Love them or loathe them, travelling to hotels is part of the deal if you're in business.
Conferences, meetings, interstate jaunts...whatever the reason, the hotel you pick for your time interstate can be a vital decision.
Keren Southgate, director of sales and marketing at the Sofitel Melbourne On Collins, understands the importance of a memorable, comfortable and unique hotel experience.
With 30 years in the travel industry under her belt, Southgate's in the business of ensuring guests at the Sofitel have a luxurious experience.
Southgate knows any old hotel can put on a reasonable conference, but thanks to the variety of partnerships with some of the world's leading institutions the Sofitels stand in a league of their own.
"From a conferencing perspective, what we're doing is homing in on personalised experiences, and how we can change our conference offering," says Southgate.
"Conferences have always been an interesting challenge because of the way hotels have standardised day delegate packages, audio visual deals and event offerings. We have been looking at how we can better service the needs of the client and the attendees throughout with a more personalised approach."
She says the focus in uniqueness, and some of that comes through Sofitel's "incredible" partnerships with the National Gallery of Victoria and Sotheby's.
"We have exclusive access to those places, so some ideas might be having a cocktail party offsite and facilitate an experience that no other hotel can do because of these unique partnerships," she adds.
Of course, it's not just exclusive conferences for the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins; it's the second-to-none views, the luxury standard and that 'Bonjour' you receive when you walk through the door.
As one of Melbourne's most respected hotels with a dedicated following of repeat customers, Southgate understands what the hotel represents to its guests and visitors.
But with many new hotels opening their doors in Melbourne over the next few years she recognises things need to constantly change to stay ahead of the pack.
Southgate says now is the time to solidify relationships with the hotel's regular following by offering flexibility and personalisation.
"But obviously things are changing. Technology, artificial intelligence, the focus on wellness are going to play big roles in the hotels of the future, but we need to work out where that fits in with a luxury brand like ours," she says.
"Despite the changes guests will continue to look for a degree of uniqueness, personalisation and curated experiences, which we'll be delighted to offer them, to ensure they have successful events."
The company has also been looking for a very long time at how the brand can improve its wellness offering.
"I don't think we're going to be able to have yoga classes, but we're looking into changing our lighting, our music, and our food offerings to ensure people can enjoy their superfoods," she says.
To book your conference or stay at the Sofitel Melbourne On Collins head to www.sofitel-melbourne.com.au.
This article is written in conjunction with our commercial partner Sofitel Melbourne on Collins.
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