With hotels being decimated by COVID-19, hoteliers are looking for any strategies to help them increase revenue. One of the areas that many hotels are focusing on is group sales. Although this may not have been a big push for you before 2020, now could be the perfect time to actively build this side of your hotel business.
Clarify Your Offerings and Differentiators
The first thing to do is create a list of your meeting rooms and their details. Whether you have one meeting room or ten, list out what you have to offer. If you have more than one meeting room, a spreadsheet can be a great tracking tool for this. You can list each room on its own line, then create columns for how many it accommodates, possible meeting layouts, technology in each room, ability to partition it, along with any unique selling points. You can even create a column for the types of groups that have used the room successfully in the past as this will help you when you start formulating a marketing plan.
Research Competitor Pricing
Once you have your offerings listed out, it’s time to work out pricing and packages. It’s always a good idea to do some research to find out what the going rates are in your area. You can do this by calling comparable hotels near yours and asking about their meeting room rates and packages (of course you’ll want to do this from your cell phone and not your hotel landline). Create another tab in your spreadsheet to record competitor pricing and packages. This will be very valuable information when working out your own pricing.
Decide Who to Target
It’s important to know what groups you want to go after so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Take a look at the groups who have used your meeting rooms before and use this as the basis for your target market development. Have you hosted lots of 60-100-person weddings? Great – brides in that range would be a perfect target audience for you. Have your rooms been used for medium-to-large-sized corporate retreats or business meetings? Perfect – now you know you can make that another target audience. Also think beyond what the rooms have been used for in the past. What new groups could use the space? Get creative and think outside the box.
Once you have your prospect groups identified, you’ll want to list out the key characteristics of each one so you can tailor your messages accordingly. A corporate event planner of a Fortune-500 company will have different priorities, budget and concerns than a bride would. By segmenting your target markets, and getting clear on what they want, you can tailor your pitch to each of them. This is a tremendously important step when it comes to effective prospecting and selling. Know your prospects!
Get Your Property Online
These days, event planners are researching venues online. So, first and foremost, you need an impressive website; one that exudes personality and highlights the best features of your property. If yours hasn’t been refreshed in many years, now is the time to do it. Once you have this preliminary element in place, your next step is to get listed on online venue marketplaces such as Kapow, Wedding Spot, Aventri, EventUp and the countless other platforms. This is where individuals and event planners are looking, so make sure you show up. To maximize success you’ll want your profile to include:
- Plenty of high-quality photos (including past events)
- Professional video tour of the space
- Floor plan(s)
- Your key offerings/differentiators
When it comes to increasing revenue in the wake of the COVID pandemic, group sales can be an effective strategy.