We are beginning to see a turn as people begin to travel again, paving the way for an increase in groups looking to book in-person meetings. In fact, smaller group meetings have already begun to happen. Certain industries are coming back to conduct face-to-face meetings — as well as hybrid meetings, including healthcare, insurance, tax professional and financial industries. These groups are are just a few leading the way for hotel group sales recovery.
Remember, with work-from-home policies still in effect today, and potentially permanently for many businesses in the future, companies in these segments may not have re-opened their local offices. We are already seeing a movement to close down smaller offices in lieu of this model. This means there will be a strong need to secure a place to conduct in-person networking or informational meetings. Look to your local businesses first and have your sales team start with these segments.
Capturing existing, local demand will help create lasting relationships that can serve your hotel well for years to come.
Purposeful messaging for social media and marketing can generate interest. Keeping it current to your location’s restrictions (or lack of) goes a long way in gaining trust. This messaging should be changed often and regularly. Don’t forget to hit all channels, including your website, social media and marketing. Be sure to incorporate this information into your sales cycle as well and educate your sales team regularly so they can convey these changes to your customers.
Keep your eye on the data to better understand the needs in your market, then pivot your messaging to reflect the current environment. Doing so will show that you are nimble, and your staff is tuned in to these changes. It may take more effort than in the past, but it will result in opening doors for your sales team.
Developing the Right Sales Process
You may not like to “script” your staff but having a basic guideline, updated regularly, will help them share your messaging as it changes. It will also ensure your team comes across as more heartfelt than if they were merely winging it.
Successful sales professionals know that a key part of the process is developing a specific cadence for outreach. Start with a phone call and a voicemail when necessary. If they’ve left a voicemail, have them follow-up with an email that lets the customer know you are there for them. Don’t forget to include a call to action that details next steps. Then follow-up in three to four days if the contact hasn’t responded.
For the foreseeable future, bookings will likely occur quickly. This trend will mean having someone available during normal business hours to respond to inbound calls. Remember, meeting planners often call and book at the same time.
Critical to all your hard work will be ensuring that someone is available to answer the phone. Don’t miss an opportunity because there was no one available to check space and take a booking.
Proactive Outreach Will Win the Race
As market dynamics continue to shift, restrictions begin to lift, and vaccines continue to happen, the race for group meeting space will grow. Those who are proactive with their prospecting will lead the way to recovery. But remember, prospecting can be hard work. It requires a different sales mentality. It requires personnel who have the determination to hunt for the right leads and when they have found them, the tenacity to follow up.
Sales is about building relationships but remember that this takes time, and time is growing short. Sincerity, compassion and patience will be key in helping your team succeed in the kind of relationship building that will ensure profitability.
Provide your team with the tools they need to succeed. A solid combination of unique messaging, an understanding of current market segments and their booking patterns and the right tools to gain clarity into your region’s meeting data will result in success. At the end of the day, your efforts will be rewarded.
The race is on. Make sure your hotel has the right approaches to drive up its profitability in 2021!
Find out how Knowland can help your team streamline your prospecting process!