Upcoming ACOM Event Calendar

August 2009

August 20, 2009
Topic: Economic Update from the Industry Experts

September 2009

Idea Network
September 17, 2009
Track 1: Working Effectively with MINT
Track 2: How to Capitalize on Your CMP Designation

October 2009

October 15, 2009
Topic: APEX Update

November 2009

Idea Network
November 19, 2009
Track 1: Discussion of Housing and Registration Issues
Track 2: Discussion of Food and Beverage Issues

January 2010

Annual Conference
January 8-10
Dallas, Texas
Westin City Center

Survey: Meeting Planners Choosing Venues with Good Customer Service

Reprinted from SuccessfulMeetings.com & MeetingNews.com

March 25, 2009

When they're choosing venues in a down economy, meeting planners say that customer service is the deciding factor, according to event management company J. Spargo & Associates Inc., which recently surveyed meeting planners attending the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International's (HSMAI) Ninth Annual Affordable Meetings Mid-America Conference & Exposition, taking place April 1-2 in Chicago.

According to the J. Spargo survey—which was independently analyzed by 20|20 Assessment, a service of hospitality industry consultancy HVS—85 percent of meeting planners cite customer service as the No. 1 factor influencing their selection of meeting venues during the current recession.

"The economic downturn, in part, is motivating planners to focus on best practices that promote efficiency in their own operations and to seek out venues that offer tremendous value to their clients and, most importantly, deliver guest experiences with 'staying power' — that is, venues that spotlight customer service," 20|20 Assessment President Dr. James Houran said in a statement.

When it comes to what types of venues planners are considering, the vendors that planners hope to court next month at Affordable Meetings Mid-America offer a clue: 70.4 percent said that hotels and resorts are among the top five vendors that they'll be seeking while 60.3 percent said they'll be looking for alternate venues, 53.4 percent for promotional items, 42.9 percent for CVBs and 42.3 percent for event planning software.

Across the board, planners said that the economy is impacting their event budget and attendance, both of which are generally smaller this year than last.

"Planners are trying to get more for the money spent," remarked one survey respondent, according to 20|20 Assessment. "We have to make a bigger impact on a meeting with a smaller budget compared to past years. Everyone is much more cost-conscious."

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