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3 great reasons to list your venue on VenueChooser.com

Qualified prospects

Venuechooser.com attracts the people that you want to do business with thanks to our increasing number of top search rankings on relevant keywords like Hotel Meeting space and Meeting space directory and thanks also to our vast events search network of websites .   Your company listing will be available to training providers seeking meeting space to rent and also to training seekers seeking hotel rooms and dining facilities during their training class stay.

Free publicity

If you list your hotel or meeting space on VenueChooser.com using the Premium listing plan before  you will also receive a free press release on AddPR.com and Google News announcing your new hotel or training venue listing in the VenueChooser.com venue directory.

Value Added Benefits

Venuechooser.com is part of the worlds largest training industry news search and information network.  Findaseminar.com the anchor website of the training network promotes the use of Venuechooser to all of it's training providers and training seekers via welcome letters confirmation emails and website links to Venuechooser.com.  In addition when you rent space to training providers whose events are listed on FindaSemina your venue will be noted on Findaseminar.com as the facility that the training providers classes are being conducted at.

 

Hotel, Meeting space and Training Facility Operators Receive More Exposure Thanks To Top Search Ranking

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Click a link to view our search rankings on popular keywords used by people you want to reach.

Meeting Space Directory
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hotel training event rooms
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And these are just a few of thousands of first page search engine listings that are held by Venuechooser.com and that you benefit from when you list your hotel meeting space or training rooms, banquet or training facilities on Venuechooser.com. 
View and choose one of our low cost venue marketing plans and start receiving exposure today!

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Meeting and Events Industry News Release

VenueChooser.com Meeting Space and Hotel Directory Adds Free Seminar Search Tools

New free seminar search feature helps training seekers find hotels with upcoming seminars by state and city.

VenueChooser.com an Internet based meeting space and lodging directory has announced that it has partnered with FindaSeminar.com to offer a calendar of upcoming seminars by venue.

Business professionals that travel frequently can now search and find hotels in their destination city that may be offering one day seminars thath they can attend to earn ceu or cle credits as well as get the education that they need to stay current in their profession and industry.

According to Scott Alliy President of Allied Internet Solutions Inc. The partnership between VenueChooser.com and FindaSeminar.com strengthens both websited in terms of the value that they provide Internet users who can now search find and register for seminars and training classes easier than ever.

Scott reminds professionals that there is no cost for them to use Veneuchooser.com and or FindaSeminar.com since the sites are fee paid by the clients that own the venues and or conduct the training classes.

And he adds "FindaSeminar.com and Venuechooser.com are designed for ease of use and navigation saving busy professionals precious time while at the same time giving them the selection of services and results that they need in one convenient location".
 

About Us: Allied Internet Solutions Inc. is a Houston based consulting firm that owns and operates over 400 Internet properties including FindaSeminar.com, eTrainingProducts.com, AddPR.com and DomainsAvailableNow.com. AIS offers a free consultation to small and medium businesses in need of web design or development or Internet marketing services

Contact Info:
Allied Internet Solutions Inc.
800 349 1935

 

Seminars and training press releases

FindaSeminar.com Training Search Engine Adds Thousands Of New Seminar Courses

New listings includes fall seminars and training courses offered by national seminar providers

FindaSeminar.com the worlds largest training snd seminar search engine announced that it has just added thousands of new seminar dates and locations.

According to Scott Alliy President of Allied Internet Solutions a Houston based Internet consulting firm and creator of Find a Seminar.com, Seminar brochures .com Venue chooser.com and Add PR.com "The new seminars listed by National Seminar Group Padgett Thompson Skillpath American Management Association Lorman Education Fred Pryor Career track Cornell ILR and more provide increased value to training seekers searching for seminars in the U.S. and Canada and solidify our position as the worlds largest training and seminar search engine".

Scott reminds seminar seekers that FindaSeminar.com now lists over 150000 seminars held by over 250 national seminar and training providers in the U.S. and Canada.

He also adds "We provide unique seminar marketing services to training providers by offering seminar marketing on a pay for performance basis".

Allied Internet Solutions Inc. has also recently announced the expansion of their seminar marketing services with the addition of Seminar brochures .com to its growing list of seminar marketing and training search related websites.

Scott invites National seminar and training providers to visit the website at http://www.findaseminar.com and http://www.seminarbrochures.com and list their seminars and training courses and seminar brochures.

 

About Us: Find a seminar.com and Seminar brochures .com are owned and operated by Allied Internet Solutions Inc. a Houston based Internet consulting firm specializing in niche market directories that serve the training seminar and events industry and other industries byt providing seminar search tools and seminar marketing services as well as internet marketing services including website design and development.

Contact Info: Helen Alliy
Director
Allied Internet Solutions Inc
FindaSeminar.com
SeminarBrochures.com

Additional:
Find a Seminar

Seminar brochures
Seminar marketing

Company: Find a seminar .com

Country: United States

Contact: Helen Alliy

Website: http://www.findaseminar.com

Bus E-Mail: info@findaseminar.com

Phone: 800 349-1935

 

SeminarBrochures.com Announces Half Price Seminar Brochure Listings

Training seminar workshop and conference and teleconference providers tradeshow exhibitors and providers of online training seminars can save 50% on brochure listings for a limited time.

SeminarBrochures.com is offering half off pricing on seminar brochure listings to increase awareness of its new seminar marketing tool.

Scott Alliy creator of FindaSeminar.com and VenueChooser.com recently created SeminarBrochures.com the newest Internet marketing tool for the training seminar and events industry.

According to Scott "SeminarBrochures.com will help you increase attendance by allowing you to attract target audience of event attendees who can help themselves to your event information brochure anytime day or night."

Says Scott "SeminarBrochures.com is a great marketing tool for Seminars of course but will also benefit your company if you provide any kind of publictraining, tradeshows, conferences, workshops, webinars and more."

Consumers have become more savvy according to Scott and have less time or desire to be diluged with unrequested direct mail and or email. The days of push marketing as in door-to-door sales are passe. Instead says Scott "Consumers want the power to make their own decisions, the information to make good decisions, and most important to do so on their own time which the internet allows them to do."

Scott who has dedicated a good portion of his energies to seminar marketing and event promotion believes that online brochures are the wave of the future and that their use and popularity as a marketing tool will soon explode given the rates in direct mail postage which is sure to occur due to the rising price of fuel and other economic factors.

Scott's research has proven also that consumers want centralized access to like information to allow them to shop and compare. Large wholseale stores have known this for years and continue to gain in sales and popularity as a result of their one-stop-shopping business model.

For more information about SeminarBrochures.com and or to list your brochures please visit http://www.SeminarBrochures.com

About Us: Internet Solutions Inc. is a Houston based consulting firm that owns and operates over 400 Internet properties including FindaSeminar.com, eTrainingProducts.com, AddPR.com and DomainsAvailableNow.com. AIS specializes in Internet marketing and offers a free consultation to small and medium businesses in need of web design or development or Internet marketing services
 

Contact Info:
Helen Alliy
Director
Allied Internet Solutions Inc.
800 349-1935

Additional: seminar brochures

Company: SeminarBrochures.com

Country: United States

Contact: Helen Alliy

Website: http://www.SeminarBrochures.com

Bus E-Mail: info@aisolinc.com

Phone: 800 349-1935

 

Staging A Successful Meeting - Meeting Room Check

Allow time for set-up and rehearsal and allow time between sessions to re-set meeting rooms. Book all meeting rooms in 24 hour time blocks. Verify when presenters will arrive and if they need rehearsal time before their scheduled start time.

1. Seating Plan. Are the tables and chairs arranged in the correct manner for the meeting format? Is the size of the room adequate for the number of people who will be in attendance? Are there removable walls and is the room sound proof from adjacent rooms and the foyer? Movable walls are not usually soundproof. A soundproof solution is to run two parallel air walls to create a narrow corridor between them

2. Location of additional chairs. Check that extra chairs are available and easily accessible.

3. Room Temperature Locate the room climate controls (air conditioning/heating). Start with the room cooler than usual, the room will warm-up with more people in the space and once the doors are closed.

4. Teleprompter, translation equipment and Audio-Visual Make sure that all of the equipment needed for the meeting is on-site and ready to go.( Hand-held microphone with stand, lavaliere microphones, white board with markers or projector and screen with laser pointer)

Check power capability and power outlets. Are electrical outlets available for plugging in laptop computers? Is there telephone connectivity and is it needed? Internet connectivity? Wireless facility?

5. Podium with light and riser. Check to make sure that these items are available if requested by the speaker or facilitator.

6. Presentation table with water pitcher, drinking glasses, pencils and note pads.

7. Decorations that reinforce the meeting theme and color scheme. Check that all decorations conform to fire regulations.

8. Floral arrangements and plants.

9. Signage Check the location of signage – is it clear and visible?

10. Tape recorder if an audio recording is being made and operator. Depending at the length of the presentation make sure there are adequate supplies/audio tapes to accommodate.

11. Lighting e.g., over head, obscured, variable beam, spotlights, strobe lights, special effects, lights with dimmer switches

12. Position of light switches

13. Is there closed circuit TV ? Is the security adequate?

14. Radio and TV broadcasting, Videotaping?

15. Wheelchair access and space allotment on aisle

Careful planning makes for flawless execution and a chance for attendees to get the most out of the sessions they attend.

About the author: A desire to creatively express myself in the world is what drives me. A wish to provide a service that is of value to others is at the foundation of my business. Pursuits directly related to improving the quality of our lives on this planet are of keen interest to me. I have a background in the entertainment industry and came to the US to study at Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, from where I graduated in 1988.

http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Yvon_Douran

 

Hire a Motivational Humorous Speaker And Laugh Your Way To A More Successful Event
 

Most meetings are dull, lack direction and are devoid of humor and motivation. If you want to add more laughter to your next meeting or event, hire a professional motivational humorous speaker. A recent survey conducted by The National Association of Meeting Professionals states: “70% of respondents admitted that less than half of the meetings they've attended in the last six months were worthwhile; survey data suggests that 44% would like to have faster meetings. In addition:

 

  • Nearly 80% of those surveyed found team meetings to be useful for getting and sharing the information they need
  • 7 in 10 workers want meetings that are better organized

80% believe they would be good at planning and executing an enjoyable and productive meeting

 

While workers value effective meetings, they would do just about anything to get out of attending an ineffective one. When asked what they would prefer to do instead of sitting through a boring meeting:

  • 54% of those polled said they would rather mow the lawn
  • 41% said they would rather wash the kitchen floor
  • 25% said they would prefer a trip to the dentist”

There is no sense in going through the time, expense and work effort of planning and executing a meeting where the attendees feel it is a waste of time. This is where hiring a professional motivational humorous speaker can help to ensure that the meeting is fun, there is a good dose of laughter and your learning objectives have been achieved. It’s no wonder meetings are boring, unproductive and expensive. By hiring a professional motivational humorous speaker for your next event you can add laughter, increase productivity and make a memorable event for your management team!

Doug Dvorak is the CEO of DMG Inc., a worldwide organization that assists clients with productivity training, corporate humor and workshops, as well as other aspects of sales and marketing management. Mr. Dvorak's clients are characterized as Fortune 1000 companies, small to medium businesses, civic organizations and service businesses. Mr. Dvorak has earned an international reputation for his powerful educational methods and motivational techniques, as well as his experience in all levels of business, corporate education and success training. http://www.dougdvorak.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Doug_Dvorak

 

Meeting Room Designs
 

Theater Style

Theater-style seating consists of several rows of chairs facing the front of the room. This arrangement works best for formal presentations, where participants are focused on the presenter. Because there are no tables, this arrangement isn't conducive to taking notes or working on a laptop. Because participants can't easily take notes in a theater-style arrangement, you should make the presentation available to attendees in written or electronic format.

This style is one of the best for large groups, but it should also be noted that some people are uncomfortable without a desk or table in front of them.

Classroom Style

A classroom-style setup uses long, narrow tables placed in front of rows of chairs - all facing the speaker. This setup is ideal for formal presentations in front of medium-sized to large groups where the audience is expected to take notes. Using the tables, participants can write notes, work on their laptops or use PDAs. Surge protectors and extension cords should be strategically placed so that they are available to everyone, but not in the way. The presenter can use either a screen or an interactive whiteboard with his computer.

Banquet Style

A banquet-style setup consists of several tables scattered throughout the room. This setup is perfect for small breakout sessions or collaborative work groups. You shouldn't use this style for very large groups or seminars where speakers or presenters will be setup at the front of the room. Smaller groups usually work best with this style of room.

U-Shape Style

A U-shaped arrangement is ideal if participants need to see the front of the room and work in small groups. Because this style is conducive to both formal presentations and collaborative work, it combines the best of both worlds. Meeting or seminar participants can comfortably watch presentations in the front of the room, while still maintaining contact with the people around them.

Matt Bacak became "#1 Best Selling Author" in just a few short hours. Recent Entrepreneur Magazine’s e-Biz radio show host is turning Authors, Speakers, and Experts into Overnight Success Stories. Discover The Secrets To Unleash The Powerful Promoter In You! Sign up for Matt Bacak's Promoting Tips Ezine ($100 value) just visit his website at http://www.powerfulpromoter.com or http://promotingtips.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Matt_Bacak

 
Planning a Conference
 
Planning a conference means details, details, details!

So let’s look at the details necessary for planning a successful conference.

The Right Time

What may be the perfect time for you may not be the perfect time for your attendees or the city/hotel you want to use. Plan and coordinate a time that would be suitable to all. You can’t please everyone in this, but it is best to schedule it around the important attendees and speakers.

Avoid any holidays or important events during the time that may affect attendance such as religious holidays and other industry-related events.

The Right Location

The right location, with the necessary facilities, is the key in making an event attractive to potential attendees. It’s best to hold conferences in a cosmopolitan city, which is also a business hub.

The city's convention and visitor’s bureau (CVB) Web site will provide you information about other conventions, meetings or sporting events taking place during the same time. The local CVB also can assist you in finding the right hotel for your event. They will send your lead out to all their member hotels so you don't have to contact each individually. Be sure to identify what type of hotel property you are interested in i.e., four-star, close to the airport etc. Make sure there are plenty of travel options by air, train or road.

The Right Hotel

The right hotel is pivotal to the success of your conference; make sure the hotel has all amenities that might be important to your conference needs.

The hotel must have, fully geared Business Centers with state of the art facilities coupled with boardroom and meeting rooms. A multi function room to cater to meetings, theatre style seminars and promotions and exhibitions, is important, and of course, sit down dinners and lunches with full and latest audio video conferencing facilities.

Find out what food and beverage venues the hotel offers or are within walking distance, especially if you are not providing breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.
 

The Right Equipment

Most hotels have an audio/visual department, and this department also controls the sound. But they also service other groups in the hotel as well. Consider arranging for a technician to be in your conference room at all times.
 

If your presentation is on a computer, make sure you back-up your presentation to a jump drive. Podium microphones and wired lavaliere microphones are the least expensive. Make sure your video devices are setup for maximum exposure.

Pre event checks

Two weeks prior to your event, send your specifications to your hotel, include: date, time, set-time, rehearsal times, room set-ups, microphone and audio/visual requirements, and any special needs you may have.

Catalog the number of meeting rooms needed; seating set-up, number of seats; AV requirements; food and beverage rooms, offices, and/or storage.

If space is stretched and you need multiple meeting rooms, try scheduling the main session in the morning or afternoon and use the same meeting room for lunch.

Ask the hotel to list amenities that might be important to your group i.e., free wireless, health club, room service, spa facilities etc.

Be sure to review the catering menus and prepare an estimated budget.

Check your meeting room setup as soon as possible, before doing anything else.

Request the room to be set for 25 percent more than you expect.

Schedule a daily meeting with everyone that is involved with your event including the catering manager, convention services manager, AV and sound technicians.

Last but not the least pays attention to details, details and details.

Prabhash Bhatnagar is Manager of Sales & Marketing, maker of hotel management software and Resort management software handles the key aspects of the running of client’s business, including bookings & reservations, Housekeeping, Spa, POS and generating reports. For further details, contact prabhash@blueappleonline.com.
Executive Conference Centers
If you are planning to host corporate and association meetings, conferences, training sessions, seminars, sales and marketing presentations, product launch event and other special events, then executive conference centers are the right choice.

With award-winning facilities, executive conference centers provide elegant and efficient meeting space to accommodate small to large size meetings. These days, executive conference centers are gaining more popularity among the business community. To make your executive meeting a total success, executive conference centers provide you with a professional business environment that is conducive to corporate meetings.

Executive conference centers provide facilities such as meeting rooms, training rooms, board rooms, and conference rooms that are fully furnished with executive chairs, computer chairs, conference tables, sofa, and easels. They are also equipped with a wide range of audio/visual equipments such as overhead projectors, LCD projector, DVD player, VCR player, Cable TV, and podium microphone.

Wireless high-speed internet access, printers, scanners, copiers, and fax machines are also provided in executive conference centers. Apart from the above facilities, they provide professional on-site conference service staff to provide assistance in meeting or event planning.

To make your business meeting a memorable experience, executive conference centers provide leisure time facilities such as fitness center, gym, athletic clubs, swimming pool; exquisite dining options, and beverages. In short, everything you need ranging from productive meeting rooms to a comfortable guest room is available with executive conference centers.

Executive conference centers that are conveniently located close to popular attractions and shopping areas are more favored by business people. Some of the best executive conference center options are AMA?s executive conference centers at New York, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, DC; St. Louis Executive Conference Center, Davidson Executive Conference Center, Babson Executive Conference Center, and R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center. To take advantage of excellent meeting facilities, one can book these conference centers either online or by contacting over the phone.

Conference Centers provides detailed information on Conference Centers, Hotel Conference Centers, Online Conference Centers, Best Conference Centers and more. Conference Centers is affiliated with Audio Conferencing.

Breeze Meeting
 

Macromedia's Breeze Meeting is one of the premier entries in the web conferencing software arena. This article is one in a series that describe the features of the major web conferencing software products that are on the market today.

Let me say at the outset that the functionality and features of Breeze are much too plentiful to be completely described here, and I'll cover only some of the Breeze Meeting features to try and give you a sense of what you can accomplish with the package.

Meeting Rooms

A Breeze "meeting room", your virtual meeting place, is persistent, which is a fancy way of saying that the content of your meeting - notes, presentations, and chat contents are automatically saved for you. Meeting rooms can have a custom layout defined that is also automatically saved. By the way, Mac users, Breeze supports OS X 10.2 and 10.3.

Application and Desktop Sharing and Remote Control

Any web conferencing software worthy of the name includes the ability for the presenter to share applications on his/her desktop with the other participants in the meeting. One very powerful use of this technology is remote software installation. I described in an earlier article in this series the process of receiving an application software upgrade using conferencing software. The latest release of Breeze includes improved desktop sharing that allows shared presentations to be viewed in full-screen mode by the participants. In addition, the presenter (the meeting controller) has the option to synchronize all the participant's screens. The remote control facilities of the product now support full screen mode also. If you're not familiar with it, remote control actually let's one participant control the desktop of another - the first time I watched the mouse pointer on my screen under the control of someone else, it seemed a bit eerie, but I quickly adjusted - its a very powerful facility.

Attendee Management

If you're holding an online meeting of any sort, wouldn't you want to be able to track who is/isn't there and to know if they're connected properly? Breeze provides the ability for the presenter to see who is in the meeting and their connection status. If the purpose of your gathering is training, attendance is taken for you!

Audio Conference Call Control

One way web conferencing software products provide the audio portion of the meeting is through a telephone conference call. Breeze now incorporates the ability to control an external conference call from within the application. You can dial out to meeting participants, control the mute/unmute function (in case someone gets a little too verbal), even eject participants if necessary (the overly verbal guy!). In addition, the controls to record the meeting are part of the interface.

Microsoft Outlook Integration

Breeze is now integrated with Microsoft Outlook. Anyone working in an office environment (and overwhelmed with meetings) will appreciate the convenience of this feature. You can schedule Breeze meetings and invite attendees right in the familiar Outlook environment. Users can even join a Breeze meeting right from their Outlook calendar.

Multi-point Video

The one aspect of a real meeting that web conferencing often doesn't provide is the visual presence of the participants. Breeze now features improved multi-point video - meaning that multiple users can be supported with video input from webcams. I suspect it won't be long before video input becomes a more common aspect of all web conferences.

Whiteboarding, participant polling, participant permissions, and moderated Q&A sessions are some of the other Breeze features that can't be covered here.

The last very interesting bit about Breeze is that it runs under Flash, which is already installed on most computers, which means they can all access Breeze Meetings without installing any additional software.

Peter Cullen runs http://www.Web-Conference-Info.com where web conferencing software is reviewed and relevant articles are posted.
Powerful Networking with an Effective Introduction
 
You're sitting in a room full of eager business owners at a networking event. One by one, everyone stands up and introduces themselves, hopefully gaining the opportunity to find one or two new prospects in the crowd.

Unfortunately, most business people stink at Introductions.

Take for instance the remarks made at a recent event I attended. A hotel sales rep introduced himself and stated that his hotel offered beds, meals and meeting rooms. Oh really? How many hundreds of hotels offer that, I thought. What he said was essentially the same introduction used by all the hotel sales people in the room that day.

What if one of them had said something like this?

"Hi, my name is Bob, sales manager with Big City Hotel. Sure, we have meals and beds and meeting rooms like all the other hotels. But they don't have Ruth, our front desk supervisor who's been serving our guests for more than 22 years. Her only responsibility is to help you have an extraordinary stay at our hotel."

Which hotel has the best chance to get your business? The one with meals, and beds and rooms, or the one with all that, plus a great staff.

And Bob can strengthen his relationship with his audience at the next meeting. What happens if he brings Ruth with him and lets her introduce herself during the Introductions? Talk about making an impression on the crowd! By the time the meeting is over, everyone there will be best friends with Ruth.

As good as that is, Bob isn't done yet. He can make a bigger value statement at the next meeting. This time Bob quickly introduces himself and then plays a short recording:

"Hi, this is Tom, sales director at XYZ Company. We had our annual sales meeting at Big City Hotel a few months ago and it was the best we've ever had. Ruth and her staff waited on our people and took care of everything we needed. She was fantastic."

