HOME > Latest News > Article > A Partner at Every Stage.
Latest News
Article

A Partner at Every Stage.

By Mike Stengel, Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Venue Relations for Encore
Plus guest authors:
Ryan McCrum from Encore
21 October 2022
8 min read
Share Article

How a good in-house event technology partner will generate more business

Hotels and their in-house event technology partners have the same goal: produce a successful event for meeting and event customers. When these teams align, it creates a seamless guest experience that deepens relationships with meeting and event customers. That translates to a more successful path for the hotel to book repeat business. Here are some ways to leverage your in-house event technology partnership to close new business, overcome customer support challenges and increase customer satisfaction.

Amplifying your sales efforts

If you don’t already think of your in-house event technology team as an extension of your sales team, you should. A good event technology partner will help you win business and generate more earnings through customer insights, space utilization, technology enhancements, and other value-adds.

Event technology providers, such as Encore, have customer relationship management (CRM) tools that can provide potential leads and essential information about prospects. This customer data can help hotels win more business and generate additional revenue, especially if the technology provider has existing relationships with prospective customers. Knowing who is coming in the door can transform a cold sales meeting into a warm conversation. From the customer’s perspective, knowing they’re not coming into the hotel blind helps them trust your team.

According to the Encore Fall 2022 Planner Pulse Report, 57 percent of meetings will take place in hotels next year. Planners say the most important site selection factor, next to budget and location, is meeting space layout, meeting space technology and infrastructure, and service-level expectations. The in-house event technology team understands your hotel and its meeting space better than anyone; they have intimate knowledge of the available technology and infrastructure of the space and how to best deploy it. If the event technology partner is included in the initial site visit, they can address many of the things meeting and event organizers see as shortcomings by explaining the potential ways technology can transform the space or how similar events have configured it to achieve objectives. These solutions are a way a good event technology partner can help your sales team generate more earnings. This personalized approach meets the high level of hospitality service event professionals expect.

Overcoming customer support challenges

Solid in-house event technology partners should also be able to help you overcome challenges your team has supporting meeting and event customers. According to the H1 2022 Encore Venue Pulse Report, the Top 3 challenges venues have supporting events are:

  • Shorter customer lead times (69 percent)
  • Operational challenges due to workforce (59 percent)
  • Meeting customers’ budget expectations (55 percent)

Short lead times also rank high among meeting and event professionals’ most significant challenges. In-house event technology teams facilitate these tight turnarounds by bringing venue-specific expertise to the table. Because your hotel is their home base, they understand how to deliver on those objectives without reinventing the wheel. In-house event technology providers know what works and what doesn’t, and they can steer customers around potential roadblocks before they become problems. This helps your convention sales team build strong customer relationships, boosting the potential for repeat business.

The deep expertise in-house event technology teams possess also helps hotels meet customers’ budget expectations. The overall perception meeting and event professionals have that everything costs more isn’t unilaterally true. In-house event technology teams understand how to maximize the available space, and they have the creativity and expertise to suggest solutions that can deliver similar experiences at a variety of price points. This ability to adjust expectations and technology to fit a planner’s budget can generate goodwill that extends to the hotel sales team.

Because in-house event technology teams consider your hotel their home base, they take pride in delivering service up to your brand standards. They also treat your property and meeting spaces with respect and take care not to cause damage or create a mess the way a jobbed-in contractor might. In these ways, they represent and take care of your property in a manner that also enhances the customer experience.

These advantages are multiplied when your event technology partner is a well-resourced global company. Behind the onsite event technology team there may be a raft of corporate resources — like access to training, talent, and technology — that enhance the value of the in-house team and help them act as an extension of your brand. For example, Encore focuses on adapting its onsite teams to the culture and hospitality tier of each hotel and brand, training them to be flexible and responsive to individual meeting/event customer needs and educating them on the newest technologies, as well as ways to show those technologies off to make the hotel look better in the eyes of meeting and event customers. Additionally, Encore has regional warehouses full of technology and set pieces that can amplify what a hotel has in its existing inventory as well as regional pools of skilled talent that can be brought in on an event-by-event basis.

Increasing customer satisfaction

According to the Summer 2022 Encore Planner Pulse Report, 72 percent of meeting and event professionals now prefer to work with one event technology provider. Rather than having to cobble together event experiences using multiple technology vendors, the above studies show event professionals are looking for a single stop to help them achieve whatever their meeting production needs and those needs have evolved. According to the Encore Fall 2022 Planner Pulse Report, meetings and events need to have the following:

  • Better engagement (46 percent)
  • Increased personalization (40 percent)
  • More networking (38 percent)

Hotels can meet these needs by partnering with in-house event technology providers that provide a suite of end-to-end solutions — and on a global scale. For example, Encore offers full-service technology, creative and production services, which means they can manage everything from music licensing, speechwriting, scenic design services, and video creation to animated graphics, interactive polls, presentation chat rooms, event apps, and digital signage. Need technology that keeps people off their phones but engaged with the presentation? Want to give people the power to see slides close-up? Event technology partners can recommend solutions, like Chime Live, which were developed to work as well with in-room audiences as virtual ones.

Partnering for success

There are no do-overs with a live event. You need event technology partners who are laser-focused on working with your existing team and amplifying its effectiveness to ensure that you all look great, especially the customer. That’s why having an in-house event technology partner you can rely on is key. Not only will they maximize the space you have to work with, but they can also amplify your team’s efforts to attract, serve and retain business. There are boundless opportunities.

Help your convention sales team position themselves as trusted advisors with meeting and event customers. According to our past two Planner Pulse reports, creating more engaging meetings and events is their No. 1 concern. Download the Encore Boundless Opportunities for Engagement handbook for talking points and tips on maximizing event engagement your team can pass on to their customers: https://www.encoreglobal.com/boundless-possibilities-for-engagement-dl/

About the Author

Ryan McCrum is the Regional Vice President, Venues for Suburban Chicago, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Ryan started his career with PSAV (now Encore) in 2002 as an Event Technology Technician at the Westin River North.

In his 20 years with Encore Ryan has led the Event Technology teams as a Director in several hotels in the Chicago and Suburban markets and as an above venue leader.

Ryan lives in Hoffman Estates, IL with his wife and 4 children. In his spare time Ryan enjoys coaching his kid’s sports teams, watching sports, and riding his motorcycle.

Ryan McCrum, Regional Vice President, Venues for Suburban Chicago, Indiana, and Wisconsin
Mike Stengel, Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Venue Relations

About the Author

Mike Stengel was named Encore’s Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Venue Relations in September 2020. He leads Encore’s focus on developing relationships with venue partners, hotel chains, hospitality ownership groups, and management companies. 

In addition to sales in his 27-years in the event technology industry, Mike has led operational, revenue management, business process improvement, customer experience and service excellence, and specialized solution groups. 

Mike has served on the Live Events Council Steering Team and has chaired the Membership Committee of InfoComm (now AVIXA). He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Management Companies Institute (AMCI), and the International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA). Mike earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism with an emphasis in advertising and a minor in business management.

Outside of work, Mike serves on various charitable boards and enjoys scuba diving, snow skiing and traveling. He lives in St. Louis with his wife, daughter and son.