Hilton Chicago welcomes all types of large meetings but it’s developed a special niche within the lucrative pharmaceutical industry, which is driving incremental sector-specific business to the hotel.
The property has an indepth pharma meetings webpage where planners can access dedicated information quickly, and the group sales team members are specifically trained in compliance regulations to work with pharma meeting planners. And due to the amount of business that Hilton Worldwide corporate group sales does within the pharma sector, they have built up a large network of national vendors and suppliers who also understand the particular nuances of hosting pharma meetings.
“Hilton really took on that segment and it’s definitely benefited our ability to negotiate with preferred suppliers,” says Cheryl Jakob, senior sales manager at Hilton Chicago. “We have our worldwide sales team focused on pharma who feed business directly to the hotel, and we’re at the forefront of getting the respective certifications to understand all of the changes in healthcare compliance.”
We asked Jakob, why is there so many educational requirements to host and organize pharma meetings?
She says, “It behooves people who ever touch pharma meetings to be fluent in regulation and security matters because of the high level of confidentiality involved.”
Jakob adds that the pharma-specific website has been a big hit with planners, as well as administrative assistants for large healthcare companies who often help book smaller meetings alongside meeting professionals. She says the number of programs keep multiplying, so companies are bringing up assistants faster than traditionally to cope with the exceeding demand.
“Meeting planners have to be more and more answerable to procurement so the website is a useful tool to show our value proposition,” she explains. Jakob says the feedback she’s heard from planners is that each hotel has different nuances that impact the venue decision-making process, but it’s more than just the planners involved. She says there are a lot of decision-makers involved so that’s another reason why it helps to have the pharma content ready at everyone’s fingertips.
Other hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio are creating similar pharma portals such as Hilton Orlando. Stay tuned for more information about that after it comes online.