Now that's an Introduction. So the next time you're attending a networking event, can you introduce your value to your audience when you introduce yourself? What is a benefit you can highlight that none of your competitors can claim? What is it you do better than everyone else?

That's the best place to start.

Larry Baltz runs a company called More Sales – More Profits. He works with small business owners who want to get more clients and sell more products and services. Larry is a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and small business marketing expert. For his free report, “Knock-Their-Socks-Off” Promotion and Marketing, go to http://www.moresales-moreprofits.com for your copy.
Hotel Meeting Venues Offer First-Class Organisational Assistance
 
If you're in the process of organising a large function - whether it's a corporate meeting, an extended family reunion or a blow-out wedding - you'll likely find yourself under a lot of stress. From booking the event location to making sure that all the necessary attendees are notified, event planners and co-ordinators are bound to have a lot on their plate at any given time in the planning process. That is why it's essential for event planners to seek help from a trusted expert that will help them cover all the bases.

Many event and meeting locations - such as hotels or conference centres - offer detailed help and comprehensive support if you book with them. Through direct booking or online booking, the best event locations will offer first-class event planning services, including a Guest List manager, the ability to book multiple group reservations at one time and the opportunity to view floor plans online in order to create the perfect seating setup for your guests.

Some hotels that offer event planning help, such as Hilton Embassy Suites, even offer the opportunity to create a personalized online group web page with a unique web address, so that your guests or meeting attendants will be able to book their own guest rooms. For example, if you're planning a wedding, creating your own wedding website could work wonders during the planning process. Your guests will have the option to RSVP online, book rooms in the hotel in which your wedding is being held and view your wedding gift list online as well.

If it's a business meeting you're planning, then many hotel meeting venues will help you determine how to divide your budget between meeting space, food and beverages, guest rooms (if necessary) and any audio or visual rental equipment you might need. What's more, you'll find detailed advice on how to plan daily schedules, should your conference carry on for more than one day. If you're trying to plan a large social gathering of friends, then meeting venues will even help you compile a list of what you require for your function: for instance, whether or not you'll need a dance floor or a stage.

Whatever type of event or meeting you're planning in a hotel meeting venue, make effective use of the checklists and organisational services available to you. This will not only ensure that your event gets off to a roaring start, but will also take some of the pressure of your own shoulders.

Andrew Regan is a freelance online journalist who travels extensively.
Dispel Thoughts of Meeting Mishaps with Hotel Event Planning
Planning a meeting, corporate event or conference can be a trying task - particularly if you expect the event to be a large one. But before you despair over thoughts of potential meeting mishaps, remember that there is help at hand.

There are a number of comprehensive resources to which you can turn when planning a meeting or event - from extensive checklists to professional event planners. And whether you're a practiced corporate event planner or are about to embark on your first ever event-planning effort, it's always essential to make full use of these resources.

One of your most significant event planning resources will likely be the venue at which you choose to hold your event. That's because event venues are usually equipped with a range of internal event services and facilities, such as audio-visual technology and dedicated event staff. However, you'll likely still need to outsource various other services, such as transportation and accommodation (if the event requires travel) and possibly even catering services. In the end, all the outsourcing can amount to a lot more work than you had bargained for - meaning the organization of your event might face compromise.

However, certain types of venues, such as hotels, can offer a comprehensive set of event services through a single facility, meaning that your event planning package can encompass all of your meeting requirements. For instance, many hotels operate divisions that specialise in organizing hotel meetings and events, in addition to providing meeting facilities, catering and event staff, as well as guest accommodation - so you'll be covered in terms of both meeting services and event facilities.

Moreover, hotels can offer exclusive services which are personalised to ensure success for you and your event - so you can expect your event to run according to your company's unique needs and requirements. And finally, you'll find countless hotels that are ideally situated for business travel, whether that means being located in close proximity to the airport or having easy access to the city's business district.

So, whether you're planning a large corporate conference or a small company meeting, you'll have a number of essential factors to consider. Choosing to hold your meetings and events at a hotel will give you access to a wide range of meeting and events facilities, as well as tailored support to produce a successful event - meaning that no factor will be overlooked.

Andrew Regan is an online, freelance journalist who lists traveling and rugby among his interests.

 

Hotel Booking Online Makes For Easy Business
If you've ever attempted to make a group hotel booking, you'll know how difficult it can be. When it comes to business meetings or conferences in particular, mass hotel bookings can be particularly hard to co-ordinate. After all, it's likely that all the delegates attending the business meeting you're planning will be arriving from different parts of the country at different times; so how can you be sure all their rooms are secure? You'll also have to ensure that you have sufficient meeting space for your business delegates, as well as refreshments and audio/visual equipment - so things could get a little overwhelming!

However, the development of the internet over the past few years has meant that hotels have come with increasingly sophisticated ways for their guests to book hotel rooms - and this is especially useful when it comes to group business hotel bookings. Many top hotels and hotel chains, for instance, will offer comprehensive online group booking facilities, allowing you to book multiple guest rooms, a meeting room, food and beverages and any audio/visual equipment you might need with just a few clicks of a button.

From a business perspective, making e-bookings for your business conference can make your business meeting scheduling as productive as possible. You'll be able to estimate the right-sized room for your business meeting without having to travel to the hotel in question personally. What's more, the best business e-booking hotel providers will allow you to pick the arrangement of your room. So, rather than having to supervise layout of tables, chairs and a stage yourself, you can draw out a plan for hotel staff to follow to your requirements.

Often, you'll even be able to select from food and beverage menus. This way, if your business delegates have any particular dietary requirements - such as vegetarian or kosher food - you can make sure that they'll be well catered for. You'll also have the opportunity to order ample beverages for the business meeting - so the attending businessmen will always have something available to quench their thirst when the effect of the day's heated business debates takes its toll.

What's more, online business hotel booking facilities will even help you find the right equipment and technical facilities that you'll need for your business conference. You'll be able to choose from a variety of options, including high-speed internet access and Wi-Fi to top of the range AV projectors and visual screens for presentations.

So the next time you're organising a business conference in a hotel, make sure you choose a venue which offers business e-booking facilities online. For example, the Hampton Hotel E directory lists over 1400 hotels and locations, so you certainly won’t lack for choice! And, not only will you increase the efficiency of your task, you'll also have more time to get involved in what's most important - the business meeting itself!

Andrew Regan is an online, freelance journalist who lists travelling and rugby among his interests

Atlanta Hotel and Convention Centers

The primary objective of a convention center is to facilitate events that generate economic benefit. As a concept, convention centers are advanced meeting solutions combined with modern accommodations.

The success of a meeting depends, to a certain extent, on the environment in which it is conducted. Organizations require private and comfortable spaces to accommodate varied groups. They need audio and video resources for live presentations. Atlanta hotels have large convention meeting spaces with advanced equipment. Atlanta hotel and convention centers are ideal for national and local conventions, corporate meetings, association programs, retreats and seminars.

The features of a convention center can be customized to meet the requirements of guests. Light, sound, and room temperature are self-controllable in convention rooms. Seats are designed to give maximum comfort, and writing surfaces are provided. There are deluxe rooms that combine the coziness of a luxury hotel with the latest amenities and technologies. The rooms in Atlanta hotels meet all the criteria laid out by the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC). Atlanta hotels offer their guests a laptop, as well as wired and wireless Internet connections. Atlanta hotel and convention centers also supply technicians and staff for the coordination of events.

Additional services at Atlanta hotels include welcome packages and mailings, activities and entertainment programs, recommendations for sightseeing and recreational activities, housing assistance, bid presentations, media coverage and publicity, color slides or digital photography, information tables at registration, and marketing support. The restaurant services at the convention centers offer event catering, décor, and theme consultations to welcome guests. Atlanta hotels also help to engage experienced event-planning professionals who can manage events and ensure the success of conventions. The event manager schedules a pre-event conference with the convention event professionals to coordinate the required services. Atlanta hotels meet all the demands put forward by event planners. Atlanta hotel and convention centers thus give prime importance to overall guest satisfaction.

Atlanta Hotels provides detailed information on Atlanta Hotels, Atlanta Luxury Hotels, Atlanta Airport Hotels, Downtown Atlanta Hotels and more. Atlanta Hotels is affiliated with Boston Luxury Hotels.

Conference Venue: A Reflection Of Your Organisation's Image
 

Business meeting is an important happening in every business venture. If you are a manager or owns the company, every time you will like the business meeting to take place at a location giving all your executives a wonderful experience. Business meeting and conference is one thing that marks a very impressive occurrence in business. Business hotels equipped with good facility and services are worth making your business meeting and conference a success. Whether it is general body meeting of managers or you are willing to organise a business conference, a good business hotel will meet all demands.

It is important to consider several things before you have finally booked a hotel for your business meeting and conference. Many of us have notion that business hotels are boring place to be. In fact, such hotels are great place to sharpen your business acumen, and give you a better insight of your business. It is the place where you come to know many of your business associates, and experience good business exposure.

Today, business hotels are equipped with very well appointed services and facilities. The entirely furnished rooms endowed with all facilities keep guests at complete ease. Lush green lawn where you can take a walk, open top and spacious swimming pool, reading room and game room are places to keep you prettily engaged when you are away from your business meeting.

Having ample of facilities, these hotels are worth managing corporate gathering. Be it business conference, convention or simple business meeting, business hotels have special arrangements to meet your all needs. The conference hall would usually have facilities, such as wi-fi access, computer projection, OHP, LCD screens, whiteboards, excellent audio tools and equipments, good catering service, etc. Availing the facility of business hotels for all your official requirements, you need to find a service provider which gives you all information about all such hotels located at place where you want your meting/conference t be held.

About The Author: Dona Markley writes for UK Conference venues that offers free service to find conference venues and centres in the UK and worldwide. She has done her masters in Business Administration and is currently assisting UK Conference Venues as a marketing specialist.
Meeting Expectations
 
So, you have a potential client who’s requested a meeting with you—at “your office”. But, you work at home. And, if you’re anything like me, your home may not be worthy of a spread in Architectural Digest, or even Not-Quite-A-Safety-Hazard Gazette. What to do?

As an independent professional, I’ve had meetings literally everywhere you can imagine—parking lots, onboard boats, and at mutual friends’ weddings. I’ve even met extremely busy clients at their supermarket and walked the aisles with them, asking questions while they shopped. But, that’s a bit extreme. There are several more tame options for alternate venues for meetings. Here are a few:

- Go to see them. When I offer to “come to them”, most clients are thrilled and flattered – they think that you’re taking great care of them, and they’re glad to not have to worry about travel time. If they work out of their home, they may be comfortable having the meeting at their place. I’ve even found that going into my clients’ offices and homes helps to give me an idea of their design and organizational styles. It even gives me an idea of how much project management may be required on a particular project—if their home is chaotic, there’s a good chance that the project will be, too.

Just be sure to dose up on allergy medication if you have any pet allergies—you never know when “Fluffy” may be lying in wait. Pets are even common in offices these days—which I learned the hard way (with a combination of much sneezing and a rescheduled meeting).

- There’s always the local coffee shop. Though this option is now a bit “laughed at” as the official meet-up for freelancers, many clients don’t mind meeting here. Make sure that you don’t schedule the meeting for the early morning rush hours if possible, so you’ll have some peace and quiet. Better yet, do an audit of the off- name coffee shops in your area; small, local places are often more cozy and atmospheric than the local Starbucks’. You may even find a shop nearby with free Internet access, which will enable you to show your live, online samples in a meeting —a great benefit.

- Restaurants are a good option, too. Everyone needs to eat lunch, right? So, a restaurant can be the perfect place to take care of lunch and business at the same time. Visit several of the restaurants in your area to read the menus, get an idea of the food quality and options, the price range, and the atmosphere and seating arrangements. Do a bit of advance consultation on the restaurant choice with your client, too; it’s a good idea to make sure your client’s not a vegetarian if you’re planning to take them to the steak house. And Plus, good etiquette often dictates that you pick up the tab. (At least it’s tax deductible.)

- Hotel lobbies can be comfortable. There’s a hotel by my house that has a grand, sweeping foyer with several groupings of armchairs, sofas and tables. This particular hotel is very accommodating to occasional business meetings; but you may want to check your local hotel before scheduling a meeting there. I suggest phoning ahead to inquire whether they’d mind if you have a meeting there, or go by yourself and “hang out” for an hour or two, with your laptop or a good book, to make sure that their security team doesn’t get itchy about your presence. You don’t want to get shut down mid-meeting!

- Many public and school libraries have conference rooms. You can either use these rooms on a first-come, first-served basis, or you can sign up for a specified time— depending on the library. The good news here is that you get a large, private, quiet space, and if there is a cost associated, it’s often minimal.

- Check with your professional associations. Many professional associations offer meeting space as a member benefit. For example, some Chambers of Commerce offer their meeting rooms to their membership. Check with the associations that you belong to, and see if they offer any spaces to conduct meetings.

- Outdoor sculpture gardens or parks can boost creativity. For these two options to work, you need favorable weather and an open-minded client, and when the combination’s right, great things can come of these meetings. Walking while you talk can also keep the inspiration, and your blood, flowing. A dog-owning client will often love this idea—as long as you like dogs too, invite the pooch along!

- Form an alliance. If you have a friend, business acquaintance or client with an office space, you may be able to arrange to take an occasional meeting at their workplace. I have a couple of such alliances, and I offer my alliance partners small consultations and bits of help in exchange.

- Rent-a-room. I’m not talking about a sleazy motel room! If you’d like to present a buttoned-down, professional image, there are several options for conference rooms that you can rent by the hour. There are “Executive Centers” popping up all around the world that rent out office space and conference rooms on an as-needed basis. HQ Global (www.hq.com), some FedEx Kinkos (http://www.fedex.com/us/ officeprint/storesvcs/technology/conference.html?link=4) locations and many hotels offer executive meeting space.

Choosing a great place to have a meeting involves developing a bit of intuition about your client, and doing some research on the options available in your area. However, with a touch of creativity and sometimes a bit of cash, you can find a great place that will be host to a comfortable, project-winning or relationship-building meeting.

About the Author

Erin Ferree, Founder and Lead Designer of elf design, is a brand identity and graphic design expert. She has been helping small businesses grow with bold, clean and effective logo and marketing material designs for over a decade. elf design offers the comprehensive graphic and web design services of a large agency, with the one- on-one, personalized attention of an independent design specialist. Erin works closely in partnership with her clients to create designs that are visible, credible and memorable – and that tell their unique business stories in a clear and consistent way. For more information about elf design, please visit: Logo design at http://www.elf-design.com

Business Travel Made Easy By Businessperson Minded Hotels
If you're a businessman who travels often, the chances are you know what to look for in a good hotel room. And, if you're the kind of business traveller who spends a lot of time on the road, you might also carry around photos of your family, or other small items from home to make yourself feel more comfortable in your hotel room - after all, it's the small things that can make someone feel at home!

But most of all, it's important that you can enjoy the convenience of staying connected to the internet and in touch with technology at every turn. Modern business is now so reliant on the World Wide Web that, if you're a business traveller, it's paramount that you're able to access a high-speed internet connection wherever you go. So, if a hotel has high-speed internet access in all guest rooms, business travellers will be able to enjoy the freedom of staying connected to both their home and the office when they need it most.

What's more, if you're holding a business meeting in a hotel, it'll be essential that the meeting room has high-speed internet access or wireless internet access. This gives both meeting attendees and presenters the chance to demonstrate products, video conferencing and interactive training, amongst many more benefits of being online, so that you'll be able to conduct your business seminar or workshop with ease.

Of course, while it's normal that you'll be carrying your own (or your company) laptop during your business trip, it's much less likely that you'll bring your own printer with you as well! That's why it's always handy to stay in a hotel that has printing facilities for business travellers. This means that if you've prepared a presentation on your laptop in your hotel room the night before a big business meeting, you'll be able to conveniently print it out and hand out to the other members of your seminar.

Moreover, after a hard day's work, business travellers will want to wind down in the hotel's leisure facilities before another day of meetings - or the inevitable trip homeward. This might involve taking some time out in the hotel spa, going for a midnight dip in the swimming pool or even opting for a relaxing evening in the hotel bar.

You’ll likely find that most providers of business hotel accommodation will offer these first class services; and if you're lucky, the better ones will also throw in a few useful technological gadgets that will make your life simple - such as speakers in which you can plug your mp3 or CD player or handy alarm clocks that will make sure you don't miss that business meeting in the morning!

Andrew Regan is an online, freelance journalist who lists travelling and rugby among his interests

How To Negotiate The Best Deal On The Hotel Room

It's important to talk to the right person when trying to get a great deal, that means someone who has the authority to negotiate with you. You can ask to speak to the Sales Manager or if they have a dedicated staff for meeting and event coordinating, speak to the manager of that department. Remember to research comparable room prices in the area online so that you'll have a good point of reference to bring to the negotiation table. It does take some advanced planning to get the best deals, but hotel room prices are more flexible than the average person realizes.

Be aware of the seasons and try to schedule your seminar during a time when the hotel's business is typically slow. Getting a great room at a great price will always be easier when the hotel isn't full. If you're booking a block of rooms for seminar guests and speakers in addition to the meeting room, you're also more likely to get a better price for both. Several popular hotel chains have extensive planning tools available online so be sure to take advantage of the wealth of information made available.

Once you've got a list of possible venues together, you can start contacting the sales department of each hotel and sending them your request for proposal or RFP. Make sure your RFP includes preferred dates, number and type of sleeping rooms you require, food and beverage requirements, a tentative agenda and the amount of meeting space that is needed. Based on the hotels' responses to your RFP, you should be able to narrow down the field of possibilities and schedule some site inspections. To save both money and time, you can substitute an actual site inspection with a detailed questionnaire, virtual tour or both!

When you start negotiations, always remember that everything is negotiable. If the group generates sufficient guestroom and food and beverage revenue, the meeting room rental fees can and should be waived. If you're planning a reoccurring event, you can also use your loyalty as leverage.

Once you've weighed your options and made your decision, make sure everything, big and small, is outlined in explicit detail in the written contract. Deposit procedures and acceptable methods of payment are two things that should be agreed upon before you sign anything.

After the event, take your time going over the invoice with a fine-toothed comb. The first draft of the invoice from the hotel is almost never correct so be sure to point out anything that needs to be corrected. Get feedback about the hotel from the seminar attendees. If there are complaints, politely let your hotel representative know about them. Any good salesperson will gladly offer an additional discount to ensure that you consider them again next year.

Matt Bacak became "#1 Best Selling Author" in just a few short hours. Recent Entrepreneur Magazine’s e-Biz radio show host is turning Authors, Speakers, and Experts into Overnight Success Stories. Discover The Secrets To Unleash The Powerful Promoter In You! Sign up for Matt Bacak's Promoting Tips Ezine ($100 value) just visit his website at http://www.powerfulpromoter.com or http://promotingtips.com.

Sales Techniques - You Don't Have to Wear a Lampshade to Add Humor to Your Sales Techniques
 

If your sales techniques include meeting with customers at a business event, introducing a speaker, or leading a presentation at a meeting, a light touch of humor works wonders for your sales.

A good sense of humor draws people to you, and is a key element in building relationships. Laughter is a kind of social glue that binds people together. When people laugh together, tension is reduced and connections are made.

You don't have to wear a lampshade on your head or tell jokes to show you have a sense of humor. In fact, humor that is based on observation is far more effective in creating bonds, because it is based on a situation you share. Here are some tips for injecting fresh, original humor that will help you connect with your customers.

Sales techniques - adding humor

1. Look for connections between people, places and situations. Observe what is around you - the location of the hotel where your meeting is taking place, signs, restaurants, local cuisine and customs.

2. At a company meeting, find out what is happening in other locations and at other times. Know what is happening that evening, and the next day. Find out if there is any inside humor for this meeting - perhaps something unusual that happened earlier in the day.

3. If you are introducing a speaker, or you are the speaker, open with observational humor only if you are sure it's funny. If you aren't sure, use it later in the program, or after the audience is warmed up. Then if no one laughs, you can just continue as if you meant to be serious all along.

4. Don't tell jokes. People respond differently to jokes, and you are likely to offend someone. It's also hard to tell jokes well.

5. Never poke fun at anyone. It's much better to comment on the oddities that you all share, such as a new food you all tried at the restaurant the evening before, than to point at something unusual about another person. The exception is poking fun at yourself, but this should also be more about something you didn't realize, (alligator tastes like chicken!) than about you personally.

Spontaneous, observational humor is a wonderful way to build connections. When people laugh with you, they'll be more likely to remember you. A small dose of humor can remedy almost any situation. You're guaranteed to experience very positive side effects with these sales techniques.

You are invited you use these sales techniques to help you connect with your customers and build relationships that lead to more sales.

I'd also like to offer you a free report: "Breakthrough Communication Skills" packed with powerful tips for business success, at http://www.ImpressforSuccess.com when you join my Communication Capsules newsletter.

Would you like to attract new customers, increase sales, and boost your career? Click here for simple How-to Guides that give you immediate results. http://www.goldmansmythe.com/howto.html From Lynda Goldman, business communications and etiquette consultant and author of 30 books, including How to Make a Million Dollar First Impression.

Aspects of a Seminar - Revenue Streams
 

What are the different sources of revenue you have? You need to determine these and which one is your “money-maker.” There are four different types of revenue within the seminar business. Each has a different position to making you money. When I plan seminars, I take each of these four streams of revenue and determine where the money goes from each one.

You must determine these revenue streams to make money!

1. Registration (Gate)
Your registration fee should be high enough to cover the expenses of your conference. You are NOT going to make money in this area! The goal of registration is to cover your overhead cost, NOT make a profit.

2. Sponsors/Vendors
Sponsors and vendors are a great way to help cover some of your overhead costs, also. Another way to use this money is to provide something you wouldn’t normally provide. For example: At the Family Ebiz Expo, if we are able to get a sponsor or two, we will add food at one of our break-out sessions.

