For hotels and venues, it’s of course important to optimize marketing strategies to take advantage of the digital channels used by meeting planners. But that’s only the first step. As those marketing tactics deliver and the RFPs come in, venues need to learn how to prioritize group leads.
Culling through the sheer volume of RFPs today to determine the best leads is often a challenge, particularly considering the rise of online sourcing platforms during the past decade. These channels make it easy for planners to include more hotels or venues on each RFP.
“We get lots of RFPs, but the leads aren’t always qualified, and the conversion rate is less than 5%,” says Steve Enselein, senior vice president of events at Hyatt Hotels. “Very often the questions we’re asked for small meetings are things such as, ‘How close are you to the airport?’ And, ‘What transportation goes there?’ So it can take our hotel salespeople the same time to respond to an RFP for a meeting of 40 people as it does to one for a 400-person group.”
Scoring Group Leads Helps Hotels Allocate Resources
Now, however, cloud-based platforms have dashboards that show real-time analytics to examine and dissect leads by specific time periods, customer segments, competitor rates, response times, and peak night volume. That helps calculate the potential value of each piece of group business with more context and business insight.
These lead scoring tools also provide hoteliers with flexibility so they can tailor the criteria to their property and specific priorities. They can continually adjust those criteria and the weighting given to each, allowing them to adapt to changing business needs. For instance, a hotel that is behind pace for the year may want to give higher priority to RFPs for large, valuable events that require guest rooms, meeting space, catering, and audiovisual equipment. A hotel with a midyear lull, meanwhile, may focus more on dates to find events that will fit into the slow period.
By knowing which leads are most valuable or important at any given time, hotels can better allocate their sales team’s time and effort. They can also more efficiently respond to any RFP using templates and defaults that automatically fill in answers to common planner questions.
Learn More About Technology That Helps Optimize and Prioritize Group Leads
There are many new tools that hoteliers and destination organizations can employ to help them streamline their group business processes. Read more in “How Technology Is Disrupting the Multibillion Dollar Meetings Industry,” a report produced by Skift in partnership with Cvent.