1. First Impressions are Everything

How are you greeted upon arrival by the bell staff?  Is this area well staffed and are there plenty of employees greeting guests and carefully driving cars through the valet area?  Are their uniforms updated and clean and fit well?  Are they pleasant and friendly wearing a warm and welcoming smile?  This is your guests first impression of the place you are bringing them to stay and meet.  Make sure the hotels style matches that of your own brand messaging.  This same method can also be tested on the hotel’s operator who also gives a first impression when calling the hotel.

2. An Attentive Sales Manager

Is your sales manager in the lobby waiting to greet you?  I thought all hotels sales managers were trained as I was; to be ready and prepared to meet you upon arrival at the hotel.  Nothing goes further than the feeling you get knowing your arrival was anticipated and planned for and that you are the most important thing happening in that sales managers life on this day at this moment.  This little but effective touch will let you know how well management is training their staff and therefore, how well your guests will be looked after during their stay.  The best hotel directors of sales train their sales managers on this technique called “meet and greet”.

3. A Detailed Tour Groomed for You

Has the sales manager prepared in advance to show you exactly where your meeting and banquets will take place as well as the variety of guestrooms and suites you need for your guests?  So often hotel sales managers don’t take the time to go through your agenda prior to the site visit and you end up seeing meeting space you’d never need and room categories you don’t want.  A well trained sales manager has done his/her homework prior to your arrival through the many conversations you’ve had as well as taking the time to research your organization to completely understand who you are and why you are having the meeting.  This will show you how valuable your business is to that hotel, or not.

4. Renovations

How recently was the hotel renovated?  Are the guestrooms, suites, meeting rooms and public areas updated?  Any torn or worn furniture or stains or worn out carpeting is not a place one would be comfortable staying in, which is very different than cleanliness.  There are some hotels who could use some renovating; however, their cleanliness and level of service is so top notch that one can overlook brand new upholstery.  When it comes to cleanliness there are no excuses.  If I saw a dirty hotel I would end my site visit then and there.  Dusty baseboards, hair in the bathroom, film on tv remote controls, stained room service menus, musty odors all fall into the category of not acceptable.

5. Sample the Catering

Always ask to have a meal with the sales manager during your site visit.  This will both enable you to sample the cuisine and the service you and your guests will receive as well as give you time to spend with your sales manager who will help you plan an effective and cost conscious event.  You can share your needs and expectations, past history as to what has pleased your executives and what to avoid, and work out any potential situations that could make or break the success of your meeting.  While walking around the hotel does your sales manager stop to pick up any items that don’t belong on the floor?  Does he/she pick up the phone and report a burned out light bulb or stain on the carpet?

6. Meet the Staff

Lastly, does your sales manager introduce you to department managers who will serving you and your guests such as conference service, audio visual, front office management, security?  Meeting these individuals while you are there will help you establish a rapport with the employees who will be working together with you before your group’s arrival, while planning the meeting, and onsite when you are there with your guests.  Making “friends” in advance will make for smooth conversations and built in comfort of talking with someone you have already met and established a relationship with.  Hotel employees enjoy pleasing their guests.  You just have to let them know exactly what you expect and most often they can deliver it just as you like.