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HOTEL GROUPS28 . www.conference-news.co.uk . May 2012 another for any food and beverage. As an international hotel chain we have the possibility to quote dynamically based on the needs of our clients.We have noticed that lead-in times have become much shorter, as the duration of meetings, thus having a direct impact on the room nights. Clients are placing more value on intangible aspects such as quality of service, fl exibility of venue and our ability to compromise. Collette Reddy, Conference and Incentive Sales Manager for The Lowry in Manchester on behalf of Rocco Forte Hotels: Organisers have lots of different strands of events to look after so we include AV or other special requirements into our packages rather than having fi xed packages which includes elements a guest does not want. We also noted that people need to maximise and make the time when they have their delegates in one place and make the meetings and events more effective. We decided to create some healthy menus with a bio-chemist which enable the delegates to have more energy. 47,000CUSTOMER ORGSSUPPO MORE THANRTS80 MILLIONREGISTRATIONS IN 2011service, providing access to a resource of motivational tools, and fi nally outdoor spaces for syndicate exercises.We're seeing a clear driver for making the most of organisers time, both at the booking stage and during the event. We need to help organisers get more from less and respond even quicker, so that's why we created a short lead booking desk and adapted our T&C's to changing market needs.One benefi t is the geographical spread of the properties in key corporate destinations, such as London, Manchester and Edinburgh, and all with dedicated training spaces. This allows us to provide organisers with more choice while removing the issues of dealing with multi-venues. Alan J. Jaramillo, Director of MICE Sales for NH Hoteles in the International Sales Offi ce for the UK: In Germany, the Netherlands and UK organisers are generally more suited to dealing with packaged prices for meetings. Whereas in Southern Europe, specifi cally for us in Spain and Italy, these markets are more used to itemised pricing such as a price for the bedroom, another for the meeting rooms and Our team is trained to offer a certain standard for all organisers. They spend a month before they are live to take calls and organise events, they spend their induction period learning about events from both the sales and operational sides, they have the company ethos embedded into them so the guest can expect the same standard of service whomever they call.Tracey Ractliffe, Sales Director at Menzies Hotels: We offer a delegate package, which includes several added value items as standard such as breakfast rolls for day meetings and complimentary Wi-Fi for all delegates, as we try to ensure there are no hidden costs. However, we have invested signifi cant time and training in our enquiry handling skills so that our teams really understand what the clients' priorities are.Feedback indicates that the meetings market is challenging at the moment, and offering value for money is critical in winning new business. However, overall we have seen a growth in demand in Q1 2012, which could be partly due to the refurbishments that are taking place at the moment.

2012 May 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 29 HOTEL GROUPS 14-16 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5RH or give our technology expert a call on: 0044 (0)207 313 5742Active Network provides a comprehensive suite of technology solutions designed to meet the needs of any size event or meeting.SMBsEnterprisesSMMPsWhether you need an easy to use registration system for your upcoming event with marketing and reporting functionalities or a technology partner to support your complex events program, Active Network have the right solutions for you.Registration and Attendee management Software for small to medium sized meetings. Comprehensive Event Management Software to engage audiences for large events and enterprise applications Strategic Meetings Management solutions to manage your meetings and events spend.Regonline: Conference:Starcite:A small hotel chain can offer a degree of personal service, although this is still backed up by consistent standards of performance.Kevin Skeet, Operations Director at Legacy Hotels and Resorts: The key for our events managers is that they fully understand the purpose of the meeting and what the organiser is trying to achieve with the event. We focus on our mystery guest sales calls to our offi ces to ensure that we understand the client's requirements. This allows us to tailor the packages to the event's goals. We have noticed that regular training meetings are still strong, but the bigger sales meetings are often being conducted in-house and there continues to be a trend for more day meetings rather than overnight stays as customers look to protect their costs.We have established a consistent minimum standard for all our meetings products. This allows customers to be assured that whatever the size or location of the venue, the same high standards will be in place.Jackie Brown, Director of Meetings and Events Sales at Thistle: We are just about to launch a new meetings and events promotion which will include free Wi-Fi as this is really important to our customers. We are also using delegate feedback from BDRC Venue Verdict to ensure we are up-to-date with bookers and delegates' requirements and ensure we update our offerings accordingly. We recognise customer loyalty throughout Thistle and Guoman hotels by offering loyalty schemes such as Signature and Booking Bonus. Left: Malmaison's The Reading Mal; Right: Thistle Kingsley in London