Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Working With Tighter Budgets & Leaner Staff

Working With Tighter Budgets & Leaner Staff
By Sherie L. Howell, CMP, CMM, CGMP
Destination Marketing Association International
Planner Perspective December 7, 2010
A-S-K Associates, Inc. Conference Management Group is operating smarter and more efficiently in today’s economic times by pulling together our resources and helping each other.  These resources can be within our company internally or with our supplier/vendor partners.  We are always looking for ways to provide our clients with the best price and still maintain the quality of the item they are purchasing.  Everyone within our organization is willing to work harder and smarter to make sure we all benefit from these challenging times versus be affected by them.
As a small company it can be as simple as answering phones, running errands, traveling economically, etc.  As a business in the hospitality industry, customer service is a priority to make sure we accommodate our existing clients as well as promoting our business and services to new and potential clients.  Word of mouth is key to the success of our operation.
Our best practice has been to share and learn from each other as a team.  We analyze every event and discuss everything that went well and any process improvements that need to be made for future client events.  Keeping up to date in the latest technologies, reading the latest trends and inventing new and additional ways to better serve our clients is very important to me and A-S-K.  We pride ourselves in being “experts in the industry” therefore we must be proactive in providing our clients the latest and greatest services and products possible.
I use the PCMA and MPI websites when researching latest trends, industry research, market place statistics, etc…, and I use state and cities CVB/CVA websites when researching hotels, locations and unique venues.  In addition, I like referencing the Meetings Mean Business website when justifying to a client why meetings are important.
On an annual basis, I try to attend the PCMA and MPI conferences, if my travel and work schedule allows. I really love the PCMA Leadership Conferences because they are more intimate and I get “face” time with PCMA Executives and other managers and executives that attend. When invited, I like to attend the Women in Leadership event sponsored by ALHI hotels as well.
Recommended Resources & Tools:
1.     “The Meeting Planner’s Legal Handbook” , James M. Goldberg, Esq.
2.     “Connect: Building Success Through People, Purpose and Performance”, Keith Harrell & Hattie Hill
3.     “Attitude is Everything: 10 life-changing steps to turning attitude into action”, Keith Harrell
4.     “Play Like A Man, Win Like A Woman”, Gail Evans
5.     “Stuff Happens (and then you fix it)”, John Alston and Lloyd Thaxton
6.     “The Ant and the Elephant, Leadership for the Self”, Vincent Poscente
7.     “Who’s Got Your Back”, Keith Ferrazzi
8.     “Enjoy The Ride”, Steve Gilliland