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Having an updated, well-thought out strategy for group business is essential for hotels. These tips from CVENT will help hotels stand out in the ever-competitive group business travel industry.

This sponsored content was created in collaboration with a Skift partner.

How often does instinct play a role in deciding which pieces of group business to pursue? Times are changing, and making revenue impacting decisions based upon instinct no longer works in today’s highly competitive meetings and event market.

In fact, 39 percent of hotels within Cvent’s online group business sourcing platform, the Cvent Supplier Network, lost market share in 2014. However, venues overall saw a 27 percent increase in RFP volume. That means planner eRFP volume is growing but competition among hotels for it is heating up. And because group business comprises more than 33 percent of the average hotel’s annual revenue, hoteliers need to make more strategic decisions in order to maximize their group business revenue.

Here are three ways to improve your hotel’s group business strategy:

  1. Strengthen your digital marketing. Sixty-seven percent of planners begin hotel sourcing online, which means hotels must take ownership and invest in their digital identities to separate them from the competition.

    When marketing your venue, one size does not fit all – make sure your marketing and advertising messages address the needs of planners, versus transient guests. Don’t know where to start? Review your online marketing basics or ask for help from digital marketing experts to help you develop a solid strategy.

  2. Establish a system to score your leads. With the influx of online group business RFPs, sales managers are spending large chunks of time on busy work, manually filtering through and prioritizing leads. This time spent on busy work could be better used for prospecting and closing deals.

    Therefore, an internal or software-based solution for lead scoring is an important part of maximizing group revenue. A lead scoring solution allows sales teams to quickly identify the best leads to pursue based on criteria such as overall profitability and sleeping room availability, in addition to other qualities that are important to your hotel.

  3. Make data-driven decisions. Everything in the Digital Age is measurable, so hotels have the opportunity to make smarter group business decisions based off their data. However, hotels can’t track and measure the health of group business in the same way that they do for transient travel due to its unique sales cycle.

    That’s why group-specific data is so powerful. Looking at group-specific data that shows where you’re losing business based on stay pattern and group size, and how you stack up against your comp set based on first-party planner sourcing data is incredibly valuable. Your sales team will be equipped to make smarter decisions and identify additional group business opportunities.

Don’t get left behind because of a weak group business strategy. As competition for group business intensifies and the number of inquiries continues to grow, hotels with strong internal strategies will emerge victorious and see group business profits rise to even higher levels.

This content was created collaboratively with our sponsor Cvent.

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Tags: bookings, group business, hotels, meetings

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