Ever heard the saying “strike while the iron is hot?” The old cliché couldn’t be truer when it comes to hotel group sales.

Booking more than a couple of rooms at once isn’t just a matter of luck – it’s a matter of precise sales timing. Hotel occupancy rates have already declined by more than 42 percent due to the coronavirus, which means expert timing and strategic marketing tactics are essential right now.

 To increase your hotel group sales, you need to think about when to ramp up your marketing – and when to hold back. Going full throttle all of the time wastes your resources, but choosing select months to increase group advertising is smart.

Key Events to Ramp Up Hotel Group Sales

Let’s talk about some great times to focus on boosting the number of group sales you score in the coming year. These are the periods when you’re most likely to score group bookings, as long as you’re advertising properly. 

Wedding Season

hotel group sales

Image Source: Unsplash

 Ah, wedding season – or should we say seasons? Church bells ring, brides pick out their gowns, and families book their group lodgings at their top hotel choices.

Effective hotel marketing is about recognizing when people need accommodations and what they’re looking for. That’s why, when wedding seasons roll around, your hotel needs to be ready to pounce and snag those large groups of needy families and friends.

Image Source: WeddingWire

 According to recent research from WeddingWire, a popular resource for brides and grooms-to-be, wedding numbers spike in late spring and fall. In other words, these months are when the iron heats up – and you need to be ready to strike with prime advertising.

Obviously, COVID-19 will have a dramatic impact on upcoming wedding seasons. You’ll need to keep in mind that this fall’s number of weddings may be lower than usual, but next spring and fall might experience a jump in popularity as canceled weddings are rescheduled for safer months.


Image Source: The Every Last Detail

 As these seasons approach, you’ll see wedding blogs, advice columns, and magazines talk about the importance of reserving hotel rooms in advance. Now’s your time to make a name for your hotel – try to get yourself listed in one of these features.

You can also create your own content talking about hotel group sales and discounts. Appeal to brides and grooms by offering special rates and openly talking about the benefits of reserving room blocks with your hotel.

 If possible, try to get your hotel to pop up on sites like Hotel Blocks for Weddings. People will often use resources like these to make group bookings rather than going directly to hotel websites. This allows them to better analyze their options and compare rates.

Although you can advertise wedding group rates all year long, it’s especially important to do so (often) as wedding season approaches. Take note of when most weddings occur in your area and how you can advertise around these seasons. 

RELATED: Find out how this property netted an ROI of $100K in 3 months >>

School Trips

 

Image Source: Unsplash

Similarly, there’s a time and place for school-targeted advertising. Educational groups will often reserve large blocks of hotel rooms for away games, conferences, field trips, and more.

 It’s pretty safe to say that no schools will be booking these trips on the first day of school or the last. They also likely won’t do so around the holidays, unless it’s a winter sporting trip of some sort.

 Most are looking to plan their trips for the fall and spring semesters. Snag educators’ attention by offering discounts or special rates for classes/groups that book together. If you can, advertise what makes your hotel appealing to groups of young people.

 You’ll also want to consider what your hotel is close to that would interest schools. For instance, are you within walking distance of an educational museum? Let prospects know. Do you offer quick and easy transportation to conferences or sporting centers? Advertise that.

You’ll also want to market to worried parents in preparation for school trips. A school is much more likely to book several rooms in your hotel if you’ve placated parents with information on your safety protocols, security, and child/teen supervision.

 Organizing a class or team trip is complicated. Make the process as easy as possible by letting interested educators know you’re ready for their students during the right times of the year.

Local Events

Lastly, we highly recommend taking a look at your city’s upcoming calendar.

Remember: people don’t travel in groups to come and see your hotel. They travel for some other reason, and you can play into that incentive by knowing what special events are looming on the horizon.

What conventions, sporting events, or other big activities are coming up? Take a look and add those dates to your marketing calendar.

The early bird catches the worm – if you can market your group booking rates for those big events, you’ll stand a much better chance of filling vacant rooms.

 Big events to watch out for:

          Annual or semi-annual conferences

          Big sporting events

          Fairs

          Band tours

          Local holidays

          Seasonal festivities

For example, Disney’s Coronado Springs recently offered a discounted APNA rate to individual and block guest reservations made at least 22 days prior to the 24th Annual APNA Conference. All attendees needed to do was submit their conference registration information to make a reservation.

Consider what kind of discounts you can offer for each event and how you can snag the attention of visiting groups. Make sure to launch any marketing campaigns far enough in advance for people to make plans, but still close enough to the event to feel relevant.

Image Source: Finances Online

 When surveyed on Finances Online, most travelers reported that hotel location was the number one factor that influenced their accommodation decision. So, be open about your hotel’s prime location. If it isn’t prime, or even good, make up for it by discussing how people can access big events from your hotel.

Unfortunately, event duration and room block sizes are decreasing, which means you have a small window for snagging people’s blocked room reservations. Your advertising skills (and timing) for big events need to be more on point than ever.

 If possible, you may want to consider offering timely discounts for those who book their accommodations in advance for big events. Some hotels even offer promo codes for certain conference or event attendees who are in the area.

 In Conclusion

Anyone involved in sales knows that your prospect needs, coupled with your solution and the right timing, equals a successful sale.

As the travel industry handles COVID-19, and eventually attempts to recover, your marketing team needs to focus on providing excellent block booking options at the right times. Pour your advertising efforts into calculated strategies that reel in groups at the perfect moment.

For any help regarding hotel group sales, marketing, or website maintenance, please reach out to our team at LURE. We’re always happy to get you moving in the right direction!