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VIPER is gearing up for ADMEI 2014 in Washington D.C. We’re extremely excited for the opportunity to meet with the influential and innovative group of people who help drive our industry forward, and there is a lot to be optimistic about.
Recent research confirms value is the number one thing on the mind of most business travelers and planners. The use of telecommunications is on the rise, but face-to-face, in-person meetings are not going the way of the 8-track player any time soon. So don’t see this as a damning indictment of the meetings and events industry, because with a little foresight and planning there is increasing potential for great returns.
The significant takeaway here is you must distinguish between planners seeking value vs. being cheap. Travelers still want luxury, convenience, and generally pleasant experiences; they just demand to see a decent ROI so people from the finance department don’t jump out of their chairs wielding slide rules like sabers. Continue reading
Do you ever feel left out? Getting down on yourself because it seems like people don’t need you anymore? Some nefarious practices seem to be swirling about the destination and events industry as people are trying to bypass DMCs to save a few pennies. It’s beginning to feel like someone asked you for Cheryl’s number to invite her to the party, but your Evite to the party got lost on the way to your inbox.
More and more planners are trying to go direct these days, but some are still trying to dupe DMCs into giving up the names and contact information of their trusted suppliers and vendors. There is one elementary and fundamental way to stop this from happening: stop giving out the names of your vendors. If it means you have to work harder creating explanations of venues and services to sell clients on an experience, so be it. Don’t feel bad about it either; when someone asks for your recommendations and goes around you, it amounts to a theft of services. Continue reading
Remember your first job? It may just have been a miserable summer gig cutting grass or painting fences, but you probably did your best to show people you were more than just a slacker teenager, and at the very least you would be helping them do something they didn’t have the expertise — or, let’s be completely honest, the time and motivation — to do themselves. If you just sat there waiting for people to come to you, you’d never have made the money to buy that rust bucket you called a car. Hanging a flyer on a telephone pole reminding people why they wanted YOU to cut their grass wasn’t high tech or overly flattering, but it worked.
Now that you’re a big shot at a big time (or small time) DMC you may think those days are behind you, but it’s all the same game. You have a skill that can help people, but you can’t expect them to know that. Many of the people who could use your services aren’t full-time event planners, meaning they either haven’t heard of DMCs, or aren’t quite sure what DMCs do. Continue reading
You’ve heard the age old phrases “more is not always better” and “quality over quantity.” As the destination and events industry continues to modernize, 100-page (or even 50 page) proposals aren’t going to impress anybody because people don’t have time to spend a whole day sifting through something that could be conveyed effectively using far less words and fewer pieces of paper. There’s no reason you need to spend the time it takes to tediously produce such giant documents, and nobody wants to read through such a vast maze of content anyways.
Enormous proposals convey to clients that you don’t care about their time, and they tend to dilute the client’s perception of your expertise. Why further cloud what is often an overwhelmingly complex landscape for potential clients to navigate? Don’t go and offer 15 different mediocre catering options when you can tell them about three exceptional ones that best fit their needs. You are an expert, so your recommendations should reflect that. Continue reading
Many Destination Management Companies exist on an island. It can be hard to find and connect with colleagues who are not direct competitors, and that simple fact alone can make it very difficult to operate collaboratively, ask legitimate questions, evaluate best practices, or even take the general temperature of the industry.
The good news is you can find a cooperative environment filled with thoroughly qualified and experienced colleagues by joining a DMC association. For example, the Association of Destination Management Executives International, ADMEI, has a membership base filled with experienced professionals who were once in your same position, but collaboration and information sharing flourishes between ADMEI members because they can easily connect with colleagues that do not compete for the same business. Formed in 1995, ADMEI is the only non-profit association for DMC executives and their staffs and is a powerful advocate for the DMC industry. Continue reading
Last week we offered some advice and tips [see Site Inspection 101 (pt. 1)] for capitalizing on your site inspection, which is truly your best sales opportunity. The additional tips below will help you follow through in pulling off a flawless site inspection.
- Don’t act like they’ve already chosen you. If you get a site inspection, you should win the business. But you haven’t yet done so; don’t act like the business is yours. Put on your best presentation and continue to impress the customer.
- Don’t be married to your ideas. Let customers know they cannot offend you. Remind them you are an expert, and though you believe in your recommendations, you value customer input above all else. Ensure them you are flexible and want to provide them with the perfect event.
- Listen, ask questions, be flexible, and listen more. Don’t forget to stop talking and listen. Make customers acutely aware that you are always listening and putting their needs first. Continue reading
If you called up most of your leads and asked to spend an entire afternoon in their office, they would more than likely scoff at your request — they simply don’t have the time. But when a potential customer arrives for a site inspection, you have a tremendous opportunity to close the deal with a captive audience. There is no other occasion where you will have the hours, or even days, to show a customer exactly what you can offer, so don’t blow it.
Often, there is talk about the bottom line. But don’t take shortcuts to cut costs here; win that next big piece of business and you are sure to affect the bottom line far more than by saving a few bucks on the site inspection. You should view a site inspection with a potential customer as the ultimate chance for success. To win the business, you should be pulling out all the stops, but it’s also imperative you get the little things right. Continue reading