A simple and often overlooked way to increase business

Are you working to increase the group and/or convention business at your hotel?

Not every group limits their hotel usage to large convention hotels and in fact, many larger groups look to offer a range of property types, amenities and pricing options.  Smaller groups often elect to choose different types of properties as they work to build or maintain attendance.

Put yourself in the shoes of a meeting planner who has (in all probability) not ever been to your hotel before unless you are the major hotel connected to a large convention center.  These meeting professionals are just as busy as hoteliers are and they have their share of challenges in budgets, programs, marketing campaigns and people issues.

They can look at emails, brochures and photographs on your web site, but if they cannot make a personal site inspection, they must trust either their own professional instincts and/or other people’s experience to make the decision on whether or not to consider your hotel.

Meeting planners and travel agents have learned one way to compare the proverbial “apple to apple” when seeking sites for their clients’ meetings and conventions is to have a hotel RFP completed and submitted by properties being considered.  The RFP (Request for Proposal) is well known to larger hotels, but the concept and information included in these documents can have a positive impact on hotels of all sizes.

Even if your property does not regularly receive these RFPs, the fact that you have in essence what is an organized and concise “fact sheet” will add a certain degree of professionalism to any presentations you make.  A potential client considering your hotel will recognize that you understand both sides of the booking agreement and will likely have a positive impression, including when they obtain this information by email or from your web site.

Consider the following elements of a detailed RFP as a guide as you develop your own fact sheet:

  1. General information (One would be surprised at how many people omit some of this important data.)
  • (a) Full property name,  physical address (not PO Box), local and toll free phone numbers, direct numbers to sales if appropriate, web address and email contacts
  • (b) Brand or chain affiliation, if appropriate. This could also include a membership or group referral affiliation.
  • (c) Distance to convention center and/or downtown and/or airport and/or attractions, etc (the important centers in your location)
  • (d) Total number of rooms and suites in your hotel

Contacts

  • (a)  Principal meetings or group contact at hotel
  • (b)  Director of Sales
  • (c)  Reservations Manager (or front office manager in smaller hotels)
  • (d)  General Manager
  • (e)  Brand, chain, referral service or management company (if appropriate)

General Rate Information (This advises the potential client of the value you place on their business and some details of your revenue management practices, i.e. your high and low seasons)  List all rates in both single and double rates if appropriate

  • (a) Standard (rack) rates
  • (b) Standard corporate rates
  • (c) Validity date policy (early check-in/late check-out rooms)
  • (d) Commissions paid, tax obligations
  • (e) Any value-added – is breakfast included? (if not, identify the cost of breakfast options)

Safety and Security (Do not let this be a negative factor. The fact that you detail your awareness highlights your overall commitment to quality and the concern you have for the safety and well-being of your guest and staff).                Be specific.

  • (a) Number of floors
  • (b) Year hotel was built
  • (c) Details on most recent major renovations or upgrades
  • (d) Security provisions in guest rooms (in room safes, special services, women’s only floors, your special touches, etc)
  • (e) Smoke alarms, in guest and public areas
  • (f)   Sprinklers in guest and public areas
  • (g) Details on handicap accessibility in all areas
  • (h) Details on automatic links to fire and/or police departments
  • (i)    Overviews on hotel safety and security training provided to staff
  • (j)   Overview on security in entire facility
  • (k) Nearest medical centers or hospitals

Hotel Services and Facilities (If your hotel has limited in house services, it is essential to identify services and facilities adjacent to or near your hotel)

  • (a) Restaurant(s) – this should include name, type of food offerings (ethnic, seafood/steak, casual dining, etc)
  • (b) Room service and general hours
  • (c) Parking facilities and charges
  • (d) Van/shuttle service, destinations, hours and charges
  • (e) Entertainment in hotel and in guest rooms (pool, exercise room, in room movies, etc.
  • (f)   Nearby facilities – golf, tennis, massage, shopping
  • (g) Unique features of your hotel – historical significance, adjacent to museum, cultural center, etc.

Consistent use of this kind of fact sheet can bring competent sales managers more focus and business, because they share specifically more about their hotel and its strengths than many of their competitors.

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:Focus on Solid Communication

Be as detailed as possible when communicating with all parties.  In this age of instant information, there is no second chance for that first impression.

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my 2010 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings will focus on a wide variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my “HOW TO” articles and HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS. My segments Lessons from the Field, Hotel Common Sense and Principles for Success will be featured at appropriate times in the year as well.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.

www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.   Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.


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