Sarah Sales Manager sits down at her desk one morning, opens her email inbox and grins. A juicy request for proposal (RFP) is waiting for her. It’s for a five-day conference that’s going to fill up 200 of the 300-guestroom hotel. The conference requires meeting space large enough to accommodate the entire group, plus lots of smaller meeting rooms for breakout sessions. Even better, the RFP is for stay dates more than a year ahead, and so far, there’s nothing of any significance on the books. Sounds like a winning scenario, right?
Sarah is itching to respond right away because she doesn’t want this big fish to get away. And she’s frustrated that Rachel Revenue Manager is bogging down the entire process. Rachel is concerned the lower negotiated rate of the group will displace higher-value transient customers who may be looking to secure rooms later in the booking window. She needs to work through a time-intensive analysis before she can determine whether this group is going to be adding a plus or minus to the hotel balance sheet.
What Often Happens
This is a classic cause of interdepartmental friction that occurs almost daily in hotels – with the goals of revenue management, sales, and catering often at contradictory purposes. And it often leads to less-than-desirable results. Are there enough meeting rooms and guestrooms available on the requested dates? What are the true transient displacement costs? Will offering alternative event dates result in greater financial benefit for the hotel? The group RFP journey is full of twists and turns, requiring in-depth data analytics that can cost the hotel time and money.
What Should Happen
Ideally, rather than viewing the situation from the perspective of one hotel department over another, the goal should be to accept the business that delivers the greatest overall economic benefit to your hotel, and this occurs at the intersection of high revenue and high need. Hotel group business is evolving faster today than at the other time in the history of hospitality. And with an ever-increasing number of RFPs to sort through, all the elements needed to make the best decision can be very difficult to assess.
How Lead Scoring Makes it Happen
The sophisticated process of group “lead scoring” provides a powerful automated solution that helps you crunch the data – historical and current – in order to prioritize group RFPs and identify the most profitable leads in your funnel. You can then quickly close the deals on the most lucrative blend of business for your hotel.
In addition, RM technology with lead-scoring capability gives you a holistic view of group demand so your sales, catering, and revenue management teams are in complete alignment. It also allows you to maximize conversions, optimize your pricing, and reduce your RFP response time. This last benefit significantly improves the likelihood of your hotel winning the business, since first responders typically have the advantage.
The more you know, the better. And advanced RM systems that include lead scoring let you efficiently analyze information to develop data-driven, customized assessments to evaluate the impact of each piece of group business on total revenue. Hotel companies that leverage data and science-based solutions for group RM decisions are poised to enjoy huge advantages over those who don’t.