“We get criticized as an industry for being stagnant, for not being disruptive, for doing things the same old way,” she said. “It’s really important to talk to people in other industries and share knowledge that we have and learn from others.”
Sherry Parks believes the recent Marriott commission cut was a wake-up call for planners.
“Bottom-line results are the ruling factor, and quality is suffering,” she said. “Staff are less well-trained, the front desk and reservation systems show consistent issues with confirmations, history and reservations. The food has a mediocrity, like the old rubber chicken kind of hotel food. The largest hotel group in the country now has a mediocrity at the top levels of their brands that is affecting performance at the individual property level.”
Parks said she would look to book independent properties going forward.
“I would look to buy other brands, particularly European brands where integrity is still strong,” she said.
The reduced commission with very little notice is typical of changing vendor attitudes, according to Parks.
“There is an unbridled arrogance in the senior level management that gives little or no credence to planners, whether they are third party or in-house,” she said. “They are pushing everything, and you have to be careful.”
Parks said it’s important to have your contracts rewritten in plain English so there are no areas of grey.
“Be very detail-conscious and stay on top of people in a written format for every direction you give,” she said. “This paying 3 percent less on 30 days’ notice is a very strong indication of the lack of caring going on.”
It’s not just hotels, Parks added.
“United is now charging for all bags in economy,” she said. “That’s coming with all the carriers. If you are doing air and estimated $425 per person, and now you suddenly have to add $25 to $50 per person for a meeting, that becomes a big-ticket item. That’s a major lunch or a couple of breaks. That one announcement means that United won’t get my vote if there is an alternative carrier.”
Parks’ overall advice?
These individuals have driven SMMP in their companies, advanced their roles as meeting pros, and are helping to take our industry to the next level.
Back to the full list of 20 changemakers Lee Ann Adams Mikeman Vice President, Conference Planning & Special Events Science Applications International Corp. McLean, Va. PAST Lee Ann Adams Mikeman began her career as an administrative assistant supporting meetings and conferences at SAIC 25 years ago. About 10 years later she moved to the corporate level to begin consolidating meetings companywide. She now oversees a team of eight that coordinates meetings, conferences, and events. …
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Recognize your employees and keep your sales team in place!!
President’s Club & Chairman’s Club Experts!
We have been given wonderful opportunities to plan a multitude of Recognition and Incentive programs for corporations that have taken us all over the globe to the delight and success of our clients. So many of them build great products but retention of their trained sales team is challenging and our clients have discovered how important it is to offer an annual Award Program that is so unique and special, that most or many will never have the opportunity to do it on their own.
We have stayed at every great resort in each of the destinations they asked for: from Rio and The Copa Cabana Resort on the beach, to The Palace in Johannesburg Africa, to Vienna in Austria, to Sydney in Australia and even beyond to Christ Church in New Zealand and back on down to Hong Kong, in Japan and Moorea in the French Polynesian Islands to name a few.
These customized program adventures are built around the profiles of the winners to assure we design unique and extraordinary experiences that the general public won’t ever get to see. We include team-building but in a way that brings life and fun to a themed destination designing programs that really encourage great interaction between everyone, on all teams.
New winners are instantly part of the group and well many of the programs have winners that have won for well over 10 years, never missing and never leaving their positions as they are experiencing the world in a way very few ever get to do, the newer winners are then enveloped in this special group of winners and of course they too simply must win again, year after year.
We would love to design those kinds of experiences for your company whether incentive driven programs and or even to reconsider changing up those National Sales meetings that are just not that exciting anymore. New suggested formats, seating set ups and even locations that everyone will come in with a new appreciation for what they are about to learn and hear and will meet your budget and keep you IRS compliant.
We are waiting for your call…limited space for the right clients.
We have acquired 30 years of top notch experience in the industry and now have an in-market existence in countries all over the world.
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