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How Can Hotels Optimize the Online Booking Process for Meetings and Events?
By Max Starkov
Monday, 20th May 2024
 

Recently RefFine asked its panel of hospitality industry experts the question 'How can hotels optimize the online booking process for Meetings and Events? And how can they best market it?'.

Here is my take:

Planning a corporate event is a very complex process with a lot of moving parts. You can simplify the meetings/event planner job by:

  • Having a great website content about your meetings and events. Make it as descriptive as possible: Floor plans, different configurations, audiovisual equipment, WiFi, etc. A corporate meeting hotel - client of ours - had 100 pages of their Meetings and Events Section of their site.
  • RFP capability on the website with immediate information response capabilities.
  • Event space and group accommodations availability calendar tied to the property PMS and its Sales and Catering Module
  • Meeting/Event Page creation capabilities powered by the website CMS (Content Management System) to enable customized event pages with embedded booking engine with the negotiated group rates. A client of ours had over 5,000 such event pages, enabling meeting planners to send an event page to the participants with the agenda, event info, booking capabilities.
  • For smaller corporate groups hoteliers should enable a group booking engine like GroupSync Engage on their property website. GroupSync by Groups360 was created so that hotels could offer direct booking of guest rooms and hotel meeting spaces, and is used by many independents, smaller, midsize and major brands like Accor, IHG, Hilton and Marriott.

Marketing of your meetings and events spaces and product is very straightforward:

  • As mentioned, create a robust Meetings and Events section on the property website and optimize it for SEO
  • Launch search marketing campaigns around your meetings product. Meeting planners are searching for a number of keywords related to meetings, Ex. Conference hotel downtown Houston, etc.
  • Launch B2B content marketing initiatives around your meetings product to engage corporate group planners: LinkedIn posts and case studies, white papers, conference speakership’s and panel participations, award announcements, sweepstakes, etc.
  • Join the Cvent marketing initiatives.

Similar to the tentacles of an octopus, your B2B marketing spreads the word out about the hotel and its meetings product and value proposition, and plays an important role in engaging and enticing meetings and event planners to choose your hotel.

Max Starkov
Hospitality & Online Travel Tech Consultant & Strategist

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