The season of holiday parties and corporate kick-off events is fast approaching. And the demand for booking venues and organizing parties is on the rise. However, the pandemic aftermath and other challenges have changed the landscape for holiday event sales.
Here, we will discuss the trends and challenges hotel sales teams are seeing this year. We will also show you how to leverage holiday party bookings to build crossover business in the new year.
Trends: Fluctuating Demand and Booking Windows
In our recent webinar, we surveyed attendees about the holiday party demand this year. Results are mixed – 50% of respondents said holiday party demand is less than last year, while 48% are seeing the same amount or more requests.
Moreover, groups tend to book their holiday events as little as one to three months ahead of their ideal booking dates. The earliest reported holiday reservation for 2023 was in May.
Data suggests group booking momentum will persist through 2023 and 2024. Though leisure and transient business may slow, companies continue investing in holiday and kick-off events to keep team morale high with in-person, culture-building events.
If you’re still filling occupancy for December and January, holiday parties and company kick-off events are a solid target. The excitement around these types of events can drive extra revenue and secure future bookings. But first, let’s discuss the challenges hoteliers are facing this year.
Challenges: Finding the Right Groups and Managing Low Event Budgets
33% of those surveyed found low client budgets to be the biggest challenge when booking corporate holiday events.
Other challenges include:
- Finding the right groups to target (33%)
- Losing business to competitors (19%)
- Getting room nights (10%)
- Balancing demand with need dates (7%)
These obstacles can make it difficult for hotel sales teams to book the right corporate holiday events. However, you can overcome them with the right data and search technology.
Solutions: Using Knowland and Tailoring to Groups
Sales teams can use Knowland to identify groups that fit your target chain scale, effectively voiding the challenges above. Knowland can help sellers find the right groups to target based on previous booking behaviors, and booking dates.
Additionally, customizing events to meet clients’ needs is always important for building a strong customer relationship. Venues that can provide tailored solutions to a group’s specific needs are more attractive than cookie-cutter proposals. Providing family-friendly activities and incentives for future events may also turn holiday party business into crossover business for 2024.
Building Crossover Business From Holiday Party Bookings
Don’t be afraid to inquire about future events with groups booking holiday events at your property. Below are creative sales ideas for hotels to start building crossover business.
Utilize Seasonal Flyers
Consider promoting your versatility in catering to social and corporate events on your business flyers. Include holiday party ideas from previous events to demonstrate your unique venue and creativity. Additionally, highlight local businesses, such as caterers or other vendors, that provide cost alternatives or deliver unique “surprise and delight.” Your hotel can post flyers on social media and your website, or use them as collateral when prospecting.
Develop Value-Adds and Incentives
Cross-selling future events during the holidays can incentivize potential customers to choose your venue. Offer gift cards, add-ons, or discounted room rates for clients who book another corporate event within the next six months. Think of these incentives as loyalty programs to build partnerships. Who knows, booking their holiday party could lead to kick-off meetings in 2024.
You may consider a multi-event promo package such as; a holiday party, executive planning meeting, and corporate kick-off through March 2024. Showcase your versatility and different meeting venues to accommodate different types of meetings, audiences, objectives, and budgets.
Showcase Activities for the Whole Family
To make your events more attractive to attendees, consider including family activities for those who may bring spouses or guests. This is an opportunity to build up that “bleisure” travel.
You could even provide babysitters or incorporate family-friendly elements, especially for those who work remotely. Another great option is family movie nights. Ensure every attendee is included by offering a variety of holiday movies.
Look to the Data for a Personal Touch
As a hotel sales leader, it is beneficial when groups are aware of other events you have hosted. Your ability to customize events to an account’s preferences can build long-term relationships and showcase your consistent standards. Therefore, consider what stands out to attendees and how you can enhance your events to make them more memorable and appealing.
Knowland’s SmartSearch and account booking analysis can provide the data you need. With information on past bookings, preferences, and more, you can effectively target holiday party business.
Securing seasonal business and organizing corporate events can be challenging, especially in the current landscape. However, despite the fluctuations in demand, there are ways to identify the groups most likely to book and when.
With the right solutions and end-of-year strategies, you can successfully drive event revenue at your venue.