Despite being highly susceptible to fluctuations in the global economy, the hospitality sector has continued to grow over the past 5 years.
With the projected national industry revenue expected to exceed $200 billion, the sector is symbolized by high competition with every hotel chain in a pursuit to grow its market share.
This, in turn, has led to an increased integration of advanced software and tools, such as Hotel CRMS and venue management systems to help hotel sales managers leverage new channels and use advanced marketing strategies to acquire leads.
Here’s how you can utilize the latest marketing techniques to get an edge over your competition.
Marketing Strategies To Increase Group Sales
Group sales are the focal point in any hotel business – and they are getting bigger. According to the AMEX Global Meetings Forecast, meetings have increased in size by 22.7%.
In the same period, the number of meetings has also increased by 5.4%. The rise in demand is an indication of more competition, which is why modern hotel sales managers need to deploy innovative strategies to ensure sustained profitability.
Here are 3 marketing strategies designed to land you more group sales:
1. Put Your Email To Good Use
With an ROI of $38 for every $1 spent, email marketing should headline every marketing agenda – regardless of the industry.
From sending out promotional newsletters and welcome emails, to customer service reviews targeted to elicit consumer feedback on your service, email provides the best channel to communicate with prospective and existing clients.
When talking about group sales, hotel managers can use their existing mailing list to probe the possibility of future revenue. An advanced hotel CRM system allows you to have an updated mailing list ready at all times.
By carefully crafting an email campaign targeted to offer discounts on returning groups, hotel sales managers can incentivize previous consumers to consider your hotel for future bookings.
With 59% of people confirming that marketing email influences their purchase decisions, coupled with their prior experience and high expectations, this will enhance your chances of hosting previous customer groups again.
2. Invest In Intelligent PPC Marketing
With PPC advertisements bringing in 50% more lead conversions than organic traffic, the success entirely depends on the keywords you choose to target and the filters that you apply.
By carefully drafting business-relevant target keywords, you can market yourself to the event managers and venue planners that handle such groups.
While bidding for competitive terms might be a tad bit expensive, the hyper-specialization of marketing filters can help reduce cost/opportunity while creating a predictable channel for prospect generation.
Social media provides yet another opportunity for sales managers to target. With 50% of planners researching their venue online, it is high time for hotels to meet planners where they are.
Not only does social media provide a fertile ground for lead cultivation, but its advanced targeted marketing filters allow you to extract highly qualified prospects that fit right in your buyer persona.
Hotel sales managers can utilize their venue management systems to dig up past client data to ascertain specific buyer personas or geographical locations where your target audience is most likely to be found. You can then utilize such highly specific data to target people that fit your bill.
3. Give Your Traditional Marketing Efforts A Creative Twist
Most hotel managers still indulge in traditional marketing – and for good reason. Despite the rise in popularity (and effectiveness) of digital marketing methods, many consumers still find delight in having customized postcards being mailed to them.
Hotel sales managers need to build loyalty and goodwill with their existing clientele. Referrals remain the primary mode of marketing with 81% of customers confirming that they trust recommendations that come from family and friends over promotions that come from companies.
Traditional tactics such as mailing a relevant gift or a gift basket 30 days after a client has confirmed a group booking or a venue-based event can go a long way in fostering mutual appreciation while building loyalty for your business.
No need to add in the conventional flowers and chocolates – you can add gifts relevant to their niche or something practical yet fun, think headphones for instance.
Use your hotel CRM to derive insights into the interests and business niche of your clients.
Another strategy involves sending innovative handwritten postcards towards clients who recently conducted a group booking as a display of gratitude.
Just pick their mailing addresses from your venue management system and post it their way. Add in a discount voucher for their next visit – and you have increased your chances of retaining that client considerably.
Additional Strategies: Effective SEO and Niche Targeting
SEO is an integral part of the strategy for some of the leading hotel planners and venue management companies that drive a significant chunk of their business from search engine traffic.
The key to success in the digital realm is to personalize your efforts to resonate as much with the target audience as possible. You need to target distinct niches in order to gain consumer trust and loyalty.
Targeting market segments, such as prioritized service for sports team or leading facilities to hold product launch meetings can also allow you to customize your offerings based on the targeted segment, and in return benefit from increased niche-related conversions.
As group bookings and sales continue to increase, hotel sales managers need to stand out in order to secure clients in such a competitive landscape. Using advanced marketing strategies can allow you to benefit from increased exposure and consumer loyalty.