Last month you met the inaugural Sonesta Celebrity, Osman Ikonovik the Chief Concierge at the Royal Sonesta Houston who shared his top five spots to visit while in Houston. This month we are pleased to feature Tom Sullivan, Senior Sales Manager at the Sonesta Gwinnett Place in Atlanta. Tom has been with Sonesta since August of 2013 but has been selling family reunions since September of 2008. Tom comes from a large Irish family of 6; growing up in Boston and New York, he remembers large gatherings for cookouts, weddings, and even neighborhood block parties with family. Tom enjoys seeing the reunions he plans come to fruition, especially the excitement of the arrival and reminiscing with long lost family members. Tom says, “We like to think of having people come to our hotel as inviting them into our home. Family reunions truly give me that experience.”
Below Tom shares the tips and tricks on how to plan and execute a successful family reunion.
Prepare and decide the general event details
What is your expected head count? What are your plans for Food and Beverage? What is your budget? What kind of meeting space are you envisioning? Your sales manager will have plenty of questions to ask you when you inquire about the space. If your family reunion is a seasoned event, be sure to get the details from the previous planner. If this is an inaugural event, be sure to finalize those details before meeting with the Sales Manager.
Ask the Right Questions
Once you go over your event details with the sales manager, it will then be your turn to ask the questions. Double bed rooms and connecting rooms are the most common room types reserved for family reunions. The connectivity allows for easy access to adjoining family members. Be sure to ask the hotel how many double bed rooms and connecting rooms the hotel has. Another important question to ask the sales manager is what amenities are available? Popular amenities include complimentary breakfast, free wireless internet access, and a pool & fitness center. Some hotels offer a complimentary local area shuttle which is great for guests to who want to explore the area. Find out if that is included with your package.
Remember the Extra Touches
To make your first family reunion really stand out, don’t forget about the little details! On the planning end, ask your hotel to guarantee the guest room types. This will allow you and the rest of the family to be stress free in regards to room availability. Another added value is the possibility of a hospitality suite. Ask your Sales Manager for details regarding a complimentary upgrade to a hospitality suite. These suites could be used for registration, meeting areas, or just to spoil Grandma and Grandpa!
A very popular family reunion feature is offering gift bags upon arrival with discount coupons for local area attractions and area maps. The local Convention and Visitors Bureau is a great source to find those items. Also, you can ask for the hotel to distribute those to your guests when they check-in to their hotel.
Do you have additional questions about planning your next family reunion for Tom? Please share them in the comment section below!