We’re all getting a bit excited now that we’re seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. The travel and hospitality industry is starting to see an increase in business since the COVID-19 vaccination has become more available and restrictions are being lifted. As we continue to see bookings increase, we’re also seeing corporate businesses begin conversations about in-person business meetings and conferences.
The hotel industry has worked incredibly hard over the past year to update their technology to become safer, implementing keyless entry for rooms and contactless check-in. Some have even gone as far as limiting occupancy on floors with occupancy restrictions to allow guests to feel more comfortable as they navigate in and out of the hotel.
As leisure travel begins to rise again, some have been nervous about whether business travel will return since a lot of companies have adapted to remote offices. The numbers and information that has been received are that it will, indeed, return to business as normal over time. As some companies adapt to a remote workforce, the need for in-person meetings and team outings will be greater. Marriott’s CEO, Tony Capuano expressed in an interview that expects business will bounce back and that their customers are “anxious to get out there and be face to face with their business partners and customers.”
So, how can hotels prepare and get ready to attract more corporate business? We’ve outlined a few tips:
Build your local business
While travel is becoming increasingly more popular as folks are getting vaccinated and restrictions continue to lift, there’s still a bit of time before business travel gets back to where it was. So in the meantime, while you prepare for that, hoteliers should put the focus on your short-haul market to start.
In a recent article published by HospitalityNet, they shared data that STR released about the shrinking booking windows, “Over 60% of guests book their hotel within 7 days and 80% — within 14 days of arrival.” These travelers are not international, and they’re not even a short flight away. In most cases, these bookings are from people who are a “short-haul away.”
So, how do you focus on these customers? Focus on restructuring your social media and digital advertising, narrowing your target radius, and advertising to travelers that are more local to your hotel. Having a CRM such as Tripleseat for Hotels, that helps to track your leads and previous customers will certainly help with your targeting marketing efforts as well.
Short-haul customers may be your first target as you develop and expand your marketing strategy. The next would be your loyal customers. Do you have an email list or a developed loyalty program? Use the ideas in this post to create exclusive offerings with some added perks or bonus points for booking before a certain date. These contacts you already know are loyal to your brand, so why not do something special for them as the world begins to return to normal?
It’s been said that past guests and repeat business will rule the next 24 months for hotels, so if you don’t already have a group sales and catering software that includes a robust CRM, now is the time to invest. Having all your information in one place for easy booking (for both the sales manager and the guest) will make generating business more manageable, especially as hotels are opening back up with smaller teams.
Creating a strategy for repeat business, like offering X free nights for X nights over the course of a particular time frame is the most effective offering that we’re beginning to see with hotels. There is a lot of competition right now, so how can you be the most appealing without discounting like crazy? Offering enhancements and loyalty perks that are built over time.
In-room and business features
At least for right now, there’s no access to the business areas within hotels for people to use computers, print documents, take phone calls or meetings, and catch up on emails. With CDC safety guidelines still in place, business areas in hotels have been closed and alternative resources have been made available. More comfortable desks and office space have been made available in guest rooms.
In addition, some hotels are taking in-room fitness and entertainment to the next level to make corporate travel more comfortable while off-site entertainment restrictions are still in place. Whether it’s an in-room dining experience with your colleagues (or solo) or the various in-room fitness additions that some hotels are adapting to (Mirror installations, Peloton, and streaming fitness classes to name just a few), your stay will certainly be a more convenient one!
As always, having a solid, updated, and attractive online presence will help your business when it’s game time, and the buyer is ready to make their decision. Ensure that you have a budget for digital marketing as you continue through 2021 and work on rebuilding sales. The next step is creating the content that your visitors are looking for.
Who is your primary audience? Weddings? Business meetings? Leisure travel? Share as much information and content as you can about these specialties, through blogging, social media, digital marketing, and partnerships. Making sure that you’re out there and in front of your future guests’ eyes while they’re making their plans will be key. We talked about the nitty gritty of optimizing your website for group sales here.
As different states and cities ease their restrictions and travel become safer, hoteliers will be ready and prepared to welcome their corporate travelers back with open arms. Between the new contactless features with check-in and check-out, to keyless entry and enhanced in-room features, hotels have certainly taken this past year to enhance their technology to ensure the safety of their guests and employees.
Get the right technology in place to grow your revenue
Ensuring that you have the right technology in place as your business begins to ramp back up will be key to success. Especially as the hospitality industry rebuilds with smaller teams in place, having an all-in-one, cloud-based sales and catering software will be extremely helpful. Tripleseat not only offers that, but it has a built-in CRM and robust TARP reporting that will give you the information you’re looking for (from anywhere) with just a few clicks.
Schedule a demo to learn more about Tripleseat. Our event management features can help you increase and manage the group sales that are essential for filling hotel guest rooms, booking event function spaces, growing banquet revenues, and increasing your overall revenue.