Posts Tagged ‘Deposits’

Two Good Examples

November 26, 2008

Today’s LiveWorks News starts with a few sidebars.  First, I would like to apologize for the old newsletters that seem to get sent to you for no reason.  I have no idea why this is happening (usually when I don’t write for a few days) and am trying to get to the bottom of it.

Second, I’ve been getting emails from LiveWorks News Subscribers asking why I don’t write more, and others asking why I write “every day”.  For the record, since October 20th when the newsletter started back up, there have been 16 posts.  For those of you that would like more info and more interaction than the newsletter is currently providing, please follow my updates on Twitter… http://twitter.com/jimlewi.

Final bit of housekeeping relates to interaction.  Meaning it would be great if you could give feedback on the LiveWorks Newsletter. Tell me what you would like to see covered.  Submit an article of your own.  And if you like what you’re reading, please pass the LiveWorks News on and encourage others to subscribe.

Now as a friend of mine once said, “on with the countdown”.

If you look back at the 16 LiveWorks Newsletters, there are a few themes that seem to pop-out at you.  Two of them are; making the most out of the current economic crisis by thinking of ways to service your customer, and partnering with brands vs. sponsorship (Branded Live Entertainment).  Below are great examples of people like you, working in our business that are taking action today rather than trying to “play it safe”.

About 5-years ago I experienced my first country music festival.  It woke me up and I instantly became a big fan of country music.  So when Southern California based concert promoter Goldenvoice (know around the world for producing the Coachella Festival) decided to partner-up with their sister company from the south to produce a country music festival on the same grounds as Coachella, every country music fan in the area got excited including me.  Now going into their third year, Paul and Skip’s (with help from Louis and his team from Houston, TX) Stagecoach Festival has a line-up for 2009 that includes Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, and a reunited Poco (last year it was the Judd’s reuniting at the fest).  Can’t wait to be to finally go and see what the “alternative concert promoters” are doing playing with hillbillies in the desert.  But what truly blew my mind came last night when my colleague Omar Al-Joulani asked me if I knew anything about “what Goldenvoice was doing with their layaway plan for tickets to Stagecoach.”  I hadn’t so Omar forwarded me this link. http://stagecoachfestival.com/layaway

Congratulations to Goldenvoice.  Please make sure the whole world sees what these guys are doing!  They actually care about fans.  There is of course a No Refund policy on deposits on tickets, which is a win-win for Goldenvoice.  Of course they want the fan to show-up so they can make money on parking, food & beverage, merch, etc.  But if for some reason they can’t, Goldenvoice still has their deposit.  Nice Job!

While flipping through BrandWeek over the weekend, I came across the ad pasted below.  Although the text is too small to read, my point in posting it was show you that Josh Turner, his label, management, publishing company, etc (not sure who really paid) took out a full-page ad in an advertising and marketing trade publication.  Josh is reaching out to partner with brands and at the same time calls himself a brand in the ad.  Both are important and something covered a lot in the newsletter.  Amazing effort by Josh and team!

untitled-1

Robert Kiyosaki, author of the “Rich Dad” series of books writes a column for Entrepreneur Magazine.  In a recent issue, Robert was yet another journalist that pointed out how important it is to rev-up your marketing during tuff economic times rather than “listening to your accountant” and cutting back (sorry for butchering your point Robert).  How many experts and statistics do you need to hear before you believe it?  Increase your marketing spend and efforts and watch your sales increase…

Talk to you soon…

Jim

Advertisements

Hospitality is a Profession, so Leave it to Pros

November 9, 2008

I was talking with a friend on Friday who told me they wanted to start a conference.  I’m not going to say much more than that since I don’t want to give away my friend’s idea.  Anyway, it became apparent that my friend didn’t know much about the hospitality, event, or conference businesses. This friend could be in touble if they move forward without getting help.

 

On Saturday I got an email from my assitant while I worked at CAA, Nicole Provencio.  She’s now at Sketchers Corporate (the shoe company) where her “main job is to book hotels for all trade shows, conferences, and events.  Finding the newest & hottest hotels, getting the best rates, avoiding attrition, etc.”  Sketchers have over 20 annual trade shows alone each year, so they need someone like Nicole…someone with experience.  Sketchers, just like you, must have an experienced person on the other end of the phone or across the table from the hotel, resort, conference center, cruise ship, tour operator, or whoever you are doing business withs’ sales person.  They are certainly experienced and know just what they can and can’t offer.

 

 

 

When Andy Levine from Sixthman told me that there was a difference between doing a big concert or festival and producing a music themed cruise, my ego got the best of me to be honest.  I thought, if I could handle concerts with 200,000 people or manage tours checking 175 people in and out of hotels, tour buses, limos, vans, town cars and airports around the world, I could handle a few thousand drunken music fans and bands on a cruise ship.  I got spanked.  I’m sure Andy laughed.  Nothing takes the place of experience. 

 

 

So you don’t have the money to hire a pro to take care of your hospitality.  Here are some helpful hints from a guy with a few years on the road.  Some are obvious, but always worth being reminded.

 

 

 

·     In this economy disposable income is declining which means fewer will travel.  It is a buyers market.

·     When dealing with group sales at hotels, try to speak with someone as far up the food-chain as possible since anything out of the ordinary you may request will have to be run up the ladder anyway.

·     Try to avoid contracts whenever possible.

·     When booking groups, most hotels will insist on a contract.  The first things you need to look at are dates and numbers.  The word ATTRITION will become very important if you are managing your room blocks.  Try and get dates in your contracts where you are able to drop inventory you were not able to fill.  Obviously the closer to your event dates, the better for you. 

·     Before you start negotiating room rates, get an understanding of the hotels “rack rates” and the region’s high, low, and shoulder seasons.  Good deals can always be had…even in “high season” for a property. 

·     Deposits are another place you can push properties now.  They should be looking at this as more of a partnership these days as you are taking real risk to produce and market the event or whatever you are doing.  You should make your deposits as close to your event date as possible. 

·     Other mines to look for in hotel and hospitality contracts include: Buy-out rates and fees (rates go up on rooms for taking an entire property, resort, cruise ship, etc…this is a common practice at some resorts and cruise lines), baggage handling fees, gratuities, taxes on gratuities, ballroom and conference room charges, phone and data lines, hospitality desks, room drops (having materials or gifts delivered to guest’s rooms), copying and business center charges, and lets not forget parking (I went to a conference once where guests paid $50 per day to park their cars and it wasn’t in New York).

·     Food & Beverage becomes a whole new world and language in hospitality and you won’t believe the prices.  In this case, those airplane crash drills where you put your head between your legs and pray may work best. 

·     Not booking groups but want to save money on travel?  Look at the “Limited Service Hotels” popping up everywhere. 

 

Reality is hospitality is a profession and it pays to hire someone experienced to handle your needs.  Musical artists, their managers and agents go to producers like Andy Levine to do their cruises because he has seen it all.  Sketchers knows to go to Nicole because she booked Aspen Live Conference (Dec. 11-13 @ St. Regis, Aspen…Shameless plug) hotel rooms, transportation, meals, etc, for two years before coming to their company.  My advice, leave hospitality to Andy, Nicole or The Agency Group Events & Entertainment, Ltd. (another shameless plug).

 

As always, would love your comments and input.

 

 

 

Talk to you soon,

 

 

 

Jim