June 23, 2014 • By Dave Spector
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicts business travel spending will hit $289.8 billion in 2014.The GBTA also reports that 91% of corporate travel managers claim their company uses a preferred hotel program. In other words, if you don’t have a business traveler program or are not marketing your current plan, you are missing out on big money. Before you deploy these valuable marketing tips to attract more corporate accounts, you may need to switch your mindset. Many of you spend most of your focus on marketing to the consumer. To attract the business traveler, you must think like a B2B marketer. Your business buyer is less likely to be swayed by pretty pictures of your hotel and more interested in practical, direct information.
As you go through these tips, think of the most straightforward ways to implement each task.
- Specify your target market: Corporate travel managers and booking agents need to know you are ready to accommodate their business travelers. Likewise, smaller to mid-size businesses may not know whether they qualify for your program or they may not see the need for your Business Traveler Plan. Get their attention by clearly stating who your plan can help and why?
- Market the benefits to the travel team: Your B2B marketing must convince a team of people that your hotel is right for the company. Even when the person staying in your hotel feels loyal to your brand, you may never see them again. Behind every business traveler, there is an accountant paying the bills, a corporate travel planner making arrangements and co-workers traveling to the same hotel. Update your website and other marketing collateral to explain how each member of the team benefits from your program.
- Partner and cross-promote with other businesses: Your hotel wants its chunk of the $289.8 billion and so do the rental car companies, airlines, area restaurants, and credit card companies. When you collaborate and partner with these companies, negotiate a cross-promotional marketing campaign that allows you to get your hotel name out to their loyal customers.
- Go mobile: Business travelers prioritize efficiency. Ask any business traveler how much of the city they’ve seen and they will tell you “not much.” They run from meeting to meeting relying on their smartphones to keep them organized. Show them you understand how they work by optimizing your mobile website experience. Prominent directions, click-to-call phone numbers, recommended “staff-picks” nearby are easy practices to adopt to please your business audience.
- Validation: Remember the old saying: “no one ever got fired for buying from IBM?” B2B buyers need to trust you before they will buy from you. They care a lot about who else buys from you. So tell them... ask your clients for their permission to use their company logo on your B2B/corporate marketing materials. This validation is critical to attracting more corporate accounts to your hotel. Are you gearing your hotel marketing toward getting your chunk of the $289.8 billion? If you are, show business travelers you’re thinking about them and share this post on social media.
b2b marketing, business to business marketing, Corporate Accounts, Global Business Travel Association