Perfecting the finer points

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 September, 2010, 12:00am

Details such as flowers, food, or even conference room decorations can determine whether an event planner stays loyal to a hotel or seeks another venue.

When something goes wrong at an event, it's too late to make changes, so fine-tuning must be done during planning.

Now, event planners are focusing on the green factor as they seek venues with techniques to reduce the cost and waste of resources such as paper. Event planners increasingly make their decisions online when previewing a venue's Mice facilities. France-based Accor hotels, for example, offers the Pullman Co-Meeting service, which allows planners to view rooms and book online.

A customer wishing to organise a meeting in a Pullman hotel can use the Meeting Matrix system to view available rooms in 3D online and arrange to have them customised, including specifying equipment required. Within 24 hours, the Pullman Co-Meeting team will send the customer an estimate based on the requirements given. As part of the system, a Pullman event manager, supported by an IT solutions manager, serves as the single contact person for the event.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts is also focusing on environmental sustainability with its paperless meeting planning initiative. The group has launched its eMenus tool to provide meeting and event planners easy online access to banquet and catering menus.

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts' Mice Brand Standards govern contact with event planners across all Grand Hyatt hotels in Asia-Pacific. Technology is improving response times and other services.

'It was previously 'within 24 hours', but as communications via e-mail and instant messaging has become more common, our standard is immediate or within the same working day depending on time zones,' says Wilson Lee, Grand Hyatt's director of global sales. 'One standard, for example, is response time. Other examples, include tailoring menus to specific requirements, providing a dedicated point of contact, and meeting planner rewards for the event planner.'

Lee says the emphasis on a 'total hotel approach' assures that events are handled professionally by the entire team, not just one salesperson.

Ideas to improve meetings continue to flourish.

Pullman now offers 'innovative breaks' during which delegates can enjoy massages and energising gourmet breaks.