Thank you to our fellow Chapter members who responded to the survey Sandy recently sent. Here is some of the feedback received so far regarding food and beverage, hotel negotiations and hotel Covid-19 cleaning policies. If you haven’t yet completed the survey, please do so.
How will food and beverage look at your next conference?
- More plated meals as opposed to buffets.
- If it is a buffet, it will be served by attendants. More single-serve offerings (nuts, cookies, etc.)
- Mostly prepackaged snacks. You need to budget more for server fees. You will need servers to pour coffee and hand it to you; you cannot touch the same dispenser.
- Served food stations.
- We are not doing any luncheons, dinners or large receptions that we would normally do.
- I think it will look much the same as it always has but with some minor changes that are easy to execute.
What is the best way to keep up with your hotel’s COVID-19/cleaning policies?
- Discuss during contract negotiations, have a halfway check-in and have a final review two weeks prior to on-site arrival so the information can be included in the “know before you go” email confirmation to attendees.
- Most hotels have their policies posted. Housekeeping is the big change; you need to request your room cleaning at check-in. Do you want daily cleaning, every other day or no one entering our room during your stay?
- Ask. Things are changing fast, so be sure to keep checking on where they are on any given day.
- Week before arrival, guests/planners are informed of cleaning protocols.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate.
- It’s widely available on websites or from your CSM.
What is your best tip for negotiating with hotels/customers as we come out of the pandemic?
- Treat them like a true partner.
- Give your hoteliers grace. They are busy beyond belief and still not fully staffed in most, if not all, departments. Realize that it may take a while to get a response and send your RFP in plenty of time.
- Be patient and know what you want going in.
- Be flexible from both sides! Work with hotels on set up and tear down space and add block reviews to contract.
- Be clear, concise about what you want and work to a common goal.