What Planners REALLY Want by Ruth Harris, CMP, CTAS

Planners Want:

Easy Data Collection

Cost Savings

Time Savings

Communicate Brand



Happy Attendees

*** Partner with Suppliers to create a memorable experience for our attendees


Reasons for Site Selection: 44% say Location

Planners turn to those in the industry they have developed a relationship with, usually from associations like SGMP for site selection advice.

- Different ways to enhance attendees experience

- Save agency money

- Make Planner look good

- Makes Supplier look good

- Makes Supplier’s property look good

- Secure Repeat Business

Utilizing the Senses

Rule of 7: Every adult can entertain 7 senses +/- 2

- As a planner you want to use these: visual, audio, smell, taste, touch


- Personalize food and beverage, design website to be ideal for information gathering for planners/attendees, recognize attendees by name, have greeters to welcome guests, interactive coffee tastings, breaks, spa smells, customized music available or private message to attendees in rooms via TV, use meeting logo on cocktail napkins, coasters, hotel keys, door cards, pillowcases with conference logo in rooms as a take-away, photos of attendees as take away, custom M&M’s, notes delivered to guest rooms with info about the next day’s activities, donate rebate to the conference charity, bartender challenges or make your own sushi at opening reception (interactive ideas), offer Complete Meeting Package- breaks, lunch, easel stand and pads, LCD projector and screen, etc. Complementary Wi-Fi Access, give Planners an App for their Meeting- information about Hotel, signing bonuses to planners, spouse incentives, group movie incentives, book 2 nights and get 3rd night 50% off, highlight your uniqueness (Kansas City- BBQ, Daytona Beach- Race Track & Beach, etc), highlight your brant, sister properties, etc. Have planner sign a multi-year deal, incentive for planner to submit an RFP, include partners in your promotion- airlines, rental car, etc. Provide a credit to a Desitmation Management COmpany

Mistakes Planners Make:

Not getting commitments in writing- include ALL details, (6 late checkouts, extras included) hotel employees change FREQUENTLY, Ask for an Addendum to contract if extras are added, Not including indemnification, Failing to plan for contingencies- back up plan. Have Crisis Management Plans for your meetings- master list of attendee count and their rooms, evacuation plan for your whole group to meet up, Failing to troubleshoot before meeting, Over-inflating  room block and F&B revenue, Not including proper force majeure provisions in contracts, include food allergy accommodations, Who is in the Hotel at the same time? Conflicts or disruptions can occur.

SGMP SREC Planner Survey:

23% Federal Planners

31% State Planners

46% Contract Planners


62% try to plan at SGMP Member properties

69% felt more confident working with SGMP Planner

- Develop each proposal to each group, every instance is Unique


Economy Implications:

- Fewer Face-to-Face Meetings

- Less Attendees

- Less Funding for Food and Fewer Days in Hotel

- Fewer Meetings in General


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