TRUST! 1 Proven Technique to Market Your Hotel on a Shoe String Budget

December 18, 2014

Meeting Planners don’t believe traditional marketing material any more.    They don’t even respond to “a Sales Pitch” and are indeed put off by it.  They believe their peers, other Planners and what delegates are saying on social media.   They need to feel Trust before they will engage with you.  I have a number of different strategies to incorporate “TRUST” into your overall marketing plan; strategies that ensure the Planner is listening, believing and wanting what you are promising.

I am all about making life easy on the Sales & Marketing Department.  I have put together some quick and easy ways to market your Conference and Event Space without spending a cent!

How to Use Instagram to Promote your Hotel or Venue to the Meeting Planner.

Instagram is emerging as one of the most useful social media platforms for marketing in the hospitality business.   It holds a massive opportunity to engage and promote your hotel.  Almost 100 million monthly users can be reached and 40 million photos are shared every day.   Yet there are less than 800 hotels in the world active on Instagram!!!

Conference Planner Hashtags

Meeting Planner Hashtags

The Instagram audience loves photos of food, travel, pets, quotes and luxury.  Hotels and venues can tick a lot of boxes with that list.  Using the medium of “sharing” this marketing strategy turns your clients into marketing machines and photographers for you.

Here are some top tips from on how to use Instagram to market your Venue.

This is what not to do!!

  1. Do not use it for traditional advertising purposes. No sales pitches, brochure content, specials or rates.
  2. Do not upload standard hotel brochure pictures and expect to gain followers and engage with instagrammers.

 Ciara Feely Green Exec ShotDo…

  1. Use a creative slant of a room – choose an aspect, angle or feature to highlight something unique (don’t just show bottles of water and stationery on the table!)
  2. Show off your surroundings – the new dessert Chef has created for a conference menu, a creative display of food, a sun set from the VIP suite used for Conference Planners, a client’s logo displayed in food, a new cocktail designed for an upcoming event
  3. Go behind the scenes – show them what is behind the doors for “Staff only”. Instagrammers are curious – show them the kitchen, the Chef in operation, a spa therapist preparing the room for a luxury massage, the local farmer delivering the produce – or indeed go to the farm and show them who your suppliers are
  4. Highlight your location – geotagging is a standard option when you share on Instagram, Make sure you use it to promote your destination
  5. Caption all Images – captions are the equivalent to a title and are essential. Don’t use a caption as a sales pitch but write something about the shot itself, the food, the view, the location.  A question works also to encourage comments.
  6. Use popular hashtags, people follow #hashtags

#Eventprofs #Assnchat #Meetingprofs

  1. Put your brand somewhere on the photos to create instant recognition
  2. Engage – like other photos – especially of the people you want to follow you
  3. Show employee interaction – staff having fun setting up for an event, the chef preparing amazing food and deserts, meeting and conference delegates having fun!

And here are a few of my own tips….

  1. Create a gallery on your website of your guests Instagram photos – look up The Standard Hotels as a great example- check out their Gallery link
  2. Use positive emotions a lot more than sad emotion. People want to be happy and for you to make them happy.  Planners definitely want their delegates to feel happy at your venue so show them photos of happy delegates having fun at your hotel or venue!

Here are some great examples – @Morganshotelgroup, @Thompsonhotels, @hamiltonisland

The common denominator of all these effective marketing mediums is NOT TO SELL!  Most meeting Planners do not respond to being sold to.  It is a lot more effective to build trust and your credibility with them first.  The best way to do this is by building your Tools of Trust – Your Sales Tools.  I show you how to do that in my online course –

In my next postI will share with you some brilliant strategies on how to use Pinterest to Market your Conference & Event Space.  My gift to you is a free ebook on How to Market Your Venue on a Shoe String Budget.  Click here.

Ciara Feely is the Creator of The Conference Converter Toolkit® – in it she shares 1 Proven Strategy that has generated €250,000 of Conference Business for her; +353 26 20557.


