7 Ways to Revitalize Generic Group Business Marketing

by | Feb 9, 2017 | For Hoteliers

Are your once-successful group business marketing efforts not producing as many leads and interest?

It’s not surprising. Too often, hotels settle for recycling their group sales and marketing assets year after year instead of giving them the deep overhaul they deserve.

Don’t fall into the tempting trap of merely updating your current sales kit with a handful of new photos or sprinkles of new copy.

Here’s what we suggest to hold a corporate event planner’s attention.

Revamp your destination marketing pages

Reconsider how you’re selling and marketing your biggest asset — your destination. You know that event planners also need to market the destination to entice attendees to register for the event, so take charge of that marketing content for them.

Don’t be lazy by simply listing nearby attractions with links to their websites. Redesign your destination page with an interactive map to show how far things are from your hotel. Include descriptions and photos for each attraction and give recommended trip highlights.

Branch out from your most obvious city attractions — go a step further and let the event planner know of local secrets their attendees won’t find anywhere else. Today’s meeting attendee wants to experience the destination like a local, just as a leisure guest would.

Even better, ask your salespeople to recommend a “don’t miss” attraction and post that to your site, along with credit to that salesperson and their headshot. This is a smart way for your sales team to passively offer value.

Ditch the bland empty ballroom photos

Create photo galleries for each of your hotel’s venues, then fill with photos of past events, not staged images of empty rooms. The benefits of this tactic are twofold:

  1. You show off the flexibility of your hotel’s event space and your internal event team’s creativity.
  1. You use the power of social proof by showcasing how other event planners have trusted your property for their important meetings.

You can also give event planners a different vantage point with an interactive tour that allows them to virtually walk the space.

Give your sales team online face time

Event planners aren’t just investing and booking a place to hold their meetings. They’re investing in the people they’ll be working with. In the meetings and events page on your hotel website, showcase each member of your group sales team (similar to DMO sites) along with a headshot and their direct contact info. This is one of the simplest and fastest ways to establish a relationship and create trust with clients even before they reach out.

Offer a fresh amenity

Meeting planners want what’s new and novel. Don’t worry — there’s no need for a major conference center or hotel renovation to give them something new. That fresh feel can come in the form of an added amenity that no other property in your comp set has.

Or you can create new promos or rename and rebrand your space entirely.

Arm your sales team with powerful insight …

It’s all about enabling sales: Give your sales team the tools and assets they need to better forge trusted relationships and help event planners. For example, don’t assume your salespeople have the time to get to know their market on a deep level. Give them market research and buyer insights that offer a deep dive into the event planner’s motivations and buying behaviors.

… and targeted content

The second part of enabling salespeople is to leverage those market insights to create content personalized for the buyer. For instance, create blog posts or email content that speaks directly to meeting attendees in the freezing Northeast or to government meeting planners. The key is to move away from generic content that event planners are likely to ignore since it isn’t relevant to them.

Create videos — both staged and spontaneous

Static, templated sales kits are becoming an antique. Today’s event planners digest information in various ways. By far, video is one of the most effective ways to harness attention online.

Create venue and group business videos personalized to the markets your sales team manages. This means using the same footage but different scripts to address your hotel’s various target customers.

Shoot video of group activities in the area. Even on-the-fly video using your smartphone can add impact and authority to mundane marketing and sales activities, such as email correspondence.