A financial services firm requested our assistance with sourcing rooms and space in NYC for an annual meeting.
ChallengeThe client had used Ultramar Travel's Groups & Meetings Division in the past to source this program. However, a shift in program management saw them bringing the efforts in house for their early 2013 meeting. We were told in early 2012 that our services would not be needed for the 2013 program. It was therefore a very pleasant surprise to be called to assist a few months later.
The challenge? With just a few months remaining before the program was to occur, five star properties in New York City were becoming short on space and sleeping rooms. Additionally, many of the client's internal divisions had a vested interest in the program and there were many priorities to manage.
ActionUltramar Travel Management Groups & Meetings Division's relationships with our hotel partners - backed by the leverage of the entire portfolio under Ultramar's management was integral to success.
Our first priority was to work with our client to alert the hoteliers that we would be taking over sourcing and negotiations. We personally reached out to our NSO's and to local property level contacts at all hotels that had previously provided bids. Additionally, we also contacted partners at a few properties that had not yet been approached. We informed them that the program specifications were continuing to change and that a new RFP would be forthcoming.
Our clients know their business. They know their associates. Because of this, our next priority was to listen to our clients. When all stakeholders share what they are each trying to achieve - and we consult with them to further define and prioritize those goals, common threads emerge. We participated in creating the creative environment for which they engaged us - an environment in which all priorities could be addressed through a single source.
We listened, we questioned and then we drafted a specifications document that was accepted by all stakeholders. We submitted the RFP to the appropriate hotels and then through relationships and open conversation with our partner hoteliers, we were able to provide a comprehensive availability and bid analysis to our clients.
Business moves and changes, and we know that. Even as specifications continued to change, as their consultant, we were able to manage the changes with hotel partners and the resulting changes to their bids. Ultimately several properties were selected to house the attendees and the meeting space. Each within a few hundred yards of each other. Each providing what specific elements of the program required. And, each agreeing to work with each other to provide seamless service.
ResultsWe are now working on sourcing the 2014 program. We understand our clients better. They are more aware of our service levels and the extra mile that we go to deliver what they need.