Ways to attract more corporate accounts to your hotel
Ways to attract more corporate accounts to your hotel
Business travelers represent an important and lucrative sector of the market. According to the Global Business Travel Association, it is a $1.4 trillion industry which continues to experience a very healthy grow. If your hotel is not currently exploring this segment to its maximum potential, you are missing out on a profitable share of the pie. While the competition may be quite fierce in a crowded market, there are different strategies your hotel can implement to catch the corporate traveler’s attention in order to push them down the sales funnel. Keep on reading below for more information.
The appeal of the corporate travel segment is clear: there is no off-season, unlike with leisure travelers, and while on your premises, this type of guest tends to spend around 50 to 75% more on additional services like catering, dry cleaning, etc. There is also a new trend on the rise: “bleisure”, which mixes business with leisure by combining professional and private travel. According to Travel Weekly Consumer Trends, the percentage of bleisure travelers increased from 11 to 17% during 2016.
So, how can your independent boutique hotel capitalize on this clientele with high potential?
Identify what business travelers are looking for. Corporate travelers are interested in practical, direct information. They will not be persuaded by pretty pictures or flashy marketing materials. If your website and advertising materials do not specifically target the B2B guest, this is a good opportunity to fine-tune your marketing literature. Most corporate guests mention four essentials for their business stay: Wi-Fi, shuttle services to/from airport and taxi, access to a gym or fitness suite and dry-cleaning services, as most of them prefer to travel light. If your hotel offers these or any other amenities highly valued by business travelers, make sure they are featured prominently on your marketing materials, as well as on your various distribution channels. Other amenities coveted by the business travel segment are spas, massage treatments and yoga classes. Do not forget to include a page on your website for “business amenities”, such as well-equipped meeting rooms, desks, printers, etc.
Have flexible offers to attract more corporate clients. There are many variables corporate guests consider before making a booking with your hotel. They are less conscious of the price factor and more focused on efficiency, convenience and quality. Unlike leisure travelers who are sensitive to discounts, business travelers will pay more for complementary services or flexible terms. Start with a base rate and build your prices with different add-ons, such as the ability to cancel or modify a reservation or flexible check-in and check-out times. Business travelers are also usually pressed for time, therefore, real-time service is important to them. Acquire or upgrade to the best booking engine and property management system your hotel can afford to facilitate a smooth and quick booking process for this type of clientele.
Implement a loyalty program to reward your best clients. If your hotel does not have a loyalty program in place, now is your chance to seriously consider implementing one. If you already have one, make sure it is not too restrictive on how guests can gain or use their rewards, otherwise it will not be as appealing. It is important that you clearly communicate how corporate clients can benefit from such a program, as well as try to market your program to small-to-mid-size businesses that might not yet be tied to a similar program with another brand.
Invest in a mobile app to attract on-the-go business travelers. Corporate clients are always on the move, going from one meeting to the next. They lead busy lives with lots of distractions, so making the most of their time is a must. As a hotelier, you should consider investing in the development of a mobile app that guests can use to organize their trip, check their details, check-in/check-out and look for help while on the move. Also make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices and offers a seamless experience. Prominent directions and click-to-call phone numbers are easy practices to adopt to please your business audience.
Proudly display your client roster. Social validation is a powerful marketing technique, and one that B2B buyers are especially susceptible to. Businesses care a lot about who your other clients might be and it’s in your interest to provide this information! Get your clients’ permission to publish their company logo on your corporate marketing materials. This validation is critical to attract more corporate accounts to your hotel. It is also a great way to establish trust and start building the business relationship.
Partner with other businesses. It is a good idea to seek out local businesses in related industries to collaborate with, such as airlines, restaurants, and car rental and credit card companies. You can negotiate a mutually beneficial cross-promotional marketing campaign that allows you to get your hotel name out to their loyal client base. Also consider approaching companies in your local area. They might need accommodation and your proximity will be an advantage. Try to build a relationship with the entire company, not just a single businessperson. Depending on the estimated volume of their business, you can offer them a discounted rate, open a corporate account for the company or build a specialized loyalty program for them. Flexibility is key here; after a year, you can sit down to assess the profitability of this contract or reassess your business relationship.
We hope these suggestions will help your hotel land more corporate accounts in the coming months. The corporate travel segment has great potential and by following these recommendations your hotel will be ready to make the most of it.