Maximizing Group Revenues and Profits

By Greg Pesik President and CEO, Passkey International | November 17, 2008

We know why hoteliers look to bring groups to their venue. That answer is simple: Revenue. As I have said in past articles, group events represent a $30 billion+ market opportunity for hotels, and over 30% of a hotel's total revenue on average. Many hotels rely on group events for over 50% of their revenues. In order to tap into this opportunity hotels are scrambling to line up their calendar of events for the year ahead.

One question I get from many customers, colleagues and friends in the business is the following: "Once we have booked a healthy amount of group events, are there any additional ways to identify and generate more revenue from each event so we can take our group revenue up to the next level?"

These folks are always glad when I answer that question with a firm "Yes." What I tell each of them is that today hotels are focused on attracting events and then making sure they are all a success. This is essential. What they need to do now is identify potential new sources for creating additional revenue from each individual event. The question is how, and some of the answers are below.

Increase Pick Up

When a contract gets signed, the planner is tasked with forecasting how many rooms they will need to accommodate guests, which is based largely on an estimated percentage of anticipated bookings to contracted block (pick-up). Generally this "pick-up estimate" is based on the history of past comparable events, type of event, time of year and other factors. What both sides, the hotel and the planner, strive for with all events is for the contracted room block to reach, or what I often tell them is doable, to exceed 100 percent pick-up. A failure to meet this number often results in the planner having to pay costly attrition fees, and the hotel being stuck with empty rooms that could otherwise have been filled.

Leveraging collaborative group technologies that provide an ability to track pick-up in real time and that send email alerts at pre-set pick-up milestones enables hotels and planners to maximize pick-up and make sure it reaches or exceeds the contracted block. Another way to maximize pick-up is to tie the hotel reservation site to the event registration site which ultimately creates a seamless, one-stop scenario for the guest. In doing so, the event attendees are much more likely to book their hotel rooms in the block contracted by the planner versus shopping around for hotel rooms via other channels, and in doing so, jeopardizing the fulfillment of the contracted block. This is indeed a proven practice- the best way to increase pick up is by making the process as streamlined and simple for the guest as possible.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.