6 Specific Steps that can Land Your Meeting a 5-Star Rating
Mar 21, 2014 by DeDe Mulligan

Every hotel owner dreams of it; but very few receive it. 

The coveted 5-Star Rating from Forbes Travel Guide or 5-Diamond Rating from AAA. In fact, of the thousands of US hotel properties, only 58 and 101 venues respectively, obtain this rating.  

What makes these properties stand out? 

"From the top down, we all have one vision and that is to offer hospitality at its finest," said Giuseppe Lama, Managing Director of The Resort at Pelican Hill, one of Forbes' 5-Star recipients. 

Here are six (of the many) steps these resorts go through along with my interpretation of how you can use these standards to improve your next meeting or event. 

5-Star Requirement #1: Greet your guests within 60-seconds of them arriving.

Many times attendees need to stand in long lines to register for their hotel room and conference. They don't know anyone and are most likely in a foreign city. How about having volunteers or staff move out into the lines and chat them up? Or use kiosk rentals for attendees to handle their check-in while your staff is available to answer any questions they may have? The key is to smile, greet and make them feel welcome as soon as possible. 

5-Star Requirement #2: No telephone call is left on hold longer than 30 seconds without offering a callback. 

What a refreshing standard! With the automation of registration and many attendee communications handled digitally, there are times when an attendee wants to speak with you. In your event planning budget, make certain you have provisions to have multiple individuals attend to the meeting participant's need. The key is to answer the call quickly, understand the problem and get back to your attendee within a specified period of time with a resolution. 

5-Star Requirement #3: Open 24/7. 

Is this the mentality of your event planning staff? If you run an international conference and/or multi-day event, you and your organization need to be "on" all the time. Now, I am not saying you don't take time to sleep, but I am saying you need to have a plan for monitoring your event's phone calls, emails and social feeds – all the time. We are now in an on demand world, and you need to move accordingly. 

5-Star Requirement #4: Provide exceptional levels of proactive service and customer care. 

Are you treating your attendees, sponsors and exhibitors like guests at a hotel? Do you know what they want and need? One way to be proactive is to set up social channels for your event and respond and monitor them. Another is to utilize Audience Response rentals and constantly monitor attendee responses. Ask a lot of questions and put together the type of sessions and trade shows your stakeholders want. 

5-Star Requirement #5: The customer is treated as an individual. 

When you have thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors, you and your staff may treat them as a block. "Those attendees want…or these exhibitors need…" Don't do that! Treat each person with respect. Remember without their funding you wouldn't have a conference or…(gulp) a job! 

5-Star Requirement #6: A 2:1 Ratio of staff members to guests. 

While this may be difficult to accomplish, try and think outside of the box. The best way to do this is to elicit volunteers for your event. You can use the local CVB, local association chapters or even utilize friends and family. 

"Establishments at this level must consistently provide an unparalleled guest environment and experience," shared Michael Petrone, Director of AAA Tourism Department. I couldn't agree more! 

SmartSource Rentals can provide your meeting with 5-Star service. Give them a call today! 

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