacious fitness center with the latest equipment?
Availability should be more than whether the hotel can accommodate the dates you need. You want a decent price, not necessarily a low price. The location has to be easy to access (think close to a major airport), or people may have some trouble getting to the conference.
Before you proceed with a site inspection, however, take time for a thorough online vetting of a hospitality venue’s reputation. It just might change your perception of a property— for better, or for worse.
About the Author: James Mcmahon is a financial advisor who manages ad word campaigns and product placements for several ad agencies. He enjoys offering advice on marketing for small businesses.