3. Product Sales (Back of the Room Sales- BOR)
This is your “MONEY-MAKER!” This is where you will bring in profit. Speakers will sell products; this should include your invited speaker and you! Yes, you should speak at your event! When a speaker speaks at your event, you get a 50% commission. This should be in your contract! This is very important, so that you make money. One of the reasons you should speak is you get a 100% commission. This is your pay-day. This is where you will make the most money. Later on, I will talk about seminar etiquette but if you follow the etiquette secrets I share with you, you should have the most sales at your event!

4. After Event Sales
The last stream of revenue is after event sales. This can be a pretty big money-maker, also. Make sure to record and/or video the event (video-taping depends on your budget). You can then sell these recordings to attendees and those who didn’t get a chance to come. There are different ways to sell these; either as a big package or as individuals talks. Right after the event, I would sell them as a package. Then once things die down a little start releasing them one-by-one. This becomes a more constant source of income.

Remember where your “money-maker” is: Back of the Room Sales! This is where your profit will come from; not your registration costs!!! This is a mistake many people make. They think they can make profit and cover all the expenses in the registration costs. This is NOT true! Don’t try it! This shows why choosing speakers is so important. They are your money-maker!

Ashley Beck, President of Seminar Agent, promotes and manages conferences and seminars. She shares the secrets to managing a profitable seminar with you! To see more secrets visit: http://www.AshleyBeckLive.com
Business Conference Centers
If you are looking for a perfect setting to conduct corporate meetings and business retreats, then business conference centers are the right choice. Equipped with hi-tech facilities, business conference centers provide everything to meet your business needs. They are ideal for hosting functions, seminars, product launch events, training events, and conferences.

With attractive and affordable rates, business conference centers provide facilities such as meeting rooms, board rooms, and conference rooms to make your business or team meetings a success. To meet all your training needs, there are state-of-the-art training rooms. Catering services for coffee breaks and full business luncheons are also available upon request. Business conference centers offer leisure facilities such as swimming pool, gym, fitness studios, bars, and restaurants.

To create an effective meeting experience, most of the business conference centers provide a wide range of audio/visual equipments such as large screen, LCD projector, DVD player, VCR player, Cable TV, microphones, overhead projectors, and much more. Besides, they provide facilities such as fax machines, printers, scanners, wireless high-speed internet access, multiple phone lines, and copy machines.

Business conference centers that are conveniently located close to top-notch hotels and restaurants are more in demand. Ribby Hall Village, Avenue Business Centers, Battery march Conference Center, John Hancock Conference Center, Villanova Conference Center, Ralph A. McMullan Conference Center, and Villanova Conference Center are some of the finest business conference centers in the U.S.

Finding a conference center is quite easy with the websites. They can be booked online, directly or by contacting the hotel which provides conference facilities.

Rates of business conference centers depend on a number of factors such as the size and duration of the seminar or presentation, and services requested. Certain conference centers demand an initial deposit at the time of booking. Some conference centers demand a damage deposit at the time of booking. Special rates and discounts are offered for registered nonprofit organizations. Seasonal discounts and frequency discounts are also available with business conference centers.

Conference Centers provides detailed information on Conference Centers, Hotel Conference Centers, Online Conference Centers, Best Conference Centers and more. Conference Centers is affiliated with Audio Conferencing.

Executive Conference Centers

If you are planning to host corporate and association meetings, conferences, training sessions, seminars, sales and marketing presentations, product launch event and other special events, then executive conference centers are the right choice.

With award-winning facilities, executive conference centers provide elegant and efficient meeting space to accommodate small to large size meetings. These days, executive conference centers are gaining more popularity among the business community. To make your executive meeting a total success, executive conference centers provide you with a professional business environment that is conducive to corporate meetings.

Executive conference centers provide facilities such as meeting rooms, training rooms, board rooms, and conference rooms that are fully furnished with executive chairs, computer chairs, conference tables, sofa, and easels. They are also equipped with a wide range of audio/visual equipments such as overhead projectors, LCD projector, DVD player, VCR player, Cable TV, and podium microphone.

Wireless high-speed internet access, printers, scanners, copiers, and fax machines are also provided in executive conference centers. Apart from the above facilities, they provide professional on-site conference service staff to provide assistance in meeting or event planning.

To make your business meeting a memorable experience, executive conference centers provide leisure time facilities such as fitness center, gym, athletic clubs, swimming pool; exquisite dining options, and beverages. In short, everything you need ranging from productive meeting rooms to a comfortable guest room is available with executive conference centers.

Executive conference centers that are conveniently located close to popular attractions and shopping areas are more favored by business people. Some of the best executive conference center options are AMA?s executive conference centers at New York, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, DC; St. Louis Executive Conference Center, Davidson Executive Conference Center, Babson Executive Conference Center, and R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center. To take advantage of excellent meeting facilities, one can book these conference centers either online or by contacting over the phone.

Conference Centers provides detailed information on Conference Centers, Hotel Conference Centers, Online Conference Centers, Best Conference Centers and more. Conference Centers is affiliated with Audio Conferencing.

Public Speaking: Getting the Room Set-up Right

I don’t know why it is, but no matter how carefully I brief a hotel on the room set-up I want for my seminars, workshops and training meetings, more often than not when I arrive, they have provided a standard hotel room set up. What I find even more alarming is the number of times that I attend a meeting either as a guest speaker or audience member to find that the meeting planner or speaker has not bothered to think beyond this standard room set-up which is often quite hostile to the audience.

Seating Arrangements

The standard hotel set up for seating is theatre style with a centre aisle, set square with about 20% more seating that you need, based on your audience expectations.

  1. A centre aisle means that the speaker stands in front of empty space, or more often a projector, with the audience split to right and left. Theatre style means that the audience cannot interact or even see each other and they also tend to fill up from the back. More seats means that people spread out and the room feels empty, i.e. unsuccessful.
  2. The larger the audience the more likely you will have to use theatre style – but try a herring-bone or semi circle shape with no centre aisle. Instead have two aisles, one either side.
  3. If you expect 100 people set out 90 seats and have the extras on the side – let the room fill up, then bring in the spare seats for the late comers. This creates a great sense of the meeting exceeding expectations.
  4. If you get less bookings than expected for a meeting which will result in an empty space problem – switch to classroom (rows of tables) or cabaret style (round or square tables) layout. Bringing tables into the room fills it up and helps to convey the feeling of success.
  5. If your workshop seminar style is interactive seriously consider a cabaret style or horse shoe style set up. Each has its benefits, but they share the fact that the audience can see each other and interact. People will simply interact more is the room layout is designed to encourage it. Numbers in attendance often dictate which style to use – Horseshoe is not really practical for more than about thirty and cabaret is not really practical for less than about fifteen, but don’t take either as unbreakable rules – be creative.
  6. Above all – think about the room set up as an essential part of the programme, and be creative. Design a room set up that provides you with the best chance of making the meeting a success. Put yourself in the audience and see things from their perspective. How you set the room can literally make or break your meeting.

Stage Set-up

The standard set up is a top table with two or three chairs behind set to one or other side of the room, a flipchart on the other side, a screen in the centre of the room and a data projector blocking the centre aisle.

  1. If you have to use PowerPoint it don’t make it the centre of attention relegating the speaker to the role of narrator. If possible move the screen to stage left (if you are right handed) at an angle and move the projector off there as well (same for OHP). That way the slides are a side show and remember the "B" key. Pressing “B” when you are showing a PowerPoint slide "Blacks Out" the presentation until you press "anykey."
  2. Place the Flip Chart on your left, if you are right handed so that you can write on the chart without standing in font of it.
  3. Get rid of the top table – I even do this at other people meetings, I hate having someone sitting at the table behind me when I am speaking.
  4. Look at the stage set up as a member of the audience from every angle. Make sure that nothing interferes with your ability to communicate.

The entire room set up should be something that the audience don’t really notice. It should work naturally with your seminar or meeting and contribute to making it flow. Anything that gets in the way of that – change it.

If you are speaking at someone else’s meeting you will be more restricted in what you can do, and they are often reluctant to stray from the hotel standard, so I try to work with them, rather than being demanding, to make the room set up work. That means asking for changes as a big favour and it also means getting there very early with plenty of time to make changes if they are needed. Make yourself a resource for the meeting planner, and demonstrate the focus of your recommendations to be in support of their meeting objectives.

About the Author:

Founder and First President of the Professional Speakers Association, RikkiArundel is an International Keynote Speaker, Trainer and Writer and an expert in sales and marketing communications with an impressive track record.

Get your free copy of How to Get Customers Queuing up to Buy at http://www.SpeakingandMarketingTips.com

Planning a Conference

Planning a conference means details, details, details!

So let’s look at the details necessary for planning a successful conference.

The Right Time

What may be the perfect time for you may not be the perfect time for your attendees or the city/hotel you want to use. Plan and coordinate a time that would be suitable to all. You can’t please everyone in this, but it is best to schedule it around the important attendees and speakers.

Avoid any holidays or important events during the time that may affect attendance such as religious holidays and other industry-related events.

The Right Location

The right location, with the necessary facilities, is the key in making an event attractive to potential attendees. It’s best to hold conferences in a cosmopolitan city, which is also a business hub.

The city's convention and visitor’s bureau (CVB) Web site will provide you information about other conventions, meetings or sporting events taking place during the same time. The local CVB also can assist you in finding the right hotel for your event. They will send your lead out to all their member hotels so you don't have to contact each individually. Be sure to identify what type of hotel property you are interested in i.e., four-star, close to the airport etc. Make sure there are plenty of travel options by air, train or road.

The Right Hotel

The right hotel is pivotal to the success of your conference; make sure the hotel has all amenities that might be important to your conference needs.

The hotel must have, fully geared Business Centers with state of the art facilities coupled with boardroom and meeting rooms. A multi function room to cater to meetings, theatre style seminars and promotions and exhibitions, is important, and of course, sit down dinners and lunches with full and latest audio video conferencing facilities.

Find out what food and beverage venues the hotel offers or are within walking distance, especially if you are not providing breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.
 

The Right Equipment

Most hotels have an audio/visual department, and this department also controls the sound. But they also service other groups in the hotel as well. Consider arranging for a technician to be in your conference room at all times.
 

If your presentation is on a computer, make sure you back-up your presentation to a jump drive. Podium microphones and wired lavaliere microphones are the least expensive. Make sure your video devices are setup for maximum exposure.

Pre event checks

Two weeks prior to your event, send your specifications to your hotel, include: date, time, set-time, rehearsal times, room set-ups, microphone and audio/visual requirements, and any special needs you may have.

Catalog the number of meeting rooms needed; seating set-up, number of seats; AV requirements; food and beverage rooms, offices, and/or storage.

If space is stretched and you need multiple meeting rooms, try scheduling the main session in the morning or afternoon and use the same meeting room for lunch.

Ask the hotel to list amenities that might be important to your group i.e., free wireless, health club, room service, spa facilities etc.

Be sure to review the catering menus and prepare an estimated budget.

Check your meeting room setup as soon as possible, before doing anything else.

Request the room to be set for 25 percent more than you expect.

Schedule a daily meeting with everyone that is involved with your event including the catering manager, convention services manager, AV and sound technicians.

Last but not the least pays attention to details, details and details.

Prabhash Bhatnagar is Manager of Sales & Marketing, maker of hotel management software and Resort management software handles the key aspects of the running of client’s business, including bookings & reservations, Housekeeping, Spa, POS and generating reports. For further details, contact prabhash@blueappleonline.com.

Identify The Best Venues - Get The Best Deals - And Make Your Event A Great Success
 

With the advent of technology and given today's fast paced life, organising a conference is no longer limited to hiring an auditorium with an overhead projector. In fact, organising any corporate event, especially a conference, involves a lot of planning and strategy. From identifying the number of attendees to selecting a perfect venue to assessing the facilities required, all form a part of organising a perfect conference. If this sounds daunting, do not be dismayed, as there are many specialised agencies that excel in the field of organising conferences. Conference organisers have made this mammoth task very simple by their expertise and efficiency. Whether you are organising a conference in Staffordshire or Essex or Surrey, there are conference organisers that will help you identify the best venues, get the best deals, and make your event a great success.

Professional and successful conference organisers will take care of all aspects of your conference, thereby giving you time to enjoy the entire conference and benefit from it, rather than worry about the logistics. Once the type of conference being organised is decided and also the number of invitees, conference organisers come into the picture and help you plan and implement the entire event. Planning a conference begins by identifying the perfect venue that will suit the needs of the event. Most conference organisers are well resourced and can provide a list of available venues along with the facilities and services and their rates. Choosing a venue becomes very simple with all the information available at hand. However, it is always best to personally visit the venue to ensure that all the aspects advertised by the venue owner are indeed true and would be made available. While selecting and identifying a perfect venue for the conference, conference organisers take into consideration the location of the venue and its accessibility. These two factors are very important, as they decide whether participants to a conference can attend without any apparent difficulty.

The next step in organising a conference, before finalising a venue, is listing the facilities and services provided by the various venues. While looking at the facilities and the services provided at the venues, one should always keep in mind the kind of conference being organised, as this would determine the requirements. A professional and successful conference organiser would predetermine the needs and requirements of the conference and identify a venue that would provide all the facilities required for the conference. These could include audiovisual equipment needed for presentations, a big auditorium, a good podium or stage, and perfect lighting to enhance the event, among other needs. Personal inspection of the venue would help in identifying the other facilities provided by the venue owners. A creative conference organiser will identify certain extra facilities provided by the venue and use it effectively in the conference.

Conference organisers play an important role in selecting the theme and feel of the conference. They provide the creative content that is absolutely necessary to make the conference a successful event. Their activities are not restricted to venue search and logistics, but include handling and managing the delegates, identifying facilitators, and preparing conference material and delegate packs. Once the subject of the conference is conveyed to the conference organiser, designing and preparing subject-related material, identifying eminent speakers on the subject, and requesting their presence for the conference is the duty of the staff, which is highly resourceful and dynamic. The conference organiser ensures that the material being distributed is of good quality, both in terms of content as well as appearance. Once you hire a good conference organiser to handle your conference, they handle everything right from inviting the delegates for the conference to registration of delegates to collecting delegate fee and finally making sure that the delegates are comfortably placed in their respective accommodations during the conference. They also make sure that the invitees are well aware of the itinerary of the conference and are given their delegate packs on arrival. Even while compiling the delegate packs, the conference organisers take utmost care to see that all the material is properly placed and nothing is left out. Most organisers even cater to the entertainment needs of the delegates by choosing a venue that has varied options that would both intrigue and benefit the attendees of the conference.

Finally, the conference organisers provide onsite help during the conference for the smooth running of the conference and to iron out any problems that may arise during the course of the event. This helps the delegates to attend, enjoy, and benefit from the conference without any hassle. Apart from the actual services provided during the conference, organisers also help in marketing and PR of the conference. In some cases, where necessary, the conference organisers also help in obtaining sponsorships for the conference. In short, they provide expert holistic support to the conference being organised by a corporate.

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Hotel Meeting Venues Offer First-Class Organisational Assistance
 
If you're in the process of organising a large function - whether it's a corporate meeting, an extended family reunion or a blow-out wedding - you'll likely find yourself under a lot of stress. From booking the event location to making sure that all the necessary attendees are notified, event planners and co-ordinators are bound to have a lot on their plate at any given time in the planning process. That is why it's essential for event planners to seek help from a trusted expert that will help them cover all the bases.

Many event and meeting locations - such as hotels or conference centres - offer detailed help and comprehensive support if you book with them. Through direct booking or online booking, the best event locations will offer first-class event planning services, including a Guest List manager, the ability to book multiple group reservations at one time and the opportunity to view floor plans online in order to create the perfect seating setup for your guests.

Some hotels that offer event planning help, such as Hilton Embassy Suites, even offer the opportunity to create a personalized online group web page with a unique web address, so that your guests or meeting attendants will be able to book their own guest rooms. For example, if you're planning a wedding, creating your own wedding website could work wonders during the planning process. Your guests will have the option to RSVP online, book rooms in the hotel in which your wedding is being held and view your wedding gift list online as well.

If it's a business meeting you're planning, then many hotel meeting venues will help you determine how to divide your budget between meeting space, food and beverages, guest rooms (if necessary) and any audio or visual rental equipment you might need. What's more, you'll find detailed advice on how to plan daily schedules, should your conference carry on for more than one day. If you're trying to plan a large social gathering of friends, then meeting venues will even help you compile a list of what you require for your function: for instance, whether or not you'll need a dance floor or a stage.

Whatever type of event or meeting you're planning in a hotel meeting venue, make effective use of the checklists and organisational services available to you. This will not only ensure that your event gets off to a roaring start, but will also take some of the pressure of your own shoulders.

Andrew Regan is a freelance online journalist who travels extensively.
 
Finding Meeting Venues
 
Finding meeting venues is not necessarily as simple as you might imagine. For a simple meeting, it will not normally be too difficult; simply phone up a venue, advise them of your requirements, and then show up on the day, right? Well, up to a point. Certainly it's easier booking meetings and seminars for small numbers, when your needs are simple and few; but even here there are usually quite a few considerations to bear in mind. For larger meetings such as conferences and conventions, there are any number of things to bear in mind, from technical requirements to catering, location to breakout rooms. For this reason, it may be wise to consider the services of a specialist venue finding service, as this can take a lot of the hassle out of finding meeting venues and organizing all the add-ons that make a successful event.

The first thing to consider when looking to book a venue for your meetings or team building events is the size and location of your chosen venue. You should aim to site your meeting venue in the most convenient location for all attendees, and ensure that the venue where you'll be holding the event is large enough to cater adequately for your needs. This may seem obvious enough, but stop to consider ancillary requirements such as space for lunch and coffee breaks, breakout rooms for subgroups and smaller working parties (if necessary), and how delegates are going to get to the meeting.

Other issues to bear in mind when finding meeting venues can be broken down into the following categories; catering facilities, technical requirements, and accommodation needs. Consider, when arranging meetings, how much hospitality you wish to lay on for your attendees – bearing in mind any rules or guidelines that may exist in your business – for example, the rules on permissible hospitality that pertain to the pharmaceutical industry.

If you have any specific technical requirements, it is important to flag these up as early as possible. Most meeting rooms will have basic projection equipment, but if you have extra requirements, you may find that a surprising number of venues simply can't fulfil your requirements. For example, you may wish to use internet conferencing facilities to include remote attendees in your meeting, and for everyone round the table in your own meeting room to have a laptop to access spreadsheets as the meeting progresses. This is a special requirement that some meeting venues won't be able to meet – so be extremely clear beforehand on what you expect from your chosen conference centre or meeting rooms, and don't hesitate to look elsewhere if necessary. And ensure that, if your meetings or corporate events are likely to be lengthy, that suitable accommodation is available and booked. We will come back to this issue presently.

It's important when finding meeting venues to book as far ahead as possible. A surprising number of companies aren't set up to hold large or important meetings, and go to outside hosts for team building events or training courses. This can lead to pressure on places, and make it difficult to find a suitable venue at short notice. There are ways round the problem of holding meetings at short notice, as we'll see in a moment; but if it's at all possible, do try to give venues as much notice as humanly possible.

If you have to schedule a meeting at very short notice, this is where the services of a specialist venue finding service can be helpful in finding meeting venues. Conference organizers have extensive lists of contacts, and can phone round meeting rooms quickly to find suitable venues that are free and happy to take your custom. Even better, they're free of charge, so you can use them on a no-risk basis; as specialist venue finder and conference organizing services make their money on fees from the venues themselves, rather than by billing you, if you don't find something suitable you can simply look elsewhere. However, going to a conference organizer will open up a portfolio of conference and meeting venues that you may well never have thought of otherwise.

In addition to these benefits, there are other up sides to choosing a conference organizer. Using such services allows you to spend your time on the more immediate matter of preparing the content for your meetings or team building events – tweaking your visual aids, working on agendas, perfecting sales presentations. Accommodation, too, is an area where using a specialist company to organize your conferences or meetings; they can negotiate special discounted rates with partner hotels that simply wouldn't be available to you if someone from your company phoned up to make a block booking.

Should you prefer to make the arrangements yourself, then bearing these simple factors in mind will help make finding meeting venues a relatively straightforward task.

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How to Make Sure Your Meetings Programme Is ABPI Compliant
 
Meetings held and organised by Pharmaceutical companies are an essential way of communicating and evolving scientific research, clinical development and medical education. However, there is always the danger that they can be seen as a blatant attempt to railroad Health Care Professionals into prescribing products by using lavish surroundings and hospitality to influence them.

This is where the ABPI 2006 code of practice comes into its own, specifically clause 19 which deals with the arrangement and holding of HCP meetings within the Pharmaceutical industry. The key requirement being that the main purpose of the meeting should be its content and any hospitality offered during these meetings should not only be secondary but in fact no more than basic subsistence.

How can we work out what would and would not be acceptable? In answering this question, you would need to consider all aspects of the meeting from the venue, timings, hospitality, content (including speakers) and all associated materials ie handouts, stand material and invitations and equally as important, the costs. All of these elements factor in how the end product, the meeting, will be perceived. This is how it would be deemed acceptable or not, the overall impression given from combining all of these elements. Therefore, one of the requirements of the code is that all Pharmaceutical companies have a specific policy dealing with meetings and hospitality. This must be adhered to otherwise companies can find themselves in breach of the code which can ultimately lead to heavy sanctions against the offending company.

What sort of meetings are acceptable? In simple terms, educational meetings. This however does not rule out promotional meetings as these can be just as educational as non-promotional meetings. Either way, the educational content of the meeting must be the primary purpose of the meeting.

To achieve the right balance between educational content and hospitality the following must be considered. Timings- Does the length of the meeting justify the hospitality offered? For example, a meeting lasting one hour in the afternoon does not warrant an elaborate 3 course dinner and overnight accommodation, however if the meeting commenced at 12 noon and ran till 6pm and extended until the following morning, then this level of hospitality could be justified.

Costs/Quality- Is the cost and quality of the hospitality in accordance with the level of the meeting? For example, a good quality venue with 3 course dinner could be booked for a meeting featuring an international speaker however would not be justifiable for a local GP speaker meeting as this would be more appropriately hosted in a conference centre.

