by Sarah Knapp | October 12, 2009
Hyatt thinks it's time to return to face-to-face social interaction. The global hospitality company recently launched a variety of new services to support in-person meetings for groups and businesses.

The importance of this new initiative was bolstered by a recent Hyatt survey that showed that along with a focused agenda and the right participants, meeting facilities were said to be of primary importance to the success of an in-person meeting. Most (92 percent) respondents said that the quality of the meeting space (including room size, food, equipment and temperature) was key to a meeting's success. Eighty-six percent felt that a smooth experience with logistics (including technology and amenities) were vital.

To provide high-quality meeting experiences, Hyatt highlights five main tools it plans to use. First is the "Hyatt Meeting Promise" which assures that if Hyatt fails to provide a positive experience, it will offer a partial refund or even future credit to the client. Next is the "Online RFP Tool" that provides a virtual device to enhance meeting planning.

At each Hyatt hotel there are "Meeting Advisors," who help with the planning and execution of the meeting as well as with Hyatt's "Customizable Menu" which allows customers to select the food they really need. Finally, the "Hyatt Gold Passport Planner Rewards" is a loyalty program that rewards the meeting planners with Hyatt Gold Passport bonus points which can be used for travel rewards and future meeting credits.

"All of these tools complement each other. We have this new package that gives our customers five different steps from start to finish; it's an encompassing program for group business," said Gus Vonderheide, Hyatt's vice president of sales. "We pride ourselves in catering to the meeting business."

Customers can explore these new tools as well as "Tips for a Great Meeting" at the new Web site for in-person meetings: www.hyattmeetings.com. To prove its point, Hyatt provides a tongue-in-cheek timeline of history's great meetings, dating back to Mesopotamian meetings of 3500 B.C. to show that "great happens when people get together."