Tripleseat’s 2019 EventCamp for restaurant and hotel sales and event professionals didn’t have an official theme, but one topic kept coming up throughout this year’s annual conference: the importance of maintaining relationships.
Ali McQueen Cannon, Manager of Global Accounts, at HelmsBriscoe, expressed how relationships with event professionals at restaurants, hotels, and unique venues, factor into choosing locations for the events she works on for her company during the panel discussion What Event Planners Are Looking for in a Venue.
“Knowing the people at the venue and knowing they will take good care of you goes a long way,” McQueen Cannon said.
The panel included moderator Latha Youngren, VP of Marketing at Tripleseat and panelists Sarah Kelley Freeman, Business Development at Destination Musick City; Angela Proffitt, Entrepreneur, Wedding and Events Expert; and Desiree Wooldridge, Meeting and Event Planner at Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation.
Relationships were the focus of Don’t Underestimate Old School Sales Techniques, a presentation by Laura Wagstaff, Special Events Director of The NoMad Hotel, Eleven Madison Park, and Make It Nice Hospitality Group.
Her tips for event industry professionals included making the planning process as easy as possible for clients, always find a way to say yes, being responsive and prompt with clients, making your interactions memorable, and being open to feedback.
“Being responsive and prompt with communication is so important,” Wagstaff said. “And if you can make something feel easy … people really just respond so beautifully to that.”
In addition to those sessions, attendees learned best practices on topics that help them to be more efficient, boost revenue, grow their skills, improve their marketing, and enhance their event offerings by upgrading private dining spaces and adding experiences.
Ryan Walters, Private Events Director at City Winery Nashville, shared her lessons on how to drive more event bookings by upgrading a private dining room to a bridal suite. Her presentation, Reinventing Your Space, provided the steps event professionals should take to make sure they’re getting the most out of their event space and using it to appeal to customers’ needs.
Our three marketing sessions covered a variety of tips that event professionals can use at every stage of the sales process, from lead to prospect to customer. Janet Kurtz, President & CEO of Kurtz Hospitality Marketing, focused on using Facebook ads, influencer events, and LinkedIn tools to drive more customers in her presentation, Leads, Leads, Leads. Anissa Starnes, President of Swingbridge Consulting, spoke about how email marketing is about people, content, conversations, and relationships during her session, Making Email Marketing Work For You. The final marketing session, led by Dorien Morin-van Dam, Social Media Marketing Consultant for More In Media, was titled How to Secure Business Growth with Retention Marketing and shared how event professionals could continue to nurture customers by using tools such as Facebook groups, chatbots, and brand ambassadors.
Attendees also received advice on how data can help their events business grow. Charlee Williamson, Executive Vice President of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, presented Key Reports for Success, which shared how five reports and four formulas can help event professionals determine where and how to focus their efforts to yield the best results and increase revenue for their venues. Amira Gertz, Director of Catering & Events at Rosa Mexicano, led the session Beyond the Data: Achieving Sales + Profitability, and provided tactics on how restaurant and hotel sales and event professionals can build relationships with the businesses, people, and associations in their neighborhood. In turn, those contacts can provide them with advice on how to fine-tune their venues’ offerings and services to appeal to the needs of the people around them.
The panel discussion Owners’ Expectations of Event Managers shared what they’re looking for in an event management team: Employees with good people skills, communication skills, positive energy, flexibility, organization, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the ability to maintain a good working relationship with other departments in their venue. Jonathan Morse, CEO of Tripleseat, was the moderator, and the panelists included Chris Blair, Founder of the Listening Room Cafe; Claire Crowell, COO of A. Marshall Hospitality and Co-owner of Hattie Jane’s Creamery; and Gina Peper, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at North Point Hospitality.
The final session, Experiences: Going Beyond Traditional Food and Beverage, featured Heath Clark, Proprietor of H Clark Distillery; and Nick Elliott, Regional Sales Manager of Corsair Distillery. They provided information on current beverage trends and how adding experiences, tastings, and other event offerings around cocktails could draw more event bookings for their restaurant, hotel, or venue.
“All of the speakers were engaging, shared valuable information, and moved along with their points in a timely manner,” said one EventCamp attendee.
Get an overview of EventCamp 2019 by checking out our recap video below.
Videos of all EventCamp sessions and additional materials are coming soon. Check the EventCamp website in the coming weeks for the recordings. You can also access EventCamp photos on our Facebook page.