10 Things Meeting Planners Hate about Hotels and Hotel Sales

There are many fine hotel sales folks out there and I have talked about them in a few posts like this one about the Westin Chicago North Shore and another about the Langham. If you are one of the “good” ones, don’t get your panties in a bunch over this post, count yourself as one of the good guys!

This is by no means a complete list and I know that my meeting and event-planning comrades can add about 80 more so feel free to put them in the comment section. Perhaps a savvy and smart hotel salesperson (and there are a lot of them) will read this and tailor how they interact with us –

The hard sell

  • Enough said but if you want to read more, check out my post about how Hoteliers Will Loose with the hard sell.

Paying for in-room internet

  • Come on Mr or Mrs Resort Property, If the Holiday Inn Express can give me superfast high-speed internet for free, so can you, so don’t give us whatever excuse you are peddling this week.

Waiting for the sales person to call

  • Happens all of the time. If we set a call time of 10:00 am to talk about your property, make it 9:55 when you call. Really don’t care that you were on the phone with “another client”.

Resort Fees

  • Another scam by hotel properties to avoid paying taxes and reduce the advertised room rate, this is one that can get newbie meeting planners in trouble when they go back to the boss and say “the rate is only $149.00 per night”! Add the fees to the room rate and pay your taxes like the rest of us.

Hidden Construction

  • If you are planning to do a 100 Million Dollar renovation to your property, please let me know up front. I do not want to sign a contract and then read in the paper that the pool will be closed for a year while you create Water-Land-o-Rama. This happened to me in Chicago at a well-known property. The client and attendees arrived to a hotel that was all tore up and the sales department knew it was scheduled when they booked our group… bad, just bad. Have not been back since.

Competing Groups in House

  • I asked if there was going to be another pharma group in house over my dates, you could have said yes, I would have looked at other dates… now I just don’t like you and my client is in deep crap with her boss.

A Crappy RFP Experience

  • My RFP is clear how I want (or need) your response, very clear, it is on page one of the RFP, why do you insist on doing it your way when you should know that it is going to kick you to the bottom of the pile. Also, I asked for a particular set of items to be included, why did you ignore them completely and make me come back and ask.

The Site Visit I don’t care about

  • My Group is Pharma, Tech, or Association, why -o- why are we walking around your property talking about how many beautiful weddings you have had or how Jimmy’s Bar Mitzvah was fabulous. I don’t care!!!

Address Me When Speaking

  • I was once on a site with a client and the sales person never made eye contact with me and actually called me Kevin… He only spoke to my client. Yes, the client will make the final decision on what property to choose,  but listen up jackass, I hold more influence over the decision than you may realize, in fact, I can spin your property anyway I want. Also, the client chose me to be her eyes and ears and she trusts me, calling me Kevin was a really bad idea. We got back in the car and she said “What a jerk”.

Not following direction

  • The client said “a low key site visit” and she meant low key. Picking her up in a limo and having all of the staff out front to greet her made her uncomfortable. When I said the site visit should just be the three of us, I did not mean her, me and all of you.

Bonus Gripe

Trying to hard to make it fit

This is something that even the best sales people with the best intentions fall victim too. They want a sale so desperately that they will try and try to make it work. Instead, concentrate on the relationship, not the program.

My program is specific and 1/2 way through the site we all know this, please stop trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Instead, let’s talk about other ways we can work together on future stuff and let this one go. I am with my client but have 20 other clients, we can still finish the site and maybe my client will come back for a smaller program or maybe it will work for another client.

I once had a sales person that was thinking that the program was not going to work and she was brilliant… she asked if we had an extra hour (yes) and brought a car around, we jumped in and she took us to a sister property where the program would work….. and instead of handing us off to the new sales person, she “joined” her counterpart and they did the site together because we were comfortable with her. I don’t know if she was in on the commission on that one but she deserved to be and if she wasn’t, she ended up being the winner in the long run anyway.

That is the essence of sales, sell me what I need, not what I want.. if you do that, the return will be 10 fold (I have since done 7 programs with her).

There you have it! 11 gripes that meeting planners have with hotels and hoteliers!

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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