This year has been a frustrating one for the hospitality industry, but, as we near 2021, we’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, and some new and creative ways that hotels can begin to book corporate business again.
A majority of that comes from how quickly you can get back to those who are actually inquiring, what offers you have, and how creatively you market yourself. We’ve collected a few more examples of how you can prepare to build your corporate business back in 2021.
Flexibility and creativity
The year 2020 was all about pivoting and creativity in the hospitality industry. How can you keep your doors open and your staff employed when there are so many restrictions and uncertainties? There has been an overwhelming amount of comradery between hotels, resorts, restaurants, and more building partnerships to encourage safe visits for customers. We’ve consolidated a great list of hotel trends for 2021 that will help hotels build sales, but we’re looking further into how hotels can build corporate sales when there’s limited corporate business.
For smaller boutique hotels that can’t offer too much in terms of out of the box offerings, you’ll find some who are transforming their lobby bars into cocktails to go — creating cocktail service for customers to order ahead of time, pick up, and take home to enjoy. This was a huge hit for a small inn located in Pennsylvania that was able to supply alcohol to the community after its liquor stores were closed.
Honesty and communication
Being honest and transparent with your customers has always been an important part of hospitality and growth, but in a COVID-19 world, it’s more important than ever. Corporate employees have said they will continue to travel, but with budgets cut, it may not be their top tier hotels anymore. But more importantly than that, they’re more likely to stay with hotels that are communicating about their safety and sanitation guidelines.
With that being said, we’ve seen several hotel companies accelerate their technology plans to offer contactless services — mainly through their mobile apps — for such transactions as check-in, checkout, virtual payment, room keys, room service orders, and other service requests. You’ll find there are a variety of new technology trends that are evolving quickly across the hospitality industry to allow for more ease and comfort when traveling during these unprecedented times.
The key to success after adopting these new technologies is shouting it from the rooftops so your past, current, and future customers and guests know they’re heading somewhere that has their best interests at heart. So don’t hesitate to share these updates in your email marketing, in your social media posts, and on your website.
A solid marketing plan
Now that you have creative offers and flexibility for your future customers, and you’ve enhanced your hotels to have new technologies and safety protocols that provide a safe environment, you’re ready to advertise and market your hotel to drive more business and start to close that gap.
First things first, you need to know who you’re targeting. It’s safe to say that most corporate travel will continue to be limited until the vaccine has been distributed and travel restrictions have been lifted. So starting local and offering staycations and safe working offices/rooms is a good start. A lot of hotels took the aid they received and used it to help enhance their hotel spaces to be more appealing for travelers, by enhancing their high-speed internet, installing smart TVs, or adding fitness equipment to their rooms to offer mind and body health.
Now that you’ve adjusted your space and your offers to be more driven to local travelers, it’s time to market to your local demographics. Think about small families or people who are living in cities (small spaces) looking for an escape. Or look at millennials who you know love to travel but can’t get on a plane — offer them a deal to staycation with you.
Having an integrated CRM (customer relationship management) tool definitely helps with this marketing. Start by using your CRM to sort your contacts by location or booking type so you can target them to come back with your marketing emails. Then, take it a step further and geo-target neighborhoods with social media advertising since there’s nothing else to do but scroll through Instagram. Continue to think creatively about how you can get in front of future customers’ eyes, and let them know that your space is ready, clean, and waiting for them.
A fast response to inquiries
As hospitality professionals, we know the importance of responding to inquiries as quickly as possible. Typically, as an event planner in the beginning stages of planning, you’ll send out multiple inquiries and your decision is based upon timely response, budget, and overall relationship with the potential venue/company.
It’s smart to have automated, canned responses set up as a confirmation that their inquiry was received and that they should hear back soon. Or take it a step further by completely automating the booking process.
Tripleseat is full of features that will help save you time, including setting email templates and documents up in advance to automate the response time, making it easier to respond to requests for proposals from your phone.
With the hospitality events industry in a bit of limbo during 2020, a lot of sales teams consolidated and got a bit smaller. In order to ensure you’re still staying on top of your inquiries, it’s ideal to ensure you have the technology to automatically send confirmation emails and templates that help you to draft proposals in a matter of seconds.
Tripleseat was built by hospitality professionals for hospitality professionals to create a system that helps to build sales with fewer people, in less time. The sooner you integrate cloud-based sales and catering software, the quicker your business can begin building sales for a more successful 2021 and beyond.
More resources for hotels
We want to help hospitality businesses have a successful reopening so we’ve taken the lessons we’ve learned from customers and the industry, and created a new Events Industry Handbook. This handbook, The Guide to Reopening Your Hotel, includes hotel-focused tips and sections on safety, technology, contracts, social and corporate events and trends, group sale packages, catering, offers, marketing, and more.
We hope this advice allows your hotel to put everything you need in place for reopening, adapt to our new normal, and continue to grow your revenue during this unprecedented time. Download the guide below.