Arrangements- Have the arrangements been made to be suit the educational content of the meeting? For example, a talk over dinner suggests that the educational content comes secondary to the food, whereas a short meeting with just simple refreshments would indicate that the education is why people are attending.

Advertising Emphasis- Does the advertisement of the meeting ‘sell' the content or the venue/hospitality? For example, if the meeting is billed on the invitations as a ‘Gala Dinner' or being held at a ‘Luxury and Renowned Venue' this would be seen as luring the attendees on the hospitality or the quality of the venue. The meeting must be advertised with the educational content being its primary ‘selling' point.

Venue- Is the venue appropriate to the purpose of the meeting? The meeting content should be planned first and only then a venue should be sourced to fit in with that content. Never should a venue be hired and the meeting content be edited to fit to that specific venue. The venue must be professional and offer privacy for the duration of the educational content of the meeting. Nightclubs and Casinos are a big no-no.

Sporting venues and Spas should be avoided unless there really is no alternative venue to host the meeting. Any sporting venue that is used should have no fixtures immediately before, during or after the meeting. Location of the venue is also important. For example, it would not be acceptable to hold a local GP speaker meeting from the midlands in central Scotland as this would mean unnecessary travelling, accommodation, expense and would be perceived as the venue being the main attraction for the meeting allowing the attendees a mini-break on the back of the meeting.

Activities- Which activities are acceptable during the meeting? Any activity offered must be professional. Activities can only be offered if they relate to the main educational purpose of the meeting. Any activity which is mainly for entertainment value should not be included. For example, a round of golf, Spa treatments, wine tasting. These activities are unprofessional and therefore unacceptable in accordance with the code.

Materials- Which materials can be used? All meetings should ideally be documented by at least an invitation or a letter confirming arrangements. All materials used must comply with the relevant sections of the code which also includes materials produced by third parties as the Pharmaceutical companies have overall compliance responsibility. Sponsorship must be clearly stated on all relating material whether the meeting is promotional or not. All materials used must show that the meeting is in accordance to the code. For example, invitations/stands must not give the wrong impression of the meeting content.

There are many factors which could potentially lead to a breach of the code in booking a meeting for HCP's. Some Pharmaceutical companies are seeking help in this area by using venue sourcing companies who have been certified by an industry consultant and have in-depth knowledge of what is and not acceptable under the ABPI 2006 code of compliance. This is proving to be of great use to them as although it does not remove their ultimate responsibility, it acts as a further safe guard in the need to comply.

In summary, perception is key. Put yourself in the position of an outside observer, how would it look to you?

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Knowledgeable Hotel Booking Service Part 3 - Meeting Organisers
 
On a regular basis, companies find that they have to organise meetings, seminars and other corporate events. In terms if organising an annual general meeting, companies have to engage in substantial planning and research when it comes to finding the most suitable venue. The process of organising meetings such as this can be a lengthy one. Moreover, not all companies have the time or resources to go through the whole process of organising a meeting. This is because there are many factors to consider when organising a meeting. This includes the number of people that will be in attendance, the accessibility of the venue and the equipment/facilities available at the venue. It is also worth mentioning that not many companies have the adequate personnel required for effectively organising a meeting.

If a company does not wish to directly locate a meeting venue, there are a few options available which they could explore. Hiring a specialist agency which organises meetings would be the one way to stream line the process of securing a meeting venue. Such agencies will charge the company a fee for the venue finding service they offer. Though this sort of service is more efficient and cost-effective than searching for a meeting venue directly, there are still some pitfalls and bottlenecks that could be encountered. These obstacles have the potential to cost a company substantial amounts of unforeseen expenses.

The main reason for this is because using such services often means that companies may not necessarily get the best deal possible, as some hidden costs might be involved. Such hidden costs may arise from the fact that the agency's service fee and the cost of using the venue could be over-inflated, especially if the agency has commercial affiliations with the venues. In light of this, it will be advisable for a company to patronise the services of a free meeting organiser. A free meeting organiser will be able to provide a fully customised venue finding service on a free-of-charge basis. These free meeting organisers are funded by conference venues and hotels and as such, there will be no conflicting interests in terms of venue fees and service charges. Regardless of what type of meeting venue you require, whether a traditional or contemporary venue, meeting organisers can provide effective assistance. Before patronising the services of a meeting organiser, it is important for a company to know how many people will be attending the meeting and what venue equipment or facilities they would require. Companies also need to make sure that their delegates and attendees will be able to easily access any prospective venues.

Providing meeting organisers with as much information as possible will certainly facilitate the service that they provide. For those corporate meetings which will be held over a few days, companies will have to consider accommodation booking. Many good meeting organisers are also able to provide an accommodation booking service. If the selected venue does not have accommodation facilities, a meeting organiser can book accommodation in nearby hotels and inns. This can be done easily since the most reliable meeting organisers build and maintain close affiliations and communication links with a network of local hotels.

Finding a meeting organiser is seldom a difficult task because the market for this service has been growing rapidly over the last few years. This means that the market is characterised by many competing firms which all engage in strategic advertising and promotion. New firms also enter the market on a frequent basis. Doing a simple keyword search on a reliable Internet search engine will yield a variety of free meeting organiser sites and advertisements. There is no doubt that with the assistance of an experienced professional meeting organiser, companies can be sure that they will obtain the most suitable venue at the most favourable rates. Once a meeting organiser has located potential meeting venues, they normally give the company the opportunity to inspect the venue before any final arrangements are made. Companies who are looking to organise a meeting outside the UK will also find meeting organisers to be helpful in this regard.

It is very important for a company to have a good idea about the track record of a meeting organiser in order to ensure that they would provide a satisfactory service. Asking prospective organisers for client references and looking out for customer testimonials on their websites is a good way to do this. Many meeting organisers can be contacted via their websites using online forms or email. Inquirers can usually expect a same-day response time. Their teams of fully trained customer service advisers will also be able to provide you with expert advice and guidance. Furthermore, some meeting organisers offer comprehensive services which include things like information management, accommodation group booking, event management and budget control.

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The Meeting Planner's Online Advantage: 8 Surefire Ways to Attract 20% More Attendees
Ways an automated system makes it easier for attendees, giving you MORE REGISTRATIONS:

1. Provide 24 hour, anywhere access.
Give prospective registrants anytime/anywhere access to your event information so that they can easily find, refer back to, and recommend your event to others. An automated system increases the ease of access, enhancing the chances of people making a decision to attend your event.

2. Auto-fill information and steer attendees to your goal.
Make it easier for registrants to say yes by auto-filling their registration form and auto-selecting their registration type options (member, non-member, sponsor, etc.) Some automated systems allow your form to pre-populate known contact information into a prospective attendee's registration form and then steer them down the proper registration path based on their registration type.. It's less confusing for them and you get correct data the first time.

3. Provide payment solutions.
More payment options equals more registrants. Each person typically has a preferred mode of payment that, if not offered, will cause them to hesitate or not enroll at all. Make sure you offer ALL five of the major credit cards (Visa, Master Card, Amex, Diners & Discover), as well as checks, echecks, and PayPal. A good online registration system enables you to easily offer and accept all of these payment options, in real-time, with automatic processing.

4. Implement ‘one-stop shopping’.
One of the biggest reasons people don’t register immediately for events is because they want to first check into travel arrangements. Using an online system to offer hotel booking options and flight arrangements in your online registration, means you will convince more people to register right away, minimizing the potential to forget about your event.

5. Present more details.
In your online registration, give your registrants as much detail on your event as possible. Provide links to venue maps, further venue details, detailed agendas and speaker bios. It is easy to automatically generate an "Event Details" web page that makes it easy to provide extra details that people need during their registration process.

6. Send instant confirmations
Give your registrants ‘warm-fuzzies’ by instantly confirming that their registration is complete. Increase your conversion rates by offering an extra e-freebie that you can include in your confirmation email along with their receipt/invoice and other event materials. The immediate follow-up that an automated confirmation email provides will increase your attendees’ confidence in referring others to attend your event.

7. Notify registrants of incomplete forms.
50% of potential registrants start, but do not complete their registrations. Send them an automated email letting them know that your event is well worth attending – along with a link back to your registration form. Give them five more reasons to attend or an extra incentive to complete their registration. There is only one system that currently offers this capability.

8. Provide a self-service option.
Automated services enable users to make changes to their registrations online... versus having to call or email the event organizer. Give the attendee more control and reduce staff time in managing these changes. By promoting this option to registrants, more people will register because they won’t feel locked into their registration preferences.

A fully-automated online registration system is specifically designed to make it easier for you and your registrants... attracting 20% more attendees in the process.
I sincerely hope this article makes your conference and event registration even more successful!

Bill Flagg is the President of RegOnline
Putting smiles on the faces of over 9,200 event-planning professionals worldwide because it is the easiest-to-use online event and conference registration system available.

P.S. - If you would like to receive more tips like this via email then go to http://www.RegOnline.com/eTips

Wake Up Your Meeting!
 

"My brain is fried."

"I'm exhausted."

"I can't take in another piece of information!"

Ever felt this way after a long day at a convention or meeting?

Of course you have. For most people, there comes a point when attending meetings or conferences when the brain becomes overloaded. Even if it is content that is interesting to you, there comes a point of saturation where you simply cannot take in anything else. You are fried! You need a break.

So why do so many people think that when it comes to meetings, trainings, and conventions that they must pack in content, content, content to the exclusion of anything else? We've all seen it at conferences: the person standing at the lectern, using PowerPoint, droning into the microphone: "And that concludes our analysis of the proposed multilateral trading initiatives. Now let's discuss these multilateral initiatives as they apply to penguins." Good gravy.

Television and the internet have lowered the attention span of the modern adult. In order to stay engaged, meeting attendees need variety and multi-sensory stimulation to have their mood uplifted and their concentration enhanced throughout the day.

Thankfully, there are many meeting professionals who understand the value in providing motivation and humor during their conferences and meetings.

Engage Your Attendees with Motivation and Humor

We live in an entertainment-based culture. It is not enough to simply present a "data-dump" of information and expect people to stay tuned in. To keep meeting attendees engaged throughout the day, many seasoned meeting planners use the following formula:

  • Motivational or humorous speaker for morning general session to kick off the day with a bang.
  • Content-rich breakout sessions in alignment with learning objectives that are led by presenters who are well-versed in adult learning principles.
  • Motivational or business humor speaker after lunch to reenergize attendees for the afternoon breakout sessions.
  • More content-rich breakout sessions in alignment with learning objectives that allow for learner application and interaction.
  • High energy wrap-up to end the day on a positive note.

This format energizes, motivates, and connects people during the general sessions, so that they can refocus and reengage in significant learning throughout the day. Because attendees aren't suffering from information overload, they are more likely to be fully present in their learning experiences during the breakout sessions. According to Debbie Taylor, owner of Taylor Made Events and Speakers, there is great value in adding motivational humor to the general sessions of a conference: "Laughing and learning go hand in hand. Humor holds the audience's attention and helps them to think creatively. It releases stress and creates great memories. Find a way to add humor to your meeting and you will see an increase in the bottom line."

Build a Positive Community Through Humor

Besides creating educational opportunities, meetings and conventions are also occasions to build community. When people laugh together, they are bonded in a positive experience. These good feelings create a positive association with the organization in which they are members. It allows for deeper a connection among attendees.

Cara Tracy, CMP, meeting planner for the National Speakers Association, uses humor at their conferences throughout the year. "At our meetings we like to lighten up a content-filled program by kicking it off with humor. This raises the energy level in the room and engages the audience--setting the stage for a successful learning environment. I find that the use of humor in meetings can really help unite a group--giving them inside jokes to laugh about when they get back to the office or to carry a funny incident throughout the event."

When planning your meeting, in addition to assessing your learning objectives, also ask yourself, "What experience do I want to create?" Then, use the general sessions as the time to create those positive experiences. Additionally, make sure that you allow ample networking time for the attendees to share their insights and laughter in order to enhance the feeling of community.

Engagement Community=ROI

Utilizing motivation and humor can increase attendee satisfaction. Furthermore, it can make learning stick because attendees are more alert and engaged throughout the meeting. When attendees are satisfied and learning, there is a greater chance that an improvement in behavior and results will follow, thus increasing your ROI. If your attendees are tuned out and overloaded, your ROI suffers.

Mark LeBlanc, President of the National Speakers Association adds: "Humor is one of those intangible elements of a presentation that is invaluable. Without it, even the best strategies and ideas can fall flat. It's the intangibles that drive the tangibles and make them stick. It turns a meeting into an experience."

A meeting without levity is like a joke without a punchline...it flops. However, a meeting that creates a positive experience while offering educational value is priceless.

Tim and Kris O'Shea of The O'Shea Report provide comic relief for meetings and conventions. As experts in business humor and corporate comedy, they are one of the most respected humor teams in the meetings industry. The O'Sheas travel from coast to coast, presenting to such organizations as Nordstrom, Hewlett Packard, Travelers Express/MoneyGram, and the American Payroll Association.

To learn how The O'Shea Report can wake up your meeting, visit http://www.theosheareport.com Copyright 2007 Tim and Kris O'Shea
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Sales Management Neglect...the Real Cost
 
Have you ever wondered what the real cost of mediocrity within your organization might be? Sales managers must wake up! Has there ever been a time when a mess-up by someone internally, proved to be quite costly in both money/resources and time/energy? Has there been a time when a mess-up by someone in your organization caused a huge toll on an outsider, i.e. supplier or customer?

In the world of selling, mediocrity can demand untold costs. In selling, there are generally two categories: hunters and farmers. The hunters are the sales people, both inside and outside, that specialize in going after new business—their thrust is the hunt, bringing in new customers. Farmers on the other hand specialize in nurturing house accounts and business that the hunters have brought in. Too often, organizations will settle for farmers that are mediocre, or careless and don’t tend to their crops. The prices businesses or organizations pay for allowing this kind of behavior are truly unnecessary.

My first real job in outside sales, other than selling encyclopedias door-to-door, was in selling to retailers. The owner of the business, Ray Kahn, once told me, “If you lose an account because you were out sold, it’s okay. But, if you lose an account because you weren’t paying attention to that account—you’re out of here!” Several years later, I saw first-hand that he meant it. Ray fired a hunter/farmer salesman, Mike that had been with him for a decade. Unfortunate for all that were involved, Mike got complacent and lazy, losing a major account because he wasn’t paying attention to the needs of the customer.

When a farmer doesn’t pay attention, it is an absolute travesty. Mike was an okay hunter, but not a great farmer. This situation is not unusual. If you manage sales people and you tolerate a farmer not tending to their crops (accounts), I believe that you are just as guilty as your farmer sales person. It is you, after all, to whom they are accountable.

Not long ago, I traveled to the American East Coast to speak on selling at a chapter of the National Speakers Association (NSA), of which I am a member in Los Angeles. This NSA chapter had been meeting at the same suburban area hotel on the same Saturday of each month for the previous three years. This particular Saturday in January was to be different.

The “you know what” hit the fan late Friday night. Following dinner that evening, my contact with the group dropped me back at the hotel where I was staying and where the meeting would be the next day. In passing, she asked if I knew that I’d be presenting the next morning in the hotel’s restaurant…during regular service hours…to the public? Their usual meeting room had been booked out from under them. Well, that was a surprise that was to me.

Three days earlier, when the NSA Chapter’s program chair called the hotel to check if everything was in place for their coming Saturday meeting, the hotel sales contact, Lois, told the program chair that they had no reservation for the group for the coming Saturday. And, Lois told the program chair that the room they usually use, along with every other meeting room and space in the hotel was also sold out. Wow, what a predicament! Even worse, Lois offered no possible solutions to a long-time customer.

The meeting chair asked Lois how this could be? Especially since the group had been using that meeting room the same Saturday of the month for the past three years and had an on-going relationship. Lois answered by stating that she thought it was odd that the organization had not signed a contract for the coming year. Lois continued by stating that since the hotel’s customers “call them” she didn’t give it a second thought. Excuse me! If I was Lois’ boss, I’d do to her what Ray Kahn did to Mike—fire ‘em! There is no excuse for this kind of behavior.

That farmer, Lois, definitely was not tending her crops (accounts). Can you believe it? Worse, the sales person was ignorant enough to state, “Our customers call us.” She sold the room out from under this group. Perhaps because the group to whom she sold the room was generating higher revenue? Perhaps she was only mindful of her commission check? Perhaps it was her way of telling this NSA Chapter that they were no longer welcome at that property?

The Real Cost

What do you think might be the real cost to the hotel from Lois’ debacle?

To the credit of the hotel’s General Manager, late that Friday evening, I worked with him and food & beverage (F&B) manager for over an hour looking at possibilities to make the next day’s presentation work, even though it was to be in the hotel’s restaurant, during service hours to the general public. The hotel general manager explained to me that he, and his staff had been working on the problem for the past three days. They had even called other hotels to try and move the meeting—but without success.

Let’s take a rough look at the real cost to this hotel: A hotel general manager making around $100,000 a year, working a six-day work week equates to about $333 per working day. If we take into account that the general manager, food & beverage manager, sales staff and others had been dealing with the issue for three days and just add up the general manager’s pay, that gives us about $1,000 cost to the hotel. I’m sure Lois’ commission on the sale of the room and F&B was nowhere near that much.

Now let’s add in the damage to both the national brand and that particular location. This group happened to be a gathering of local-area professional speakers. Since many are intimately familiar with hotels, their expectations tend to be a bit higher than most. What will they say to local meeting planners about this hotel? I doubt it would be complimentary. If the approximately 50 professional speakers mention the situation to only one meeting planner over the following year—that’s potentially 50 local meeting planners that have received a poor report about this property. What’s the cost of that?

If only one of those 50 meeting planners decided not to book a meeting at that property based on what they heard, how many thousands of dollars would that property not receive in future revenue because of Lois’ behavior? Let alone the tarnished perception of this particular brand nationally could cost the chain dollars. Surely it would be more that Lois’ commission on that particular room, on that particular Saturday.

The Rest of The Story

This had been the second time that this property, or should I say Lois, had pulled this kind of situation on that particular NSA Chapter. As such, the board of directors immediately decided to start looking for another property at which to hold their monthly meetings. By the next month’s meeting, the chapter had already found a new home for their monthly meetings. That adds even more to the real cost, as the revenue from the chapter was valuable to the hotel during slow times.

Gosh, because that farmer, Lois, was too unorganized, oblivious, lazy, apathetic, ignorant or greedy, the real cost to the hotel’s productivity and revenue was, and will continue to be, substantial. What does this mean to you? In selecting and/or maintaining the wrong people to represent your organization’s interests, you will pay dearly for their impoverishment of skills.

Solutions

The TEA Master Key should prove helpful. The three key areas necessary to explore in serving your customers well are: Training, Ego and Attitude.

!. Training your employees well is a given, the subtleties are in their understanding the DNA of your organization’s culture and an advanced understanding of how to most effectively use the “tools” that you have made available to them. Understandably, this takes time, but few companies devote the necessary hours to this endeavor. And, if your employees are not continually learning, you must re-examine the limited value they deliver to your organization.

2. Ego is good, when kept in check, allowing one to be confident, yet not arrogant. Unfortunately, too many employees let their ego get in the way of their performance, i.e. too much ego that they never admit a mistake. Mistakes are good, if one learns from their mistake. Years ago, Ray Kahn would say, “If you are not making mistakes, you are not learning, and I don’t need you. But, if you do not learn from your mistakes, I don’t need you either.” Other ego issues revolve around one’s need to be right! In serving customers, it is more important to get things done, than to focus on being right.

3. Attitude can make, or break, an employee and a customer’s perception of your organization’s value proposition. Employees with an attitude of apathy are like termites eating away at the fiber of your organization and one day that fiber that holds your organization together will give fail. On the other hand, employees with the attitude of service, not servitude, flourish and with them so does your organization. Give your employees plenty of reasons to have superior attitudes—it will serve you well.

To access helpful additional information from Ed Rigsbee at no charge, please visit www.rigsbee.com/downloadaccess.htm.

Adapted from Rigsbee's forthcoming book titled, Customer Service Screw Ups--Learn from the Mistakes of Others. In this book, Rigsbee rants about the crummy customer service he has received and offers suggestions on how you can truly partnering with your customers.

Ed Rigsbee, CSP is the author of PartnerShift, Developing Strategic Alliances and The Art of Partnering. Rigsbee has over 1,000 published articles to his credit and is a regular keynote presenter at corporate and trade association conferences across North America. He can be reached at 800-839-1520, ed@rigsbee.com, or visit http://www.rigsbee.com.

Crazy About Conference Meetings
When it comes to setting up conference meetings, everything must be perfect and planned down to the last detail. There are a number of different considerations to make when planning conference meetings, including location considerations, hotel selection, cost considerations, and one must also take into consideration the general services offered by the venue of choice. Finding a good venue may seem like a cumbersome task, but the proper preplanning and forethought with ensure that conferences and meetings go smoothly. Further, the selection of a venue will affect the successfulness of any given event and the selection of a venue will create a lasting impression on those that attend an event.

The first thing that one must plan when organising annual general meetings, award ceremonies, conference meetings, conventions, exhibitions, PR events, product launches, sales presentations, or seminars requires the event planner to determine what the primary focus of the event will be. Any event must be planned with the end result in mind, and the focus of the event must prove to be entertaining even if work related. Events like seminars, product launches and sales presentations must be something that will maintain the interest of those that attend. By maintaining the interest of those that attend an event, one can ensure that the attendance of future events is secure.

When it comes to sales events and product launches, selecting the perfect venue is an act that cannot be overestimated in terms of importance. The selection of an appropriate venue can literally mean the difference between a successful product launch and an unsuccessful one. The venue selected will ultimately leave an impression on those that attend the sales event or product launch: an impression that will remain with those in attendance long after the event is over. The impression established at a sales event or product launch will ultimately be associated with the event and the company or the organisation that arranged the event: thus, a venue selection must result in a positive impression.

The second thing that must be considered in terms of conferences and meetings is how many people will attend. Conferences, meetings, and seminars are established for groups both small and large. The number of anticipated attendants will help to determine the size of the venue required. The establishment of a list determining the number of people expected to attend a meeting, seminar, exhibition or convention will also determine the cost of the venue in question: larger meeting spaces may cost more than smaller ones. If a larger meeting room is not required, there is little sense in paying the additional fees associated with the use of a larger meeting area.

