Meet with Mercure

By Leonie Bulman

The hotel group Accor wanted to build on Mercure’s already strong reputation and create a meeting concept that would help them gain a bigger share of the market. To ensure that Mercure’s new meeting concept would give the brand an edge over other operators, Accor turned to BDRC’s MeetingsMetrix programme to understand how event planners’ priorities have evolved over the past few years.

The MeetingsMetrix programme surveys a large, representative sample of corporate event bookers and agents in order to provide subscribers with a comprehensive view of the meetings market and their brand’s performance. One of the most valuable insights is the assessment of event planners’ priorities in terms of the products and services offered by venues.

Instead of relying on stated preference techniques such as 'tick all that are important' and rating scales, MeetingsMetrix uses a trade-off technique called Maximum Difference Scaling (MaxDiff). This is a more powerful technique that results in stronger discrimination between different elements and a clearer hierarchy of importance. It is administered by presenting respondents with a statistically balanced and selected sub-set of pairs, from which they must select the one which is most important to them.

Our analysis revealed that event planners’ number one priority when organising an event is to find a venue whose staff take responsibility for problems and deal with them promptly. Event planners rated this as more important than aspects such as the comfort of the meeting environment, the quality of food and beverages or the provision of leading audio-visual facilities. Whilst we know that these elements remain crucial for event planner satisfaction, the emphasis on problem-handling and staff flexibility has overtaken the physical product offered by venues.

Accor used these findings to develop its new “Meet with Mercure” offering, focusing on empowering staff to solve problems more effectively, with a commitment to understanding and helping to deliver the meeting’s objectives. The 2015 results will allow Accor to measure the impact of the new concept with KPIs such as brand preference, usage and perception.

As an ongoing subscriber to MeetingsMetrix, Accor also has access to individually-tailored information such as the meetings market dynamics, event planner booking behaviour and individual brand performance.