With close to 100 years of experience in the hospitality industry among their team, I knew where to turn for “Ask the Expert” advice on booking a new conference. I recently asked the sales staff at Ridgecrest Conference Center a simple question: What is the best advice you can give a group booking a new conference? Their answers were very insightful.
Here is what they had to say:
- “If I could narrow down a good piece of advice for a new group it would be a site visit. The experience is good for the planner and the salesperson. Hopefully it begins a lasting relationship. Looking and walking the property provides the planner much more than a website can offer. A site visit introduces the planner to many ideas and options in housing, meeting space, dining hall and recreation.” – Danny Dalton, at Ridgecrest for 35 years, in sales department for 13
- “When planning a new conference, it is key to surround yourself with a team of volunteers that have multiple gifts and talents that will help you execute the planning! Ask a lot of questions, gather resources and ideas and expect the unexpected. Above all things, stay focused on why you are having the conference in the first place!” – Annette Frisby, serving in hospitality for 22 years, at Ridgecrest for 18
- “Booking a new conference for a ministry can be tricky, so finding the right place and setting is key. You want it to be a place your attendees truly want to travel to and a place where the staff understands the goal of the event. The facility needs to understand this is a new conference and will be willing to help the planner in any way possible to help encourage attendance.” – Angela Beattie, 31 years in hotel industry
- “My advice would be to plan a site visit. There are so many details you can cover in a 2-hour visit you would never be able to experience just by looking at the website. For example, how long does it take to walk from the hotel rooms to the meeting rooms? Does the campus feel safe and walkable? What kind of hangout spaces are available around campus? More importantly, how do the staff treat you? You can book an event at a 5-star resort with beautiful hotel rooms and incredible amenities, but a rude and unhelpful staff will mar your entire experience. Experiencing excellent customer service in a Christ-like environment makes the difference between a good retreat and a great retreat.” – Lindsay Sloas, at Ridgecrest for 9 years, in sales department for 3
As you can see, location and surrounding yourself with the right team are great places to start when booking a conference. By conducting a site visit, you can also see firsthand the event space, hotel accommodations, dining facilities and more.
Thanks for the great advice, Ridgecrest team! If you are interested in booking a new conference with them, you can find more information at ridgecrestconferencecenter.org.