What is Helping Hotels Win Group Meetings Business, and How Can You?

Trends & Tips from One of the World's Top Destinations for Association Meetings

By Laura d'Elsa Regional Director USA / Canada, German Convention Bureau | September 30, 2012

The world's hotels play a key role in supporting the success of the group meetings industry. Without enough meeting and networking space in town and sufficient rooms for people to rest after a long day of business, large and small meetings would be unable to operate effectively.

So what's ahead for 2013 and beyond for hotels that want to begin or expand their group meetings business? How can you, as an hotelier, increase your value proposition?

As Germany is the #1 associations group meeting destination in Europe and #2 globally, I'd like to offer some trends we've seen here that are applicable for hotels of all shapes and sizes…all around the world.

Collaboration and Connection are "In"

As an hotelier, you're in a great position to act as a connector and collaborator with other players in the group meetings and event supply chain. These can include other venues and hotels, convention bureaus, associations, professional educators, consultants, marketing companies, AV managers, transportation providers and event agencies, and more.

Establishing collaboration opportunities and shared connections across these industry members and organizations can help extend your reach, and attract and retain group meetings clients. It's also a great way to ensure you are bringing maximum value and support to your group meeting clients as you turn into a "one-stop-show" and help them tap into all that your hotel and city has to offer.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.