CMC Celebrates 20 Years

We can’t believe 2016 marks CMC & Associates’ 20-year anniversary! The company has changed and grown over the years, but it still has the same character as when Karen Crawford founded the company in 1996. Last week, we celebrated this milestone with a party at the Dogwood House in Tallahassee, FL. Thanks to all of our clients, friends and family and who joined us, and we missed those of you who couldn’t make it. We are so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives.

Please enjoys these pictures from the party, and here’s to the next 20 years!

           IMG_7903  IMG957887  IMG957892
 IMG_7895 IMG_7876  IMG957881
IMG_7889 IMG957890  IMG957893

curly20 years

What is Housing Management?

By Stephanie Ritter

What is housing management? The process begins by traveling to an event’s potential location to site the area and hotel options within that city. This enables you to have as much information as possible to aid in your city and hotel decision. Next begins the contract negotiation process, where prices and concessions are negotiated to the group’s best interest, while arriving at a contract that mitigates as much liability as possible. A booking database needs to be set up that has all of the event’s hotel information and allows your attendees to review the available hotels and make their reservations online. The system should allow tracking of all rooms and blocks of rooms, whether they are made by a group or an individual to ensure your contractual obligations for each contracted hotel are met. The database should be set up so that groups can also track their room block progress through live reports in real time and make necessary changes.

If one were to locate a hotel or multiple hotels on their own for a group event, meeting or sporting event, sign the contract(s), take hotel reservations and changes, act as a hotel liaison and more, you can see how time consuming and complicated the process becomes. Does your organization have the staff, resources, time and knowledge to manage housing for each of your conference attendees? Does the coach of your child’s sports team have the time to manage those details? The answer to those questions is “maybe,” but is that where your time is best spent—managing details for something that’s not your expertise? We are able to handle any hotel and reservation needs in house for any event, while acting as a concierge service to make the process smooth and beneficial for all parties involved. Our job is to take the headache away from you.

In 1996, CMC & Associates was established primarily as a meeting planning company, but has since grown into much more. In 2011, we opened a division devoted entirely to housing management, where we are able to handle housing for any meeting or sporting event. Since CMC was built on meeting planning and conference management, our approach to customer service is based on satisfying your attendees’ needs, not just filling room blocks. Your attendees will be greeted with a friendly voice and accommodated in the most professional manner.

Our office divides housing management into two separate categories—conference and event housing and sports housing. Conference and event housing is mainly utilized by professionals seeking lodging that meets their individual needs while sports housing deals with athletes, coaches and parents, each group with their own unique needs and requirements. For example, coaches making reservations may want their teams in one location that has interior corridors for the athletes’ safety and microwaves and refrigerators for athlete snacks, while the parents may be looking for a more upscale location. In place of contacting potential hotels directly, trying to determine which one is the right fit; individuals may call our office and speak with a well-informed employee who is familiar with the contracted hotels and can walk the individual through the reservation process and answer questions regarding the event city. Due to the complexity of housing management, we have staff dedicated to housing full-time. This means that when you call our office, you can speak to the same staff members over and over. Our goal is to build a relationship with your organization and attendees, and make the experience as customized for your group as possible.

In most situations, when you contact a hotel with questions or changes to your reservation, you will be transferred to a central reservation call center where you will speak with a person located outside of the hotel. This individual often does not have first-hand knowledge of the hotel, may not have visited the property, and is not acquainted with the restaurants and sites that surround the hotel. Some individuals try to book on their own which can be a stressful process and may not result in the best rate and amenities. Our office prevents your event’s attendees from being forced to research the area and multiple hotels where an event takes place and will inform them of the hotels and surrounding sites that are available in the city.

Many hotels will only sign a contract with a group that contains an attrition clause, which means that if you did not fill the amount of room nights you contracted for, you would owe the hotel the difference between the number of room nights you contracted for and the number you utilized. We strive to ensure attrition is eliminated or at a level that is achievable for our client.

The process of housing management can be overwhelming and tedious to take on yourself. Using a housing management company to handle allows you to concentrate on your event’s success. After many years of event planning and housing management, CMC & Associates has built strong industry relationships and years of experience ensure that your event will succeed and the outcome will be beneficial for both you and the participants.

Benefits of Leadership Training

By Stephanie Aanstoos

Learning is a process that never ends—you’ve probably heard this before. When it comes to management and leadership skills, this philosophy holds true. A person does not have to be born a leader to become one and with the appropriate training and understanding, anyone can become an effective leader.

Leadership training for management candidates or new managers is fundamentally important for the growth of your association and may be one of the most beneficial decisions you make as an association executive. The goal of training is to enhance, expand and tailor a candidate’s skill set to meet the needs of your association. Oftentimes, people have leadership and/or management skills learned from prior positions or degrees, but their knowledge is not specific to your association’s industry or structure. Not only that, but also best management practices evolve over time, increasing the benefit of leadership training across all levels of management.

Our company has more than 15 years of experience facilitating leadership training, and we have seen the resulting successes of training firsthand. The following list comprises the key components to any good leadership training course and the benefits for participants.

  1. Development. Participants gain practical knowledge directly applicable to their work environment and prepare to take on higher levels of responsibility. Through training, participants become ready for common leadership and management challenges. They begin the process of establishing a personal leadership development plan to address these issues. Different leadership styles work better for different people—individuals must identify their leadership strengths and weaknesses to help identify which leadership model is best.
  1. Communication. Leaders must be in constant communication with their team, which is why effective communication and people skills are so important. Participants learn strategies, tactics and skills to ensure they provide clear communication and direction as a manager. They develop effective ways to handle tough communication situations and an understanding that listening is the most important part of effective communication.
  1. Motivation. Understanding motivation is key for any leader to effectively manage staff or volunteers. Participants learn to avoid the blame game and use creative problem-solving techniques and identify opportunities to stop de-motivating and start motivating employees. They will be able to establish workplaces with less hassle, waste and conflict. When a manger understands what motivates their employers, they can empower them to grow.
  1. Ethics. While many think ethics may be a no-brainer, it is an important component to leadership training because leaders face many situations where there is no clear right and wrong. Participants identify personal and organizational values and define ethical conduct. They obtain tools to navigate “grey area” situations and review sample agency and professional society codes of conduct. After training, participants will understand legal implications of unethical conduct, the organization’s values and a stronger recognition of their core personal values.

The four key components above should be supplemented by areas of focus specific to the industry. For example, a leadership course for new association executives may include a section on ‘Hiring Challenges for Associations’ or ‘Increasing Membership Engagement.’

The desired outcome of leadership training is for participants to feel prepared for higher levels of management and equipped with a strong leadership strategy. The most important thing to remember is that a training course should serve as a starting point or continuation in the leadership development process, rather than a one-time event.