Whether you are working with hotels domestically or abroad, the all-important BEO (banquet event order) is now a standardized document across hotel brands—but that wasn’t the case 20 years ago. BEOs establish all the setup information for a meeting, including food and beverage orders, audiovisual needs and other details crucial to executing a successful event.
The software system each property uses to generate a BEO can be a challenge for planners. While one hotel may specifically list tax and gratuity and provide per-person totals in gross, another property may not delineate these extras or provide totals. This can cause miscommunication in total charges, making it difficult for planners to reconcile the BEO with their F&B budget.
Take notes from these directors of catering and convention services to make the BEO process as smooth as possible.
There are two common elements to conveying information. The first is chronological order. “Regardless of whether you send your specs in a beautifully crafted Excel sheet or simply type them into the body of an email, sharing them in a chronological format is key,” says Breanne Garner, director of convention services at The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa.
The second is categorization. For each function within your meeting, state your various needs in the same format so it is easy for your hotel contact to compare across all functions. The most basic categories are food and beverage, audiovisual and meeting room setup. You might have specific billing instructions or client hot buttons you want to highlight as well, notes Garner.
Zena Phillips, director of catering and events for Conrad New York, recommends submitting specs (also known as a function sheet) as a summary of your events with date and time, room and meeting name, and menu requests. “Planners can also request the venue send a simple overview of the meeting merged out of the property’s booking system, and then can use this overview as the outline for their requests,” says Phillips.