Can it be true? The complexities and dynamics of choosing a destination are so involved. The bid brief is based on objective criteria. The association or corporation has clear goals. Are you thinking that it’s not very emotional? Yes, lots of people are involved in making a decision about where an event will be held. The decisions are often characterized as “political.” Politics is VERY emotional; need we say more?
Destination sales professionals tend to get caught up on the meeting space specs, subvention requirements, hotel rates and then use their attractions as the bow on the package when courting event business. It’s important to demonstrate that you have adequate facilities, but it’s the experience and the meeting outcomes and how you communicate those in your bid that will translate into favorable votes.
When we lose a bid to another destination, we hear……”it was politics”, or they haven’t been to that destination for a certain number of years, or the hotel rates in the selected city were more favorable. Ok, try this one on for size. How many of you have a great relationship with a Meeting Professional you’ve known for years, and he/she still hasn’t brought a group to your city?
Higher priced hotels do get group business, and yes regional rotations are a fact of life; but if the group is deciding on a destination in your region, then you have a level playing field.
Buying decisions are mostly emotional, and then logic and reasoning are mostly used to validate the decision. Selling is, in my view, both an art and a science, ever mindful that tipping the emotional scales in your favor is how you win bids more often than you lose
So, how do you crack the code? While the decision dynamics for each bid may differ, people will make the decision! I like the “Doctor/Patient” approach.” In order to write an effective prescription, you need to examine the patient, gathering all the symptomatic information you can. Get the “patient” to talk about their problems (challenges in our world.) Find out what went badly at past events, what are their core anxieties in selecting a city for the event for which you are bidding. What concerns them most about your destination? The more you get them to open up about their “problems”, the better you can tailor your “prescription” (solutions). Then you can work the back channel of lobbying the decision makers, using these ”prescriptions” to focus their attention on how your destination delivers in the ways that are best for them and that they care about most. Your local association members are part of your medical team to effectively communicate the “prescription” to these decision makers. They will have more frequent opportunities leading up to the formal bid tender to instill confidence in those “patients.” Result? Confidence that your destination will deliver the best event experience ever for their organization, and feeling “cured.”
Author: Dennis Campbell