Is bigger better?
Let’s face it – the meetings and convention business has become crowded. If you work on the meeting planning side, there’s no doubt that you receive a multitude of sales pitches from companies eager for your business. These third-party firms perform valuable services, saving you extraordinary amounts of time and in many cases, money. At first blush, it would seem that choosing a large firm would be advantageous. These organizations do high volumes of business and therefore have economies of scale not enjoyed by smaller firms.
But beware! Bigger is not always better. While the larger firms may allude to pricing advantages and deep concessions, these perceived savings come at some cost to you. It is true there is no such thing as a free lunch. Rest assured, when you are being seduced with a “package” of pre-negotiated extras or “so what concessions” you may not be getting the best value as these “packages” dilute the worth of your business case.
And what goes on behind the scenes between the supplier and the big business third party? There are side deals, cash and point incentives for these third parties to “push” hotels/resorts regardless of whether they are meeting your needs and wants. How do these factors affect the recommendations made and are they in your company’s best interest?
In the larger firms, clients are often passed along a continuum, from the sales representative who makes the first impression and creates interest to the individual who will actually handle your business. Again, each of these professionals has a large portfolio of clients and you will likely lose some of the personal touch as you are moved down the assembly line.
When faced with an event as important as your conference, you owe it to yourself and your company to engage the services of the very best –a firm committed to customized deliverables which address your unique goals and objectives. Even in this era of budget sensitivity, choosing the larger firm with what appears to be a “great package” may have serious consequences in the overall value and quality of service you receive.
The retail space emphasizes “Shop Local” or “Shop Small” campaigns that are a hallmark in many cities. The same idea is easily applied to the meetings industry – shop your business to the smaller firms and witness the benefits of personalized attention.