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Megan Perks, MBA, CMP, CMM- Part 2

By: MPI Georgia | Jun 9, 2020

meganperks    

Megan Perks, MBA, CMP, CMM
Adjunct Professor
Hospitality Management

Member since 2003


   


Convention Sales & Meeting Management: A View from the Classroom - Part Two

One of the lessons from my first hotel job was that guests remember what they touch. An example would be the brass handle on the entry doors or the ledge of the front desk. It’s a sensory experience that sets the tone for your hotel stay. Does the front desk have a tired look from chipped wood and scratches or does the polished, cool marble provide an elegant touch?

During our site visit to a five-star luxury hotel and resort property in North Miami Beach, the students were in awe from the minute we stepped into the grand foyer – an overload for the senses from the glittering chandelier, scent from the abundant, floral arrangement, the feel of the plush carpeting, and the soothing sound from the prominent water feature.

We had studied the distinct characteristics and features of a luxury property compared to full-service and upscale hotels. The Smith Travel Report (STR) Chain Scale description for luxury properties specifies:

- a very high reputation and quality product
- prime location
- distinguished architecture, artwork, and design
- luxurious facilities and amenities 
- spacious, beautifully furnished rooms with superior linens, finishes and, materials 
- exceptional staff and services

As I mentioned in the May article, engagement is key to the learning process for digital-natives. Today’s students have an attention span of merely 20-25 minutes. Instructors are encouraged to foster a culture of student-centered learning activities. The lecture on “Preparing for the Site Visit” was met with minor consideration so I capped the presentation halfway through the PowerPoint deck. Yet, the next class following the site visit, the students engaged in animated and thoughtful discussions from the minute they entered the classroom.

Overall, I was amused by the most frequent comments – F&B minimums, back-up space for inclement weather, and the pocket airwalls in the ballroom. Who knew airwalls could be such an interesting topic? 


I hope you will enjoy reading these “nuggets” from the students’ site visit reflection reports. The list is long (and exceeds a reasonable word count), but it would be a shame to limit the insightful comments. In conclusion, I encourage you to make time this summer to engage with a new hire in your workplace or one of the hospitality students in our chapter.

  • The property, the staff, and the experience was phenomenal. The guestrooms were stunning and just beautiful, but our hosts were the best part of the tour. They were very knowledgeable and take their jobs seriously. It opened my eyes so I can better understand the personal side of the hotel business.

  • We spoke about many of those things in class and all of the information gained from the site visit is helpful and relevant to our current meeting planning project. I have a better understanding of how to choose the room spaces and how to improve my BEO’s.

  • The guest to staff ratio is very low. They take pride to make sure that their guests are comfortable, even if it's a little tour group like us. It really showed that they enjoyed and cared about their jobs.

  • The outdoor space at the resort was the greatest selling point in my opinion.

  • During our tour I learned many things that expanded on my knowledge from what we’ve talked about in class. For example, how splitting up a ballroom with airwalls is important when you have multiple events going on at the hotel. I now know how important AV can be to an event.

  • There are many things that I was able to tie back to lessons in class all thanks to this tour. When we visited the guestrooms it reminded me of the lesson we had about room types, peak nights, and shoulder dates etc.

  • This property was finely decorated throughout with attention to detail, from floor to ceiling each room was pleasing to the eye. The reception and check-in area had small tables that allowed for a quiet and comfortable check-in process as opposed to the typical long lines and busy front desk area found in most hotels.

  • Seeing the meeting space for myself helped me grasp why room size, set-up requirements, and ceiling height is important. This is useful for me to plan the design of a room and better understand how much space is taken up by the audio-visual elements.

  • As we progressed through the common areas, I was very excited to see the banquet space where the meetings and receptions take place. At this point, I was astonished by the amount of times the sales manager had mentioned the square footage and room capacity, because I never took much of it into account to remember those measurements and how important they are.

  • Although, the prices did catch my attention with how high they were, I figured it was in fact reasonable with the level of service and quality they provide.

  • Every time we turned a corner there was staff to greet us. We even met the General Manager and he took time to shake hands with each one of us. Overall, I very much enjoyed visiting the property and having the opportunity to really see what we’ve been talking about this term.  This was a beautiful hotel that represents the brand very well. The staff was well trained and seemed to be prepared for any issue thrown in their direction. The ambiance of the hotel was very pleasing and allowed all guests to have a warm feeling throughout. This property is one that I would recommend to anyone who is willing to spend a little extra money in order to capture the full treatment of a luxury hotel.

  • This was a beautiful hotel that represents the brand very well. The staff was well trained and seemed to be prepared for any issue thrown in their direction. The ambiance of the hotel was very pleasing and allowed all guests to have a warm feeling throughout. This property is one that I would recommend to anyone who is willing to spend a little extra money in order to capture the full treatment of a luxury hotel.

  • It was very clear that they really take priority on their guests’ preferences which is extremely important to the three-part sales process (triangle diagram).

  • Three key takeaways I learned from our site visit was that there is a lot of planning that goes into a meeting and each department is needed for the success of each event. Communication is key when planning a meeting. The meeting planner, the sales manager, the CSM, and the operations department all have to be on the same page.

  • It’s evident that every staff member is kept to the highest standard without room for mistakes. The catering manager who led part of the tour was well in tune with what guests want and current trends for food and special events.

  • This helps me understand more of what I can expect to fit in a space with the number of guests and equipment for a comfortable fit.

  • Even when they were showing us around they would ask us if we had any questions and they were very personal when they spoke to us. It didn't feel like they were just giving us a tour. They really, really made me feel like I could come back another visit if I wanted to learn more about the hotel business.

  • I did not know hotels had outdoor meeting space. When a catered event is planned for an outside venue, inside space must also be ready as a back-up plan just in case of inclement weather.

  • I was very impressed with the atmosphere once you walk into the hotel, and the fine details that you don’t see (or don’t pay attention to) in a regular hotel. It was a tranquil and sophisticated feeling that you do not get in other hotels with people hanging around in the lobby.

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