Executive Group Travel Blog

Perks of Working with a Large Chain

[fa icon="clock-o"] Jun 30, 2016 10:00:00 AM [fa icon="user"] Marci McCormack [fa icon="folder-open'] Incentive Travel

Hotel Selection Process:

As a travel consultant one of the hardest parts of our job is hotel selection.  There are many options out there but there are so many factors that go into that process from budget, location, weather, airlift, availability, room categories, meal plans, meeting space, concessions and more. 

For a small 100 person event you can find yourself contacting over 20 properties to find the perfect fit.  For a 300+ person event during busy season you can increase that number to almost 50 properties.  That is a lot of emails and communication between each property.

One thing that helps make this process easier is partnering with a large hotel chain that has a dedicated contact (business development rep) for their worldwide opportunities.  This is truly a game-changer for a meeting planner.  Instead of reaching out to multiple properties in the same brand I can send my RFP off to my contact at the brand and she can do the legwork of finding properties in the brand's portfolio that would be a good fit.  An example who does this extremely well is the Four Seasons brand, the regional contact can help you with properties from Dallas to Budapest.  They can either present the options themselves or they put you in contact with your rep at the actual property.  They also stay with your during the RFP process and act as a liaison between you and each hotel.  Extremely helpful when you need a quick answer or need clarification.  Fairmont has a similar setup that is much appreciated.  Now compare this to the Hyatt process and the experience is drastic.  The Hyatt's process can be long and frustrating as it usually begins an online RFP and then it’s a waiting game and hope that someone reaches out to you.  For the Hyatt and SPG agency site, the numbers on their website for the regional contacts are out of service.

Some brands like the Marriott and Rosewood meet in the middle as they have a regional contact but that contact only covers a small portfolio of their properties.  With that said though they are good at referring you to the right contact at the property you are looking for. 


Brand Partnerships:

So yes boutique and small hotels can be an amazing experience but there is something to be said about building a partnership with a large hotel chain.  In 2017 we will be hosting a few events at Four Seasons properties worldwide and the experience has been a step above the rest.  And don’t be intimidated by the brand, we have over 1750 rooms booked across multiple hotels under $250 per night for next year.  The brand offers group pricing at an incredible value for large groups.  Another brand that is a good balance between boutique and chain is the Marriott's Autograph Collection.  There are definitely a few outliers that are confusing in that collection such as the Atlantis on Paradise Island but El Mangroove in Costa Rica is a great example of a unique property that's a great fit for small incentive trips.