Group meetings, business and leisure travelers are without question the meat and potatoes of the upscale hoteliers diet, thus the reasoning behind Omni Hotels decision to partner with one of its top customers - meetingplanners - via Omni Hotels Meeting Planner Advisory Board.
Developed in 1993, the Meeting Planner Advisory Board consists of 13 corporate and association meeting planners representing companies and associations the likes of Frito-Lay, Lennox Industries, Exxon Company USA, Eli Lilly & Company, National Association of Health Underwriters and UTC Carrier Corporation. Members serve a three-year term and participate in year-round visits and correspondence with Omni Hotels executives, meeting collectively on an annual basis.
Each year, Omni Hotels Meeting Planner Advisory Board meets to discuss and make recommendations on issues relating to group meetings and business travel. Previous recommendations that have been implemented by Omni Hotels include: the Omni Hotels meeting planner facilities guide, the development of course material for new and improved hotel conference services training and defined policies and procedures for marketing re-flagged or newly developed hotels.
Atthe 1997 Meeting Planner Advisory Board session, topics of discussion centered around technology - the redevelopment of Omni Hotels corporate Web site including a corporate meeting planner section with hot dates, an on-line facilities guide and the use of e-mail to communicate with corporate meeting planners. The session also addressed the launch of Omni Hotels revised frequent guest program, Select Guest.
“All of our Advisory Board Members are seasoned meeting planners,” says Barbara Kogen, Omni Hotels senior director of national sales and training. “These individuals book large numbers of meetings using a variety of hotel companies and therefore are in the ideal position to provide us with valuable feedback as to how we are performing, especially compared to the competition.” According to Kogen, Omni Hotels solicits meeting planners to be Advisory Board Members based on referrals by the hotel chains national sales offices. It is important to note that not all Meeting Planner Advisory Board Members are frequent clients of Omni Hotels.
“In keeping with our mission and vision to become a four-star hotel chain and industry service leader, we first have to establish an open dialogue for receiving information from our key customers -a majority of whom fall in the category of group business and business travelers,” says Jim Caldwell, president of Omni Hotels. “This is a highly competitive industry, which is why we must invest in the time to listen to our customers needs and wants andact upon them. Establishing this Advisory Board was a way for us to ensure that our customers needs are heard and acted upon immediately at Omni Hotels.”
Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Omni Hotels is a privately owned chain of 44 first-class and luxury hotels and resorts located throughout the United States and Mexico. Omni Hotels properties offer four-star services ranging from gourmet dining, fitness facilities, tennis, golf, wine tastings, tours of local attractions, music festivals and children`s activities. Omni Hotels will continue an aggressive agenda for expansion in first-tier markets and key secondary cities, with an emphasis on the Midwest and West Coast.