A lively group of planners and hospitality partners attended the 2011 FICP West Region meeting immediately preceding FICP’s Education Forum at The Grand Del Mar in San Diego. The event included roundtable talks, a trends panel, keynoter Ann Kelly of MBD Consultants, and dinner at L’Auberge Del Mar, sponsored by Destination Hotels & Resorts of Southern California.

A few takeaways from the tables and the panel:

Concessions are critical. Consider: resort fees, Internet fees, suite upgrades, spa and fitness center use, and airport transfers

Clarence Day, director of national accounts, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, said less flexibility from companies, coupled with rate increases and tighter availability, will present challenges. Remember that the FICP affiliation opens doors for hoteliers selling your program internally, he advised, and go for multiyear and multiproperty deals.

Ruth Levine, founder, Speak Inc. Speakers Bureau, says keynote speakers might throw in a breakout session or panel as well—always ask!

Advice on adding value from Banquet Chef Scott Mickelson, The Grand Del Mar: Choose seasonal ingredients to ensure you get the highest-quality product at the lowest cost.