More than a year after the Covid limitations were relaxed, the revenge travel trend is starting to fade, and accommodation providers may be exploring how to keep the momentum going. Maintaining occupancy rates during shoulder and low seasons is difficult, and most hoteliers would prefer to increase the number of guests. With transitory reservations also on the decline, now is an excellent moment to consider attracting groups.
Prior to the pandemic, big groups of 100 or more would frequently check into large hotels for corporate training or seminars, and many hotels relied on these huge groups for a significant portion of their revenue.
However, since the pandemic, Marriot reports that group bookings are down 57 percent in 2021 compared to the end of 2019. But things need to change and there are ways that hoteliers can attract more group bookings even now. In this article, we will discuss, what can hotels to do change things and bring back the very lucrative group hotel bookings using various proven strategies and the latest technology like cloud Based Hotel Management Software and more.
Let’s start with understanding why group bookings are important?
Why are Group Bookings Important?
Here are a few reasons why you should be concerned with group bookings before we talk about how to increase them. Check them out below:
– Group bookings are efficient revenue generators. Due to the fact that you are serving the needs of one group, your occupancy can be maximized in larger pieces compared with serving the needs of many individuals.
– There’s a tendency to have a lower cancellation rate with group bookings. The more sponsored events and stays get, the more likely guests are to attend.
– You can take the opportunity for repeat business with group bookings. An excellent experience increases the likelihood of returning guests.
Increasing group bookings is an excellent way to enhance your hotel’s ROI and increase the diversity of your occupancy.
The following tips will help you increase hotel group bookings
1. Small groups are more likely to return than large groups; take advantage of this fact
There was a time when massive convention center tours went on ten-city runs and sold out every venue. We’re talking convention centers and coliseums with capacities of 50 and 60,000. Is it still a sparse occurrence? Most certainly! Does it happen regularly in the future? Only time will tell. Unless this type of event returns within the next five years, we can say with a high degree of certainty that it won’t.
Once that happens, the hotel industry must begin to think differently about market segments. The hotel industry must look to smaller parties, as well as host conventions on its property. Make sure to advertise the availability of convention and ballroom space. Target startups and companies that are based in your hometown and have close relationships with all of your clients.
This is how you replace the repeat business that you were previously accustomed to. Even if the scale isn’t the same, repeat business is repeat business, and this type of situation leads to wonderful partnerships.
It’s still crucial to keep in touch with the bigger organizers. Rather than canceling, many of them are simply rescheduling their events. Maintain open lines of communication with them and assure them that you’re still working on safe ways to accommodate them.
Prepare for mixed events, where half of the guests are on-site and the other are attending remotely from all around the world. Begin looking into technology that will allow your event crew to stream these sessions to those who are unable to attend in person.
2. Recognize, anticipate, and address the needs of your visitors
First and foremost, you must empathize with your group booking guests if you want to meet their needs. This is especially true when things are continuously changing due to pandemic limits and a rise in everything digital. Consider the amenities provided by your hotel and how you may use them to satisfy the needs of your visitors.
Because of the pandemic limits, hybrid events are becoming increasingly popular. Are you able to make the necessary changes to your premises to accommodate these?
Using gathering areas to satisfy the needs of group reservations is another option. If you have a group of people who have reserved individual rooms, this is an excellent time to offer to arrange areas for them to meet. Take charge of the situation!
Group bookings, on the other hand, provide an opportunity to increase ancillary revenue. Consider whether your on-site bar, cafe, or restaurant is also a gathering spot for groups. When developing a sales strategy, keep in mind how non-event groups might help your restaurant generate revenue in other ways. It’s important not to underestimate the importance of tailoring communications to their specific requirements.
It may seem self-evident to consider your customers’ wants, but this is an important step that should not be overlooked. Because guest requirements and expectations are constantly changing, taking the time to consider what their pain points are will put you and your staff on the correct track to generating income.
3. Automate administrative activities to free up your team
Is your hotel equipped with the latest cutting-edge technology? If it isn’t, you should really consider changing it. The advantages will result in less administrative work for your team and a better guest experience, especially for group bookings. It can be intimidating to switch from a system you’ve been using for years and are familiar with, but the appropriate software can assist you with onboarding and customer success if you’re ready to make the switch.
Allowing your staff to have an all-in-one system and streamlining standard operating processes is what hotel and sales technology should be doing for you (SOPs). When it comes to group bookings, technology can help you increase group pick-ups and organize tasks across your hotel’s departments.
Your team will have more time to focus on what matters: building relationships, rather than administrative activities like generating proposals, sending out invoices, and remembering to follow up with sales leads. A positive visitor experience leads to repeat business and greater prospects in your hotel’s sales pipeline.
4. Be ready for last-minute group reservations
When that’s the scenario our governments put us in, you can’t be too unhappy when groups change their minds at the last minute. It doesn’t take much these days for a major event to utterly derail. All it takes is for one person to become ill or develop a high fever, and the entire situation is over. This, on the other hand, works in the other direction. Even at the last minute, events might be rescheduled.
You must be prepared for these last-minute alterations so that you do not have to decline a lucrative booking opportunity. These conflicts will be won by the most adaptable hotel companies.
Your employees must become accustomed to working on the fly and making quick decisions. Updates must be made in real-time — when a cancellation is received, it must be made available to the next person in line right away.
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.