Earlier this month, Omni Hotels & Resorts unveiled its latest offering for meeting planners: Omni Meetings University (OMU). OMU works like an online course that planners can take to gain a better understanding of the Omni brand as well as learn industry knowledge such as the latest in meetings technology.
The course is set up into four sections that each end with a test-your-knowledge quiz. Upon completion of the 20-minute course, planners take an exam. Those that pass get a complimentary night stay at an Omni property, as well as a 5% discount on their group’s master account for the first meeting contracted with Omni. Plus, the Convention Industry Council has verified this program for one clock hour of continuing education towards CMP certification or recertification.
The course essentially works as a stepping stone between Omni and its meeting planner clients. Prevue spoke with Tom Faust, vice president of sales for Omni, about the program and why it’s beneficial for meeting planners.
Prevue: What exactly will meeting planners learn by completing the curriculum?
Faust: The course is designed to educate planners about the Omni brand. Ours is a little bit different because we partnered with Encore Event Technologies, our event technology provider, so there’s also content on meetings technology, Wi-Fi and a variety of other topics. That’s more from a professional development perspective so meeting planners can understand the world of meetings technology a little bit better. [The curriculum] is also about Omni brand content, so you’ll learn about our convention, landmark-hotel, resort and city-center collections. You’ll learn about Select Guests, our loyalty program. You’ll learn about Select Rewards, our meetings loyalty program. You’ll also learn about Local Color, which is our marketing strategy and how we differentiate ourselves from other brands.
Why does Omni think the program is beneficial to meeting planners?
It’s really about education and professional development. How can we partner in a nontraditional way as opposed to coming in and making a sales call? So many people work virtually at different hours, but you can complete [the OMU curriculum] wherever you want. From a planner’s perspective, they gain knowledge and are able to do their jobs better by getting to understand our options, contract and loyalty programs better. It goes a long way in providing for people to learn at their own speed in their own, comfortable environment.
How is the program beneficial to Omni?
We believe that if meeting planners know our brand more, they’re more likely to book with us. It’s going to appeal to planners, and we’re confident that when they see our product, then they’ll want to book. It also builds our ability to communicate with people. As we develop programs, new hotels and share information, we’re expanding this sphere of people to communicate with. I think it also allows Omni to have a different kind of relationship with the client. Instead of asking people to go to a reception or do a sales call, we’re going to provide you education in a nontraditional way at your convenience.