It is clear that the hospitality industry has shifted because of the effects of the “P” word. Those who source for rooms, event spaces, and concessions, both domestically and internationally, are discovering a “new normal” that reflects the shifting ground we find ourselves standing on.
This ever-changing environment has forced the industry to conform and be more creative in the way we meet. Even though meetings and events are moving forward at a rapid pace, we are quickly finding that staffing, relationships, rates, concessions, processes, and contract clauses are vastly different. While sourcing a location for your next meeting, think of the following.
5 things to know about venue sourcing today
1. Regional conflicts and issues
Of course, with any global shift comes global turmoil. The pandemic has brought out the good, the bad, and the ugly. Internationally, there are many countries dealing with hiring issues, riots, safety concerns, and even all-out war, as we have seen in Ukraine. The situation with Russia across many European countries may be uneasy, but make sure to focus on your governmental travel warnings and review if the destinations that are having these issues are the right fit when venue sourcing for your meetings and events. It is always good to know how the regional conflicts will affect your decisions and the execution of the meeting itself, as well as the safety of all involved.
2. Relationships still matter
The global workforce is shifting due to everything that has happened in recent years. Some countries and locations are faring better than others. As the world continues to open back up and move toward what we call “normal”, know that many venues take a lot longer to respond to event requests. Some will take weeks depending on what country you are looking at. It is always good to work with your Global Sales Representatives or National Sales Representatives to assist in getting the responses needed in a timely manner. Once the contract is signed, be open with the hotel and destinations about your staffing expectations for the event. Some regions have very different ideas of what is “acceptable” during this time.
3. Rates and Concessions
Due to the compression of business and the rebooking of past canceled programs, event spaces and dates are scarce and the rates are rising. The backlog of events that need venue sourcing is creating a nightmare for some planners. Try to be as flexible as possible as destinations play Tetris with their meetings and events spaces. See if you can be flexible with your dates to fit the spaces available, or ask the destination what they could provide within your requirements.
4. Time is of the essence
Destinations around the globe have changed what is acceptable during the contracting process. Due to the constraints of the market, they are less likely to hold onto rates and space for long periods of time while internal executives make decisions. The market moves quickly and so does the space. Be prepared to make decisions and sign contracts quicker than usual, or you may find yourself missing out.
5. Fresh new looks
Despite being shut down throughout the pandemic, many suppliers saw it as an opportunity. It's not easy to undergo a full renovation without disrupting your customer base, so many businesses took the time to ensure they had a fresh new look, ready for when they re-open. Destinations, venues, and hotels spent millions of dollars renovating their rooms and spaces with soft and hard goods. When venue sourcing, take the time to see which spaces have been renovated and be open to reviewing old ones. You may find that the hotel you once turned down may be better than expected.
Like 9/11, the financial crisis, and other regional and global conflicts, this too shall pass. However, until the industry stabilizes, meeting and event planners and suppliers will find that the fabric that has held us together will continue to shift. If we can all remember to be more flexible and understand that we are all in this together—we will find the flexibility we need to secure and execute our business successfully. Having said that, we must be realistic about where we are at—flexibility may mean sacrificing things considered “normal” in the past, in order to build the experience that we expect for our clients.