How do you attract and manage multi-million-dollar clients? Start by listening to them

Posted On August 13, 2023

What are most important things to know and do when your job is to attract and manage multi-million-dollar clients for one of the largest hotel chains in the world?

Our guest in the latest episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston” can tell us. Jason Cohen is Executive Director of Global Corporate Meetings & Events at Accor Hotels. While Paris-based Accor may not be as well-known to Americans as some of the major U.S.-based chains, it’s the fourth-largest hotel company in the world, with over 5,500 hotels in 130 countries and over 40 brands in North America.

Cohen came up in the restaurant business. He even owned his own restaurant in Atlanta for about four years before selling it and moving into hotels and hospitality. And he says an important attribute to satisfying diners is also one of the most important tools to managing relationships with the corporate clients he works with today – listening.

“I’m a talker,” Cohen said. “I’ve learned to listen over years.”

Listening in his current role means learning all he can about his clients and what’s important to them.

“My job is to know what makes them tick,” he said. “I get a lot of my knowledge either by networking with others who work with (the client) … and really doing the digging, really asking the right questions when you get the opportunity.”

One of the questions Cohen likes to ask clients and prospective clients is what success would look like if they partnered with Accor. This doesn’t just mean a successful event, but a successful partnership.

“They’re going to tell you, ‘we need X, Y and Z,’ but there’s always a need behind the need,” he said. “What’s going to make them successful? Not just in the execution of the event, but they’re trying to impress clients, or they’re trying to find new clients. So it’s really connecting those dots.”

It’s a good time to be in the hospitality business, he said. Travel and convention business have been strong after the pandemic. Through creating relationships — and maintaining them through follow-ups and personal touches – Cohen and Accor are taking advantage of that strong market.

“I think personal connections still matter everywhere,” he said.

Categories: Blog, Travel, What's Working with Cam Marston