Prevue September-October 2014 - (Page 12)

fresh meets InterContinental Hotels The Group Unveils New Small-Meeting Sales Tool InterContinental Times Square I n an effort to educate its meetings sales staff in specific industry niches and personalize the sales process, InterContinental Hotels launched the IHG Meeting Sales Strategy and a digital sales portal called IHG Meeting Point- positioned as an "industry-first, sector-focused, turnkey small meetings solution." Meeting Point is a simplified suite of tools designed to streamline the sourcing process for planners in the pharmaceutical, automotive, energy and healthcare industries. It also acts as an information hub for IHG sales teams in the rapidly growing knowledge-sharing economy, to help them speak the language of those specific industries. The demand is based on a longtime challenge in the MICE industry where planners have had to constantly educate hotel sales staff on the nuances of their specific fields of business. "This way, our clients are talking to someone who understands their world and their needs," says Ingrid QuimbyHigh, director of groups/meetings worldwide sales for InterContinental Hotels. Previously, IHG sent a 150-page sales education binder to each hotel, including policies for both general meeting sales and a few for specific verticals. With the new portal, information can be accessed and updated much more thoroughly and quickly. The goal is to differentiate IHG from competing brands by establishing a standard set of specialized services to drive loyalty and repeat business within the individual sectors. For example, the heavily regulated pharma and medical industry meetings environment is frequently undergoing compliance updates. This type of information is constantly updated at IHG Meeting Point, providing a customized, higher quality sales experience. "Our sales teams can use the tools we've developed as part of this strategy to increase their value to existing and new customers, while building preferred positioning of our meeting space for those customer's sectors," explains Quimby-High. "Our hotels really needed access to extensive and legitimate education on each of these sectors." In addition, the new platform provides cost savings by making sourcing, contracting and payment more efficient. It also mitigates risk for both parties with the end goal of improving the day-to-day lives of meeting professionals who are often being asked to do more work with less resources. The new sales strategy encompasses all nine brands under the IHG flag. As it's being rolled out, those hotels most active in the different sectors are benefiting the most. We asked QuimbyHigh what the feedback has been so far from planners. "Our industry meetings approach has been very well received by both our clients and hotels alike," she says. "Our clients told us repeatedly that they needed an easier solution to help both their full-time planners and their occasional planners to streamline the process for small meetings."-Greg Oates IHG Meeting Point A turnkey process which helps reduce the time and effort involved in delivering a small meetings experience; uniquely designed to support any meetings consolidation program or SMMP Master Services Agreements with a small meeting clause and simplified, fair terms and conditions to enable faster negotiations, streamlined contracting process and less risk for key clients Simpler proposal and payment processes to help clients maximize cost control and minimize overall planning through per-person priced meeting packages An online portal dedicated to the extensive education of hotel sales teams to allow them to become a trusted advisor to their clients. 12 | prevue magazine 12-13_Fresh.indd 12 9/4/14 12:40 PM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue September-October 2014

Planner’s Pick: The London, Los Angeles
Fresh Meets: InterContinental Hotels
Bureau Buzz: Oakland CVB
Good Business: Virginia Beach CVB
Sea Shores: Meetings 2.0
The Future of Meeting Design
On Location: Phoenix
On Location: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek
On Location: Westin and Sheraton Kansas City
Checkout: Princess Grace Rose Garden, Monaco

Prevue September-October 2014