Step 1 – Acquire leads strategically
Effective hotel lead management starts off with lead generation. Boost your hotel lead conversion by the careful planning of how your lead acquisition with strategic hooks about your hotel. These ‘hooks” can help you better understand each incoming lead which will then help you create targeted content that will engage. Consider your customer database, what are they looking for that only your hotel can provide?
Generate: Consistent lead generation is the name of the game when thinking about a long term hotel lead management strategy and sustaining group business.
Educate: Once you’ve captured a lead, you will then need to educate by developing and creating content that helps your prospect make a decision. Track your content and learn from how your leads interact with it. These interactions give you insight about where they are in the decision making process and how likely they are to buy. We’ll talk about this more, further down.
Qualify: An important part of your lead generation is how you qualify your leads. It’s important to have a clear system to qualify leads throughout the process, depending on how far down the funnel they are. Having a software to track your pipeline and leads, along with each interaction will be helpful here. Prioritization is also key here. Prioritize those hot leads that are primed and ready for conversion.
Step 2 – Nurture your leads carefully
Nurturing your leads is a delicate balance; one wrong move and a hot lead can go cold. Partnering with your marketing team at your hotel is an effective hotel lead management strategy because they will be able to build lead nurturing campaigns. Maximize your chances of converting your leads by segmenting your list carefully.
To do this, consider:
Lifecycle: How close are they to the decision making process? Match your messaging to urgency so your tone is aligned with each lead’s life cycle.
Demographics: How does your lead like to receive communication and to be interacted with? Match your messaging to the preferences of your prospect to increase chances of conversion.
Behaviour: Analyze past responses from your prospect and gage their engagement and replies. Match messaging to actual behaviour to avoid alienating them.
Step 3 – Set realistic timelines
Setting up realistic timelines is a part of effective hotel lead management. When monitoring your pipeline, it’s important to pay attention to how quickly leads progress through each phase. You will be able to understand prospect behaviour and that data will give you a better metric to set realistic timelines in order to set achievable targets. It’s important to predict with data, but also leave space to react to unexpected changes as well. Setting too ambitious of a timeline can de-motivate a team and actually be counterproductive.
Step 4 – Sync the buying cycle to your sales cycle
Take the time to understand your customer (referred to in step 2) and then leverage that data into proper synchronization between your lead’s buying cycle and the structure of your own sales cycle. Your nurture campaigns should accurately reflect each segment’s position in the buying journey. If there’s anything you’re unsure about, simply ask. Adding a field to any relevant forms that asks where a lead is in the process can help you by informing you on how they interact.
Step 5 – Nail down your RFP response process
A very important aspect of hotel lead management is how you respond to RFPs. Hotels are constantly being inundated with requests for proposals and this growing burden greatly impacts a hotel’s resources. They are laborious and time consuming but are the most integral piece to winning the bid. Data shows that prospects are most likely to book with first responders. Now with modern hotel RFP software, this entire process has become streamlined and efficient. They help hotels prioritize their leads, respond quicker, produce quality, personalized proposals and manage everything in real time.
Step 6 – Analyze and optimize
It’s important to track your progress and recognize both your wins and opportunities as part of a hotel lead management strategy. By mining your results for insights, you’ll be able to use these learnings to optimize your overall lead-gen strategy and conversion process. An important metric to track is how much it costs to acquire group business. The cost to acquire has risen over the last few years and it’s important to understand these numbers to truly understand your true revenue.
Step 7 – Build the playbook
Documenting these into a playbook will build a foundation for future team members to refer to for further success of the hotel. Once you’ve tested, tried and worked out the kinks in your processes, then analyzed and optimized your findings, share your results with your team and document it. Providing this transparency around wins/ losses and lessons at your hotel unites and engages your team and motivates management. It also provides training material and contributes to a long term hotel lead management strategy.
By implementing these steps into your hotel lead management, you’ll be able to assess what areas of success and what areas need improvement. By tracking your inputs right from the start, you’ll be able to document what works and build an internal sales infrastructure for the growth of your team and future of your hotel. When all else fails, listen to your customers and be resilient with your efforts. When’s something not working, change it up. It’s important to be agile and navigate difficult situations with a creative mindset to manage your leads and see high conversion at your hotel.