Hotel meetings and events are a great way to boost revenue at your property and attract a constant stream of professionals and business travellers.
Having or creating a function space at your hotel allows you to cater for a whole range of different purposes and visitors, which will usually translate into extra bookings in the hotel itself. This means you’re receiving revenue from two sources often for a minimum of effort, depending on what the event planner needs from you.
Engaging with meetings, incentives, conferences, and events (MICE) is the perfect opportunity to build the reputation of your hotel and exhibit it to potentially valuable and long-term business. For example, a conference on risk management could attract the top fortune 500 companies to attend, exposing your hotel to these companies.
How to maximise business and revenue from hotel meetings
#1 Focus on diversity and building relationships
Meetings can be big or small and come in various forms. Make sure your hotel is representing itself as a function space that can cater for as many different events as possible.
For example, you might be able to hold large dinners, exhibitions, conferences, summits, or networking gatherings. If you’re a larger hotel you could even bid on the privilege to host particular delegations such as a sporting committee.
While the event is happening, place focus on trying to lock the planners in for other meetings they want to hold or regular events that take place quarterly or yearly. This way you know you’ll be guaranteed room sales and revenue and can better manage your business’s finance.
#2 Deliver a great experience
Obviously people are more likely to hold their event with you again if everything runs smoothly. Event planners have a lot to think about, aside from just choosing your facility to host their meeting and reserve rooms at. They have to plan attendees, seating, catering, key speakers, the agenda etc. Their life will be made much easier, and they’ll appreciate your property a lot more, if you can provide them a seamless and hassle-free booking experience.
With technology playing such a huge role in the online booking experience you need to make it easy for the event guests to reserve their rooms and make key arrangements around the meeting.
The less the planner has to get involved here the happier they’ll be so make sure your hotel has a great booking engine with seamless integration to your website.
One of the most important things you also need to remember is that planners are often running on a strict deadline. Nothing will annoy them more than delayed communication. It’s imperative that you respond to any enquiry as soon as possible and never more than 24 hours from the asking.
If you do everything right, you’ll increase your chances of referral and repeat business.
#3 Create a flexible operating procedure
The chances are a lot of events might only be for several hours during the day or night. If you have the staff and ability to turn around quickly you can sell your spaces more than once in a day, giving you at least twice the revenue.
Depending on what each event requires and who will be attending, as well as your setup, you could even lift your bottom line further by running multiple meetings at the same time.
#4 Put long-term plans in place
Meetings and events will make your revenue management more complicated so it’s important you have yield strategies ready that look into the future, as far as three years in advance. Always make sure you’re working with and making yourself visible to travel agents, as well as engaging regularly with the event departments of corporate businesses.
A holistic approach is needed to maintain the overall profit of your hotel. Once you have done enough reporting and analysis you should be able to accurately predict demand and the results you’ll get, allowing you to start making adjustments.
#5 Optimise your website content
The final tip is to highlight your destination as an appealing place to host events. Ensure you have a blog on your website and share insider knowledge, tips, trends etc to advertise your destination as a hub of activity that would be a cool place to hold meetings.
Planners want to take their attendees somewhere that will interest and excite them beyond the event. Clearly advertise your ability to cater to different groups and conferences and publish the testimonials you collect.
The voice of experience
As a former global account director for Millennium Hotels and director of sales and marketing for the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, SiteMinder’s Jason Lewis-Purcell advises hotels on how to boost revenue using MICE. Here, the vice-president of global distribution sales offers up his six most important tips:
1. Utilise all your hotel’s facilities to drive revenue – for example, working lunches
2. Use smaller spaces and rooms by renting them out for offsite or pre-event meetings
3. Respond, respond, respond. Always answer enquires within 24 hours, without fail
4. Don’t be afraid to resell rooms in the evening – with a quick turnaround you can do it
5. Agents are your friend, make sure you’re always working with them
6. Remember to always get a rebooking while the event is on – even it’s biennial.