How To Encourage Repeat Conference Bookings

As someone who regularly uses hotels for meetings and training courses I get to see the good, the bad and occasionally indifferent ways venues cater for such events.

Here are my top 20 tips to keep your hosts happy and encourage repeat bookings:

  1. Confirm the booking  in writing- date, room size, set up, what’s included and what’s not.
    Put this in a format that is easy for the booker to pass on to the host.
  2. Recognise that the host may not always have been involved with the booking, and not everything will always be exactly as they would like it – Be flexible to changes.
  3. If the room has natural light, make use of this. So many venues put the presenter and screen in front of the window then end up having to close the curtains (and waste power by having all the lights on – where is the logic in this?)
  4. Before arrival – check that the room is ready and that all equipment works. Simple things such as sufficient flip chart paper, the flip chart pens supplied all work, that the projector lens is clean (when was the last time yours saw a lens wipe?), the stationery box is stocked with basics such as blue tack, there is a waste paper bin, water, coat hooks, etc
  5. Check positioning of the projector (lined up correctly with the screen), and ensure all running cables are covered with a cable mat – both for safety and a professional appearance.
  6. If it is a presentation or training event, provide the presenter with a table and some space to put all their papers, etc.
  7. If any materials have been couriered or sent on ahead to the venue, ensure these are already in the room.
  8. Brief staff on what meetings and events are taking place, and where.  If using a welcome board, check all the information is accurate (especially company names and spelling).
  9. On arrival allow the host time to get settled after their journey, and as a minimum go to the cloakroom and see the room, before going through the detail of refreshment breaks, etc.
  10. Offer refreshments to the host in advance of the other participants arriving, so they have a chance to enjoy theirs before being ‘on show’.
  11. Ensure someone is on hand to help with any last minute changes to the set up and in particular showing them how any equipment – projectors, air con, etc works, and going through fire and facilities.
  12. Make it easy for the host to contact someone throughout the day without having to chase around the hotel to find you if there is a problem.
  13. Check refreshment and break times and ensure these arrive on time.  It’s also useful to check with the host regarding duration of breaks – some meeting timetables are very tight, and don’t allow for a leisurely one-hour lunch (one hotel I used recently took 1½ hours to serve our lunch – our timetable only allowed for 40 minutes, so we had to cut out 50 minutes from the afternoon timetable!). Be prepared to be flexible with break timings – agendas don’t always run on time.
  14. Provide refreshments or buffet lunch away from the meeting room whenever possible to allow a change of scene.
  15. Check with host if they are happy for staff to enter the room during day to clear cups, etc.
  16. Be imaginative with your buffet menus – no one wants to eat bread and pastry every day.
  17. Use different flasks for coffeee and hot water to avoid coffee tainting water flasks. Label these clearly to avoid confusion (this cuts down on wastage too as you wont have people pouring coffee onto tea bags!).
  18. Provide hosts with a method of securing the room without having to find a member of staff. (And ensure it can be left unlocked if need be for people to get in and out easily). Ensure staff servicing the room during breaks locks it again afterwards.
  19. At the end of the day ask the host for their feedback – they will welcome the opportunity to let you know, especially if they have further events booked with you. And you will learn what needs attention.
  20. And finally aim to do something exceptional, some thing different or special by which you will be remembered and you will increase your chances 10 fold of getting referral or repeat business.

If you would like more helpful tips, tools and inspiration for your business, sign up for the Hospitality Business Toolkit here

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