The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), in partnership with Cvent, a leading cloud-based enterprise event management platform, today released a new white paper entitled, “The Voice of the Customer: How Meeting Planners are Sourcing Venues – And What You Can Do About It.” The white paper explores the sourcing journey, insights into what planners most care about, and actionable recommendations for hotel salespeople and marketers.
The report, authored by Harvey Chipkin, highlights how meeting planners’ behavior is more complex than ever because of all the communication channels now available to them, including general and planner-specific social media, review sites, search engines, and the other avenues of expression available to anybody with access to a computer or mobile device. The paper’s research noted the importance of the voice of the customer, finding that:
Planners are eager to help venues create a better sourcing relationship with them. They want hoteliers to understand their side of the process because it ultimately makes their job easier.
“At a time when it’s the customer who is shaping the marketplace, listening to that customer has become the highest priority for anyone selling or marketing a product,” said Juli Jones, HSMAI vice president. “If a salesperson and/or marketer understands how meeting planners are sourcing, the opportunities for conversions grow significantly.”
For hoteliers marketing and selling space and services for meetings, the customer’s voice is crucial. In order to better engage with meeting planners, seven actionable recommendations for hotel salespeople and marketers are listed below, and detailed in the full white paper.
1. Stay in front of the planner.
2. Emphasize quality and thoroughness.
3. Be flexible on price.
4. Embrace technology…but in a smart way.
5. Create memorable experiences.
6. Think ahead to the next cycle.
7. Seek out and listen to the voice of the customer every day.
“As planners continue to embrace digital sourcing technologies, the hospitality industry must adopt new tactics and smarter targeting to grow their group business,” said Kevin Fliess, vice president of marketing at Cvent. “The first step is truly understanding who the audience really is and what they want from a venue.”
Visit the HSMAI Foundation Knowledge Center to download the complete white paper.