Selecting a hotel or venue for your meeting or event is arguably the most important decision you can make when impacting the overall success of the program. Venue sourcing impacts the budget, attendance and attendee feedback in a huge way and should be a top priority for every event planner! Below are the top five reasons your organization should consider using a professional hotel site selection company to ensure the best possible venue for your event.
1. Risk Mitigation & Control
The risk involved with venue contracting is significant. As we’ve seen with recent world events, planners can be left in a position of great uncertainty if their venue contracts are not crafted with adequate cancellations and attrition clauses, including robust force majeure clauses. One of the greatest reasons for the rise in hotel site selection companies, with skilled contract and negotiation experts, has been their ability to effectively reduce financial and security risk for the sponsor companies.
2. Centralized, Consistent Contracting Process in Compliance with Your Company Travel Policy
Companies who have a centralized venue sourcing resource better position themselves to leverage spend and ensure compliance with their internal travel and expense policies. Whether or not your organization utilizes a sourcing technology, such as Cvent, when you partner with a site selection company you compound your buying power and create a system where you have a dedicated watchdog to ensure of your organization’s travel policies are adhered to and considered from the conception of the program. Many agencies will provide you with complimentary reporting regarding your meeting spend and can break it down by category or brand to further help you foster key supplier relationships and preferred terms. This also helps companies understand, track and categorize their overall meeting spend.
3. Improved Quality, Consistency and End-User Satisfaction
There are many aspects of a venue to consider when making a host location decision. Things such as the aesthetics of the location and region, quality of the food & beverage offerings, the services and amenities offered, size, capacity and technology available are all critical to your attendee satisfaction. When working with a site selection expert, the ability to leverage their global expertise adds that extra layer of knowledge into the decision-making process. Many site selection partners have long-standing relationships with their global NSO partners, which gives you a strong link to each hotel brand and the latest information about their portfolios. This geographic and venue-specific knowledge also translates into providing a tailor-made, highly customized group experience.
4. Lower Overall Meeting Costs
Any hotel site selection company worth their salt will not only leverage their and your buying power to receive lower rates, but they will also use the profile of your group to negotiate value-added concessions such as upgrades, amenities and other group perks. When you consider actual hotel rooms, hotel provided F&B and meeting space, the hotel bill accounts for the largest piece of the average meeting budget pie by a wide margin. Negotiations around any of these components flow immediately to the bottom line and make all the difference between profitable events and loss leaders. Site selection firms have historical and competitive data for the venues you are considering and often know when to keep pushing. The best firms will garner added value in these areas and know how to negotiate for the win!
5. Time Management Savings for Internal Staff
Because very few site selection firms charge you for their services, it’s easy to see how the time they spend on your venue sourcing provides an immediate ROI by reducing the time internal employees spend on venue research and negotiation. These agencies are paid directly by the hotel’s marketing budget as travel agency commissions. And before you make assumptions about rates being elevated as a result, rest assured top agencies have the lowest rate guarantee to protect you. Time is a precious resource. On average, the site selection process takes 25 hours to complete from initial inquiries to contracting. Imagine what you could do with an additional 25 hours for each meeting or event to improve productivity in your organization all while maintaining your loyalty planner points.