Hotels, Resorts and Holiday villas need two things - revenue and profit. However, both of them are not separate entities. Hoteliers can only gain profits if they earn sufficient revenue to cover the cost. Hence, businesses need to figure out various ways, tactics and strategies to maximize revenue and minimize expenses. One of the best ways to get additional revenue is to increase group bookings for hotels.
Group bookings are one of the aspects that hoteliers need to work on. Apart from individual and family bookings, group bookings are a major source of hotel revenue. However, hotels need to understand that they don’t come easily. There are various strategies to increase group bookings for hotels.
In this blog, we will discuss what group bookings are, their importance, and the various ways by which you can increase group bookings for hotels to gain that sweet chunk of revenue.
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Group Bookings - Introduction And Types
Group Bookings are those bookings that are taken in groups, in contrast to individual bookings. The major sources of this type of booking include direct bookings, travel agents and nowadays, even online bookings. Hotels always strive to increase group bookings to gain maximum revenue.
Before we dive further into the strategies to increase group bookings for hotels, we need to understand the two important types of group bookings - Personal group bookings and corporate group bookings.
Personal group bookings are those that are usually booked by a group of friends or a group of families. They can also include bookings for birthdays, anniversaries and other social events. Here, the bookings are mostly for vacation and recreation.
Another type of group booking is corporate bookings. Here, the bookings are made by businesses for their senior and mid-management and other employees. Separate packages are available for their employees, and the bill is sent to the company for settlement. Here. the corporate guests don’t have to spend anything from their own pocket.
Another type of corporate booking for hotels is when a company allots a certain amount of money to employees. The employee then has to pay from their own pocket if they extend that limit.
Advantages Of Increasing Group Bookings
An increase in group bookings has several advantages for the hotels. They are among the best sources of hotel revenue. Let us discuss some of the benefits of group bookings for hotels.
Group bookings require lesser effort compared to individual bookings overall. They come in a single packet. Hence, you need to concentrate on getting that one booking rather than approaching each guest individually.
Group bookings are also a great opportunity to upsell and cross-sell. For example, if there is an event happening in your hotel, you can always promote it to the group. You can also offer them special buffet deals if there is a group booking.
There are also lower chances of cancellation for group bookings. People think twice before cancelling a group trip. Corporate bookings also rarely get cancelled. Plus for bulk bookings, hotels can put stricter cancellation policies.
With corporate bookings, the various companies with which the hotel has tie-up can be a consistent source of hotel revenue. Corporations usually stick to hotels that they have partnered with because it is always better to choose a partner that will stay for the long term.
Ways To Increase Group Bookings For Hotels
Now that we have discussed the advantages, let us now understand the ways by which you can increase group bookings for hotels.
1. Target Audience - Know Them In And Out
Yes, we have emphasised this point again and again, in every other blog - but understand and know your target audience. If you want to increase group bookings, you need to understand your customer’s base needs, preferences, budget and more. Each segment has a unique guest persona.
You then need to have a deep look at your hotel and see whether or not it can accommodate the demand for group bookings. For example, if you are trying to get corporate bookings, you need to check whether or not you have the amenities for corporates - conference hall, projector, high-speed wifi etc.
2. Hotel Distribution - The Main Key
Even though online direct bookings and OTAs have replaced brick-and-mortar travel agents for individual bookings, for group and corporate bookings, the situation is a little different. Yes, listing on OTAs will provide you with opportunities to increase group bookings, and direct enquires can do the job as well.
However, offline travel agents are still relevant for group bookings. By partnering up with these brick-and-mortar businesses, you can not only save on high commissions but will also be able to get bookings on the recommendations of travel agents.
For corporate bookings, you can directly approach corporations as well. In fact, many corporates approach travel agents to get the best deal for their corporate bookings. This is one of the best reasons to use offline channels to increase group bookings.
3. Promote The Best Packages
Group bookings are all about offering the best packages for your guests. When people are ordering, or booking something in bulk, they usually accept cheaper rates, since they are shelling more overall cost. It is in benefit for hotels to give discounted rates to group bookings as well. They get bulk revenue and also incur lower costs and effort for group bookings.
One of the best ways to increase group bookings for hotels is to provide the best packages and deals. This strategy can be effective for corporate bookings as well. You need to also keep in mind that the RevPAR for group bookings do not change for a long period of time. Hence, you need to ensure that the rates do not compromise your revenue.
4. Revenue Management Services
As a hotelier, you should not forget about hotel revenue management. Revenue Management is the process of giving the right room, to the right guest, at the right price and at the right time. It makes use of data analytics and future demand projections to make decisions regarding pricing and room inventory management.
It also involves adjusting rates based on seasonality and revenue projections. Increasing group bookings is not sufficient enough. You need to also ensure that group bookings are increasing your hotel revenue, not compromising on it.
Many revenue management companies provide revenue management services for hotels. Bigfoot Hospitality is among the best companies in Mumbai for hotel marketing and revenue management.
5. Promote Corporate And Social Events
One of the best ways to increase group bookings for hotels is to promote corporate events and social events at your property. Corporates host various events in hotels such as conferences, launch parties, and more. Social events such as weddings and pre-wedding ceremonies are also a great way to gain hotel revenue.
6. Provide Something More To Group Bookings
You need to understand that since group bookers pay in bulk, they also expect various other activities and amenities. Here are some of them:
Those who do group bookings expect discounts and offers since they have paid massive amounts in bulk.
Group Travellers will also expect certain group activities since everyone who is travelling together wants to have fun as well.
They also look for pick-up and drop facilities since they find it more convenient to have a bus that takes them to the airport, railway station, and other sites.
With these strategies, you will be able to increase group bookings for hotels. Read our blogs to know more about the various concepts, trends and challenges of the hospitality industry.