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Eventprofs: Looking for a Supplier or a Partner?

The other day I received an email from a hotel director of sales & marketing requesting a “price list” for our group lead generation services.  I responded that, while we have project investment guidelines, fees may vary widely, depending on the nature of the data, the timing of the project, whether it is just a calling campaign or whether there is an email component, etc. 

I asked the person to have a conversation, so we could discuss what they needed exactly. Unfortunately, my request was flatly denied, “Please send via email the pricing for the request below, as well as any recommended strategies, if you are interested in being included in the bid process for this project.”

Wow!  I was really taken aback.  I wondered how this DOSM would feel if a planner called their sales office and asked for “a rate” for a group, but was not willing to provide a time of year, the size of group and other requirements such as F&B and meeting space.  Would they just quote a group rate?  I doubt it.

This was especially disappointing since I had a few prior conversations with this person over the last 18 months.  I thought we had established an understanding that marketing services must be tailored to individual property or destination needs.  From our experience, cookie-cutter does not translate into success.

Lesson learned?  As much as it saddened me, I let this one go.  If I could not have a conversation to discuss where they were at, how could I recommend a strategy?  In the long run, my gut told me, they probably would never be happy.  They were looking for a vendor and we were looking to be their partner.  We were simply not a good fit.

I concluded that whether you are on the supply side of the meetings industry – a hotel, a CVB or a meeting services provider – or on the buying side, you must be clear about whether you are looking for a commodity or a customized solution.  And in the end, the way we treat others often will be reflected in how we get treated ourselves!