Increase Direct Bookings in MICE Segment
The 90s marked the birth of OTAs and hotels gladly welcomed a new distribution channel but online booking on the hotels’ own websites was either not possible or not promoted. Fast forward to the 2010s and hotels start realizing that while OTAs are a good distribution channel, commissions are becoming a significant drain on revenue & profitability and are scrambling to increase direct bookings.
Yet, hotels today are making the same mistake in the MICE segment, especially as it relates to small meetings and groups. MICE Marketplaces a.k.a. Small Meeting OTAs offer a new distribution channel for a commission and yet again, hotels don’t have a booking engine for meetings on their own website.
The time has come to enable meeting & group booking on hotel websites. Not only will you save on commissions, but it also provides other significant benefits.
Enable Customer Convenience
A recent industry survey had meeting planners saying they don’t even consider hotels that don’t have an online option for smaller meetings. Contrary to the human touch is better service presumption, faster response in this case is essential for the business. Larger chains like Hilton and Marriott have recognized the need and built a solution for their websites, but smaller chains and independents still rely on RFPs potentially losing business from such planners.
Improve Sales Efficiency
Not only is online meeting booking efficient to customers, it’s efficient to hotels’ sales teams too who no longer have to write contracts for meeting and group business that can be booked online. This is especially true for smaller meeting business where contracts are relatively static and easily accepted online.
Aside from the obvious advantage of increasing direct bookings, there are other revenue increasing capabilities that hotels can implement when the booking is from their own website. Let’s look at a few here.
Many corporate planners and executives have similar recurring meetings and if hotels can provide a one-click rebooking capability, it suddenly becomes not worth some planners’ time to look at a marketplace and compare rates especially when the amount is insignificant.
Customers are often flexible with dates if they can get a deal. On their own websites, hotels can easily guide customers to their need dates to increase overall occupancy and revenue. While you can offer a lower rate in a marketplace, they have no incentive to promote your lower rates.
Upsells and Cross Sells
Personalized and targeted up-sells and cross sells are other ways to further increase revenue from meeting business as hotels have started doing for transient business.
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