After determining the size of an event, a venue can be chosen: once the number of people expected to attend is determined, an event planner will have a solid idea of the size of the venue required. How one chooses a venue will depend up convenience: the event should be hosted in an area where it is easily accessible to those attending the event. Of course, if an event planner is not intimately familiar with a particular location, they may not immediately realise where all of the best locations for an event are: it may be wise to speak with a knowledgable event organiser and planner in such an instance. An organiser can help plan every step of a conference meeting or event, taking away a major burden from a corporation or organisation looking to host an event.

When a location is chosen, the type of menus available must also be considered, as well as available transportation to and from the location. Before selecting a venue, one will need to review the general services offered. Good questions to ask are questions pertaining to available entertainment, what forms of entertainment are permissible, and what fees are involved with the use of the location. To find the best prices in terms of a venue search, it may prove beneficial if one relies on the knowledge of an event organiser; event organisers are not only familiar with the best venues, but they are also knowledgeable about the venues that will generate the least in terms of expense.

Whether your meetings are conference meetings, sales presentations, PR events, product launches, annual general meetings, conventions, exhibitions, seminars, award ceremonies or you want to host one or more team building events, the selection of a venue is critical. It may be necessary for you to rely on the services of a qualified conference organiser to ensure that your conference meetings are perfect. Micromanaging every detail of a conference will help to ensure a positive outcome for the event and for all individuals that attend. By utilising the services of professional event organiser, a company or organisation can ensure that the event is not only successful, but also hassle-free.

Free Venue Finding Service UK & Worldwide
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Free Hotel Accommodation Booking Service UK & Worldwide
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How To Negotiate The Best Deal On The Hotel Room
 

It's important to talk to the right person when trying to get a great deal, that means someone who has the authority to negotiate with you. You can ask to speak to the Sales Manager or if they have a dedicated staff for meeting and event coordinating, speak to the manager of that department. Remember to research comparable room prices in the area online so that you'll have a good point of reference to bring to the negotiation table. It does take some advanced planning to get the best deals, but hotel room prices are more flexible than the average person realizes.

Be aware of the seasons and try to schedule your seminar during a time when the hotel's business is typically slow. Getting a great room at a great price will always be easier when the hotel isn't full. If you're booking a block of rooms for seminar guests and speakers in addition to the meeting room, you're also more likely to get a better price for both. Several popular hotel chains have extensive planning tools available online so be sure to take advantage of the wealth of information made available.

Once you've got a list of possible venues together, you can start contacting the sales department of each hotel and sending them your request for proposal or RFP. Make sure your RFP includes preferred dates, number and type of sleeping rooms you require, food and beverage requirements, a tentative agenda and the amount of meeting space that is needed. Based on the hotels' responses to your RFP, you should be able to narrow down the field of possibilities and schedule some site inspections. To save both money and time, you can substitute an actual site inspection with a detailed questionnaire, virtual tour or both!

When you start negotiations, always remember that everything is negotiable. If the group generates sufficient guestroom and food and beverage revenue, the meeting room rental fees can and should be waived. If you're planning a reoccurring event, you can also use your loyalty as leverage.

Once you've weighed your options and made your decision, make sure everything, big and small, is outlined in explicit detail in the written contract. Deposit procedures and acceptable methods of payment are two things that should be agreed upon before you sign anything.

After the event, take your time going over the invoice with a fine-toothed comb. The first draft of the invoice from the hotel is almost never correct so be sure to point out anything that needs to be corrected. Get feedback about the hotel from the seminar attendees. If there are complaints, politely let your hotel representative know about them. Any good salesperson will gladly offer an additional discount to ensure that you consider them again next year.

Matt Bacak became "#1 Best Selling Author" in just a few short hours. Recent Entrepreneur Magazine’s e-Biz radio show host is turning Authors, Speakers, and Experts into Overnight Success Stories. Discover The Secrets To Unleash The Powerful Promoter In You! Sign up for Matt Bacak's Promoting Tips Ezine ($100 value) just visit his website at http://www.powerfulpromoter.com or http://promotingtips.com.
Dispel Thoughts of Meeting Mishaps with Hotel Event Planning
Planning a meeting, corporate event or conference can be a trying task - particularly if you expect the event to be a large one. But before you despair over thoughts of potential meeting mishaps, remember that there is help at hand.

There are a number of comprehensive resources to which you can turn when planning a meeting or event - from extensive checklists to professional event planners. And whether you're a practiced corporate event planner or are about to embark on your first ever event-planning effort, it's always essential to make full use of these resources.

One of your most significant event planning resources will likely be the venue at which you choose to hold your event. That's because event venues are usually equipped with a range of internal event services and facilities, such as audio-visual technology and dedicated event staff. However, you'll likely still need to outsource various other services, such as transportation and accommodation (if the event requires travel) and possibly even catering services. In the end, all the outsourcing can amount to a lot more work than you had bargained for - meaning the organization of your event might face compromise.

However, certain types of venues, such as hotels, can offer a comprehensive set of event services through a single facility, meaning that your event planning package can encompass all of your meeting requirements. For instance, many hotels operate divisions that specialise in organizing hotel meetings and events, in addition to providing meeting facilities, catering and event staff, as well as guest accommodation - so you'll be covered in terms of both meeting services and event facilities.

Moreover, hotels can offer exclusive services which are personalised to ensure success for you and your event - so you can expect your event to run according to your company's unique needs and requirements. And finally, you'll find countless hotels that are ideally situated for business travel, whether that means being located in close proximity to the airport or having easy access to the city's business district.

So, whether you're planning a large corporate conference or a small company meeting, you'll have a number of essential factors to consider. Choosing to hold your meetings and events at a hotel will give you access to a wide range of meeting and events facilities, as well as tailored support to produce a successful event - meaning that no factor will be overlooked.

Andrew Regan is an online, freelance journalist who lists traveling and rugby among his interests.

 

Hotel Meeting Space Event Sales News and information
Hotel Directory lists Hotels With Meeting Space Conference Centers Training Rooms And Meeting Rooms For Rent
Venuechooser.com is an Internet based Hotel Meeting Space directory that allows individuals and businesses a quick way to locate hotels conference centers and training facilities where they can conduct training events business meetings or other events.

Venuechooser.com is the sister site of FindaSeminar.com a training seminar search engine and is also part of the Training  News Network that includes Seminar news network dotcom as well as seminar brochures find training find seminars and hundreds of other seminar and training related websites.

Hotel events sales managers can list their hotel training facility or conference center in the hotel meeting space directory for a nominal annual fee where it will be seen by individuals event planners and training coordinators.

The hotel meeting space directory lists thousands of  hotels with meeting space including meeting rooms furnished and designed for training seminars conferences and workshops.

Many of the hotels listed in the hotels meeting space directory also include lodging and dining facilities equipped to accomodate groups of all sizes.

for more information about how to find or rent meeting space at hotels in your area and around the U.S. and Canada pleaes visit http://www.venuechooser.com

 

Tips for Choosing a Hotel
 
Whether you stay at a hotel occasionally for vacation or you are a road warrior business person who feels like you spend half of your life in hotels, here are 6 ways to make your stay at a hotel more enjoyable.

1. Before you go to sleep on the first night, make sure that the alarm clock is set for the time you want and that the television does not have an auto-on feature. People will sometimes set these for the middle of the night as a prank on the next person in the room, since the cleaning staff will rarely check them.

2. Bring your own refreshments since refreshments provided in the bar fridge found in the hotel room are often exorbitantly priced.

3. Bring any problems that you encounter to the attention of the front desk as soon as you see them so that they do not assume it was you that left the room in that condition. For example, if you are missing a towel, let them know right away so they don't think you stole it!

4. Hotels are charging for local calls now, and sometimes by the minute, so make sure to clarify upfront any potential telephone costs. Often, going down to the lobby and using the payphone there is much cheaper, even if it is not the most convenient.

5. It is okay to demand excellence from the hotel because you are paying good money to stay there. Just demand it in a polite and reasonable way and always with a smile.

6. A hotel, like a car-rental company or a video-rental store, has a fixed number of income producing units. These units are used by customers who are not always as accommodating to your schedule as you'd like them to be. If you get to the hotel and find that your room is not ready, relax! You'll find that by being patient and understanding, the hotel staff will bend over backwards to make sure you are happy; while, if you are abrupt and impatient, they will provide only the service that you're paying for, and they'll do so grudgingly. Remember, it is rarely the desk clerk's fault that your room is not ready for you. More often than not, it is because another customer was late leaving their room.

These six ideas will help you have a more enjoyable stay the next time you have to stay at a hotel.

Jeff Lakie is the founder of Hotel Resources a website providing information on Hotels
Four Keys To Effective Hotel Marketing
 
Running a guest house, bed and breakfast or small hotel isn't easy. With so many tasks competing for your immediate attention it is little wonder that some jobs get put off until later. Unfortunately, the task that gets dropped most often is the hotels marketing and promotion, which is possibly the most important job in the whole business.

So in order to give your hotel marketing the attention it deserves in order to deliver the results your hotel needs, your hotel marketing plan should include four key elements:

A stream of eager traffic

In order to stay profitable, hotels need a constant supply of fresh customers to fill their rooms. It is essential therefore that you put your marketing message in front of as many interested prospects as possible.

To do this you need to place your message where your customers gather. For example, if you are selling golf breaks, it would be a waste of your time and effort to advertise in a sports car magazine. It makes more sense to target golf magazines or websites, or possibly business publications aimed at your particular demographic.

An Irresistible Offer

Once you have found what marketing legend, Gary Halbert called 'a hungry crowd' it is important to present to them an irresistible offer. The key here is in the word irresistible. Having worked so hard to attract your viewers' attention it would be foolish to make a weak, feeble or bland offer.

Simply offering the same breaks at the same rate as all your competitors will do nothing to make you stand out from the crowd. Be unique, create packages that nobody else offers and you will go a long way to eliminating your competition.

Hotel Marketing Automation

The biggest improvement you could make to your hotel marketing is by introducing automation into the mix. Why? Because once you automate your efforts they become a system that is both repeatable and predictable.

Simply do the work once and let your system do the monotonous tasks without anything more than a watchful eye from you. This frees up your time so that you can tackle the more demanding issues of the day.

Rinse And Repeat

Set up the perfect marketing system that ticks away on autopilot? Well, why not develop another package that targets another demographic and set up another marketing stream to target them? Remember, the hardest part of any task is taking that very first step.

By creating a number of diverse marketing streams you are effectively spreading your marketing net wider. This means that you are targeting your customers with pinpoint accuracy rather than the wasteful blanket approach used by most hoteliers. As a result you no longer focus on price-cutting or deep discounts in order to put heads on beds.

Mark Heywood has created a short 35 page report that lays out exactly how to create and implement an autopilot hotel marketing system that you simply fit and forget at Hotel Marketing Secrets
Great Hotel Marketing Starts with Hotel Website Design
You may have the most wonderful hotel in the world, with gorgeous landscaping, comfortable rooms, and impeccable service, but if guests don't know about it, your occupancy rates will be a continual disappointment. In this day and age, the most critical component of hotel marketing is great hotel website design.

Why Hotel Website Design?

The numbers say it all. During 2007, almost a third of all hotel revenues will be generated by online channels. Moreover, over half of your target audience's decision-making is influenced by the Internet. Over a third of hotel guests choose their hotel based on online research, but book through another channel. The remainder researched their choices through an Internet portal, but then tried to book directly with the travel provider.

Without great hotel web site design, it's as if you printed 1,000 beautiful, four-color, ten-page brochures that stunningly captured the unique nature of your hotel at ten dollars apiece, and then locked them away in a cupboard. How effective would they be? The "look and feel" is vitally important in motivating visitors to explore your hotel product, and in guiding them to buy, but without the right technology, site structure, and navigation methods, you will only have marginal online revenues.

Hotel Search Engine Optimization

Even if you have a wonderful hotel web site design, if no one can find your website when they are searching online for that "luxury San Diego hotel," that "romantic B&B outside Paris," or that "adventure scuba holiday in the Maldives," it's as though you didn't have a website at all.

The way that potential guests will find your hotel web site is through search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is both an art and a science - and shouldn't be left to amateurs. Search engine optimization techniques will enable your hotel website to be returned high in the rankings of search engine results - a critical element of effective online hotel marketing.

Factors to Consider

When choosing a marketing company for your hotel website design, make sure that they understand and meet these goals:

* Generating qualified, quality visitor traffic
* Motivating visitors to delve deeper into your hotel website
* Converting visitors into online hotel revenues

Too often, hotel websites are developed in reverse, placing the emphasis on design rather than on generating website traffic. The key is to balance traffic generation effectiveness, the site's "look and feel," and conversion techniques to produce a hotel web site that looks great, gets plenty of traffic that converts into bookings.

Find a Hotel Website Design Company

Today, Internet design and marketing companies have specializations. In order to get the best return on investment, it's best to choose a website design company that specializes in hotel website design. Make sure that their approach adheres to the following guidelines - otherwise, keep shopping. The company should:

* Identify your visitors' expectations and intentions
* Work with you to clarify your own objectives
* Develop a hotel website revenue conversion strategy
* Determine site components that satisfy both design and search engine optimization goals
* Map our "click paths" that will lead to conversion

Your hotel website design and search engine optimization are the two keys to generating the kind of traffic that will keep your occupancy rates in the stratosphere!
 
Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies on the web. Learn more about Hotel Website Design or Majon's Business and Entrepreneurs directory.

Lodging Market Intelligence Tools Lead to Sales Success

Market intelligence simply put, tells you where your revenue opportunities exist. Gathering intelligence on your competitors and your hotel's performance compared to theirs need not be a burdensome and challenging task. We used to call it "knowing your competition." How they stack up in terms of product and service, who they are, how they operate and who are their customers were some of the facts we needed to find out.

The tools used to uncover this information used to be a combination of gut instinct, interviewing their client base, poaching their staff and years of getting to know their hotels and those in charge. In today's data-filled environment there is significantly more market intelligence that is more accurate, timelier and much easier to come by. If someone had told me when I was a junior sales person with Hilton more than 20 years ago that I could easily get reports like the ones below, I would have jumped at the chance, even if I had to pay for the information myself; on my $11,000 a year salary!

Of course the "Grand Daddy" of all market intelligence tools has got to be Smith Travel Research's STAR reports. Creating an industry that didn't exist, Randy Smith has become the go-to guy for market data. Is there any hotel out there that is not getting this information on their monthly to year-to-date hotel performance in the areas of rate, occupancy and RevPar as compared against their competition, price points and market area? A must have to understand where you are so that you can plan where you need to be. Click here for more information on STAR reports.

Remember the days of sending out the junior sales manager to scope out the competitors' reader boards? Driving from hotel to hotel to conference center... well, for hotels seeking groups to fill rooms and meeting space these trips are a thing of the past! INSIGHT from the Knowland Group launched in September of this year. The company promises to "dramatically alter the way sales managers find group business". INSIGHT is a simple computer application combining Google's search engine and mapping technology with a searchable database tool that provides sales managers with qualified targeted sales leads on hundreds of thousands of events, groups and meeting planners every day, across every hotel brand, type, shape and size including freestanding conference centers. This market intelligence is currently available in over 70 markets within the United States and Canada. Click here for more information on INSIGHT.

Do you know how well your hotel performs against the competition through the various Global Distribution Systems (GDS)? The Hotelligence report from TravelClick is an outstanding example of how to gather this type of market intelligence. It provides historical information on your local market's hotel bookings made through the GDS's (which are used by over 98% of worldwide travel agents) and through the major Internet sites. The report allows hoteliers to analyze the success of their direct sales effort by monitoring market share as well as review the impact of your rate and inventory decisions. The report demonstrates the number of room nights and average rate on a monthly basis of all reservations through these channels and where they booked (your hotel or your competitors'). It identifies the booking travel agent and often even the corporate source of the business. This report will help you learn if and how much your accounts are "sleeping around", who is doing the philandering and who hasn't slept with you yet! It's worth every penny unless your sales team does not do anything with it... ask your sales team how they are utilizing this invaluable tool to book more business. For more information on Hotelligence and TravelClick click here.

Knowing what has happened through such reports as STAR and Hotelligence is good but predicting the future is even better. TravelClick also offers a sister report to Hotelligence called FuturePACE which provides data on the actual future bookings from the GDS channels on a day-by-day basis so that hoteliers can improve revenues through advance insights into the performance of current rate strategies and marketing efforts for their hotel and those of the competition. Providing revenues, room nights, average rates and market penetration information for the current and next two months out, you can count on this report to be invaluable to identify unusual demand or shoulder days so that they can be addressed before they happen. Click here for more information.

With some hoteliers still believing that discounting increases profits (how many times are we going to have to prove this myth wrong) and bouncing their rates up and down like a schoolyard basketball, you may need to identify these culprits so that you can drive to their hotel and deliver a copy of the Cornell report "Why Discounting Doesn't Work" by Linda Canina Ph.D., Cathy A. Enz Ph.D. and Mark Lomanno.

To check out your competitors pricing and what rates they're really selling on their website, on internet sites and on the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) try on-line search tools like TravelAXE, TravelZoo, Orbitz and Expedia. TravelClick also offers a very comprehensive to-the-industry report called RateVIEW that includes rate data from Internet Sites, brand web sites as well as the GDS.

It is now known that about one-third of all hotel bookings are made on the Internet. Of these Internet users, more than half will use a search engine such as Google, Yahoo or Ask.com to research hotels and nearly 70% will check rates from at least three websites prior to booking. The growing trend towards the internet booking channel is dramatic. How does your hotel stack up on the web? Web analytical tools (web market intelligence) can capture the buying behavior of your guests and measure your website traffic origination points that have the best conversion rates, detail which online or print ads produce revenues and track down the success of search engine pay-per-click campaigns by identifying exactly how much revenue was booked. Overall they allow you to understand how today's consumer sees your hotel from rank on the search engines to third party sites. An even more important emerging area of the web, the "social media" or what is also known as "Web or Travel 2.0" can also track online consumer reviews of your property and can assist you in maximizing this exciting new opportunity in hotel marketing. In short, knowing how you stack up on the web is vital to today's sales success. Tools for measuring your web success are available through Merlin Metrics from A Couple of Chicks Marketing and SearchVIEW from TravelClick.

There are many things hoteliers especially those in the sales functions should know about their local markets. How much does your sales leadership know about their success against the competition; where their revenue opportunities lie; the groups staying in competing hotels; their GDS market share; what corporations are staying at the competition; what upcoming periods represent surprise peaks or valleys in revenues; what rates your competitors are really selling or your hotel's success in selling through what will become the primary booking channel, the Internet? If these questions go unanswered, you're not sure how your hotel measures up or worse yet, there is no action plan around the market intelligence you have gathered, it may be time to assess and seek assistance from experts.

 

If You Build it, They Will Come-Not!

About twice a week now I am contacted by a hotel General Manager or Marketing Director who has seen some of the recent research figures for hotel internet revenues that says something like “In 2005 hotel revenues from the internet were 25.0% of all hotel room revenues…”.

The conversation very quickly gets to “I’ve just checked my on-line revenues and they are nowhere near that. What can we do?”

Naturally, the first thing I do is look at their web site. Some are visually stunning, especially on a high speed connection…beautiful “flash” movies (loading, loading, loading), navigation buttons that do pirouettes, music…and usually a mega investment has been made (please give me the name of that sales person, I have some sand that I would like them to sell for me in the Middle East)…and barely an extra room night to show for it.

Why? Because the site turns up on page 17 on Google, Yahoo! or MSN when you search for a suitable keyword or phrase (usually “destination hotel” eg “Sydney hotel” is the most popular search term in most cities).

70-80% of online activity is people searching for something…all those lost souls who are eager to buy your hotel rooms, if only they could find you…in fact in one recent case, when I was searching for the prospective client’s hotel by it’s very own name their web site turned up way back on page 8 of Google. You and I both know that when we search, if it ain’t on pages 1 or 2 or at a pinch page 3, we’re just not going to look further…and neither does anyone else.

If you retain nothing more from my article please remember this: search engines are blind to images (and deaf if you play music on your site) and especially can’t see “flash” movie files or the text in those fancy navigation buttons (these are images too)…a search engine is a code and text driven binary agent that reads written instructions and words…so without the right code in the “back” of your site and the right text and density of keywords on the “front” pages of your site…you just won’t turn up in the first few pages of search results.

Don’t get me wrong…there IS a place for great visuals and dynamic, inspiring content AFTER you have got them to your site. The overuse and abuse of these dynamic elements is indeed a hurdle to your search engine results, but once the user has arrived, then you need some “bells and whistles” to convert them into a sale (more about conversion in one of my next articles).

Some web sites I see, even for premium properties, are just dogs that were last updated in 2003 (because every time they want a change their designer charges like a wounded bull); and lots of others are in-between but because the sites are not actively managed, they still don’t turn up in the first few pages.

Believe the research data! With 25% of revenues arriving via online channels and a further 25% being influenced by their online experience but booking via another channel, you just have to get your head into this space. Can you imagine what would happen if you ignored your convention market or stopped dealing with the travel industry…as a first step.

Over the next couple of articles I’ll address some of the other questions that I usually ask such as: what e-mail marketing they are doing and how, have they investigated the Pay-per-click options at Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing or MSN (coming soon) or how easy is it to book on their site. I’ll also touch on conversion but let’s focus in the short term on driving traffic to your site.

So, what can you do? Invest in the Search Engine Optimisation of you site… the art and science of maximising a web site’s ranking in the “natural” Search Engine Results for a key phrase. There is a lot to understand but if you visit our web site you will find some very useful tips and specific things that you can do to optimise your hotel web site…or of course you could give me a call or send me an e-mail and I would be more than happy walk you through the basic principles.

