As we enter a new year, hoteliers are setting their sights on what’s to come. Still faced with limited staff, high guest expectations, and numerous demands, hoteliers are additionally tasked with identifying growth strategies for 2024.
The good news is that not only does global demand for leisure travel look promising, but so does group business. Amadeus Demand360+ data as of November 3, 2023, shows more than 28 million group room nights have been booked for Q1 2024 already, a 10% increase over the same time this year.
As events return and travel volumes normalize post-pandemic, now is the time for hoteliers to make the most of planning their sales strategies to capture as much business as possible. Here are 3 key steps to take today that will set you up for success in the year ahead.
Put data at the core of your strategy
Having access to comprehensive business intelligence data will automatically take guesswork out of your decision making process. Partner with a technology provider that offers both historical and forward-looking insights so you can better understand what’s coming into your market, and how your performance stacks up against your competitive set. Further, data will help you identify booking patterns to see when your property will be busy or slow so you can plan marketing and sales activities accordingly.
Build messaging and offers that appeal to different audiences
Savvy hoteliers know that guests have different expectations and needs based on what type of trip they are on – whether its leisure, business, or ‘blended’ (a mix of both business and leisure). This means sales should not have a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Instead, hoteliers should plan sales strategies that connect with each individual audience.
- Leisure travelers are prioritizing more personalized, flexible, and sustainable journeys supported by modern digital tools according to new Amadeus research. In response, hoteliers should offer tailored promotions on their website, and use countdown timers or banner ads to create a sense of urgency to book. Even highlighting “free cancellation” or other flexible policies can work to enhance the hotel’s sales and revenue strategies. Don’t forget to market the same offers on third party channels you know leisure travelers use, such as social media, metasearch, online travel agencies, and more to maximize bookings.
- To capture more business travel, review your existing corporate partnerships – which businesses do you have negotiated room rates with? Are you able to offer more attractive rates or include additional amenities to expand the deal? On the travel agency side, who are your top customers? Are there ways to deepen your partnership with these travel sellers and offer them greater value for their bookings? In addition to protecting existing corporate business, using a business intelligence tool like Amadeus’ Agency360+ will help you identify other companies booking into your market and competitive set, so you can strategically target them to shift market share and develop new partnerships.
- And then there are the travelers who want it all. A global move towards remote and hybrid work has blurred the lines between traveler types, contributing to the rise of blended travel. Highlighted as a Skift ‘Megatrend’ this year, the blended travel market hit $497.5 billion in 2022, with 2 in 5 corporate travelers requesting to add personal activities to their trips. As a hotelier this is a valuable upsell opportunity if you can be creative in how you advertise your property to appeal to both the business and leisure side of the guest experience. Solo digital nomads may appreciate staying in a guest suite with a kitchen or being offered a guided city tour. Conference attendees may prioritize strong Wi-Fi and state of the art audio/visual equipment during the day, while looking forward to an afterhours spa visit. Sharing information on your property’s assets like the pool, golf course, gym, chef-driven restaurants, and more will only entice these guests to extend their stay.
Win RFP season – starting now
We’re in a critical time of year for hotels. Request for Proposals (RFP) season is when corporate relationships are fostered, and your property or hotel chain can shine.
Technology can help you craft compelling proposals that will help you stand out and secure valuable group and negotiated rate business for 2024. Consider offering flexible cancellation policies, highlight your location, room types, and meeting spaces, as well as amenities such as fitness and business centers as a major selling point. Timely responses to inquiries and RFPs, coupled with personalized proposals that address the specific needs and preferences of your clients will demonstrate your commitment to their success.
Once business is on the books, sales & catering software is essential for streamlining event management to track pipeline, demand, and help prospect new clients when needed.
Lastly, don’t just focus on large scale events. According to the Amadeus Knowland Hospitality Group & Business Performance Index, 41% of Q3 events in the US were for 75 people or less. Small meetings play a pivotal role in achieving hotel revenue targets, so it’s smart to sell small to medium sized hotel meeting spaces directly online without the need for sales staff.
These strategies will ensure you ring in 2024 on a positive note. With your sales plan in place, you’ll want to make sure you carve out time throughout the year to monitor your performance and analyze insights to further refine and optimize. Technology and data are critical components to boosting hotel performance.
For much more on understanding market insights, mastering negotiations, event proposals, hotel distribution and so much more, download our Hotel Revenue & Sales Success Toolkit. It’s packed with helpful checklists and tips to make 2024 your most profitable year yet.