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changing your conference hotel

What My New Hairdresser Taught Me About Hotel Site Selection

I tried a new hairdresser today.¬† If you were to ask women what are some of the most stressful endeavours we’ve had to face in our lives, “finding a new hairdresser” ranks right up there.¬† Its about as stressful, if not moreso, as changing your conference hotel after hosting multiple successful programs at your trusted venue.

I didn’t “change” hairdressers, but rather my trusted hairdresser, Ty, has decided to open his own salon.¬† He’s currently taking a few months off work to set up his new place.¬† I have short hair, so I can’t just wait for his shop to open in January, I needed a cut now!

I asked the salon staff who they recommended that was good with short hair, and they suggested I meet with Kylie.¬† I had seen Kylie around the salon; her clients seemed to like her.¬† But I have short hair!¬† Would she know how to cut my hair?¬† I have fine hair!¬† And a small head!¬† Will she be able to figure out how neurotic I am about my hair???¬† What about my colour???¬† I have lots of grey hair that I strategically dye blond so people don’t think I’m 80 years old!¬† Will she understand what its like to be a 46 year old woman with 80 year old fine, brittle, greying short hair???

All women can relate to this scenario.¬† It may not be your hair, it may be another trusted care professional.¬† Even people who thrive on change (as I do…) some things are just non-negotiable.

After some time digesting my neuroses, I realized it wasn’t change I was fearing, but rather it was because I had a good thing with Ty and I was fearful of screwing it all up by trying something/someone new.

And so I sat nervously in Kylie’s chair.¬† Now she’s asking me questions about my hair!¬† I wasn’t prepared for this!¬† Shouldn’t she be able to figure it out just by looking at my hair???¬† Then she starts making some suggestions….. hey, I kinda like that idea.¬† And ya, I think I can try that too……

She settles in with her scissors and starts cutting.¬† So far so good, I like what she’s doing here.¬† In fact, she’s really quite good!¬† She’s rather meticulous, almost analyzing my every hair!¬† And the colour she is suggesting for next time?¬† Ya, I could really use a freshening up!

After it was all over, I ended up LOVING my cut, and loving my new hairdresser.

So what does this have to do with hotel site selection?

Meeting partners and hotel sales managers –

When a planner looks to move away from their incumbent hotel or service provider, it can create anxiety.¬† Given we’re an industry based on trust and relationships, they KNOW AND TRUST their current suppliers!¬† Simply providing them with the specs of your hotel or service is not going to be enough to lure them away and try what you are offering. You’re going to have to SHOW them something that will get them thinking.¬† You’re going to have to be creative.¬† Simply being a salesperson¬† won’t win you the business. Being an expert and an adviser might.¬† Being a friend, even better.

Meeting planners and #eventprofs –

You may have used the same hotel year after year for your programs.  Its a great hotel!  You know the layout.  You know the staff.  You trust the staff.  They know your program!  Delegate satisfaction is always good.  So why switch up your hotel?  Changing your conference hotel will only create uncertainty!

But what if, just what if, a new hotel brought NEW ENERGY to your program?  What if you discovered new things about your program and its potential with a new venue?   What if the layout of the meeting space created a different flow, and your attendees met people they had never run into before?  What if a different AV firm flipped your lighting upside down and made your program look brand spanking new?  What if a different type of keynote speaker pulled a different type of dialogue out of your attendees?  What if revamping your sponsorship program created more energy, and more visibility to your sponsors?

What if, just what if, that new hairdresser ended up being the fresh change you needed, whether you thought you needed it or not?

Its food for thought.

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