After 30 years in the industry, we have extensive knowledge of which hotels are suitable for our client meetings. The lack of uniform guidelines for hotel ratings in various countries creates a great deal of uncertainty, however, with respect to "Star" ratings, and we try to work with our clients to be sure their expectations are reasonable. In many parts of the world, there is no such thing as a "safe, four star hotel" - especially in Latin America and in some parts of Asia, where we try to insist that basic safety requires selection of a five star hotel.
Then, in countries such as France, there are no "official" rankings above "four-star" deluxe - so while technically complying with the no "five star" policy, we would clearly be overstepping our bounds by recommending a "deluxe" hotel such as the Westin Paris, even if the French guidelines of 170 Euros could ever be met. We have many examples of where local politics make some hotels acceptable, while others are not, even when they are in the same technical category.
As there is not universal arbiter of acceptability, we rely on the experience of the host company and its subsidiaries to notify us if they have recently encountered an issue with a proposed property, but otherwise, we are generally proficient at recognizing whether a hotel is suitable for hosting a meeting. We accomplish sourcing through essentially the same process; we assemble ALL of the requirements for the meeting, including an in depth summary of the meeting room requirements, after consultation with the project manager, and submit the RFP either directly to properties we work with frequently or through our contacts with major hotel representation services based in the US.
Because our contacts know we do not use a "shotgun" approach to site selection, our enquires are often answered faster, since hotels know they have a higher percentage of obtaining the business if required price points are met. We use our own proprietary RFP packet which is sent to sale offices and acceptable hotels. We have a detailed proprietary list of Preferred Sunshine acceptable venues. Within 24 hours, we start to advise on possible destinations. If available empirical data is used to do a hotel city selection. This is based on a matrix or expected participants and least about of time out of the office.