Taking Care of Your VIP and Hospitality Programs

vipsAs a professional event manager, you know how to manage online registrations, onsite check-in, accommodations, travel, functions and much more.

But are you ready if (and when) you are tasked with managing the requirements and logistics surrounding your VIP and hospitality groups?

The job is daunting! You know that there are endless tasks and to-dos surrounding arrivals, ticketing, logistics, and more. How do you keep up with the many responsibilities and requirements?

VIP and hospitality programs will usually incorporate many traditional meeting management practices, but the overall approach a manager will take is often focused on very specific requirements. In many circumstances, you may be tasked with overseeing arrivals and logistics for a group of VIPs arriving for a major sporting event, such as the Olympics or regional events.

You may be tasked with a large number of foreign guests arriving for a government summit or possibly an incentive trip where the executives of the company are being treated to an extra special VIP experience during the trip.

No matter what the circumstances, VIP and Hospitality guests represent unique requirements and challenges.

Some examples where special consideration may be required are when you are dealing with:

  • VIPs – persons that require a high level of attention and dedicated resources
  • Hospitality groups – VPs of a company, dignitaries from foreign countries, other persons requiring special attention and treatment
  • Special categories – members of a government delegation, press (in some cases), other categories that you may designate for special attention and handling

There are many moving parts when managing VIPs and other hospitality groups. Some possible scenarios you may encounter include:

  • Special registration categories for VIPs and other special guests
  • Packages designed for specific VIP and other special guests
  • Focused profile and background information, including dietary and special preferences
  • Delegation assistance and communications
  • Credential vetting and management
  • Concierge support
  • Communications
  • Table seating assignments
  • Access control to VIP areas

When it comes to managing the numerous details surrounding VIP and hospitality programs, you want to make sure the management platform you choose is able to manage the very specific requirements. Not many technology platforms are designed to accommodate these items. Some functionality and features you should look for include:

Registration management

You want to be able to distinguish who is at your event by registration category. You can use this for reporting, communications, and other services where you need to focus strictly on one or two registration categories.

Alerts

This is something that is rather new is the meetings industry. Newer registration platforms are integrating alerts, so you are notified by email or text whenever a specific action happens, such as when a VIP registers for a program or checks-in at the event.

Inventory Management and Ticket Management

This is one of the most important aspects of managing VIPs and hospitality groups. In many VIP scenarios, you will be managing executive level travel, hotel suites, event tickets in VIP boxes and much more.

Not only do these items cost a lot of money, inventory will be limited and you will want to exercise tight control over allocation.

You want to make sure your technology platform can support detailed and layered inventory information and comprehensive reporting on all distributions.

Communication Tools

If you are managing a 3,000 person conference, communications tend to be fairly straightforward. Most communications are generated by templates and apply to many persons at the same time.

With VIP programs, however, communications is completely different. You will be managing detailed itineraries, confirmations for VIP housing, travel and much more. You need to make sure you are able to communicate details that are private, specific and focused on the requirements of each individual VIP.

This is especially important for communicating schedules, itineraries and other highly secure and private information.

Arrival Waves

For many sporting events that occur over a period of weeks, being able to manage your VIP and hospitality arrivals into “waves” is a very important process to implement. Waves of arrivals will usually encompass areas such as travel arrivals/transfers, hotel check-ins, event and more.

When working with multiple groups attending an event over different time frames, you want to make sure you can separate each group into different designated waves. When you do that, it’s quite simple to create reports and data snapshots of each arrival wave.

Table Seating Assignments

Newer management tools typically offer an integrated table seating assignment tool. Make sure you are able to filter and sort your VIPs so you can assign seating as required for your VIP attendees. There is no need to do this in Excel anymore!

In Closing

Managing VIPs and Hospitality groups takes a high level of focus and management. The details are many and the requirements specific and time sensitive.

At the end of the day, it will be your vision and organization that will pull all this together for an exemplary VIP experience. Providing your VIP and Hospitality Groups with the perfect VIP experience is what it is all about.

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