By Lisa Bonanno
ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 15, 2019 — Knowland, a hospitality industry leader in meetings market data and analytics for hotels, convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), convention centers and other meeting venues, encourages property management companies to change their group source of business to proactive and to budget for that change in 2020.
With the looming uncertainty of the economy, many property management companies are not confident their properties’ “inbound RFP strategy” will work going forward. As they sit down to develop their 2020 budgets, they must consider many things including their cost of acquisition for group and how it factors into their budget. Smart property management companies know that a Proactive Group Sales Strategy will help their hotels outperform the competition irrespective of economic conditions. It is for this reason they are making the appropriate budget allocations for the solutions needed to support a proactive sales strategy.
John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts (JQH), now part of Atrium Hotels, was a long-time Knowland customer. Knowland challenged them to think differently about how they sourced their group business and to really unpack the costs and measurable results from their inbound “strategy.” During that time the company’s STR RevPAR Growth Index (RGI) had averaged +2.9 for the previous 24 months, plummeted to -2.4 for the trailing six months. JQH trailed behind in group share. They realized they were underperforming and needed to change their hotel practices.
Knowland became a trusted partner in their success by showing them how to use data to optimize their group business mix to proactive selling. After 12 months of using the latest Knowland platform and operationalizing a Proactive Group Sales Strategy JQH:
• Redeployed their sales team to put their best sales people on the toughest segments
• Increased RGI from -2.4 to a positive +2.1
• Improved group market share from -3.5 to +3.6
In a mere six months, the improvements in group share and RGI reflected a $1,283,000 increase in new booked group business for JQH. The investments JQH made to support this change returned over 6000% back to the business.
Hotel property managers are tasked with ensuring that the ROI goals for their portfolio of properties are met. Budget season is the perfect time to evaluate the efficacy of existing group sources of business to determine if they will continue to produce the same level of return going forward. As we approach economic uncertainty, it will be important to focus on controlling the bottom line and the impact derived from group business.