Most hotels rely on complimentary stays, elaborate dinners, spa treatments, and cookie-cutter sales tactics to win more event business. Today, the vast extent of group intelligence and analytics is upping the ante. By leveraging meeting and group data, hotels can boost their group conversions.
Each year, more than 2 million events are held in the U.S. alone. To successfully compete for a piece of this revenue, hotels can no longer ignore a group’s past, the hotel’s own statistics, or continue to rely squarely on gut feelings or anecdotal evidence about a meeting planner or a piece of business. Mass sales blitz are a thing of the past. Today, a sales team’s ability to reach goals relies on data.
Knowledge is power in this space. The right group data gives a property a huge competitive advantage, not to mention arms its sales team with the intelligence to make smarter and swifter decisions. However, most hotels only get the bare minimum for data. STR, readerboards, Delphi FDC, Hoovers, SalesForce, and Data.com just scratch the surface. More in-depth data helps hoteliers understand the likelihood of winning an event, understand which groups are the best fit for the hotel to pursue, and a mountain of other vital insights.
The good news is that the meetings industry is brimming with analytics and intelligence that can help hotels rein in more contracts. Below are a few strategies to use analytics to multiply group bookings.
Old Data, New Opportunities
Sales teams are already familiar with a hotel’s definite business and major accounts and are most likely already working to transform those relationships into repeat bookings. But a hotel shouldn’t ignore the business that it didn’t win or the accounts it declined. There is a goldmine of opportunities in turned down or lost groups where there are seven to 12 times more contacts.
Research from Groups360 found that old data can contribute to 95 percent of new group business. Think about it–those planners already know the hotel and its brand, and likely already have a trusted relationship with the sales team. Perhaps they have even experienced the hotel for themselves on a previous site visit. These lost or turned down groups are the key to driving sustainable and consistent group revenue for a hotel.
Hotels often run out of event space before selling out guestrooms. The culprits are groups that occupy a lot of space, but not enough sleeping rooms. Data can pinpoint who these venue hogs are from the very beginning.
Hotels can also be proactive about maintaining a healthy ratio of guestrooms to meeting space. Aim for a target ratio of sleeping rooms and ballrooms/breakout space. That ratio will indicate how close a hotel is to selling out. If surpassed, it’ll indicate that the hotel has oversold venue space and is left with a surplus of guestrooms to sell.
Secret Planner Insight
Behind every group are untold secrets that only past data can uncover. Arming the sales team with this hidden intel can bring a hotel closer to winning every bid. Data can reveal a meeting planner’s true preference in meeting destination, hot buttons, values, vital dealbreakers (surprise: most often, it is NOT about dropping rate), historical spend, sensitivity to rate, and their likelihood of choosing the property.
About the Author
Kemp Gallineau is the CEO of Groups360, a hospitality company bringing transparency and simplicity to meetings transactions. Gallineau is the former CSO for Gaylord Entertainment, SVP and GM for three of the largest hotels in the U.S.