We visited Presidente InterContinental Guadalajara last year to go behind the scenes inside the city’s largest meetings hotel in Mexico’s colonial heartland. We followed up recently with Martha Paredes, director of sales/marketing, to discuss specifics about how hotel caters to groups.
While the hotel attracts all business sectors, it does a significant amount of meetings and conference business in the medical, pharmaceutical, technology and fashion industries. Following is our slightly edited Q&A with Paredes.
Prevue: What makes your hotel well suited to host large meetings and events?
Martha Paredes: Service, location, F&B and meeting space. We have 23 rooms for up to 1,500 people theater style, 1,100 for dinner and 1,300 for reception. The Gran Tequila Ballroom has a 33-meter (108-foot) high ceiling, and we can accommodate up to 69 booths of 3×3 meters (9×9 feet).
Prevue: How do you engage groups with the local destination?
Paredes: We offer programs like the Insider Collection For Meetings. These are truly memorable meetings and events with authentic local flavor, which is the inspiration behind the InterContinental Insider Collection. Exclusive to InterContinental Meetings, our Insider Collection provides a range of delegate experiences that are rooted in the destination that draw on our unrivalled local knowledge to create truly engaging, personalized meetings and events.
Prevue: What are some added value benefits for meeting at Presidente InterContinental Guadalajara?
Paredes: Our international groups enjoy the VAT Exemption, where groups can take advantage of tax exemption for events in Mexico to avoid paying the 16% Federal Value Added Tax.
We also offer what we call “Customized Meal Plans Just For You & Your Group.’ The award-winning food and beverage team at Presidente InterContinental Guadalajara has a reputation for going above and beyond to please guests’ taste buds. The chefs are completely flexible when customizing menus to meet the needs of event attendees, and this includes special needs such as gluten free and vegan. In total, we offer catering for up to 1,500 people.
Beverage offerings are also flexible with domestic, international, premium and non-alcoholic bars, as well as customized minibar refills and opportunities for branding.
Prevue: Are your group sales teams educated in ongoing trends relative to any specific industries?
Paredes: Our team members are trained in the Certified Meeting Specialist program, which offers well-appointed instructors that know and keep up with the latest business trends.
Prevue: Do you partner with specific thought leaders in your destination to stay aligned with meeting trends?
Paredes: Yes, we partner with local associations like Amprofec (Mexican Association of Professionals on Fairs, Trade Shows and Conventions), Amdem (Marketing Association for Mexico Destination), and local organizations like Expo Guadalajara, Telmex Auditorium, etc.
Prevue: What is the most important message that you try to communicate to U.S.-based meeting planners?
Paredes: The most important thing for us is to understand all of the specific needs of the group to create a truly customized event. We continuously contact all of the specialized providers in our region in order to deliver a professional proposal to guarantee the success of the event and make sure it is exactly what planners need.