The Role of the Convention Services Manager Chapter 12
Objectives After completing chapter 12, the reader will be able to: • Summarize the relationship between the meeting manager and the convention services manager (CSM). • Recognize services to expect from the CSM of a convention and visitors bureau. • Recognize services to expect from the CSM of a hotel. • Recognize services to expect from the CSM of a convention center.
Introduction • The role of the convention services manager (CSM) is becoming increasingly important to the meetings industry. • They are expected to establish a partnership with the meeting manager • They are the person who will assist with coordinating details and services at the meeting site.
Authority Structures • Refer to the next two overheads which depict levels of authority which must be identified early.
The CSM of the CVB • The CSM from the convention & visitors bureau (CVB), who is assigned to the group once a decision is made to meet in that city, is responsible for helping the meeting manager plan and conduct a successful meeting. A good CSM will take on the role of an extension of the meeting staff in the host city.
Authority and Responsibility The person at the CVB who is responsible for servicing an account is often known by different titles. The person may be called a convention services manager, executive, coordinator, or other variances of the title; but this is the person who can move about the city and arrange for services the meeting manager will need. (continued)
Authority and Responsibility • The CSM is also responsible for ensuring that all contractual agreements between the CVB and the organization are fulfilled. These agreements form the expectations for both parties. It is important that all negotiations be confirmed in writing. (continued)
Authority and Responsibility • The convention service department is usually an extension of the sales department; therefore, the director of convention services reports to the head of the sales department.
Duties of the CSM • The duties of a CSM from a convention bureau differ from those of a CSM at a hotel or convention center because they are usually carried out before the convention checks into the city. This person must have the ability to work throughout the community, rather than be limited to one facility. They must be well-versed on the entire city and its services.
Services • Services at most bureaus include: • Housing management, • Registration personnel, • Promotional materials: pre-show publicity • pre-show publicity (b & w glossies, 35 mm slides, press releases) • media lists and camera-ready art (brochures, postcards and attendee mailers) • on-site promotion (continued)
Services • Services at most bureaus include: • Publications • visitor guides, maps and informational brochures and folders and program covers • Spouse and guest presentations • attraction • tour and transportation suggestions
Working with the CSM • During the initial meeting with the assigned CSM, the meeting manager should provide a current program for the event. • The bureau CSM has many contacts with these core companies and can act as a liaison for the meeting manager. The bureau CSM can usually get results quickly and make suggestions for services and programs.
Most importantly... • A bureau CSM can suggest local assistance for: • Program speakers, • Printers, • Entertainment, • Equipment rental, • Event planning companies and • Transportation
Working with the CSM • All communication with the bureau CSM should be in writing. Likewise, the CSM should follow up on all requests in writing. With fax machines and e-mail, communication can be easy and efficient. • After the meeting, the bureau CSM will follow up with a post-convention evaluation and hotel pick-up information. This information is vital for the organization’s history andfor negotiating for future events.
The CSM of the Hotel • The hotel CSM is the coordinator of all hotel services assigned to the meeting manager and their organization. An experienced CSM is well-versed with the operation of each hotel department and will assist the meeting manager every step of the way. • The CSM must be an extension of the meeting manager’s staff with an open line of communication to all personnel during the entire process.
Responsibilities of CSM • The CSM is responsible for assisting with the event contract, representing each party’s needs and ensuring that both the hotel and the organization meet their obligations. The CSM will determine appropriate actions and follow through to meet the terms of the agreement. (continued)
Responsibilities of CSM (continued) • Based on the size and mix of business, a hotel may operate as either a uniserve property, where the CSM handles all logistics (including catering), or a duoserve property, where the logistics are handled by the CSM, with a separate catering manager assigned to handle food and beverage needs. • In either case, the CSM is the meeting managers primary contact and is responsible for the delivery of a successful event.
Responsibilities of CSM (continued) CSM responsibilities: • In exhibits - CSM will work with the meeting manager and designated outside contractors to ensure that proper floor plans, and fire code approvals are obtained. The move-in schedule, exhibit show hours, and move-out schedule should be reviewed and included in the exhibitor prospectus along with a list of hotel services and exhibit regulations.
Responsibilities of CSM (continued) CSM responsibilities: • Introduces key department heads to the meeting manager during site visits and will involve them as often as possible to acquaint the staff with their needs. • Attends the hotel’s weekly financial forecast and operations meetings to update all departments on changes in group’s status and to keep current with anything that may affect the group.
Responsibilities of CSM (continued) CSM responsibilities: • Documents the event in the group resume, which provides hotel staff with a summary of the organization (including its history) membership profile and meeting objectives. The resume highlights the operational details of each department previously arranged by the CSM.
Working with the CSM • The CSM and meeting manager communicate face-to-face on site and stay in touch with the use of two-way radios, pagers and/or cellular phones. • Before the meeting adjourns, the CSM will arrange for a daily review of the group’s master billing account by the meeting manager to prevent posting of possible accounting errors.
CSM of the Convention Center • Is responsible for gathering information regarding the event; • Disseminating it to appropriate facility departments and service contractors; and, • Is the liaison between clients and departments, ensuring that each employee is familiar with the details of the event.
Event Services Department • Ancillary charges are often considered big-ticket items that must be included in the meeting manager’s budget, I.e., room sets, utilities, function room rental, linens, tables, etc. • Resulting in the Event Services Department becoming a top priority (even in the planning stages).
In Conclusion • CSMs have the responsibility of providing logistics and fulfilling the service requirements needed for the event. Event details, supplied by the meeting manager, such as time schedules, set-up, housekeeping, technical services, electrical specifications, security and special requests are incorporated into a facility-specific event outline, are combined with scale drawings of the area, and distributed to all pertinent personnel.