Networking may be the foundation of Cvent CONNECT, but Day 2 also brought the opportunity for hospitality professionals to learn not only about the Cvent solutions coming their way, but also about how to reach and collaborate with planners better. Before splitting up for their respective roadmap sessions, the crowd got pumped up at the opening general session, which celebrated the conference theme: Together Now. Singers, musicians, and dancers — not to mention an amazing, full-width digital screen — reflected the people, places, technology, and experiences that converge to make great events.
Marking Cvent’s Anniversary by Looking Back
After 20 years of success and struggles since starting Cvent, founder and CEO Reggie Aggarwal had five lessons to share. In his keynote, he highlighted the importance of people and culture. “Believe in yourself, but also surround yourself with people who believe in you,” he said. Aggarwal’s secrets to his success:
- Find a pain point and create an aspirin.
- The DNA of your company is your people.
- Fall down seven times, get up eight.
- Create a bold, intrapreneurial culture.
- Hire, build, and listen.
During the difficult times, he said, “that’s when the Cvent culture was created.”
On to the Hospitality Professionals Program
After the Hospitality Cloud roadmap session, which covered new Cvent innovations for group marketing, sales, and operations, the focus shifted to helping hoteliers and destinations representatives connect better with planners throughout the event life cycle. Starting with the big picture, Warren Marr, managing director at PwC, showed planners what economic factors they should be monitoring to get a better idea of the hospitality and meetings industries: GDP, unemployment, consumer confidence, and inflation. “Keep on top of these, and you’ll stay a step ahead of the advanced uncertainty,” he said. To increase the certainty that you will reach and attract planner business, William Alvarez, director of organic search for Catalyst, said suppliers need to understand the importance of search-engine optimization. “Effective digital marketing starts and ends with search and content,” he said. Search is just one way that Cvent is marketing to planners, said Chris McAndrews, vice president of marketing for the Cvent Hospitality Cloud. He outlined the four priorities on which Cvent has focused to reach planners and connect more of them with suppliers:
- Using more marketing channels.
- Creating and distributing relevant, compelling content.
- Going digital to scale efforts.
- Establishing Cvent as an authority.
Building Stronger Relationships With Planners
One common thread that emerged throughout the day: Communication is the key to better hotelier/planner collaboration. “It’s about going in being truthful about what your event is trying to showcase,” said panelist Melinda Burdette, events director for Meeting Professionals International. “Planners are looking for experiences — experiences for themselves and for their attendees.” Dan Berger, vice president and general manager of Social Tables, also emphasized communication. In fact, according to a new Social Tables report, 37% of planners cite bad communication as the No. 1 reason they choose another venue. How can hotels communicate better with planners? “It goes back to trust,” he said, with a combination of sincerity, competence, and reliability.
Want to Check Out More of the Action?
Read recaps of Day 1, the Hospitality Professionals Program, the Hospitality Cloud roadmap presentation, and the Cvent Excellence Awards. For minute-by-minute coverage, including a look at our exciting evening parties, follow Cvent CONNECT on Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr!