In a three-part series, we’ll dive deep into how venues can prepare themselves for their biggest events and exceed the expectations of the industry’s top planners. Understanding planners’ needs was the first tip Rachel offered: “Cvent CONNECT 2016 will be a large conference with several sessions occurring concurrently throughout the day. Not all venues have large enough meeting spaces or are flexible enough to accommodate such a huge endeavor. As planners must establish their “non-negotiables” or “must-haves,” hotels have to be clear in what they can bring to the table. That way, RFPs will flow to the right venues at the correct times.” So what can you do to ensure clear communication throughout the entire event lifecycle? Rachel suggests taking a deeper look into the overall goals of the event. “Putting our attendees’ experience first is key,” Rachel explains, “And if the hotel makes that its number-one mission, it will become more evident to me as a planner that the venue is the right fit.” She urges that since event planning is all about the attendee experience, it’s crucial that the hotel be just as “customer-obsessed” as the planners themselves. To keep track of planners’ needs as they spring up, Rachel recommends the Conference Service Manager (CSM) be readily “accessible and proactive” throughout each stage. This means staying up to date with project timelines and the regular challenges that accompany a major event launch. Managing and adhering to a pre-approved agenda ensures a timely execution and happy attendees. Her final bit of advice is physically walking through the space and agenda as listed in the final RFP. She recommends at least two site visits for large events as early as a year in advance, with more flexibility for smaller events. “The more hoteliers can actually understand our needs and goals, the more it helps us place our tracks, events, and general sessions for the best possible event flow,” Rachel says. This arrangement benefits the venue and its clients, and builds stronger relationships between planners and hotels. At this year’s Cvent CONNECT, from June 26-30, join Rachel and her team as they welcome close to 3,000 event and hospitality professionals at The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas. Learn more about Cvent CONNECT 2016 here!