Are you ready? In-person meetings and events are rushing back into the welcoming embrace of hotels.
Knowland Meetings and Events data shows significant year-over-year growth. And two-thirds of meeting planners predict in-person events will hit pre-pandemic levels by 2025. The icing on the cake is that more than half of internal meetings in North America will be held at a hotel and include overnight accommodations.
Group business provides diversification and a stabilizing element to your hotel revenue – increasing overall profitability. In order to capture this business, however, you need the right guest engagement technology to meet the new expectations of business travelers and groups.
Provide a Custom Events Page
As group travel makes its comeback, companies are planning agendas that incorporate more team-building and off-site activities to immerse guests in local culture.
One way to help improve guest engagement is to make certain group members are fully aware of each day’s schedule well in advance. You can do this by providing an in-app customized events page that’s accessible only by attendees. Event planners can post agendas, key contact info, speaker profiles, transportation options, meal times and locations, and other event details all in one convenient place. And they can make any necessary updates in real time.
Guests will be fully prepared for the upcoming bike tour, glass-blowing class or wine tasting, helping events run more smoothly. A custom events page also helps minimize questions that can be a drain on your hotel staff’s time.
Make the Most of Messaging
Today’s meeting attendees expect more responsive communication than they have in the past. Using a text-based communication strategy is a great way to keep business travelers engaged throughout their stay. You can send push notifications to remind them of upcoming group activities. And connect with them in their native language using the messaging channel of their choice.
Moreover, instead of waiting for guests to come to you with an issue, you can deepen your relationship with individual group members by proactively reaching out to them. After check-in, you might send messages such as, “Did you forget any toiletries?” or “Is your room the way you like it?” Based on answers, you can improve guest satisfaction through immediate and personalized responses that improve their current stay. And as a bonus, you can record data on visitor preferences that can be used for marketing and future visits.
F&B is a Key Differentiator
According to research from IACC, hotel F&B is a key differentiator for group business site selection. You already know that among your leisure guests, there’s been an increase in the number of requests to accommodate food allergies and personal eating preferences. The same holds true for your group business.
The right platform lets you make nutrition information for event menus readily available.
It also helps ensure that you prepare the appropriate amount of vegan, vegetarian and/or gluten-free options. In addition, while group members are enjoying breaks and leisure time, a hotel app with food-ordering and location-based technology gives them the luxury of placing orders for delivery no matter where they’re at on property.
Give Groups a Personalized Experience
According to the Hilton 2023 Trends Report, 86 percent of travelers want hotels that recognize them and personalize their experience. They also want travel experiences to be easier. The right technology platform helps you deliver on these expectations for individual group members.
An advanced application allows you to greet each guest by name upon arrival, letting them know that they’re valued as an individual and not just a faceless member of a group. Furthermore, an app lets you provide mobile check-in/out and keyless entry, streamlining the process and making it more enjoyable.
By automating these tedious administrative tasks, guest-facing staff members are free to interact with guests on a deeper level. You build a greater rapport with VIPs, resulting in repeat business and more opportunities along your sales pipeline.
The Value of Guest Engagement
Engaging more effectively with group members creates lasting connections that maximize experiences and build brand loyalty. Employing the right technology is crucial for meeting business and group travelers’ needs. And it helps you optimize this lucrative revenue stream.
Need help implementing greater guest engagement for your group business?
 The Knowland Group. “Knowland Meetings and Events Data Shows 163.9 Percent Growth Over July 2021.” Knowland, 4 Aug. 2022 https://www.knowland.com/2022/08/knowland-meetings-and-events-data-shows-163-9-percent-growth-over-july-2021/.
 “2023 Global Meetings and Events Forecast.” Amexglobalbusinesstravel.Com, https://www.amexglobalbusinesstravel.com/content/uploads/2022/10/2023-Global-Meetings-and-Events-Forecast-opt.pdf.
 Hoffman, Claire. “How Hotels Are Bringing Back Group Business.” BizBash, 21 July 2022, https://www.bizbash.com/meetings-trade-shows/places/article/22340520/how-hotels-are-bringing-back-group-business. “2023 Global Meetings and Events Forecast.” Amexglobalbusinesstravel.Com, https://www.amexglobalbusinesstravel.com/content/uploads/2022/10/2023-Global-Meetings-and-Events-Forecast-opt.pdf. Skift.Com, https://skift.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/IACC-Meeting-Room-of-the-Future-Report-2019.pdf. “The 2023 Traveler: Emerging Trends That Are Innovating the Travel Experience.” Stories From Hilton, 14 Nov. 2022, https://stories.hilton.com/2023trends.