CSMs Work Meeting Magic
Convention Services Manager – Event visionary, Destination guru, Client Experience master, Housing specialist, Catering consultant.
All have similar job descriptions, and all are involved in working on events ensuring meeting planners needs are met. All of them are event service pros.
So, what exactly is an event service professional?
They are the in-house person at a hotel, convention center or convention and visitors bureau who works through all the logistics of an event with a meeting planner, to magically bring it to life after the sales team closes the sale. They are highly educated, resourceful and highly skilled problem solvers.
Prior to the event date, they coordinate the set-ups, the food and beverage, audio visual and outside vendors to bring together all event elements on time and on budget.
With their deep local knowledge, event service professionals also offer creative ideas and themes for events. Services may include ways to reduce waste, logistics plans with local vendors to help attendees navigate a destination and working with area resources to develop custom programs that engage and excite attendees while showcasing culture and attractions.
Event service professionals are also on-site during the event, working with the meeting planner as their partner and lifeline on daily logistics, ensuring all needs are met and assisting to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Big Picture Impact
The work the event service professional does directly impacts return business to a site. They are the individual providing service to the meeting planner long-term and in contact with them regularly. They have a significant effect on meeting planner satisfaction, which ultimately impacts revenue and growth in ways other than direct sales.
In an event services survey conducted by the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA), most meeting planners said the quality of convention/event services greatly impacts whether they would bring their business back to the venue. In addition, most indicate the quality of service provided by event service professionals greatly affects their perception of a hotel, convention center or CVB.
If a planner had a wonderful experience at a destination, they will share that with their peers, which leads to referrals. Referrals are another tool to measure an event service professional’s success and contribution to business results.
Post-Event Survey – Tell us all about it!
Event service professionals use data from post-event surveys from meeting planners to improve their service.
Survey responses give a good indication of the service satisfaction level as scored by clients. For example, managers may have a goal of achieving an 85 percent or higher score to show they performed well.
This kind of feedback from meeting planners can improve service, operations and the destination overall. Hearing comments from planners is valuable to all parties – from the hotel or Convention Center to a destination’s outside partners, as it measures how effectively all aspects of a destination work together to ensure client delight and return business.
Survey responses from planners, who more often have a very powerful voice since they are the customer, are also instrumental when facilities are considering decisions such as capital improvement projects or changing staffing levels.
Opinions on elements such as transportation, restaurant and retail can be evaluated for performance and value to the planner’s attendee experience, so they know what they are doing is working—or isn’t.
The Value of Services
Services professionals in a destination or venue work hard to make a meeting planner shine. Tap into these great resources. Ultimately the value they bring can have an impact on a meeting planner’s own event survey as the planner / services partnership helps to ensure a well-run event. Services professionals also bring direct value to their CVBs, Hotels and Centers, and to showcase this, ESPA recently developed ROI of the Event Service Professional: ESPA’s Guide to Showcasing the Impact and Value of Event Service.