How to Explode attendance at your Conference or Event

March 9, 2014

The 7 stages of Event Design. Tips from Ben Hendman, CEO of Splash. He shares the best practices he has seen from his conference planning clients with Joe Federico, CEO of Qrious, Interview from The Event Tech Podcast series. 2014

Conference Video – how to double your Conference Conversion rate using video…

March 9, 2014

How to use Video to double your Conference Lead Conversion rates

Video makes it easy for a client to visualise their event at your hotel or venue. Meeting and Conference Organisers have less and less time these days, they are double jobbing.  The days of being able to do a site inspection at 6 properties is gone.  Virtual site inspections or show arounds will become standard for smaller events.  Having a 360 degree tour or video of your meeting rooms is imperative in attracting, converting and winning meetings and conference business in the next few years.   It immediately says, “We know you need to be sure that this is a suitable venue for your conference.  Before you take your valuable time out of the office to see it in person, here is a video we put together of the space so you can be assured you are not wasting your time by coming for a site inspection.”  It says “We get you!  We are on your wave length”, “We understand your needs- it is great to work with us”.  “We will make your life easy!”

What to include in a video

  1. Outside of the hotel
  2. Entrance to the hotel & the street outside, giving an idea of the arrival experience
  3. The lobby
  4. Two guestrooms – standard conference delegate room and upgrade
  5. The networking space outside the conference room or exhibition – this is really important!!!  Ideally set up with pod tables and tea/coffee stand
  6. Meeting rooms – an idea of the style of decor of them – minimum 2.  At the bottom of these photos write “There are 8 meeting rooms in total” for example
  7. The main conference room, set for a conference and a banquet.  State maximum numbers.  Give an exact idea of the size of the room.  Get the video shot from the centre of the room and a 360 view or from one of the top corners.
  8. A detailed floor plan to orientate the viewer
  9. Facilities such as the Bar, Restaurant, Spa, Leisure Centre, golf course
  10. Things there are to do for groups in the area – off site entertainment etc.
  11. Team building options (if any) on property and off
  12. Some logos of existing clients establishing immediate credibility
  13. The area – create a sense of the area, town, surrounding few miles
  14. Access routes, map, local landmarks etc.

Most hotel videos at the moment have 2 photos of the conference room at the very end of a 4+ minute video, making the Conference Planner have to wait till the end to see what they want to see.  This is very frustrating.  Create a short video of about a minute in length of the meeting space, lobby and outside of the hotel.  It immediately establishes trust with the Meeting and Conference Planner that you are a serious Conference Hotel.  The Malton Hotel in Killarney, Co Kerry, Ireland have created a great video showcasing their conference facilities.

For more tips on how to Win More Conference Business.  Sign up to the “Conference Win Club“.  It is new, launching in 4 weeks.  Be first on the list and get lots of free tips to attract, convert and win more Conference Business – hurry before your competitor gets there!




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Ciara Feely is a Conference Game Changer.  She has helped clients increase midweek profits by up to 40%.  She makes Conference Sales easy! Clients who implement her advice have booked 2 conferences within weeks of learning her tips and taking action on them.  She is writing a book on ‘How to Win More Conference & Meeting Business’ and is launching a Conference Win Club.  Connect with Ciara for more tips and join the Conference Community that is rocking the world of profitable hotel business.

Free Hotel Listing

January 26, 2011

Feeling generous this afternoon – giving away 2 free Web brochures on my website to the first 2 hotels in touch with me.  ciara(at)

Cool Hotel Apps – StayHIP

January 26, 2011

Hotel Booking made easy with a wide selection of hotels worldwide……

Created in conjunction with TravelCLICK and Mobiata, this app brings you the coolest hotels around the world. Enter a city or zip, or just tap to find your current location. Better yet, use the keywords to find just the right vibe for you. Search tonight, next week or next year and compare hotel locations with built-in Google Maps so you can make sure you’re near the action.

