Tips for Maximizing Your Next Pre-Con Meeting

A pre-convention meeting–which typically takes place a day or two before the big event to go over details with hotel and convention or other venue's staff and review the final logistics to make sure everything runs smoothlywhen used correctly, will help the hotel staff prepare for a better meeting.

Whether your meeting is large or small, your communication to hotel staff members is critical. Not every pre-con (sometimes called “tie down meeting”) includes every department, but when it does, here are some tips to ensure you make this time productive. 

Identify a spokesperson from your group in advance (in many cases it’s the meeting planner). This person should do the majority of the talking and they should be prepared to speak about the following:

A. Give an overview of the group: example – Group attendee profile, purpose of the meeting, what needs to be accomplished…

B. Share trends of the group, i.e.: what are the “hot buttons”, examples include:
1. Do the attendees tend to congregate at the bar after hours?
2. Do families and spouses attend?
3. Is the group free for a meal period?
4. Dietary history?
5. Where are the attendees traveling from and when should the front desk anticipate arrivals and departure? Will there be a rush for arrivals and departures?
6. Do you anticipate a lot of baggage storage?
7. Is the group going outside of the hotel at any time during the meeting? If so, what has been communicated to them on where and when to meet?
8. Do you have any past survey results that might shed some light on attendees’ expectations?
9. Do they tend to run out of food at coffee breaks or meals?

C. Let the hotel staff know the role of each of your staff members.

D. Who is authorized to sign for charges to the master account?

E. Identify who is the emergency contact for your group and outline contact procedures the hotel should adhere to in the event of an emergency.

F. Make sure you obtain a telephone list of the staff, outlet hours, special service hours, menus, etc.

G. Highlight VIPs and their expectations – arrange to pre walk the VIP rooms with a hotel representative, if appropriate.

H. When the hotel staff goes around the room to introduce themselves, make sure you address specific comments that would relate to the hotel’s representative department.

Some examples include:
1. Housekeeping – Specific cleaning requests for VIPs and anticipated schedule for room cleaning.
2. Accounting – When do you want to review your bill? Daily? In the morning or afternoon? Discuss how to handle no-shows.
3. Concierge – What are the attendees’ free time opportunities and do you need assistance with suggestions?
4. Front Desk – Ask about check cashing policies, safe deposit box availability. Do you want to be made aware of no shows and cancellations daily?
5. Communications – Ask about the hotel’s pager and message system.
6. Guest Services – Your guests will want to know about luggage storage and room drops, if needed. The hotel should also know about airport limos and taxi service, and any other times you anticipate a lot of activity.
7. Reservations – inform hotel about current daily room pick up, comp arrangements per contract and to reconfirm individuals on the master account.
8. Outlets – ask about the hours of operation and advise restaurant(s) about any time they should anticipate heavy demand.

Remember, the hotel staff wants each and every meeting to be a success. By taking a few minutes to educate them on the nuances of your group, the staff can be better prepared to anticipate your needs and partner with you to execute a successful program.

Judy Cronkhite
Director of Sales and Marketing
Hyatt Regency San Francisco

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