Revolutionize Your Ancillary Group Booking Strategies to Prevent Waste

by / Tuesday, 22 December 2015 / Published in Blog, Hotel Budget, Hotel Financing
group meetings

“A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish.”

In the hospitality industry, wishes won’t get us very far. We work with goals, and goals require a plan. We spent a while detailing all the ways you can increase revenue through ancillary income for meetings and events in a previous blog. Selling ancillary items is essential to get you closer to, or even surpass, your revenue goals – but it’s only the first step. The second extremely important step, is to utilize enhanced planning and preparation methods to ensure there is little to no waste.

Waste is the antagonist to your bottomline. What we mean by waste is miscommunication, or no communication, regarding how many rooms, how much food, how many nights, so on and so forth, your group bookings require.

group meetingsFor example, the booking agent has requested 40 rooms for three nights for an upcoming event. As the date draws close, you discover that only 35 of the rooms are going to be used, and that 10 of the rooms are only needed for two nights. What ends up happening is revenue waste due to lack of planning and coordination.

Luckily, there are quite a few methods you can put into place to avoid such scenarios. Naturally, your control only extends to your hotel and it’s team members. You will never have complete control over the booking agents or contacts putting together the events. Therefore, do everything within your power to improve efficiency and planning, which will hopefully help diminish the waste that can accumulate due to outside sources.

Group Booking Methods to Help Prevent Waste

group meetings– Consider offering incentives to event planners and booking agents. In your RFP’s include an incentive, such as a discount, a free banquet meal, etc., to entice the agent to have every detail set in stone ASAP. Once the papers are signed and the deal is made, any waste henceforth is on them.

– Execute a strategy that automatically notifies the proper departments as details are updated. Perhaps the agent did respond with the exact details of the banquet meals needed, but the culinary team was never informed. This is an in-house miscommunication that can be rectified, and the bottomline with benefit from it.

– Technology will help you win. How streamlined is your group bookings reservation system? Are there options for shoulder dates stay opportunities? Are the options for meals included? How specific and detailed is your booking system? If it’s lacking any of these measures, determine if your budget will allow you to update it ASAP.

– If cancellations occur last minute on a small to large scale, what is your plan of action? Do you have packages, and strategies for advertising them, set up to entice either leisure travelers or last minute groups to book those unused rooms at a competitive rate? If not, an incredible amount of revenue waste will occur.

As 2016 inches closer by the day, take note of any strategies and best practices that are lacking. Likely much of your hotel’s revenue loss is coming from outdated or poor planning methods. Meet all of your budget goals for 2016 through well-executed strategies that enable an increased amount of revenue retention. Planning is the protagonist of your bottom line, and if you need help getting started on improving in this area, contact Young Yoon of HMG Hospitality today. HMG Hospitality is a hotel management company whose expertise lies in aiding hotels in keeping, and increasing, revenue to hit and exceed all goals. Yoon can be reached at 858.673.1534.

Donna LewisMs. Lewis is responsible for the development and implementation of the sales, marketing and revenue enhancement strategies for HMG’s diverse portfolio. Donna brings more than 20 years of experience in developing and leading sales teams with Hilton, Westin, Ritz-Carlton and Omni. Donna earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration from the Cal Poly Pomona and attended Law School at Western State School of Law in Fullerton. She holds several industry designations and is active in the hospitality community. Donna’s extensive hospitality career, complemented by her leadership skills and dedication to impeccable guest service, make her an excellent choice to lead HMG’s progressive sales and marketing efforts for their portfolio.

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