If you are an event planner the chances are you have a pretty good idea of the essentials needed to pull off a great event: memorable content, delicious food, the perfect venue, but how many of you know what actually takes place behind the scenes in order to make this happen?
Conference Care recently took a key client to The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh for a site visit with a twist; instead of simply viewing meeting space and doing a menu tasting, they were granted access all areas passes to the luxurious five star hotel. Conference Care’s Head of Sales – Scotland, Pauline Beattie and The Sheraton’s Director of Sales Stewart Elder created the programme for the day, so we caught up with them to find out more…
CC: What was the objective?
PB: Our client organises and delivers numerous events, but wanted in particular to gain a better understanding of day to day operations in a venue so they could enhance the smooth running of events during their own planning process. We floated the idea of ‘lifting the veil’ with Stewart and he was very happy to be involved.
SE: Yes, we have a great working relationship with both Conference Care and the client, so we already had a good foundation to build on – we had to be confident before we gave away any trade secrets! The client was keen to understand how the hotel operates, and it was a great opportunity for us to share with them the reasons behind why we ask certain questions in the lead up to an event, what the purpose is for the timescales we set and so on.
CC: What was the itinerary?
PB: We all met in One Square Restaurant to run through the schedule for the day and I then left the client in Stewart’s capable hands!
SE: We kicked off the day with a personal tour of the back of house by me; I found it most entertaining opening doors to back of house staff with the client in tow, their faces were a picture! We met with Sales & Events to discuss Sales Phase to Event Delivery and the client was able to witness a number of event operations throughout the day including final checks, start of Lunch Service, banqueting team briefing and a room turnaround from Conference to Dinner Set.
CC: What were the benefits?
SE: We already had a good working relationship with the client, so we were both happy to approach the day with an open mind; full disclosure has further built the trust between all parties and taken that step towards us being viewed us more as a trusted advisor, rather than simply a supplier.
PB: The client found it hugely beneficial. They met a number of key personnel throughout the day: Maria Seisdedos, Front Office Manager, Becci O’Meara, Conference & Banqueting Manager and Craig Hart, the Executive Chef, which was a particular highlight. Everyone found the information which Craig shared on the technical side of food preparation totally fascinating; and will definitely use that knowledge of timescales and detail to enhance their event programmes in the future.
CC: Would you do it again?
SE: Yes, we would be open to doing it again. It’s not something you would necessarily offer to everyone carte blanche, you have to have some rapport and experience of the client initially in order to create a programme that is beneficial to everyone, and it is imperative to have a trusted partner such as Conference Care. Having said that we found the experience of complete transparency very liberating, and over 24 hours have built more trust with the client than we could normally achieve over a much longer period. It does put pressure on us to deliver over and above every time though – there’s nowhere to hide!
PB: Yes – the client is absolutely buzzing! The insights from the day have been hugely beneficial for them and they really enjoyed it. From our perspective this has reinforced our client’s trust in us; they’ve seen first-hand that we have strong and dependable relationships with venues, and by working in partnership with them they will benefit from the very best results for them – win win!
Call our expert team for your next event on 02476 369720 or email us.