The Mews Blog > The best strategies to attract group bookings to your hotel
Group bookings for hotels can represent a goldmine, as this type of reservation maximizes profitability by drastically increasing a hotel’s occupancy rate. Plus, the resources that are invested in acquiring a new reservation are compensated at a greater rate. Groups also often represent a good source of ancillary revenue, which we’ll discuss in detail later on.
In this article, we’ll also discuss how to prepare your hotel for business groups, how this type of travel group can benefit your hotel, and the strategies you should put into action in order to attract this kind of target audience.
How do group bookings benefit your hotel?
Group bookings are a great way of taking advantage of your marketing and distribution costs while maximizing the human resources that go into guest acquisition. Another benefit of this type of booking is the possibility to boost ancillary revenue through food and beverage, the rental of meeting and event space, and other services that they often require.
Groups – especially corporate groups – tend to book during the week when occupancy rates are lower, representing a good way to boost revenue during traditionally lower occupancy periods. In the case of families, especially intergenerational groups, the amount spent in the hotel is often greater because dining at the hotel or purchasing extra services directly from the hotel is more convenient.
How to prepare your hotel for travel or business groups
Bigger groups will require more organization and a clear description of services, which is why it’s important to prepare your hotel for this type of booking. Let’s take a look at the different steps you can take to prepare.
Choose a reservation software that can handle group bookings
For starters, make sure that you have a reservation management software that’s designed to accommodate and optimize this kind of booking. Mews’ software allows your hotel and staff to effectively manage group bookings with smart automation features like rooming lists, tentative reservations, group billing, and bulk reservation updates. Having all this information in one place is key to preparing your hotel.
Learn about the benefits of rooming lists.
Design a list of services
The key to accommodating big groups is being organized. Design a list of services that you offer, whether that be food and beverage, meeting rooms, transportation, laundry, a dedicated concierge or banqueting; all of these services will help differentiate your hotel from the competition. Having these services established allows you to upsell, boosting ancillary revenue and increasing the average spend per booking.
Make it easy
When it comes to groups, the booking process needs to be easy, both for your hotel and for those reserving. Have a simple reservation process, allowing the travel planner to book online, and then make sure your staff are prepared to offer additional support when necessary. A direct booking engine on your website is a great way to make it easy.
Get ready for feedback
Once you’ve successfully implemented a strategy and prepared your hotel to receive this kind of booking, it’s important to have the tools in place to measure the results. Invite guests to fill out satisfaction surveys, find out where you can improve, and make sure to put into practice the suggestions for improvement. Feedback will help you offer the best service possible.
You may also like:
- Benefits of managing online real time bookings
- Essential features of a hotel reservation management system
What are the best ways to attract group bookings?
Now that your hotel is prepared, it’s important to start thinking about how exactly you’re going to attract this type of booking. Let’s take a look at the best ways to do so.
Create a communication strategy
When targeting a new group, it’s important to have a communication strategy in place. Start by benchmarking to see what the competition is doing to attract this segment, and determine how you can do it better. There are many elements to consider when designing a strategy, such as:
- How are you going to make the offer attractive on your communication channels?
- What channels will you target them in?
- What is your value proposition for this target audience?
- What kind of messaging will you create, and what are the different touchpoints to connect with guests during the customer journey?
Keeping all of these questions in mind, you can create a communication strategy that will help you stand out from the competition, and encourage groups of guests to book with you.
Read more about marketing strategies to boost your bookings.
Have a solid distribution plan in place
It’s one thing to know how you are going to reach these guests through different communication channels, but it’s also important to have a clearly defined distribution plan. You will want to consider which kind of OTAs, travel agents, and companies are worth working with so that you can tailor your offer to the different channels. Make sure to also optimize your direct channel with an online booking engine.
Everyone loves a good discount, so once you have decided where you are going to distribute your offer, think about what kinds of discounts you are going to provide for groups, and different packages and promotions that will make your offer more attractive than the competition’s.
Use SEM and SEO together to boost your results
Both paid search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns and organic search engine optimization (SEO) is key to get your offer out there. SEM campaigns will attract people to book directly from your website, but be sure to make the campaigns more attractive with special discounts for booking directly. Target keywords that are more aimed at the bottom of the funnel, when guests are closer to their purchasing phase.
In terms of SEO, determine the keywords that you want to position for and create a solid organic strategy to make it happen. Create a series of SEO-optimized blog posts to reach the different group segments at each stage of the funnel, and make sure to promote them on social media. You may even consider partnerships and influencer marketing, which will also help with link building efforts.
Learn about the best hotel social media strategies.
In this article we’ve looked at group bookings, the strategies to attract this type of booking, the benefits this target group presents for your hotel, and how to get your hotel ready to receive this type of booking. If you take all the steps lined out in this article and you have a clear action plan, you will be more likely to attract group bookings, and therefore help increase occupancy rates, ancillary revenue and boost bookings in general.
Group bookings have tremendous revenue potential, whether it be family groups or corporate groups, so taking the time to invest in making your offer attractive and different from the competition will without a doubt increase the profitability of your hotel year-round.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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