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Knowing how to manage hotel group business is a significant step toward your property's success that can positively affect your bottom line. With so many moving parts, choosing a modern property management system will let you easily manage and automate the necessary processes.
Have you ever wondered why group business is crucial for hotels and what strategies to employ to attract and manage hotel group business? Keep reading to learn more.
Why is group business so important to hotels?
Hotel group business brings regular and predictable revenue, which means you can better predict demand. Furthermore, groups tend to travel during the low season when rates drop, leading to fewer lulls in demand.
Lower acquisition costs
You can also spend less on guest acquisition costs. You only have to attract one person from the group to complete the sale, which means less marketing and sales effort. Therefore, you can spend less time and money to attract a lot of bookings at once, rather than spending it all on a single booking.
Once you've tapped into this target audience, it becomes much easier to get more groups, especially if you receive good reviews. Explore reputation management to truly leverage the work that goes into attracting a group.
Whereas leisure travelers may have a change of plans, get a better deal at another property, or cancel due to severe weather, groups are less likely to cancel. Once the group has gone through the effort to organize a business event, a conference, or a family reunion, it's unlikely they'll cancel unless there's a last-minute change.
To mitigate the effects of a last-minute cancelation, you could implement a cancellation fee to be sure you can make up for a cancelation.
Easily forecast demand
With cancelations being less likely and groups booking even a year ahead, it’s much easier for your hotel to forecast demand. And that means greater profitability by optimizing resources based on actual demand.
Many events happen yearly, so if a group is satisfied and comfortable at your hotel, they're more likely to return. That's great news as your acquisition costs become even lower. If guests have a positive experience at your property, they usually become regulars.
Upselling is a lot easier with groups, especially if it's a business group. They're more likely to book an upgrade because their company is picking up the tab, so they want to be comfortable. The hotel is an easy and convenient place for groups to meet and have breakfast, a drink at the bar, or hang out, leading to easier upsells.
5 best strategies to attract and manage hotel group business
Now that you know why group business benefits hotels, let’s look at some strategies to attract and manage this audience.
Manage online visibility
Attracting group business is all about strategically managing your online channels and ensuring a good position on Google for this target audience. You can also tap into location-based keywords around events, seasonal attractions, concerts, conferences and shows to target attendees looking for a room when attending these events.
Aim to make the most of search engine optimization to attract group business. If you get Google reviews, especially from groups, respond as soon as possible to keep guests engaged and show them you care.
Offer a group rate
Nothing gets guests through the door like a good deal. Booking for many people at once can get expensive, so consider offering group rates when practicing revenue management. You may even consider giving an extra discount if they book directly to avoid paying so much in commissions to third-party booking sites.
You could also remove the intermediary and only accept group reservations. Why not throw in a complimentary beverage or breakfast once the group reaches a certain number to give them an added reason to book?
Don’t neglect corporate
Corporate groups are typically the most profitable group bookings, so consider creating a series of benefits targeted at this group. Here are some ideas – free meeting rooms, breakfast or lunch, a co-working area in your lobby, or even free coffee while they work.
Creating unique offers for corporate groups can be very profitable in the long run because they tend to be repeat guests, especially when they have global headquarters in your area.
Diversify promotion channels
Channels may change when it comes to group bookings. You may consider finding ways to target local businesses with your social media or search engine marketing efforts. For groups, online channels will be as important as offline channels.
Consider partnering with a local event organizer, wedding planner, or travel agent so that you're front of mind when it comes time to recommend a hotel to a group.
Streamline your processes
Groups require more organization and human resources. That's where task automation is a game-changer, such as offering online check-in to avoid long lines at the front desk. You may even set up your kiosks for group bookings, allowing guests to cut their keys and check in as they arrive rather than all at once.
You'll want to set up various payment options throughout the facilities, making it easy to add room charges to the final bill. A modern PMS will help you better manage group room assignments and room inventory.
We've explored the importance of hotel group business and some convenient ways to target and manage this audience. With the right strategies, you can increase overall revenue while improving operational efficiency. You'll also save time and money as you unlock one of the most crucial keys to profitability: group bookings.
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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