The hospitality industry is ever evolving

Ken Shanley

Hotels are dealing with ongoing staffing shortages, rising prices, international unrest and two years’ worth of missing data; making planning for basic operations at the property-level even more complicated and hectic than ever, especially for smaller properties.

All of this means that hoteliers are focused on recovering as much of the losses that they experienced during the lockdowns. Nearly 80 per cent of respondents to the Northstar/Cvent Meetings Industry PULSE survey intend to produce their next in-person meeting in the first half of 2022. The same study also showed that, 44 per cent of respondents will hold their next in-person meeting this quarter, and another 34 per cent will meet in Q2. Only 4 per cent will hold off until 2023 or later.

Inquiries and RFPs for meeting and events space and rooms are surging, and hotels need to be prepared to quickly respond to a flood of incoming RFPs from planners – often short-term bookings – and secure the corporate/events bookings and long-term contracts to fill their dormant pipelines.

Here’s some tips for hoteliers on what to look when evaluating new business:

More than 55 per cent of planners polled in the latest Northstar/Cvent Meetings Industry PULSE Survey complain about higher rates and food and beverage prices, and 48 per cent complain about inflexible contract terms.

To address this issue, we recommend offering long-term contract and multi-year discounts to buyers who can commit to ongoing bookings (guaranteed income for you). Offering a discount off of the standard corporate or best available rate will help please both the buyers and your bottom line, so don’t ignore the importance of long-term contracts in your 2022 corporate sales strategy. 

Travel managers at companies like Discovery and Microsoft have said publicly that business trips may get more expensive as companies safeguard the health of travellers and support strong outcomes for necessary trips. The author, Elizabeth West, predicts that because price is no longer the primary consideration for buyers, some may believe that luxury, resort-style properties would become the favourite for events, going forward; in reality, according to West, it is more likely that travel managers choose “upper upscale hotels, … especially if they can master elements like contactless room service, remote check-in and keyless entry.”

In 2022 and beyond – especially in markets with uncertain or fluctuating demand – your property will need to take advantage of every single revenue opportunity. That includes not relying solely on one or two sources for online RFPs. There are many fantastic emerging, online sourcing and procurement platforms, which give you access to new buyers’ RFPs from all over the world and which provide helpful tools to increase the likelihood of winning the RFP, including integrated BAR + percentage pricing modules. AI-powered data analytics allow you to know when your bid is most advantageously positioned, real-time feedback so you can graphically compare your proposal (weighted by rate and concessions) to your competitors, and even make changes (if needed) to boost your conversion rate and revenue.

* Ken Shanley is Founder of Vindow Inc.