sign post saying same old way or something new reflecting how hotels need to review their group sales strategies and possibly pivot in light of changing markets and demands

Our industry is moving toward a state of normalcy following the “big disruption.”

NB: This is an article from Knowland

While there may be reports of a potential recession, 2023 will be the year of group meetings and events and business travel will continue to increase. While the hospitality and travel industry is still dealing with issues, such as labor shortages, it is resilient.

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Recovery efforts are still in full force, particularly as it relates to restoring lost revenue. In light of that, it is critical to be vigilant in group sales strategies. These include diversification of your base, pivoting your sales plans and providing sales teams with the proper technology and data insights they need to be successful.

Diversifying Your Base

Every hotel has a specific mix of business. It likely shifts seasonally, but there is a distinct mix that defines the business of a hotel. This mix likely changed as a result of the pandemic—now the question is whether or not that change is relatively temporary or permanent.

Chances are it’s mostly permanent. Certain segments—such as training/education, pharmaceutical/biotechnology, technology, and financial/banking—may never fully recover. If your hotel is or was heavily dependent on these segments (both from a group and a transient perspective), finding other sources of business is imperative.

This will hold true should the economy take a downturn. It will be more important than ever to know who is booking your hotel, your competitive set, your market and even alternate destinations your market competes against.

Business intelligence tools that help you understand what’s happening now and how that has shifted over time are paramount to developing a new business base and staying ahead of the curve. Developing relationships with organizations as they begin to change behavior is vastly more productive than trying to unseat a preferred vendor after buying patterns are established. Additionally, balancing your mix so no single industry segment dominates your business means you can more easily recover if the next downturn heavily impacts a particular segment.

Creating a Plan to Pivot

If you use your business intelligence tools effectively, you will see the trends before they fully develop. This means you will have the ability to adapt your business plan nimbly. However, this won’t happen if you don’t have a plan in place for how to pivot. Or, more importantly, recognize when you need to pivot.

To do this effectively, you need a team of individuals at your hotel who work together to read the tea leaves. At a micro level, the team needs to understand what accounts are booking your hotel from a group and business travel perspective. This should not be limited solely to those accounts you know. This should encompass all accounts—small, medium and large.

For each of these accounts, the team needs to know what the production looked like in the past and how it is today. Additionally, the team needs to understand the same metrics at a macro level (within your comp set and your market).

Read rest of the article at Knowland