I will never forget the experience of planning to attend a small in-person industry event in Chicago in March of 2020. Many of the attendees were new to me, and I was excited to meet them and network in person. Slowly one at a time, and then in a rush, all of the RSVPs started changing from definite to tentative, and then to cancellations. While at first, I thought this was due to health concerns about the pandemic that was beginning to become a part of our public consciousness, but it was actually that many of these people went from being the top Business Development & Sales Leaders for their hotels, suppliers, and live event companies to laid off in a period of just a few weeks. We all watched in collective disbelief as vast sections of our professional networks were decimated, and we wondered if we were next.
Now nearly two full years later, we are experiencing a sense of whiplash as our hotel, convention, trade-show, and live event business builds itself back and continues to navigate an unpredictable and changing business environment. Let's consider the headwinds that hotels are currently facing:
Teams are not what they were - due at first to challenges related to furloughs and reduced operating budgets, but today recruiting talent back into the hospitality space is the more significant challenge. Coordinators, sales assistants, concierges are luxuries that many teams are having to deal without. While this varies from market to market, the norm is wearing four to five hats and handling twice as many clients and events. This pressure to do more with less extends from the hotels to event planners.
How do hotels position themselves in an environment when many of the tools of the trade (site visits, fam trips, client entertainment) are all harder for many reasons. Sales teams face tighter deadlines for RFP responses and much more competition as everyone seeks that lucrative group customer that IS holding in-person events…while continuing to leverage virtual and hybrid audiences.
Clients have re-prioritized their spending, with event technology and audiovisual support being much higher up the list than traditional revenue sources like food and beverage and experiential activations. They can no longer afford to offer a sub-par presentation experience when there are multiple audiences - in person and those viewing the program from their homes or guest room.
While there is a considerable push to automate, streamline, and use technology to create better guest experiences - hospitality professionals are experts in human engagement. Leadership teams are challenged to take the best of the latest technology and leverage this to delight guests and continue to be a natural brand extension.
We understand how hard it can be to both sell and choose hotel partners in the best of times, let alone with the challenges highlighted above. Pinnacle Live is the first “hotel first” event technology and audiovisual provider. The brands we support work very hard to curate and maintain brand authenticity throughout all levels of their hotels, and this is critical during the hotel selection and sales process. Pushing in the same direction, understanding buying dynamics, seasonality, and presenting ourselves as a unified front and subject matter experts on the individual and specific hotel the Pinnacle Live team member supports. We back this up with thoughtful, intelligent, and timely communication that enhances and brings together the entire hotel offering. This adds value to our hotel partner and the customer who has put so much time and energy into choosing a specific venue for their event.
Our customers expect that when they choose to use an in-house provider, they will get an enhanced offering that will leverage the insider working knowledge of the hotel, take advantage of streamlined lines of communication, and expect that the products offered will be the right solutions. Our partners expect us to ask the right questions, dig deeper, and understand our customers.
How does Pinnacle Live do this? Quite simply, it is only possible when a team is dedicated and embedded. Operational efficiencies, clustered selling, top-down policy, and bureaucracy driving local decisions? No…that's not what our clients and hotel partners expect or signed up for. They expect a world-class experience that is real and impactful because we can never lose sight of why live events are so crucial to the human experience. Trusting the hospitality professionals who happen to be event technology experts to build relationships positively and make decisions at the venue level is the right model. One size does not fit all; is just good enough from a technology partner, good enough for you?
I am often asked why now, and why Pinnacle Live? The answer is simple: I have a passion for the hotel industry that I fell in love with over 20 years ago. My heart was broken for these brands, teams, and individuals that have lost so much. I am doing this now because I believe in live events. I believe in the hundreds and hundreds of supremely talented individuals I have worked alongside that, more than anything, love this industry as much as I do. They fought through the last two years alongside their hotel teams, advocating for our clients, learning new ways of doing things, evolving, changing, and doing the best with what they had.
Now is the time for them to come home to a company that, at its core, understands that our differentiation is our teams working hard every single day in our partner hotels, doing it the right way.
In conclusion, it isn't enough to provide technology and equipment on a global scale. It takes a top-to-bottom culture and commitment to the individuals working hard every day towards one common goal aligned - customer, hotel, and supplier - that truly makes the difference. More than anything, top talent rallies around a sense of mission, values that align with their own, inspired leadership, and being part of something bigger than themselves.
It's time to put this next-generation partnership to work for your hotel and your event.