Taking Care of Business Travelers during the Hectic Holidays

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Meeting and event planners love the holidays. Office parties, employee appreciation lunches, awards banquets, New Year’s Eve parties, family dinners, and the usual birthdays, anniversaries and weddings make this time of year hectic and profitable. So much of the hotel’s resources and staff is busy taking care of these special events that the regular business traveler sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. They can sometimes feel invisible when everyone is focused on the big-ticket event and the hundreds of people it brings in.

As a trainer for a large public seminar company, I traveled five nights a week, two or three weeks each month. I used to dread traveling around the holidays because of the crowded airports and extra traffic on the roads. But what I really didn’t look forward to was staying in a large convention hotel that was booked to the penthouse with holiday parties. Even the simplest of services were hard to get.

While events bring in a lot of people for one night, business travelers like me come back year round. Here are some suggestions for keeping your “regulars” happy through the hectic holiday season:

1. Flag the reservations for your loyal business guests so the front desk staff can give them a special welcome.
2. Give your business travelers a room away from the party guests so they can get a good night’s sleep. I often arrived late and had to be up early the next morning to lead a seminar, and a quiet room made it easy to catch those needed six or seven hours of sleep.
3. Upgrade your business travelers’ accommodations or put them on the concierge level. It’s a nice “thank you” around the holidays and makes it easier to get breakfast there than wait in line in the restaurant full of holiday diners.
4. Assign meeting space for business travelers away from the main ballroom events. I once had to lead a seminar next door to a ballroom full of salespeople having their holiday luncheon. The enthusiastic speakers and roar of the crowd kept up for hours, making it almost impossible to keep my group on track.
5. Small doesn’t mean insignificant. My company booked hundreds of small seminars in hotels all over the country. All the participants were guests of the hotel for that day and potential customers who lived in the area. Taking the time to plan a successful meeting for every customer makes good business sense and will keep your repeat customers marketing your services for you by sharing their experiences with others.
For more information or to search for your own hositality position, check out www.hospitalityjobsite.com

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a freelance writer, blogger, and consultant. Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in "Training" magazine, "Training & Development" magazine, "Supervision," "Pulse" and "The Savannah Morning News." You can read her blogs at www.skirt.com/savannahchick, www.workingsmartworks.blogspot.com/ and on the web at www.mjnhconsulting.com.

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