Jump Start Your Group Business for 2013

As 2012 comes to an end, it is an opportune time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t work, and incorporate those initiatives and practices to ensure the foundation for financial success. A smart and honest assessment and evaluation coupled with timely implementation, will place owners and managers in a stronger position to withstand economic uncertainties or situations that occur over which they have no control.

Properties that relied on group business were at a particular disadvantage in 2012 due to world wide economic conditions and, in the US, a “wait and see” attitude, until after the Presidential election in November.

The application of social media, mobile marketing, and technology, in all of their forms, has, in many cases, diverted attention from direct sales and its value. Direct sales is typically the most controllable and quantifiable part of a marketing plan. When structured and implemented effectively, direct sales can achieve the best ROI, even when the cost can account for 50% of the entire marketing budget. Social media metrics are based on soft indicators such as the number of impressions or the number of “likes”, whereas, direct sales metrics are based on revenues, rates, and/or roomnights and are probably much more meaningful to a business.

Are there strategies that will efficiently and cost effectively impact group business even in an uncertain environment? This article will address some tips to penetrate this market regardless of market conditions to ensure that your property(s) is positioned for success for the new year.

Establish a Strategic Plan:

It is tempting to jump on every new social media platform with little, if any, understanding of the platform and who it actually reaches. More often than not, a lot of time and energy is spent with little return. But a well-founded plan is the key to staying true to the property’s position, thereby ensuring that every initiative is well thought out and is quantifiable. It is the foundation from which all actions stem. The position determines what services and amenities are offered; to which type of business the property caters; and pricing. With the positioning in place, it is important to determine the most realistic mix of business on any given day, for a year out, as the patterns and demand for business change daily based on season, day of the week, holidays, and local factors. That level of detail will provide the basis of the sales plan and it will provide the basis for which market segments and the volume the sales department solicits, at what rates, and will identify rate opportunities and need periods.

Depending on the property, it may be wise to segment group business into all the various sub-markets i.e. corporate, association, SMERF, leisure, weddings, etc. The key to success is the understanding of each segments’ demand periods and plan your budgets and goals accordingly. Otherwise, a “first come first served” approach to booking business will invariably displace revenues that cannot be offset with future bookings. Taking the time to quantify the business on a daily basis allows for well-founded goals for the sales team and for the individual sales manager and keeps the focus tight. Read More

Published In: http://www.hospitalitynet.org  By: Brenda Fields

About hospitalitytechnology

Technology is making greater and greater inroads into our lives. Right from when we wake up in the morning to when we head to sleep – we cannot imagine a life without the gadgets and gizmos that make life easy and interesting. When we travel and stay in hotels, our expectations are no different. We expect all the technological amenities we easily access at home if not more. The hospitality industry in increasingly accessing technology to wow guests, optimize their use of manpower, control hotel functions in an integrated manner and on the whole reduce costs while increasing efficiency. This blog is meant to track these technological changes happening in the hospitality sector. The growing move towards sophisticated hotel ERP, the growing use of cloud computing, the rapidly changing customer facing devices – smart phones and iPads, the increasing security concerns and more. Expect to find interesting articles, whitepapers, thoughts, and observations. Feel free to comment and even mail us content that you don’t mind posted here. Happy reading!
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