BENCHMARK Launches the Meeting Accelerator Program, Takes the Risk Out Of Meeting Planning

May 12, 2020

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 BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, has officially launched its strategic recovery initiative that will support meeting planners and partners while forging new solutions for the industry’s future in a post COVID-19 world. In effect through March 2021, the far-reaching plan significantly mitigates the risk and uncertainty of committing to new meetings and events. To provide reassurance to corporate planners, the plan includes flexible short-term bookings, relaxed attrition and cancellation fees, and 100% credit given on re-bookings.  Meeting spaces at Benchmark properties will be restructured, focusing on long-term safety to align with conscious distancing and optimizing healthy hygiene practices. To support independent planners, Benchmark will increase commissions on new business from 10% to 12%, with 7% distributed immediately upon booking.

“The COVID-19 crisis has devastated the meetings industry and taken a severe toll on our confidence as well as commerce,” says Benchmark Chief Sales Officer Eric Gavin. “At Benchmark, we are aggressively addressing both the monetary concerns and the need to reassure our partners that it is safe and prudent to return to the conference room. We have built this program to demonstrate our commitment to and support of these relationships as we work to meet the challenges of operating in a vastly changed environment.”

Benchmark’s Meeting Accelerator Program encompasses these innovative elements that Benchmark sees as essential to the industry’s support and recovery:

Zero Risk Clause

Zero attrition or cancellation fees will apply to contracted room and food and beverage revenue on new meetings scheduled through March 31, 2021, until 60 days in advance of arrival.

Zero risk in rebooking: A full, one-time rebooking credit will be extended to new meetings scheduled April 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021, with a minimum cancellation notice requirement of 90 days in advance of arrival. Re-booked groups must be of equal or greater contracted revenue and be held by December 31, 2021.

Transformative Meeting Environment

Committed to the welfare of all future meetings and events, Benchmark has embraced thoughtful accommodations for safe distancing and elevated hygiene procedures and safety protocols, while providing distinctive meeting environments and mindfulness programming. These new and enhanced elements include:

A Safe Environment: Safe social distance spacing, sanitizer stations, increased air purification and aroma therapies, and staggered breaks coordinating event entry and exit timing.

A Safe Food and Beverage Program: Sustainable, nutritious and enhanced food safety culinary practices, complemented by local sourcing and cooperative partnerships, and skilled culinarians and mixologists.

Safe and Activated Breaks: Staggered refreshment breaks with mindful programming; from guided breathing exercises and yoga, to brain teasers and flash mob dances to stimulate energy and engagement.

Safe and Healthy Teambuilding: Unique physical, social and creative experiences to enrich individual and collective minds, bodies and souls, delivered in a safe and secure environment.

Benchmark collaborated with its strategic partners and meeting and event planners in the development of the Meeting Accelerator initiative, including: Associated Luxury Hotels International, Teneo Hospitality Group, HelmsBriscoe, Conference Direct, Hospitality Performance Network, Experient and Maritz.  The response has been overwhelmingly supportive from everyone involved.

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