Looking Beyond 2019 - Predictions and Strategies to Win Group Business in 2020
Knowland, the leader in Group data and analytics for hotels, convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), conference centers and other meeting venues, announced their 2020 Group predictions and review of 2019 trends in a recent webcast, 2020 Predictions - Top Trends for Group Business.
Led by Kristi White, VP of Product Management, the webcast covered regional and market performance, as Knowland offered a glimpse into its vault of proprietary Group data to the hospitality industry. The webcast highlighted the top 10 markets (by volume) for the Americas and international regions. The markets with the biggest year-over-year increases were also highlighted.
In the Americas, the Miami-Hialeah, FL market holds the highest year-over-year event growth, up 10.5% and internationally, Dubai realized a 52.3% year-over-year increase in events. Year-to-date Corporate and Association segments exhibited a 15% and 11% decrease respectively. The Social segment is carrying the day with a 20% increase in the Americas and a 32% increase internationally. White highlighted the fact that Social growing in both the Americas and internationally is a positive indicator the industry growth still has legs. "Social and SMERF (Social, Military, Education, Religious, and Fraternal) spending is typically discretionary, and losses in those segments would be more concerning because it is a sign that non-corporate is pulling back on spending. It could be the canary in the coal mine," added White.
Real-time polling of attendees suggests most remain cautiously optimistic about growth prospects for Group in 2020, with 76% expecting either modest growth or a slight hiccup in their markets. "Whether next year is merely a slow-down or a full downturn remains to be seen. But what we do know is hotels' only defense will be in Group. Smart hotels are not panicking. They are "Grouping-up." This means they are evaluating their source of Group business to optimize their profitability and share. They are training and investing in resources for their Hunter salespeople to execute on a Proactive Group Sales Strategy and shoring up their repeat business," said White.
Going into 2020, Knowland expects a modest deceleration of growth, downward pressure on rates, and struggles in individual markets. The key way to prepare for a slowdown is a paradigm shift for many hotels who have been complacently feeding at the trough of Cvent inbound leads for the last decade to the detriment of higher profits. Rather than pay third-party intermediary commissions, Knowland recommends engaging directly with planners in a Proactive Group Sales Strategy and getting ahead of RFPs. To successfully execute this strategy requires access to historical group booking patterns, which Knowland provides in their flagship solution, that includes the cutting edge search technology, SmartSearch. Working directly with planners has the added benefit of being exposed to their entire book of business beyond an RFP and creating optimized repeat business.
To learn more about Knowland's 2020 predictions, watch the on-demand webcast here: 2020 Predictions - Top Trends for Group Business.