And you know what? I never get calls from hotels that have a smart, well designed but not too “tizzy” site. One that is edited in-house utilising a user-friendly Content Management System. Sites where you can easily navigate around without needing a helmet lamp and pick, that have fresh, recent content and special value-added packages; where you can actually book in real-time through a secure connection and get an instant confirmation. And when you need to make an online enquiry, it is easy and doesn’t ask for my shoe size and twenty other compulsory fields before begrudgingly sending off the data, only for it to take two days for someone to respond…

These sites already turn up in the first few pages, offer a great user experience and these hotels actively manage their online presence…they are well on their way to achieving and exceeding those 25.0% of revenues online that the research people are telling us…and, pardon the shameful plug but, quite a few of them are our clients!

Keith Paulin is the General Manager of Hotel Marketing Workshop (http://www.hotelmarketingworkshop.com). Like many hotel marketeers in the industry Keith “landed” in hotel sales and marketing after commencing his career in hotel operations. Keith has worked in senior marketing roles both within the industry (Hilton, Regent, Hyatt, Accor) and in other industries (HP, Lion Nathan, Shell) and has formal qualifications in Marketing and Business Management. Hotel Marketing Workshop works with chain and independent hotels delivering tactical, practical hotel marketing strategies at property level that work and, just as importantly, they assist with expert implementation. Keith has a very strong interest in the world of e-commerce, Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing and a clear track record in producing on-line results in hotel internet marketing.

For more information contact: Keith Paulin General Manager Hotel Marketing Workshop

E-mail: contact@hmworkshop.com W: http://www.hotelmarketingworkshop.com

8 Essentials For Building Your Online Revenues
 

I’ve always wanted to write a headline like “10 Lessons Guaranteed to Improve…”. You see these all the time and they attract an incredible number of readers and eyeballs…but then I almost changed my mind. Usually, when you read through the article you discover that the “lessons” are generally a sales blurb for the company.

Like me a few years ago, I’m sure that what you really want are some very specific tips on what you can do, today, to make your hotel website more prominent in the Search Engine Results Pages (or if you like acronyms, the SERP’s). So, not to disappoint you, here are 8 sure fire, practical things to do including, at the end of this article, a final tip that always produces results.

1 - Make your web site the default for your browser and on all the PC’s at your hotel

Why I hear you ask? So that every time you or one of your team open a browser, you are confronted with your Home Page…when was the last time you really looked at your website?. Pretty soon you will begin to get bored with the way it looks or the content…as do your customers! And you will do something about it…our research has proven that web sites that regularly update their content do much better in the SERP’s than static sites. Plus, regular visitors to your site will also gain a good impression and sales conversion levels will go up too.

Follow closely with me as we are going to do this NOW…Open your favourite browser, enter your URL (www.yourwebsite.com) in the address bar, click go. Once your web page has loaded, click on Tools at the top of the page, select Internet Options. A dialogue box will open and on the General Tab you should see Home Page…now click on Use Current (the instructions are very similar for the Firefox browser)…your website will now load every time you open a browser. And suddenly its profile has become much more important to you…

The other interesting thing that will happen is that your team members will also start to give you suggestions and feedback on your website…they too will see it every time they open a browser. Many will start to write material or supply images from events that you can include on some sub-pages…and your website will come alive.

2 – Get your competitors to tell you the keywords you need to know

Ah…thought that would get your attention. Next, you need to discover the keywords that drive online business in your city or region…there are a few ways to do this, but here is an easy one. Go to Google or your favourite Search Engine and search for “your destination” and “hotel” (eg New York hotel) and look at the results in the first page. Click on the top one and when the page loads, right click in a clear space on the page. Notepad should open and you will be able to see the code that actually writes the page that you were on.

Somewhere near the top you will see some coding called “title”, “meta name="keywords" content=, and “meta name="description" content=…unless they have been particularly sneaky, you should be able to see an indication of the words that the webmaster thinks are important to include on the page to enable Search Engines to find it.

Do this for the next three or four sites on the Search Engine listing and you will start to see a pattern emerge…great isn’t it? Don’t you love it when the competition starts telling you how to improve your SERP ranking?

3 – Open a Google Adwords or Yahoo! Search Marketing account. Now that you have some hints as to what your keywords should be, you need to build on this list. We use more sophisticated tools but both Google and Yahoo! Search Marketing have keyword tools that will suggest additional keywords based on the ones you have uncovered so far. Eventually, this account will let you produce ads for the “Sponsored Links” part of their pages (we’ll tell you more in another article)…but for now we are just going to utilise their keyword tools.

Go to the Google Home Page for your country. Below the search box click on Advertising Programmes and then click on Google Adwords and then click on the Sign Up Now button…now is not the time to chicken out, be brave.

This will be the best $5-10.00 that you have ever spent. You will be stepped through setting up an account…when they ask you to enter some keywords, just put in a couple of the ones you have already identified. They will also ask you to build an ad; use your property name as the title, and just say something nice in the following two lines…you won’t be ready to publish yet but you have to go through the motions to get access to the tools.

4 – Start building your own keyword/phrase list Now click on the Tools or Keyword Tools tabs or buttons and you will be lead through how to find even more keywords based on the ones you already have. Using common sense and some discussion amongst your team and perhaps even a guest or two, build up a list of your preferred 20 keywords/phrases.

5 – Put your keywords in the title area of your website pages The “title” area of a web page, as the cleverer of you have already discovered, is that blue band at the very top of the screen when a web page is loaded…that’s right, with the white text in it. Search Engines place significant emphasis on the text that they find in the title bar.

Ask your web designer to put some of your keywords in the title of your home page. The most important words at the beginning followed by a nice destinational comment that repeats the destination name and the word hotel a second time (eg San Diego Hotel :: leading luxury hotel in San Diego – The Classique Towers Hotel)…do not “stuff” the title full of too many of your keywords or repeat them more than two, or at the most, three times.

Do not start with your property name…if you must put your property name in the title, put it at the end. Search Engines add the most “weight” to the words at the beginning of the title. Now, work you way down your keyword list putting different keywords on different pages, thus creating a different keyword emphasis for each page and add the same keywords into the text on the page.

By the way, did you notice that the title is what most Search Engines display in the SERP’s? That’s also why the title needs to be well written as searchers will judge whether to click on the link based on what they read on screen.

Are you still with me?

6 – Look at your web site statistics EVERY day Every day…this is one of the easy ones. Wherever your site is being hosted, they are bound to provide you with at least a basic statistical summary of how many visitors you get to your site per day (not hits, visits), how many pages were viewed and other data. This is usually available online with a login.

Make it a habit to log in and view your statistics every time you start your work day. Should your web hosting service not provide statistical data then move your site to one that does…if you are serious about building traffic to your site and online revenues then this is as essential as you knowing last nights results or next months room holdings.

Nearly there…

7 – Finding out the number of sites that link to your page Links to your page from other web sites are like votes for your page. In simple terms, if all other content between your site and another is equal but they have better or more links, the other site will be delivered ahead of yours in the SERP’s. The number, theme relevance and quality of links to your site are given significant weight by the leading Search Engines.

To find out how many links there are to your site currently, go to Google and in the search box type in link:www.yourwebsite.com (for Yahoo! and MSN use linkdomain:www.yourwebsite.com). Do it for all three because you will see a difference in the results. Each Search Engine looks at links differently, hence the variation in the number of Inbound Links displayed.

Whatever the number is, you need to double it over the next six months…slowly but surely. If you add too many, too quickly the Search Engines get wise and start to dampen the effect of your new links. And please, do not sign up to one of those “We can add 10,000 links to your website in One Day for $29.95!” …they add you to crap, spammy sites and your inbox will be full of junk in a day. Plus, even if they do add so many links, it’s likely that the Search Engines will either drop you from their listings or just completely discount the links because rapid link growth is seen as being not “natural”.

So, how do you build links? There are lots of ways but my favourite “in house” way is to pay your Conference and Events team $20 for every client that they get to link to your website. Conference and Event clients are usually pretty happy to link because your site will save them answering a bunch of questions about the venue on their own site. The success rate is about 50.0% so if you have 10 events a week, that’s 5 links from high quality sites per week or 250 a year. Within a couple of months you will start to see your site moving up the SERP’s. “$20!” I hear you stammer? Make it $50…it’s worth many, many times that in terms of SERP rankings and revenues.

Ah ha! I feel a disclaimer coming on…they say that free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it. The elements I have described here barely scratch the surface of what is usually needed to boost you online revenues, but, the way I look at it, it’s a start…someone very famous once said “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” …welcome to your first 8 steps.

“But Keith, that’s only 7 essentials for building online revenues!” you say! OK, so you think I can’t count, but if you have made it this far, you are now way ahead of 80.0% of hoteliers. Would you like to be in the Top 10.0% of hoteliers and be seriously starting to grow your web revenues past 10, 20 or even 30% of your total revenues? Well, with suitable apologies all round, now is the time for that commercial…

8 - Register now for our “Hotel emarketing 101” workshops.

“Hotel emarketing 101” is a one-day workshop focussed on Hotel Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, Online Media Options and Hotel Website design, development and construction for building online revenues. With speakers from Hotel Marketing Workshop, Google, Beyond Interactive and Binary Business these essential emarketing workshops will be held in May 2006 in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Visit www.hotelmarketingworkshop.com for a brochure or to register online.

And now that the “commercial” is over, go on…start working your way through this list…and start seeing the results.

Keith Paulin is the General Manager of Hotel Marketing Workshop (http://www.hotelmarketingworkshop.com). Like many hotel marketeers in the industry Keith “landed” in hotel sales and marketing after commencing his career in hotel operations. Keith has worked in senior marketing roles both within the industry (Hilton, Regent, Hyatt, Accor) and in other industries (HP, Lion Nathan, Shell) and has formal qualifications in Marketing and Business Management. Hotel Marketing Workshop works with chain and independent hotels delivering tactical, practical hotel marketing strategies at property level that work and, just as importantly, they assist with expert implementation. Keith has a very strong interest in the world of e-commerce, Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing and a clear track record in producing on-line results in hotel internet marketing.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Keith_Paulin

Top 10 Electronic Marketing Musts

Define Your Online Marketing Strategy

If you want to secure your share of the lucrative online marketplace, think about all the steps you will take to target Leisure, Corporate, and Group markets for your lodging or resort. Then, create a well-defined e-commerce market plan by clearly identifying the tools that people use to find and book hotels online. Open your eyes to the myriad of online channels, such as Search Engines, Independent/Brand Websites, Email, Blogs, GDS sites, and Travel Sites that will help you gain presence and profit on the internet. These ten elements will make your internet journey worth your while.

Search Engines and Independent Websites For Lodging Industry

Get the best out of your independent and brand websites and soar on the search engines by defining your online marketing plan. Your initial move will be to identify why people are traveling to your neck of the woods.

1. Know Your Internet Market – Identify your target market by researching what people are searching for in your area on the internet. Then, market for local and regional factors. Use offline and online methodologies to determine which factors are bringing visitors to your area .Group these reasons into a clearly identified online marketing bucket, for example: Groups, Corporate and Leisure.

2. Content is King . . . Create content which addresses the needs of your customer. Develop unique reasons (USPs) for your hotel and destination, and develop a differentiated approach for key customer segments. Create unique specials and packages, event-related getaways, seasonal promotions and launch one-to-one marketing initiatives to provide unique value and personalization. If your online audience is looking for Paramount’s Great America theme park, then offer relevant content regarding the theme park, along with your hotel room, tickets, transportation, etc. Make sure you have high quality, rich and relevant content on your electronic distribution channels whether it is your brand site, your travel site, your hotel website, GDS, or your email marketing campaign. Talk about your USPs, packages, promotions with local events, and getaways.

3. Link Building . . . Make link building an integral part of your online hotel marketing efforts. You want to be listed wherever your customers are going and looking. Good quality links from relevant websites tremendously boosts your online presence and organic ranking. Secure links from relevant and good quality local, regional, national, and niche specific websites.

4. Increase Conversions from your hotel website – You will increase your online conversions by offering convenience and value. Remember, you do not have to discount your rooms to create value packaging. Get close to your customers needs. A good idea is to bundle local attractions, things to do and activities as part of your hotel packages. Packaging and quality photography converts! Make the booking process for your hotel easy and efficient. Give your customer ways to book your packages and rooms online.

5. Lowest Rates Guaranteed on hotel indepwebsite– The dynamic internet is changing the way people are making their travel and hotel arrangements. You can secure your customer directly by employing best practices such as rate parity across all sales channels, creating a strong links program, email marketing, loyalty programs, pay-per-click campaigns and last minute offers, etc. Your ultimate goal is to create a powerful presence on the internet through both independent and brand websites . . . and gain customer trust and loyalty.

Following A Successful Email Marketing Plan

6. Email Marketing – Develop a well defined and ongoing e-marketing plan. Offer your online guest a reason to “opt in” to your Email Offers program. Send compelling email messaging that gives them what they are looking for. Give reasons to come back, such as local events and last minute offers. Track the results of all your campaigns.

Get the Best From Your Distribution Channels

7. Participate In Distribution Channels & Check HODs! – To optimize your online marketing channels, check what your GDS (Global Distribution Systems) and IDS is saying about you. Call your Franchise GDS department and request a copy of your HODs (Hotel Description on Airline systems). Make your rates and limited inventory available on third party websites. Always practice rate parity. For independent hotels, participate in your GDS system.

8. Tracking Return on Investment from Hotel Website – Track your online and offline results. Since most people searching online will call the hotel to close the sales, offline tracking is essential. Typically, for every one person who books online, 5 people will call you. Establish a unique phone number for your website, whether it is a 800-number or local number. Train your staff to track phone results and to become familiar with what is sold online. Your Front Desk staff is an influential sales tool especially when it comes to closing the deal. Establish a good tracking system at the front desk.

9. Online Tracking – Review your website stats regularly! The key things you should review are how many unique visitors are finding your site every day, the top 10 referral sources, top 10 Keywords people are using to find you, the top 10 pages generating the most traffic, your click-through to goal conversion pages -such as reservations, manager specials, special offers pages – and the top 10 feeder markets. Your online marketing is constant process of researching, strategizing, implementing, tracking, and analyzing – not a one-time event!

10. Build A Good Online Reputation - Worry about what consumers say about you online? Check Trip Advisor, E-Opinion Sites, Yahoo Travel, Hotel Chatter, and local travel blogs in your area!

The realm of e-marketing is far-reaching and very rewarding if you utilize the many sales channels available to your hotel – from websites to personal emails. Creating search engine friendly brand and independent hotel sites, compelling content, maintaining email campaigns, and participating in travel sites and GDS will help you achieve the competitive edge on the internet. Remember, tracking your results will let you know what’s working and where your revenue is coming from.

Copyright 2006 Benu Aggarwal

About the Author Benu Aggarwal is founder and president of Milestone Internet Marketing,Inc experts in creating complete internet marketing solutions for the lodging and hospitality industry. Please contact Benu at benu@milestoneinternet.com. http://www.milestoneinternet.com/

Effective Casino Marketing Makes All The Difference
 

The gaming industry can really bring prosperity to a community. Creative and consistant casino marketing have really improved the commercial viability and way of life of the American Indian Reservation that I live in. My reservation is one of the oldest reservations that was established in the state, and it also used to be the poorest. Living conditions used to terrible and tribe members have been suffering in poverty until they built the Indian casino on the southern end of our reservation.

During its initial years that casino was just a simple steel building that had a restaurant area, a few blackjack tables and only one hundred slot machines were available. Then the management hired a casino marketing company to improve the business. The company began by creating innovative advertising campaigns for radio, television, and print. They also developed promotions and rewards cards to attract and maintain the customers.

The results of the casino marketing strategy were remarkable, the casino now has several hundred tables for a variety of popular casino card games, thousands of slot machines, four plush restaurants, and a grand hotel with more then 500 beautiful rooms. A conference and event center that host many concerts each year was also added. Because of the success of the casino they have opened another one about 45 miles away. This one is even bigger with more hotel rooms and a golf course. The casino marketing company made the golf, fishing, and gambling packages successful through bold and creative strategies.

The casino business has helped us by creating many jobs in our area. The area has also reaped benefits from increased gasoline, bait and tackle, and shopping sales. By doing thorough research of the other businesses in the area the casino marketing company ensured that the local economy is positively impacted by the casino’s expansion. Apart from the revenue of the local businesses, the living conditions on the reservation have also improved.

The casino marketing company maintained the homes near the casino to make them pleasing to the eyes of the customers. A government center, a clinic and a school were made available to the reservation residents. The future of the tribe members and their descendants are now stable due to the opportunities made possible by the gaming industry.

Morgan Hamilton offers expert advice and great tips regarding all aspects concerning Casino Marketing. Visit our site for more helpful information about Casino Marketing and other similar topics.
 
Atlanta Meeting Planning-Conference Center Search

"We’re planning a conference in Atlanta," he tells me, "so get right on it." When is this conference for, Boss? A week from Friday (this being Wednesday)? NO problem. I work miracles (that you get the glory for) all the time! How many people?! What, only a hundred and fifty, flying in from all over the country? No problem! I’ve heard all about how you pulled off the feeding of five thousand people with just a couple loaves of bread and a few fish, so I should be able to handle this. I’ll get right on finding Atlanta Meeting Facilities.

There are a number of worthy venues in Atlanta for meetings and conferences. How you select the right one depends, in part, upon the nature and duration of that conference. If it’s just a one-day event that needs a Marietta Banquet Rooms for a hours long event, then proximity to the airport may be your only real concern (assuming people are flying in. But if the attendees are going to be there a while, then proximity to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport may not be as important as qualities of the convention environment.

The focus of the group may be business, but they’re expecting to enjoy the stay in other ways as well. For some, that may be the opportunity to enjoy a bit of luxury away from home. For others, it may be the chance to play 18 holes of golf. Is it summer or winter? That can be a consideration as well, especially if some of the attendees live in areas of extreme temperatures. In the winter, visitors from colder climates may want to bask in the relative warmth and take some time for the aforementioned golf or other activities. If it’s the height of summer, many may be looking for relief from that heat. Atlanta may not be as exhausting as Phoenix, but you may still be looking for a complex that has everything under one roof, so they don’t have to go out. What will the quality of the catering be? Will the attendees want to take in some local nightlife? What about availability? Longstanding reservations for other gatherings may preclude a particular venue. It’s crucial to find out about that before investing a lot of time planning for a convention based upon a particular location.

If you do a great job, he’ll look great and get the bulk of the credit for having been smart enough to hire you. That might tempt you to do less than your best. A bit of self-preservation is in ordeer here. Remember, if there are hitches in the giddyup, hiccups or problems, he’s going to step back and graciously let you be broiled, so even though he may take the lion’s share of the credit, you’ll still want to make the best choices possible.

How do you know about the quality of a facility? Start off with previous experiences, independent testimonials and verifiable reviews. You may not be able to trust everything their public relations department puts forward, no matter how often they may swear it’s the Gospel truth. To some extent, you’re going to have to go by Star ratings, but it’s a safe rule of thumb to deduct one star from all but the most reliable of hotel chains with ratings under 4 stars. Then when Murphy’s Law applies, you’ll still come out of it alright.

Planning a conference really can be a lot of fun. You’ll know you’re talking to the right venues when they’re making an effort to make your job easier, offering to handle details and arrange for catering, assuring you that adding an extra 10 people will not be a problem, that sort of thing. If you encounter a very rigid establishment, it may be wise to keep on moving on down the list.

Make a point of putting on your best Happy face before you pick up the phone to contact the venues, take a minute to relax with your favorite non-alcoholic beverage, make a list of essential requirements, no-nos, and options. Be sure, for example, to provide vegetarian, Muslim and kosher meal choices and to ask the attendees their preferences. Do a little homework and find out what well-respected public golf courses maybe in the area, if the attendees are interested in the game. Make sure the conference center has AV equipment available. If they don’t, you’ll want to arrange for equipment rental and a backup supplier in case that one proves unreliable. But with a little planning, some investigation and a few days’ footwork, you’ll have your boss walking on water in no time! Atlanta has plenty of facilities to choose from. Now all you have to do is consult that list and find out which of them is best for you!

 

How to Gracefully Leave After a Seminar or Speech When Someone is Hogging Your Time!
Meeting planners know the value of meticulous planning. They are responsible for selecting and contracting with the speaker, promoting the event, booking the hotel for the speaker, arranging transportation for the speaker and ensuring that the facilities are set up perfectly on the day of the seminar, writing and presenting an introduction of the speaker. Whew! With so many advance details to consider, it is no wonder that some meeting planners forget one of the most important times for the speaker……how to graciously exit after the speech!

Many big name speakers who have been through this routine thousands of times before have their agents arrange the contract carefully to arrange no more than ½ hour for a reception either before or after the speech. They know the value of their time away from the crowds. It is the job of the meeting planner to be the buffer and tell the fans that Mr. or Ms. Celebrity has to catch a plane in 1 hour and has to be going. Most people respect that and let the star move on. But what about the rest of the speakers? How important is that time to them? And how can you tell whether or not the speaker is thrilled about staying around chatting with curious audience members, or dying to get the heck out of there and go to call their spouse and talk to their kids?

As a former celebrity agent and now a speaker myself, I have the advantage of coming from two perspectives. The agents’ job is to convince the meeting planner to rush the star home. As a speaker, I know the importance of spending some personal time with the audience to reinforce the friendly and supportive speech I just delivered…..up to a limit.

Recently I delivered workshops on Public Speaking and Professional Coaching. In order to arrive at the location, I had to get up several hours before my flight to fight traffic to get to Newark airport one hour in advance. I had a transfer planes in St. Louis after an hour layover. At 3:00 I arrived in the desigated location, had to rent a car and drive and hour and ½ to the hotel sight. You get the point. By the time the speaker arrives, he or she could be tired and needs a bit of a rest before presenting.

The weekend was a huge success, but immediately following the event, the meeting planner was no where to be found. One of the audience members who was on a “high” from the weekend wanted to share every last detail of her own life with me. While I tried to maintain a certain amount of sincere interest, I was also so mentally and physically exhausted because I had given every ounce of my heart and soul to the participants during the weekend. At this point, I needed the meeting planner to be my buffer and quickly move me on out of there. But, I politely listened, and slowly walked out the door to my car, and finally explained that I’d be available via email to continue the conversation. With that, I tumbled into my car and excited the scene.

