Group and event sales are a significant revenue driver for hotels of all sizes. However, attracting and closing this profitable business can be challenging, especially for smaller properties with limited marketing budgets. This article explores creative, low-cost tactics hotels can leverage to boost group bookings and drive incremental revenues.
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Low Budget Hotel Group Sales Strategies
While large convention hotels have sizable teams and budgets dedicated to group sales, independent and boutique hotels can still successfully compete for a share of the group pie. By getting creative and maximising existing resources, smaller properties can implement targeted group sales strategies that deliver accurate results without breaking the bank.
Focus on Small Meetings and Events
Instead of chasing after the big fish, boutique hotels will find better success targeting regional corporate meetings, local weddings, family reunions, Rotary club events, school banquets, and association gatherings. These “little groups” of 15-60 people are a great match in size, pricing flexibility, intimate spaces, and personalised service. Develop packages tailored to joint small group needs to simplify booking. Build relationships with local companies, event planners, schools, and community organisations to position your property as the go-to boutique option.
Leverage Existing Marketing Channels
Your current marketing, social media, email campaigns, and website can all be optimised at minimal added cost to promote on-site venue spaces and group capabilities. Ensure property websites showcase meeting rooms, highlight unique areas for weddings and events, provide capacity charts, list technical capabilities, and promote special packages. Target local organisations in social and email campaigns. Equip staff to convert wedding inquiries into bookings.
Highlight Unique Selling Points
Play up any unique attributes like desirable downtown locations, local celebrity chefs, eco-friendly features, historic architecture, rooftop venues, or boutique styling that set you apart from cookie-cutter chains. Showcase your distinctive spaces and experiences when pitching to planners seeking something fresh and creative. Themed packages around your unique offerings make you more memorable.
Partner with Local Vendors
Building cooperative partnerships with area vendors like caterers, A/V suppliers, florists, decorators, bands, officiants, and transportation provides reciprocal referrals to grow your small group business. Brainstorm creative packages that bundle services with key partners. Co-promote and cross-sell each other. Vendor partnerships also help you offer comprehensive event services despite limited in-house capabilities.
Group sales strategies that focus on Customer Service
High-touch, personalised service for small groups can be even more important than rates. Expertise in handling details, flexibility, problem-solving skills, and dedicated coordination before, during, and after events win group RFPs away from larger competitors. Hire sales and event staff with the right service attitudes. Empower them to deliver custom experiences exceeding expectations.
Offer Flexible Solutions
Create spaces and menus to accommodate groups of all sizes and budgets. Develop half-day, weekday, and off-season packages at attractive rates to stimulate new business. Floating walls, mobile furnishings, and efficient room layouts allow quick reconfiguration based on needs. Custom bundle options give planners flexibility within a simplified pricing structure.
Build Loyalty Through Relationships
Cultivating repeat bookings from local groups should be the cornerstone of your strategy. Nurture relationships with planners before, during and after events to become the easy, go-to choice for their next event. Personal connections and delivering exceptional experiences drive referrals and win business away from chains.
Promote Small Group Advantages
Tout the unique benefits of “boutique meetings” – exclusivity, customisable spaces, personalised service, less corporate feel – to set expectations with planners. Offering experiences that feel special and intimate helps justify pricing.
Train and Empower Staff
Educate all staff, not just sales, on how to sell spaces, upsell groups, and deliver exceptional service. The front desk, wait staff, kitchen, housekeeping, and bell staff all impact perceptions. Empower them to identify and engage with potential planners to uncover small meeting opportunities.
With creativity and hustle, boutique hotels can drive profitable group sales despite budget constraints. Smaller properties can carve out a niche in this vital market segment by playing to your unique strengths, forging local partnerships, focusing on customer relationships, and maximising existing internal resources.
Let Emersion Wellness help build a tailored small-group sales strategy for your hotel that targets the right opportunities and delivers accurate results without expanding your budget.
Contact us today to discuss maximising your group revenues.
I'm Nathan Baws, a nutrition nerd, exercise and weight loss expert, and an unwavering advocate for good health. As the founder of Emersion Wellness, I'm passionate about crafting Seamless Weight Loss Programs to supercharge hotel revenue and transform lives. We've pioneered the World's First Plug & Play Weight Loss Programs for top hotels and resorts, sparking a wellness revolution. Beyond my professional journey, you'll often find me hiking, swimming, and riding the waves, embracing every moment in nature. Join me on this exhilarating journey towards diet, health and wellness.