Never mind the big chains and the economy hotels, StayHIP™ brings you only the most chic and unique hotels in the world. Where the coolest people stay apparently! And you can book your room right in the app.

More tips on saving money on Conferences, Meetings and Events

January 19, 2011

Great Conference Hotel Dublin

Tips compiled by Dave Kovalski & Sue Pelletier

  • Talk to the chef – this is a great one…

Meet with the chef to see if you can use the same menu as another group that was meeting in the facility. Asking the chef to preparing more of the same food in advance can result in cost savings. Also, check with the chef for seasonal or regional specialties, which may be less expensive.

  • Know that lines are OK

At cocktail receptions, don’t be afraid of having medium-sized lines at the bar. Long lines are a no-no, but lines that are five or six deep encourage networking and discourage overindulging on cocktails.

Networking space at Fitzpatricks Castle Hotel Kiliney

  • Don’t pay more for drinks

Whether it’s a cash or a hosted bar, don’t pay more for drinks than you pay in the hotel outlets (bars and restaurants).

  • Lock in the menu prices

If the hotel will not provide a specific menu in advance, at least agree that the menu prices will not increase more than a fixed percentage per year.

  • Order as much as possible “on consumption.”

Uneaten food and drink can be returned and not charged. This works well with soda and packaged foods like potato chips, but can also be done with perishables.

There are 2 large conference/event rooms at this Dublin Hotel

If you liked this blog post, you will like  other tips in the category on ” How to arrange an event on a shoe string…”

Planning tips for Conferences, meetings and events – how to save money

January 18, 2011
Reception area

Crowne Plaza Meetings

Phew, feeling the relief to posting the first post of the year!!   I am kicking off the new year with tips on savings on meetings, conferences and events.  Be a savvy meeting planner this year….

The following has been compiled by Dave Kovalski & Sue Pelletier along with my own 2 sence!

10 Ways to save on meetings and conferences….

  • Know your history – confirm less numbers with the hotel than what you are expecting…

The odds are that not everyone is going to turn up – look at the patterns of attendance, there will be a percentage that does not turn up but you have confirmed numbers with the hotel and have to pay for them anyway.  A hotel will always be able to accommodate more on the day.  Also, history has proven that not everyone who goes to a meeting will eat every meal, to avoid paying for unconsumed meals and drinks, look at historical patterns of how many people actually attend food functions, and how much they consume at breaks and at cocktail parties.

  • Control what’s served – keep an eye on the tea/coffee refills…

On breaks, food service workers will often refill empty coffee urns to the top, even if there are only five minutes left in the break period. At some $90 a gallon, that’s a lot of money going down the drain. Make sure they check with planning staff first before refilling, particularly in the last few minutes of the break. Same thing with wine. Tell food service personnel to open one bottle of red and white per table and fill glasses on request.

  • Order bulk breakfasts – for a full breakfast go for buffet, not plated.

For continental breakfasts, order in bulk, not per-person packages. The packages often include more food than is necessary. By ordering in bulk, you can cut it in half. And if it’s a full breakfast, offer buffet meals, not plated.  Breakfast butties have also become very popular – breakfast in a roll effectively.  Again, this facilitates networking time.

Conference room Crowne Plaza Dundalk

  • Negotiate corkage fees or use house wines

In Ireland corkage fees can vary from 0 to €12 and will give you a great price on cases of wine with free delivery!  House wines can be negotiated with the venue, inevitably they will want to serve their wine over giving you corkage, so negotiate hard.

  • Use stand-up/pod tables

For cocktail receptions, use stand-up tables instead of sit-down tables. People are more likely to network, and they are less likely to hang around and drink and eat all night — saving you money.  This style is also becoming very popular for lunch also, so delegates can maximise their networking time.

5 more tips will be posted tomorrow….

Conference Room Dublin at the Clarion IFSC