As a meeting planner, discuss the exit routine with the speaker in advance. Do they like to hang around afterwards to chat and if so, for how long? Do they want to create a “code” that will alert the meeting planner that the speaker is ready to go and should be shuffled out the door? Should it be announced in advance of the talk that the speaker will have to catch a plane immediately following the event and has to leave soon thereafter? Or as a meeting planner friend of mine, explained after hosting the famous and brilliant speaker Les Brown, that he had “performed so actively and intensly on stage and had worked up such a sweat during his performance that everyone understood his desire to exit!”

If you aren't working with an agent or a meeting planner, the best bet is to announce the amount of time you'll be spending after the seminar to address questions and answers. If you know that 1/2 is as much as you can spare, then announce it up front so no one will tie up all of your time. Additionally, give out your email address and suggest that if you don't have time to talk with everyone, suggest that they email you. Lastly, if you want to get the names and addresses of everyone in attendance, invite the audience to see you after the event for some free information. This is a great way to get THEIR information without imposing.

Speakers need you to help them maintain their positive image and caring attitude by helping them graciously exit the floor when they are ready to go. Some speakers love the personal contact for hours after the speech and have the energy to do so. Others are ready to exit after a few brief moments. So next time you are discussing the details before the event, be sure and discuss the best attack for the inevitable and timely “exit routine” so your speaker goes out loving the event instead of regretting it!

Mary Gardner , The Charisma Coach! is an Executive Communications Consultant and Trainer. She works with, coaches and trains individuals, sales teams, executives, and celebrities. She owned and operated one of the first coaching institutions on the east coast, CCI, in NYC, Philly and NJ. Mary has appeared on ABC’s 20/20 and has self published a book on public speaking. Mary is married to Sway and is mommy to Jeremy 5, and lives in Orlando, FL.

Contact information: mary@marygardner.com WEB: www.marygardner.com

Event, Conference and Meeting Planning Guidelines: 10 Steps to Success
 

Every event whether it’s a meeting, party, seminar, conference, charity event, or your high school reunion will have common threads regardless of what it is, where it’s held, when or why it is happening. The following common threads are found in every organized event. Make sure you plan each of the following steps thoroughly and you are guaranteed success.

1. Plan Your Vision: Your vision is the main reason and focus for having the event? It is a combination of your goals and objectives.

2. Set the Goals and Objectives: A goal is the general purpose of the event that provides a road map for the planning process. An objective is a measurable, attainable target that contributes to the accomplishment of the goal. An event can have one or multiple goals and objectives.

3. Select a Site: Location, location, location! Every event needs a site! Pick the location to match and support your vision, goals and objectives.

4. Create Promotion/Marketing Materials: You must get your message out. You need to get the basic information to the right people in the right amount of time so they know when to show up, where to go, and what to do when they get there. The message could be as simple as the date, time, and location via the telephone or as complicated as a multi page brochure for a multi-day conference with numerous events combined in one event. Or perhaps some major TV advertising and sophisticated website design for online registration.

5. Identify Your Participants/ Guests: Without them, you would not have an event. Whether they are invited guests, paying participants or required attendees, people will be coming to your event. Know your audience and target them carefully.

6. Create the Agenda/Timeline: Whether it is written down or planned, every event has a timeline. There is always a starting point and a finishing point. This is detail outline of the activities. What is happening from hours before the participants arrive to the follow-up when the event is complete. And it is the schedule of what is actually happening throughout the event. The agenda can be two types. The one the participant receives and follows and the one that the people working the event receive and follow. This tells people where to go, or what to do when you get there.

7. Establish a Budget: Money comes in and goes out. With some events no obvious money will be coming in, such as a wedding or company social. Create a budget nonetheless to make sure not too much money goes out. For larger events, budgets are a must especially when profit is one of you objectives. Without a budget it is hard to set guidelines and measure results.

8. Select the Food and Beverage: It may be a pitcher of water and mints at a one day seminar, a sit down dinner for 10,000, an all day concert where vendors will be brought in to serve the public, coffee and doughnuts at the morning sales meeting and/or soda, cookies in the afternoon for an all day conference, or appetizers served during a 3 hour cocktail party for 700 people. This is a wide and general segment of an event and will vary widely depending on the vision, goals, and objectives and of course, money.

9. Arrange for Transportation: You may need to transport 800 people from 10 hotels to the meeting site twice a day or it could be just getting yourself to the site on time. You may need to arrange the travel needs for the entertainment, speakers, and VIP’s, including picking them up at the airport. Or this may include contracting with an airline for discount airfare or negotiating with rental car companies for special rates to offer to your participants.

10. Hire Staff/Volunteers: This could range from checking in your participants for your workshop, or 100’s of volunteers at a conference or sporting event. It could be the caterers, musicians, florists, cleanup crew, equipment setup, valets, ticket takers, MC’s, speakers, or the balloon lady. It almost always takes more than one person to successfully coordinate an event.

With 25 year experience in the event planning industry Shannon Kilkenny has proved that with the guidelines outlined in her book "The Complete Guide to Successful Event Planning" anyone can plan or coordinate an event. Her book is for the novice and experienced planner alike. Visit her site http://www.successfuleventplanning.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Shannon_Kilkenny

Hotels & Resort - Plan A Meeting - Convention Services

One Stop Shopping & CVB Services
Let our experienced staff help you find the perfect spot for your next meeting, convention or event! One phone call or email can set into motion a successful event in Frisco! Our services are free to you. You can also choose from our list of convention centers to plan your meeting or any other event. If you are facing problems while planning for an event, find our meeting planner tools or you can always contact us direct at 877-Go Frisco.

To research group hotel pricing and open dates, click here
- Provide us with your meeting specifications (fill out our online RFP) and we'll send it to only those hotels in Frisco, Texas that you choose and/or venues and return the bid proposals back either directly to you or in a formal bid packet.

- The Bureau staff can assist in bid presentations to your Board of Directors, Site Committee or General Membership for multiple hotel events - Let us schedule and accompany you on your site inspection to give you a true feel of Frisco hospitality! - Need assistance with fun activities and venues for your delegates? Call our expert meeting planners and we'll find an off-site venue or one of several sporting events taking place during your event!

* Baseball, Soccer and Hockey Games
* Outdoor sculpture garden and art on pubic display
* Antique shopping
* Points of interest in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex

We can help you manage a variety of tasks and projects including, event marketing, event production, corporate meeting planning, conference planning, event/meeting coordinator, and much, much more. You define the event, choose a venue, and let us execute your design. To select the venue, simply browse through our list of convention centers, or hotels in Frisco, Texas. Our meeting planners and organizers can translate your imaginations into a successful event.

We ensure that you and your guests receive the best service, and are left with great lasting memories. Our dedication and commitment to our clients is evident in everything we do. We create events with the client's personal style in the details. All of the details will be covered and everything will go perfectly.

The Frisco CVB can provide you with our Official Visitors Guide for your attendees on site. Find meeting planner tools or other hotels in Frisco, Texas on our website.

As a nationally recognized leader in Internet destination sales, marketing, and successful Internet business models, Donovan Shia works with the Frisco CVB management team to lead their online marketing efforts. A ten year industry veteran, Shia has a history of planning, executing and delivering Internet sales and revenue for companies like Microsoft and Cendant. Shia's background in Internet business development, tightly focused on city/regional models, is the backbone of the CVBHotRates.com business model.

How To Negotiate The Best Deal On The Hotel Room

It's important to talk to the right person when trying to get a great deal, that means someone who has the authority to negotiate with you. You can ask to speak to the Sales Manager or if they have a dedicated staff for meeting and event coordinating, speak to the manager of that department. Remember to research comparable room prices in the area online so that you'll have a good point of reference to bring to the negotiation table. It does take some advanced planning to get the best deals, but hotel room prices are more flexible than the average person realizes.

Be aware of the seasons and try to schedule your seminar during a time when the hotel's business is typically slow. Getting a great room at a great price will always be easier when the hotel isn't full. If you're booking a block of rooms for seminar guests and speakers in addition to the meeting room, you're also more likely to get a better price for both. Several popular hotel chains have extensive planning tools available online so be sure to take advantage of the wealth of information made available.

Once you've got a list of possible venues together, you can start contacting the sales department of each hotel and sending them your request for proposal or RFP. Make sure your RFP includes preferred dates, number and type of sleeping rooms you require, food and beverage requirements, a tentative agenda and the amount of meeting space that is needed. Based on the hotels' responses to your RFP, you should be able to narrow down the field of possibilities and schedule some site inspections. To save both money and time, you can substitute an actual site inspection with a detailed questionnaire, virtual tour or both!

When you start negotiations, always remember that everything is negotiable. If the group generates sufficient guestroom and food and beverage revenue, the meeting room rental fees can and should be waived. If you're planning a reoccurring event, you can also use your loyalty as leverage.

Once you've weighed your options and made your decision, make sure everything, big and small, is outlined in explicit detail in the written contract. Deposit procedures and acceptable methods of payment are two things that should be agreed upon before you sign anything.

After the event, take your time going over the invoice with a fine-toothed comb. The first draft of the invoice from the hotel is almost never correct so be sure to point out anything that needs to be corrected. Get feedback about the hotel from the seminar attendees. If there are complaints, politely let your hotel representative know about them. Any good salesperson will gladly offer an additional discount to ensure that you consider them again next year.

Matt Bacak became "#1 Best Selling Author" in just a few short hours. Recent Entrepreneur Magazine’s e-Biz radio show host is turning Authors, Speakers, and Experts into Overnight Success Stories. Discover The Secrets To Unleash The Powerful Promoter In You! Sign up for Matt Bacak's Promoting Tips Ezine ($100 value) just visit his website at http://www.powerfulpromoter.com or http://promotingtips.com.

Sales Management Neglect...the Real Cost

Have you ever wondered what the real cost of mediocrity within your organization might be? Sales managers must wake up! Has there ever been a time when a mess-up by someone internally, proved to be quite costly in both money/resources and time/energy? Has there been a time when a mess-up by someone in your organization caused a huge toll on an outsider, i.e. supplier or customer?

In the world of selling, mediocrity can demand untold costs. In selling, there are generally two categories: hunters and farmers. The hunters are the sales people, both inside and outside, that specialize in going after new business—their thrust is the hunt, bringing in new customers. Farmers on the other hand specialize in nurturing house accounts and business that the hunters have brought in. Too often, organizations will settle for farmers that are mediocre, or careless and don’t tend to their crops. The prices businesses or organizations pay for allowing this kind of behavior are truly unnecessary.

My first real job in outside sales, other than selling encyclopedias door-to-door, was in selling to retailers. The owner of the business, Ray Kahn, once told me, “If you lose an account because you were out sold, it’s okay. But, if you lose an account because you weren’t paying attention to that account—you’re out of here!” Several years later, I saw first-hand that he meant it. Ray fired a hunter/farmer salesman, Mike that had been with him for a decade. Unfortunate for all that were involved, Mike got complacent and lazy, losing a major account because he wasn’t paying attention to the needs of the customer.

When a farmer doesn’t pay attention, it is an absolute travesty. Mike was an okay hunter, but not a great farmer. This situation is not unusual. If you manage sales people and you tolerate a farmer not tending to their crops (accounts), I believe that you are just as guilty as your farmer sales person. It is you, after all, to whom they are accountable.

Not long ago, I traveled to the American East Coast to speak on selling at a chapter of the National Speakers Association (NSA), of which I am a member in Los Angeles. This NSA chapter had been meeting at the same suburban area hotel on the same Saturday of each month for the previous three years. This particular Saturday in January was to be different.

The “you know what” hit the fan late Friday night. Following dinner that evening, my contact with the group dropped me back at the hotel where I was staying and where the meeting would be the next day. In passing, she asked if I knew that I’d be presenting the next morning in the hotel’s restaurant…during regular service hours…to the public? Their usual meeting room had been booked out from under them. Well, that was a surprise that was to me.

Three days earlier, when the NSA Chapter’s program chair called the hotel to check if everything was in place for their coming Saturday meeting, the hotel sales contact, Lois, told the program chair that they had no reservation for the group for the coming Saturday. And, Lois told the program chair that the room they usually use, along with every other meeting room and space in the hotel was also sold out. Wow, what a predicament! Even worse, Lois offered no possible solutions to a long-time customer.

The meeting chair asked Lois how this could be? Especially since the group had been using that meeting room the same Saturday of the month for the past three years and had an on-going relationship. Lois answered by stating that she thought it was odd that the organization had not signed a contract for the coming year. Lois continued by stating that since the hotel’s customers “call them” she didn’t give it a second thought. Excuse me! If I was Lois’ boss, I’d do to her what Ray Kahn did to Mike—fire ‘em! There is no excuse for this kind of behavior.

That farmer, Lois, definitely was not tending her crops (accounts). Can you believe it? Worse, the sales person was ignorant enough to state, “Our customers call us.” She sold the room out from under this group. Perhaps because the group to whom she sold the room was generating higher revenue? Perhaps she was only mindful of her commission check? Perhaps it was her way of telling this NSA Chapter that they were no longer welcome at that property?

The Real Cost

What do you think might be the real cost to the hotel from Lois’ debacle?

To the credit of the hotel’s General Manager, late that Friday evening, I worked with him and food & beverage (F&B) manager for over an hour looking at possibilities to make the next day’s presentation work, even though it was to be in the hotel’s restaurant, during service hours to the general public. The hotel general manager explained to me that he, and his staff had been working on the problem for the past three days. They had even called other hotels to try and move the meeting—but without success.

Let’s take a rough look at the real cost to this hotel: A hotel general manager making around $100,000 a year, working a six-day work week equates to about $333 per working day. If we take into account that the general manager, food & beverage manager, sales staff and others had been dealing with the issue for three days and just add up the general manager’s pay, that gives us about $1,000 cost to the hotel. I’m sure Lois’ commission on the sale of the room and F&B was nowhere near that much.

Now let’s add in the damage to both the national brand and that particular location. This group happened to be a gathering of local-area professional speakers. Since many are intimately familiar with hotels, their expectations tend to be a bit higher than most. What will they say to local meeting planners about this hotel? I doubt it would be complimentary. If the approximately 50 professional speakers mention the situation to only one meeting planner over the following year—that’s potentially 50 local meeting planners that have received a poor report about this property. What’s the cost of that?

If only one of those 50 meeting planners decided not to book a meeting at that property based on what they heard, how many thousands of dollars would that property not receive in future revenue because of Lois’ behavior? Let alone the tarnished perception of this particular brand nationally could cost the chain dollars. Surely it would be more that Lois’ commission on that particular room, on that particular Saturday.

The Rest of The Story

This had been the second time that this property, or should I say Lois, had pulled this kind of situation on that particular NSA Chapter. As such, the board of directors immediately decided to start looking for another property at which to hold their monthly meetings. By the next month’s meeting, the chapter had already found a new home for their monthly meetings. That adds even more to the real cost, as the revenue from the chapter was valuable to the hotel during slow times.

Gosh, because that farmer, Lois, was too unorganized, oblivious, lazy, apathetic, ignorant or greedy, the real cost to the hotel’s productivity and revenue was, and will continue to be, substantial. What does this mean to you? In selecting and/or maintaining the wrong people to represent your organization’s interests, you will pay dearly for their impoverishment of skills.

Solutions

The TEA Master Key should prove helpful. The three key areas necessary to explore in serving your customers well are: Training, Ego and Attitude.

!. Training your employees well is a given, the subtleties are in their understanding the DNA of your organization’s culture and an advanced understanding of how to most effectively use the “tools” that you have made available to them. Understandably, this takes time, but few companies devote the necessary hours to this endeavor. And, if your employees are not continually learning, you must re-examine the limited value they deliver to your organization.

2. Ego is good, when kept in check, allowing one to be confident, yet not arrogant. Unfortunately, too many employees let their ego get in the way of their performance, i.e. too much ego that they never admit a mistake. Mistakes are good, if one learns from their mistake. Years ago, Ray Kahn would say, “If you are not making mistakes, you are not learning, and I don’t need you. But, if you do not learn from your mistakes, I don’t need you either.” Other ego issues revolve around one’s need to be right! In serving customers, it is more important to get things done, than to focus on being right.

3. Attitude can make, or break, an employee and a customer’s perception of your organization’s value proposition. Employees with an attitude of apathy are like termites eating away at the fiber of your organization and one day that fiber that holds your organization together will give fail. On the other hand, employees with the attitude of service, not servitude, flourish and with them so does your organization. Give your employees plenty of reasons to have superior attitudes—it will serve you well.

To access helpful additional information from Ed Rigsbee at no charge, please visit www.rigsbee.com/downloadaccess.htm.

Adapted from Rigsbee's forthcoming book titled, Customer Service Screw Ups--Learn from the Mistakes of Others. In this book, Rigsbee rants about the crummy customer service he has received and offers suggestions on how you can truly partnering with your customers.

Ed Rigsbee, CSP is the author of PartnerShift, Developing Strategic Alliances and The Art of Partnering. Rigsbee has over 1,000 published articles to his credit and is a regular keynote presenter at corporate and trade association conferences across North America. He can be reached at 800-839-1520, ed@rigsbee.com, or visit http://www.rigsbee.com.

Tips To Get Most From Renting A Room
 

Renting your spare room out to a lodger is a good option to help pay for your mortgage.

Following are certain tips that can help you to get most from renting a room:

• It is advisable to meet the person before renting a room. A short introductory meeting with the person can help you in deciding whether or not you would get on with the person.

• This introductory meeting offers you an opportunity to ask relevant questions such as those regarding their spouse, family, job profile, working hours, other habits, etc.

If you do not meet the person before renting a room, you might have to regret later. If you find difficult to get on with that person at a later stage, it might get difficult and embarrassing for you to get rid of him at that time.

• Clear ground rules should be set right from the start. For instance, if you do not want the lodger to allow people for an overnight stay in his room, state the same at the outset. If you want the lodger to refrain from smoking or taking alcohol inside the house, make your point clear in the very beginning to avoid issues later on.

• However, it is advisable to be patient and tolerant of small things. You are being paid by the lodger and constantly enforcing small rules can make it less harmonious to live with a new person.

Bear in mind that the income from renting can help you pay your mortgage and therefore, you cannot afford to let the current lodger leave. Searching for a new lodger who would hopefully abide by the rules and regulations set by you, will lead to wastage of time and money.

• It is good to have a written agreement signed. A sample contract agreement can be obtained online. Do not rely on verbal agreements. They are legally invalid. The written agreement should include a statement about stipulation of monthly income, and how much notice is required to break the agreement on either side.

• Advertising plays a major role while renting a house. Advertise in the best selling newspapers, best places as well as online.

• Finalize a fair market value after carefully analyzing the market rent. Do not be greedy, or else, it will become difficult to find a lodger. If you fail to get a tenant, you will lose the rent money.

• On the other hand, if you manage to find a good tenant, you will not only get then rent money but also an opportunity to make a new friend.

To conclude, as the people you live with greatly influence the quality of life, it is always advisable to wait patiently till you get a suitable lodger to move in.

5 Strategies To Getting Your Money's Worth At Seminars & Workshops
 
You open your email to find a notice about an upcoming seminar or workshop on a topic you desperately want to learn more about.

Later that day, you get the mail and there's a postcard inviting you to the same workshop.

"Should I go?" you think.

"It's expensive, I'll have to pay for airfare and hotel, but I'll learn *so much* and will really be able to propel my business forward," you say to yourself.

After much wrangling between those two guys that sit on each of your shoulders, you decide to go for it. You tell your clients you'll be gone, you buy the plane tickets, book the hotel, pay the workshop fee and you're excited!

The day finally arrives. You can hardly wait. You get a seat and wait for things to start.

By the second hour, your head is brimming with ideas while your stomach is full of coffee. You desperately want a break and can't focus on anything else.

The break comes and goes and now you are starved. "WHEN is lunch anyway?" you hear yourself asking your neighbor.

After wolfing down something which the hotel is convinced passes for food, it's back to the workshop. Now the carb crash comes and you need a nap -- the speaker is very interesting, but hey, you're getting the seminar CDs and will catch up on anything you miss then.

Does this sound familiar? I've been to three workshops/seminars in the past two months and have watched this scenario unfold for HUNDREDS of people -- again and again.

It's critical you have a system in place to insure you get the most out of each and every seminar and workshop you attend -- after all, you're spending your money AND time attending.

1. Bring a notepad.

Insure you have either a notepad or notebook dedicated ONLY to "Action List" items.

This is not a "To Do" list -- "to do" lists sound like work and generally lower your energy. This is an "Action" list -- completing these items will propel your business forward.

Personally, I put a small box next to each item that I can check off as it's completed. I don't number them as these are not in priority order. The order is based on when the item pops into my head.

2. Bring a notebook.

You should have ONE notebook for ALL your seminars and workshops. This is for your "Notes" -- if the presenter provides you with a handout of his presentation, GREAT, you can take notes directly on it.

If not, however, you'll want to keep all your notes in this notebook -- start the section with the seminar name, location and date and note each speaker's name and presentation title and any notes from it.

Notes, NOT action list items. . .action items go on your Action List. It's important to keep them separate so you don't need to search through pages of notes for your action items.

Always remember: It's not what you know that matters; it's what you IMPLEMENT!

3. Bring plenty of business cards.

You'll be amazed at how many people forget to bring business cards with them when attending workshops.

Always insure you have plenty of cards with your current information and, preferably, a picture of you on it. We meet so many people at seminars; you want to insure people remember you when going through their new stack of cards at home.

4. Take a day.

If possible, take a day or 1/2 day when you get home to unpack, get back in the swing of things and take a good look at your Action List.

Are there items which can be done in 10 minutes or less? If so, identify those items and schedule an hour for each group of 5 activities over the next week (this allows a little extra time). This will insure you make steady progress soon after the seminar.

Do you have bigger projects? No sweat, break them down into smaller chunks -- 30 minutes at most -- and schedule them on your calendar.

By scheduling these activities *on your calendar*, you'll have a start and end time for getting them done and insuring you got the most out of your time at the workshop.

