We all know how the saying goes – “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Hospitality professionals are intimately acquainted with this concept; hotels are, after all, in the business of delivering a certain ‘wow’ factor long before a guest even steps foot onto the property. A guests’ decision to book arrives in response to the carefully curated marketing efforts hotels employ to tell their brand story, effectively communicate their offering, and set their property apart from the competition. To this effect, when a prospective guest looks through a hotels’ website, listing on an OTA, or social media, they should be transfixed with the idea of experiencing the property for themselves. And in the post-pandemic landscape, a hotels’ content should not only appeal to a travelers’ pent-up wanderlust, but earn their trust and confidence at a time when health and safety remain top of mind.
When we look beyond transient guests to group bookings, meetings and events, the same rules apply. However, in this scenario, the hotel isn’t simply marketing to a guest – they’re marketing to a planner. Any successful, memorable event or meeting consists of many moving parts and, to this effect, planners often vet prospective hotels and venue spaces with a tall list of orders. The impression gleaned from a hotels’ initial response to these orders plays a critical role in whether or not that hotel wins that business. So, how exactly do hotels make a winning first impression?
The proposal. No, not the Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds movie – we mean the carefully curated, professionally designed proposal that demonstrates to planners that your hotel has the vision, and the processes, to bring their event or meeting to life.
Demonstrate Competency, Establish Trust
Each year, hospitality professionals dedicate much of their time to understanding the psychology of guests – specifically, hoteliers want to know what key factors influence a booking decision. Of course, there is no singular answer to this question, but in the post-pandemic landscape we identify a particularly important theme: guests want to feel safe. To this effect, earning the trust of prospective guests is critical, and safety-driven protocols and policies should be proactively highlighted to win over guests.
Understandably, event and meeting planners are especially concerned with the well-being of attendees and, with this in mind, they will have a number of questions relating to hotel protocols and hands-free technology. Not only is the proposal an opportunity to showcase unique ideas for a memorable event, but it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate competency at a time when planners and attendees are unwilling to compromise on hygiene practices and safety measures. Highlighting your hotels’ unique approach to ‘wowing’ guests – as well as protecting them – will also help to differentiate your property from competitors.
Do Less With More
2022 looks to be a promising year for hospitality – which is a refreshing outlook following the undeniable challenges presented by 2020 and 2021. As demand for travel returns to its former glory and hotel bookings increase in lockstep, we see the widespread return of events and group travel. This is great news; however, it’s essential to address the challenges that hoteliers will face as we embrace this long-awaited return to normal. Specifically, the hospitality industry currently faces a staffing shortage. In many cases, hotels struggle to attract new talent or bring back furloughed staff in the wake of the pandemic.
In a sense, this is not a new challenge – hospitality has, after all, developed a somewhat notorious reputation for high staff turnover. But in the current landscape, travelers are arriving with heightened service expectations. To continuously meet and exceed these expectations with lean operational support, hotels have to find ways to do more with less. Fortunately, digital platforms and self-service technology helps to offset the operational burdens placed on hotel staff, streamlining core processes to effectively ‘free up’ hoteliers to focus on what matters most: the guest experience.
In the realm of events, using a dedicated proposal platform offers critical support to hotel sales teams. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by an influx of RFPs and subsequent manual, tedious processes, sales teams can leverage a proposal platform to easily curate professionally designed, highly customizable, and mobile-compatible proposals. With this technology, planners benefit from a more comprehensive and detailed proposal that looks professional and offers interactive elements such as video and 3D tours, which arm them with the information they need to make a booking decision. Moreover, a proposal platform is a hub of accessible details, specifically hotel sales materials (catering menus, A/V pricing, COVID protocols, fact sheets, and more) that are easily shareable and securely hosted.
Timing is Everything
When it comes to winning the favor of event planners, timing is everything. Often, event or meeting business can be won or lost based on responsiveness; if you don’t present a professional proposal promptly, another property will. Planners are, after all, usually working within tight time constraints, and, to this effect, they require fast turn-around when vetting and selecting venues and hotels.
With this in mind, if your property is still relying on a manual proposal process, are you really setting your team up for success? The name of the game in 2022 (and beyond) is to automate and then automate some more. Of course, this doesn’t mean hoteliers should completely abandon traditional elements of hospitality for a digitally-driven experience, but streamlining tasks and touch-points, such as the event proposal, with the help of new-age technology directly benefits the guest experience.
To this effect, a hotel group sales proposal platform helps to accelerate a critical touch-point between hotels and planners, which, in turn, allows hotels to win more business and earn long-term loyalty. Automation is not a cost of doing business; instead, it’s the only way to meet evolving planner demands in a timely, effective, and ultimately scalable manner. Why work harder when you can work smarter?
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