Welcome to the first article in a four-part series, Full-time Insights for the Part-time Planner. In this post, we’re going to talk about the most efficient ways to search and source hotels (hint: it doesn’t involve a Google search).
We’ll also highlight how to short-list your hotel options so that you know up front whether a property can fit your group and your budget.
The part-time planner
More than half of the meeting planners who use Groups360 sourcing and booking technology or seek out meeting advisory services aren’t full-time, professional planners. They are administrative professionals for whom planning meetings is just one aspect of their jobs — and for many, their least favorite part.
The smaller meetings that part-time planners often organize are at the forefront of the hotel’s group business recovery. Part-time planners feel a sense of satisfaction from a successful meeting, but they often view the logistical work and preparations to be a nuisance.
Part-time planners have also lamented the sales negotiation process. While negotiations may never be eliminated, you can enter into discussions more confidently with the right knowledge, insights and tools.
1. Short-list your hotel options.
By narrowing down your hotel options, you will have fewer phone calls to make, and your conversations with hotels will be more transparent and productive.
The first step is to search and source more strategically. Internet searches and OTAs aren’t effective for finding group-friendly hotels. Now is the time to ditch these outdated methods.
You can save time searching online or calling hotels by using the GroupSync Marketplace, where you’ll find an inventory of 200,000 properties in 225 countries and territories.
Targeted search results are customized and ranked according to your needs and preferences. Not only can you find destinations and venues that fit your group, but you’ll never see a paid placement or pop-up ad during your shopping experience.
The meeting space calculator includes features for social distancing to suit your meeting protocols and helps eliminate properties without adequate space to fit your group.
2. Gain insights for better negotiations.
One reason planners dread the sales negotiation process is because they don’t feel they have the knowledge and power to ensure they are getting the best deal possible.
GroupSync includes proprietary tools designed specifically to empower planners with the insights needed to understand how proposals line up to market trends.
One key tool is the GroupSync market rate estimate, which forecasts hotel rate ranges and occupancy patterns in certain major markets. Powered by Smith Travel Research (STR) and other industry data, this price predictor equips you with key insights for more transparent and effective group rate negotiations.
Occupancy trends can help you evaluate best times of year or days of the week to plan your meetings, or whether another destination might be a better fit for your budget and the timing of your meeting program.
For more, check out 10 Tips for More Strategic Venue Sourcing.
3. Skip the RFP and book online.
GroupSync also makes it possible for you to book group rooms, meeting space or both — as well as food and beverage and audio-visual equipment — in a single online purchase. Participating hotels include premium brands such as Hilton, IHG and Omni with many more to be announced in the coming weeks.
This development has solved a long-standing frustration across the entire spectrum of meeting and event planners. No more sending RFPs simply to check rates and availability. Even if you decide to send an RFP, you can eliminate ahead of time the hotels who lack availability on your event dates.
A perfect solution for small meetings, online group booking will save part-time planners from having to negotiate an intricate hotel contract at all.
Ready to try GroupSync for yourself? Get started today.
For more in the Full-time Insights for the Part-time Planner series, check out 5 Tips for Negotiating Rates and Concessions and 5 Tips to Avoid Room Block Attrition.