As online booking technology becomes more complex and consumers’ preferences continue to evolve and change, hotel marketing has also had to adapt to remain effective. Unlike consumers who are driven by “the need for speed,” those responsible for organizing corporate and group travel bookings are much more willing to put in the time and effort to find the best price possible. For these valuable bookers, a targeted marketing strategy combined with the best possible rates can create a significant boost in group and corporate bookings, and revenue!
So, what are the best ways to market your property to group and corporate travel bookers?
1. Media, media, media
Your property should be using both media relations pitching your property’s news to media as a suggested topic for them to write about and content marketing writing expert articles to educate potential customers about your area of expertise to boost your visibility and credibility with corporate and group bookers. Find out more about media relations and content marketing – and how to implement your own campaigns – here.
The best media audiences to pitch for both media relations and content marketing are publications that cover the hospitality industry, MICE travel and/or business travel, as they are read by corporate and group travel bookers. By sharing information about what makes your property noteworthy for corporate travellers via media relations and educating corporate bookers on how to find and source better accommodation options, you will increase your property’s visibility and increase the chance that they will trust your property as a location for their upcoming event.
2. Update your messaging
When marketing your property to group and corporate bookers, use your messaging to let potential guests know about the business-related amenities that your property offers, including business centers, free Wi-Fi, conference rooms, in-house catering services, proximity to key business parks or areas within your destination, airport transfers, etc.
Finally, develop specific packages that are designed to attract your ideal corporate and group customers to make your property stand out from the competition. Think about what they will need to best accomplish their business goals and be open to developing packages, or, if you are able, allow them to create their own package in partnership with you, to ensure that they are getting exactly what they need from their stay.
3. Boost your word-of-mouth advertising
With all audiences, word-of-mouth is still one of the most effective tactics for closing sales; after all, even the most compelling advertisement can’t compete with an informed recommendation from a trusted friend, colleague or acquaintance. No matter what industry or type of corporate/group event, word-of-mouth advertising will build trust with bookers and make it more likely that they choose your property over the competition. For those responsible for booking corporate or group travel, trusted sources from which to obtain valuable recommendations on where to stay are often other businesses and/or business associations. As such, it’s important that your property build and maintain strong relationships with your past corporate clients, the associations that are most active within your destination and with your target corporate audiences. For example, the local chamber of commerce will often be a good informational resource for those planning large corporate events so by developing relationships with them, you can often boost your property’s corporate referrals.
4. Build relationships at industry events and conferences
MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) trade shows and events are excellent opportunities for hotels to meet face-to-face and build relationships with the people who are responsible for booking corporate travel. If you have the budget, exhibiting will be a great way to showcase your property and business-related amenities, as well as the local attractions and business services offered in your destination.
Even if you don’t have the budget to afford to exhibit, it is worthwhile for a representative of your property to attend the conference and the related networking events, as you will still be able to build strong, profitable relationships with potential corporate bookers, even without a booth.
5. Develop relationships using LinkedIn
Like industry events, LinkedIn is a great way to meet and network with corporate bookers – all without leaving your property. By posting your property’s news/information, sharing valuable tips and tricks for improving MICE events and offering tips about your destination, you will be establishing your property as an expert resource for potential customers; as such, your followers are more likely to re-visit your profile to read/follow your posts, giving you the perfect opportunity to share your special offers or packages with corporate or group bookers to encourage them to book your property for their upcoming event.
Every property has amenities that would be useful to groups and corporate travelers; by updating your marketing strategy using the above tips, you can boost your property’s visibility with this valuable audience. You have nothing to lose and everything – including increased occupancy, ADR and RevPAR – to gain!
By Jennifer Nagy, President of JLNPR Inc.