Ok, so for those of you in the wonderful world of catering diagrams are a major part of your lives right? Some of you create your diagrams by using stencils, some completely by free-hand, and others are lucky enough to have fabulous diagram computer programs. Either way it’s a pretty good idea for you and your team to come to an agreement over some pretty basic standards.
I say this because every office has one person on their team that goes totally overboard with their diagrams. You know them – we all know them – maybe you are that person! That person creates a diagram for virtually every event – and they label EVERYTHING!
They (or you) think that they are being that much more detailed than everyone else. Problem is that they are making it hard on everyone else when really their efforts could have been better focused in other areas (like maybe more sales duh!)
So here is the best way to cut down on all these unnecessary diagrams: Create a Diagrams SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) Binder. Within that binder create master copies of the standard sets that you do in each room. Common examples would be U-Shape with a Screen and Projector. Make sure you have a duplicate copy of this binder in the Catering and Banquets offices.
This way when you have an event that is being set per the SOP then a diagram does not need to be distributed. Banquets should be trained that in the absence of a diagram then they are to set per the SOP.
Next – make a point of determining exactly what needs to be labeled on a diagram. Remember that we still want the banquet team to read the BEO, so if your BEO says 6ft screen, you should not need to label the screen on your diagram with the size.
Obviously all this goes out the window if your client is asking for a diagram that is labeled!
Oh yeah, and one last thing – make sure your diagrams have a place for your client to sign off with a discussion about the implication of last minute changes (ie setup fees) – no different to getting a BEO signed really! This could really have an impact on the number of last minute changes…
Site Inspection WOW # 3
This week’s Site Inspection WOW comes from Stacey who tells the story of a Site Inspection that she conducted with her colleague Christine:
Here is what I remember from the site inspection that we did for Mike's Hard Lemonade many years ago.
We went on to the website for colors and themes. We read through the info on the company for more ideas. We also found a comment on the website that no one knew what "Mike" looked like and there were no pictures of Mike. That was our inspiration.
That led us to create posters with tag lines like - "Have you seen Mike today?" and "Do you know what Mike looks like?", and used pictures that we cut out of magazines of all different types and ages of men. We strategically placed these around the hotel so that at every turn on our walk through, there was another poster - I think we had about 6 or 7 in total.
We also displayed all of their products in places like the bar and the restaurants so that when we walked by, they could be seen.
We concluded the tour in the meeting space. The last meeting room we walked into was the one we had reserved for them. We had set the meeting room classroom style (the set up they preferred for their meeting) and used black and yellow linens - their company colors.
We had yellow hazard tape around the entrance doors. We had lemons on every classroom table with buckets for drinks. We had their logo on a screen in front of the room.
Of course we got the business! It was clear they appreciated the effort and the creativity. We had a great time doing it and they were entertained throughout the site, which made the entire experience more fun for everyone. It gave us more to talk about and a better personal connection to the meeting planners.
Way to go Stacey – goes to show that a little effort doesn’t have to cost a lot of money – but it sure makes a difference with the clients!
Welcome to the second installment of Site Inspection WOWs! This week's site inspection WOW is actually one of my own (not being one to boast!)
Actually it’s not so much a site inspection WOW, but more a sales 101!
So this site inspection occurred when I was working as a Business Development Manager at an airport hotel. I had been focusing on finding new SMERF business for our summer as the numbers were a little off. I had managed to develop a good relationship over the phone with a SMERF group that we had lost on rate 4 years prior. I convinced them to come back and meet with us and do a site inspection.
The clients, four retired ladies, arrived on property the day prior to the site inspection and we took them to dinner. Over dinner (and drinks) the ladies mentioned a number of times how their group was looking for a hotel to call 'home'. It was subtle but I could sense how important this was to them.
So, after dessert I left the ladies with the Sales Manager while I ran back to my office. I found an image on the internet of a 'Home Sweet Home' sign blew it up and made 4 color copies. I went and taped a copy of each of the signs on the outside of each of the four ladies guestroom doors.
The next day when we started the site inspection all 4 ladies told me how cute it was. But they got an even bigger surprise when we finished our site inspection, as I had arranged to have the entire management team waiting in the lobby each holding a large letter that when held up spelt 'Welcome Home'.
I know it sounds really corny - but it worked! The concept of finding a 'home' for their group was very important to the ladies - but they also loved the fact that our’s was a hotel that had listened to their needs.
They resigned with us - 2 separate programs for 2 consecutive years.
Maryanne of New York tells the following story:
We were trying to secure the group contract for a particular college football team and I had managed to set up a site inspection for the team. We knew we were competing with a number of top hotels so we really wanted to set ourselves apart from the competition.
I knew that they were doing a site inspection with another hotel immediately prior to my hotel, so I started by making arrangements to meet them out the front of that hotel when they had finished. When they finished that hotel’s site inspection they walked out the front of the hotel to meet me, and my General Manager waiting with a stretch Hummer limo. We then drove to my hotel, during which time my GM regaled them with stories of his failed high school football career! I was scared of what he might say next, but the Football Coach loved the story and was laughing a lot so that was a good thing!
As we pulled up to the hotel all the bellmen were playing football in the front driveway. Clearly this is not a normal work pastime for them so it really got a laugh. What also got their attention was that every bellman was wearing the colors of the football team whose business we were trying to gain.
As we entered the hotel to begin the tour my clients got a big surprise that every staff member they saw was wearing the team’s colors, and on top of that the standard lobby music had been replaced with the football team’s song! We even had the song playing in the elevator!
When we got to the guestroom, our AV guy had made a slideshow of images of the football team that he had found on the internet, and it was playing on the TV in the room when we walked in.
We had wanted to take them to the restaurant for a meal, but owing to their tight schedule (they were seeing 6 hotels that day) we knew in advance that there wasn’t time. So instead as we finished our tour and were walking back to the elevator, our Chef had set up a small hot dog and pretzel stand, at which point we made a hot dog and pretzel for the Coach and his assistant to eat on the way to the next hotel.
Finally as we stepped out of the elevator the entire management team was decked out on the team colors with pompoms in the team colors singing out the team name aka cheerleader style.
We then stepped back into the limo and drove them to their next stop.
Yes we won the piece of business – they signed a 4 year contract!