Destination New Orleans
Today’s hotel industry is so
diverse, There are many choices
that are more affordable than
the traditional big-name chain
hotels. Plus, attendees want
unique and memorable experiences, so hosting a meeting in
an unexpected smaller property
can provide just that.
So explore those little gems
that are off the beaten path—
charming boutique properties
and limited-service properties that will work with you to bring in
any additional services needed to run a first-rate meeting.
President & Chief
Thrive! Meetings & Events,
To help maximize space, we host
breakfasts and lunches in the
exhibit hall and flip the general
session room into the award reception. It costs far less to change
the lighting pattern and add some
specialty linens and centerpieces
than to book extra space for meal
Evaluate your rooms-to-space ratio, as the hotel will yield to
maximize revenues by selling guest rooms with x square footage of
meeting space per occupied room.
For example, if you have a general session, meals, breakout
rooms and office/storage space without the required guest room
block, the hotel will turn down your RFP. They refer to this as a
“space hog” because one group is taking all the meeting space
while leaving too many guest rooms left to sell without any accompanying meeting space.
So get creative for a “yes” on your RFP. Consider reusing general
session space for breakouts or changing the setup styles to take up
less space (classroom vs. theater), or use the general session space
for meals with the buffet set in the foyer, etc.
Also evaluate your load-in and load-out times and be flexible
so the group in front of yours can load out. Communicate with the
hotel and other group to see if you can share production to save
money and time.
Senior Vice President Convention Sales & Services,
Planners need to be realistic when looking at space needs, as
asking for more than what’s necessary will impact the value of
business and result in higher food and beverage minimums or
If you don’t need specific space
for 24 hours, release it back to the
hotel/facility for additional business needs and revenue opportunities.
Planners can also consolidate
audiovisual resources and align
educational tracks so they don’t
over-purchase. For example, if
five speakers require the same
audiovisual needs, coordinate the
schedule so that they can all use
the same room to save on costs.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Patti J. Shock
Ask to meet with the
chef, as many welcome the opportunity
to meet clients and
come up with creative
ideas for them. Chefs are not salespeople, and they know which
products are plentiful, in season and less expensive, and which are
out of season and cost-prohibitive.
Chefs appreciate advance notice on special meals. Last-minute requests can be more costly, so ask on the registration form if
attendees have special dietary needs.
Stuckrath: To maximize your budget when ordering food and
beverage, know your headcounts for each food function. Compare past attendance for each meal to how many were registered.
Base new food and beverage orders upon that percentage, plus
monitor arrivals and departures for all hotels to see who is getting in later or checking out early. If your meals are not mandatory, ask attendees when they register which food functions they
plan to attend.
Also ask about ganging menus with other groups that are in-
house at the same time. Having the same menu as another group
allows for bulk ordering and reduces food waste across the board.
Aldred: Know your budget and the food and beverage spend.
Based on this information, determine the cost you require to stay
within your budget and request a discount off the menu as part of
a contractual concession.
OFF-SITE VENUE RENTAL
Burns: Meeting planners should find facilities that have a built-in
atmosphere and experiences for attendees to enjoy, as opposed to
spending money to create that environment.
In Cleveland, for example, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame pro-
PATTI J. SHOCK