How To Keep Meeting Hosts Happy and Encourage Repeat Bookings

If you want to get repeat business from your conference organisers, you need to keep the conference host happy. As a regular user of conference facilities here is my hit list of the things every hotel or conference centre needs to remember to get the organiser (and delegates) going out of their way to come back to your hotel

  1. Confirm the booking – date, room size, set up, what’s included and what’s not.
  2. Put this in a format that is easy for the booker to pass on to the host
  3. Recognise that the host may not always have been involved with the booking, and not everything will always be exactly as they would like it – Be flexible to changes.
  4. If the room has natural light, make use of these. So many hotels put the presenter and screen in front of the window then end up having to close the curtains (and waste power by having all the lights on – where is the logic in this?)
  5. Before arrival – check that the room is ready and that all equipment works. Simple things such as sufficient flip chart paper, that the projector lens is clean (when was the last time yours saw a cleansing wipe?), the stationery box is stocked with basics such as blue tack, there is a waste paper bin
  6. Ensure all running cables are covered with a cable mat
  7. If it is a presentation or training event, provide the presenter with a table to put all their papers, etc
  8. If any materials have been couriered or sent on ahead to the hotel, ensure these are already in the room
  9. On arrival allow the host time to get settled after their journey, and as a minimum go to the cloakroom and see the room, before going through the detail of refreshment breaks, etc
  10. Ensure someone is on hand to help with any last minute changes to the set up and in particular showing them how any equipment – projectors, air con, etc works, and going through fire and facilities
  11. Offer refreshments to the host in advance of the other participants arriving, so they have a chance to enjoy theirs before being ‘on show’.
  12. Check refreshment and break times and ensure these arrive on time.
  13. Check with the host regarding duration of breaks – some meeting timetables are very tight, and don’t allow for a leisurely one-hour lunch (one hotel I used recently took 1½ hours to serve our lunch – our timetable only allowed for 40 minutes, so I had to cut out 50 minutes from the afternoon timetable!)
  14. Be prepared to be flexible with break timings – agendas don’t always run on time.
  15. Make it easy for the host to contact someone without having to chase around the hotel to find you if there is a problem.
  16. Provide refreshments or lunch away from the meeting room whenever possible to allow a change of scene
  17. Check with host if they are happy for staff to enter the room during day to clear cups, etc
  18. Be imaginative with your buffet menus – no one wants to eat bread and pastry every day
  19. Clearly distinguish between coffee flasks and hot water flasks (this cuts down on wastage too as you wont have people pouring coffee onto tea bags!)
  20. Provide hosts with a method of securing the room without having to find a member of staff. (And ensure it can be left unlocked if need be for people to get in and out easily). Ensure staff servicing the room during breaks locks it again afterwards.
  21. At the end of the day ask the host for their feedback – they will welcome the opportunity to lat you know, especially if they have further events booked with you. -And you will learn what needs attention.
  22. And finally aim to do something exceptional, some thing different or special by which you will be remembered and you will increase your chances 10 fold of getting referral or repeat business.