5. Follow-up

Chances are you've met new friends and potential clients.

Now's the time to drop them a brief note and let them know you're happy to have met them and follow-up with any information you may have promised.

And, remember, if appropriate for you, thank the speaker for the seminar and all you learned.

Your Coaching Challenge

Your coaching challenge for this week is to prepare a "Seminar Toolbag" which includes a notepad, notebook, business cards, two pens and anything else you may need.

Here's what's in my Toolbag (a bag I take to all seminars) in addition to the above: granola bars, lip balm, post-its, tissues, peppermint patties, a digital camera and since I'm not a coffee drinker, my favorite tea bags.

Sandra Martini, the Automatic Business Coach, and award-winning author teaches small business owners how to implement processes and systems designed to take them out of the day-to-day running of their business. For more information and to receive her FREE e-course/audio series, "5 Quick & Easy Ways To Put Your Marketing on Autopilot", visit http://www.SandraMartini.com
 
A Great Example on How to Get Repeat Customers
During a recent holiday break the family and I went to a great hotel near Mombasa in Kenya. With 4 young kids the attraction was that the facilities were all-inclusive so constant requests for ice-creams etc were not a problem! So what was so great about it?

Well I’m always on the look out for examples of great and poor business models and ideas, so here’s the key thing that stood out … the huge number of people who had been there before. One couple I spoke to had been there for the last seven years in a row with their children.

For the hotel and any other business getting repeat customers like this is akin to striking gold – no marketing or recruitment costs – just pure profit. And no doubt their clients spread the word amongst their friends so again no marketing cost for the hotel.

What was this hotel doing right that you can apply to your business to encourage repeat business?

1. It’s a very child-friendly hotel - leave your kids at the Kids Club which had activities all day. They have spotted that family-oriented hotels will always have an edge, so they built the business and customer experience around that idea. They have spotted a niche and do everything they can to satisfy that market. Result? My kids loved it so much it’s clear that this is the only place they want to go. The hotel has done its job!

2. They make it feel like home – as we drove through the hotel gates the driver who picked us up from the airport said ‘Welcome home!’ Just think, even the lowly driver knew that the hotel’s philosophy is to make sure everyone feels they belong to a big family. How good are your employees at passing on your core message or values?

3. Staff recognized and warmly greeted repeaters – in many cases staff clearly knew people’s names and as a minimum recognized faces. They treated these people as long lost friends. How do your employees treat regular clients? Warmly or with indifference?

4. They create a feeling of community – repeat clients get tee-shirts with the hotel name and year printed on it and people wore them with pride. Not my personal taste but it clearly made most people feel very happy. The children were not forgotten either. Every activity they took part in at the Kids Club was rewarded with a points voucher which could be redeemed at the hotel shop. Do you give gifts to repeat customers by way of a thank you?

5. They reward repeaters with a 10% discount – a great way to encourage people to come back and another way of saying ‘thanks for your business’. Do you offer repeat business discounts?

6. And finally, all backed up with great food and great service.

These are all simple things which you can introduce very quickly to any business. Getting repeat business is a powerful way to boost sales and profits so starting thinking about how you can encourage customers to become life-long customers.

Rob Warlow
Small Business Success
www.smallbusinesssuccess.biz

Small Business Success is a resource dedicated to helping small business owners be more successful. If you are looking for a regular flow of ideas and tips then subscribe to Small Business Success a free newsletter, which provides you with quick tips, ideas and articles. Visit http://smallbusinesssuccess.biz

How to Work With Hotels for Booking Seminars

When deciding what hotel to book your seminar at, you should always remember that price isn't the only consideration. If you're on a tight budget, then price may be the most important negotiating point, but don't forget to inquire about what you'll actually get for your money.

Some hotels include things like self-serve water and coffee service, while others will charge extra for these amenities. Food and beverage is far and away the largest expense item in associations' convention budgets. According to Convene's Annual Meetings Market Survey, food and beverage accounts for more than 25 percent of budgets, more than double the total spent on marketing/promotion and nearly triple the amount allocated for audio-visual equipment. To keep costs down, you may opt for guests to have lunch on their own. Be sure to ask the hotel for a list of local restaurants within walking distance. Most hotels have brochures like this already printed so just make sure to have plenty on hand at your registration table. Better yet, if there's a restaurant in the hotel, ask for a copy of the menu so you can send it to your guests with their seminar confirmation. The hotel should have a copy of the seminar's itinerary so that they know when each of the breaks is scheduled. This will ensure that any beverages or snacks are replenished in advance. Of course, speakers can run long and others might be delayed at the airport so it's important to make the hotel staff aware of any deviations from the original schedule.

If you need to borrow audio visual equipment from the hotel, make sure you get detailed descriptions of each piece of equipment, as well as a clear pricing schedule. You should know exactly what equipment is needed for each of your speaker's presentations and make sure that the hotel will be able to furnish a functioning backup, just in case.

Some hotels will also provide IT maintenance and Secretarial services. If you've ever had to sit through a seminar plagued with technical problems, you probably already realize how valuable these services can be. When your keynote speaker steps up the podium and starts fumbling around with his laptop trying to get that PowerPoint presentation open, it becomes apparent that not all great speakers are technically savvy.

Don't forget about all of the little things the seminar attendees may need, such as high-speed internet access for their laptops, active phone outlets and plenty of extra pens and pencils. Hopefully, there is also a dedicated business center and copy room in the hotel. Make sure you and your guests know exactly where it is.

Hotels will be more willing to negotiate with you if you show loyalty when considering a meeting place for future events. If you're making this an annual or quarterly event, by all means say something during negotiations! However, be wary of signing long-term contracts with any one hotel, particularly if there's a stiff penalty for cancellation. You'll receive the best service and the best rates when the hotels are competing for your business.

Matt Bacak became "#1 Best Selling Author" in just a few short hours. Recent Entrepreneur Magazine’s e-Biz radio show host is turning Authors, Speakers, and Experts into Overnight Success Stories. Discover The Secrets To Unleash The Powerful Promoter In You! Sign up for Matt Bacak's Promoting Tips Ezine ($100 value) just visit his website at http://www.powerfulpromoter.com or http://promotingtips.com

Careers In Hotel Management
 

Choosing the Right Career

Travel is a growing industry that offers many exciting careers. Lodging is one of the largest employers in the travel industry and offers many educational, internship and certification opportunities for professionals pursuing a career in hotels. Hotel employees can rise to management through formal education requiring degrees in management or through vocational training followed up by experience.

Hotel Management Programs

An AHM, associate degree in hotel management, takes around 18 months to complete from a standard hotel or motel management school. After completing this course successfully, graduates with an AHM degree are eligible to work with any large or small company around the world in an entry-level management post with hotels, motels, and restaurants. Hotel management students will have communications, general studies, and English as their combination subjects while taking up a business course in hotel management. Most hotel management schools also provide hands-on experience and practical projects for their students.

A BHM, Bachelor of Hotel Management degree, can be ideal for those seeking advancement in their already established careers in hotel management. By obtaining a BHM, students will be prepared for moving towards the higher levels of the industry in specialized areas such as business accounting, food and beverage services, accommodations, marketing hospitality services, and human resources among others.

An MHM, Master of Hotel and Motel Management degree, offers specialization in marketing, entrepreneurship, operations management, information systems management, and real estate and investment. The MHM degree in any of these areas can surely facilitate the students in appearing for and achieving higher-level positions in the hotel and motel management Industry.

An MS, Master of Science Program, takes about 12 to 18 months to allow hospitality professionals to continue their careers in an academic or research setting.

The CTE courses in Hospitality Management, Hospitality Services and Hotel/Motel Marketing offer certification from National Occupational Competency Testing Institute and the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

Responsibilities

Managers are responsible for every aspect of the hotel, including customer service, food quality, catering, and hotel supplies. The manager also looks after the scheduling and conference planning, valet and transportation services and all other special services provided to the esteemed guests and visitors. Therefore, the manager has a key role and responsibility in keeping up to the name and reputation of the hotel or motel by managing the rest of the staff efficiently. The responsibility of hiring, training, and supervising other members of the staff is given to an assistant manager who co-ordinates with the general manager. He also schedules working shifts and assigns duties to his subordinates. Writing reports, negotiating with the vendors, and coordinating various events also come under the supervision of assistant managers.

Facilities

Hotel and motel management professionals enjoy discount rates in travel and lodging amenities. This can be especially attractive for those who love traveling. Besides, though the initial stage may require a lot of struggle and hard work, once you have reached a higher position, you may earn a lot of money as perks excluding your regular salary. Additionally, the hotel industry is commonly associated with a lot of glamor, which also attracts many students to select hotel management as their career. The job itself involves some general facilities such as lodging, food, parking, laundry, and other services. Additionally, some hotels even provide educational assistance and profit sharing plans to their employees.

Ranks & Salaries

The different managerial positions in a hotel or motel start from executive housekeepers to front office managers, food and beverage manager, and convention service manager. These are all ranks of an assistant manager who co-ordinates with the general manger. The salaries of the mangers depend on the responsibility and segment of the hotel they work for. Overall, it is quite a lucrative Industry with opportunities of earning up to 25% bonus on the basic salaries.

Job Requirements

The initial phase of your career can be quite hectic, and you might need to clean dishes and do other similar chores. The job involves a lot of patience, energy, good communication skills, and quick wittedness to tackle difficult situations, and handling different customers. There is no specific work schedule as the hotel industry works around the clock.

Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online ( http://www.sixsigmaonline.org ) offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
Event Planner - The Benefits of Hiring One
 
An event planner who helps brides and grooms plan their special day is called a wedding consultant, wedding planner, wedding coordinator or a bridal consultant. This planner specializes in planning weddings professionally.

Using a wedding consultant to plan your wedding day had always been viewed as a luxury that only the rich and famous enjoyed. This is not so much the case anymore and the number of people using wedding planners continues to rise every day.

Planning a wedding can be like a full time job if a bride decides to go it alone. This type of event involves a lot of time with so much to learn and do and often not enough time to do it all. This event planner has to be highly organized and always knows what to do if things go wrong. He/she knows exactly who to contact when the need arises.

A professional wedding planner has to be extremely creative by nature. He or she also needs to have a very good sense of style and know what trends are current and which ones are outdated. The event planner also needs to have a personality that connects well with clients in order to understand them and to have a clear picture of their personal and specific needs for their special day.

A good event planner has lots of connections with the best vendors and works at getting his/her client the best value for their money. There is usually a budget to maintain and endless details tailored to the bride and groom. A wedding planner can also save the bride and groom a lot of money as well as time. This is because they usually know which vendors are reasonably prized and the quality of work involved. The event planner is usually in a better position to negotiate and get discounts from vendors they have worked with before.

Event planners will help their clients avoid disasters at their functions because they oversee all of the operations of the day to the last detail. Should there be an emergency at the event, the planner is usually better prepared to deal with the crisis rather than having the client try to figure out what to do.

The costs involved in hiring such a professional may be surprisingly affordable given the amount of details they have to work with. Planners also tailor their cost according to the client's budget and help them to stay within their budget.

Without a wedding planner on hand, many brides and grooms run themselves ragged as the wedding day approaches. Some couples have even complained of not enjoying their wedding day because of the stress. An event planner comes in handy at this point because the couple has nothing to worry about since all the details are taken care of. The end result of having an event planner or a wedding consultant, in this case, is well worth it. The clients end up with a stress free day and they are able to enjoy every moment of their special occasion.

Michael Russell

Your Independent guide to Event Planning

Ideas for Business Events
 
If you know that you want to hold a business event but just aren't sure where to start on the whole thing, here are some event ideas that might lead you in the right direction.

Event ideas can be as diverse as the companies and businesses that hold the events themselves. The first thing to think about when choosing what sort of company event to hold is what your reason for having the event is. Depending on the type of information you want to get out – a new business venture, a new product, a promotion – you can decide what sort of event will get your information out in the best way possible.

One of the best company event ideas out there is to hire a company event planner. While planning an event yourself might seem easy at first, the logistics of making sure everything will go off without a hitch can often be more than just one person can handle. A company event planner can make sure that you get the right location, food, entertainment and more for your event without having to go and shop around for all of these things by yourself. They can often give you great ideas of what will work for your event and what will not, and whether or not an idea that you have is feasible.

Other ideas can come from looking at previous company events. Take a look at the other events held by competing companies or businesses, and see how well they worked. Take the good ideas from these events, and avoid anything that seemed to be too complicated or unfriendly for the audience. Remember that you don't want to exactly copy any other company's event, but you can definitely take ideas from events that are already passed. Also look back at your company and their own events, and make sure you don't repeat what has already been done.

Finally, company event ideas can be had in many places that are great resources for all event planners – such as books, magazines and the Internet. Look around, there are ideas everywhere. Themes can evolve around the core message of your event, or they can be totally separate and wacky. You can choose to stick to ideas that are tried and true, such as sit down dinners and classic parties, or you can start your own event traditions with picnics and concerts. Many planners get their inspiration from tons of different sources.

Business event ideas are all around – and there are many good themes and ideas to choose from. Picking one for your next event should be a piece of cake, if you take the time to carefully think about the event.

Aazdak Alisimio writes corporate event planning articles for CorporateEventPlannerforYou.com
Meeting Planning - Negotiate Like A Pro
 
Meeting planners who negotiate successfully all have one thing in common: They know the value of their meeting from the hotel’s perspective. All too often, planners make the mistake of assuming that because their annual convention is valuable to their organization, it must be valuable to the property. But that’s not always the case.

Remember that a piece of business is only valuable to a hotel if it provides profit — maximum profit, if possible. (The value of your meeting drops, for example, if any other group wants the same dates and is willing to pay a higher room rate or provide more food and beverage revenue.) So be sure to thoroughly analyze every aspect of your event — just the way a hotel sales manager would. The result will be power and confidence at the negotiating table. Here are seven major areas to consider in your analysis:

1. Corporate or Association Influence

Corporate meetings can be more attractive to hotels than association meetings for several reasons. For starters, they’re typically short-term and yield a higher average daily rate. Corporations also usually spend more on food and beverage than associations and are much better at estimating their room pickup since attendance is often mandatory.

On the other hand, corporations tend to cancel their meetings more frequently. Associations rarely cancel because their bylaws generally require them to convene once a year and their annual meetings are, more often than not, their biggest revenue-generating events of the year. In addition, association meetings are often booked many years out, allowing hotels to forecast future years much better. An association’s annual meeting also can offer more guest room nights — a hotel’s largest profit area.

2. Number of Room Nights

You may think that the more room nights you can offer a hotel, the stronger your negotiating leverage will be. But that’s not necessarily a given. More important than the number of room nights is how those room nights fit into the business mix of the hotel. The transient market has been on the rise for the past several years, resulting in an overall drop in the number of rooms committable for the group market. So, in certain instances, a large meeting may actually be too large for a particular property’s group block allotment.

Fortunately, the number and variety of mid-range hotels geared toward the transient market (Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inns, Hilton Garden Inn, etc.) is also on the rise, which means group room blocks are slowly inching their way back up again.

3. Season

Most properties have three seasons. During high season, hotels typically have occupancy rates of 90 percent or better and, as a result, have little incentive to be flexible and make rate concessions. During shoulder season, occupancy rates usually fall between 70 percent and 89 percent, giving you a bit more negotiating power. You have the most bargaining leverage in low season, when occupancy dips below 70 percent and properties are pretty much willing to “do whatever it takes” to book the business. (Low season conditions also can occur when a hotel is hit with a short-term cancellation and needs to fill the hole quickly.)

A hotel’s seasons most often correspond with the seasons of the year. In Florida, for example, winter is high season and summer (especially August) is low season. But a hotel’s “seasons” also correspond with the days of the week. At most downtown and airport hotels, for instance, high season is Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; off season is Friday and Saturday; and shoulder season is Sunday and Monday.

At resorts, high season is generally dictated by the weather and its relationship to the resort’s recreation focus. May through September could be high season at a midwestern resort, low season at a desert resort, and shoulder season at a ski resort. (In gaming destinations like Las Vegas, weekends are high season and weekdays are shoulder season.) And if you meet over a holiday, you are definitely in low season at most hotels.

4. Food and Beverage

Food and beverage has gone from being a break-even line item for hotels in the ’70s and early ’80s to their second-largest profit center. So the more F&B revenue you can offer a property, the more valuable your piece of business becomes. Using post-convention reports, calculate exactly how much your meeting is worth to the hotel in terms of food and beverage dollars. Don’t forget to include “hidden” revenues from affiliated groups, hospitality suites, exhibit floor concessions, and other trackable revenues that a hotel may be able to provide. After tallying up these miscellaneous sources of revenue, you may discover that you have more negotiating clout than you initially thought.

5. Space Requirements

Ideally, the amount of meeting space you need to book should be proportionate to the number of rooms you need to block. If you’re blocking 100 rooms in a 500-room hotel, but require all of the function space, for example, your event is not going to be perceived as valuable because it leaves the property with no space to sell to another group. If you find yourself in this position, look for ways to reduce your space requirements. Perhaps you can use your general session room for lunch. Or maybe you really don’t need 16 concurrent breakout sessions.

6. Pattern

Your arrival/departure pattern should fit into the group pattern of the hotel — historically Sunday to Wednesday or Wednesday to Sunday. If your convention falls into one of these time frames, its value automatically increases. If you want to arrive on Tuesday and depart on Saturday, however, its value significantly decreases since the property would most likely have to break apart a standard date pattern before and after your meeting.

7. Opportunities for Ancillary Revenues

The more opportunities you create for your attendees to spend money, the greater the value of your business to a hotel. Properties in gaming destinations love to see open afternoons and evenings. Resorts want your attendees to utilize their spa, golf course, and other extras. If your program runs from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the hotel knows those facilities will not be utilized. Other areas to consider are in-house service providers such as a destination management company or audio-visual company, which typically give a portion of their revenues to the property.

Once you have a handle on the true value of your meeting to the hotel, you are ready to negotiate. Begin by compiling two lists: one of your needs (items that are not negotiable) and one of your wants (items that you would like to augment your event). An example of “needs” might be a specific number of guest rooms, a rate no higher than $140 a night, a general session room that seats 1,500 people, and 12 breakout rooms accommodating 200 people each theater-style. Your “wants” might include a complimentary breakfast for your board of directors, limo transportation for your keynote speaker, and six suite upgrades. Always negotiate your needs first. If the hotel can’t meet these basic requirements, move on to the next property on your list. When negotiating your wants, remember that the hotel has to turn a profit. Your “wish list” should be reasonable, based on the value of your meeting, and not so extensive that the hotel decides to take another piece of business over yours. Also keep in mind the three main factors that come into play when negotiating with a hotel or any other supplier: 1) time, 2) information, and 3) power.

Time

Recognize time as an investment. Don’t expect to select the site for your next meeting in a day. (There may be times when your meeting fits well into the first destination you call, but don’t expect this to happen often.) Expect to invest a significant amount of time researching various destinations and properties as well as analyzing the value of your meeting. Only then will you be able to negotiate successfully. Listen for key indicators to get the upper hand. Every salesperson has performance goals. So if a hotel sales manager indicates a sense of urgency by saying, “I could really use the contract back by the end of the week” or “What is it going to take to get this done by the 26th?,” it most likely means that he needs your piece of business to meet a quota or secure his performance bonus. As a result, those few remaining contract points or concessions that you still haven’t obtained may be in reach if you can address the hotel’s need to close the deal quickly.

Remember, this works in reverse too. If you are behind schedule in selecting a site for your annual convention and tell the sales manager that you need to sign a contract by the end of the week, don’t expect to close the conversation and be successful with: “And by the way, can I have three more dollars off the rate and six limo transfers?”

You set the clock. Don’t allow time to become your enemy. Never begin the process of negotiations or allow someone else to force you into a scenario where, due to lack of time, you agree to unfavorable terms just to get it done. At the same time, don’t draw the process out once you have a fair agreement.

Concessions are made when time is running out. A sales manager has no added incentive to make concessions at the start of the negotiation process when he knows you are looking at seven cities and 21 hotels. He does have incentive, however, when he is one of three finalists and this is the last shot at earning your business…and if he thinks you may walk away from the negotiating table if your requests aren’t met. Very few hotels, after all, are willing to lose an important piece of business based on two suite upgrades or not wanting to provide a complimentary newspaper delivery.

Information

Know their business. Before you can sell the hotel on the value of your meeting, you need to know how the hotel makes its money and what its “hot buttons” are. (Did you know, for example, that the profit margin on hotel rooms can be 70 percent or more, food can be in the low 20-percent area, and beverages are over 70 percent?) Only then can you show the strengths of your meeting and how it fills the hotel’s needs. Ultimately, only meeting planners who provide the best historical data on their events that address the overall value of their meeting to the hotel get the best deals. Know your meeting. A sales manager who has been in the industry for six months may not be familiar with your organization or understand the significance of your piece of business. As a result, it’s up to you to continually prove the worth of your meeting.

Power

Volume. The more business you can give the hotel, the more negotiating power you have. If you can book two meetings — the annual convention and perhaps a board of directors meeting, for example — you will have more leverage than a planner looking at the same dates who can only offer the property one event. If you know you have or can influence multi-year bookings or multiple meetings, bring these to the negotiating table.

Competition. If a sales manager thinks there’s no competition, there’s no reason to offer you the best possible rate or make any other concessions. On the other hand, if a hotel knows it’s competing against two or three properties, it will be much more likely to sharpen its pencil to offer you the best deal possible. If too many hotels are in the final running, however, a property will be less likely to compete aggressively.

Flexibility. The ability to be flexible automatically puts you in a position of power. If you can change your dates slightly, add another food and beverage function, live without 24-hour holds on all meeting space, or switch from classroom to theater-style seating, you may very well boost the value of your piece of business.

The ability to walk away. Even when both parties have done everything they can to attempt to create a win/win situation, you may still find yourself short of your negotiation goals. You must be willing to walk away. Remember, every hotel has a “walk-away rate” as well.

Mike Burns is Vice President, Mid Central Region at Conferon Global Services, Inc. in Twinsburg, Ohio. Visit us at http://www.conferon.com for all your meeting planning needs.