Booking meeting space - will service win or lose the deal?

This September, Toister Performance Solutions will be piloting a public supervisory skills workshop called Getting Started as a Supervisor. Hosting a public workshop requires me to find suitable meeting space in my three pilot locations: Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. Over the next two weeks, I'll provide detailed analysis of the type of service I receive from each venue I contact.  I will highlight the winners (and losers) and describe why they won (or lost) my business. No punches will be pulled, but I also won't be playing favorites. Finally, the names of each venue will be omitted since this is an active sales process.

The Competition

The primary competitors are two major hotel chains with a large presence in all three of my target markets. I am considering a few additional venues in San Diego since that is my home market and I have a few personal contacts here.

Getting Started

I started my search on Saturday, April 18. First, I emailed a couple of my personal contacts to ask if they'd like to bid on the event. Next, I went to the websites for the two hotel chains (let's call them A & B for this post).  Each site allowed me to browse through properties in the area and submit a Request For Proposal (RFP) online. However, there were also some big differences in how they approached this.

Hotel A

Their website allowed you to enter some basic information about your event, but you had to complete a separate RFP application for each hotel. That quickly got annoying, especially since I sent the information to 9 hotels. 

Hotel B

Their website was similar in function to Hotel A's, but they first asked you for your event information and then suggested hotels that might be a good fit.  You could pull up more information about individuals properties and ultimately select which hotels received your RFP. They also had handy calculators, diagrams, and examples that were embedded into the RFP form, so you could make sure you were making the appropriate request even if you didn't have much experience planning this type of event.

Advantage: Hotel B.

Stay Tuned

Both hotels' websites told me to expect to hear from a salesperson within one business day.  I'll let you know tomorrow (Tuesday, April 21) how many properties I hear from and how well they did.

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