More people traveling in the new year creates an opportunity for your hotel to capture the new market of group bookings anticipated to increase.
While this is great news for hotels, it’s important to keep in mind that the needs of group bookings are different than that of individual bookings – preparation is therefore key for bringing in group booking revenue.
Why Are Group Bookings Important?
Before we talk about how to increase group bookings, let’s talk about why should you care about them in the first place. We’ve made a quick list:
– Group bookings are efficient revenue generators. Because you are meeting the needs of one group, you’re able to maximize your occupancy in bigger pieces contrary to serving the needs of multiple individual guests.
– There’s a tendency to have a lower cancelation rate with group bookings. Guests are more likely to attend when their stay or event is sponsored.
– You can take the opportunity for repeat business with group bookings. When guests have a good experience, they’re more likely to return.
Overall, increasing group bookings is great for your hotel’s ROI and incorporating into the diversity of your hotel’s occupancy.
1 – Understand your guests’ needs
First thing’s first, if you want to meet the needs of your group booking guests, you’ll need to empathize with them. This is particularly important when things are constantly changing because of pandemic restrictions and an increase in all things digital.
You can think about the amenities your hotel offers and how you can leverage them to meet the needs of your guests.
Hybrid events for example are now increasingly popular due to the pandemic restrictions. Are you able to update your spaces to accommodate these?
Utilizing gathering spaces can also be a way to meet the needs of group bookings. If you have a group that has booked off individual rooms, it would be a good opportunity to offer to gather spaces for the groups to meet. Be proactive about it!
On the contrary, group bookings are also an opportunity to drive ancillary revenue. If you have an on-site bar, cafe, or restaurant, consider that this is also a place for groups to meet. When you are creating a sales strategy, don’t underestimate how non-event groups can drive revenue for your restaurants in other ways. Creating messaging that caters to their needs shouldn’t be overlooked.
It may seem obvious to think about what your customer needs are but it shouldn’t be a step that you skip. Guest needs and expectations are always changing so making sure to take time to think about what their pain points are will set you and your team on the right path for increasing revenue.
2 – Automate administrative tasks
Is your hotel using the most up-to-date technology available? If it isn’t you should really think about making a change. The benefits will mean less administrative work for your team and a better experience for guests, especially when it comes to group bookings.
It can be daunting to change a system that you’ve been using for years and that you’re comfortable with but the right software should help you along the way with onboarding and customer success if you are looking to make a change.
What hotel and sales technology should be doing for you (check out our blog post about why you should get it) is to allow your team to have an all-in-one system and streamline standard operating procedures (SOPs). In the case of group bookings, technology can help facilitate an increase in group pick-ups and organize tasks among different departments in your hotel.
When your team isn’t bogged down with administrative tasks like creating proposals, sending out invoices, remembering to follow up with sales leads, they’ll have more time to focus on what’s important: building relationships. A great rapport with guests results in repeated business and more opportunities along your hotel sales pipeline.
In summary, technology should be leveraged to help your team and hotel reach their fullest potential when it comes to serving group bookings.
3 – Make sure your lead generation strategy is up-to-date
On a related note to hotel and sales technology, using software that incorporates a sales CRM & pipeline feature gives your team the tools to stay organized and keep track of your lead generation.
When it comes to group bookings, you’ll have been at an advantage for attracting the right customers by creating a strategy that based on your understanding of their pain points (as discussed above). For example, communicate in your marketing and sales messaging what amenities you have available that are geared towards group bookings.
Think about what the customer would need to reach their goals and create packages for your hotel based on those needs. Don’t be afraid to test out new tactics in your sales cycle if you’re unsure your approach is working. If you have the right software, you should be able to track analytics to see what is producing results and what needs improvement.
Don’t just wait for guests to come to you – go out and seek opportunities based on your understanding of customer needs. Be proactive in identifying leads who are sales-ready.
Group bookings are great for generating revenue, building a strong reputation, and adding diversity to the bookings in your hotel. This year, with the anticipated increase in travel, make sure you’re able to capture the opportunity to increase group bookings and make the most out of the new wave of travelers.