- Matures: When pitching a meeting planner of the mature generation, provide details on business-friendly guest rooms, spaces that are conducive to learning and collaboration as well as off-site activities that are within walking distance of the venue.
- · Baby Boomers and Generation X: Promote your Wi-Fi capabilities. Like matures, these generations are also interested in spaces that are conducive to learning and collaboration. They are apt to decline a facility for inadequate meeting space (size/quality/layout) as well as cost and/or excess charges.
- · Generation Y: The top two reasons that this generation is likely to decline a facility are the same as baby boomers: inadequate meeting space and cost/excess charges. However, Generation Y cares deeply about the appeal of the destination, so it is beneficial to share entertainment and evening activities that are available off-site. In addition, this younger generation is interested in space that provides the ability to recognize key performers, so if you have a stellar set up for an awards banquet, make sure to highlight that in your discussions with this generation.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
The meetings (MICE) industry is in a state of flux with matures (those aged 66 and older) retiring and millennials entering the workplace. It is projected that employment in the North American meetings market will grow by a massive 44 percent through 2020. This rapid growth will usher in a new era of new expectations and demands for conference centers seeking to woo a meetings planner’s business.
It was with this in mind that the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) Emerging Trends Committee and Development Counsellors International (DCI) partnered together to survey meeting planners of various generations—from boomers to Xers to millennials. The findings of the survey were announced at IACC-Americas 2013 Conference in March.
This survey explored whether there are generational preferences among meeting planners and if these preferences shape how meeting space is selected. For the purpose of this study, the generations were defined as mature (age 66 and older), baby boomer (Age 47-65), Generation X (Age 33-46) and Generation Y/millennial (Age 18-32). The largest cohort of respondents were baby boomers followed by Generation X.
On average, the planners responding to the survey organize meetings for 11 organizations annually. A majority of respondents, 76 percent, were familiar with IACC. When asked the importance of holding events at an IACC facility, meeting planners responded that it was somewhat important.
Choosing and Declining Conference Facilities
According to the survey results, the most important factor in choosing a conference facility is ease of connectivity via WiFi followed by the onsite presence of a staff planner and conference room design. When asked to further elaborate, respondents noted that adequate meeting rooms/flexibility of the space and the appeal of destination were highly important in selecting the location of meetings they had recently planned.
The top reasons for declining a facility were cost and excess charges followed by inadequate meeting space, location appeal and appearance/condition of the property.
Perhaps the most surprising fact, however, is that the preference of attendees—those individuals for whom the meeting planner is planning—actually didn’t rank as important. This is an interesting consideration for destination marketers who have long been trained to think about their “end audience” when crafting their conference center sales and marketing plan. It turns out there are always exceptions to every rule.
Key Generational Preferences
Overall, the generations have very similar preferences. There are a few differences to keep in mind, however, when selling to meeting planners of different generations.
To download the full results of this survey, click here.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
by Neil Pompan, CMP; President, PHG, Inc.
Smith Travel Research is on the verge of releasing a new index that will measure Banquet and Catering contribution to property performance. Unlike guests rooms and average rate which are for the most part objective; the factors involved in BnC success such as event room sizes and configurations, menu complexity, upselling skills, and the like are subjective. This will no doubt create a great deal of debate because of the inherent conflicts of comparing ones performance against others.
I predict that in time the debate “noise” will settle down and the industry will agree to accept the inconsistencies in comparison in favor of the consistency of a regular metric that will give operators the ability to compare period to period within their respective markets. In time, such an indexing report will be noticed by owners and developers and as such, it will integrate into the analytical culture of how property success is measured and understood.
This is a long overdue revolution. Food and beverage, and specifically banquet and catering, has always been the misunderstood stepchild of a properties operations and revenue streams. We all want more events, higher average checks, better meeting room rentals. We all have meetings on how to improve performance in this area and we comfort ourselves with the action plans we create to make such improvements. But how many of us understand and measure, for example, the difference between actual banquet and catering average check versus retail opportunity average check. The difference between the two is money on the table. How many of us have a strategy in place to handle price push back that does not compromise profitability? How many of us are manually entering more than 10% of menus onto BEO’s.
The following is a list of questions a property should ask and answer if they want to feel confident that they are maximizing the potential of their banquet and catering profit contribution:
- What is your strategic pricing plan for your banquet and catering menus compared to your competition in all meal periods?
- Have you calculated your retail opportunity average check and is so, how often does is vary from your actual performance?
