Expert Advice on Your Work with Conference & Meeting Venues
The client/venue relationship can be one of the most complicated but rewarding relationships you will maintain for your organization. When the relationship is going well, visions are achieved, attendees are dazzled, and goals are met. When the relationship is weak, however, a subpar outcome can affect your organization's reputation for years to come. In an effort to compile some of the most important aspects of partnerships with venues, especially hotels, for events, we've interviewed AMC Source's subject-matter-expert, Leslie Wysowski.
"The whole concept of event management is one of the most advanced and significant forms of marketing and advertising for any organization/association/foundation, so you want to ensure it's done properly by professionals," Leslie shared, "Working in the hospitality industry for years, I know what is required from both the association side as well as venue side. It's great to have that understanding and help both parties speak the same language." As a veteran of large-scale hotels and casinos in full-service oriented meeting and event planner roles, Leslie has worked on every aspect of major events, from writing proposals to making sales calls and successful execution of the events themselves. She shared, "One of the most rewarding parts of my job was successfully organizing multiple day conferences and the subsequent outpouring of gratitude from the onsite coordinator for taking the pressure off of him or her."
With years of experience in the event planning world, Leslie has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. When asked what the most common pitfall in association event planning is, she explained that lack of problem-solving skills can be a real... well, problem: "If you are dealing with someone that doesn’t have a knack for problem-solving instilled inside of them, that will always be an issue. Things change, and unforeseen circumstances happen... you have to learn to adapt and pivot. You will need to improvise and have a Plan B." Leslie also shared some advice for improving partnerships with hotels and venues for events: "Make sure your dedicated account executive has a thorough understanding of how to successfully execute your vision for your group's event. Commit to clear communication, stick to a timeline, and start the process early so you can develop a solid relationship with the people you are working with. Meet in-person with your account executive if you can. This is extremely helpful for building a close working relationship with the person in this role."
We asked Leslie if there are any trends or updates she sees on the horizon and she shared some of her thoughts:
"Despite the rise of COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant spreading, there are still many in-person meetings and conventions taking place. With that being said, there is a huge focus on wellness and taking care of ourselves. Meeting organizers are prioritizing fresh air and physical activity. With virtual meetings, too, self-care is a major priority. Self-care activities include 'brain breaks' and walking away from our screens when time allows."
The trends, however, do not stop with COVID-19, "Some trends I also have noticed outside of COVID-19 are eco-conscious and sustainability-focused meetings, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion being an important component of focus."
Some final advice offered by this event-planner extraordinaire focused on the importance of professional assistance with meeting planning and execution that will ultimately improve your organization's relationship with the venue. "Professional conference and event planners can help to increase registration, acquire new members, and make your event a success," Leslie shared, "These professionals also help to reduce stress that comes along with planning such events. We are trained to work under pressure and within time constraints."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leslie Wysowski serves as an Association Executive on the AMC Source team. She graduated from Penn State University with a degree in hotel, restaurant and institutional management. Leslie has been an integral part in the launch and ongoing success for a variety of hotels, in the association meeting planner role as well as casinos, wineries, media & logistics companies. Resourceful and strategic, Leslie is committed to, and effective at, business development, client relations, sales, marketing, and management responsibilities. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge with her diverse background of skills. When she’s not at work you can usually find her on an airplane traveling to an exotic destination somewhere around the globe. She’s also a yogi, foodie, and music lover.