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Attracting group business: what are customers looking for?

Attracting group business: what are customers looking for?

Rate used to be the main deciding factor in booking a block of rooms, but those days are long gone. So, what are potential customers looking for now in a hotel, resort, or casino when they want to make a group booking, and how can you align your strategy to this?

5 factors to consider

1. Accessibility

With more teams working and living remotely, accessibility is a key consideration. Companies are no longer solely looking for remote resort destinations to focus minds and build teams. Instead, the aim is for locations everyone can easily reach. Are you near an airport or a major highway? Do you have good public transport links? Transport costs are a big factor when deciding where to book.  

While some meeting planners may still consider remote destinations, this will involve mitigating the inconvenience of getting there, which may need to be reflected in your rate. For the planner, it’s about balancing convenience and cost.

2. Speed of response

Meeting planners send out a lot of RFPs and they’re looking for a timely reply - they won’t wait around hoping to hear back from someone a week later! If you respond the quickest you’re more likely to secure the business. Even if your quote isn't the most competitive, you can negotiate with a customer once you have their attention.

Remember, you can never make up for a late response, but you can always adjust your quote based on the client’s feedback.

3. Transparency

Customers still want the best value for their team, seeking affordable rates and good quality service. Transparency in your quotation is vital for showing how your hotel, resort, or casino delivers value.

Online event booking tools are a great way of doing this, as customers can customize their event in the booking engine and see immediate pricing impacts.

You can also consider concessions like offering F&B credits, room upgrades, or additional services such as spa access. These show value and help you deliver a personalized quote tailored to your client's exact needs. 

4. Ease of transaction

Your quote might be attractive and full of unique selling points, but it should also be straightforward. Avoid overly complicated terms, rigid payment conditions, or outdated processes like requiring a faxed contract — customers want to know what they’re getting and finalize the booking.

Try offering online payment options or consider accepting payment on the day for smaller events. Balancing risk with reward, while reducing friction for the client, can result in repeat business or referrals. 

5. The wow factor

While accessibility, ease of booking, and price transparency are crucial, the overall experience can be a decisive factor for some events.

Customers want memorable experiences. Wedding planners aim for Instagram-worthy moments and corporate event planners seek new and creative ways to engage their audience, especially for product launches. Make sure your hotel can deliver.

As group business grows, understanding the needs of customers is essential to winning business and beating the competition. Properties that shout about their great transport links, who are quick to reply, transparent, and make it easy for customers, while wowing them at every opportunity, will come out on top.

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Sarah McCay Tams, Director of Marketing Communications

Sarah joined Duetto in 2015 as a contributing editor covering Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA). In 2017, she was promoted to Director of Content, EMEA, and in 2022 promoted to Director of Marketing Communications. An experienced B2B travel industry journalist, Sarah spent 14 years working in the Middle East, most notably as senior editor – hospitality for ITP Publishing Group in Dubai, where she headed up the editorial teams on Hotelier Middle East, Caterer Middle East and Arabian Travel News. Sarah is now based back in the UK.

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