Omni Hotels knows that sometimes you have to give in order to get.
The 60-property brand recently announced the fourth year of its Be Collaborative roadshow, a professional development series for meetings planners, and potential clients, across the country.
The program was born out of conversations between Omni and its customer advisory board about ways to develop a different kind of relationship with meetings planners — a customer base almost more important than guests themselves.
The majority of Omni’s business is driven by meetings and events (50 percent) and individual business travelers (30 percent). The leisure market makes up just 20 percent of its business.
The board, which is made up of 60 corporate meetings planners and business travel managers, suggested the brand move beyond sales calls to create a branded experience for potential and current clients.
To make the event appealing, it’d have to integrate simple brand promotion into something more meaningful for clients.
The brand decided on professional development content that would help attendees on an individual level while also clearly giving the hotel an opportunity to tout its own programs and properties.
The events focus on how clients and suppliers can work together, understand one another’s business objectives, and develop their collaboration skills.
“We asked ourselves, ‘How do we put ourselves in a position to not only talk about the brand effectively, but also demonstrate it to them?’,” explains Omni VP of Sales Tom Faust.
Omni is switching up the format this year to mirror the well-known TED Talks with three speakers each taking the floor for 20 minutes a piece.
The event will include presentations from Smith Travel Research on hospitality trends including pricing and in-room technology; from an AV expect from Encore Event Technologies on evolving meeting technology, including a demo of Omni’s new meeting app, and how planners can use it to improve their results; and from Omni Meetings University on how to use the new educational portal.
This year’s program will take place in 8 cities including Manhattan, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, and Hot Springs, Vermont.
The hotel group estimates about 100 clients will attend each of its 8 events, representing 10 percent of all planners that Omni works with each year.