Booking an External Meeting Room
What do you do when your boss asks you to book a meeting room outside the office?
Who do you choose? How do you choose? Do you phone or email them? How many quotes do you get, but the question I delve into in this one and the most important, who can you really rely on?
I’m going to jump straight in to the point of who I can hand on heart place my trust in. I think you’d agree, that not having complete faith in the venue you’ve chosen for your important event/meeting can leave you feeling on edge during the whole experience. We’ve all been there: feeling you have to keep checking down to the very last detail, finding out closer to the event that the most important thing which you asked for hasn’t been supplied or someone hasn’t followed up on your specific request for something. You end up feeling not only completely stressed out but lacking in trust before the meeting even starts! This is not the experience you’ve been dreaming of and believe me, this is all about customer experience.
Let’s cut to the chase. The outfit that comes to my mind, and through my 25 year career of booking many meeting rooms has never let me down, is Hastings Hotels, and in particular The Stormont. So I decided to go behind the scenes to find out the secret sauce: What makes them so special? What do they do that makes customers go back to them, again and again? I was lucky enough to grab some time with the busy but extremely efficient Events Manager Julie Roulston – may I add, this lady’s calm demeanor put me at ease straight away, exuding the kind of “I have it all covered for you” and “any last minute request you have, don’t worry, I have your back” type of view.
It all comes down to service. I could here go through with you step by step, like Julie meticulously did with me, as to how they communicate with their clients but I wouldn’t be doing them or you justice in the message I’m trying to convey. Suffice to say that every touchpoint is catered for, from the initial phone call back if they need more details from you to the follow up service after your meeting has taken place, where Stormont place in high regard your feedback and suggestions, taking them into account for continuous improvement to their services. They’ll even take any materials you would like to use at your meeting and store them in advance and arrange with you to have them posted back to you afterwards if required.
With its own dedicated business annex, Confex boasts 9 meeting rooms which can house 30 people in each or 15 Boardroom style, and if you have a requirement or need to speak to someone during the meeting, you can either phone from the room or simply pop out to the adjacent purpose built Business Area which is manned at all times. The wonderful La Scala Restaurant is located just behind the centre or lunch can be provided inside or just outside your meeting room, having taken into account any dietary requirement you may have. For larger conference type meetings the beautiful Ballroom plays host to 500, theatre style. Furthermore there are reduced rates for accommodation, all booked through the Events manager, so that you don’t have to go through separately to Room Bookings. Even your billing details are all sorted beforehand so that there is no confusion the day of the meeting. Free parking, close proximity to the thriving Ballyhackamore leafy suburb but just far enough out of Belfast city centre to give you that objectiveness and time to reflect without feeling like you’re in the thick of it, all adds to your experience.
There are 3 events team managers and they keep each other in the loop so that if your contact is not free to speak to on a particular day, the other can smoothly sort out your query. They’ll even hold the space provisionally for 2 weeks, just in case you’re dithering over dates. Whether your party is large or small, the attention to detail remains the same. The understanding remains, that even though Julie will have confirmed your contract 2 weeks previously, there can still be flexibility to change timings and other details on your meeting date. You’ll be given one contact point on the day and in the event that your event overlaps with a change of shift, you will have the contact information from the start of the day so nothing is left to chance.
In my view, It all boils down in the end, to the staff. Attitude is everything, I’m sure you’ve heard it said and the company culture at Hastings seems to be that of a great big family, always willing and ready to help with anything, whilst maintaining the extremely high standard of service that they are well known in the industry for. Many staff have been with Stormont for a great number of years, which in this day and age speaks volumes. Why do they stay? Quite simply, they love it too.
Guest Blogger: Wendy Cree, Director of Ambriel Ltd.