Before getting into those steps and strategies, you should know a few interesting facts and figures about the hospitality industry. Research shows that about 44% of online customers in the hospitality industry are willing to spend extra money in return of convenience. However, hotels are able to convert only 2 – 3 % of online visits into bookings and about 66% of queries from groups remain unanswered.
These figures will reconfirm your knowledge about the ineffective channelling of the pool of prospective group bookings in hotels. Overburdened sales agents and unanswered Request for Proposals lead to the loss or ignorance of group conversions.
The common structure of hotel websites primarily caters to individual bookings. Group planners do not get tools for getting real-time rates or quick bookings. Many hotel business owners do not know that the hotel’s website is an effective and economical place to begin reforms that encourage group conversions for hotel businesses. These seven tried and tested steps primarily targeted towards your hotel’s website that will help you improve group conversions.
- Make drastic changes to the website of your hotel by including details about the hotel property that group planners might need to know. Include about 20 % blog posts about topics that group planners might read.
- Content is the king of every website. Including targeted pages for each kind of prospective groups such as wedding, teams, performers and reunions will make group planners feel that your property is better suited to cater to their needs. Customised CTAs at the end of every landing page will prevent bounces.
- Personalisation is essential even after email marketing and eRFPs. Therefore, follow all RFPs with a personalised call and even a handwritten note that makes your USP stand out. This will differentiate you from competitors and make your RFP stand out.
- Group planners are burdened with more work than individual bookers are. Therefore, it is best to provide them with as much non-customised information as possible. Give planners all information that they might need to assess your hotel. Group conversions are bound to be higher if your hotel business is the first one to get all boxes checked in a group planner’s requirement list.
- Behavioral targeting is another smart move to get group conversions. Analyse previous booking trends and demographics to zero down periods that received maximum group bookings. Devote those periods to target the group conversion niche on your hotel website.
- Typically, many hotels allow up to a maximum of nine or ten bookings. When group planners do not find an option to make a booking, the bounce rate will increase. Provision of direct group bookings may not be feasible. However, including an option of 10+ bookings that redirects to the group booking process page can work wonders for group conversions
- It is the age of speed and your group responses should not be any different. Respond to all online leads as quickly as possible. Being the first one to make connections and engage with prospective bookers will double the chances of group conversions.
The seemingly daunting task of improving group conversions for your hotel business will become a lot simpler, even if you follow a few of these seven steps. A positive restructuring of the website of your hotel and of the marketing campaign will pay off for your hospitality business. These general steps suit to the needs of most hotels. There might also be the area or town specific steps, such as group-targeted traditional advertising during a festival in the city that only a hotel manager will best know about. What is stopping you then? Use a customised plan with a mix of general and specific steps and see the ‘lookers to bookers’ conversions for group bookings in your hotel.