As we begin to finally see light at the end of this long tunnel, here are five proactive considerations for your hotel’s M&E revenue recovery.
In a space of a year, the global meetings & events (M&E) industry has changed beyond recognition. As we look forward, the industry will be significantly different than the one we left behind in 2020.
One thing is certain about M&E business: it will come back. As an industry we have experience overcoming difficult demand conditions due to a combination of human nature’s strong desire and need to gather and of our ability as an industry to adapt quickly and efficiently. It will take time for certain types of large events to come back fully, but I’m confident we can and will rebuild. That’s why we should utilise this time—while we’re not overtaken with guest enquiries—as an opportunity to re-strategise.
In most markets, M&E space may have been closed, restrictions put in place on the size and type of gatherings, teams furloughed and new roles and responsibilities for some hotel staff all mean a very different working world. However, we need to be ready when clients are ready. So, how do we get started? Here are five areas of opportunity you can implement proactively to put your organisation in a stronger position when demand returns.
- Get creative on space usage. Consider new and different ways function space can be used. This may open up opportunities previously not considered, or even desired. Hotels looking to shift their focus to smaller groups should investigate if large spaces can be proactively split into sections to accommodate small meetings. Furthermore, hotels should get creative with their operations. Look to book business not only by day part but by the hour, and collaborate with sales, marketing, and distribution to promote new offerings.
- Remove booking barriers. Review the client journey to ensure the venue’s website makes it easy for meeting bookers to virtually tour and book meeting space. Guarantee a consistent experience for bookers by sharpening up practices for quoting and call handling. Additionally, a hotel which displays pricing for M&E packages and which features booking facilities online makes a booker’s life easier and helps position their property to secure more business.
- Align on metrics and practices. Reassess KPIs and standards of practice (SOP) to ensure everyone is aligned with M&E-focused strategies and goals. Smart data practices include tracking demand and capturing all enquiries, day by day, including turned-down and lost business. As Peter Drucker once famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
- Nurture client relationships. Continue to talk to clients and agents who have used or booked your venues. Thank them for their past business and probe for information on how they view the property and offerings in comparison with the competition. How do they predict their industry looking for the coming one to two years? What new strategies are they adopting? Even in the current conditions, these discussions can help strengthen customer relationships for new business.
- Get smart with your tech. Now is also an opportune time to explore technology offerings that will enhance the efficiency and profitability of your M&E operation in aid of your recovery efforts. M&E data has never been more accessible, those already utilising an M&E business-intelligence and strategy solution like IDeaS SmartSpace can extract revenue-enhancing insights within a handful of clicks. Technology empowers sales teams to analyse important trends like if something on the books was cancelled or turned down due to pandemic guidelines. Easily sift through historical data to identify repeat bookings and view forward data for tentative or prospect business to focus sales teams on where they can be proactive and prioritise their efforts.
Strong internal communication and delegation are essential to change management and bringing this new approach to light. M&E tactics and strategy go beyond the sales team. The wider organisation must buy in and be aligned. Don’t forget, some of your best sales leads can be generated from one of your strongest marketing assets—your hotel staff.