By Kathleen Edwards, head of glh Venues
London is a thriving European capital, and a global financial hub, as well as a city with a rich heritage full of fascinating attractions. However, compared to other cities, the pace of London’s meeting, conference and events sector can sometimes leave the client feeling that London is lacking the hospitality associated with the city’s tourism.
Event and conference planning will always be about delivering excellence, from beginning to end, down to the smallest detail – with great hospitality at the centre. While there is promise and growth for the sector this year, there are opportunities to further position London as the leading destination for all things conferences, meeting and events.
Excellent hospitality should be a key principal for hotels whether dealing with guests on leisure or business trips. It’s the most important tool for developing meaningful and successful relationships. The meaning of the term exemplifies everything the events industry should be delivering – a friendly reception, helpfulness, warm heartedness, kindness and importantly, great service.
Simple thoughtful actions considerately delivered can make all the difference: careful preparation for pre-event venue show rounds, planning in refreshment break times for the client, booking an onward taxi and providing a “grab and go lunch” for time pressured event planners can go a long way in developing a positive working relationship. Ensure all technology works right the first time, and without glitches. Reassure clients that you have a handle on all aspects of the event, take care to support the client with changes and agenda tweaks that may arise. Simple regular updates with advice throughout the planning – anticipating the client’s wants and needs – shows you have invested in their events success.
Clients expect memorable experiences and attentive service at every stage of the process. Whether guests have had positive or negative experiences, they are likely to provide detailed feedback about the event planning and execution. An injection of hospitality goes a long way and could be the differentiating factor to ensure better customer reviews.
Commitment in action
Delivering on your promise is crucial to developing and maintaining relationships and in building the reputation of your business. A strong start is important, but delivering quality customer service throughout an event, is imperative. When you tell a customer your company prides itself on providing outstanding service, and finding solutions to any issues – you have to deliver. Arranging site meetings with thoughtful refreshments, sending regular and meaningful communications, taking accountability and solving issues brings these values to life.
Adaptability and continuity
Event planning can be complex and is not without its challenges. Last minute changes require a certain level of agility and this flexibility is at the heart of hospitality. How we react in these situations and deliver service to guests cements our reputation. Anticipating questions, and arriving to meetings with solutions is a must. Friendliness and helpfulness should not dissipate when things are difficult. Guests will recognise this continued commitment to delivering hospitality when overcoming challenges.
Any successful event requires attentiveness at every stage. Let’s ensure the MICE industry embodies the friendliness tourists are familiar with when visiting the capital, and match the city’s world class reputation.