Looking for the ultimate tip to booking more group business this year?
Get inside the planner’s mind to find out what marketing they prefer, respond to, and act upon.
So, we decided to do just that.
To help hotel sales managers win at various phases of the sourcing process, we partnered with EproDirect to collect insights from more than 83,000 meeting planners to find out what promos and incentives peak their interest, what hotel marketing strategies actually influence them and what impacts their booking decisions.
After analyzing the data, we discovered some things you might expect along with some surprises. Use this data to shape your sales efforts, bring more value to your planner relationships and invest in the right hotel marketing strategies to drive group business.
Survey Participants Profile:
31% – 3rd Party/Independent
29% – Association
25% – Corporate
5% – Government
10% – Other
What to Improve in 2017?
Meeting planners want to see quicker response times from hotels, an improvement in the quality of facilities and stronger customer service in 2017. While last year, planners said hotels could improve by offering better onsite technology, more competitive packages, along with quicker response times and stronger customer service.
Double Down on Email Marketing
Despite all the attention given to social media today, 59% of the meeting planners surveyed said email marketing is still their preferred method of receiving information, special offers or updates. Trade shows/events trailed at 15% , while only 2% of planners surveyed preferred social media. One planner noted, “FAM tour opportunities and new hotels/venues and destinations are able to catch my eye.” While another planner said that he/she values emails that include unique ideas and articles.
Email still reigns as a meeting planner’s favorite method of contact. An overwhelming majority surveyed prefer to be solicited via email (87%), over phone calls (7%) and LinkedIn messages (2%).
Offer Relevant Venue Videos
Videos allow planners (especially part-time or non-traditional meeting planners, who carry out other responsibilities besides organizing events) to inspect a venue right from their office. When viewing videos, meeting planners consider facility views (72%) and self-guided virtual tours (69%) as being most helpful to their sourcing journey. Last year, planners also saw endorsements and ideas from meeting peers as most helpful (63%).
Provide the Right Tools on Your Website
Meeting planners rely on hotels to provide all the relevant sourcing tools directly on their website. The top five items that planners find the most valuable on your hotel’s meetings site include capacity charts, floor diagrams, room measurements, virtual/video venue tours and photos of actual events.
Enhance Your Presence on eRFP Sites
When submitting RFPs, 33% of meeting planners preferred using RFP portals such as Cvent and Elite Meetings. A second preferred method, contacting the hotel sales rep directly, was liked by 29% of the meeting planners we surveyed.
Make an even bigger effort to make your proposals remarkable and compelling when receiving an RFP from a site like Cvent, since it is likely the planner sent the RFP to several properties. Plus, make your hotel sales reps’ direct contact information (extra points for also including a headshot) easy to access on your website, instead of simply providing a generic 1-800 number that’s routed to a sales coordinator. Don’t make the meeting planner dig around to find out how to contact the proper person on your team.
Offer the Right Meeting Incentives and Promo Offers
While meeting incentives and promotional offers only moderately impact a meeting planner’s site selection, food and beverage discounts (53%) and complimentary meeting space promos (71%) are considered the most attractive types of promo offers. Last year, incentives and promo offers had more impact, with 57% of planner participants saying that these could largely influence their site decisions.
Mingle With the Right Social Channels
Out of all the social media platforms used regularly for planning meetings, 42% of planners use Facebook and 60% say they prefer LinkedIn. Provide value on both channels by sharing unique event-related ideas and resources, answering planner’s questions and participating in groups.
Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com