Kristi White Talks Trends and Meeting Planner Data with Amadeus’ Unpacking Travel Podcast Hosts
Integration partners Knowland and Amadeus got together to share industry insights and discuss trends they are seeing in the industry. Kristi White, Knowland’s VP of Product joined the Unpacking Travel hosts to discuss Knowland’s Meeting Planner survey information, conducted in December, 2020.
Below are three key takeaways from the podcast. Listen in here to learn more as the group discusses key 2021 meeting planner trends and how to shift share to your hotel.
- While meetings ARE happening, there is still some trepidation about safety and a fear of travelling. Unpacking Travel (UT) hosts noted that in the survey 75 percent of respondents indicated that meetings were happening and being booked, however the data also revealed that the demand for meetings is not what is preventing travel, rather almost 60 percent revealed a fear of travelling. Shockingly, 22 percent indicated that they are not comfortable with meeting venues.They group agreed that it is clear that hotels still need to get the message out to meeting planners about the steps their hotel has taken to ensure safety and that they are adhering to federal, state and local guidelines. It was noted that hotels can’t depend on their brands to convey those safety measures out to their customers, rather it will depend on that 1:1 communication with meeting planners to ensure they are informed about the precautions the hotel has taken.
- Today’s booking window is short – Answer the phone to secure new group business. Kristi noted that in conversations with meeting planners, one in particular noted that in the process of trying to book a couple of meetings she to leave some 20 voicemails. Clearly no one was available to take her call but when she finally booked her meetings (at a hotel that was not her first choice) it was with the hotel that picked up the phone.Many sales personnel are also working the front desk so calls may be going directly to voicemail and may not be returned for 3-4 days. Today, short booking window means you will need to set aside dedicated hours for answering sales calls and more importantly for prospecting. Not only will you lose that all-important revenue, you are also missing out on the chance to convey the steps your hotel has taken to ensure group attendee safety.
- Survivability will depend on incremental business, small meetings and events will continue to happen. Pent up demand will be key in the 2nd half of 2021. Use social media to promote your hotel’s assets and be creative to capture that demand. Leniency in cancellation policies will still be key for the rest of the year.Hotels will need to get into the habit of looking at accounts holistically and not transactionally. Relationships and creative outreach will be key to determining the winners and the losers. It will also be important to ensure you don’t lose the personality and service levels at the property levels.
At the end of the day, some defining moments of the coming year will be establishing trust with the meeting planner, developing achievable milestones to profitability and investing in your best asset – the creative salesperson.
They all agreed things will get better, but it is important also to remember to keep the humanity in hospitality.