I understand our clients’ perspective. They do not want to have to break down their events at the end of each day. But seriously, how much material do they really want to leave in the room overnight anyway? AV and Room setup is of no concern to our clients whatsoever – that is what we have AV and Setup guys for.
Displacement of evening catering revenue is the problem here. Sure, the conference during the day may be worth tens of thousands of dollars in event revenue, but so is the banquet event for another organization that could have been booked in that space for that evening had the space not been on a 24 hour hold for the conference.
If our clients want the function space held for 24 hours then they need to be prepared to pay room rental that is equal to the displacement of a normal evening event.
History is your only real indicator here of just how much banquet revenue you will be displacing, and it is for this reason that the catering team should always be logging any turn down business that they lose because of groups already in that room on a 24 hour hold.
So let this be a lesson to catering – if you aren’t logging your turn downs, expect to continue to turn down just as much business in the future because you can’t change the future if you don’t know your history! If you aren’t logging your catering turn downs we have no way of knowing what is being displaced by one of these ghastly 24 hour holds!
The lesson for sales here is this – instead of selling your clients on space, sell them on service. Understand that when they are asking you for a 24 hour hold on the space, its not because they want that room for 24 hours – its because they don’t want the hassle of breaking down and re-setting a room. Once you explain to them that their concern about the room teardown is not a concern of theirs because it is a service that the hotel provides then they will be fine. Explain that the Setup guys will break down the room – AND set it back up for the next day exactly the way it was left. Explain that AV will break down the AV – AND set it back up for the next day exactly the way it was left. Also explain that your Banquet Service team is on hand to pack away any materials that the meeting planner had put out etc etc. This is all part of the service and it’s the reason they are holding the event with a hotel and not a hall!
Naturally the above conversations could all turn out to be for nothing if catering doesn’t book any business in the room anyway – but I for one don’t want to be the sales manager that is always preventing catering from selling!