variety of different foods served through hotel catering

Top 20 Hotel Catering Sales Strategies to Boost Event Revenues

November 9, 2023
Nathan Baws

This side of the business can represent over 25% of hotel food and beverage revenues with event venues and catering services. However, increasing competition for corporate events, weddings, social functions, and meetings requires proactive sales strategies to attract planners and maximize bookings. 

This article presents 20 proven tactics and best practices hotel catering sales teams should embrace to grow their event order volumes and revenues substantially.

What Are Top Hotel Catering Sales Strategies To Up Your Business Game?

Here are the top hotel catering sales strategies you should implement to make big bucks in your business. 

1. Visit Local Venues to Network with Planners  

Build relationships with planners at nearby convention centres, stadiums, theatres, and other venues by joining associations and attending networking events. Get your catering packages in front of them.

2. Form Relationships with Destination Management Firms

Partner with local DMCs who can recommend you as the caterer for meetings and events they handle. Offer commissions for referrals. Cross-promote each other's services.

3. Focus on High-Value Market Segments

Analyze historical data to identify the most profitable segments like corporate events, weddings, non-profit galas, etc. Tailor sales efforts and packages towards those high-value verticals.

4. Develop a Target Account Prospect List  

Research local companies, venues, planners, and past clients with the potential for significant, frequent catering orders. Create targeted outreach campaigns.

5. Schedule Site Visits for Prospects

Don’t simply give venue specs and menus. Bring potential clients onsite to experience the spaces and cuisine. Site visits seal the deal.

 6. Attend Community Networking Events

Chamber mixers, business expos, charity events, and other local functions provide exposure to many potential planners and decision-makers.

7. Craft Sales Collateral and Presentations  

Create polished presentations, brochures, videos, and sales materials visually showcase your spaces, menus, services, and catering capabilities.

8. Highlight Big Names You’ve Hosted  

Collect testimonials and event recap photos featuring recognizable companies, brands, and personalities you’ve hosted successfully.

hotel chef serving a meal to the guest

9. Train Sales Reps on Revenue Goals 

Train reps on revenue targets, optimizing per-head sales, closing techniques, competitive strategies, and how to convey your unique value.

10. Offer Site Visit Incentives

Provide venue tours, complimentary hors d'oeuvres, and drink tastings to incentivize planners to visit in person.

11. Develop Relationships with Local Vendors

Partner with area vendors that interact with planners like florists, rental supplies, AV providers, transportation, etc., to recommend your catering services. 

12. Get Listed on Catering Sales Platforms

Maximize exposure by listing your hotel and catering services on platforms like Cvent and other lead-generation channels.

13. Advertise in Trade Publications  

Run paid ads in regional catering, meetings, and hospitality trade publications targeting planners and industry pros.

14. Promote Customizability 

Tout your expertise in customized menus, creatively themed events, unique venue spaces, and special touches to win business.

15. Provide Online Pricing and Proposals

Planners can browse menus, generate quotes, and request proposals online to capture more leads.

Track catering and event decor trends like activations, food displays, speciality menus, etc. and showcase your expertise.

17. Use SEO and Social Media  

Optimize website content and social media presence for event-related keywords to drive traffic from planners. 

18. Host Educational Events 

Hold mixology classes, wine tastings, cooking demos, trend presentations, and other learning events as a value-added outreach tool.

19. Offer Targeted Promotions  

Create packages around high-demand catering services like receptions, corporate lunches, or holiday parties for deal seekers. 

20. Track and Analyze Performance Metrics

Set sales goals and monitor event bookings, lead sources, revenue metrics, planner profiles, and other intelligence to refine efforts.

In A Nutshell 

Implementing creative, data-driven catering sales strategies allows hotel event venues to tap into new demand channels, generate buzz, and ultimately drive higher bookings and revenues. Developing partnerships, executing targeted promotions, training sales staff, and leveraging technology all help maximize event orders and profitability. With the right combination of innovation and execution, hotels can expand their catering business and improve financial returns.

To learn more about increasing catering revenues, contact the experts at Emersion Wellness. Our team of hospitality veterans provides hotel event sales managers with fresh perspectives on sales initiatives, demand generation, staff training, and technology solutions tailored to your unique business goals. Leverage our expertise to take your hotel's catering success to the next level.

See Also: How to Increase Beverage Sales in Hotels?

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