Government Connections - Spring 2012 - (Page 9)
Society of Governme Meeting Pr Government overnme ent Professionals
CONNECT TO GOVERNMENT MEETINGS. SPRING 2012 • VOL 3, ISSUE 3
Suppliers: How Serious Are You About Booking Government Meetings?
By Charles Sadler, CGMP, CHSP, CHSC Executive Director & CEO Suppliers, it’s always a good time to be serious about government meetings, and I hope you have made plans to attend SGMP’s 30th National Education Conference & Expo in New Orleans, May 16-18, 2012. Economic woes may have adversely affected several segments of the meetings industry, and government meetings have faced media scrutiny and recent unfavorable Inspector General reports, causing much turmoil in the future of government meetings. The reality is, government meetings have true purpose and reason to take place. The key is to understand what sets government planner responsibilities apart from other industry planners and how suppliers can be key to that success. If you want government meetings, then you need to know how to do business within the required framework of procurement and ethics that are the standard for government planners. As a supplier, you will need to know how to navigate and work the RFP process. Add to that the responsibility of the supplier to ensure the government planner doesn’t go astray. Suppliers, you are at a serious disadvantage if you treat government business like corporate, association or even SMERF (Sports, Military, Education, Religion and Fraternal!) Although government business has been consistent despite problems with the country’s financial situation, planners of government meetings are more cautious than they were a couple of years ago about location, spending, efficiency and ethics. In addition to staying strong, the market has given birth to emerging niches in line with the administration’s priorities. Defense and TSA meetings are still looming large in the marketplace as they have for many years, but now, new offshoots of government attention such as green initiatives and alternative energy solutions are becoming part of the government meeting matrix. While the government meetings market may remain strong in difficult economic times, it is not completely immune to economic hardships and has been forced to change its ways to accommodate new financial strains. This is where a supplier’s serious interest in government meetings can play a major role in booking and supporting government meetings as part of the revenue mix of a hotel, conference center or destination marketing strategy. This is also the perfect time to build a business relationship with government planners and demonstrate your willingness to work within government rules, regulations and ethics in the course of doing business. I strongly encourage all suppliers to actively pursue the benefits of all the networking components available to you. I cannot stress enough that the first step, and many times also the second, third, fourth and fifth steps, are up to the supplier to actively engage with SGMP If the government market is yours, . own it and work it! A word of caution (and my personal pet peeve of both planners and suppliers): when you do get government business, always consider it as important as the day you booked it in order to make your revenue numbers and goals. The service culture with staff should be just as strong. No one should look down at government business that was booked in bad times and six months later checks in when business has picked up again at your facility. Government business should always be part of the market mix and should always be as respected as any other market. The opposite philosophy could lose you the relationships or credibility with government planners that you have worked hard to achieve. The good thing is that your big chance is now to show how serious you are about booking government meetings by attending SGMP’s 30th National Education Conference & Expo and being an active member of your chapter and the national organization. I hope to see you at the NEC or a chapter meeting near you!
Society of Government Meeting Professionals 908 King Street, Lower Level Alexandria, VA 22314 703-549-0892 Fax: 703-549-0708 www.sgmp.org EXECUTIVE EDITOR Charles Sadler, CGMP, CHSP, CHSC MANAGING EDITOR Lisa Silverman, MA, CGMP Address editorial comments and questions to Charles Sadler, editor, Government Connections, 908 King Street, Lower Level, Alexandria, VA 22314.
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PUBLISHED APRIL 2012/SGM-Q0112/6753
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Spring 2012
Travel Tips & Trends
Good to Know
Dieting on a Per Diem
Navigating the NEC Expo
Getting to Know You
Building Strong Relationships
What Do You Do?
The Meeting Minute
Government Connections - Spring 2012