While the mantra in the real estate industry may be “location, location, location,” the saying for hoteliers should be “service, service, service.”
A recent study by Maritz Hospitality Research Group, St. Louis, reveals that meeting planners reward attitude and service when picking venues. Hotels that don't appeal to planners may have a tougher time bouncing back from the hospitality industry slump.
While a desirable location and competitive pricing are essential for meeting hotels, planners are clearly looking for a dedicated hotel service staff that is willing to work as partners to ensure a meeting's success, says Rick Garlick, director of consulting and strategic implementation for Maritz.
The results of the study — a survey of more than 1,700 planners — found that a collaborative partnership that extends from first contact through the end of the meeting goes a long way toward bringing customers back. A responsive hotel staff that does simple things such as thanking meeting planners for their business also helps to create loyalty.
In addition, quality of service was deemed vital to winning repeat business, particularly when things don't go exactly as planned. When things go wrong — as 30 percent of those surveyed said happened at their most recent event — hotels can mitigate the damage, and potentially save the relationship, if employees handle the situation well. However, 40 percent of respondents who experienced problems said they weren't likely to return to that facility, and 63 percent wouldn't recommend the property to others.