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The Full Cycle of Event Planning in a Hotel

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  • 0:04 Sales and Marketing
  • 1:49 Researching & Designing Phase
  • 3:28 Planning Phase
  • 4:03 Coordination Phase
  • 5:35 Execution Phase
  • 6:07 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kat Kadian-Baumeyer

Kat has taught college Management and Hospitality Management and has a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership and Management

Planning an event, like a wedding or a conference, in a hotel can be very involved. In this lesson, we will break the process down into the major points, like the role of sales and marketing, planning, budgeting, and the execution of the event.

Sales and Marketing

Hotels are trendy venues for events, like weddings and conferences. Major hotels offer not only conference and event spaces but also hotel rooms, lounges, and even activities all in one place.

Hotels cannot ignore that many catering halls and conference centers offer similar features and amenities. A savvy hotel sales manager understands that there is competition and will employ clever marketing strategies to lure the leisure and business target markets in their direction.

Here are some ways hotel sales people attract their target markets. For one, they seek out clients who are qualified. A qualified lead is a lead involving a client who can afford the price of the event and has the willingness to make a commitment. There are several ways to locate this client.

The leisure client is a client that books events for pleasure, like weddings, anniversaries, and bridal showers. A good way to locate this customer is through bridal shows, bridal boutiques, private event planners, and advertisement campaigns. Don't forget social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.

The business client books events like conferences and seminars. These events differ from the leisure events because they frequently involve extended nights in rooms and extensive food service, like breakfast, break snacks, lunch, and dinner. Marketing to this group is somewhat different and requires a unique approach. A few ways to reel in the business client include referrals from existing clients, event planner rewards programs, and cold calling the planners within the corporation.

Once a client chooses the hotel as their venue, there's plenty more to do. Let's see what happens next.

Research & Designing Phase

There are several steps involved in planning an event. For this lesson, we'll use the example of Heather and Sebastian's wedding. Once the couple chooses the hotel, hotel sales manager Janet gets down to work.

Janet begins with the first stage of the planning process. This is known as research and involves asking the clients questions to determine their needs and wants as well as their budget and timeline. In this stage, Janet asks important questions and continually confirms each decision Heather and Sebastian make throughout the conversation.

For a wedding, Janet may ask:

  • Date and time
  • Number of guests invited
  • Number of rooms needed
  • Number of event venues required for the rehearsal and wedding dinner
  • Budget
  • Theme
  • Food and beverage choices
  • Table linen color schemes
  • Flower preferences
  • Entertainment preferences

Once Heather and Sebastian decide on their choices, Janet prepares an RFP, or Request for Proposal. This is a quote for the services the event planner proposes to the client and includes everything discussed and decided. When Heather and Sebastian are prepared to commit, they will accept the RFP and enter into a contract by way of a Banquet Event Order, generally putting down a deposit for the event.

Now that Janet has the contract in place, she moves to the next step of planning, the design phase. Here is where Janet begins working on the event by choosing the design aspects to create the theme. For Heather and Sebastian, this means a nautical theme. Janet will choose specific colors, textures, and elements that will bring the nautical theme to life.

Planning Phase

Counter-intuitively, the planning phase comes next. This is the phase where the sales person must consider the budget along with every detail surrounding the client's request. Now that Janet has the research and design in mind, she will have to carefully plan the components of the wedding within the customer's budget. This may mean an unlimited budget where little change or modification are needed. Or it may mean staying within a tight budget.

This also means confirming availability for the venue, hotel rooms, and food service, as well as coordinating transportation for guests, if needed.

Coordination Phase

As the big day approaches, Janet is in contact with Heather and Sebastian to make sure nothing has changed. If nothing has, Janet is well on her way to the coordination phase. This usually begins within a day or so of the actual event. In this phase, Janet arranges with the front desk any special requests for the booked hotels rooms, like the delivering of goody bags to rooms or the placement of champagne in the bridal suite.

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