- What is your acceptable variance factor between retail opportunity average check and actual average check?
- How do you measure variances in average checks by market segment to maximize revenues?
- What is the menu audit process to evaluate the efficiencies in your property's space management system? Has an audit been completed within the past 12 months?
- How is the information from a space management system audit used by your team to maximize banquet and catering revenue generation?
- What percentage of menus is manually entered on BEO’s? What practices do you employ to minimize manual entry?
- How do you determine banquet and catering minimums and adherence to the guidelines to ensure profitability is not compromised?
Sometimes the hardest thing for and operator to do is take a step back and devote the time needed to fully understanding a situation. With only so much time in a day, operators need to ensure they are being as effective as possible in what they are selling and servicing to maximize profitability, otherwise all the work they are currently doing is being wasted. The questions above, and many more, once understood and answered, will serve to help a property map out the strategies and tactics needed to make the banquet and catering function operate at maximum profitability and become better prepared for the analytical performance measures that are on the horizon.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
With recent trends showing that 1 out of 3 meetings are using technology the need for presentation technology support has grown. Especially on Monday mornings or in the beginning of a program until the presenters become more familiar with the room and the technology. Sometimes the needs are as simple as sound or lighting adjustments. Other requests involve connecting the presentation to the projection unit/s. It is difficult for the presentation technicians to take care of multiple needs concurrently especially when there is distance between the meeting rooms. Here are two solutions FLIK Hotels and Conference Centers have recently implemented in some of our conference centers to support these needs.
· A mobile application was recently installed that allows our technicians to adjust sound, lighting from their smartphone for the meeting rooms. This allows the technician to manage the demand of his/her priorities and still assist some presenters in their meeting room remotely from a different place. With the requestor on the telephone the technician can toggle to a control screen from his smartphone and adjust sound and lighting in the requestor’s meeting room while discussing the adjustment with the requestor. His smartphone has become a new mobile office for the assisting customers.
· The application as it appears on the smartphone is below:
· Wise projection systems – allow presenters to connect their presentation to the projection through a wireless network. When you do not need cables to connect to the projector - you do not have to be concerned with notebook adaptors. Another benefit is the cable may have a defect and compromise your presentation. Any presenter who can power up and find their presentation on the screen with speed and simplicity will be pleased and not need to call for a technician’s assistance. This will add to productivity and a much smoother Monday morning of launching 5 meetings at 8am!
Written by Joe Sebestyen. Sebestyen is a Regional Director with FLIK Hotels and Conference Centers. He specializes in sales and operations and assisting the Conference Center General Managers in creating an environment for achievement.
Monday, January 7, 2013
Everyone is talking about LinkedIn these days, but how exactly do you use the world’s largest professional social network to support your professional goals and the goals of your property? Lindsey Pollak, an official spokesperson for LinkedIn, will share expert tips, tactics and case studies at IACC's 2013 Annual Conference. Feel free to bring your laptop or iPad to implement Lindsey’s advice immediately.
Lindsay Pollak will explore topics such as how to:
- Build an impressive and “discoverable” LinkedIn profile that achieves the results you desire
- Grow and maximize your professional online network
- Drive more traffic to your property’s LinkedIn Company page
- Use proper LinkedIn etiquette and avoid online networking mistakes
- Receive expert answers to your LinkedIn questions
Lindsay is an exceptional speaker. This session will only be offered once during the annual conference so don't miss it. Register for the 2013 ANNUAL CONFERENCE TODAY as an individual or with a property! Don't forget you can share this post on Facebook or Twitter #IACC13 to let your network know you're attending the 2013 IACC Conference.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Video, what was once considered a rather high-end medium to showcase your property, is now becoming an expected marketing tool. In fact, video has become one of the fastest growing segments of the internet. Search engines are even providing video clips in results. The good news is that barriers to developing quality videos are being broken down with advancing technology. This is a great time to take advantage of the opportunities video offers to engage people and highlight the many unique features of your property, building both your brand and your sales. This session will highlight the components of developing a successful video strategy for marketing a property and discuss the myriad of tactical considerations.
In this IACC conference session with Dan Swartz, SVP Interactive Marketing and Analytics, Upshot, participants will walk away with knowledge about:
- How to develop a comprehensive video strategy
- How to effectively create and leverage property video assets for marketing purposes
- Extending visibility of video assets in social networks
- Creating and managing online video channels that encourage meaningful participation