Meeting planners should remember that sometimes the best services can come with no strings attached. Getting the most out of your hotel staff may not cost you anything but a little time and imagination.
Make general attendees feel like VIPs too by asking hotel executives to set aside a few minutes of their time to work the arrival lines. A few heart-felt words of welcome would be an easy way to energize weary travelers about the convention ahead. Also, why not ask the hotel if they can award random room upgrades or free drink coupons to keep spirits high? Or, reserve a line or two just for your guests to expedite check-ins? (We all can agree that there's nothing like getting to your room fast after a few hours of traveling.)
The small touches can continue once guests cross the threshold. Can a short note of well wishes and gratitude from an upper-level executive greet them upon entry? Can the housekeeping staff conduct a thoughtful nightly turndown? And, both free of charge?
Also, don’t be afraid to take full advantage of in-house concierge or dedicated front desk staff, when offered. They’re meant to be personal assistants and can handle the little (and the big) things that so often become major time drains. Need to set up an impromptu executive dinner, have something tailored or secure hard-to-find show tickets? It’s their job to do the work so you focus on more important issues (and breath!).
And, we all know that waste is an unfortunate by-product of events, from food and cans to paper and boxes. If the hotel doesn't have a comprehensive on-site recycling program, could they work to find an outside vendor to service your specific event? And, perhaps, negotiate a complimentary or discounted rate or pick it up the tab themselves? Lastly, does all the food need to be tossed or can your hotel staff work to find a charity that may be able to use it to feed the less fortunate?
Even one of these steps could add real value to your event, either monetary or perceived. Will you be able to win most of these concessions, a few or just one? As we all were likely told, you won't know, until you ask.