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“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” adapted from Of Mice and Men
Sometimes our client’s meetings change. Some grow in nature, some shrink in nature. All change, great or small, can cause stress to a planner. Its not only about changing the hotel contract at the venue they chose, change also affects each and every aspect of the planning process – from food and beverage, to decor, to registration, to speakers, etc. Change in a meeting planner’s world is STRESSFUL, and hotel contract addendums is not high on their list of fun tasks.
When change happens, its also going to affect us as meeting partners. Growth is good, shrinkage is bad, but its change nevertheless. The meeting planner did not foresee this change. The meeting planner perhaps does not want this change, but its their job (and now ours to deal with it).
Change often can look frantic and disorganized – when a program grows for whatever reason, the planner may not have all the answers. This is now a NEW meeting and they are learning as they go as well! In the same way, a shrinking program puts them into attrition, and planners don’t want that added financial stress either.
Folks, meeting planners don’t necessarily welcome these changes, but we all need to work together to weather the change-storm! If you can help reduce the stress on the planner, then you will come out of it in a much more favourable light. What are some do’s and don’t of change management with our meeting planners?
What Hotel Sales Managers Can Do to Help Meeting Planners with Hotel Contract Addendums:
- Be present – hotel contract addendums are likely not your favourite part of your job either. Unless a program is growing and adding numbers to your goals, doing addendums take you away from other goal-driven tasks. However part of our promise to our clients is to be there for them, from beginning to end. Be present, mentally, for them during their time of need. Perhaps schedule addendum time after your more-strategic Q2 activities.
- Be helpful – showcase the options to the planner that work best for their new numbers or format. Try your best to show them something that will save them liability. You’ll need to work on options that are also in the best interests of the hotel, but sometimes the best interests include helping and protecting your client from liability and thus turning them into a repeat client.
- Be resourceful – Perhaps a new program no longer fits at your hotel. Be resourceful by pointing out collaboration with a neighbouring hotel, rather than just saying “no, we can’t do that.”
- Be flexible – if the planner is still working through the changes, save some space for them on first option until they have time to figure it out. Doing one addendum is easier than doing two if you are pressuring them for decision on any new spaces.
- Be empathetic – often when a plan changes, the meeting planner may forward a frantic email looking for more availability. They likely don’t have all the answers. When asking for additional information, please be patient. The planner may not know themselves. Helping the planner with “best guesses” could be more helpful than pressuring them for answers during this time of uncertainty.
- Be clear – if/when a hotel contract addendum is necessary, please ensure complete clarity in what is being changed, and only include items that are being changed. To confirm, an addendum and an amendment are two different things (learn their differences here).
Change can be good or bad, depending on your filter of the situation, but by following the simply guidelines above, weathering change (and the pending hotel contract addendums) will be much easier and less stressful.
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