The hospitality industry is expected to regain momentum, driven by corporate travel and major events. However, there’s still a long way to go for the industry to return to the pre-2020 levels.
What is the Difference Between Corporate and Leisure Travel?
There are two main types of travel; corporate travel and leisure travel.
Corporate travel is typically when an individual or small group travels for business or corporate-related purposes. Corporate travel is often planned around business meetings, conferences, and events. Leisure travel, on the other hand, is when an individual or small group travels for leisure, vacation, or pleasure.
Bouncing Back: Corporate and Event Travel 2020-2021
With the latest data from Event Temple, it’s clear that ‘wedding season’ is picking up with an average increase of 5.58% in bookings. The biggest drop can be seen in healthcare workers who aren’t traveling as much, which could be attributed to increased vaccination efforts across the globe.
Event Temple’s marketing and growth manager, Samantha Fabbro, offers advice to hoteliers looking to increase corporate, group, and event bookings in 2021. Her tips will help you understand how your competition is marketing their properties and how to ensure you’re getting the most business possible.
1 – Start Prospecting for Corporate Business
Prior to the global pandemic, hotel sales teams had inboxes flooded with requests for proposals (RFPs) and prospecting had become a lost business practice. Over the past 2 years, the corporate landscape has transformed. Corporate contacts have changed, budgets have been cut, and strict travel policies are in place. It’s time to evaluate your current corporate pipeline and hunt for new business.
The word prospecting can intimidate people. It’s often equated to cold calling. While cold calling can be an effective part of your prospecting strategy, prospecting encompasses all forms of relationship-building to close more business. From list building to networking at local events, prospecting ensures your pipeline is constantly growing and, when done right, results in a predictable revenue stream for your property.
2 – Micro-Segmentation: Understand WHO is Travelling for Business
The corporate segment covers an array of industries that travel for business and corporate events. If you can, track their industry in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and Property Management System (PMS) and use targeted marketing campaigns for those markets.
For example, healthcare workers, construction, and transportation personnel never stopped traveling during the pandemic. In fact, according to the data, group bookings for healthcare workers went from a low of 3.92% in April 2020 to a high of 9.62% in April 2021. Hoteliers who were able to identify these micro-segments in their CRM or PMS were able to win business through targeted advertising and prospecting campaigns.
3 – Train Your Hotel Team to Be Lead Hunters
In Tammy Gillis’ book “Room to Grow: Not Leaving Sales to Chance”, she highlights the importance of building a culture of selling. Everyone at the property level should be viewed as lead hunters. Through conversations or non-verbal cues, your team can identify if a guest is staying at the property for business or leisure and share that intel with the sales team.
For example, your front desk might notice a guest is consistently staying at the hotel the first week of every month and booking via an OTA. They can easily find out if they are staying for business and ask if they’d like to meet your sales manager to discuss a local negotiated rate for their company.
If housekeeping finds a business card in a room, instead of recycling it, they can give it to the sales manager to reach out to and prospect for future stays.
A night audit manager can do parking lot checks and see if there are any corporate cars in the lot. They can add these businesses to the hotel’s CRM and prospect pipeline.
When everyone at the property has a sales-forward mind, your sales pipeline (and property) are full.
Bouncing Back: Leisure Travel 2020-2021
Leisure travel is picking back up. RoomRacoon’s data shows that independent hoteliers saw a significant bump in direct and OTA bookings in August 2021 compared to the same time last year. This has raised hotel occupancy rates by 4% and RevPAR rates by €5.
Skift Megatrends predict that leisure travel will be close to record levels in 2025. But how can hoteliers double or even triple these figures next year? We take a closer look at predicted travel trends in 2022.
1 – Adopt Contactless Payments
Contactless payment is a major travel trend, and COVID will keep it that way. Bigger properties and chains have been the most adapted with smaller independent properties catching up swiftly. Hoteliers and other property managers who accept contactless payments show they’re on top of the game when it comes to safeguarding their guests. By minimizing shared surfaces that can be contaminated with germs, customers will be more at ease when staying in your hotel.
Adopting this technology will encourage spontaneous online bookings and check-ins. This allows hoteliers to maximize occupancy rates while also offering online customers a flexible self-service option to manage their own stay.
2 – Hone in on Local Tourism
‘Staycations’ will remain popular in 2022. Whether it’s waiting out travel restrictions or booking closer vacations to save money, people are increasingly choosing to travel domestically instead of internationally. Airbnb supports this trend with a report that nearly half of the travelers surveyed were looking to take a vacation within driving distance of their homes.
Hoteliers should think local and direct their marketing efforts towards local experiences. For example, hotels are catering specifically to digital nomads. Since the start of the pandemic, workers are no longer location-dependent, and travelling and working remotely has become more popular. This presents great opportunities to offer rooms with offices or include office spaces in your upsell strategy.
3 – Be Visible on Multiple OTAs
RoomRaccoon’s data shows that 41% of hotel bookings in 2021 came from a single online travel agency (OTA). Can you guess which one it is? If you’re using just one OTA, you’re leaving money on the table. There are a lot of different OTAs out there, so make sure you get the most out of their marketing efforts.
Even better, you can use different OTAs to reach different guests. For example, you could use Booking.com and Expedia to reach a broad audience, and then use other OTAs that target very specific travelers like Gayhotels and Health and Fitness Travel.
But if you’re looking to increase your direct bookings, Google Hotel Ads can put your website at the very top of Google search results. By targeting potential visitors with hotel-focused search terms such as “hotels near me,” or “London City hotels,” Google Hotel Ads allows you to showcase your rates and availability and attract targeted visitors who are already in the market for a hotel.
Good to know: Make sure you use a PMS that is a premium partner of Google Hotel Ads to benefit from a pay-per-stay model and only pay when a traveler completes a stay they booked through your hotel ad.
By following these tips and trends, you’ll be able to spot the difference in your corporate and leisure bookings. If you are not already automating your hotel operations then you will probably miss out on revenue in 2022. One great way to keep on top of everything is to use the seamless connection between RoomRaccoon and Event Temple to manage your events and hotel operations.