ReviewEvents: Mystery Shopper Sees Big Name MICE Venues Miss The Brief

Logo: ReviewEvents

Logo: ReviewEvents

UK. The Dorchester, Disneyland and Rocco Forte all miss the mark in first quarterly report – and almost all venues fail environmental test. The Mandarin Oriental Miami has emerged the clear winner in the first Undercover Venuefinder Report by review and venuefind specialist – while a number of big names missed the brief entirely.

The meetings portal created a brief based on an event enquiry submitted to its free global venuefinding facility to test 10 hotels’ RFP responses – two venues each in the UK, US, France, Germany and Spain. Responses were judged on five criteria: speed of response, meeting the brief, responding to special requirements, and follow-up communications. The results illustrate a powerful showing for conference brand classics such as Sheraton, Crowne Plaza and Hilton over the likes of London landmark hotel The Dorchester, Disneyland Resort Paris and Rocco Forte’s luxury Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt. Global Venuefind Test Results:
1.     Mandarin Oriental Miami
2.     Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa Edinburgh
3.     Crowne Plaza Berlin City Centre
4.     Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona
5.     Hotel Novotel Paris Les Halles*
6.     InterContinental Madrid*
‏7.     The Dorchester, London
8.     Disneyland Resort Paris**, Millennium UN Plaza Hotel New York**, Rocco Forte Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt**

*Hotel Novotel Paris Les Halles was fully booked for the dates required so was not able to respond fully. However its quick, helpful response secured it fifth place in the rankings
** These three properties made no response to the brief and are therefore ranked joint eighth place

The brief was for a two-day/one-night conference and banquet for 100 in January 2010, with gala dinner (see full brief below). The RFP was emailed to each property at on 29th August, with 9:30am GMT 3rd September set as the deadline for response. The hotels were asked specifically to respond via email only. “We have 12,000 properties on our free venuefinder database and so see a huge amount of requests, many of which arrive with similar response criteria to our brief,” commented Managing Director Sarah Crysell. “This is how many corporate planners not using services such as ours initially communicate with meetings venues. So it was surprising to see so many big names fail to meet the brief, but reassuring to see so many of the well-known conference names performing well.”

Mandarin Oriental Miami was the clear winner, responding quickly (see Response Times table below), meeting the brief, offering extra information and following-up the request. Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa Edinburgh came a close second, while Crowne Plaza Berlin City Centre and Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona all met the brief within deadline. Hotel Novotel Paris Les Halles was fully booked for the dates required so was not able to respond fully. However its quick, helpful response still saw it secure fifth place in the rankings.
InterContinental Madrid‏ and The Dorchester, London both responded quickly but requested more information via email (Madrid) and a telephone call (London) in order to progress the enquiries. This missed the request of an email response, based on the details originally submitted. Disneyland Resort Paris, Millennium UN Plaza Hotel New York and Rocco Forte Villa Kennedy Frankfurt did not respond to the brief.

One area almost all the venues performed poorly on was answering the special request in the brief regarding environmental practices. The RFP asked the hotels to detail their environmental policies and how they might be used to minimise the environmental impact of the event. The only property to respond on this was Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona, which included links to its ‘We Care’ policy. The Undercover Venuefinding Report will now be carried out quarterly by